1.20: Fytte the Third
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Ful erly bifore þe day þe folk vp-rysen,
Gestes þat go wolde, hor gromez þay calden,
& þay busken vp bilyue, blonkkez to sadel,
Tyffen he[r] takles, trussen her males,
Richen hem þe rychest, to ryde alle arayde,
Lepen vp ly3tly, lachen her brydeles,
Vche wy3e on his way, þer hym wel lyked.
Þe leue lorde of þe londe watz not þe last,
Arayed for þe rydyng, with renkkez ful mony;
Ete a sop hastyly, when he hade herde masse,
With bugle to bent felde he buskez bylyue;
By þat þat any dayly3t lemed vpon erþe,
He with his haþeles on hy3e horsses weren.
Þenne þise cacheres þat couþe, cowpled hor houndez,
Vnclosed þe kenel dore, & calde hem þeroute,
Blwe bygly in bugle þre bare mote;
Braches bayed þerfore, & breme noyse maked,
& þay chastysed, & charred, on chasyng þat went;
A hundreth of hunteres, as I haf herde telle, of þe best;
To trystors vewters 3od,
Couples huntes of kest,
Þer ros for blastez gode,
Gret rurd in þat forest.
At þe fyrst quethe of þe quest quaked þe wylde;
Der drof in þe dale, doted for drede,
Hi3ed to þe hy3e, bot heterly þay were
Restayed with þe stablye, þat stoutly ascryed;
Þay let þe herttez haf þe gate, with þe hy3e hedes,
Þe breme bukkez also, with hor brode paumez;
For þe fre lorde hade defende in fermysoun tyme,
Þat þer schulde no mon mene to þe male dere.
Þe hindez were halden in, with hay & war,
Þe does dryuen with gret dyn to þe depe sladez;
Þer my3t mon se, as þay slypte, slentyng of arwes,
At vche [þat] wende vnder wande wapped a flone,
Þat bigly bote on þe broun, with ful brode hedez,
What! þay brayen, & bleden, bi bonkkez þay de3en.
& ay rachches in a res radly hem fol3es,
Hunterez wyth hy3e horne hasted hem after,
Wyth such a crakkande kry, as klyffes haden brusten;
What wylde so at-waped wy3es þat schotten,
Watz al to-raced & rent, at þe resayt.
Bi þay were tened at þe hy3e, & taysed to þe wattrez,
Þe ledez were so lerned at þe lo3e trysteres,
& þe grehoundez so grete, þat geten hem bylyue,
& hem to fylched, as fast as frekez my3t loke, þer-ry3t.
Þe lorde for blys abloy
Ful oft con launce & ly3t,
& drof þat day wyth Ioy
Thus to þe derk ny3t.
Þus laykez þis lorde by lynde wodez euez,
& Gawayn þe god mon, in gay bed lygez,
Lurkkez quyl þe dayly3t lemed on þe wowes,
Vnder couertour ful clere, cortyned aboute;
& as in slomeryng he slode, sle3ly he herde
A littel dyn at his dor, & derfly vpon;
& he heuez vp his hed out of þe cloþes,
A corner of þe cortyn he ca3t vp a lyttel,
& waytez warly þiderwarde, quat hit be my3t.
Hit watz þe ladi, loflyest to beholde,
Þat dro3 þe dor after hir ful dernly & stylle,
& bo3ed towarde þe bed; & þe burne schamed.
& layde hym doun lystyly, & let as he slepte.
& ho stepped stilly & stel to his bedde,
Kest vp þe cortyn, & creped withinne,
& set hir ful softly on þe bed-syde,
& lenged þere selly longe, to loke quen he wakened.
Þe lede lay lurked a ful longe quyle,
Compast in his concience to quat þat cace my3t
Mene oþer amount--to meruayle hym þo3t;
Bot 3et he sayde in hymself, “more semly hit were
To aspye wyth my spelle [in] space quat ho wolde.”
þen he wakenede, & wroth, & to hir warde torned,
& vnlouked his y3e-lyddez, & let as hym wondered,
& sayned hym, as bi his sa3e þe sauer to worthe, with hande.
Wyth chynne & cheke ful swete,
Boþe quit & red in-blande,
Ful lufly con ho lete,
Wyth lyppez smal la3ande.
“God moroun, sir Gawayn,” sayde þat fayr lady,
“3e ar a sleper vnsly3e, þat mon may slyde hider;
Now ar 3e tan astyt, bot true vus may schape,
I schal bynde yow in your bedde, þat be 3e trayst:”
Al la3ande þe lady lanced þo bourdez.
“Goud moroun g[aye],”1 quod Gawayn þe blyþe,
“Me schal worþe at your wille, & þat me wel lykez,
For I 3elde me 3ederly, & 3e3e after grace,
& þat is þe best, be my dome, for me byhouez nede;”
& þus he bourded a3ayn with mony a blyþe la3ter.
“Bot wolde 3e, lady louely, þen leue me grante,
& deprece your prysoun, & pray hym to ryse,
I wolde bo3e of þis bed, & busk me better,
I schulde keuer þe more comfort to karp yow wyth.”
“Nay, for soþe, beau sir,” sayd þat swete,
“3e schal not rise of your bedde, I rych yow better,
I schal happe yow here þat oþer half als,
& syþen karp wyth my kny3t þat I ka3t haue;
For I wene wel, Iwysse, sir Wawen 3e are,
Þat alle þe worlde worchipez, quere-so 3e ride;
Your honour, your hendelayk is hendely praysed
With lordez, wyth ladyes, with alle þat lyf bere.
& now 3e ar here, iwysse, & we bot oure one;
“My lorde & his ledez ar on lenþe faren,
Oþer burnez in her bedde, & my burdez als,
Þe dor drawen, & dit with a derf haspe;
& syþen I haue in þis hous hym þat al lykez,
I schal ware my whyle wel, quyl hit lastez, with tale;
3e ar welcum to my cors,
Yowre awen won to wale, Me behouez of fyne force,
Your seruaunt be & schale.”
“In god fayth,” quod Gawayn, “gayn hit me þynkkez,
Þa3 I be not now he þat 3e of speken;
To reche to such reuerence as 3e reherce here
I am wy3e vn-worþy, I wot wel my-seluen;
Bi God, I were glad, & yow god þo3t,
At sa3e oþer at seruyce þat I sette my3t
To þe plesaunce of your prys--hit were a pure ioye.”
“In god fayth, sir Gawayn,” quod þe gay lady,
“Þe prys & þe prowes þat plesez al oþer,
If I hit lakked, oþer set at ly3t, hit were littel daynté;
Bot hit ar ladyes inno3e, þat leuer wer nowþe
Haf þe hende in hor holde, as I þe habbe here,
To daly witt derely your daynté wordez,
Keuer hem comfort, & colen her carez,
Þen much of þe garysourn oþer golde þat þay hauen;
Bot I louue þat ilk lorde þat þe lyfte haldez,
I haf hit holly in my honde þat al desyres, þur3e grace.”
Scho made hym so gret chere,
Þat watz so fayr of face,
Þe kny3t with speches skere,
A[n]swared to vche a cace.
“Madame,” quod þe myry mon, “Mary yow 3elde,
For I haf founden, in god fayth, yowre fraunchis nobele,
& oþer ful much of oþer folk fongen hor dedez;
Bot þe daynté þat þay delen for my disert nysen,
Hit is þe worchyp of yourzself, þat no3t hot wel connez.”
“Bi Mary,” quod þe menskful, “me þynk hit anoþer;
For were I worth al þe wone of wymmen alyue,
& al þe wele of þe worlde were in my honde,
& I schulde chepen & chose, to cheue me a lorde,
For þe costes þat I haf knowen vpun þe kny3t here,
Of bewté, & debonerté, & blyþe semblaunt,
& þat I haf er herkkened, & halde hit here trwee,
Þer schulde no freke vpon folde bifore yow be chosen.”
“Iwysse, worþy,” quod þe wy3e, “3e haf waled wel better,
Bot I am proude of þe prys þat 3e put on me,
& soberly your seruaunt my souerayn I holde yow,
& yowre kny3t I becom, & Kryst yow for3elde.”
Þus þay meled of muchquat, til mydmorn paste,
& ay þe lady let lyk, a hym loued mych;
Þe freke ferde with defence, & feted ful fayre.
Þa3 I were burde bry3test, þe burde in mynde hade,
Þe lasse luf in his lode, for lur þat he so3t, boute hone;
Þe dunte þat schulde hym deue, & nedez hit most be done;
Þe lady þenn spek of leue. He granted hir ful sone.
Þenne ho gef hym god day, & wyth a glent la3ed.
& as ho stod, ho stonyed hym wyth ful stor wordez:
“Now he þat spedez vche spech, þis disport 3elde yow!
Bot þat 3e be Gawan, hit gotz in mynde.”
“Querfore?” quod þe freke, & freschly he askez,
Ferde lest he hade fayled in fourme of his castes;
Bot þe burde hym blessed, & bi þis skyl sayde,
“So god as Gawayn gaynly is halden,
& cortaysye is closed so clene in hym-seluen,
Couth not ly3tly haf lenged so long wyth a lady,
Bot he had craued a cosse, bi his courtaysye,
Bi sum towch of summe tryfle, at sum talez ende.”
Þen quod Wowen, “I-wysse, worþe as yow lykez,
I schal kysse at your comaundement, as a kny3t fallez,
& fire lest he displese yow, so plede hit no more.”
Ho comes nerre with þat, & cachez hym in armez,
Loutez luflych adoun, & þe leude kyssez;
Þay comly bykennen to Kryst ayþer oþer;
Ho dos hir forth at þe dore, withouten dyn more.
& he ryches hym to ryse, & rapes hym sone,
Clepes to his chamberlayn, choses his wede,
Bo3ez forth, quen he watz boun, blyþely to masse,
& þenne he meued to his mete þat menskly hym keped,
& made myry al day til þe mone rysed,
Watz neuer freke fayrer fonge,
Bitwene two so dyngne dame,
Þe alder & þe 3onge,
Much solace set þay same.
And ay þe lorde of þe londe is lent on his gamnez,
To hunt in holtez & heþe, at hyndez barayne,
Such a sowme he þer slowe bi þat þe sunne heldet,
Of dos & of oþer dere, to deme were wonder.
Þenne fersly þay flokked in folk at þe laste,
& quykly of þe quelled dere a querré þay maked;
Þe best bo3ed þerto, with burnez innoghe,
Gedered þe grattest of gres þat þer were,
& didden hem derely vndo, as þe dede askez;
Serched hem at þe asay, summe þat þer were,
Two fyngeres þay fonde of þe fowlest of alle;
Syþen þay slyt þe slot, sesed þe erber,
Schaued wyth a scharp knyf, & þe schyre knitten;
Syþen rytte þay þe foure lymmes, & rent of þe hyde,
Þen brek þay þe bale, þe bowelez out token,
Lystily forlancyng, & bere of þe knot;
Þay gryped to þe gargulun, & grayþely departed
Þe wesaunt fro þe wynt-hole, & walt out þe guttez;
Þen scher þay out þe schulderez with her scharp knyuez,
Haled hem by a lyttel hole, to haue hole sydes;
Siþen britned þay þe brest, & brayden hit in twynne,
& eft at þe gargulun bigynez on þenne,
Ryuez hit vp radly, ry3t to þe by3t,
Voydez out þe avanters, & verayly þerafter
Alle þe rymez by þe rybbez radly þay lance;
So ryde þay of by resoun bi þe rygge bonez,
Euenden to þe haunche, þat henged alle samen,
& heuen hit vp al hole, & hwen hit of þere,
& þat þayneme for þe noumbles, bi nome as I trowe,
Bi þe by3t al of þe þy3es,
Þe lappez þay lance bihynde,
To hewe hit in two þay hy3es,
Bi þe bakbon to vnbynde.
Boþe þe hede & þe hals þay hwen of þenne,
& syþen sunder þay þe sydez swyft fro þe chyne,
& þe corbeles fee þay kest in a greue;
Þenn þurled þay ayþer þik side þur3, bi þe rybbe,
& henged þenne a[y]þer bi ho3ez of þe fourchez,
Vche freke for his fee, as fallez forto haue.
Vpon a felle of þe fayre best, fede þay þayr houndes,
Wyth þe lyuer & þe ly3tez, þe leþer of þe paunchez,
& bred baþed in blod, blende þeramongez;
Baldely þay blw prys, bayed þayr rachchez,
Syþen fonge þay her flesche folden to home,
Strakande ful stoutly mony stif motez.
Bi þat þe dayly3t wat3 done, þe douthe watz al wonen
Into þe comly castel, þer þe kny3t bidez
Wyth blys & bry3t fyr bette,
Þe lord is comen þer-tylle,
When Gawayn wyth hym mette,
Þer watz bot wele at wylle.
Thenne comaunded þe lorde in þat sale to samen alle þe meny,
Boþe þe ladyes on loghe to ly3t with her burdes,
Bifore alle þe folk on þe flette, frekez he beddez
Verayly his venysoun to fech hym byforne;
& al godly in gomen Gaway[n] he called,
Techez hym to þe tayles of ful tayt bestes,
Schewez hym þe schyree grece schorne vpon rybbes.
“How payez yow þis play? haf I prys wonnen?
Haue I þryuandely þonk þur3 my craft serued?”
“3e Iwysse,” quod þat oþer wy3e, “here is wayth fayrest
Þat I se3 þis seuen 3ere in sesoun of wynter.”
“& al I gif yow, Gawayn,” quod þe gome þenne,
“For by acorde of couenaunt 3e craue hit as your awen.”
“Þis is soth,” quod þe segge, “I say yow þatilke,
& I haf worthyly þis wonez wyth-inne,
Iwysse with as god wylle hit worþez to 3ourez.”
He hasppez his fayre hals his armez wythinne,
& kysses hym as comlyly as he couþe awyse:
“Tas yow þere my cheuicaunce, I cheued no more,
I wowche hit saf fynly, þa3 feler hit were.”
“Hit is god,” quod þe god mon, “grant mercy þerfore,
Hit may be such, hit is þe better, & 3e me breue wolde
Where 3e wan þis ilk wele, bi wytte of yorseluen.”
“Þat watz not forward,” quod he, “frayst me no more,
For 3e haftan þat yow tydez, trawe non oþer
Þay la3ed, & made hem blyþe,
Wyth lotez þat were to lowe,
To soper þay 3ede as-swyþe,
Wyth dayntes nwe innowe.
And syþen by þe chymné in chamber þay seten.
Wy3ez þe walle wyn we3ed to hem oft,
& efte in her bourdyng þay bayþen in þe morn,
To fylle þe same forwardez þat þay byfore maden,
Þat chaunce so bytydez hor cheuysaunce to chaunge,
What nwez so þay nome, at na3t quen þay metten
Þay acorded of þe couenauntez byfore þe court alle;
Þe beuerage watz bro3t forth in bourde at þat tyme;
Þenne þay louelych le3ten leue at þe last,
Vche burne to his bedde busked bylyue.
Scarce had the cock cackled thrice when the lord was up.
Bi þat þe coke hade crowe3 & cakled bot þryse,
Þe lorde watz lopen of his bedde, þe leudez vchone,
So þat þe mete & þe masse watz metely delyuered;
Þe douthe dressed to þe wod, er any day sprenged,
He3 with hunte & hornez,
Þur3 playnez þay passe in space,
Vncoupled among þo þornez,
Rachez þat ran on race.
Sone þay calle of a quest in aker syde,
Þe hunt rehayted þe houndez, þat hit fyrst mynged,
Wylde wordez hym warp wyth a wrast noyce;
Þe howndez þat hit herde, hastid þider swyþe,
& fellen as fast to þe fuyt, fourty at ones;
Þenne such a glauerande glam of gedered rachchez
Ros, þat þe rocherez rungen aboute;
Hunterez hem hardened with horne & wyth muthe.
Þen al in a semblé sweyed togeder,
Bitwene a flosche in þat fryth, & a foo cragge;
In a knot, bi a clyffe, at þe kerre syde,
Þer as þe rogh rocher vnrydely watz fallen,
Þay ferden to þe fyndyng, & frekez hem after;
Þay vmbekesten þe knarre & þe knot boþe.
Wy3ez, whyl þay wysten wel wyt inne hem hit were,
Þe best þat þer breued watz wyth þe blod houndez.
Þenne þay beten on þe buskez, & bede hym vp ryse,
& he vnsoundyly out so3t seggez ouerþwert,
On þe sellokest swyn swenged out þere,
Long sythen for þe sounder þat wi3t for-olde,
For he watz b[este &] bor alþer-grattest,
[And eue]re quen he gronyed, þenne greued mony,
For [þre a]t þe fyrst þrast he þry3t to þe erþe,
& [sped hym] forth good sped, boute spyt more,
[Ande þay] halowed hyghe ful hy3e & hay! hay! cryed
Haden hornez to mouþe heterly rechated;
Full quickly the hunters pursue him.
Mony watz þe myry mouthe of men & of houndez,
Þat buskkez after þis bor, with bost & wyth noyse,
Ful oft he bydez þe baye,
& maymez þe mute Inn melle,
He hurtzez of þe houndez, & þay
Ful 3omerly 3aule & 3elle.
Schalkez to schote at hym schowen to þenne,
Haled to hym of her arewez, hitten hym oft;
Bot þe poyntez payred at þe pyth þat py3t in his scheldez,
& þe barbez of his browe bite non wolde--
Þa3 þe schauen schaft schyndered in pecez,
Þe hede hypped a3ayn, were-so-euer hit hitte;
Bot quon þe dyntez hym dered of her dry3e strokez,
Þen, brayn-wod for bate, on burnez he rasez,
Hurtez hem ful heterly þer he forth hy3ez,
& mony ar3ed þerat, & onlyte dro3en.
Bot þe lorde on a ly3t horce launces hym after,
As burne bolde vpon bent his bugle he blowez,
He rechated, & r[ode] þur3 ronez ful þyk,
Suande þis wy[ld]e swyn til þe sunne schafted.
Þis day wyth þis ilk dede þay dryuen on þis wyse,
Whyle oure luflych lede lys in his bedde,
Gawayn grayþely at home, in gerez ful ryche
Þe lady no3t for3ate,
Com to hym to salue,
Ful erly ho watz hym ate,
His mode forto remwe.
Ho commes to þe cortyn, & at þe kny3t totes,
Sir Wawen her welcumed worþy on fyrst,
& ho hym 3eldez a3ayn, ful 3erne of hir wordez,
Settez hir sof[t]ly by his syde, & swyþely ho la3ez,
& wyth a luflych loke ho layde1 hym þyse wordez:
“Sir, 3if 3e be Wawen, wonder me þynkkez,
Wy3e þat is so wel wrast alway to god,
& connez not of compaynye þe costez vndertake,
& if mon kennes yow hom to knowe, 3e kest hom of your mynde;
Þou hatz for3eten 3ederly þat 3isterday I ta3tte
Bi alder-truest token of talk þat I cowþe.”
“What is þat?” quod þe wyghe, “Iwysse I wot neuer,
If hit be sothe þat 3e breue, þe blame is myn awen.”
“3et I kende yow of kyssyng,” quod þe clere þenne,
“Quereso countenaunce is couþe, quikly to clayme,
Þat bicumes vche a kny3t, þat cortaysy vses.”
“Do way,” quod þat derf mon, “my dere, þat speche,
For þat durst I not do, lest I denayed were,
If I were werned, I were wrang Iwysse, 3if I profered.”
“Ma fay,” quod þe mere wyf, “3e may not be werned,
3e ar stif innoghe to constrayne wyth strenkþe,
3if yow lykez, 3if any were so vilanous þat yow denaye wolde.”
“3e, be God,” quod Gawayn, “good is your speche,
Bot þrete is vnþryuande in þede þer I lende,
& vche gift þat is geuen not with goud wylle;
I am at your comaundement, to kysse quen yow lykez,
3e may lach quen yow lyst, & leue quen yow þynkkez,
Þe lady loutez adoun,
& comlyly kysses his face,
Much speche þay þer expoun,
Of druryes greme & grace.
“I woled wyt at yow, wy3e,” þat worþy þer sayde,
“& yow wrathed not þerwyth, what were þe skylle,
Þat so 3ong & so 3epe, as 3e [ar] at þis tyme,
So cortayse, so kny3tyly, as 3e ar knowen oute,
& of alle cheualry to chose, þe chef þyng alosed,
Is þe lel layk of luf, þe lettrure of armes;
F[or] to telle of þis tenelyng of þis trwe kny3tez,
Hit is þe tytelet, token, & tyxt of her werkkez,
How le[des] for her lele luf hor lyuez han auntered,
Endured for her drury dulful stoundez,
& after wenged with her walour & voyded her care,
and so renowned a knight,
& bro3t blysse into boure, with bountees hor awen.
& 3e ar kny3t comlokest kyd of your elde,
Your worde & your worchip walkez ayquere,
& I haf seten by yourself here sere twyes,
3et herde I neuer of your hed helde no wordez
Þat euer longed to luf, lasse ne more;
& 3e, þat ar so cortays & coynt of your hetes,
Oghe to a 3onke þynk 3ern to schewe,
& teche sum tokenez of trweluf craftes.
Why ar 3e lewed, þat alle þe los weldez,
Oþer elles 3e demen me to dille, your dalyaunce to herken?
I com hider sengel, & sitte,
To lerne at yow sum game,
Dos, techez me of your wytte,
Whil my lorde is fro hame.”
“In goud fayþe,” quod Gawayn, “God yow for3elde,
Gret is þe gode gle, & gomen to me huge,
Þat so worþy as 3e wolde wynne hidere,
& pyne yow with so pouer a mon, as play wyth your kny3t,
With anyskynnez countenaunce, hit keuerez me ese;
Bot to take þe toruayle to my-self, to trwluf expoun,
& towche þe temez of tyxt, & talez of armez,
To yow þat, I wot wel, weldez more sly3t
Of þat art, bi þe half, or a hundreth of seche
As I am, oþer euer schal, in erde þer I leue,
Hit were a fole fele-folde, my fre, by my trawþe.
I wolde yowre wylnyng worche at my my3t,
As I am hy3ly bihalden, & euermore wylle
Be seruaunt to yourseluen, so saue me dry3tyn!”
Þus hym frayned þat fre, & fondet hym ofte,
For to haf wonnen hym to wo3e, what-so scho þo3t ellez,
Bot he de fended hym so fayr, þat no faut semed,
Ne non euel on nawþer halue, nawþer þay wysten,
Þay la3ed & layked longe,
At þe last scho con hym kysse,
Hir leue fayre con scho fonge,
& went hir waye Iwysse.
Then ruþes hym þe renk, & ryses to þe masse,
& siþen hor diner watz dy3t & derely serued.
Þe lede with þe ladyez layked alle day,
Bot þe lorde ouer þe londez launced ful ofte,
Swez his vncely swyn, þat swyngez bi þe bonkkez,
& bote þe best of his brachez þe bakkez in sunder;
Þer he bode in his bay, tel bawemen hit breken,
& made hym, mawgref his bed, forto mwe vtter;
So felle flonez per flete, when þe folk gedered;
Bot 3et þe styffest to start bi stoundez he made,
Til at þe last he watz so mat, he my3t no more renne,
Bot in þe hast þat he my3t, he to a hole wynnez,
Of a rasse, bi a rokk, þer rennez þe boerne.
He gete þe bonk at his bak, bigynez to scrape,
Þe froþe femed at his mouth vnfayre bi þe wykez,
Whettez his whyte tuschez; with hym þen irked
Alle þe burnez so bolde, þat hym by stoden,
To nye hym on-ferum, bot ne3e hym non durst
He hade hurt so mony byforne,
Þat al þu3t þenne ful loþe,
Be more wyth his tusche3 torne,
Þat breme watz [&] braynwod bothe.
Til þe kny3t com hymself, kachande his blonk,
Sy3 hym byde at þe bay, his burnez bysyde,
He ly3tes luflych adoun, leuez his corsour,
Braydez out a bry3t bront, & bigly forth strydez,
Foundez fast þur3 þe forth, þer þe felle bydez,
Þe wylde watz war of þe wy3e with weppen in honde,
Hef hy3ly þe here, so hetterly he fnast,
Þat fele ferde for þe freke3, lest felle hym þe worre;
Þe swyn settez hym out on þe segge euen,
Þat þe burne & þe bor were boþe vpon hepez,
In þe wy3test of þe water, þe worre hade þat oþer;
For þe mon merkkez hym wel, as þay mette fyrst,
Set sadly þe scharp in þe slot euen,
Hit hym vp to þe hult, þat þe hert schyndered,
& he 3arrande hym 3elde, & 3edoun þe water,
A hundreth houndez hym hent,
Þat bremely con hym bite,
Burnez him bro3t to bent,
& doggez to dethe endite.
There watz blawyng of prys in mony breme home,
He3e halowing on hi3e, with haþelez þat my3t;
Brachetes bayed þat best, as bidden þe maysterez,
Of þat chargeaunt chace þat were chef huntes.
Þenne a wy3e þat watz wys vpon wodcraftez,
To vnlace þis bor lufly bigynnez.
Fyrst he hewes of his hed, & on hi3e settez,
& syþen rendez him al roghe bi þe rygge after,
Braydez out þe boweles, brennez hom on glede,
With bred blent þerwith his braches rewardez;
Syþen he britnez out þe brawen in bry3t brode [s]cheldez,
& hatz out þe hastlettez, as hi3tly bisemez;
& 3et hem halchez al hole þe haluez togeder,
& syþen on a stif stange stoutly hem henges.
Now with þis ilk swyn þay swengen to home;
Þe bores hed watz borne bifore þe burnes seluen,
Þat him forferde in þe forþe, þur3 forse of his honde,
Til he se3 sir Gawayne,
In halle hym þo3t ful longe,
He calde, & he com gayn,
His feez þer for to fonge.
Þe lorde ful lowde with lote, & la3ed myry,
When he se3e sir G: with solace he spekez;
Þe goude ladyez were geten, & gedered þe meyny,
He schewez hem þe scheldez, & schapes hem þe tale,
Of þe largesse, & þe lenþe, þe liþernez alse,
Of þe were of þe wylde swyn, in wod þer he fled.
Þat oþer kny3t ful comly comended his dedez,
& praysed hit as gret prys, þat he proued hade;
For suche a brawne of a best, þe bolde burne sayde,
Ne such sydes of a swyn, segh he neuer are.
Þenne hondeled þay þe hoge hed, þe hende mon hit praysed,
& let lodly þerat þe lorde forte here:
“Now Gawayn,” quod þe god mon, “þis gomen is your awen,
Bi fyn forwarde & faste, faythely 3e knowe.”
“Hit is sothe,” quod þe segge, “& as siker trwe;
Alle my get I schal yow gif agayn, bi my trawþe.”
He [hent] þe haþel aboute þe halse, & hendely hym kysses,
& eftersones of þe same he serued hym þere.
“Now ar we euen,” quod þe haþel, “in þis euentide,
Of alle þe couenauntes þat we knyt, syþen I com hider,
Þe lorde sayde, “bi saynt Gile,
3e ar þe best þat I knowe,
3e ben ryche in a whyle,
Such chaffer & 3e drowe.”
Þenne þay teldet tablez [on] trestes alofte,
Kesten cloþe3 vpon, clere ly3t þenne
Wakned bi wo3ez, waxen torches
Seggez sette, & serued in sale al aboute;
Much glam & gle glent vp þer-inne,
Aboute þe fyre vpon flet, & on fele wyse,
At þe soper & after, mony aþel songez,
As coundutes of krystmasse, & carolez newe,
With alle þe manerly merþe þat mon may of telle.
& euer oure luflych kny3t þe lady bi-syde;
Such semblaunt to þat segge semly ho made,
Wyth stille stollen countenaunce, þat stalworth to plese,
Þat al forwondered watz þe wy3e, & wroth with hymseluen,
Bot he nolde not for his nurture nurne hir a3aynez,
Bot dalt with hir al in daynte, how-se-euer þe dede turned
Quen þay hade played in halle,
As longe as hor wylle hom last,
To chambre he con hym calle,
& to þe chemne þay past.
Ande þer þay dronken, & dalten, & demed eft nwe,
To norne on þe same note, on nwe3erez euen;
Bot þe kny3t craued leue, to kayre on þe morn,
For hit watz ne3 at þe terme, þat he to schulde.
Þe lorde hym letted of þat, to lenge hym resteyed,
& sayde, “as I am trwe segge, I siker my trawþe,
Þou schal cheue to þe grene chapel, þy charres to make,
Leude, on nw 3erez ly3t, longe bifore pryme:
Forþy þow lye in þy loft, & lach þyn ese,
& I schal hunt in þis holt, & halde þe towchez,
Chaunge wyth þe cheuisaunce, bi þat I charre hider;
For I haf fraysted þe twys, & faythful I fynde þe,
Now þrid tyme þrowe best þenk on þe morne,
Make we mery quyl we may, & mynne vpon Ioye,
For þe lur may mon lach, when-so mon lykez.”
Þis watz grayþely graunted, & Gawayn is lenged,
Bliþe bro3t watz hym drynk, & þay to bedde 3eden,
Sir Gawayn lis & slepes,
Ful stille & softe al ni3t;
Þe lorde þat his crafte3 kepes,
Ful erly he watz di3t.
After messe a morsel he & his men token,
Miry watz þe mornyng, his mounture he askes;
Alle þe haþeles þat on horse schulde helden hym after,
Were boun busked on hor blonkke3, bifore þe halle 3atez;
Ferly fayre watz þe folde, for þe forst clenged,
In rede rudede vpon rak rises þe sunne,
& ful clere costez þe clowdes of þe welkyn.
Hunteres vnhardeled bi a holt syde,
Rocheres roungen bi rys, for rurde of her hornes;
Summe fel in þe fute, þer þe fox bade,
Traylez ofte a trayteres, bi traunt of her wyles;
A kenet kryes þerof, þe hunt on hym calles,
His fela3es fallen hym to, þat fnasted ful þike,
Runnen forth in a rabel, in his ry3t fare;
& he fyskez hem byfore; þay founden hym sone,
& quen þay seghe hym with sy3t, þay sued hym fast,
Wre3ande h[ym] ful [w]eterly with a wroth noyse;
& he trantes & tornayeez þur3 mony tene greue;
Hamlounez, & herkenez, bi heggez ful ofte;
At þe last bi a littel dich he lepez ouer a spenné,
Stelez out ful stilly bi a strothe rande,
and by a rugged path seeks to get clear from the hounds.
Went haf wylt of þe wode, with wylez fro þe houndes,
Þenne watz he went, er he wyst, to5 a wale tryster,
Þer þre þro at a þrich þrat hym at ones, al graye;
He blenched a3ayn bilyue,
& stifly start onstray, With alle þe wo on lyue,
To þe wod he went away.
Thenne watz hit lif vpon list to lyþen þe houndez,
When alle þe mute hade hym met, menged togeder,
Suche a sor3e at þat sy3t þay sette on his hede,
As alle þe clamberande clyffes hade clatered on hepes;
Here he watz halawed, when haþelez hym metten,
Loude he watz 3ayned, with 3arande speche;
Þer he watz þreted, & ofte þef called,
& ay þe titleres at his tayl, þat tary he ne my3t;
Ofte he watz runnen at, when he out rayked,
& ofte reled in a3ayn, so reniarde watz wylé.
& 3e he lad hem bi lag, mon, þe lorde & his meyny;
On þis maner bi þe mountes, quyle myd-ouer-vnder,
Whyle þe hende kny3t at home holsumly slepes,
Withinne þe comly cortynes, on þe colde morne.
Bot þe lady for luf let not to slepe,
Ne þe purpose to payre, þat py3t in hir hert,
Bot ros hir vp radly, rayked hir þeder,
In a mery mantyle, mete to þe erþe,
Þat watz furred ful fyne with fellez, wel pured,
No hwe3 goud on hir hede, bot þe ha3er stones
Trased aboute hir tressour, be twenty in clusteres;
Hir þryuen face & hir þrote þrowen al naked,
Hir brest bare bifore, & bihinde eke.
Ho comez withinne þe chambre dore, & closes hit hir after,
Waynez vp a wyndow, & on þe wy3e callez,
& radly þus rehayted hym, with hir riche worde3,
“A! mon, how may þou slepe,
Þis morning is so clere?”
He watz in drowping depe,
Bot þenne he con hir here.
In dre3 droupyng of dreme draueled þat noble,
As mon þat watz in mornyng of mony þro þo3tes,
How þat destiné schulde þat day [dy3t] his wyrde,
At þe grene chapel, when he þe gome metes,
& bihoues his buffet abide, withoute debate more;
Bot quen þat comly he keuered his wyttes,
Swenges out of þe sweuenes, & swarez with hast.
Þe lady luflych com la3ande swete,
Felle ouer his fayre face, & fetly him kyssed;
He welcumez hir worþily, with a wale chere;
He se3 hir so glorious, & gayly atyred,
So fautles of hir fetures, & of so fyne hewes,
Wi3t wallande Ioye warmed his hert;
With smoþe smylyng & smolt þay smeten into merþe,
Þat al watz blis & bonchef, þat breke hem bitwene,
Þay lanced wordes gode,
Much wele þen watz þerinne,
Gret perile bitwene hem stod,
Nif mare of hir kny3t mynne.
For þat prynce of pris depresed hym so þikke.
Nurned hym so ne3e þe þred, þat nede hym bihoued,
Oþer lach þer hir luf, oþer lodly refuse;
He cared for his cortaysye, lest craþayn he were,
& more for his meschef, 3if he schulde make synne,
& be traytor to þat tolke, þat þat telde a3t.
“God schylde,” quod þe schalk, “þat schal not befalle!”
With luf-la3yng a lyt, he layd hym bysyde
Alle þe spechez of specialté þat sprange of her mouthe.
Quod þat burde to þe burne, “blame 3e disserue,
3if 3e luf not þat lyf þat 3e lye nexte,
Bifore alle þe wy3ez in þe worlde, wounded in hert,
Bot if 3e haf a lemman, a leuer, þat yow lykez better,
& folden fayth to þat fre, festned so harde,
Þat yow lausen ne lyst--& þat I leue nouþe;
And þat 3e telle me þat, now trwly I pray yow,
For alle þe lufez vpon lyue, layne not þe soþe,
Þe kny3t sayde, “be sayn Ion,”
& smeþely con he smyle,
“In fayth I welde ri3t non,
Ne non wil welde þe quile.”
“Þat is a worde,” quod þat wy3t, “þat worst is of alle,
Bot I am swared for soþe, þat sore me þinkkez;
Kysse me now coraly, & I schal cach heþen,
I may bot mourne vpon molde, as may þat much louyes.”
Sykande ho swe3e doun, & semly hym kyssed,
& siþen ho seueres hym fro, & says as ho stondes,
“Now, dere, at þis departyng, do me þis ese,
Gif me sumquat of þy gifte, þi gloue if hit were,
Þat I may mynne on þe mon, my mournyng to lassen.”
“Now Iwysse,” quod þat wy3e, “I wolde I hade here
Þe leuest þing for þy luf, þat I in londe welde,
For 3e haf deserued, forsoþe, sellyly ofte
More rewarde bi resoun, þen I reche my3t,
Bot to dele yow for drurye, þat dawed bot neked;
Hit is not your honour to haf at þis tyme
A gloue for a garysoun, of Gawaynez giftez,
& I am here [on] an erande in erdez vncouþe,
& haue no men wyth no malez, with menskful þingez;
Þat mislykez me, ladé, for luf at þis tyme,
Iche tolke mon do as he is tan, tas to non ille,
“Nay, hende of hy3e honours,”
Quod þat lufsum vnder lyne,
“Þa3 I hade o3t of yourez,
3et schulde 3e haue of myne.”
Ho ra3t hym a riche rynk of red golde werkez,
Wyth a starande ston, stondande alofte,
Þat bere blusschande bemez as þe bry3t sunne;
Wyt 3e wel, hit watz worth wele ful hoge.
Bot þe renk hit renayed, & redyly he sayde,
“I wil no giftez for gode, my gay, at þis tyme;
I haf none yow to norne, ne no3t wyl I take.”
Ho bede hit hym ful bysily, & he hir bode wernes,
& swere swyftel[y] his sothe, þat he hit sese nolde;
& ho sore þat he forsoke, & sayde þerafter,
“If 3e renay my rynk, to ryche for hit semez,
3e wolde not so hy3ly halden be to me,
I schal gif yow my girdel, þat gaynes yow lasse.”
Ho la3t a lace ly3tly, þat leke vmbe hir sydez,
Knit vpon hir kyrtel, vnder þe clere mantyle,
Gered hit watz with grene sylke, & with golde schaped,
No3t bot arounde brayden, beten with fyngrez;
& þat ho bede to þe burne, & blyþely biso3t
Þa3 hit vn-worþi were, þat he hit take wolde.
& he nay þat he nolde neghe in no wyse,
Nauþer golde ne garysoun, er God hym grace sende,
To acheue to þe chaunce þat he hade chosen þere.
“& þerfore, I pray yow, displese yow no3t,
& lettez be your bisinesse, for I bayþe hit yow neuer
I am derely to yow biholde,
Bicause of your sembelaunt,
& euer in hot & colde
To be your trwe seruaunt.
“Now forsake 3e þis silke.” sayde þe burde þenne,
“For hit is symple in hit-self. & so hit wel semez?
Lo! so hit is littel, & lasse hit is worþy;
Bot whoso knew þe costes þat knit ar þerinne,
He wolde hit prayse at more prys, parauenture;
For quat gome so is gorde with þis grene lace,
While he hit hade hemely halched aboute,
Þer is no haþel vnder heuen to-hewe hym þat my3t;
For he my3t not he slayn, for sly3t vpon erþe.”
Þen kest þe kny3t, & hit come to his hert,
Hit were a Iuel for þe Iopardé, þat hym iugged were,
When he acheued to þe chapel, his chek forto fech;
My3t he haf slypped to þe vnslayn, þe sle3t were noble.
Þenne ho þulged with hir þrepe, & þoled hir to speke,
& ho bere on hym þe belt, & bede hit hym swyþe,
& he granted, & [ho] hym gafe with a goud wylle,
& biso3t hym, for hir sake, disceuer hit neuer,
Bot to lelly layne for hir lorde; þe leude hym acordez.
Þat neuer wy3e schulde hit wyt, Iwysse, bot þay twayne,
He þonkked hir oft ful swyþe,
Ful þro with hert & þo3t.
Bi þat on þrynne syþe,
Ho hatz kyst þe kny3t so to3t.
Thenne lachchez ho hir leue, & leuez hym þere,
For more myrþe of þat mon mo3t ho not gete;
When ho watz gon, sir Gawayn gerez hym sone,
Rises, & riches hym in araye noble,
Lays vp þe luf-lace, þe lady hym ra3t,
Hid hit ful holdely, þer he hit eft fonde;
Syþen cheuely to þe chapel choses he þe waye,
Preuely aproched to a prest, & prayed hym þere
Þat he wolde lyfte his lyf, & lern hym better,
How his sawle schulde be saued, when he schuld seye heþen.
Þere he schrof hym schyrly, & schewed his mysdedez,
Of þe more & þe mynne, & merci besechez,
& of absolucioun he on þe segge calles;
& he asoyled hym surely, & sette hym so clene,
As domezday schulde haf ben di3t on þe morn.
& syþen he mace hym as mery among þe fre ladyes,
With comlych caroles, & alle kynnes ioye,
As neuer he did bot þat daye, to þe derk ny3t,
Vche mon hade daynte þare,
Of hym, & sayde Iwysse,
Þus myry he watz neuer are,
Syn he com hider, er þis.
Now hym lenge in þat lee, þer luf hym bityde;
3et is þe lorde on þe launde, ledande his gomnes,
He hatz forfaren þis fox, þat he fol3ed longe;
As he sprent ouer a spenné, to spye þe schrewe,
Þer as he herd þe howndes, þat hasted hym swyþe,
Renaud com richchande þur3 a ro3e greue,
& alle þe rabel in a res, ry3t at his helez.
Þe wy3e watz war of þe wylde, & warly abides,
& brayde3 out þe bry3t bronde, & at þe best castez;
& he schunt for þe scharp, & schulde haf arered,
A rach rapes hym to, ry3t er he my3t,
& ry3t bifore þe hors fete þay fel on hym alle,
& woried me þis wyly wyth a wroth noyse.
Þe lorde ly3tez bilyue, & cachez by sone,
Rased hym ful radly out of þe rach mouþes,
Haldez he3e ouer his hede, halowez faste,
& þer bayen hym mony bray houndez;
Huntes hy3ed hem þeder, with hornez ful mony,
Ay rechatande ary3t til þay þe renk se3en;
Bi þat watz comen his compeyny noble,
Alle þat euer ber bugle blowed at ones,
& alle þise oþer halowed, þat hade no hornes,
Hit watz þe myriest mute þat euer men herde,
Þe rich rurd þat þer watz raysed for renaude saule,
Hor houndez þay þer rewarde,
Her hedez þay fawne & frote,
& syþen þay tan reynarde,
& tyrnen of his cote.
& þenne þay helden to home, for hit watz nie3 ny3t,
Strakande ful stoutly in hor store hornez;
Þe lorde is ly3t at þe laste at hys lef home,
Fyndez fire vpon flet, þe freke þer by-side,
Sir Gawayn þe gode, þat glad watz with alle,
Among þe ladies for luf he ladde much ioye,
He were a bleaunt of blwe, þat bradde to þe erþe,
His surkot semed hym wel, þat softe watz forred,
& his hode of þat ilke henged on his schulder,
Blande al of blaunner were boþe al aboute.
He metez me þis god mon inmyddez þe flore,
& al with gomen he hym gret, & goudly he sayde,
“I schal fylle vpon fyrst oure forwardez nouþe,
Þat we spedly han spoken, þer spared watz no drynk;”
Þen acoles he [þe] kny3t, & kysses hym þryes,
As sauerly & sadly as he hem sette couþe.
“Bi Kryst,” quod þat oþer kny3t, “3e cach much sele,
In cheuisaunce of þis chaffer, 3if 3e hade goud chepez.”
“3e of þe chepe no charg,” quod chefly þat oþer,
“As is pertly payed þe chepez þat I a3te.”
“Mary,” quod þat oþer mon, “myn is bihynde,
For I haf hunted al þis day, & no3t haf I geten,
Bot þis foule fox felle, þe fende haf þe godez,
& þat is ful pore, for to pay for suche prys þinges,
As 3e haf þry3t me here, þro suche þre cosses,
“Ino3,” quod sir Gawayn,
“I þonk yow, bi þe rode;” & how þe fox watz slayn,
He tolde hym, as þay stode.
With merþe & mynstralsye, wyth metez at hor wylle,
Þay maden as mery as any men mo3ten,
With la3yng of ladies, with lotez of bordes;
Gawayn & þe gode mon so glad were þay boþe,
Bot if þe douthe had doted, oþer dronken ben oþer,
Boþe þe mon & þe meyny maden mony iapez,
Til þe sesoun watz se3en, þat þay seuer moste;
Burnez to hor bedde behoued at þe laste.
Þenne lo3ly his leue at þe lorde fyrst
Fochchez þis fre mon, & fayre he hym þonkkez;
“Of such a sellyly soiorne, as I haf hade here,
Your honour, at þis hy3e fest, þe hy3e kyng yow 3elde!
I 3ef yow me for on of yourez, if yowreself lykez,
For I mot nedes, as 3e wot, meue to morne;
& 3e me take sum tolke, to teche, as 3e hy3t,
Þe gate to þe grene chapel, as god wyl me suffer
To dele, on nw 3erez day, þe dome of my wyrdes.”
“In god fayþe,” quod þe god mon, “wyth a goud wylle;
Al þat euer I yow hy3t, halde schal I rede.”
Þer asyngnes he a seruaunt, to sett hym in þe waye,
& coundue hym by þe downez, þat he no drechch had,
For to f[e]rk þur3 þe fryth, & fare at þe gaynest,
Þe lorde Gawayn con þonk,
Such worchip he wolde hym weue;
Þen at þo ladyez wlonk.
Þe kny3t hatz tan his leue.
With care & wyth kyssyng he carppez hem tille,
& fele þryuande þonkkez he þrat hom to haue,
& þay 3elden hym a3ay[n] 3eply þat ilk;
Þay bikende hym to Kryst, with ful colde sykyngez.
Syþen fro þe meyny he menskly departes;
Vche mon þat he mette, he made hem a þonke,
For his seruyse, & his solace, & his sere pyne,
Þat þay wyth busynes had ben, aboute hym to serue;
& vche segge as sore, to seuer with hym þere,
As þay hade wonde worþyly with þat wlonk euer.
Þen with ledes & ly3t he watz ladde to his chambre,
& blybely bro3t to his bedde, to be at his rest;
3if he ne slepe soundyly, say ne dar I,
For he hade muche on þe morn to mynne, 3if he wolde, in þo3t;
Let hym ly3e þere stille,
He hatz nere þat he so3t,
& 3e wyl a whyle be stylle,
I schal telle yow how þay wro3t.