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1.19: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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    Siþen þe sege & þe assaut watz sesed at Troye,

    Þe bor3 brittened & brent to bronde3 & askez,

    Þe tulk þat þe trammes of tresoun þer wro3t,

    Watz tried for his tricherie, þe trewest on erthe;

    Hit watz Ennias þe athel, & his highe kynde,

    Þat siþen depreced prouinces, & patrounes bicome

    Welne3e of al þe wele in þe west iles,

    Fro riche Romulus to Rome ricchis hym swyþe,

    With gret bobbaunce þat bur3e he biges vpon fyrst,

    & neuenes hit his aune nome, as hit now hat;

    Ticius to Tuskan [turnes,] & teldes bigynnes;

    Langaberde in Lumbardie lyftes vp homes;

    & fer ouer þe French flod Felix Brutus

    On mony bonkkes ful brode Bretayn he settez,

    wyth wynne;

    Where werre, & wrake, & wonder,

    Bi syþez hatz wont þer-inne,

    & oft boþe blysse & blunder

    Ful skete hatz skyfted synne.


    Ande quen þis Bretayn watz bigged bi þis burn rych,

    Bolde bredden þerinne, baret þat lofden,

    In mony turned tyme tene þat wro3ten;

    Mo ferlyes on þis folde han fallen here oft

    Þen in any oþer þat I wot, syn þat ilk tyme.

    Of all Britain’s kings Arthur was the noblest.

    Bot of alle þat here bult of Bretaygne kynges

    Ay watz Arthur þe hendest; as I haf herde telle;

    Forþi an aunter in erde I attle to schawe,

    Þat a selly in si3t summe men hit holden,

    & an outtrage awenture of Arthurez wonderez;

    If 3e wyl lysten þis laye bot on littel quile,

    I schal telle hit, as-tit, as I in toun herde,

    with tonge;

    As hit is stad & stoken,

    In stori stif & stronge,

    With lel letteres loken,

    In londe so hatz ben longe.


    Þis kyng lay at Camylot vpon kryst-masse,

    With mony luflych lorde, ledez of þe best,

    with all the knights of the Round Table,

    Rekenly of þe rounde table alle þo rich breþer,

    With rych reuel ory3t, & rechles merþes;

    Þer tournayed tulkes bitymez ful mony,

    Iusted ful Iolilé þise gentyle kni3tes,

    Syþen kayred to þe court, caroles to make.

    For þer þe fest watz ilyche ful fiften dayes,

    With alle þe mete & þe mirþe þat men couþe a-vyse;

    Such glaumande gle glorious to here,

    Dere dyn vp-on day, daunsyng on ny3tes,

    Al watz hap vpon he3e in hallez & chambrez,

    With lordez & ladies, as leuest him þo3t;

    With all þe wele of þe worlde þay woned þer samen,

    Þe most kyd kny3tez vnder kryste seluen,

    & þe louelokkest ladies þat euer lif haden,

    & he þe comlokest kyng þat þe court haldes;

    For al watz þis fayre folk in her first age,

    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 in to þe halle,

    Þe chauntre of þe chapel cheued to an ende;

    Loude crye watz þer kest of clerkez & oþer,

    Nowel nayted o-newe, neuened ful ofte;

    & syþen riche forth runnen to reche honde-selle,

    3e3ed 3eres 3iftes on hi3, 3elde hem bi hond,

    Debated busyly aboute þo giftes;

    Ladies la3ed ful loude, þo3 þay lost haden,

    & he þat wan watz not wrothe, þat may 3e wel trawe.

    Alle þis mirþe þay maden to þe mete tyme;

    When þay had waschen, worþyly þay wenten to sete,

    Þe best burne ay abof, as hit best semed;

    Whene Guenore ful gay, grayþed in þe myddes.

    Dressed on þe dere des, dubbed al aboute,

    Smal sendal bisides, a selure hir ouer

    Of tryed Tolouse, of Tars tapites in-noghe,

    Þat were enbrawded & beten wyth þe best gemmes,

    Þat my3t be preued of prys wyth penyes to bye,

    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 Ioly of his Ioyfnes, & sum-quat child gered,

    His lif liked hym ly3t, he louied þe lasse

    Auþer to lenge lye, or to longe sitte,

    So bi-sied him his 3onge blod & his brayn wylde;

    & also anoþer maner meued him eke,

    Þat he þur3 nobelay had nomen, ho wolde neuer ete

    Vpon such a dere day, er hym deuised were

    Of sum auenturus þyng an vncouþe tale,

    Of sum mayn meruayle, þat he my3t trawe,

    Of alderes, of armes, of oþer auenturus,

    Oþer sum segg hym bi-so3t of sum siker kny3t,

    To Ioyne wyth hym in iustyng in Iopardé to lay,

    Lede lif for lyf, leue vchon oþer,

    As fortune wolde fulsun hom þe fayrer to haue.

    Þis watz [þe] kynges countenaunce where he in court were,

    At vch farand fest among his fre meny,

    in halle;

    Þerfore of face so fere.

    He sti3tlez stif in stalle,

    Ful 3ep in þat nw 3ere,

    Much mirthe he mas with alle.


    Thus þer stondes in stale þe stif kyng his-seluen,

    Talkkande bifore þe hy3e table of trifles ful hende

    There gode Gawan watz grayþed, Gwenore bisyde

    & Agrauayn a la dure mayn on þat oþer syde sittes

    Boþe þe kynges sister sunes, & ful siker kni3tes;

    Bischop Bawdewyn abof biginez þe table,

    & Ywan, Vryn son, ette wit hym-seluen;

    Þise were di3t on þe des, & derworþly serued,

    & siþen mony siker segge at þe sidbordez.

    Þen þe first cors come with crakkyng of trumpes,

    Wyth mony baner ful bry3t, þat þer-bi henged,

    Nwe nakryn noyse with þe noble pipes,

    Wylde werbles & wy3t wakned lote,

    Þat mony hert ful hi3e hef at her towches;

    Dayntes dryuen þer-wyth of ful dere metes,

    Foysoun of þe fresche, & on so fele disches,

    Þat pine to fynde þe place þe peple bi-forne

    For to sette þe syluener, þat sere sewes halden,

    on clothe;

    Iche lede as he loued hym-selue

    Þer laght with-outen loþe,

    Ay two had disches twelue,

    Good ber, & bry3t wyn boþe.


    Now wyl I of hor seruise say yow no more,

    For veh wy3e may wel wit no wont þat þer were;

    An oþer noyse ful newe ne3ed biliue,

    Þat þe lude my3t haf leue lif-lode to cach.

    For vneþe watz þe noyce not a whyle sesed,

    & þe fyrst cource in þe court kyndely serued,

    Þer hales in at þe halle dor an aghlich mayster,

    On þe most on þe molde on mesure hyghe;

    Fro þe swyre to þe swange so sware & so þik,

    & his lyndes & his lymes so longe & so grete,

    Half etayn in erde I hope þat he were.

    Bot mon most I algate mynn hym to bene,

    & þat þe myriest in his muckel þat my3t ride;

    For of bak & of brest al were his bodi sturne,

    Bot his wombe & his wast were worthily smale,

    & alle his fetures fol3ande, in forme þat he hade,

    ful clene;

    For wonder of his hwe men hade,

    Set in his semblaunt sene;

    He ferde as freke were fade,

    & oueral enker grene.


    Ande al grayþed in grene þis gome & his wedes,

    A strayt cote ful stre3t, þat stek on his sides,

    A mere mantile abof, mensked with-inne,

    With pelure pured apert þe pane ful clene,

    With blyþe blaunner ful bry3t, & his hod boþe,

    Þat watz la3t fro his lokke3, & layde on his schulderes

    Heme wel haled, hose of þat same grene,

    Þat spenet on his sparlyr, & clene spures vnder,

    Of bry3t golde, vpon silk bordes, barred ful ryche

    & scholes vnder schankes, þere þe schalk rides;

    & alle his vesture uerayly watz clene verdure,

    Boþe þe barres of his belt & oþer blyþe stones,

    Þat were richely rayled in his aray clene,

    Aboutte hymself & his sadel, vpon silk werkez,

    Þat were to tor for to telle of tryfles þe halue,

    Þat were enbrauded abof, wyth bryddes & fly3es,

    With gay gaudi of grene, þe golde ay in myddes;

    Þe pendauntes of his payttrure, þe proude cropure

    His molaynes, & alle þe metail anamayld was þenne

    Þe steropes þat he stod on, stayned of þe same,

    & his arsounz al after, & his aþel sturtes,

    Þat euer glemered1 & glent al of grene stones.

    Þe fole þat he ferkkes on, fyn of þat ilke, sertayn;

    A grene hors gret & þikke,

    A stede ful stif to strayne,

    In brawden brydel quik,

    To þe gome he watz ful gayn.


    Wel gay watz þis gome gered in grene,

    & þe here of his hed of his hors swete;

    Fayre fannand fax vmbe-foldes his schulderes;

    His great beard, like a bush, hung on his breast.

    A much berd as a busk ouer his brest henges,

    Þat wyth his hi3lich here, þat of his hed reches,

    Watz euesed al vmbetorne, abof his elbowes,

    Þat half his armes þer vnder were halched in þe wyse

    Of a kyngez capados, þat closes his swyre.

    The horse’s mane was decked with golden threads.

    Þe mane of þat mayn hors much to hit lyke

    Wel cresped & cemmed wyth knottes ful mony,

    Folden in wyth fildore aboute þe fayre grene,

    Ay a herle of þe here, an oþer of golde;

    Its tail was bound with a green band.

    Þe tayl & his toppyng twynnen of a sute,

    & bounden boþe wyth a bande of a bry3t grene,

    Dubbed wyth ful dere stonez, as þe dok lasted,

    Syþen þrawen wyth a þwong a þwarle knot alofte,

    Þer mony bellez ful bry3t of brende golde rungen.

    Such a fole vpon folde, ne freke þat hym rydes,

    Watz neuer sene in þat sale wyth sy3t er þat tyme,

    with y3e;

    He loked as layt so ly3t,

    So sayd al þat hym sy3e,

    It seemed that no man might endure his dints.

    Hit semed as no mon my3t,

    Vnder his dynttez dry3e.


    Wheþer hade he no helme ne hawb[e]rgh nauþer,

    Ne no pysan, ne no plate þat pented to armes,

    Ne no schafte, ne no schelde, to schwne ne to smyte,

    Bot in his on honde he hade a holyn bobbe,

    Þat is grattest in grene, when greuez ar bare,

    & an ax in his oþer, a hoge & vn-mete,

    A spetos sparþe to expoun in spelle quo-so my3t;

    Þe hede of an eln3erde þe large lenkþe hade,

    Þe grayn al of grene stele & of golde hewen,

    Þe bit burnyst bry3t, with a brod egge,

    As wel schapen to schere as scharp rasores;

    Þe stele of a stif staf þe sturne hit bi-grypte,

    Þat watz wounden wyth yrn to þe wandez ende,

    & al bigrauen with grene, in gracios werkes;

    A lace lapped aboute, þat louked at þe hede,

    & so after þe halme halched ful ofte,

    Wyth tryed tasselez þerto tacched in-noghe,

    On botounz of þe bry3t grene brayden ful ryche.

    Þis haþel heldez hym in, & þe halle entres,

    Driuande to þe he3e dece, dut he no woþe,

    Haylsed he neuer one, bot he3e he ouer loked.

    Þe fyrst word þat he warp, “wher is,” he sayd,

    “Þe gouernour of þis gyng? gladly I wolde

    Se þat segg in sy3t, & with hym self speke raysoun.”

    To kny3tez he kest his y3e,

    & reled hym vp & doun,

    He stemmed & con studie,

    Quo walt þer most renoun.


    Ther watz lokyng on lenþe, þe lude to be-holde,

    For vch mon had meruayle quat hit mene my3t,

    Þat a haþel & a horse my3t such a hwe lach,

    As growe grene as þe gres & grener hit semed,

    Þen grene aumayl on golde lowande bry3ter;

    Al studied þat þer stod, & stalked hym nerre,

    Wyth al þe wonder of þe worlde, what he worch schulde.

    For fele sellyez had þay sen, bot such neuer are,

    For-þi for fantoum & fayry3e þe folk þere hit demed;

    Þerfore to answare watz ar3e mony aþel freke,

    & al stouned at his steuen, & stonstil seten,

    In a swoghe sylence þur3 þe sale riche

    As al were slypped vpon slepe so slaked hor lotez

    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,

    & rekenly hym reuerenced, for rad was he neuer,

    & sayde, “wy3e, welcum iwys to þis place,

    Þe hede of þis ostel Arthour I hat,

    Li3t luflych adoun, & lenge, I þe praye,

    & quat so þy wylle is, we schal wyt after.”

    “Nay, as help me,” quod þe haþel, “he þat on hy3e syttes,

    To wone any quyle in þis won, hit watz not myn ernde;

    Bot for þe los of þe lede is lyft vp so hy3e,

    & þy bur3 & þy burnes best ar holden,

    Stifest vnder stel-gere on stedes to ryde,

    Þe wy3test & þe worþyest of þe worldes kynde,

    Preue for to play wyth in oþer pure laykez;

    & here is kydde cortaysye, as I haf herd carp,

    & þat hatz wayned me hider, Iwyis, at þis tyme.

    3e may be seker bi þis braunch þat I bere here,

    Þat I passe as in pes, & no ply3t seche;

    For had I founded in fere, in fe3tyng wyse,

    I haue a hauberghe at home & a helme boþe,

    A schelde, & a scharp spere, schinande bry3t,

    Ande oþer weppenes to welde, I wene wel als,

    Bot for I wolde no were, my wedez ar softer.

    Bot if þou be so bold as alle burnez tellen,

    Þou wyl grant me godly þe gomen þat I ask,

    bi ry3t.”

    Arthour con onsware,

    & sayd, “sir cortays kny3t,

    If þou craue batayl bare,

    Here faylez þou not to fy3t.”


    “Nay, frayst I no fy3t, in fayth I þe telle,

    Hit arn aboute on þis bench bot berdlez chylder;

    If I were hasped in armes on a he3e stede,

    Here is no mon me to mach, for my3tez so wayke.

    For-þy I craue in þis court a crystmas gomen,

    For hit is 3ol & nwe 3er, & here ar 3ep mony;

    If any so hardy in þis hous holdez hymseluen,

    Be so bolde in his blod, brayn in hys hede,

    Þat dar stifly strike a strok for an oþer,

    I schal gif hym of my gyft þys giserne ryche,

    Þis ax, þat is heué in-nogh, to hondele as hym lykes,

    & I schal bide þe fyrst bur, as bare as I sitte.

    If any freke be so felle to fonde þat I telle,

    Lepe ly3tly me to, & lach þis weppen,

    I quit clayme hit for euer, kepe hit as his auen,

    & I schal stonde hym a strok, stif on þis flet,

    Ellez þou wyl di3t me þe dom to dele hym an oþer,


    & 3et gif hym respite,

    A twelmonyth & a day;—

    Now hy3e, & let se tite

    Dar any her-inne o3t say.”


    If he hem stowned vpon fyrst, stiller were þanne

    Alle þe hered-men in halle, þe hy3 & þe lo3e;

    Þe renk on his rounce hym ruched in his sadel,

    & runisch-ly his rede y3en he reled aboute,

    Bende his bresed bro3ez, blycande grene,

    Wayued his berde for to wayte quo-so wolde ryse.

    When non wolde kepe hym with carp he co3ed ful hy3e,

    Ande rimed hym ful richley, & ry3t hym to speke:

    “What, is þis Arþures hous,” quod þe haþel þenne,

    “Þat al þe rous rennes of, þur3 ryalmes so mony?

    Where is now your sourquydrye & your conquestes,

    Your gry[n]del-layk, & your greme, & your grete wordes?

    Now is þe reuel & þe renoun of þe rounde table

    Ouer-walt wyth a worde of on wy3es speche;

    For al dares for drede, with-oute dynt schewed!”

    Wyth þis he la3es so loude, þat þe lorde greued;

    Þe blod schot for scham in-to his schyre face & lere;

    He wex as wroth as wynde,

    So did alle þat þer were

    Þe kyng as kene bi kynde,

    Þen stod þat stif mon nere.


    Ande sayde, “haþel, by heuen þyn askyng is nys,

    & as þou foly hatz frayst, fynde þe be-houes;

    I know no gome þat is gast of þy grete wordes.

    Gif me now þy geserne, vpon godez halue,

    & I schal bayþen þy bone, þat þou boden habbes.”

    Ly3tly lepez he hym to, & la3t at his honde;

    Þen feersly þat oþer freke vpon fote ly3tis.

    Now hatz Arthure his axe, & þe halme grypez,

    & sturnely sturez hit aboute, þat stryke wyth hit þo3t.

    Þe stif mon hym bifore stod vpon hy3t,

    Herre þen ani in þe hous by þe hede & more;

    Wyth sturne schere þer he stod, he stroked his berde,

    & wyth a countenaunce dry3e he dro3 doun his cote,

    No more mate ne dismayd for hys mayn dintez,

    Þen any burne vpon bench hade bro3t hym to drynk of wyne,

    Gawan, þat sate bi þe quene,

    To þe kyng he can enclyne,

    “I be-seche now with sa3ez sene,

    Þis melly mot be myne.”


    “Wolde 3e, worþilych lorde,” quod Gawan to þe kyng,

    “Bid me bo3e fro þis benche, & stonde by yow þere,

    Þat I wyth-oute vylanye my3t voyde þis table,

    & þat my legge lady lyked not ille,

    I wolde com to your counseyl, bifore your cort ryche.

    For me þink hit not semly, as hit is soþ knawen,

    Þer such an askyng is heuened so hy3e in your sale,

    Þa33e 3our-self be talenttyf to take hit to your-seluen,

    Whil mony so bolde yow aboute vpon bench sytten,

    Þat vnder heuen, I hope, non ha3er er of wylle,

    Ne better bodyes on bent, þer baret is rered;

    I am þe wakkest, I wot, and of wyt feblest,

    & lest lur of my lyf, quo laytes þe soþe,

    Bot for as much as 3e ar myn em, I am only to prayse,

    No bounté bot your blod I in my bodé knowe;

    & syþen þis note is so nys, þat no3t hit yow falles,

    & I haue frayned hit at yow fyrst, foldez hit to me,

    & if I carp not comlyly, let alle þis cort rych, bout blame.”

    Ryche to-geder con roun,

    & syþen þay redden alle same,

    To ryd þe kyng wyth croun, & gif Gawan þe game.


    Þen comaunded þe kyng þe kny3t for to ryse;

    & he ful radly vp ros, & ruchched hym fayre,

    Kneled doun bifore þe kyng, & cachez þat weppen;

    & he luflyly hit hym laft, & lyfte vp his honde,

    & gef hym goddez blessyng, & gladly hym biddes

    Þat his hert & his honde schulde hardi be boþe.

    “Kepe þe cosyn,” quod þe kyng, “þat þou on kyrf sette,

    & if þou redez hym ry3t, redly I trowe,

    Þat þou schal byden þe bur þat he schal bede after.

    Gawan gotz to þe gome, with giserne in honde,

    & he baldly hym bydez, he bayst neuer þe helder

    Þen carppez to sir Gawan þe kny3t in þe grene,

    “Refourme we oure for-wardes, er we fyrre passe.

    Fyrst I eþe þe, haþel, how þat þou hattes,

    Þat þou me telle truly, as I tryst may?”

    “In god fayth,” quod þe goode kny3t, “Gawan I hatte,

    Þat bede þe þis buffet, quatso bi-fallez after,

    & at þis tyme twelmonyth take at þe anoþer,

    Wyth what weppen so1 þou wylt, & wyth no wy3 elle3, on lyue.”

    Þat oþer on-swarez agayn,

    “Sir Gawan, so mot I þryue,

    As I am ferly fayn.

    Þis dint þat þou schal dryue.”


    “Bigog,” quod þe grene kny3t, “sir Gawan, melykes,

    Þat I schal fange at þy fust þat I haf frayst here;

    & þou hatz redily rehersed, bi resoun ful trwe,

    Clanly al þe couenaunt þat I þe kynge asked,

    Saf þat þou schal siker me, segge, bi þi trawþe,

    Þat þou schal seche me þi-self, whereso þou hopes

    I may be funde vpon folde, & foch þe such wages

    As þou deles me to day, bifore þis douþe ryche.”

    “Where schulde I wale þe,” quod Gauan, “where is þy place?

    I wot neuer where þou wonyes, bi hym þat me wro3t,

    Ne I know not þe, kny3t, þy cort, ne þi name.

    Bot teche me truly þer-to, & telle me howe þou hattes,

    & I schal ware alle my wyt to wynne me þeder,

    & þat I swere þe for soþe, & by my seker traweþ.”

    “Þat is in-nogh in nwe 3er, hit nedes no more,”

    Quod þe gome in þe grene to Gawan þe hende,

    “3if I þe telle trwly, quen I þe tape haue,

    & þou me smoþely hatz smyten, smartly I þe teche

    Of my hous, & my home, & myn owen nome,

    Þen may þou frayst my fare, & forwardez holde,

    & if I spende no speche, þenne spedez þou þe better,

    For þou may leng in þy londe, & layt no fyrre, bot slokes;

    Ta now þy grymme tole to þe,

    & let se how þou cnokez.”

    “Gladly sir, for soþe,”

    Quod Gawan; his ax he strokes.


    The grene kny3t vpon grounde grayþely hym dresses,

    A littel lut with þe hede, þe lere he discouerez,

    His longe louelych lokkez he layd ouer his croun.

    Let þe naked nec to þe note schewe.

    Gauan gripped to his ax, & gederes hit on hy3t,

    Þe kay fot on þe folde he be-fore sette,

    Let hit doun ly3tly ly3t on þe naked,

    Þat þe scharp of þe schalk schyndered þe bones,

    & schrank þur3 þe schyire grece, & scade hit in twynne,

    Þat þe bit of þe broun stel bot on þe grounde.

    Þe fayre hede fro þe halce hit [felle] to þe erþe,

    Þat fele hit foyned wyth her fete, þere hit forth roled;

    Þe blod brayd fro þe body, þat blykked on þe grene;

    & nawþer faltered ne fel þe freke neuer þe helder,

    Bot styþly he start forth vpon styf schonkes,

    & ru[n]yschly he ra3t out, þere as renkkez stoden,

    La3t to his lufly hed, & lyft hit vp sone;

    & syþen bo3ez to his blonk, þe brydel he cachchez,

    Steppez in to stel bawe & strydez alofte,

    & his hede by þe here in his honde haldez;

    & as sadly þe segge hym in his sadel sette,

    As non vnhap had hym ayled, þa3 hedlez he we[re], in stedde;

    He brayde his bluk aboute,

    Þat vgly bodi þat bledde,

    Moni on of hym had doute,

    Bi þat his resounz were redde.


    For þe hede in his honde he haldez vp euen,

    To-ward þe derrest on þe dece he dressez þe face,

    & hit lyfte vp þe y3e-lyddez, & loked ful brode,

    & meled þus much with his muthe, as 3e may now here.

    “Loke, Gawan, þou be grayþe to go as þou hettez,

    & layte as lelly til þou me, lude, fynde,

    As þou hatz hette in þis halle, herande þise kny3tes;

    To þe grene chapel þou chose, I charge þe to fotte,

    Such a dunt as þou hat3z dalt disserued þou habbez,

    To be 3ederly 3olden on nw 3eres morn;

    Þe kny3t of þe grene chapel men knowen me mony;

    Forþi me forto fynde if þou fraystez, faylez þou neuer,

    come, or recreant be called.”

    Þer-fore com, oþer recreaunt be calde þe be-houeus.”

    With a runisch rout þe raynez he tornez,

    Halled out at þe hal-dor, his hed in his hande,

    Þat þe fyr of þe flynt fla3e fro fole houes.

    To quat kyth he be-com, knwe non þere,

    Neuermore þen þay wyste fram queþen he watz wonnen; what þenne?

    Þe kyng & Gawen þare,

    At þat grene þay la3e & grenne,

    3et breued watz hit ful bare,

    A meruayl among þo menne.


    Þa3 Arþer þe hende kyng at hert hade wonder,

    He let no semblaunt be sene, bot sayde ful hy3e

    To þe comlych quene, wyth cortays speche,

    “Dere dame, to day demay yow neuer;

    Wel by-commes such craft vpon cristmasse,

    Laykyng of enterludez, to la3e & to syng.

    Among þise, kynde caroles of kny3tez & ladyez;

    Neuer þe lece to my mete I may me wel dres,

    For I haf sen a selly, I may not for-sake.”

    He glent vpon sir Gawen, & gaynly he sayde,

    “Now sir, heng vp þyn ax, þat hatz innogh hewen.”

    & hit watz don abof þe dece, on doser to henge,

    Þer alle men for meruayl my3t on hit loke,

    & bi trwe tytel þerof to telle þe wonder.

    Þenne þay bo3ed to a borde þise burnes to-geder,

    Þe kyng & þe gode kny3t, & kene men hem serued

    Of alle dayntyez double, as derrest my3t falle,

    Wyth alle maner of mete & mynstralcie boþe;

    Wyth wele walt þay þat day, til worþed an ende, in londe.

    Now þenk wel, sir Gawan,

    For woþe þat þou ne wonde,

    Þis auenture forto frayn,

    Þat þou hatz tan on honde.



    This hanselle hatz Arthur of auenturus on fyrst,

    In 3onge 3er, for he 3erned 3elpyng to here,

    Tha3 hym wordez were wane, when þay to sete wenten;

    Now ar þay stoken of sturne werk staf-ful her hond.

    Gawan watz glad to begynne þose gomnez in halle,

    Bot þa3 þe ende be heuy, haf 3e no wonder;

    For þa3 men ben mery in mynde, quen þay han mayn drynk,

    A 3ere 3ernes ful 3erne, & 3eldez neuer lyke,

    Þe forme to þe fynisment foldez ful selden.

    Forþi þis 3ol ouer-3ede, & þe 3ere after,

    & vche sesoun serlepes sued after oþer;

    After crystenmasse com þe crabbed lentoun,

    Þat fraystez flesch wyth þe fysche & fode more symple

    Bot þenne þe weder of þe worlde wyth wynter hit þrepez,

    Colde clengez adoun, cloudez vplyften,

    Schyre schedez þe rayn in schowrez ful warme,

    Fallez vpon fayre flat, flowrez þere schewen,

    Boþe groundez & þe greuez grene ar her wedez,

    Bryddez busken to bylde, & bremlych syngen,

    For solace of þe softe somer þat sues þer after, bi bonk;

    & blossumez bolne to blowe,

    Bi rawez rych & ronk,

    Þen notez noble inno3e,

    Ar herde in wod so wlonk.


    After þe sesoun of somer wyth þe soft wyndez,

    Quen Zeferus syflez hym-self on sedez & erbez,

    Wela wynne is þe wort þat woxes þer-oute.

    When þe donkande dewe dropez of þe leuez,

    To bide a blysful blusch of þe bry3t sunne.

    Bot þen hy3es heruest, & hardenes hym sone.

    Warnez hym for þe wynter to wax ful rype;

    He dryues wyth dro3t þe dust for to ryse.

    Fro þe face of þe folde to fly3e ful hy3e;

    Wroþe wynde of þe welkyn wrastelez with þe sunne,

    Þe leuez lancen fro þe lynde, & ly3ten on þe grounde,

    & al grayes þe gres, þat grene watz ere;

    Þenne al rypez & rotez þat ros vpon fyrst,

    & þus 3irnez þe 3ere in 3isterdayez mony,

    & wynter wynde3 a3ayn, as þe worlde askez no sage.

    Til me3el-mas mone,

    Watz cumen wyth wynter wage;

    Þen þenkkez Gawan ful sone,

    Of his anious uyage


    3et quyl al-hal-day with Arþer he lenges,

    & he made a fare on þat fest, for þe frekez sake,

    With much reuel & ryche of þe rounde table;

    Kny3tez ful cortays & comlych ladies,

    Al for luf of þat lede in longynge þay were,

    Bot neuer-þe-lece ne þe later þay neuened bot merþe,

    Mony ioylez for þat ientyle iapez þer maden.

    For aftter mete, with mournyng he melez to his eme,

    & speke3 of his passage, & pertly he sayde,

    “Now, lege lorde of my lyf, leue I yow ask;

    3e knowe þe cost of þis cace, kepe I no more

    To telle yow tenez þerof neuer bot trifel;

    Bot I am boun to þe bur barely to morne,

    To sech þe gome of þe grene, as god wyl me wysse.”

    Þenne þe best of þe bur3 bo3ed to-geder,

    Aywan, & Errik, & oþer ful mony,

    Sir Doddinaual de Sauage, þe duk of Clarence,

    Launcelot, & Lyonel, & Lucan þe gode,

    Sir Boos, & sir Byduer, big men boþe,

    & mony oþer menskful, with Mador de la Port.

    Alle þis compayny of court com þe kyng nerre,

    For to counseyl þe kny3t, with care at her hert;

    Þere watz much derue doel driuen in þe sale,

    Þat so worthe as Wawan schulde wende on þat ernde,

    To dry3e a delful dynt, & dele no more

    wyth bronde.

    Þe kny3t mad ay god chere,

    & sayde, “quat schuld I wonde,

    Of destines derf & dere,

    What may mon do bot fonde?”


    He dowellez þer al þat day, and dressez on þe morn,

    Askez erly hys armez, & alle were þay bro3t

    Fyrst a tule tapit, ty3t ouer þe flet,

    & miche watz þe gyld gere þat glent þer alofte;

    Þe stif mon steppez þeron, & þe stel hondolez,

    Dubbed in a dublet of a dere tars,

    & syþen a crafty capados, closed aloft,

    Þat wyth a bry3t blaunner was bounden withinne;

    Þenne set þay þe sabatounz vpon þe segge fotez,

    His legez lapped in stel with luflych greuez,

    With polaynez piched þerto, policed ful clene,

    Aboute his knez knaged wyth knotez of golde;

    Queme quyssewes þen, þat coyntlych closed

    His thik þrawen þy3ez with þwonges to tachched;

    & syþen þe brawden bryne of bry3t stel rynge3,

    Vmbe-weued þat wy3, vpon wlonk stuffe;

    & wel bornyst brace vpon his boþe armes,

    With gode cowters & gay, & glouez of plate,

    & alle þe godlych gere þat hym gayn schulde

    Þat tyde;

    Wyth ryche cote armure,

    His gold sporez spend with pryde,

    Gurde wyth a bront ful sure,

    With silk sayn vmbe his syde.


    When he watz hasped in armes, his harnays watz ryche;

    Þe lest lachet ou[þ]er loupe lemed of golde;

    So harnayst as he watZ he herkneZ his masse,

    Offred & honoured at þe he3e auter;

    Syþen he comeZ to þe kyng & to his cort-ferez,

    Lachez lufly his leue at lordez & ladyez;

    & þay hym kyst & conueyed, bikende hym to kryst.

    Bi þat watz Gryngolet grayth, & gurde with a sadel,

    Þat glemed ful gayly with mony golde frenges,

    Ay quere naylet ful nwe for þat note ryched;

    Þe brydel barred aboute, with bry3t golde bounden;

    Þe apparayl of þe payttrure, & of þe proude skyrtez,

    Þe cropore, & þe couertor, acorded wyth þe arsounez;

    & al watz rayled on red ryche golde naylez,

    Þat al glytered & glent as glem of þe sunne.

    Þenne hentes he þe holme, & hastily hit kysses,

    Þat watz stapled stifly, & stoffed wyth-inne:

    Hit watz hy3e on his hede, hasped bihynde,

    Wyth a ly3tli vrysoun ouer þe auentayle,

    Enbrawden & bounden wyth þe best gemmez,

    On brode sylkyn borde, & brydde3 on semez,

    As papiayez paynted pernyng bitwene,

    Tortors & trulofez entayled so þyk,

    As mony burde þer aboute had ben seuen wynter

    in toune;

    Þe cercle watz more o prys,

    Þat vmbe-clypped hys croun,

    Of diamauntez a deuys,

    Þat boþe were bry3t & broun.


    Then þay schewed hym þe schelde, þat was of schyr goulez,

    Wyth þe pentangel de-paynt of pure golde hwez;

    He braydez hit by þe baude-ryk, aboute þe hals kestes,

    Þat bisemed þe segge semlyly fayre.

    & quy þe pentangel apendez to þat prynce noble,

    I am in tent yow to telle, þof tary hyt me schulde;

    Hit is a syngne þat Salamon set sum-quyle,

    In bytoknyng of trawþe, bi tytle þat hit habbez,

    For hit is a figure þat haldez fyue poyntez,

    & vche lyne vmbe-lappe3 & loukez in oþer,

    & ayquere hit is endelez, & Englych hit callen

    Oueral, as I here, þe endeles knot.

    Forþy hit acordez to þis kny3t, & to his cler armez,

    For ay faythful in fyue & sere fyue syþez,

    Gawan watz for gode knawen, & as golde pured,

    Voyded of vche vylany, wyth vertuez ennourned in mote;

    Forþy þe pentangel nwe

    He ber in schelde & cote,

    As tulk of tale most trwe,

    & gentylest kny3t of lote.


    Fyrst he watz funden fautlez in his fyue wyttez,

    & efte fayled neuer þe freke in his fyue fyngres,

    & alle his afyaunce vpon folde watz in þe fyue woundez

    Þat Cryst ka3t on þe croys, as þe crede tellez;

    & quere-so-euer þys mon in melly watz stad,

    His þro þo3t wat3 in þat, þur3 alle oþer þyngez,

    Þat alle his forsnes he fong at þe fyue ioyez,

    Þat þe hende heuen quene had of hir chylde;

    At þis cause þe kny3t comlyche hade

    In þe more half of his schelde hir ymage depaynted,

    Þat quen he blusched þerto, his belde neuer payred.

    Þe fyrst fyue þat I finde þat þe frek vsed,

    Wat3 fraunchyse, & fela3schyp for-be2 al þyng;

    His clannes & his cortaysye croked were neuer,

    & pite, þat passez alle poyntez, þyse pure fyue

    Were harder happed on þat haþel þen on any oþer.

    Now alle þese fyue syþez, forsoþe, were fetled on þis kny3t,

    & vchone halched in oþer, þat non ende hade,

    & fyched vpon fyue poyntez, þat fayld neuer,

    Ne samned neuer in no syde, ne sundred nouþ[er],

    Withouten ende at any noke [a]i quere fynde,

    Whereeuer þe gomen bygan, or glod to an ende.

    Þerfore on his schene schelde schapen watz þe knot,

    Þus alle wyth red golde vpon rede gowlez,

    Þat is þe pure pentaungel wyth þe peple called, with lore.

    Now grayþed is Gawan gay,

    & la3t his launce ry3t þore,

    & gef hem alle goud day,

    He wende for euer more.


    He sperred þe sted with þe spurez, & sprong on his way,

    So stif þat þe ston fyr stroke out þer-after;

    Al þat se3 þat semly syked in hert,

    & sayde soþly al same segges til oþer,

    Carande for þat comly, “bi Kryst, hit is scaþe,

    Þat þou, leude, schal be lost, þat art of lyf noble!

    To fynde hys fere vpon folde, in fayth is not eþe;

    Warloker to haf wro3t had more wyt bene,

    & haf dy3t 3onder dere a duk to haue worþed;

    A lowande leder of ledez in londe hym wel semez,

    & so had better haf ben þen britned to no3t,

    Hadet wyth an aluisch mon, for angardez pryde.

    Who knew euer any kyng such counsel to take,

    As kny3tez in cauelounz on crystmasse gomnez!”

    Wel much watz þe warme water þat waltered of y3en,

    When þat semly syre so3t fro þo wonez þat daye;

    He made non abode,

    Bot wy3tly went hys way,

    Mony wylsum way he rode,

    Þe bok as I herde say.


    Now ridez þis renk þur3 þe ryalme of Logres,

    Sir Gauan on Godez halue, þa3 hym no gomen þo3t;

    Oft, leudlez alone, he lengez on ny3tez,

    Þer he fonde no3t hym byfore þe fare þat he lyked;

    Hade he no fere bot his fole, bi frythez & dounez,

    Ne no gome bot God, bi gate wyth to karp,

    Til þat he ne3ed ful noghe1 in to þe Norþe Walez;

    Alle þe iles of Anglesay on lyft half he haldez,

    & fare3 ouer þe fordez by þe forlondez,

    Ouer at þe Holy-Hede, til he hade eft bonk

    In þe wyldrenesse of Wyrale; wonde þer bot lyte

    Þat auþer God oþer gome wyth goud hert louied.

    & ay he frayned, as he ferde, at frekez þat he met,

    He enquires after the Green Knight of the Green Chapel,704

    If þay hade herde any karp of a kny3t grene,

    In any grounde þer-aboute, of þe grene chapel;2

    & al nykked hym wyth nay, þat neuer in her lyue

    Þay se3e neuer no segge þat watz of suche hwez

    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,

    & þat so foule & so felle, þat fe3t hym by-hode;

    So mony meruayl hi mount þer þe mon fyndez,

    Hit were to tore for to telle of þe tenþe dole.

    Sumwhyle wyth wormez he werrez, & with wolues als,

    Sumwhyle wyth wodwos, þat woned in þe knarrez,

    Boþe wyth bullez & berez, & borez oþerquyle,

    & etaynez, þat hym anelede, of þe he3e felle;

    Nade he ben du3ty & dry3e, & dry3tyn had serued,

    Douteles he hade ben ded, & dreped ful ofte.

    For werre wrathed hym not so much, þat wynter was wors,

    When þe colde cler water fro þe cloudez schadden,

    & fres er hit falle my3t to þe fale erþe;

    Ner slayn wyth þe slete he sleped in his yrnes,

    Mo ny3tez þen innoghe in naked rokkez,

    Þer as claterande fro þe crest þe colde borne rennez,

    & henged he3e ouer his hede in hard ÿsse-ikkles.

    Þus in peryl, & payne, & plytes ful harde,

    Bi contray caryez þis kny3t, tyl kryst-masse euen, al one;

    Þe kny3t wel þat tyde,

    To Mary made his mone.

    Þat ho hym red to ryde,

    & wysse hym to sum wone.


    Bi a mounte on þe morne meryly he rydes,

    Into a forest ful dep, þat ferly watz wylde,

    Hi3e hillez on vche a halue, & holtwodez vnder,

    Of hore okez fill hoge a hundreth togeder;

    Þe hasel & þe ha3þorne were harled al samen,

    With ro3e raged mosse rayled aywhere,

    With mony bryddez vnblyþe vpon bare twyges,

    Þat pitosly þer piped for pyne of þe colde.

    Þe gome vpon Gryngolet glydez hem vnder,

    Þur3 mony misy & myre, mon al hym one,

    Carande for his costes, lest he ne keuer schulde,

    To se þe seruy of þat syre, þat on þat self ny3t

    Of a burde watz borne, oure baret to quelle;

    & þerfore sykyng he sayde, “I be-seche þe, lorde,

    & Mary, þat is myldest moder so dere.

    Of sum herber, þer he3ly I my3t here masse.

    Ande þy matynez to-morne, mekely I ask,

    & þer-to prestly I pray my pater & aue,

    & crede.”

    He rode in his prayere,

    & cryed for his mysdede,

    He sayned hym in syþes sere,

    & sayde “cros Kryst me spede!”


    Nade he sayned hym-self, segge, bot þrye,

    Er he watz war in þe wod of a won in a mote.

    Abof a launde, on a lawe, loken vnder bo3ez,

    Of mony borelych bole, aboute bi þe diches;

    A castel þe comlokest þat euer kny3t a3te,

    Pyched on a prayere, a park al aboute,

    With a pyked palays, pyned ful þik,

    Þat vmbe-te3e mony tre mo þen two myle.

    Þat holde on þat on syde þe haþel auysed,

    As hit schemered & schon þur3 þe schyre okez;

    Þenne hatz he hendly of his helme, & he3ly he þonkez

    Iesus & say[nt] Gilyan, þat gentyle ar boþe,

    Þat cortaysly hade hym kydde, & his cry herkened.

    “Now bone hostel,” coþe þe burne, “I beseche yow 3ette!”

    Þenne gerdez he to Gryngolet with þe gilt helez,

    & he ful chauncely hatz chosen to þe chef gate,

    Þat bro3t bremly þe burne to þe bryge ende,

    in haste;

    Þe bryge watz breme vp-brayde,

    Þe 3atez wer stoken faste,

    Þe wallez were wel arayed,

    Hit dut no wyndez blaste.


    Þe burne bode on bonk, þat on blonk houed,

    Of þe depe double dich þat drof to þe place,

    Þe walle wod in þe water wonderly depe,

    Ande eft a ful huge he3t hit haled vpon lofte,

    Of harde hewen ston vp to þe tablez,

    Enbaned vnder þe abataylment, in þe best lawe;

    & syþen garytez ful gaye gered bitwene,

    Wyth mony luflych loupe, þat louked ful clene;

    A better barbican þat burne blusched vpon neuer;

    & innermore he be-helde þat halle ful hy3e,

    Towre telded bytwene trochet ful þik,

    Fayre fylyolez þat fy3ed, & ferlyly long,

    With coruon coprounes, craftyly sle3e;

    Chalk whyt chymnees þer ches he in-no3e,

    Vpon bastel rouez, þat blenked ful quyte;

    So mony pynakle payntet watz poudred ay quere,

    Among þe castel carnelez, clambred so þik,

    Þat pared out of papure purely hit semed.

    Þe fre freke on þe fole hit fayr inn[o]ghe þo3t,

    If he my3t keuer to com þe cloyster wythinne,

    To herber in þat hostel, whyl halyday lested


    He calde, & sone þer com

    A porter pure plesaunt,

    On þe wal his ernd he nome,

    & haylsed þe kny3t erraunt.


    “Gode sir,” quod Gawan, “woldez þou go myn ernde,

    To þe he3 lorde of þis hous, herber to craue?”

    “3e, Peter,” quod þe porter, “& purely I trowe,

    “You are welcome to dwell here as long as you like,” replied the porter.

    Þat 3e be, wy3e, welcum to won quyle yow lykez.”

    Þen 3ede þat wy3e a3ayn awyþe,

    & folke frely hym wyth, to fonge þe kny3t;

    Þay let doun þe grete dra3t, & derely out 3eden,

    & kneled doun on her knes vpon þe colde erþe,

    To welcum þis ilk wy3, as worþy hom þo3t;

    and the gate is opened wide to receive him.820

    Þay 3olden hym þe brode 3ate, 3arked vp wyde,

    & he hem raysed rekenly, & rod ouer þe brygge;

    Sere seggez hym sesed by sadel, quel2 he ly3t,

    & syþen stabeled his stede stif men in-no3e.

    Kny3tez & swyerez comen doun þenne,

    For to bryng þis burne wyth blys into halle;

    Quen he hef vp his helme, þer hi3ed innoghe

    For to hent hit at his honde, þe hende to seruen,

    His bronde & his blasoun boþe þay token.

    Þen haylsed he ful hendly þo haþelez vch one,

    & mony proud mon þer presed, þat prynce to honour;

    Alle hasped in his he3 wede to halle þay hym wonnen,

    Þer fayre fyre vpon flet fersly brenned.

    Þenne þe lorde of þe lede loutez fro his chambre,

    For to mete wyth menske þe mon on þe flor;

    He sayde, “3e ar welcum to welde as yow lykez,

    Þat here is, al is yowre awen, to haue at yowre wylle

    & welde.”

    “Graunt mercy,” quod Gawayn,

    “Þer Kryst hit yow for-3elde,”

    As frekez þat semed fayn,

    Ayþer oþer in armez con felde.


    Gawayn gly3t on þe gome þat godly hym gret,

    & þu3t hit a bolde burne þat þe bur3 a3te,

    A hoge haþel for þe nonez, & of hyghe elde;

    Brode bry3t watz his berde, & al beuer hwed,

    Sturne stif on þe stryþþe on stalworth schonkez,

    Felle face as þe fyre, & fre of hys speche;

    & wel hym semed for soþe, as þe segge þu3t,

    To lede a lortschyp in lee of leudez ful gode.

    Þe lorde hym charred to a chambre, & chefly cumaundez

    To delyuer hym a leude, hym lo3ly to serue;

    & þere were boun at his bode burnez inno3e,

    Þat bro3t hym to a bry3t boure, þer beddyng wat3 noble,

    Of cortynes of clene sylk, wyth cler golde hemmez,

    & couertorez ful curious, with comlych panez,

    Of bry3t blaunnier a-boue enbrawded bisydez,

    Rudelez rennande on ropez, red golde ryngez,

    Tapytez ty3t to þe wo3e, of tuly & tars,

    & vnder fete, on þe flet, of fol3ande sute.

    Þer he watz dispoyled, wyth spechez of myerþe,

    Þe burn of his bruny, & of his bry3t wedez;

    Ryche robes ful rad renkkez hem bro3ten,

    For to charge, & to chaunge, & chose of þe best.

    Sone as he on hent, & happed þerinne,

    Þat sete on hym semly, wyth saylande skyrtez,

    Þe ver by his uisage verayly hit semed

    Wel ne3 to vche haþel alle on hwes,

    Lowande & lufly, alle his lymmez vnder,

    Þat a comloker kny3t neuer Kryst made,

    hem þo3t;

    Wheþen in worlde he were,

    Hit semed as he my3t

    Be prynce with-outen pere,

    In felde þer felle men fy3t.


    A cheyer by-fore þe chemné, þer charcole brenned,

    Watz grayþed for sir Gawan, grayþely with cloþez,

    Whyssynes vpon queldepoyntes, þa[t] koynt wer boþe;

    & þenne a mere mantyle watz on þat mon cast,

    Of a broun bleeaunt, enbrauded ful ryche,

    & fayre furred wythinne with fellez of þe best,

    Alle of ermyn in erde, his hode of þe same;

    & he sete in þat settel semlych ryche,

    & achaufed hym chefly, & þenne his cher mended.

    Sone watz telded vp a tapit, on trestez ful fayre,

    Clad wyth a clene cloþe, þat cler quyt schewed,

    Sanap, & salure, & syluer-in sponez;

    Þe wy3e wesche at his wylle, & went to his mete

    Seggez hym serued semly in-no3e,

    Wyth sere sewes & sete,2 sesounde of þe best,

    Double felde, as hit fallez, & fele kyn fischez;

    Summe baken in bred, summe brad on þe gledez,

    Summe soþen, summe in sewe, sauered with spyces,

    & ay sawes so sle3e3, þat þe segge lyked.

    Þe freke calde hit a fest ful frely & ofte,

    Ful hendely, quen alle þe haþeles re-hayted hym at onez as hende;

    “Þis penaunce now 3e take,

    & eft hit schal amende;”

    Þat mon much merþe con make.

    For wyn in his hed þat wende.


    Þenne watz spyed & spured vpon spare wyse.

    Bi preue poyntez of þat prynce, put to hymseluen,

    Þat he be-knew cortaysly of þe court þat he were,

    Þat aþel Arthure þe hende haldez hym one,

    Þat is þe ryche ryal kyng of þe rounde table;

    & hit watz Wawen hymself þat in þat won syttez,

    Comen to þat krystmasse, as case hym þen lymped.

    When þe lorde hade lerned þat he þe leude hade,

    Loude la3ed he þerat, so lef hit hym þo3t,

    & alle þe men in þat mote maden much joye,

    To apere in his presense prestly þat tyme,

    Þat alle prys, & prowes, & pured þewes

    Apendes to hys persoun, & praysed is euer,

    By-fore alle men vpon molde, his mensk is þe most.

    Vch segge ful softly sayde to his fere,

    “Now schal we semlych se sle3tez of þewez,

    & þe teccheles termes of talkyng noble,

    Wich spede is in speche, vnspurd may we lerne,

    Syn we haf fonged þat fyne fader of nurture;

    God hatz geuen vus his grace godly for soþe,

    Þat such a gest as Gawan grauntez vus to haue,

    When burnez blyþe of his burþe schal sitte & synge.

    In menyng of manerez mere,

    Þis burne now schal vus bryng,

    I hope þat may hym here,

    Schal lerne of luf-talkyng.”


    Bi þat þe diner watz done, & þe dere vp,

    Hit watz ne3 at þe niy3t ne3ed þe tyme;

    Chaplaynez to þe chapeles chosen þe gate,

    Rungen ful rychely, ry3t as þay schulden,

    To þe hersum euensong of þe hy3e tyde.

    Þe lorde loutes þerto, & þe lady als,

    Into a comly closet coyntly ho entrez;

    Gawan glydez ful gay, & gos þeder sone;

    Þe lorde laches hym by þe lappe, & ledez hym to sytte,

    & couþly hym knowez, & callez hym his nome,

    & sayde he watz þe welcomest wy3e of þe worlde;

    & he hym þonkked þroly, & ayþer halched oþer.

    & seten soberly samen þe seruise quyle;

    Þenne lyst þe lady to loke on þe kny3t.

    Þenne com ho of hir closet, with mony cler burdez,

    Ho watz þe fayrest in felle, of flesche & of lyre,

    & of compas, & colour, & costes of alle oþer,

    & wener þen Wenore, as þe wy3e þo3t.

    He ches þur3 þe chaunsel, to cheryche þat hende;

    An oþer lady hir lad bi þe lyft honde,

    Þat watz alder þen ho, an auncian hit semed,

    & he3ly honowred with haþelez aboute.

    Bot yn-lyke on to loke þo ladyes were,

    For if þe 3onge watz 3ep, 3ol3e watz þat oþer;

    Riche red on þat on rayled ay quere,

    Rugh ronkled chekez þat oþer on rolled;

    Kerchofes of þat on wyth mony cler perlez

    Hir brest & hir bry3t þrote bare displayed,

    Schon schyrer þen snawe, þat schedez on hillez;

    Þat oþer wyth a gorger watz gered ouer þe swyre,

    Chymbled ouer hir blake chyn with mylkquyte vayles,

    Hir frount folden in sylk, enfoubled ay quere,

    Toret & treieted with tryflez aboute,

    Þat no3t watz bare of þat burde bot þe blake bro3es.

    Þe tweyne y3en, & þe nase, þe naked lyppez,

    & þose were soure to se, & sellyly blered;

    A mensk lady on molde mon may hir calle, for gode;

    Hir body watz schort & þik.

    Hir buttokez bay & brode,

    More lykker-wys on to lyk,

    Watz þat scho hade on lode.


    When Gawayn gly3t on þat gay, þat graciously loked,

    Wyth leue la3t of þe lorde he went hem a3aynes;

    Þe alder he haylses, heldande ful lowe,

    Þe loueloker he lappez a lyttel in armez,

    He kysses hir comlyly, & kny3tly he melez;

    Þay kallen hym of a quoyntaunce, & he hit quyk askez

    To be her seruaunt sothly, if hem-self lyked.

    Þay tan hym bytwene hem, wyth talkyng hym leden

    To chambre, to chemné, & chefly þay asken

    Spycez, þat vnsparely men speded hom to bryng,

    & þe wynnelych wyne þerwith vche tyme.

    Þe lorde luflych aloft lepez ful ofte,

    Mynned merthe to be made vpon mony syþez.

    Hent he3ly of his hode, & on a spere henged,

    & wayned hom to wynne þe worchip þerof,

    Þat most myrþe my3t mene þat crystenmas whyle;

    “& i schal fonde, bi my fayth, to fylter wyth þe best,

    Er me wont þe wede3, with help of my frendez.”

    Þus wyth la3ande lotez þe lorde hit tayt makez,

    For to glade sir Gawayn with gomnez in halle þat ny3t;

    Til þat hit watz tyme,

    Þe kyng comaundet ly3t,

    Sir Gawen his leue con nyme,

    & to his bed hym di3t.


    On þe morne, as vch mon mynez þat tyme,

    [Þ]at dry3tyn for oure destyné to de3e watz borne,

    Wele waxez in vche a won in worlde, for his sake;

    So did hit þere on þat day, þur3 dayntes mony;

    Boþe at mes & at mele, messes ful quaynt

    Derf men vpon dece drest of þe best.

    Þe olde auncian wyf he3est ho syttez;

    Þe lorde lufly her by lent, as I trowe;

    Gawan & þe gay burde to-geder þay seten,

    Euen inmyddez, as þe messe metely come;

    & syþen þur3 al þe sale, as hem best semed,

    Bi vche grome at his degre grayþely wat3z serued.

    Þer watz mete, þer watz myrþe, þer watz much ioye,

    Þat for to telle þerof hit me tene were,

    & to poynte hit 3et I pyned me parauenture;

    Bot 3et I wot þat Wawen & þe wale burde

    Such comfort of her compaynye ca3ten togeder,

    Þur3 her dere dalyaunce of her derne wordez,

    Wyth clene cortays carp, closed fro fylþe;

    & hor play watz passande vche prynce gomen,

    in vayres;

    Trumpez & nakerys,

    Much pypyng þer repayres,

    Vche mon tented hys,

    & þay two tented þayres.


    Much dut watz þer dryuen þat day & þat oþer,

    & þe þryd as þro þronge in þerafter;

    Þe ioye of sayn Ionez day watz gentyle to here,

    & watz þe last of þe layk, leudez þer þo3ten.

    Þer wer gestes to go vpon þe gray morne,

    Forþy wonderly þay woke, & þe wyn dronken,

    Daunsed ful dre3ly wyth dere carolez;

    At þe last, when hit wat3 late, þay lachen her leue,

    Vchon to wende on his way, þat watz wy3e stronge.

    Gawan gef hym god day, þe godmon hym lachchez,

    Ledes hym to his awen chambre, þ[e] chymné bysyde,

    & þere he dra3ez hym on dry3e, & derely hym þonkkez,

    Of þe wynne worschip & he hym wayned hade,

    As to honour his hous on þat hy3e tyde,

    & enbelyse his bur3 with his bele chere.

    “Iwysse sir, quyl I leue, me worþez þe better,

    Þat Gawayn hatz ben my gest, at Goddez awen fest.”

    “Grant merci sir,” quod Gawayn, “in god fayth hit is yowrez,

    Al þe honour is your awen, þe he3e kyng yow 3elde;

    & I am wy3e at your wylle, to worch youre hest,

    As I am halden þerto, in hy3e & in lo3e, bi ri3t.”

    Þe lorde fast can hym payne,

    To holde lenger þe kny3t,

    To hym answrez Gawayn,

    Bi non way þat he my3t.


    Then frayned þe freke ful fayre at him-seluen,

    Quat derne dede had hym dryuen, at þat dere tyme,

    So kenly fro þe kyngez kourt to kayre al his one,

    Er þe halidayez holly were halet out of toun?

    “For soþe sir,” quod þe segge, “3e sayn bot þe trawþe

    A he3e ernde & a hasty me hade fro þo wonez,

    For I am sumned my selfe to sech to a place,

    I wot in worlde wheder warde to wende, hit to fynde;

    I nolde, bot if I hit negh my3t on nw3eres morne,

    For alle þe londe in-wyth Logres, so me oure lorde help!

    Forþy, sir, þis enquest I require yow here,

    Þat 3e me telle with trawþe, if euer 3e tale herde

    Of þe grene chapel, quere hit on grounde stondez,

    & of þe kny3t þat hit kepes, of colour of grene?

    Þer watz stabled bi statut a steuen vus by-twene,

    To mete þat mon at þat mere, 3if I my3t last;

    & of þat ilk nw3ere hot neked now wontez,

    & I wolde loke on þat lede, if God me let wolde,

    Gladloker, bi Goddez sun, þen any god welde!

    Forþi, Iwysse, bi 3owre wylle, wende me bihoues,

    Naf I now to busy bot bare þre dayez,

    & me als fayn to falle feye as fayly of myyn ernde.”

    Þenne la3ande quod þe lorde, “now leng þe by-houes,

    For I schal teche yow to þa[t] terme bi þe tymez ende,

    Þe grene chapayle vpon grounde, greue yow no more;

    Bot 3e schal be in yowre bed, burne, at þyn ese,

    Quyle forth dayej, & ferk on pe fyrst of pe 3ere,

    & cum to þat merk at mydmorn, to make quat yow likez in spenne;

    Dowellez whyle new 3eres daye,

    & rys, & raykez þenne,

    Mon schal yow sette in waye,

    Hit is not two myle henne.”


    Þenne watz Gawan ful glad, & gomenly he la3ed,—

    “Now I þonk yow þryuandely þur3 alle oþer þynge,

    Now acheued is my chaunce, I schal at your wylle

    Dowelle, & ellez do quat 3e demen.”

    Þenne sesed hym þe syre, & set hym bysyde,

    Let þe ladiez be fette, to lyke hem þe better;

    Þer watz seme solace by hemself stille;

    Þe lorde let for luf lotez so myry,

    As wy3 þat wolde of his wyte, ne wyst quat he my3t.

    Þenne he carped to þe kny3t, criande loude,

    “3e han demed to do þe dede þat I bidde;

    Wyl 3e halde þis hes here at þys onez?”

    “3e sir, forsoþe,” sayd þe segge trwe,

    “Whyl I byde in yowre bor3e, be bayn to 3ow[r]e hest.”

    “For 3e haf trauayled,” quod þe tulk, “towen fro ferre,

    & syþen waked me wyth, 3e arn not wel waryst,

    Nauþer of sostnaunce ne of slepe, soþly I knowe;

    3e schal lenge in your lofte, & ly3e in your ese,

    To-morn quyle þe messequyle, & to mete wende,

    When 3e wyl, wyth my wyf, þat wyth yow schal sitte,

    & comfort yow with compayny, til I to cort torne,

    3e lende;

    & I schal erly ryse,

    On huntyng wyl I wende.”

    Gauayn grantez alle þyse,

    Hym heldande, as þe hende.


    “3et firre,” quod þe freke, “a forwarde we make;

    Quat-so-euer I wynne in þe wod, hit worþez to yourez,

    & quat chek so 3e acheue, chaunge me þerforne;

    Swete, swap we so, sware with trawþe,

    Queþer, leude, so lymp lere oþer better.”

    “Bi God,” quod Gawayn þe gode, “I grant þertylle,

    & þat yow lyst forto layke, lef hit me þynkes.

    “Who bringez vus þis beuerage, þis bargayn is maked:”

    So sayde þe lorde of þat lede; þay la3ed vchone,

    Þay dronken, & daylyeden, & dalten vnty3tel,

    Þise lordez & ladyez, quyle þat hem lyked;

    & syþen with frenkysch fare & fele fayre lotez

    Þay stoden, & stemed, & stylly speken,

    Kysten ful comlyly, & ka3ten her leue.

    With mony leude ful ly3t, & lemande torches,

    Vche burne to his bed watz bro3t at þe laste,

    ful softe;

    To bed 3et er þay 3ede,

    Recorded couenauntez ofte;

    Þe olde lorde of þat leude,

    Cowþe wel halde layk a-lofte.

    This page titled 1.19: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Bonnie J. Robinson & Laura Getty (University of North Georgia Press) .

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