Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
sege and þe assaut watz sesed at Troye,
Þe bor3 brittened and brent to bronde3 and askez,
Þe tulk þat þe trammes of tresoun þer wro3t
Watz tried for his tricherie, þe trewest on erþe:
Hit watz Ennias þe athel, and his highe kynde,
Þat siþen depreced prouinces, and patrounes bicome
Welne3e of al þe wele in þe west iles.
Fro riche Romulus to Rome ricchis hym swyþe,
With gret bobbaunce þat bur3e he biges vpon fyrst,
And neuenes hit his aune nome, as hit now hat;
Tirius to Tuskan and teldes bigynnes,
Langaberde in Lumbardie lyftes vp homes,
And fer ouer þe French flod Felix Brutus
On mony bonkkes ful brode Bretayn he settez wyth wynne,
Where werre and wrake and wonder
Bi syþez hatz wont þerinne,
And oft boþe blysse and blunder
Ful skete hatz skyfted
Ande quen þis Bretayn watz bigged bi þis burn rych,
þerinne, baret þat lofden,
In mony turned tyme tene þat wro3ten.
Mo ferlyes on þis folde han fallen here oft
Þen in any oþer þat I
wot, syn þat ilk tyme.
Bot of alle þat here bult, of Bretaygne
Ay watz Arthur þe hendest, as I haf herde telle.
1Forþi an aunter in erde I attle to
Þat a selly in si3t summe men hit holden,
And an outtrage awenture of Arthurez
If 3e wyl lysten þis laye bot on littel quile,
I schal telle hit as-tit, as I in toun
herde, with tonge,
As hit is stad and stoken
In stori stif and
With lel letteres loken,
In londe so hatz ben longe.
Þis kyng lay at Camylot vpon Krystmasse
With mony luflych
lorde, ledez of þe best,
Rekenly of þe Rounde Table alle þo rich
With rych reuel ory3t and rechles merþes.
Þer tournayed tulkes by tymez ful
Justed ful jolilé þise gentyle kni3tes,
Syþen kayred to þe court caroles to make.
For þer þe fest watz ilyche ful fiften
With alle þe mete and þe mirþe þat men couþe avyse;
Such glaum ande gle glorious to here,
Dere dyn vpon day, daunsyng on ny3tes,
Al watz hap vpon he3e in hallez and chambrez
With lordez and ladies, as leuest him þo3t.
With all þe wele of þe worlde þay woned þer
Þe most kyd kny3tez vnder Krystes seluen,
And þe louelokkest ladies þat euer lif
And he þe comlokest kyng þat þe court haldes;
For al watz þis fayre folk in her first age,
Þe hapnest vnder heuen,
Kyng hy3est mon of wylle;
Hit were now gret nye to neuen
So hardy a here on
Wyle Nw 3er watz so 3ep þat hit watz nwe cummen,
Þat day doubble on þe dece watz þe douth
Fro þe kyng watz cummen with kny3tes into þe halle,
Þe chauntré of þe chapel cheued to an
Loude crye watz þer kest of clerkez and oþer,
onewe, neuened ful ofte;
And syþen riche forth runnen to reche
3e3ed 3eres-3iftes on hi3, 3elde hem bi hond,
Debated busyly aboute þo
Ladies la3ed ful loude, þo3 þay lost haden,
And he þat wan watz not
wrothe, þat may 3e wel trawe.
Alle þis mirþe þay maden to þe mete
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
Dressed on þe dere des, dubbed al
Smal sendal bisides, a selure hir ouer
Of tryed tolouse, and tars tapites
Þat were enbrawded and beten wyth þe best gemmes
Þat my3t be preued of prys wyth penyes to bye,
Þe comlokest to discrye
Þer glent with y3en gray,
A semloker þat euer he sy3e
Soth mo3t no mon say.
Bot Arthure wolde not ete til al were
He watz so joly of his joyfnes, and sumquat childgered:
His lif liked hym ly3t, he louied þe lasse
Auþer to longe lye or to longe
So bisied him his 3onge blod and his brayn wylde.
And also an oþer maner meued him eke
Þat he þur3 nobelay had
nomen, he wolde neuer ete
Vpon such a dere day er hym deuised were
Of sum auenturus þyng an vncouþe tale,
Of sum mayn
meruayle, þat he my3t trawe,
Of alderes, of armes, of oþer auenturus,
Oþer sum segg hym biso3t of sum siker kny3t
To joyne wyth hym in
iustyng, in jopardé to lay,
Lede, lif for lyf, leue vchon oþer,
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 meny1
Þerfore of face so fere
He sti3tlez stif in stalle,
Ful 3ep in þat Nw 3ere
Much mirthe he mas
Thus þer stondes in stale þe stif kyng hisseluen,
Talkkande bifore þe hy3e table of trifles ful
There gode Gawan watz grayþed Gwenore bisyde,
And Agrauayn a la dure mayn on þat oþer syde
Boþe þe kynges sistersunes and ful siker kni3tes;
Bischop Bawdewyn abof biginez þe table,
Ywan, Vryn son, ette with hymseluen.
Þise were di3t on þe des and derworþly
And siþen mony siker segge at þe sidbordez.
Þen þe first cors come with crakkyng of
Wyth mony baner ful bry3t þat þerbi henged;
Nwe nakryn noyse with þe noble pipes,
Wylde werbles and wy3t wakned
Þat mony hert ful hi3e hef at her towches.
Dayntés dryuen þerwyth of ful dere metes,
Foysoun of þe
fresche, and on so fele disches
Þat pine to fynde þe place þe peple biforne
For to sette þe sylueren þat sere sewes halden
Iche lede as he loued hymselue
Þer laght withouten
Ay two had disches twelue,
Good ber and bry3t wyn boþe.
Now wyl I of hor seruise say yow no more,
For vch wy3e may wel wit no wont þat þer were.
An oþer noyse ful newe ne3ed
Þat þe lude my3t haf leue liflode to cach;
For vneþe watz þe noyce not a whyle
And þe fyrst cource in þe court kyndely serued,
Þer hales in at þe halle dor an aghlich
On þe most on þe molde on mesure hyghe;
Fro þe swyre to þe swange so sware and so
And his lyndes and his lymes so longe and so grete,
Half etayn in erde I hope þat he were,
Bot mon most I algate mynn hym to
And þat þe myriest in his muckel þat my3t ride;
For of bak and of brest al were his bodi
Both his wombe and his wast were worthily smale,
And alle his fetures fol3ande, in forme þat he hade,
For wonder of his hwe men hade,
Set in his semblaunt
He ferde as freke were fade,
And oueral enker-grene.
Ande al grayþed in grene þis gome and his
A strayte cote ful stre3t, þat stek on his sides,
A meré mantile abof, mensked withinne
With pelure pured apert, þe pane ful clene
With blyþe blaunner ful bry3t, and his hod boþe,
Þat watz la3t fro his lokkez and layde on his schulderes;
Heme wel-haled hose of þat same,
Þat spenet on his sparlyr, and clene spures vnder
Of bry3t golde, vpon silk bordes barred ful ryche,
And scholes vnder schankes þere þe schalk rides;
And alle his vesture uerayly watz clene verdure,
Boþe þe barres of his belt and oþer blyþe stones,
Þat were richely rayled in his aray clene
Aboutte hymself and his sadel, vpon silk werkez.
Þat were to tor for to telle of tryfles þe halue
Þat were enbrauded abof, wyth bryddes and fly3es,
With gay gaudi of grene, þe golde ay inmyddes.
Þe pendauntes of his payttrure, þe proude
molaynes, and alle þe metail anamayld was þenne,
Þe steropes þat he stod on stayned of þe same,
And his arsounz al after and his aþel
Þat euer glemered and glent al of grene stones;
Þe fole þat he ferkkes on fyn of þat
A grene hors gret and þikke,
A stede ful stif to
In brawden brydel quik -- 1
To þe gome he watz ful gayn.
Wel gay watz þis gome gered in
And þe here of his hed of his hors swete.
Fayre fannand fax vmbefoldes his
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
Þat half his armes þer-vnder were halched in þe wyse
Of a kyngez capados þat closes his
Þe mane of þat mayn hors much to hit lyke,
Wel cresped and
cemmed, wyth knottes ful mony
Folden in wyth fildore aboute þe fayre
Ay a herle of þe here, an oþer of golde;
Þe tayl and his toppyng twynnen of a
And bounden boþe wyth a bande of a bry3t grene,
Dubbed wyth ful dere
stonez, as þe dok lasted,
Syþen þrawen wyth a þwong a þwarle knot
Þer mony bellez ful bry3t of brende golde rungen.
Such a fole vpon
folde, ne freke þat hym rydes,
Watz neuer sene in þat sale wyth sy3t er þat
tyme, with y3e.
He loked as layt so ly3t,
So sayd al þat hym sy3e;
Hit semed as no mon my3t
Vnder his dynttez dry3e. Wheþer hade he no helme ne hawbergh
Ne no pysan ne no plate þat pented to armes,
Ne no schafte ne no schelde to schwue ne to
Bot in his on honde he hade a holyn bobbe,
Þat is grattest in grene when greuez ar bare,
And an ax in his
oþer, a hoge and vnmete,
A spetos sparþe to expoun in spelle, quoso my3t.
Þe lenkþe of an eln3erde þe large hede hade,
Þe grayn al of grene stele and of golde
Þe bit burnyst bry3t, with a brod egge
As wel schapen to schere as scharp
Þe stele of a stif staf þe sturne hit bi grypte,
Þat watz wounden wyth yrn to þe wandez
And al bigrauen with grene in gracios werkes;
A lace lapped
aboute, þat louked at þe hede,
And so after þe halme halched ful
Wyth tryed tasselez þerto tacched innoghe
On botounz of þe bry3t grene brayden ful
Þis haþel heldez hym in and þe halle entres,
Driuande to þe he3e
dece, dut he no woþe,
Haylsed he neuer one, bot he3e he ouer loked.
Þe fyrst word þat he warp,
'Wher is', he sayd,
'Þe gouernour of þis gyng? Gladly I wolde
Se þat segg in sy3t, and with hymself speke
To kny3tez he kest his y3e,
And reled hym vp and
He stemmed, and con studie
Quo walt þer most renoun.
Ther watz lokyng on lenþe þe lude to
For vch mon had meruayle quat hit mene my3t
Þat a haþel and a horse my3t such a hwe
As growe grene as þe gres and grener hit semed,
Þen grene aumayl on golde glowande bry3ter.
Al studied þat þer
stod, and stalked hym nerre
Wyth al þe wonder of þe worlde what he worch
For fele sellyez had þay sen, bot such neuer are;
Forþi for fantoum and fayry3e þe folk þere hit
Þerfore to answare watz ar3e mony aþel freke,
And al stouned at his steuen and stonstil seten
In a swoghe sylence þur3 þe sale riche;
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
And 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 and
lenge, I þe praye,
And quat-so þy wylle is we schal wyt after.'
'Nay, as help me,' quoþ þe
haþel, 'he þat on hy3e syttes,
To wone any quyle in þis won, hit watz not myn
Bot for þe los of þe, lede, is lyft vp so hy3e,
And þy bur3 and þy burnes best ar
Stifest vnder stel-gere on stedes to ryde,
Þe wy3test and þe worþyest of þe worldes
Preue for to play wyth in oþer pure laykez,
And here is kydde
cortaysye, as I haf herd carp,
And þat hatz wayned me hider, iwyis, at þis
3e may be seker bi þis braunch þat I bere here
Þat I passe as in
pes, and no ply3t seche;
For had I founded in fere in fe3tyng wyse,
I haue a hauberghe at home and a helme
A schelde and a scharp spere, schinande bry3t,
Ande oþer weppenes to
welde, I wene wel, als;
Bot for I wolde no were, my wedez ar softer.
Bot if þou be so bold as alle burnez
Þou wyl grant me godly þe gomen þat I ask bi ry3t.'
And sayd, 'Sir cortays kny3t,
If þou craue batayl bare,
Here faylez þou not to fy3t.'
'Nay, frayst I no fy3t, in fayth I þe
Hit arn aboute on þis bench bot berdlez chylder.
If I were hasped in armes on a he3e
Here is no mon me to mach, for my3tez so wayke.
Forþy I craue in þis court a Crystemas
For hit is 3ol and Nwe 3er, and here ar 3ep mony:
If any so hardy in þis hous holdez
Be so bolde in his blod, brayn in hys hede,
Þat dar stifly strike a strok for an
I schal gif hym of my gyft þys giserne ryche,
Þis ax, þat is heué
innogh, to hondele as hym lykes,
And I schal bide þe fyrst bur as bare as I
If any freke be so felle to fonde þat I telle,
Lepe ly3tly me to, and lach þis
I quit-clayme hit for euer, kepe hit as his auen,
And I schal stonde hym a
strok, stif on þis flet,
Ellez þou wyl di3t me þe dom to dele hym an oþer
And 3et gif hym respite,
A twelmonyth and a day;
Now hy3e, and let se tite
Dar any herinne o3t say.'
If he hem stowned vpon
fyrst, stiller were þanne
Alle þe heredmen in halle, þe hy3 and þe lo3e.
Þe renk on his rouncé hym ruched in his
And runischly his rede y3en he reled
Bende his bresed bro3ez, blycande grene,
Wayued his berde for to wayte quo-so wolde
When non wolde kepe hym with carp he co3ed ful hy3e,
Ande rimed hym ful richly, and ry3t hym to
'What, is þis Arthures hous,' quoþ þe haþel þenne,
'Þat al þe rous rennes of þur3 ryalmes so
Where is now your sourquydrye and your conquestes,
Your gryndellayk and your
greme, and your grete wordes?
Now is þe reuel and þe renoun of þe Rounde Table
Ouerwalt wyth a worde of on wy3es
For al dares for drede withoute dynt schewed!'
Wyth þis he la3es so loude þat þe lorde
Þe blod schot for scham into his schyre face and lere;
He wex as wroth as
So did alle þat þer were.
Þe kyng as kene bi kynde
Þen stod þat stif mon
Ande sayde, 'Haþel, by heuen, þyn askyng is nys,
And as þou foly hatz
frayst, fynde þe behoues.
I know no gome þat is gast of þy grete
Gif me now þy geserne, vpon Godez halue,
And I schal bayþen þy bone þat þou boden
Ly3tly lepez he hym to, and la3t at his
Þen feersly þat oþer freke vpon fote ly3tis.
Now hatz Arthure his axe, and þe halme
And sturnely sturez hit aboute, þat stryke wyth hit þo3t.
Þe stif mon hym bifore stod vpon hy3t,
Herre þen ani in þe hous by þe hede and more.
Wyth sturne schere þer he stod he stroked his
And wyth a countenaunce dry3e he dro3 doun his cote,
No more mate ne dismayd for hys mayn dintez
Þen any burne vpon bench hade bro3t hym to
Gawan, þat sate bi þe quene,
To þe kyng he can enclyne:
'I beseche now with sa3ez sene
Þis melly mot be
'Wolde 3e, worþilych lorde,' quoþ Wawan to þe kyng,
'Bid me bo3e fro þis
benche, and stonde by yow þere,
Þat I wythoute vylanye my3t voyde þis table,
And þat my legge lady lyked not
I wolde com to your counseyl bifore your cort ryche.
For me þink hit not
semly, as hit is soþ knawen,
Þer such an askyng is heuened so hy3e in your sale,
Þa3 3e 3ourself be
talenttyf, to take hit to yourseluen,
Whil mony so bolde yow aboute vpon bench
Þat vnder heuen I hope non ha3erer of wylle,
Ne better bodyes on bent þer baret is
I am þe wakkest, I wot, and of wyt feblest,
And lest lur of my
lyf, quo laytes þe soþe --
Bot for as much as 3e ar myn em I am only to
No bounté bot your blod I in my bodé knowe;
And syþen þis note is so nys þat no3t hit yow
And I haue frayned hit at yow fyrst, foldez hit to me;
And if I carp not
comlyly, let alle þis cort rych bout blame.'
Ryche togeder con roun,
And syþen þay redden alle same
To ryd þe kyng wyth
And gif Gawan þe game.
Þen comaunded þe kyng þe kny3t for to
And he ful radly vpros, and ruchched hym fayre,
Kneled doun bifore þe
kyng, and cachez þat weppen;
And he luflyly hit hym laft, and lyfte vp his
And gef hym Goddez
blessyng, and gladly hym biddes
Þat his hert and his honde schulde hardi be
'Kepe þe cosyn,' quoþ þe kyng, 'þat þou on kyrf sette,
And if þou rede3 hym ry3t, redly I trowe
Þat þou schal byden þe bur þat he schal bede after.'
Gawan gotz to þe gome with giserne in
And he baldly hym bydez, he bayst neuer þe helder.
Þen carppez to Sir Gawan þe kny3t in þe
'Refourme we oure forwardes, er we fyrre passe.
Fyrst I eþe
þe, haþel, how þat þou hattes
Þat þou me telle truly, as I tryst may.'
fayth,' quoþ þe goode kny3t, 'Gawan I hatte,
Þat bede þe þis buffet,
quat-so bifallez after,
And at þis tyme twelmonyth take at þe an oþer
Wyth what weppen so þou
wylt, and wyth no wy3 ellez on lyue.'
Þat oþer onswarez agayn,
Gawan, so mot I þryue
As I am ferly fayn
Þis dint þat þou schal
'Bigog,' quoþ þe grene kny3t, 'Sir Gawan, me lykes
Þat I schal fange at þy fust þat I haf frayst here.
And þou hatz redily
rehersed, bi resoun ful trwe,
Clanly al þe couenaunt þat I þe kynge asked,
Saf þat þou schal siker me,
segge, bi þi trawþe,
Þat þou schal seche me þiself, where-so þou hopes
I may be funde vpon
folde, and foch þe such wages
As þou deles me to-day bifore þis douþe
'Where schulde I wale þe,' quoþ Gauan, 'where is þy place?
I wot neuer where þou
wonyes, bi hym þat me wro3t,
Ne I know not þe, kny3t, by cort ne þi name.
Bot teche me truly
þerto, and telle me how þou hattes,
And I schal ware alle my wyt to wynne me
And þat I swere þe for
soþe, and by my seker traweþ.'
'Þat is innogh in Nwe 3er, hit nedes no more',
Quoþ þe gome in þe grene to Gawan þe
'3if I þe telle trwly, quen I þe tape haue
And þou me smoþely hatz
smyten, smartly I þe teche
Of my hous and my home and myn owen nome,
Þen may þou frayst my fare and forwardez
And if I spende no speche, þenne spedez þou þe better,
For þou may leng in þy londe and layt no fyrre --
Ta now þy grymme tole to þe,
And let se how þou
'Gladly, sir, for soþe',
Quoþ Gawan; his ax he strokes.
Þe grene kny3t vpon grounde grayþely hym dresses,
A littel lut with þe hede, þe lere he discouerez,
His longe louelych lokkez he layd ouer his croun,
Let þe naked nec to þe note schewe.
Gauan gripped to his ax, and gederes hit on hy3t,
Þe kay fot on þe folde he before sette,
Let him doun ly3tly ly3t on þe naked,
Þat þe scharp of þe schalk schyndered þe bones,
And schrank þur3 þe schyire grece, and schade hit in twynne,
Þat þe bit of þe broun stel bot on þe grounde.
Þe fayre hede fro þe halce hit to þe erþe,
Þat fele hit foyned wyth her fete, þere hit forth roled;
Þe blod brayd fro þe body, þat blykked on þe grene;
And nawþer faltered ne fel þe freke neuer þe helder,
Bot styþly he start forth vpon styf schonkes,
And runyschly he ra3t out, þere as renkkez
La3t to his lufly
hed, and lyft hit vp sone;
And syþen bo3ez to his blonk, þe brydel he
Steppez into stelbawe and strydez alofte,
And his hede by þe here in his honde
And as sadly þe segge hym in his sadel sette
As non vnhap had hym
ayled, þa3 hedlez he were in stedde.
He brayde his bulk aboute,
Þat vgly bodi þat
Moni on of hym had doute,
Bi þat his resounz were redde.