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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight


SIþEN þe sege and þe assaut watz sesed at Troye,
þe bor3 brittened and brent to bronde3 and askez,
þe tulk þat þe trammes of tresoun þer wro3t
Watz tried for his tricherie, þe trewest on 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 synne.

Ande quen þis Bretayn watz bigged bi þis burn rych,
Bolde bredden þerinne, baret þat lofden,
In mony turned tyme tene þat wro3ten.
Mo ferlyes on þis folde han fallen here oft
þen in any oþer þat I wot, syn þat ilk tyme.
Bot of alle þat here bult, of Bretaygne kynges,
Ay watz Arthur þe hendest, as I haf herde telle.
“folio” n=”91v”


Forþi an aunter in erde I attle to schawe,
þat a selly in si3t summe men hit holden,
And an outtrage awenture of Arthurez wonderez.
If 3e wyl lysten þis laye bot on littel quile,
I schal telle hit as-tit, as I in toun herde,
with tonge,
As hit is stad and stoken
In stori stif and stronge,
With lel letteres loken,
In londe so hatz ben longe.

þis kyng lay at Camylot vpon Krystmasse
With mony luflych lorde, ledez of þe best,
Rekenly of þe Rounde Table alle þo rich breþer,
With rych reuel ory3t and rechles merþes.
þer tournayed tulkes by tymez ful mony,
Justed ful jolile þise gentyle kni3tes,
Syþen kayred to þe court caroles to make.
For þer þe fest watz ilyche ful fiften dayes,
With alle þe mete and þe mirþe þat men couþe avyse;
Such glaum ande gle glorious to here,
Dere dyn vpon day, daunsyng on ny3tes,
Al watz hap vpon he3e in hallez and chambrez
With lordez and ladies, as leuest him þo3t.
With all þe wele of þe worlde þay woned þer samen,
þe most kyd kny3tez vnder Krystes seluen,
And þe louelokkest ladies þat euer lif haden,
And he þe comlokest kyng þat þe court haldes;
For al watz þis fayre folk in her first age,
on sille,
þe hapnest vnder heuen,
Kyng hy3est mon of wylle;
Hit were now gret nye to neuen
So hardy a here on hille.

Wyle Nw 3er watz so 3ep þat hit watz nwe cummen,
þat day doubble on þe dece watz þe douth serued.
Fro þe kyng watz cummen with kny3tes into þe halle,


þe chauntre of þe chapel cheued to an ende,
Loude crye watz þer kest of clerkez and oþer,
“folio” n=”92r”

Nowel nayted onewe, neuened ful ofte;
And syþen riche forth runnen to reche hondeselle,
3e3ed 3eres-3iftes on hi3, 3elde hem bi hond,
Debated busyly aboute þo giftes;
Ladies la3ed ful loude, þo3 þay lost haden,
And he þat wan watz not wrothe, þat may 3e wel trawe.
Alle þis mirþe þay maden to þe mete tyme;
When þay had waschen worþyly þay wenten to sete,
þe best burne ay abof, as hit best semed,
Whene Guenore, ful gay, grayþed in þe myddes,
Dressed on þe dere des, dubbed al aboute,
Smal sendal bisides, a selure hir ouer
Of tryed tolouse, and tars tapites innoghe,
þat were enbrawded and beten wyth þe best gemmes
þat my3t be preued of prys wyth penyes to bye,
in daye.
þe comlokest to discrye
þer glent with y3en gray,
A semloker þat euer he sy3e
Soth mo3t no mon say.

Bot Arthure wolde not ete til al were serued,
He watz so joly of his joyfnes, and sumquat childgered:
His lif liked hym ly3t, he louied þe lasse
Auþer to longe lye or to longe sitte,
So bisied him his 3onge blod and his brayn wylde.
And also an oþer maner meued him eke
þat he þur3 nobelay had nomen, he wolde neuer ete
Vpon such a dere day er hym deuised were
Of sum auenturus þyng an vncouþe tale,
Of sum mayn meruayle, þat he my3t trawe,
Of alderes, of armes, of oþer auenturus,
Oþer sum segg hym biso3t of sum siker kny3t
To joyne wyth hym in iustyng, in joparde 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

“folio” n=”92v”

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

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

Now wyl I of hor seruise say yow no more,
For vch wy3e may wel wit no wont þat þer were.
An oþer noyse ful newe ne3ed biliue,
þat þe lude my3t haf leue liflode to cach;


For vneþe watz þe noyce not a whyle sesed,
And þe fyrst cource in þe court kyndely serued,
þer hales in at þe halle dor an aghlich mayster,
On þe most on þe molde on mesure hyghe;
Fro þe swyre to þe swange so sware and so þik,
And his lyndes and his lymes so longe and so grete,
“folio” n=”93r”

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

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


And his arsounz al after and his aþel skyrtes,
þat euer glemered and glent al of grene stones;
þe fole þat he ferkkes on fyn of þat ilke,
A grene hors gret and þikke,
A stede ful stif to strayne,
In brawden brydel quik —

“folio” n=”93v”

To þe gome he watz ful gayn.

Wel gay watz þis gome gered in grene,
And þe here of his hed of his hors swete.
Fayre fannand fax vmbefoldes his schulderes;
A much berd as a busk ouer his brest henges,
þat wyth his hi3lich here þat of his hed reches
Watz euesed al vmbetorne abof his elbowes,
þat half his armes þer-vnder were halched in þe wyse
Of a kyngez capados þat closes his swyre;
þe mane of þat mayn hors much to hit lyke,
Wel cresped and cemmed, wyth knottes ful mony
Folden in wyth fildore aboute þe fayre grene,
Ay a herle of þe here, an oþer of golde;
þe tayl and his toppyng twynnen of a sute,
And bounden boþe wyth a bande of a bry3t grene,
Dubbed wyth ful dere stonez, as þe dok lasted,
Syþen þrawen wyth a þwong a þwarle knot alofte,
þer mony bellez ful bry3t of brende golde rungen.
Such a fole vpon folde, ne freke þat hym rydes,
Watz neuer sene in þat sale wyth sy3t er þat tyme,
with y3e.
He loked as layt so ly3t,
So sayd al þat hym sy3e;
Hit semed as no mon my3t
Vnder his dynttez dry3e.

Wheþer hade he no helme ne hawbergh nauþer,
Ne no pysan ne no plate þat pented to armes,
Ne no schafte ne no schelde to schwue ne to smyte,
Bot in his on honde he hade a holyn bobbe,


þat is grattest in grene when greuez ar bare,
And an ax in his oþer, a hoge and vnmete,
A spetos sparþe to expoun in spelle, quoso my3t.
þe lenkþe of an eln3erde þe large hede hade,
þe grayn al of grene stele and of golde hewen,
þe bit burnyst bry3t, with a brod egge
As wel schapen to schere as scharp rasores,
þe stele of a stif staf þe sturne hit bi grypte,
“folio” n=”94r”

þat watz wounden wyth yrn to þe wandez ende,
And al bigrauen with grene in gracios werkes;
A lace lapped aboute, þat louked at þe hede,
And so after þe halme halched ful ofte,
Wyth tryed tasselez þerto tacched innoghe
On botounz of þe bry3t grene brayden ful ryche.
þis haþel heldez hym in and þe halle entres,
Driuande to þe he3e dece, dut he no woþe,
Haylsed he neuer one, bot he3e he ouer loked.
þe fyrst word þat he warp, ‘Wher is’, he sayd,
‘þe gouernour of þis gyng? Gladly I wolde
Se þat segg in sy3t, and with hymself speke
To kny3tez he kest his y3e,
And reled hym vp and doun;
He stemmed, and con studie
Quo walt þer most renoun.

Ther watz lokyng on lenþe þe lude to beholde,
For vch mon had meruayle quat hit mene my3t
þat a haþel and a horse my3t such a hwe lach,
As growe grene as þe gres and grener hit semed,
þen grene aumayl on golde glowande bry3ter.
Al studied þat þer stod, and stalked hym nerre
Wyth al þe wonder of þe worlde what he worch schulde.
For fele sellyez had þay sen, bot such neuer are;
Forþi for fantoum and fayry3e þe folk þere hit demed.
þerfore to answare watz ar3e mony aþel freke,
And al stouned at his steuen and stonstil seten
In a swoghe sylence þur3 þe sale riche;


As al were slypped vpon slepe so slaked hor lotez
in hy3e —
I deme hit not al for doute,
Bot sum for cortaysye —
Bot let hym þat al schulde loute
Cast vnto þat wy3e.

þenn Arþour bifore þe hi3 dece þat auenture byholdez,
And rekenly hym reuerenced, for rad was he neuer,
And sayde, ‘Wy3e, welcum iwys to þis place,
“folio” n=”94v”

þe hede of þis ostel Arthour I hat;
Li3t luflych adoun and lenge, I þe praye,
And quat-so þy wylle is we schal wyt after.’
‘Nay, as help me,’ quoþ þe haþel, ‘he þat on hy3e syttes,
To wone any quyle in þis won, hit watz not myn ernde;
Bot for þe los of þe, lede, is lyft vp so hy3e,
And þy bur3 and þy burnes best ar holden,
Stifest vnder stel-gere on stedes to ryde,
þe wy3test and þe worþyest of þe worldes kynde,
Preue for to play wyth in oþer pure laykez,
And here is kydde cortaysye, as I haf herd carp,
And þat hatz wayned me hider, iwyis, at þis tyme.
3e may be seker bi þis braunch þat I bere here
þat I passe as in pes, and no ply3t seche;
For had I founded in fere in fe3tyng wyse,
I haue a hauberghe at home and a helme boþe,
A schelde and a scharp spere, schinande bry3t,
Ande oþer weppenes to welde, I wene wel, als;
Bot for I wolde no were, my wedez ar softer.
Bot if þou be so bold as alle burnez tellen,
þou wyl grant me godly þe gomen þat I ask
bi ry3t.’
Arthour con onsware,
And sayd, ‘Sir cortays kny3t,
If þou craue batayl bare,
Here faylez þou not to fy3t.’

‘Nay, frayst I no fy3t, in fayth I þe telle,
Hit arn aboute on þis bench bot berdlez chylder.
If I were hasped in armes on a he3e stede,


Here is no mon me to mach, for my3tez so wayke.
Forþy I craue in þis court a Crystemas gomen,
For hit is 3ol and Nwe 3er, and here ar 3ep mony:
If any so hardy in þis hous holdez hymseluen,
Be so bolde in his blod, brayn in hys hede,
þat dar stifly strike a strok for an oþer,
I schal gif hym of my gyft þys giserne ryche,
þis ax, þat is heue innogh, to hondele as hym lykes,
“folio” n=”95r”

And I schal bide þe fyrst bur as bare as I sitte.
If any freke be so felle to fonde þat I telle,
Lepe ly3tly me to, and lach þis weppen,
I quit-clayme hit for euer, kepe hit as his auen,
And I schal stonde hym a strok, stif on þis flet,
Ellez þou wyl di3t me þe dom to dele hym an oþer
And 3et gif hym respite,
A twelmonyth and a day;
Now hy3e, and let se tite
Dar any herinne o3t say.’

If he hem stowned vpon fyrst, stiller were þanne
Alle þe heredmen in halle, þe hy3 and þe lo3e.
þe renk on his rounce hym ruched in his sadel,
And runischly his rede y3en he reled aboute,
Bende his bresed bro3ez, blycande grene,
Wayued his berde for to wayte quo-so wolde ryse.
When non wolde kepe hym with carp he co3ed ful hy3e,
Ande rimed hym ful richly, and ry3t hym to speke:
‘What, is þis Arthures hous,’ quoþ þe haþel þenne,
‘þat al þe rous rennes of þur3 ryalmes so mony?
Where is now your sourquydrye and your conquestes,
Your gryndellayk and your greme, and your grete wordes?
Now is þe reuel and þe renoun of þe Rounde Table
Ouerwalt wyth a worde of on wy3es speche,
For al dares for drede withoute dynt schewed!’
Wyth þis he la3es so loude þat þe lorde greued;
þe blod schot for scham into his schyre face
and lere;


He wex as wroth as wynde,
So did alle þat þer were.
þe kyng as kene bi kynde
þen stod þat stif mon nere,

Ande sayde, ‘Haþel, by heuen, þyn askyng is nys,
And as þou foly hatz frayst, fynde þe behoues.
I know no gome þat is gast of þy grete wordes;
Gif me now þy geserne, vpon Godez halue,
And I schal bayþen þy bone þat þou boden habbes.’
“folio” n=”95v”

Ly3tly lepez he hym to, and la3t at his honde.
þen feersly þat oþer freke vpon fote ly3tis.
Now hatz Arthure his axe, and þe halme grypez,
And sturnely sturez hit aboute, þat stryke wyth hit þo3t.
þe stif mon hym bifore stod vpon hy3t,
Herre þen ani in þe hous by þe hede and more.
Wyth sturne schere þer he stod he stroked his berde,
And wyth a countenaunce dry3e he dro3 doun his cote,
No more mate ne dismayd for hys mayn dintez
þen any burne vpon bench hade bro3t hym to drynk
of wyne.
Gawan, þat sate bi þe quene,
To þe kyng he can enclyne:
‘I beseche now with sa3ez sene
þis melly mot be myne.

‘Wolde 3e, worþilych lorde,’ quoþ Wawan to þe kyng,
‘Bid me bo3e fro þis benche, and stonde by yow þere,
þat I wythoute vylanye my3t voyde þis table,
And þat my legge lady lyked not ille,
I wolde com to your counseyl bifore your cort ryche.
For me þink hit not semly, as hit is soþ knawen,
þer such an askyng is heuened so hy3e in your sale,
þa3 3e 3ourself be talenttyf, to take hit to yourseluen,
Whil mony so bolde yow aboute vpon bench sytten,
þat vnder heuen I hope non ha3erer of wylle,
Ne better bodyes on bent þer baret is rered.
I am þe wakkest, I wot, and of wyt feblest,
And lest lur of my lyf, quo laytes þe soþe —


Bot for as much as 3e ar myn em I am only to prayse,
No bounte bot your blod I in my bode knowe;
And syþen þis note is so nys þat no3t hit yow falles,
And I haue frayned hit at yow fyrst, foldez hit to me;
And if I carp not comlyly, let alle þis cort rych
bout blame.’
Ryche togeder con roun,
And syþen þay redden alle same
To ryd þe kyng wyth croun,
And gif Gawan þe game.
“folio” n=”96r”

þen comaunded þe kyng þe kny3t for to ryse;
And he ful radly vpros, and ruchched hym fayre,
Kneled doun bifore þe kyng, and cachez þat weppen;
And he luflyly hit hym laft, and lyfte vp his honde,
And gef hym Goddez blessyng, and gladly hym biddes
þat his hert and his honde schulde hardi be boþe.
‘Kepe þe cosyn,’ quoþ þe kyng, ‘þat þou on kyrf sette,
And if þou 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 honde,
And he baldly hym bydez, he bayst neuer þe helder.
þen carppez to Sir Gawan þe kny3t in þe grene,
‘Refourme we oure forwardes, er we fyrre passe.
Fyrst I eþe þe, haþel, how þat þou hattes
þat þou me telle truly, as I tryst may.’
‘In god fayth,’ quoþ þe goode kny3t, ‘Gawan I hatte,
þat bede þe þis buffet, quat-so bifallez after,
And at þis tyme twelmonyth take at þe an oþer
Wyth what weppen so þou wylt, and wyth no wy3 ellez
on lyue.’
þat oþer onswarez agayn,
‘Sir Gawan, so mot I þryue
As I am ferly fayn
þis dint þat þou schal dryue.

‘Bigog,’ quoþ þe grene kny3t, ‘Sir Gawan, me lykes
þat I schal fange at þy fust þat I haf frayst here.
And þou hatz redily rehersed, bi resoun ful trwe,


Clanly al þe couenaunt þat I þe kynge asked,
Saf þat þou schal siker me, segge, bi þi trawþe,
þat þou schal seche me þiself, where-so þou hopes
I may be funde vpon folde, and foch þe such wages
As þou deles me to-day bifore þis douþe ryche.’
‘Where schulde I wale þe,’ quoþ Gauan, ‘where is þy place?
I wot neuer where þou wonyes, bi hym þat me wro3t,
Ne I know not þe, kny3t, by cort ne þi name.
Bot teche me truly þerto, and telle me how þou hattes,
And I schal ware alle my wyt to wynne me þeder,
“folio” n=”96v”

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

þe grene kny3t vpon grounde grayþely hym dresses,
A littel lut with þe hede, þe lere he discouerez,
His longe louelych lokkez he layd ouer his croun,
Let þe naked nec to þe note schewe.
Gauan gripped to his ax, and gederes hit on hy3t,
þe kay fot on þe folde he before sette,
Let him doun ly3tly ly3t on þe naked,
þat þe scharp of þe schalk schyndered þe bones,
And schrank þur3 þe schyire grece, and schade hit in twynne,
þat þe bit of þe broun stel bot on þe grounde.
þe fayre hede fro þe halce hit to þe erþe,
þat fele hit foyned wyth her fete, þere hit forth roled;
þe blod brayd fro þe body, þat blykked on þe grene;


And nawþer faltered ne fel þe freke neuer þe helder,
Bot styþly he start forth vpon styf schonkes,
And runyschly he ra3t out, þere as renkkez stoden,
La3t to his lufly hed, and lyft hit vp sone;
And syþen bo3ez to his blonk, þe brydel he cachchez,
Steppez into stelbawe and strydez alofte,
And his hede by þe here in his honde haldez;
And as sadly þe segge hym in his sadel sette
As non vnhap had hym ayled, þa3 hedlez he were
in stedde.
He brayde his bulk aboute,

“folio” n=”97r”

þat vgly bodi þat bledde;
Moni on of hym had doute,
Bi þat his resounz were redde.

For þe hede in his honde he haldez vp euen,
Toward þe derrest on þe dece he dressez þe face,
And hit lyfte vp þe y3e-lyddez and loked ful brode,
And meled þus much with his muthe, as 3e may now here:
‘Loke, Gawan, þou be grayþe to go as þou hettez,
And layte as lelly til þou me, lude, fynde,
As þou hatz hette in þis halle, herande þise kny3tes;
To þe grene chapel þou chose, I charge þe, to fotte
Such a dunt as þou hatz dalt — disserued þou habbez
To be 3ederly 3olden on Nw 3eres morn.
þe kny3t of þe grene chapel men knowen me mony;
Forþi me for to fynde if þou fraystez, faylez þou neuer.
þerfore com, oþer recreaunt be calde þe behoues.’
With a runisch rout þe raynez he tornez,
Halled out at þe hal dor, his hed in his hande,
þat þe fyr of þe flynt fla3e fro fole houes.
To quat kyth he becom knwe non þere,
Neuer more þen þay wyste from queþen he watz wonnen.
What þenne?
þe kyng and Gawen þare
At þat grene þay la3e and grenne,
3et breued watz hit ful bare
A meruayl among þo menne.


þa3 Arþer þe hende kyng at hert hade wonder,
He let no semblaunt be sene, bot sayde ful hy3e
To þe comlych quene wyth cortays speche,
‘Dere dame, to-day demay yow neuer;
Wel bycommes such craft vpon Cristmasse,
Laykyng of enterludez, to la3e and to syng,
Among þise kynde caroles of kny3tez and ladyez.
Neuer þe lece to my mete I may me wel dres,
For I haf sen a selly, I may not forsake.’
He glent vpon Sir Gawen, and gaynly he sayde,
‘Now, sir, heng vp þyn ax, þat hatz innogh hewen’;
“folio” n=”97v”

And hit watz don abof þe dece on doser to henge,
þer alle men for meruayl my3t on hit loke,
And bi trwe tytel þerof to telle þe wonder.
þenne þay bo3ed to a borde þise burnes togeder,
þe kyng and þe gode kny3t, and kene men hem serued
Of alle dayntyez double, as derrest my3t falle;
Wyth alle maner of mete and mynstralcie boþe,
Wyth wele walt þday, til worþed an ende
in londe.
Now þenk wel, Sir Gawan,
For woþe þat þou ne wonde
þis auenture for to frayn
þat þou hatz tan on honde.

THIS hanselle hatz Arthur of auenturus on fyrst
In 3onge 3er, for he 3erned 3elpyng to here.
Tha3 hym wordez were wane when þay to sete wenten,
Now ar þay stoken of sturne werk, stafful her hond.
Gawan watz glad to begynne þose gomnez in halle,
Bot þa3 þe ende be heuy haf 3e no wonder;
For þa3 men ben mery in mynde quen þay han mayn drynk,
A 3ere 3ernes ful 3erne, and 3eldez neuer lyke,
þe forme to þe fynisment foldez ful selden.
Forþi þis 3ol ouer3ede, and þe 3ere after,
And vche sesoun serlepes sued after oþer:


After Crystenmasse com þe crabbed lentoun,
þat fraystez flesch wyth þe fysche and fode more symple;
Bot þenne þe weder of þe worlde wyth wynter hit þrepez,
Colde clengez adoun, cloudez vplyften,
Schyre schedez þe rayn in schowrez ful warme,
Fallez vpon fayre flat, flowrez þere schewen,
Boþe groundez and þe greuez grene ar her wedez,
Bryddez busken to bylde, and bremlych syngen
For solace of þe softe somer þat sues þerafter
bi bonk;
And blossumez bolne to blowe
Bi rawez rych and ronk,
þen notez noble inno3e

“folio” n=”98r”

Ar herde in wod so wlonk.

After þe sesoun of somer wyth þe soft wyndez
Quen Zeferus syflez hymself on sedez and erbez,
Wela wynne is þe wort þat waxes þeroute,
When þe donkande dewe dropez of þe leuez,
To bide a blysful blusch of þe bry3t sunne.
Bot þen hy3es heruest, and hardenes hym sone,
Warnez hym for þe wynter to wax ful rype;
He dryues wyth dro3t þe dust for to ryse,
Fro þe face of þe folde to fly3e ful hy3e;
Wroþe wynde of þe welkyn wrastelez with þe sunne,
þe leuez lancen fro þe lynde and ly3ten on þe grounde,
And al grayes þe gres þat grene watz ere;
þenne al rypez and rotez þat ros vpon fyrst,
And þus 3irnez þe 3ere in 3isterdayez mony,
And wynter wyndez a3ayn, as þe worlde askez,
no fage,
Til Me3elmas mone
Wat3 cumen wyth wynter wage;
þen þenkkez Gawan ful sone
Of his anious uyage.

3et quyl Al-hal-day with Arþer he lenges;
And he made a fare on þat fest for þe frekez sake,
With much reuel and ryche of þe Rounde Table.


Kny3tez ful cortays and comlych ladies
Al for luf of þat lede in longynge þay were,
Bot neuer þe lece ne þe later þay neuened bot merþe:
Mony ioylez for þat ientyle iapez þer maden.
For aftter mete with mournyng he melez to his eme,
And spekez of his passage, and pertly he sayde,
‘Now, lege lorde of my lyf, leue I yow ask;
3e knowe þe cost of þis cace, kepe I no more
To telle yow tenez þerof neuer bot trifel;
Bot I am boun to þe bur barely to-morne
To sech þe gome of þe grene, as God wyl me wysse.’
þenne þe best of þe bur3 bo3ed togeder,
Aywan, and Errik, and oþer ful mony,
“folio” n=”98v”

Sir Doddinaual de Sauage, þe duk of Clarence,
Launcelot, and Lyonel, and Lucan þe gode,
Sir Boos, and Sir Byduer, big men boþe,
And mony oþer menskful, with Mador de la Port.
Alle þis compayny of court com þe kyng nerre
For to counseyl þe kny3t, with care at her hert.
þere watz much derue doel driuen in þe sale
þat so worþe as Wawan schulde wende on þat ernde,
To dry3e a delful dynt, and dele no more
wyth bronde.
þe kny3t mad ay god chere,
And sayde, ‘Quat schuld I wonde?
Of destines derf and dere
What may mon do bot fonde?’

He dowellez þer al þat day, and dressez on þe morn,
Askez erly hys armez, and alle were þay bro3t.
Fyrst a tule tapit ty3t ouer þe flet,
And miche watz þe gyld gere þat glent þeralofte;
þe stif mon steppez þeron, and þe stel hondelez,
Dubbed in a dublet of a dere tars,
And syþen a crafty capados, closed aloft,
þat wyth a bry3t blaunner was bounden withinne.
þenne set þay þe sabatounz vpon þe segge fotez,
His legez lapped in stel with luflych greuez,
With polaynez piched þerto, policed ful clene,
Aboute his knez knaged wyth knotez of golde;


Queme quyssewes þen, þat coyntlych closed
His thik þrawen þy3ez, with þwonges to tachched;
And syþen þe brawden bryne of bry3t stel ryngez
Vmbeweued þat wy3 vpon wlonk stuffe,
And wel bornyst brace vpon his boþe armes,
With gode cowters and gay, and glouez of plate,
And alle þe godlych gere þat hym gayn schulde
þat tyde;
Wyth ryche cote-armure,
His gold sporez spend with pryde,
Gurde wyth a bront ful sure
With silk sayn vmbe his syde.
“folio” n=”99r”

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


þe cercle watz more o prys
þat vmbeclypped hys croun,
Of diamauntez a deuys
þat boþe were bry3t and broun.

THEN þay schewed hym þe schelde, þat was of schyr goulez
Wyth þe pentangel depaynt of pure golde hwez.
He braydez hit by þe bauderyk, aboute þe hals kestes,
þat bisemed þe segge semlyly fayre.
And quy þe pentangel apendez to þat prynce noble
I am in tent yow to telle, þof tary hyt me schulde:
Hit is a syngne þat Salamon set sumquyle
In bytoknyng of trawþe, bi tytle þat hit habbez,
“folio” n=”99v”

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

Fyrst he watz funden fautlez in his fyue wyttez,
And efte fayled neuer þe freke in his fyue fyngres,
And alle his afyaunce vpon folde watz in þe fyue woundez
þat Cryst ka3t on þe croys, as þe crede tellez;
And quere-so-euer þys mon in melly watz stad,
His þro þo3t watz in þat, þur3 alle oþer þyngez,
þat alle his forsnes he feng at þe fyue joyez
þat þe hende heuen-quene had of hir chylde;
At þis cause þe kny3t comlyche hade
In þe inore half of his schelde hir ymage depaynted,
þat quen he blusched þerto his belde neuer payred.


þe fyft fyue þat I finde þat þe frek vsed
Watz fraunchyse and fela3schyp forbe al þyng,
His clannes and his cortaysye croked were neuer,
And pite, þat passez alle poyntez, þyse pure fyue
Were harder happed on þat haþel þen on any oþer.
Now alle þese fyue syþez, for soþe, were fetled on þis kny3t,
And vchone halched in oþer, þat non ende hade,
And fyched vpon fyue poyntez, þat fayld neuer,
Ne samned neuer in no syde, ne sundred nouþer,
Withouten ende at any noke I oquere fynde,
Whereeuer þe gomen bygan, or glod to an ende.
þerfore on his schene schelde schapen watz þe knot
Ryally wyth red golde vpon rede gowlez,
“folio” n=”100r”

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

He sperred þe sted with þe spurez and sprong on his way,
So stif þat þe ston-fyr stroke out þerafter.
Al þat se3 þat semly syked in hert,
And sayde soþly al same segges til oþer,
Carande for þat comly: ‘Bi Kryst, hit is scaþe
þat þou, leude, schal be lost, þat art of lyf noble!
To fynde hys fere vpon folde, in fayth, is not eþe.
Warloker to haf wro3t had more wyt bene,
And haf dy3t 3onder dere a duk to haue worþed;
A lowande leder of ledez in londe hym wel semez,
And so had better haf ben þen britned to no3t,
Hadet wyth an aluisch mon, for angardez pryde.
Who knew euer any kyng such counsel to take
As kny3tez in cauelaciounz on Crystmasse gomnez!’
Wel much watz þe warme water þat waltered of y3en,
When þat semly syre so3t fro þo wonez
þad daye.


He made non abode,
Bot wy3tly went hys way;
Mony wylsum way he rode,
þe bok as I herde say.

Now ridez þis renk þur3 þe ryalme of Logres,
Sir Gauan, on Godez halue, þa3 hym no gomen þo3t.
Oft leudlez alone he lengez on ny3tez
þer he fonde no3t hym byfore þe fare þat he lyked.
Hade he no fere bot his fole bi frythez and dounez,
Ne no gome bot God bi gate wyth to karp,
Til þat he ne3ed ful neghe into þe Norþe Walez.
Alle þe iles of Anglesay on lyft half he haldez,
And farez ouer þe fordez by þe forlondez,
Ouer at þe Holy Hede, til he hade eft bonk
In þe wyldrenesse of Wyrale; wonde þer bot lyte
“folio” n=”100v”

þat auþer God oþer gome wyth goud hert louied.
And ay he frayned, as he ferde, at frekez þat he met,
If þay hade herde any karp of a kny3t grene,
In any grounde þeraboute, of þe grene chapel;
And al nykked hym wyth nay, þat neuer in her lyue
þay se3e neuer no segge þat watz of suche hwez
of grene.
þe kny3t tok gates straunge
In mony a bonk vnbene,
His cher ful oft con chaunge
þat chapel er he my3t sene.

Mony klyf he ouerclambe in contrayez straunge,
Fer floten fro his frendez fremedly he rydez.
At vche warþe oþer water þer þe wy3e passed
He fonde a foo hym byfore, bot ferly hit were,
And þat so foule and so felle þat fe3t hym byhode.
So mony meruayl bi mount þer þe mon fyndez,
Hit were to tore for to telle of þe tenþe dole.
Sumwhyle wyth wormez he werrez, and with wolues als,
Sumwhyle wyth wodwos, þat woned in þe knarrez,
Boþe wyth bullez and berez, and borez oþerquyle,
And etaynez, þat hym anelede of þe he3e felle;


Nade he ben du3ty and dry3e, and Dry3tyn had serued,
Douteles he hade ben ded and dreped ful ofte.
For werre wrathed hym not so much þat wynter nas wors,
When þe colde cler water fro þe cloudez schadde,
And fres er hit falle my3t to þe fale erþe;
Ner slayn wyth þe slete he sleped in his yrnes
Mo ny3tez þen innoghe in naked rokkez,
þer as claterande fro þe crest þe colde borne rennez,
And henged he3e ouer his hede in hard iisse-ikkles.
þus in peryl and payne and plytes ful harde
Bi contray cayrez þis kny3t, tyl Krystmasse euen,
al one;
þe kny3t wel þat tyde
To Mary made his mone,
þat ho hym red to ryde

“folio” n=”101r”

And wysse hym to sum wone.

Bi a mounte on þe morne meryly he rydes
Into a forest ful dep, þat ferly watz wylde,
Hi3e hillez on vche a halue, and holtwodez vnder
Of hore okez ful hoge a hundreth togeder;
þe hasel and þe ha3þorne were harled al samen,
With ro3e raged mosse rayled aywhere,
With mony bryddez vnblyþe vpon bare twyges,
þat pitosly þer piped for pyne of þe colde.
þe gome vpon Gryngolet glydez hem vnder,
þur3 mony misy and myre, mon al hym one,
Carande for his costes, lest he ne keuer schulde
To se þe seruyse of þat syre, þat on þat self ny3t
Of a burde watz borne oure baret to quelle;
And þerfore sykyng he sayde, ‘I beseche þe, lorde,
And Mary, þat is myldest moder so dere,
Of sum herber þer he3ly I my3t here masse,
Ande þy matynez to-morne, mekely I ask,
And þerto prestly I pray my pater and aue
and crede.’
He rode in his prayere,
And cryed for his mysdede,


He sayned hym in syþes sere,
And sayde ‘Cros Kryst me spede!’

NADE he sayned hymself, segge, bot þrye,
Er he watz war in þe wod of a won in a mote,
Abof a launde, on a lawe, loken vnder bo3ez
Of mony borelych bole aboute bi þe diches:
A castel þe comlokest þat euer kny3t a3te,
Pyched on a prayere, a park al aboute,
With a pyked palays pyned ful þik,
þat vmbete3e mony tre mo þen two myle.
þat holde on þat on syde þe haþel auysed,
As hit schemered and schon þur3 þe schyre okez;
þenne hatz he hendly of his helme, and he3ly he þonkez
Jesus and sayn Gilyan, þat gentyle ar boþe,
“folio” n=”101v”

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

þe burne bode on blonk, þat on bonk houed
Of þe depe double dich þat drof to þe place;
þe walle wod in þe water wonderly depe,
Ande eft a ful huge he3t hit haled vpon lofte
Of harde hewen ston vp to þe tablez,
Enbaned vnder þe abataylment in þe best lawe;
And syþen garytez ful gaye gered bitwene,
Wyth mony luflych loupe þat louked ful clene:
A better barbican þat burne blusched vpon neuer.
And innermore he behelde þat halle ful hy3e,
Towres telded bytwene, trochet ful þik,
Fayre fylyolez þat fy3ed, and ferlyly long,


With coruon coprounes craftyly sle3e.
Chalkwhyt chymnees þer ches he inno3e
Vpon bastel rouez, þat blenked ful quyte;
So mony pynakle payntet watz poudred ayquere,
Among þe castel carnelez clambred so þik,
þat pared out of papure purely hit semed.
þe fre freke on þe fole hit fayr innoghe þo3t,
If he my3t keuer to com þe cloyster wythinne,
To herber in þat hostel whyl halyday lested,
He calde, and sone þer com
A porter pure plesaunt,
On þe wal his ernd he nome,
And haylsed þe kny3t erraunt.

‘Gode sir,’ quoþ Gawan, ‘woldez þou go myn ernde
To þe he3 lorde of þis hous, herber to craue?’
“folio” n=”102r”

‘3e, Peter,’ quoþ þe porter, ‘and purely I trowee
þat 3e be, wy3e, welcum to won quyle yow lykez.’
þen 3ede þe wy3e 3erne and com a3ayn swyþe,
And folke frely hym wyth, to fonge þe kny3t.
þay let doun þe grete dra3t and derely out 3eden,
And kneled doun on her knes vpon þe colde erþe
To welcum þis ilk wy3 as worþy hom þo3t;
þay 3olden hym þe brode 3ate, 3arked vp wyde,
And he hem raysed rekenly, and rod ouer þe brygge.
Sere seggez hym sesed by sadel, quel he ly3t,
And syþen stabeled his stede stif men inno3e.
Kny3tez and swyerez comen doun þenne
For to bryng þis buurne wyth blys into halle;
Quen he hef vp his helme, þer hi3ed innoghe
For to hent hit at his honde, þe hende to seruen;
His bronde and his blasoun boþe þay token.
þen haylsed he ful hendly þo haþelez vchone,
And mony proud mon þer presed þat prynce to honour.
Alle hasped in his he3 wede to halle þay hym wonnen,
þer fayre fyre vpon flet fersly brenned.
þenne þe lorde of þe lede loutez fro his chambre


For to mete wyth menske þe mon on þe flor;
He sayde, ‘3e ar welcum to welde as yow lykez
þat here is; al is yowre awen, to haue at yowre wylle
and welde.’
‘Graunt mercy,’ quoþ Gawayn,
‘þer Kryst hit yow for3elde.’
As frekez þat semed fayn
Ayþer oþer in armez con felde.

Gawayn gly3t on þe gome þat godly hym gret,
And þu3t hit a bolde burne þat þe bur3 a3te,
A hoge haþel for þe nonez, and of hyghe eldee;
Brode, bry3t, watz his berde, and al beuer-hwed,
Sturne, stif on þe stryþþe on stalworth schonkez,
Felle face as þe fyre, and fre of hys speche;
And wel hym semed, for soþe, as þe segge þu3t,
To lede a lortschyp in lee of leudez ful gode.
“folio” n=”102v”

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


Wheþen in worlde he were,
Hit semed as he mo3t
Be prynce withouten pere
In felde þer felle men fo3t.

A cheyer byfore þe chemne, þer charcole brenned,
Watz grayþed for Sir Gawan grayþely with cloþez,
Whyssynes vpon queldepoyntes þat koynt wer boþe;
And þenne a mere mantyle watz on þat mon cast
Of a broun bleeaunt, enbrauded ful ryche
And fayre furred wythinne with fellez of þe best,
Alle of ermyn in erde, his hode of þe same;
And he sete in þat settel semlych ryche,
And achaufed hym chefly, and þenne his cher mended.
Sone watz telded vp a tabil on trestez ful fayre,
Clad wyth a clene cloþe þat cler quyt schewed,
Sanap, and salure, and syluerin sponez.
“folio” n=”103r”

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

þenne watz spyed and spured vpon spare wyse
Bi preue poyntez of þat prynce, put to hymseluen,
þat he beknew cortaysly of þe court þat he were
þat aþel Arthure þe hende haldez hym one,
þat is þe ryche ryal kyng of þe Rounde Table,
And hit watz Wawen hymself þat in þat won syttez,


Comen to þat Krystmasse, as case hym þen lymped.
When þe lorde hade lerned þat he þe leude hade,
Loude la3ed he þerat, so lef hit hym þo3t,
And alle þe men in þat mote maden much joye
To apere in his presense prestly þat tyme,
þat alle prys and prowes and pured þewes
Apendes to hys persoun, and praysed is euer;
Byfore alle men vpon molde his mensk is þe most.
Vch segge ful softly sayde to his fere:
‘Now schal we semlych se sle3tez of þewez
And þe teccheles termes of talkyng noble,
Wich spede is in speche vnspurd may we lerne,
Syn we haf fonged þat fyne fader of nurture.
God hatz geuen vus his grace godly for soþe,
þat such a gest as Gawan grauntez vus to haue,
When burnez blyþe of his burþe schal sitte
and synge.
In menyng of manerez mere

“folio” n=”103v”

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

Bi þat þe diner watz done and þe dere vp
Hit watz ne3 at þe niy3t ne3ed þe tyme.
Chaplaynez to þe chapeles chosen þe gate,
Rungen ful rychely, ry3t as þay schulden,
To þe hersum euensong of þe hy3e tyde.
þe lorde loutes þerto, and þe lady als,
Into a cumly closet coyntly ho entrez.
Gawan glydez ful gay and gos þeder sone;
þe lorde laches hym by þe lappe and ledez hym to sytte,
And couþly hym knowez and callez hym his nome,
And sayde he watz þe welcomest wy3e of þe worlde;
And he hym þonkked þroly, and ayþer halched oþer,
And seten soberly samen þe seruise quyle.
þenne lyst þe lady to loke on þe kny3t,
þenne com ho of hir closet with mony cler burdez.
Ho watz þe fayrest in felle, of flesche and of lyre,
And of compas and colour and costes, of alle oþer,


And wener þen Wenore, as þe wy3e þo3t.
Ho ches þur3 þe chaunsel to cheryche þat hende.
An oþer lady hir lad bi þe lyft honde,
þat watz alder þen ho, an auncian hit semed,
And he3ly honowred with haþelez aboute.
Bot vnlyke on to loke þo ladyes were,
For if þe 3onge watz 3ep, 3ol3e watz þat oþer;
Riche red on þat on rayled ayquere,
Rugh ronkled chekez þat oþer on rolled;
Kerchofes of þat on, wyth mony cler perlez,
Hir brest and hir bry3t þrote bare displayed,
Schon schyrer þen snawe þat schedez on hillez;
þat oþer wyth a gorger watz gered ouer þe swyre,
Chymbled ouer hir blake chyn with chalkquyte vayles,
Hir frount folden in sylk, enfoubled ayquere,
Toreted and treleted with tryflez aboute,
“folio” n=”104r”

þat no3t watz bare of þat burde bot þe blake bro3es,
þe tweyne y3en and þe nase, þe naked lyppez,
And þose were soure to se and sellyly blered;
A mensk lady on molde mon may hir calle,
for Gode!
Hir body watz schort and þik,
Hir buttokez bal3 and brode,
More lykkerwys on to lyk
Watz þat scho hade on lode.

When Gawayn gly3t on þat gay, þat graciously loked,
Wyth leue la3t of þe lorde he lent hem a3aynes;
þe alder he haylses, heldande ful lowe,
þe loueloker he lappez a lyttel in armez,
He kysses hir comlyly, and kny3tly he melez.
þay kallen hym of aquoyntaunce, and he hit quyk askez
To be her seruaunt sothly, if hemself lyked.
þay tan hym bytwene hem, wyth talkyng hym leden
To chambre, to chemne, and chefly þay asken
Spycez, þat vnsparely men speded hom to bryng,
And þe wynnelych wyne þerwith vche tyme.
þe lorde luflych aloft lepez ful ofte,


Mynned merthe to be made vpon mony syþez,
Hent he3ly of his hode, and on a spere henged,
And wayned hom to wynne þe worchip þerof,
þat most myrþe my3t meue þat Crystenmas whyle —
‘And I schal fonde, bi my fayth, to fylter wyth þe best
Er me wont þe wede, with help of my frendez.’
þus wyth la3ande lotez þe lorde hit tayt makez,
For to glade Sir Gawayn with gomnez in halle
þat ny3t,
Til þat hit watz tyme
þe lord comaundet ly3t;
Sir Gawen his leue con nyme
And to his bed hym di3t.

On þe morne, as vch mon mynez þat tyme
þat Dry3tyn for oure destyne 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:
“folio” n=”104v”

Boþe at mes and at mele messes ful quaynt
Derf men vpon dece drest of þe best.
þe olde auncian wyf he3est ho syttez,
þe lorde lufly her by lent, as I trowe;
Gawan and þe gay burde togeder þay seten,
Euen inmyddez, as þe messe metely come,
And syþen þur3 al þe sale as hem best semed.
Bi vche grome at his degre grayþely watz serued
þer watz mete, þer watz myrþe, þer watz much ioye,
þat for to telle þerof hit me tene were,
And to poynte hit 3et I pyned me parauenture.
Bot 3et I wot þat Wawen and þe wale burde
Such comfort of her compaynye ca3ten togeder
þur3 her dere dalyaunce of her derne wordez,
Wyth clene cortays carp closed fro fylþe,
þat hor play watz passande vche prynce gomen,
in vayres.
Trumpez and nakerys,
Much pypyng þer repayres;
Vche mon tented hys,
And þay two tented þayres.


Much dut watz þer dryuen þat day and þat oþer,
And þe þryd as þro þronge in þerafter;
þe ioye of sayn Jonez day watz gentyle to here,
And watz þe last of þe layk, leudez þer þo3ten.
þer wer gestes to go vpon þe gray morne,
Forþy wonderly þay woke, and þe wyn dronken,
Daunsed ful dre3ly wyth dere carolez.
At þe last, when hit watz late, þay lachen her leue,
Vchon to wende on his way þat watz wy3e stronge.
Gawan gef hym god day, þe godmon hym lachchez,
Ledes hym to his awen chambre, þe chymne bysyde,
And þere he dra3ez hym on dry3e, and derely hym þonkkez
Of þe wynne worschip þat he hym wayued hade,
As to honour his hous on þat hy3e tyde,
And enbelyse his bur3 with his bele chere:
‘Iwysse sir, quyl I leue, me worþez þe better
“folio” n=”105r”

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

Then frayned þe freke ful fayre at himseluen
Quat derue dede had hym dryuen at þat dere tyme
So kenly fro þe kyngez kourt to kayre al his one,
Er þe halidayez holly were halet out of toun.
‘For soþe, sir,’ quoþ þe segge, ‘3e sayn bot þe trawþe,
A he3e ernde and a hasty me hade fro þo wonez,
For I am sumned myselfe to sech to a place,
I ne wot in worlde whederwarde to wende hit to fynde.
I nolde bot if I hit negh my3t on Nw 3eres morne
For alle þe londe inwyth Logres, so me oure lorde help!
Forþy, sir, þis enquest I require yow here,
þat 3e me telle with trawþe if euer 3e tale herde


Of þe grene chapel, quere hit on grounde stondez,
And of þe kny3t þat hit kepes, of colour of grene.
þer watz stabled bi statut a steuen vus bytwene
To mete þat mon at þat mere, 3if I my3t last;
And of þat ilk Nw 3ere bot neked now wontez,
And I wolde loke on þat lede, if God me let wolde,
Gladloker, bi Goddez sun, þen any god welde!
Forþi, iwysse, bi 3owre wylle, wende me bihoues,
Naf I now to busy bot bare þre dayez,
And me als fayn to falle feye as fayly of myyn ernde.’
þenne la3ande quoþ þe lorde, ‘Now leng þe byhoues,
For I schal teche yow to þat terme bi þe tymez ende,
þe grene chapayle vpon grounde greue yow no more;
Bot 3e schal be in yowre bed, burne, at þyn ese,
Quyle forth dayez, and ferk on þe fyrst of þe 3ere,
“folio” n=”105v”

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

þenne watz Gawan ful glad, and gomenly he la3ed:
‘Now I þonk yow þryuandely þur3 alle oþer þynge,
Now acheued is my chaunce, I schal at your wylle
Dowelle, and ellez do quat 3e demen.’
þenne sesed hym þe syre and set hym bysyde,
Let þe ladiez be fette to lyke hem þe better.
þer watz seme solace by hemself stille;
þe lorde let for luf lotez so myry,
As wy3 þat wolde of his wyte, ne wyst quat he my3t.
þenne he carped to þe kny3t, criande loude,
‘3e han demed to do þe dede þat I bidde;
Wyl 3e halde þis hes here at þys onez?’
‘3e, sir, for soþe,’ sayd þe segge trwe,
‘Whyl I byde in yowre bor3e, be bayn to 3owre hest.’
‘For 3e haf trauayled,’ quoþ þe tulk, ‘towen fro ferre,
And syþen waked me wyth, 3e arn not wel waryst
Nauþer of sostnaunce ne of slepe, soþly I knowe;


3e schal lenge in your lofte, and ly3e in your ese
To-morn quyle þe messequyle, and to mete wende
When 3e wyl, wyth my wyf, þat wyth yow schal sitte
And comfort yow with compayny, til I to cort torne;
3e lende,
And I schal erly ryse,
On huntyng wyl I wende.’
Gauayn grantez alle þyse,
Hym heldande, as þe hende.

‘3et firre,’ quoþ þe freke, ‘a forwarde we make:
Quat-so-euer I wynne in þe wod hit worþez to yourez,
And quat chek so 3e acheue chaunge me þerforne.
Swete, swap we so, sware with trawþe,
Queþer, leude, so lymp, lere oþer better.’
‘Bi God,’ quoþ Gawayn þe gode, ‘I grant þertylle,
“folio” n=”106r”

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

Ful erly bifore þe day þe folk vprysen,
Gestes þat go wolde hor gromez þay calden,
And þay busken vp bilyue blonkkez to sadel,


Tyffen her takles, trussen her males,
Richen hem þe rychest, to ryde alle arayde,
Lepen vp ly3tly, lachen her brydeles,
Vche wy3e on his way þer hym wel lyked.
þe leue lorde of þe londe watz not þe last
Arayed for þe rydyng, with renkkez ful mony;
Ete a sop hastyly, when he hade herde masse,
With bugle to bent-felde he buskez bylyue.
By þat any dayly3t lemed vpon erþe
He with his haþeles on hy3e horsses weren.
þenne þise cacheres þat couþe cowpled hor houndez,
Vnclosed þe kenel dore and calde hem þeroute,
Blwe bygly in buglez þre bare mote;
Braches bayed þerfore and breme noyse maked;
And þay chastysed and charred on chasyng þat went,
A hundreth of hunteres, as I haf herde telle,
of þe best.
To trystors vewters 3od,
Couples huntes of kest;

“folio” n=”106v”

þer ros for blastez gode
Gret rurd in þat forest.

At þe fyrst quethe of þe quest quaked þe wylde;
Der drof in þe dale, doted for drede,
Hi3ed to þe hy3e, bot heterly þay were
Restayed with þe stablye, þat stoutly ascryed.
þay let þe herttez haf þe gate, with þe hy3e hedes,
þe breme bukkez also with hor brode paumez;
For þe fre lorde hade defende in fermysoun tyme
þat þer schulde no mon meue to þe male dere.
þe hindez were halden in with hay! and war!
þe does dryuen with gret dyn to þe depe sladez;
þer my3t mon se, as þay slypte, slentyng of arwes —
At vche wende vnder wande wapped a flone —
þat bigly bote on þe broun with ful brode hedez.
What! þay brayen, and bleden, bi bonkkez þay de3en,
And ay rachches in a res radly hem fol3es,
Hunterez wyth hy3e horne hasted hem after
Wyth such a crakkande kry as klyffes haden brusten.


What wylde so atwaped wy3es þat schotten
Watz al toraced and rent at þe resayt,
Bi þay were tened at þe hy3e and taysed to þe wattrez;
þe ledez were so lerned at þe lo3e trysteres,
And þe grehoundez so grete, þat geten hem bylyue
And hem tofylched, as fast as frekez my3t loke,
þe lorde for blys abloy
Ful oft con launce and ly3t,
And drof þat day wyth joy
Thus to þe derk ny3t.

þus laykez þis lorde by lynde-wodez euez,
And Gawayn þe god mon in gay bed lygez,
Lurkkez quyl þe dayly3t lemed on þe wowes,
Vnder couertour ful clere, cortyned aboute;
And as in slomeryng he slode, sle3ly he herde
A littel dyn at his dor, and dernly vpon;
And he heuez vp his hed out of þe cloþes,
“folio” n=”107r”

A corner of þe cortyn he ca3t vp a lyttel,
And waytez warly þiderwarde quat hit be my3t.
Hit watz þe ladi, loflyest to beholde,
þat dro3 þe dor after hir ful dernly and stylle,
And bo3ed towarde þe bed; and þe burne schamed,
And layde hym doun lystyly, and let as he slepte;
And ho stepped stilly and stel to his bedde,
Kest vp þe cortyn and creped withinne,
And set hir ful softly on þe bed-syde,
And lenged þere selly longe to loke quen he wakened.
þe lede lay lurked a ful longe quyle,
Compast in his concience to quat þat cace my3t
Meue oþer amount — to meruayle hym þo3t,
Bot 3et he sayde in hymself, ‘More semly hit were
To aspye wyth my spelle in space quat ho wolde.’
þen he wakenede, and wroth, and to hir warde torned,
And vnlouked his y3e-lyddez, and let as hym wondered,
And sayned hym, as bi his sa3e þe sauer to worthe,
with hande.


Wyth chynne and cheke ful swete,
Boþe quit and red in blande,
Ful lufly con ho lete
Wyth lyppez smal la3ande.

‘God moroun, Sir Gawayn,’ sayde þat gay lady,
‘3e ar a sleper vnsly3e, þat mon may slyde hider;
Now ar 3e tan as-tyt! Bot true vus may schape,
I schal bynde yow in your bedde, þat be 3e trayst’:
Al la3ande þe lady lanced þo bourdez.
‘Goud moroun, gay,’ quoþ Gawayn þe blyþe,
‘Me schal worþe at your wille, and þat me wel lykez,
For I 3elde me 3ederly, and 3e3e after grace,
And þat is þe best, be my dome, for me byhouez nede’:
And þus he bourded a3ayn with mony a blyþe la3ter.
‘Bot wolde 3e, lady louely, þen leue me grante,
And deprece your prysoun, and pray hym to ryse,
I wolde bo3e of þis bed, and busk me better;
I schulde keuer þe more comfort to karp yow wyth.’
“folio” n=”107v”

‘Nay for soþe, beau sir,’ sayd þat swete,
‘3e schal not rise of your bedde, I rych yow better,
I schal happe yow here þat oþer half als,
And syþen karp wyth my kny3t þat I ka3t haue;
For I wene wel, iwysse, Sir Wowen 3e are,
þat alle þe worlde worchipez quere-so 3e ride;
Your honour, your hendelayk is hendely praysed
With lordez, wyth ladyes, with alle þat lyf bere.
And now 3e ar here, iwysse, and we bot oure one;
My lorde and his ledez ar on lenþe faren,
Oþer burnez in her bedde, and my burdez als,
þe dor drawen and dit with a derf haspe;
And syþen I haue in þis hous hym þat al lykez,
I schal ware my whyle wel, quyl hit lastez,
with tale.
3e ar welcum to my cors,
Yowre awen won to wale,
Me behouez of fyne force
Your seruaunt be, and schale.’


‘In god fayth,’ quoþ Gawayn, ‘gayn hit me þynkkez,
þa3 I be not now he þat 3e of speken;
To reche to such reuerence as 3e reherce here
I am wy3e vnworþy, I wot wel myseluen.
Bi God, I were glad, and yow god þo3t,
At sa3e oþer at seruyce þat I sette my3t
To þe plesaunce of your prys — hit were a pure ioye.’
‘In god fayth, Sir Gawayn,’ quoþ þe gay lady,
‘þe prys and þe prowes þat plesez al oþer,
If I hit lakked oþer set at ly3t, hit were littel daynte;
Bot hit ar ladyes inno3e þat leuer wer nowþe
Haf þe, hende, in hor holde, as I þe habbe here,
To daly with derely your daynte wordez,
Keuer hem comfort and colen her carez,
þen much of þe garysoun oþer golde þat þay hauen.
Bot I louue þat ilk lorde þat þe lyfte haldez,
I haf hit holly in my honde þat al desyres,
þur3e grace.’
Scho made hym so gret chere,

“folio” n=”108r”

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

‘Madame,’ quoþ þe myry mon, ‘Mary yow 3elde,
For I haf founden, in god fayth, yowre fraunchis nobele,
And oþer ful much of oþer folk fongen bi hor dedez,
Bot þe daynte þat þay delen, for my disert nys euen,
Hit is þe worchyp of yourself, þat no3t bot wel connez.’
‘Bi Mary,’ quoþ þe menskful, ‘me þynk hit an oþer;
For were I worth al þe wone of wymmen alyue,
And al þe wele of þe worlde were in my honde,
And I schulde chepen and chose to cheue me a lorde,
For þe costes þat I haf knowen vpon þe, kny3t, here,
Of bewte and debonerte and blyþe semblaunt,
And þat I haf er herkkened and halde hit here trwee,
þer schulde no freke vpon folde bifore yow be chosen.’
‘Iwysse, worþy,’ quoþ þe wy3e, ‘3e haf waled wel better,
Bot I am proude of þe prys þat 3e put on me,
And, soberly your seruaunt, my souerayn I holde yow,


And yowre kny3t I becom, and Kryst yow for3elde.’
þus þay meled of muchquat til mydmorn paste,
And ay þe lady let lyk as hym loued mych;
þe freke ferde with defence, and feted ful fayre —
‘þa3 I were burde bry3test’, þe burde in mynde hade.
þe lasse luf in his lode for lur þat he so3t
boute hone,
þe dunte þat schulde hym deue,
And nedez hit most be done.
þe lady þenn spek of leue,
He granted hir ful sone.

þenne ho gef hym god day, and wyth a glent la3ed,
And as ho stod, ho stonyed hym wyth ful stor wordez:
‘Now he þat spedez vche spech þis disport 3elde yow!
Bot þat 3e be Gawan, hit gotz in mynde.’
‘Querfore?’ quoþ þe freke, and freschly he askez,
Ferde lest he hade fayled in fourme of his castes;
Bot þe burde hym blessed, and ‘Bi þis skyl’ sayde:
“folio” n=”108v”

‘So god as Gawayn gaynly is halden,
And cortaysye is closed so clene in hymseluen,
Couth not ly3tly haf lenged so long wyth a lady,
Bot he had craued a cosse, bi his courtaysye,
Bi sum towch of summe tryfle at sum talez ende.’
þen quoþ Wowen: ‘Iwysse, worþe as yow lykez;
I schal kysse at your comaundement, as a kny3t fallez,
And fire, lest he displese yow, so plede hit no more.’
Ho comes nerre with þat, and cachez hym in armez,
Loutez luflych adoun and þe leude kyssez.
þay comly bykennen to Kryst ayþer oþer;
Ho dos hir forth at þe dore withouten dyn more;
And he ryches hym to ryse and rapes hym sone,
Clepes to his chamberlayn, choses his wede,
Bo3ez forth, quen he watz boun, blyþely to masse;
And þenne he meued to hi

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - PEARL POET