Alliterative Morte Arthure, Part IV
ALLITERATIVE MORTE ARTHURE: FOOTNOTES1 Harmful Scotland with skill he rules as it pleases him
2 From Swynn (an arm of the North Sea near Zeeland) to Sweden, with his sharp sword
3 Created and gave out dukedoms in diverse realms
4 Caerleon; skillfully made
5 Where he might assemble his followers to review when it pleased him
6 Bishops and young knights (bachelers) and noble senior knights (bannerettes)
7 As the bold men at the table were served with bread (the first course)
8 And then (he bowed) again to the man (Arthur) and delivered his message
9 Think it not a trifle, his shield (armorial device) is to be seen hereon
10 August 1; hindrance found
11 Burn Britain the broad (Great Britain) and beat down your knights / And with anger bring you compliantly as a beast where he pleases / And you shall not sleep nor rest under the great heaven, / Though for fear of Rome you run to the earth (like a hunted animal)
12 The king looked on the man with his large eyes, / Which burned very fiercely like coals because of (his) anger
13 It is loyal (our duty) for us to do his pleasure
14 There is a certain man in this hall, and he was sorely grieved / That you dared not look on him once for all Lombardy (as a reward)
15 In appearance; lies; you seem
16 Since; country; holy oil
17 Don't save money on spices, but spend what you please
18 If you guard my honor, man, by my pledged word, / You shall have very great rewards that will profit you forever
19 Now are they nobly lodged and regarded as guests
20 In chambers with chimneys (heat), they change their clothes
22 All with men trained and taught, in very rich clothes, / All of royal blood in a troop, sixty together
23 Flesh fattened in season with noble frumentee (a wheat dish), / Along with wild (game) to choose, and pleasant birds
24 Very many large swans on silver platters, / Pies of Turkey, to be tasted by whomever it pleases
25 Then shoulders of wild boars, with the lean meat sliced, / Barnacle geese and bitterns in pastry-covered dishes
26 Wavy with azure-colored sauce all over, and they appeared to be flaming; / From each slice the flame leaped very high
27 With pastries glazed with egg yolks and many (other) dainties
28 Then Claret and Cretan wine were cunningly made to flow / By conduits that were skillfully made, all of pure silver
29 With great jewels gilded over, glorious of hue
30 So that if any poison should go secretly under them (in the cup), / The bright gold would burst all to pieces with anger, / Or else the poison should lose its power because of the virtue of the precious stones
31 Therefore, without pretending (that you are enjoying it), force yourself all the more
32 Went round very quickly in russet-colored (gold) cups
33 Smiles at him pleasantly with pleasing features
34 sadness because of the ban
35 You take account of no circumstances, nor consider (the matter) any further
36 stately man; Brittany
37 Arrested them unjustly and afterwards held them for ransom
38 At Lamas (August 1) I shall take my leave, to remain freely / In Lorraine or Lombardy, whichever seems preferable to me
39 riders; excellent; siege
40 Unless he (the eagle) is quickly rescued by vigorous knights
42 Before any day's fight (the major battle) begins, to joust with himself (Lucius)
43 Despite the strong (ones) in battle that remain in his troop
44 Within a week from today with one hundred and twenty knights
45 If I can see the Romans, who are considered so powerful, / Arrayed in their riotous groups on a broad field.
46 Ride through all the company, rear guard and the rest, / To make a ready way and paths full spacious
47 He needs be afraid; such
48 When they had confidently discussed (this business), they blew on trumpets afterwards (conclusion of the council)
49 Seize the revenues, in faith, of all those fair realms, / Despite the threat of his power and regardless of his resistance
50 With safe-conduct and credentials; go where you please
51 I shall assign the resting-places for your journey, order them myself
52 stoutly from. Wherever you set down by night you must by necessity remain
53 Lodge yourself under trees, wherever it seems good to you
54 Whether (my order) is now hateful or a hindrance in your mind
55 You shall be speedily beheaded and torn apart by horses, / And then quickly hanged for dogs to gnaw.
56 They dress themselves worthily in precious clothes
57 I summoned him solemnly (to appear in Rome) with his knights looking on
58 Since; born; fearful (afraid)
59 I advise you to prepare yourself therefore and delay no longer
60 A watch-tower shall be raised on Mount Goddard (in the Alps)
61 Equipped with noble bachelors and bannerets (see note to line 68)
62 To Ambyganye and Orcage (Albania?) and Alexandria as well, / To India and to Armenia, where the Euphrates runs
63 Hyrcania; Elam; outer isles
64 From Persia and Pamphilia and Prester John's lands
65 By this time; prepared
66 At the Octave of St. Hillary's day (i.e., a week after January 24) Sir Arthur himself
67 To outrage my enemy, if a chance should appear
68 See that my forests are enclosed (from poachers), on pain of losing my favor, / That no one be allowed to hunt the game except for Guinevere herself, / And even she is to hunt only at the season when the game are fat enough to be hunted, / So that she will take her pleasure at appropriate times
69 earthly prosperity; as well
70 Sheriffs sharply move the common soldiers about, / Give orders (to their men) before the powerful (men) of the Round Table
71 Large ships and small boats then hoist their sails
72 Stoutly on the gunwale they weigh up their anchors
73 Launch the lead on the luff (the bow) to measure the depth of the water
74 And all the stern men of the stream (sailors) struck sail at once
75 Wandering unbecomingly; surging waves
76 Covered with waves of azure, enamelled (colored) very fair; / His shoulders were all covered with scales of pure silver / That clothed the monster with shrinking points (like mail)
77 Then came out of the East, directly against him, / A wild, black bear above in the clouds, / With each paw as big as a post, and palms very huge, / With very perilous claws that seemed all curling; / Hateful and loathly, his hair and the rest, / With legs all bowed, covered with ugly hair / That was churlishly matted, with foaming lips
78 So violently he stamped on it (the earth) to enjoy himself
79 He reared up on his hind legs so rudely that all the earth was shaken
80 Thus he beat down the bear and killed him
81 These dreams so oppress the king aboard the ship / That he nearly bursts for pain on the bed
where he lies
82 Before I must die quickly, interpret my dream for me
83 trumpet calls; boldly
84 And as many infants (baptized babies) of noble children
85 I would give the revenues of all of France for the past fifteen years / To have been even a furlong from that man
86 visor; face guard; plated
87 He puts on the arm straps (braces) of a broad shield and asks for his sword
88 They tie their horses with a good distance between them
89 And afterwards you shall make your offerings, each after the other
90 You crossed yourself unsafely (started out wrong) to go to these mountains; / Six such as you would be too weak to attack him alone, / For, if you see him with sight (of your eyes), you will not have the heart / To cross yourself securely, so huge does he seem
91 He had murdered this mild one by the time that midday (bell) was rung
92 nations he thinks little of
93 For it will be a sorrow without remedy if you offer him anything else
94 spiced wine; Portuguese
95 There that fiend fills himself, to try when you please
96 smoke; went; quickest
97 Those who are roasted on spits in the field and broken with your hands
98 haired; eye-holes
99 Each fold (in the quivering skin of his lips) at once twisted out like the head of a wolf
100 Limbs and loins very loathesome, believe you, truly
101 Right up to; cut; asunder
102 In his death throes the thief squeezes him so fiercely
103 drags; holy body; these
104 He was stronger by far than any I had ever found
105 Quickly strike off his head and put it on a stake thereafter
106 Sir Kay himself brings the club and the coat as well
107 With his battalion spread out by those calm streams
108 Spares; liberty; affrights
109 By foreigners the French tongue is destroyed
110 I shall stop him before much longer if life is granted to me (if I live)
111 These courteous ones wait on a hill by the edge of the wood
112 Palaces (rich tents) proudly pitched, / That had rich walls of silk and purple cloth adorned with precious stones
113 Within a short time I shall not leave him in Paris / So much as a tiny spot; let him test this when he pleases
114 That bears on his shield a heraldic device all of purple, striped with silver
115 With great force, on a brown horse, he offers battle boldly
116 Outjousted at that battle despite his great boasts
117 is filled; pale sea; away
118 astonished; thrusts
119 May I never look on my lord the rest of my life / If we serve him so poorly, we who once pleased him so well
120 die; ground; cut down
121 Even so, he (Sir Gawain) rescued Sir Bois despite all their baleful knights!
122 For, doubtless, if you delay or play any tricks
123 Because of the crowd at the ford they leaped into the water together
124 On the path by the stream they adjust their hauberks
125 They placed the riotous (Roman) knights in the rear guard (as prisoners)
126 God skillfully handles trouble as He pleases. / No one is so harmful that he can escape or slip away from His hands
127 All that concerns temporal life is yours while I live
128 Make ready their battalions, display their banners
129 No attack from ambush is ever defeated
130 See that you pack up your trumpets and trifle no longer
131 Whether we shun (battle) or show (fight), decide as you please
132 I would be boiled alive and cut in quarters
133 Where shrubs were bright under the shining eaves of the forest
134 Of rivets and strong steel and rich gold chain mail
135 Ride on iron-gray steeds at the front rank (of the Romans)
136 Keep what you have taken; it does little harm, / For scorn is internal, use it who will
137 Sir Cador commanded that they be put in wagons and covered with fair cloths
138 When you were placed in a stronghold, you should have endured
139 astonished; destroyed
140 I did my duty today - I put myself at the judgment of lords
141 Commands that his fires be fed so that they flame very high / And (commands them) to pack up securely and march away thereafter
142 Suddenly; each side; troops
143 Sir Kayous, Sir Clegis, and good men of arms / The king decides should keep watch by those shining strands.
144 Six inches above the waist, between the short ribs
145 fulfilled [their] vows
146 Then rushes the steadfast man and grips his bridle
147 Fought with foot-soldiers (brigands) from afar in those lands; / With feathered arrows they very eagerly shoot those men
148 Crossbow bolts skillfully whip through knights
149 whole; hastily; heath;
150 draws; Excalibur
151 All crushed, stamped to death by armored steeds
152 cockatrices (crocodiles)
153 Camels; Arabian horses; elephants
154 Spoil or rot before they could arrive
155 Measured; money; much
156 take care not to deceive
157 While I have power to speak, the Church's possessions shall never be harmed
158 For fear of being dashed asunder by the draw bridge
159 further back
160 Pitched tents of silk and placed (themselves) in siege
161 On Sunday by the time the sun gave out a flood of light
162 (The hay) mown and unstacked, worked over but little, / In rows of cuttings swept down, full of sweet flowers
163 A carbuncle is in the chef (upper third of the shield), changing in colors, / And (he was) an adventurous chief, challenge him who will
164 To that man, steadfast in battle, strongly he stands
165 Near the lower arm plate, veiled with silver
166 We must have a bandage, ere your color changes
167 barbers (surgeons)
168 For he who is wounded with this broad sword shall never cease bleeding!
169 I give you grace and grant you your life, though you have deserved grief
170 confession; prepare
171 If I have the good luck, for my recovery, to serve that noble (Arthur), / I will be quickly cured, I tell thee truly
172 I would rather be stabbed to the heart in private / Than to have an ordinary soldier win such a prize
173 quickly; will be; pieces
174 And some had fallen asleep because of the skillful singing of the creatures
175 Wine casks; broke open
176 those adventuring; To arms!
177 broke; breath
178 If they are not defeated, in faith, it would seem to me a great wonder
179 false of faith; falsehood
180 Meddles; middle guard
181 Devil take you
182 Marquis of Metz; pierces
183 hillside by skill
184 Monasteries and hospitals they hammer to earth
185 Strikes straight; narrow
186 I intend to be lord of that pleasing land!
187 Scout for those hiding so that no harm may befall them
188 Meekly on St. Martin's Day (November 11) to pay homage with his treasures
189 talk; spending; bitterness
190 Sept. 13-14; invade
191 He throws himself quickly on the bed and loosens his belt
192 Beautifully enclosed upon the noble boughs; / There was no moisture that could harm anything
193 expensively; patterned
194 brooches; medallions
195 strange (hostile) to others
196 defeated; hostile
197 Whom you unkindly (as a stranger) left dead in France.
198 Charlemagne; king's
199 An armor neckpiece, a stomach guard, and an excellent belt
200 Pauses at a main road, thinking by himself
201 A man in a full-cut cloak and very roomy clothes
202 With wallet and with pilgrim's mantle and many scallop shells, / Both staff and palm branch,
as if he were a pilgrim
203 I need ask for no credentials; I know you are true
204 Therefore to Great Britain it behooves us to hasten
205 See that in Lombardy no man change his allegiance
206 Sends forth troops and baggage and goes forth thereafter
207 Linked together with great wagon chains
208 Arranged wooden shields on the left (port), painted shields
209 All bareheaded because of business, with beaver-colored locks
210 They are on the rascal's side, I swear by my hand
211 But there was placed in the chef (upper third of shield) a chalk-white maiden
212 They talk in their jargon about what has happened
213 Weather (wind) brings stout ships against planks (of other ships), / So that the bilge and the beam burst apart
214 mast-stays; edgewise; hack
215 Armored knights rush boldly on board, / (Coming) out of small boats on board, (and) were pelted with stones
216 i.e., the captives'
217 By the time the battle was finished the high tide had passed; / Then was the water near the shore such a slush in very large pools / That the king could not land in the low water. / Therefore, he remained on the deep water for fear of losing his horses
218 exhausted with fighting
219 Each man may be warned by vengeance wreaked on another
220 Until he could get away by stealth and come to speak to her
221 not whole (i.e., dead)
222 Nor was there anything that sank him so sad as that sight alone
223 Get knights who hold your castles from their countries
224 Christians; crossed themselves
225 Why did the Lord not destine (me to die) at His dear will
226 Passant (shown from the side, walking) on a purple background of very rich jewels
227 (i.e., the sword Clarent); dainty
228 lifeblood left
229 Let us go to Glastonbury, nothing else avails
230"Into Your hands"
ALLITERATIVE MORTE ARTHURE: NOTESThe following abbreviations are used in these notes to indicate editorial attribution:
Ba: Mary Macleod Banks, ed. An Alliterative Poem of the Fourteenth Century. London, New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1900.
Be: Larry D. Benson, ed. King Arthur's Death. Indianapolis and New York: Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1974.
Bj: Erik Bjorkman, ed. Morte Arthure. Alt- und mittelenglische Texte, 9. Heidelberg and New York: Carl Winters, 1915.
Br: Edmund Brock, ed. Morte Arthure or The Death of Arthur. EETS o.s. 8. London, New York, Toronto: Oxford University Press, New Edition, 1871; reprinted 1961.
F: the present editor
GV: E. V. Gordon and Eugene Vinaver. "New Light on the Text of the Alliterative Morte Arthure." Medium Aevum 6 (1937), 81-98.
H: Mary Hamel, ed. Morte Arthure: A Critical Edition. Garland Medieval Texts, 9. New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1984.
K: Valerie Krishna, ed. The Alliterative Morte Arthure. New York: Burt Franklin and Company, Inc., 1976.
OED: Oxford English Dictionary
OL: J. L. N. O'Loughlin. "The Middle English Alliterative Morte Arthure." Medium Aevum 4 (1935), 153-168.
1 Himselven. On the prominence of reflexive formulas in the poem (himselven, him likes, etc.) as indicators of the will and willfulness, see Peck, pp. 158 ff.
29 Uter. Uther Pendragon, Arthur's father.
32 Scotland and England were often at war in the fourteenth century, hence scathel ("harmful") Scotland.
37 Grace. The MS reading. Most editors emend to Grece (Greece) but Grace (Grasse) makes more geographical sense. Grasse is a small city in southern France, north of Cannes, which was an episcopal see from 1244 to 1790. K retains Grace.
41 Vienne. Ackerman suggests Vienna, though K thinks, rather, that it must refer to a town north of Valence or a district in Poitier.
42 Overgne (Ba, Be, K, H). I.e., Auvergne. MS: Eruge.
47 I.e., the whole extent of Denmark.
61 Caerlion. One of Arthur's principal cities where, according to the chronicles, he often spent Pentecost. K suggests that the reference to the city's "curious walles" may derive from Giraldus' description of the city: "[Caerleon] was of undoubted antiquity, and handsomely built of masonry, with courses of bricks, by the Romans. Many vestiges of its former splendour may yet be seen; immense palaces . . . a tower of prodigious size, remarkable hot baths, relics of temples, and theatres, all enclosed within fine walls, parts of which remain standing. You will find on all sides, both within and without the circuit of the walls, subterraneous buildings, aqueducts, underground passages; and what I think worthy of notice, stoves contrived with wonderful art, to transmit the heat insensibly through narrow tubes passing up the side walls" (p. 164).
64 Carlisle. Here, Arthur's new city, located on the Scottish border; another favorite site for Arthur's festivities, according to Froissant. The Middle English romance Sir Gawain and the Carl of Carlisle suggests the city's foundation at a place where courtesy turned monstrosity to civility.
66 douspeeres. Originally Charlemagne's twelve peers, but here simply "high noblemen."
68 A bannerette was a senior knight entitled to bear his own banner; a bacheler ranked somewhat lower and was either a newly made knight or a young man about to be knighted.
77 West Marches. The territories bordering Wales.
79 The bread is the first course (since the other food was heaped upon it), and the first course is the traditional time for the arrival of a messenger. Compare Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, lines 116-132.
86 Lucius Iberius: "The Emperor Lucius was apparently invented by Geoffrey of Monmouth [History of the Kings of Britain], who calls him Lucius Tiberius. . . . The attempt at a reconquest of Britain by the Romans in the sixth century also derives from Geoffrey" (K, p. 165).
92 Lamass Day: a harvest festival formerly celebrated on August 1.
95 Prime was "the first hour of the day, beginning at six-o'clock throughout the year or at the varying times of sunrise" (OED).
105 The Romans held title to Britain on the basis of Caesar's conquest, as recorded in chronicles based ultimately on Book V of Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain.
108 route. "Ambigious: either 'snore' (OE hrutan), an expression of Lucius's angry contempt, or more neutrally 'go, travel' (OF router), a contrast rather than a parallel to ryste (rest)" (H, p. 257).
134 There is (Br, Be, K). MS: thare.
142 crowned was (Bj, Be, K). MS: corounde.
168 Chambers with chimneys are heated rooms, a luxury at this time. See note to line 61.
176ff. The elaborate feast that follows might actually have been served at a royal household of the late fourteenth century. Menus for royal feasts are printed in Two Fifteenth-Century Cooking Books, ed. Austin, EETS o.s. 91 (London, 1888; reprinted 1964). See H's extensive notes on the dishes and feast practices of the later fourteenth century (pp. 259-63).
178 togges (OL, Be). MS: togers. H reads toges; Br and K follow MS.
186 whom. MS: whame. Bj, Be, and H emend to when or whan, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS sense.
200 Crete. The poet regularly identifies wines by their place of origin. The universality of Arthur's wine cellar is impressive.
213 The virtues (powers) of precious stones were commonplace in the Middle Ages. See English Medieval Lapidaries, eds. Evans and Serjeantson, EETS o.s. 190 (London, 1932; reprinted 1960).
233 Waynor and Gaynor for Guinevere are used interchangeably as are Gawain and Wawain for Gawain.
234 Sir Owglitreth. Sir Owghtreth of Turry is evidently one of Arthur's vassals. Turry perhaps is Turin, Italy. J. L. N. O'Loughlin, "The Middle English Alliterative Morte Arthure,"Medium Aevum 4 (1935), 159, suggests that he is one of Lucius' ambassadors, who out of courtesy is assigned with Gawain to accompany the Queen.
245 Giauntes Towr. Since giants occupied Britain before the arrival of Brutus, this tower is, presumably, a "prehistoric" edifice.
256 deffuse. Be and H emend to disuse, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
277 In Book III of Geoffrey's History we are told that, long before Caesar came to Britain, Belinus and Brennius conquered and ravaged Rome. This is, of course, not historical.
"Baldwin the Third is unknown; perhaps he was invented for the sake of alliteration" (K, p. 169).
282 According to Geoffrey (Book V, chapter 6) Constantine was the son of a Roman Senator and a British Princess, and he succeeded to the kingship of Britain. Then he overthrew the Emperor Maxentius and became Emperor. According to legend, his mother, Helen, discovered the True Cross. Arthur claims kinship with Constantine because of his supposed British mother. Constantine actually did proclaim himself Caesar while in York, but he was never king of Britain and not of British descent.
288 King Aungers. Robert W. Ackerman, An Index of Arthurian Names in Middle English (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1952), p. 20, identifies King Aungers as Geoffrey of Monmouth's Auguselus, a king of Scotland, son of Bryadens, grandson of Igerne, and brother of Lot and Urien. He was, like Lot, an enemy of Arthur who later became an ally.
297 The vernacle (the relic of Veronica) is the handkerchief with which St. Veronica wiped the face of Christ on His way to the Crucifixion. Miraculously, the image of His face was preserved on the handkerchief, which still survives. The cult of Veronica was especially strong in the fourteenth century. Pope John XXII granted an indulgence of ten thousand days for a prayer to the Veronica, and its legend had an important part in the popular romances about Titus and Vespasian.
301 eldes. Bj and Be emend to monthes, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS. It probably means "of two generations".
304 Berne of Britain the Little. King Hoel of Brittany.
305 beseekes. MS; besekys. Bj and Be emend to congee beseekes, but I have followed Br, K, and H in adhering to the MS reading.
320 The Welsh king. Perhaps Sir Valiant (line 2064).
334 Of Wyghte and. GV and Be emend to of wightest; H emends to of wyghte men, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
337 Sir Ewain fitz Urien. Iwain son of Urien and Morgan le Fay.
352 Petersand (Petrasanta, i.e., the Vatican); Pis (Pisa); Pount Tremble (Pontremoli).
368-70 "Lancelot, the great hero of the Vulgate tradition, was unknown in the earlier chronicles. In introducing him as one of the 'lesse men' among Arthur's retainers, the poet gives his audience a clear signal: this poem will not be concerned with the issues and themes of that tradition" (H, p. 268).
369 love. H reads lone and translates the line "I praise God for this contribution" (H, p. 268).
375 Genivers (Genoese): "The notorious giants from Genoa in Lucius' army may derive from the Genoan mercenaries who fought with France against Edward III at Crecy and other important battles" (K, p. 170).
391 renkes. Not rankes (men) but renkes (paths) from OF renc.
415 Epiphany. From the Greek for "appearance" or "manifestation," it is the feast on January 6, commemorating the coming of the Magi to see the child Jesus and symbolizing the "manifestation" of the newborn savior to the whole world (OED).
450 Watling Street. The old Roman road leading from the southern coast by way of London to Cardigan in Wales.
451 nyghes (Ba, K). MS: nyghttes. "The appearance of nyghte in the same line is very likely the source of the scribal error" (K, p. 171).
458 lette. Bj, Be, and H emend to lefe, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
471 sixteen (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: sex sum of six. "Either 'part of a company of six' or 'along with a company of six'. . . . In either case the number given [in the MS] is inconsistent with that of line 81, where the Senator arrives with a company of sixteen" (K, p. 171).
482 Catrik. A town in Yorkshire, identified with the Roman cataractonium.
490 Sandwich is the port from which the Romans will take ship. One of the "cinque ports," Sandwich is the site of the Church of St. Peter where curfew, now ceremonial, was rung.
497 Mount Goddard. One of the principal passes through the French Alps into Italy.
513 sandes. Bj, Be, and H emend to sandesman, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
515 wye (OL, Be, K, H). MS: waye. Br's emendation.
572 Ambyganye and Orcage are apparently in the East. H emends to Arcage, the OF spelling of Arcadia. Ambyganye, she suggests, could be Albania.
575 Irritane (Hyrcania) and Elamet (Elam) are not islands but countries in Asia.
587 Bayous. Be emends to boyes; H emends to barons, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS. This is an odd location in the context, but the suggested emendations are not persuasive. Bayonne (Beune) is in southwestern France.
588 Prester John was thought to be a Christian ruler living somewhere in the Orient. In The Travels of Sir John Mandeville (a famous fourteenth century book of fictitious travels, presented as a true account), Prester John is said to be the Emperor of India, allied by marriage to the great Khan of China. The legend was probably based on reports of Christian communities which actually did exist in the East. Pamphile is a region of Asia Minor.
604-05 Prussland (Prussia) and Lettow (Lithuania) were still pagan in the fourteenth century.
625 The octave of St. Hillary's day would be a week after January 24.
628-29 Constantine (the Peninsula of Cotentin) and Barflete (Barfleur) are on the coast of Normandy.
656 Arthur's concern for the protection of his game is not surprising in a century when (as shown by Sir Gawain and the Green Knight) hunting was of great importance to the aristocracy.
674 wordles. MS: werdez. Bj, K, H read wer[l]de?.
716 Sways (Bj, Be). MS: Twys.
734 Hackes. MS: Hukes. K emends to Hekes. H follows MS on grounds that hukes are outergarments or possibly "caparisons for horses" (MED, s.v.); she finds Bj's emendation hackes to be redundant if paired with hackeneys.
769 Be, following GV, supplies a supposed missing line after 769: His tail was totattered with tonges ful huge; K notes but does not accept the insertion. H accepts. I have followed K.
771 Be, following GV, supplies a supposed missing line after 771: And his clawes were enclosed with clene gold; K does not note. H accepts. I have not included the line.
785 at. Be notes MS at, but prints it. I have retained the MS reading as do Br and K. H deletes the word, explaining that the scribe miscopied the following to which he then corrected by writing to but failed to cross out the at.
Rapped, H suggests, means "barked," not dashed to earth, which is inconsistent with the flying posture.
804 thring. MS: brynge. Holthausen's emendation, followed by Bj, Be, and K. H suggests breen, meaning "frighten, terrify." See her note discussing the problem. Br follows MS.
808 seven science. The seven liberal arts (grammar, rhetoric, logic, which were the trivium, and arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music, which were the quadrivium); these were the basis of Medieval education.
812 Second half of 812 appears in the MS as the second half of 813 and vice versa (Bj, Be). K and H disagree, but I have followed Be.
821 tattered (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: taschesesede. Br: tachesesede.
841 Templar. A member of the Knights Templar, a military order founded c. 1118 for the protection of the Holy Sepulchre and pilgrims visiting the Holy Land. The order was suppressed in 1312.
848 countree of Constantine. The country around Cotentin, a peninsula on the coast of Normandy.
880 The promontory is Mont-Saint-Michel, on which, according to this story, Arthur founds the famous monastery to commemorate his victory. See also line 899.
905 jupon. A gipon is a sleeveless cloth garment worn over the armor; Arthur's is jagged in shredes - with fashionable scallopings at the edges. Jerodine is apparently a kind of cloth (perhaps gabardine).
910 enarmed. Bj and Be emend to enamelled, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
946 them. MS: thus. Br, K, and H retain MS.
964 Wade. A figure in German legend and a now-lost English romance.
1028 piment. Wine mixed with honey and spices.
1041 source (Bj, Be). MS: sowre. Br and K retain MS. H emends to sowþe.
1083 eyen-holes (Bj, Be). MS: hole eyghn. Br, K, and H retain MS.
1123 genitals (Bj, Br, Be, K, H). MS: genitates.
1142 buskes. Bj and Be emend to wild buskes, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
1175 A reference to the giant Pitho, whom Arthur slew "in Aravio Montem" (in the mount of Araby), the Aran mountains in Wales. The story is from Geoffrey of Monmouth, History of the Kings of Britain, Book X.
1225 Castel Blank is unique in this poem.
1231 mene-while. GV, Be, and H emend to mete-while, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS even though the emendation is plausible.
1248 frayes (Bj, Be, K). MS: fraisez. Br and H retain MS.
1263 Sir Bois. Earl of Oxford. "The name Bos (Boso de Vado Boum in Geoffrey [of Monmouth] was probably invented by Geoffrey as a pun on bos and Oxford" (Ackerman, p. 38).
1264 Sir Berille. Perhaps Borel, Earl of Mans, who fights on Arthur's side and is given Le Mans.
1265 Sir Grime. Bj emends to Geryn of Chartres, one of Arthur's vassals who appears at this point in the chronicles and also in line 3708. Grime is not known elsewhere.
1281 with (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: that with. Br follows MS.
1302 worthy (Bj, Be, K). MS: worthethy. Br and H retain MS.
1334 Appears in MS as line 1330 (Bj, Be, H).
1364 sable (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: salle. Br follows MS.
1378 unabaist all. Bj and Be emend to all unabaist, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS word order and have punctuated to make the grammatical relation clear.
1402-02 The perilous water that falls from the sea fifty miles away apparently refers to a tidal estuary (n.b. salt strandes in line 1422).
1405 I agree with H that changen should be taken as a hunting metaphor: to "change" attention from prey to prey.
1408 all (Bj, Be). MS: and; Bedvere (Be, H). MS: Bedwyne. Br and K retain both MS readings. Perhaps a miswriting of Baldwin, who appears in lines 1606 and 2384.
1427 redies. Be emends to relies, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
1436 stokes. Br and Be emend to strokes, but K notes that emendation is unnecessary, citing OED stoke sb2 (p. 182). H follows MS too.
1466-67 Appear in MS in reverse order (Be). I have followed K, H in retaining MS order.
1503 not (Bj, Be). MS: now. Br, K, and H follow MS.
1558 Sir Ewain fitz Henry. Probably Sir Ewain fitz Urien, as in line 337. Ackerman notes that he is given both names in Layamon's Brut as well (p. 248).
1567 tithandes (Bj, Be, H). MS: thy?andez. Br and K retain MS spelling, as a variant of tydandis.
1622 Sir Evander. King of Syria and one of Lucius's vassals.
1638 Sir Clegis, Sir Cleremus, Sir Cleremond. Sir Clegis is a knight of the Rount Table. Either Sir Cleremus and Sir Cleremond might allude to Clarrus of Clere Mounte who appears in other romances aiding Launcelot in his war against Arthur. Here the pair fill out the alliterative quatrain.
1653 kith (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: lythe. Br retains MS but glosses: "Read Kythe."
1681 Clegis challenges the Romans to a formal tournament, with three courses of war (that is, three jousts with the lance) and the claims of knighthood (the winner to take the horse and arms of the loser.)
1683 Clegis' insult, like the King of Syria's, is part of the formal "flyting."
1688 hufe. Bj and Be emend to leng, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS. The charge that Clegis is trying to delay things is only a pro forma insult. More significant is the King of Syria's inquiry about Clegis' ancestry, since it would be beneath his dignity to joust with any but the highest noble.
1690 crest (Bj, Be, H). MS: breste (Br, K).
1695 Sir Brut. The legendary founder of Britain. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth he was the great-grandson of Aeneas of Troy.
1698 Forthy (Be). MS: ffro the.
Brut (Bj, Be, H). MS: Borghte (Br, K).
1732 on. Bj, Be, and H emend to on the, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
1744 Wawayne. Bj, Be, and H emend to Bawdwyne, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
1745 Rowlaundes (Bj, Be, H). MS: and Rowlandez (Br, K).
1768 all on loud (Bj, Be). MS: o laundone (Br, K, H).
1786 corn-bote. Literally a fine paid in grain.
1797 in his (Bj, Be, K). MS: his ine (Br). H argues that MS reads in his.
1855 I.e., the Saracens are six feet from the waist up.
1866 Cordewa. Be and H emend to Cornett, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
1878 men. Bj, Be, and H emend to hethen men, but I have followed K in retaining MS.
1904 Utolf (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: Vtere (Br). Uther, Arthur's father, is dead. Utolfe appears in lines 1622 and 1868, along with Evander, as knights on the Roman side.
1908 Carous (K, H). MS: Barous. Br emends to Barouns.
1911 Sarazenes ynow (Bj, Be, K). MS: sarazenes.
1912 are (Bj, Be, H). MS: a (Br, K).
1930 never berne (Bj, Be). MS: never (Br, K, H).
1938 Though (Be). MS: Thofe (Br, K, H).
1979 them. Bj and Be emend to then, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
1980 halfe. Bj and Be emend to side, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
1982 Wales (Bj, Be, H). MS: Vyleris (Br, K).
2016 sees. Bj and Be emend to him sees, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
2047 The knights of the Round Table fulfill the vows they made; the King of Wales fulfills the vow he made in lines 330-32.
2066 Ewain fitz Urien (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: Ewayne sir Fytz Vriene (Br). Ewain fitz Urien fulfills the vow he made in lines 357-63.
2073 Lancelot had vowed (lines 372-77) to strike down the emperor himself, and accordingly he now strikes him down and leaves a spear stuck in his belly. The emperor evidently recovers very quickly, for he is soon back in battle.
2081 Lot had vowed to be the first to ride through the Roman ranks (lines 386-94), which he now does. When Lot has accomplished this, the vows are all fulfilled and the battle proper begins.
2108 hethe (Bj, Be, K). MS: heyghe (Br,H).
2112 Jonathal (OL, Be, H, K). MS: Ienitall (Br). Jonathal appears in a corresponding passage in Geoffrey of Monmouth.
2123 Caliburn is used for Excalibur by Geoffrey of Monmouth.
2151 on folde (Bj, Be, K). MS: fygured folde (Br). H emends to faireste-fygured felde.
2157 Sir Cleremond the noble (Bj, K). MS: with clene mene of armes (Br). Be, H have Sir Bedvere the rich, but Cleremond the noble is as familiar a formula and improves the alliteration.
2180 real renk (Bj, Be, H). MS: reall (K). Br reads ryalle. The addition of renk so much improves both rhythm and alliteration that a scribal omission seems likely.
2181 he (K). MS: and (Br, H).
2198 into. Bj, Be, and H emend to into the, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
2217 chis. Bj, Be, and H emend to thriches, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
2250 at. Bj, Be, and H emend to all, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
2280 lighte. Bj and Be emend to lithe, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
2283 cokadrisses (Be, K, H). MS: sekadrisses (Br).
2286 dromedaries of (Bj, Be, H). MS: of dromondaries (Br).
2288 Olfendes (Bj, Be, K). MS: elfaydes (Br, H).
2305 he lenged (Br, Be, K, H). MS: lengede. The colours are the heraldic devices on the banners set above the caskets.
2328 ne. Bj, Be, and H emend to we ne, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
2343 full monee. Bj and Be emend to full of the monee, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
2358 Br, Bj, Be, and H all emend MS fowre to ten. "However, though the messenger is presumably referring in 2358 to the tribute that Arthur's court owed and had not paid for four score winters, Arthur in 2344 is referring to something else - the tribute from Rome to his own kingdom that was lost in his ancestors' days" (K, 187).
2384 Sir Bedwar the rich. Apparently not the same knight as Sir Bedwere the rich who was buried in line 2379. See Bj, p. 158, and K, pp. 187-88, on defects in lines 2371-85.
2386 the Auguste. OL, Be, and H emend to Auguste, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
2390 Cristofer day. St. Christopher's day, July 25. St. Christopher has since been de-canonized.
2398 Lorraine the lele. Bj and Be emend to of Lorraine the lege, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
2403 to (K). MS: and.
2408 Tuskan (Ba, Be, K, H). MS: Turkayne (Br).
2418 is in (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: es (Br).
2419 Citee (Br, Be, K, H). MS: Pety.
2424 Br, Be, and H note MS beneyde: bended (Bj). K emends to bendyde.
2438 ferde. Bj and Be emend to rade, but I have followed K and H in retaining MS.
2478 plattes. Bj and Be emend to plantes, but I have followed K in retaining MS.
2495 Wecharde. Be emends to Wicher, but I have followed K in retaining MS.
2519 withouten any berne (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: with birenne ony borne.
2521 gessenande. Be and H emend to glessenand, but I have followed K. Instead of glistening in gold the sable (black) grayhounds are lying couchant.
2522 and (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: a (Br).
2531 the lange (Bj, Be, H). MS: a launde (Br, K).
2568 vailed (K). MS: vrayllede (Br). Bj and Be emend to railed.
2586 Salerne. Salerno. The University of Salerno was famous in the Middle Ages for its medical school.
2588 Be follows GV suggestion to insert two lines to follow 2588: That I might be cristened, with crisom annointed, / Become meek for my misdeeds for meed of my soul.
2594 legeaunce and land (OL, Be). MS: legyaunce (Br, K). H emends to undir what legyaunce.
2648 It would be dishonorable for Priamus to be defeated by an ordinary soldier. Gawain is such a great knight that even to be defeated by him is an honor that Priamus would prize even if no one were to learn of it.
2663 Be, following GV, inserts the following after 2663: For here hoves at thy hand an hundreth good knightes. H agrees, but I have followed Br and K in omitting the line.
2664 For they are. Be emends to they are, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
2675 slight (Bj, Be, K). MS: slaughte. H emends to a slaughte.
2680 Wecharde (K). MS: Wychere.
2705 The four wells of Paradise (which were thought to be in the East) were celebrated for their magical qualities (one was the Fountain of Youth) and thought to be the sources of the four great rivers of the East - the Nile, the Ganges, the Tigris, and the Euphrates.
2771 breth (Bj, Be, H). MS: breste (Br, K).
2797 and (Bj, Be, H). MS: a (Br, K).
2854 Though (Bj, Be). MS: Thofe (Br, K, H).
2868 Unwine. A legendary hero of the Goths, probably known to the poet from a lost English romance.
Absolon. Absalom (2 Samuel 13-19), celebrated in medieval romance for his personal beauty.
2876 The adventure in the vale of Josephat, to which the gestes refer, is an episode in the Fuerre de Gaderes, a story of the Crusades.
2890 Gerard (Bj, Be, H). MS: Ierante (Br, K).
2891 He stabs him through a gyronny shield (a shield decorated with two colors divided into triangles).
2908 Giauntes. Bj and Be emend to giauntes are, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
2940 duke dresses (Bj, Be, H). MS: duke (Br, K).
2950 Marches. MS: maches (Br). Be emends to matchless, but I have followed K and H.
2951 middle-erthe. "The earth, as placed between heaven and hell, or as supposed to occupy the centre of the universe" (OED).
2977 sleghte (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: elagere (Br).
3013 at heste (Bj, Be, H). MS: the beste (Br, K).
3031 in Hampton. According to H, the phrase "indicates that the messenger's reward is not simply a lump sum but an estate worth £100 a year - a princely gift for a mere herald" (p. 351).
3057 none (GV, Be, H). MS: no (Br, K).
3061 be deemed (Bj, Be, K). MS: idene the (Br). H emends to indeue the, meaning "endow you" or "provide you with a livelihood."
3064 he. Bj and Be emend to sho, but I have followed K and H in retaining MS.
3067 MS lines 3068-3083 are moved by Be to become lines 3112-3127. Although H agrees with Be, I have followed K in leaving them in their MS position.
3074 knighte. GV, H, and Be emend to king, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
3101 He crosses over Lake Lucerne into Switzerland.
3117 Slely. MS: slal (Br). Bj and Be emend to skathel, but I have followed K.
3140 for Pawnce and for (Bj, Be, H, K). MS: of Pawnce and of. Br: Plesaunce (Piacenza), Pawnce (Ponte), and Pownte Tremble (Pontremole) are towns in Lombardy.
3150 thus wele timed. GV and Be emend to him time semed, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
3186 sceptre and swerde. MS: his ceptre (Br). Be emends to sceptre, for sooth, but I have followed K. H emends to ceptre forsothe.
3209 honden. Bj and Be emend to holde, but I have followed K in retaining MS. H emends to honouren.
3212 Cross-days: Rogation Days, three special days of prayer preceding Ascension Day (forty days after Easter).
3220 slakes his (Bj, Be). MS: slakes (Br, H, K).
3241 clerewort. Bj and Be emend to clevewort, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
3251 Dame Fortune, with her Wheel of Fortune, is a familiar figure in late Medieval poetry, as are the Nine Worthies whom Arthur sees in his dream. The Nine Worthies first appear in fourteenth century works such as The Parlement of Three Ages and reappear as late as Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream.
3256 With brouches (Bj, Be, H). MS: bruches (Br, K).
besauntes are coins, originally from Byzantium, here coin-shaped golden discs.
3257 Her back (Bj, Be, H). MS: With hir bake (Br, K).
3263 riches (Bj, Be, K). MS: reched (Br), but K thinks MS may read reches anyway.
3272 this (Bj, Be). MS: thir (Br, K). H reads thi.
roo (Bj, Be, K). MS: rog (Br, H).
3282 tone eye (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: two eyne (Br).
3308 folded (Bj, Be, K). MS: fayled (Br). H emends to falded in.
3345 Frollo was the ruler of France whom Arthur killed in single combat when he conquered that country as part of the conquests that immediately precede the action of this poem and that are summarized in the opening lines. The story is told in Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain, Book IX, chapter 11, where Arthur's adversary is called Flollo, and in Wace's Brut (which our poet may have known), where he is called Frolle or Frollo.
3352 crispand (Bj, Be, H). MS: krispane (Br, K).
3356 Circled (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: Selkylde (Br).
3408-10 Alexander the Great, Hector of Troy, and Julius Caesar are the three Pagan Worthies.
3412-16 Judas Maccabeus, Joshua, and King David are the three Jewish Worthies.
3422 tone climand kyng (Bj, Be, H). MS: two clymbande kynges.
3423 Karolus (Charlemagne) is the first of the three Christian Worthies. The second is Godfrey of Bouillon (line 3430), and the third is Arthur himself.
3427 lifelich. Bj and Be emend to loveliche, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
3434 He shall recover the cross when he conquers Jerusalem. Godfrey's deeds, like Charlemagne's (lines 3423-29), are prophesied, since Arthur historically precedes both.
3439 ninde (Bj, Be). Ms: nynne (Br, K, H).
3470 Be interprets rowme ("roomy, or full-cut") to be fashionable, as he does the shreddes and shragges ("scalloped edges") in line 3473, but I am inclined to agree with H that the stranger is dressed quite unfashionably.
3474 slawin. Bj and Be emend to sclavin ("pilgrim's garb"), but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
The scallop shells were the mark of a pilgrimage to St. James of Compostela in Spain, the palm branch of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
3480 wathe (Bj, Be, H). MS: wawthe (Br, K).
3505 Be reverses 3505 and 3506, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
3510 I. Bj and Be emend to I was, but I have followed K and H in retaining MS.
3530 Of (Bj, Be). MS: To (Br, K, H).
3541 From the Humber River (at the southern border of Yorkshire) to the town of Hawick (in southern Scotland), i.e., the whole North Country.
3545 Hengest and Horsa were traditionally the first Germanic (that is, Anglo-Saxon) invaders of Britain; Geoffrey of Monmouth (History, Book VI, chapter 11) gives the traditional account.
3592 trome. Bj, Be, and H emend to trumpe, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
3605 Lines 3605 and 3606 appear in reverse order in the MS (Be).
3611 Apparently the painted cloths (sewn together and doubled) are meant to serve as a protection against arrows.
3648-49 The maiden on the chef, the upper third of the shield, is the Blessed Virgin, who is holding the Christ-child, the Chef or Lord of heaven. In 3650 the sense seems to be "noble."
3650 Arthur will not change his arms to disguise himself even when hard-pressed, as Mordred later does (lines 4181-85).
3662 Wether (Be). MS: With hir (Br, K, H).
Ramming and boarding were the principal tactics in fourteenth century sea battles, since cannon had only recently been introduced.
3672 bernes (Bj, Be). MS: braynes (Br, K). H reads berynes.
3675 Up ties (Be, K, H). MS: Vpcynes (Br).
3678 Many freke (Bj, Be). MS: ffreke (Br, K, H).
3684 englaimes (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: englaymous (Br).
3709 Galuth is Gawain's sword, here personified as "a good gome."
3720 in (Be, K). MS: and (Br, H).
3743 Engendure may be a reference to Mordred's incestuous begetting (see Stanzaic Morte Arthure, lines 2955-56), though there is no direct reference to it in this poem.
3773 The Montagues were a famous Northern English family. The head of the family was a supporter of Richard II and a suspected heretic. He rebelled against Henry IV in 1400; he was beheaded and his head was displayed on London Bridge as a warning to other potential traitors.
3796 help. Be emends to help me, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
3797 to see us (Br, Be, K, H). MS: to us.
3864 Fres. Bj and Be emend to Frisland, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
3869 The golden griffin (a winged dragon) is Gawain's usual heraldic device.
3891 sib-blood. Mordred and Gawain are half brothers; their mother is Arthur's sister.
3911 yeyes (Bj, Be, H, K). MS: ?ee (Br).
3924 Swalters. Bj and Be emend to swafres, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
3929 trewth (Bj, Be, H). MS: trewghe (Br, K).
3937 It is unclear whether the MS reads Guthede or Guchede. The former makes more sense.
3942 encircled (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: enserchede (Br).
3996 kithe (Bj, Be, H). MS: kyghte (Br, K).
4010 Carried it (Br, Be, H). MS: Karyed (Br, K).
4017 Don for him (Bj, Be). MS: Done for (Br, K, H).
4020 erthe. Bj, Be, and H emend to bere, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
4095 The banners must be defended not only for the sake of honor but because signals made with the banners are the only means of communication during a battle.
4129 sere. Bj and Be emend to fele, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
4157 Why then ne (Be). MS: Qwythen. K explains that an emendation may not really be necessary since the OED glosses the MS word in the same words as the emendation.
4181 churles. OL and Be emend to churlish, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS. Mordred adopts the cowardly stratagem of changing his heraldic devices, which Arthur would never do (see note on line 3650).
4221 and in (Br, Be, K, H). MS: and.
4223 he ne (Br, Be, K, H). MS: ne he.
4303 Arthur is said to have been buried at Glastonbury.
4305 day. Be emends to dayes, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
4326 In manus is a common Medieval short form of Pater, in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum: "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit," Christ's last words on the cross according to Luke 23:46.
4332 Requiem. Mass for the dead.
4343 blude. Bj and Be emend to kin, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
4346 Brut. The History of Britain, which begins with Brutus, who settled the country. Brut refers to any history of Britain, though the poet may have meant some specific work, such as the popular English prose Brut.
4347 This and the following lines are not by the original author of our poem. This line, which is the inscription on Arthur's tomb (dating from 1278), was added by a later reader of the manuscript. The next lines concern the scribe rather than the author of the poem. Robert Thornton, who lived in Yorkshire, about 1440, wrote out the manuscript that contains this and a number of other romances. The final Latin line, asking that Robert be blessed for his work, was written by a grateful reader in the later fifteenth century.
from: King Arthur's Death: The Middle English Stanzaic Morte Arthur and Alliterative Morte Arthure 1994
But on a Saterday at noon, a seven-night there-after,
The cunningest Cardinal that to the court longed
Kneeles to the conquerour and carpes these wordes,
Prayes him for the pees and proffers full large
To have pitee of the Pope, that put was at-under
Besought him of suraunce for sake of the Lord
But a seven-night day to they were all sembled
And they sholde sekerly him see the Sononday there-after
In the citee of Rome, as soveraign and lord,
And crown him kindly with crismed handes
With his sceptre and swerde, as soveraign and lord.
Of this undertaking hostage are comen,
Of eiers full avenaunt, eight score children,
In togges of tars full richly attired,
And betook them the king and his clere knightes.
When they had treted their trewe, with trumping thereafter
They trine unto a tent where tables were raised;
The king himselven is set and certain lordes
Under a sylure of silk, saught at the bordes.
All the senatours are set sere by them one,
Served solemnly with selcouthe metes.
The king, mighty of mirth, with his mild wordes,
Rehetes the Romanes at his rich table,
Comfortes the Cardinal, so knightly himselven,
And this roy real, as romaunce us telles,
Reverences the Romans in his rich table.
The taught men and the cunning, when them time thought,
Tas their leve at the king and turned again;
To the citee that night they sought at the gainest,
And thus the hostage of Rome with Arthur is leved.
Then this roy real reherses these wordes:
"Now we may revel and rest, for Rome is our owen!
Make our hostage at ese, these avenaunt children,
And look ye honden them all that in mine host lenges,
The Emperour of Almaine and all these este marches;
We shall be overling of all that on erthe lenges!
We will by the Cross-days encroch these landes 190
And at the Cristenmass day be crowned there-after,
Regne in my realtees and hold my Round Table,
With the rentes of Rome, as me best likes;
Senn graithe over the grete se with good men of armes
To revenge the Renk that on the Rood died!"
Then this comlich king as cronicles telles,
Bounes brothly to bed with a blithe herte;
Off he slinges with sleght and slakes his girdle, 191
And for slewth of slomour on a sleep falles.
But by one after midnight all his mood changed;
He mette in the morn-while full marvelous dremes;
And when his dredful dreme was driven to the ende,
The king dares for doute, die as he sholde,
Sendes after philosophers, and his affray telles:
"Senn I was formed, in faith, so ferd was I never!
For-thy ransackes redily and rede me my swevenes,
And I shall redily and right rehersen the sooth.
"Me thought I was in a wood, willed mine one
That I ne wiste no way whider that I sholde,
For wolves and wild swine and wicked bestes
Walked in that wastern wathes to seek,
There lions full lothly licked their tuskes
All for lapping of blood of my lele knightes!
Through that forest I fled there flowres were high,
For to fele me for ferd of tho foul thinges,
Merked to a medow with mountaines enclosed
The merriest of middle-erthe that men might behold.
The close was in compass casten all about
With clover and clerewort cledde even over;
The vale was enveround with vines of silver,
All with grapes of gold, greter were never,
Enhorild with arbory and alkins trees,
Erberes full honest, and herdes there-under;
All fruites foddemed was that flourished in erthe,
Fair frithed in fraunk upon the free bowes; 192
Was there no danking of dew that ought dere sholde;
With the drought of the day all dry were the flowres.
"Then descendes in the dale, down fro the cloudes,
A duchess dereworthily dight in diapered weedes, 193
In a surcote of silk full selcouthly hewed,
All with loyotour overlaid low to the hemmes
And with ladily lappes the lenghe of a yard,
And all redily reversed with rebanes of gold,
With brouches and besauntes and other bright stones; 194
Her back and her breste was broched all over,
With kell and with coronal clenlich arrayed,
And that so comly of colour one knowen was never.
"About sho whirled a wheel with her white handes,
Overwhelm all quaintly the wheel, as sho sholde;
The rowel was red gold with real stones,
Railed with riches and rubies ynow;
The spekes was splented all with speltes of silver,
The space of a spere-lenghe springand full fair;
There-on was a chair of chalk-white silver
And checkered with charbocle changing of hewes
Upon the compass there cleved kinges on row,
With crowns of clere gold that cracked in sonder;
Six was of that settle full sodenlich fallen,
Ilk a segge by himself and said these wordes:
'That ever I regned on this roo me rewes it ever!
Was never roy so rich that regned in erthe!
When I rode in my rout rought I nought elles
But rivaye and revel and raunson the pople!
And thus I drive forth my dayes whiles I drie might,
And therefore derflich I am damned for ever!'
"The last was a little man that laid was beneth;
His leskes lay all lene and lothlich to shew,
His lockes liard and long the lenghe of a yard,
His lire and his ligham lamed full sore,
The tone eye of the berne was brighter than silver
The other was yellower than the yolk of a nay.
"'I was lord,' quod the lede, 'landes ynow,
And all ledes me louted that lenged in erthe.
And now is left me no lap my ligham to hele
But lightly now am I lost, leve eche man the sooth.'
"The second sir, forsooth, that sewed them after
Was sekerer to my sight and sadder in armes;
Oft he sighed unsound and said these wordes:
'On yon see have I sitten als soveraign and lord,
And ladies me loved to lap in their armes,
And now my lordshippes are lost and laid for ever!'
"The third thoroughly was thro and thick in the shoulders,
A thro man to thret of there thirty were gadered;
His diadem was dropped down, dubbed with stones,
Endented all with diamaundes and dight for the nones;
'I was dredde in my dayes,' he said, 'in diverse rewmes,
And now damned to the dede, and dole is the more!'
"The fourt was a fair man and forcy in armes,
The fairest of figure that formed was ever.
'I was frek in my faith,' he said, 'whiles I on folde regned,
Famous in fer landes and flowr of all kinges;
Now is my face defaded and foul is me happened,
For I am fallen fro fer and frendles beleved.'
"The fift was a fairer man than fele of these other,
A forcy man and a fers, with fomand lippes;
He fanged fast on the feleighes and folded his armes
But yet he failed and fell a fifty foot large;
But yet he sprang and sprent and spradden his armes,
And on the spere-lenghe spekes he spekes these wordes:
'I was in Surry a Sire and set by mine one
As soveraign and seinyour of sere kinges landes;
Now of my solace I am full sodenly fallen
And for sake of my sin yon sete is me rewed.'
"The sixt had a sawter seemlich bounden
With a surepel of silk sewed full fair,
A harp and a hand-sling with hard flint-stones;
What harmes he has hent he hallowes full soon:
'I was deemed in my dayes,' he said, 'of deedes of armes
One of the doughtiest that dwelled in erthe;
But I was marred on molde in my most strenghes
With this maiden so mild that moves us all.'
"Two kinges were climband and claverand on high,
The erest of the compass they covet full yerne.
'This chair of charbocle,' they said, 'we challenge hereafter,
As two of the chefest chosen in erthe.'
"The childer were chalk-white, cheekes and other,
But the chair aboven cheved they never.
The furthermost was freely with a front large
The fairest of fisnamy that formed was ever,
And he was busked in a blee of a blew noble
With flourdelys of gold flourished all over;
The tother was cledde in a cote all of clene silver,
With a comlich cross corven of gold;
Four crosselettes crafty by the cross restes
And thereby knew I the king, that cristened him seemed.
"Then I went to that wlonk and winly her greetes,
And sho said: 'Welcome, iwis, well art thou founden;
Thou ought to worship my will, and thou well couthe,
Of all the valiant men that ever was in erthe,
For all thy worship in war by me has thou wonnen;
I have been frendly, freke, and fremmed til other. 195
That thou has founden, in faith, and fele of thy bernes,
For I felled down Sir Frolle with froward knightes; 196
For-thy the fruits of Fraunce are freely thine owen.
Thou shall the chair escheve, I chese thee myselven,
Before all the cheftaines chosen in this erthe.'
"Sho lift me up lightly with her lene handes
And set me softly in the see, the septer me reched;
Craftily with a comb sho kembed mine heved,
That the crispand krok to my crown raught;
Dressed on me a diadem that dight was full fair,
And senn proffers me a pome pight full of fair stones,
Enameld with azure, the erthe there-on depainted,
Circled with the salt se upon sere halves,
In sign that I soothly was soveraign in erthe.
"Then brought sho me a brand with full bright hiltes
And bade me braundish the blade: 'The brand is mine owen;
Many swain with the swing has the swet leved,
For whiles thou swank with the sword it swiked thee never.'
"Then raikes sho with roo and rest when her liked,
To the rindes of the wood, richer was never;
Was no pomerie so pight of princes in erthe,
Ne none apparel so proud but paradise one.
Sho bade the bowes sholde bow down and bring to my handes
Of the best that they bore on braunches so high;
Then they helded to her hest, all holly at ones,
The highest of ech a hirst, I hete you forsooth.
Sho bade me frith not the fruit, but fonde whiles me liked:
'Fonde of the finest, thou freelich berne,
And reche to the ripest and riot thyselven.
Rest, thou real roy, for Rome is thine owen,
And I shall redily roll the roo at the gainest
And reche thee the rich wine in rinsed cuppes.'
"Then sho went to the well by the wood eves,
That all welled of wine and wonderlich runnes,
Caught up a cup-full and covered it fair;
Sho bade me derelich draw and drink to herselven;
And thus sho led me about the lenghe of an hour,
With all liking and love that any lede sholde.
"But at the mid-day full even all her mood changed,
And made much menace with marvelous wordes.
When I cried upon her, she cast down her browes:
'King, thou carpes for nought, by Crist that me made!
For thou shall lose this laik and thy life after;
Thou has lived in delite and lordshippes ynow!'
"About sho whirles the wheel and whirles me under,
Til all my quarters that while were quasht all to peces,
And with that chair my chin was chopped in sonder;
And I have shivered for chele senn me this chaunce happened.
Thus wakened I, iwis, all wery fordremed,
And now wot thou my wo; worde as thee likes."
"Freke," says the philosopher, "thy fortune is passed,
For thou shall find her thy fo; fraist when thee likes!
Thou art at the highest, I hete thee forsooth;
Challenge now when thou will, thou cheves no more!
Thou has shed much blood and shalkes destroyed,
Sakeles, in surquidrie, in sere kinges landes;
Shrive thee of thy shame and shape for thine end.
Thou has a shewing, Sir King, take keep yif thee like,
For thou shall fersly fall within five winters.
Found abbeyes in Fraunce, the fruites are thine owen,
For Frolle and for Feraunt and for thir fers knightes
That thou fremedly in Fraunce has fey beleved. 197
Take keep yet of other kinges, and cast in thine herte,
That were conquerours kidd and crowned in erthe.
"The eldest was Alexander that all the world louted,
The tother Ector of Troy, the chevalrous gome;
The third Julius Cesar, that giaunt was holden,
In eche journee gentle, ajudged with lordes.
The fourth was Sir Judas, a jouster full noble,
The masterful Macabee, the mightiest of strenghes;
The fift was Josue, that jolly man of armes,
That in Jerusalem host full much joy limped;
The sixt was David the dere, deemed with kinges
One of the doughtiest that dubbed was ever,
For he slew with a sling by sleight of his handes
Golias the grete gome, grimmest in erthe;
Senn endited in his dayes all the dere psalmes
That in the sawter are set with selcouthe wordes.
"The tone climand king, I know it forsooth,
Shall Karolus be called, the kinge son of Fraunce;
He shall be cruel and keen and conquerour holden,
Cover by conquest contrees ynow;
He shall encroch the crown that Crist bore himselven,
And that lifelich launce that lepe to His herte
When He was crucified on cross, and all the keen nailes
Knightly he shall conquer to Cristen men handes.
"The tother shall be Godfray, that God shall revenge
On the Good Friday with galiard knightes;
He shall of Lorraine be lord by leve of his fader
And senn in Jerusalem much joy happen,
For he shall cover the cross by craftes of armes
And senn be crowned king with crisom annointed.
Shall no dukes in his day such destainy happen,
Ne such mischief drie when trewth shall be tried.
"For-thy Fortune thee fetches to fulfill the number,
Als ninde of the noblest named in erthe;
This shall in romaunce be redde with real knightes,
Reckoned and renownd with riotous kinges,
And deemed on Doomesday for deedes of armes,
For the doughtiest that ever was dwelland in erthe;
So many clerkes and kinges shall carp of your deedes
And keep your conquestes in cronicle for ever.
"But the wolves in the wood and the wild bestes
Are some wicked men that werrayes thy rewmes,
Is entered in thine absence to werray thy pople,
And alienes and hostes of uncouthe landes.
Thou gettes tidandes, I trow, within ten dayes,
That some torfer is tidde senn thou fro home turned.
I rede thou reckon and reherse unresonable deedes
Ere thee repentes full rathe all thy rewth workes.
Man, amend thy mood, ere thou mishappen,
And meekly ask mercy for meed of thy soul."
Then rises the rich king and raght on his weedes,
A red acton of rose, the richest of flowres,
A pesan and a paunson and a pris girdle; 199
And on he hentes a hood of scarlet full rich,
A pavis pillion-hat that pight was full fair
With perry of the Orient and precious stones;
His gloves gaylich gilt and graven by the hemmes
With graines of rubies full gracious to shew.
His bede greyhound and his brand and no berne else
And bounes over a brode mede with brethe at his herte.
Forth he stalkes a sty by tho still eves,
Stotays at a high street, studyand him one. 200
At the sours of the sun he sees there comand,
Raikand to Rome-ward the rediest wayes,
A renk in a round clok with right rowme clothes 201
With hat and with high shoon homely and round;
With flat farthinges the freke was flourished all over
Many shreddes and shragges at his skirtes hanges
With scrip and with slawin and scallopes ynow 202
Both pike and palm, als pilgrim him sholde;
The gome graithly him grette and bade good morwen;
The king, lordly himself, of langage of Rome,
Of Latin corrumped all, full lovely him menes:
"Wheder wilnes thou, wye, walkand thine one?
Whiles this world is o war, a wathe I it hold;
Here is an enmy with host, under yon vines;
And they see thee, forsooth, sorrow thee betides;
But if thou have condeth of the king selven,
Knaves will kill thee and keep at thou haves,
And if thou hold the high way, they hent thee also,
But if thou hastily have help of his hende knightes."
Then carpes Sir Craddok to the king selven:
"I shall forgive him my dede, so me God help,
Any gome under God that on this ground walkes!
Let the keenest come that to the king longes,
I shall encounter him as knight, so Crist have my soul!
For thou may not reche me ne arrest thyselven,
Though thou be richly arrayed in full rich weedes;
I will not wonde for no war to wend where me likes
Ne for no wye of this world that wrought is on erthe!
But I will pass in pilgrimage this pas to Rome
To purchase me pardon of the Pope selven,
And of the paines of Purgatory be plenerly assoilled;
Then shall I seek sekerly my soveraign lord,
Sir Arthur of England, that avenaunt berne!
For he is in this empire, as hathel men me telles,
Hostayand in this Orient with awful knightes."
"Fro whethen come thou, keen man," quod the king then,
"That knowes King Arthur and his knightes also?
Was thou ever in his court whiles he in kith lenged?
Thou carpes so kindly it comfortes mine herte!
Well wele has thou went and wisely thou seekes,
For thou art Breton berne, as by thy brode speche."
"Me ought to know the king; he is my kidd lord,
And I called in his court a knight of his chamber;
Sir Craddok was I called in his court rich,
Keeper of Caerlion, under the king selven;
Now I am chased out of kith, with care at my herte,
And that castel is caught with uncouthe ledes."
Then the comlich king caught him in armes,
Cast off his kettle-hat and kissed him full soon,
Said: "Welcome, Sir Craddok, so Crist mot me help!
Dere cosin of kind, thou coldes mine herte!
How fares it in Bretain with all my bold bernes?
Are they brittened or brint or brought out of life?
Ken thou me kindly what case is befallen;
I keep no credens to crave; I know thee for trew." 203
"Sir, thy warden is wicked and wild of his deedes,
For he wandreth has wrought senn thou away passed.
He has castels encroched and crownd himselven,
Caught in all the rentes of the Round Table;
He devised the rewm and delt as him likes;
Dubbed of the Denmarkes dukes and erles,
Disservered them sonderwise, and citees destroyed;
Of Sarazenes and Sessoines upon sere halves
He has sembled a sorte of selcouthe bernes,
Soveraignes of Surgenale and soudeours many
Of Peghtes and paynims and proved knightes
Of Ireland and Argyle, outlawed bernes;
All tho laddes are knightes that long to the mountes,
And leding and lordship has all, als themselve likes;
And there is Sir Childrik a cheftain holden,
That ilke chevalrous man, he charges thy pople;
They rob thy religious and ravish thy nunnes
And redy rides with his rout to raunson the poor;
Fro Humber to Hawyk he holdes his owen,
And all the countree of Kent by covenant entailled,
The comlich castles that to the crown longed,
The holtes and the hore wood and the hard bankes,
All that Hengest and Hors hent in their time;
At Southampton on the se is seven score shippes,
Fraught full of fers folk, out of fer landes,
For to fight with thy frap when thou them assailes.
But yet a word, witterly, thou wot not the worst!
He has wedded Waynor and her his wife holdes,
And wonnes in the wild boundes of the west marches,
And has wrought her with child, as witness telles!
Of all the wyes of this world, wo mot him worthe,
Als warden unworthy women to yeme!
Thus has Sir Mordred marred us all!
For-thy I merked over these mountes to mene thee the sooth."
Then the burlich king, for brethe at his herte
And for this booteless bale all his blee changed;
"By the Rood," says the roy, "I shall it revenge!
Him shall repent full rathe all his rewth workes!"
All weepand for wo he went to his tentes;
Unwinly this wise king he wakenes his bernes,
Cleped in a clarioun kinges and other,
Calles them to counsel and of this case telles:
"I am with tresoun betrayed, for all my trew deedes!
And all my travail is tint, me tides no better!
Him shall torfer betide this tresoun has wrought,
And I may traistely him take, as I am trew lord!
This is Mordred, the man that I most traisted,
Has my castels encroched and crownd himselven
With rentes and riches of the Round Table;
He made all his retinues of renayed wretches,
And devised my rewm to diverse lordes,
To soudeours and Sarazenes out of sere landes!
He has wedded Waynor and her to wife holdes,
And a child is y-shaped, the chaunce is no better!
They have sembled on the se seven score shippes,
Full of ferrom folk to fight with mine one!
For-thy to Bretain the Brode buske us behooves, 204
For to britten the berne that has this bale raised.
There shall no freke men fare but all on fresh horses
That are fraisted in fight and flowr of my knightes.
Sir Howell and Sir Hardolf here shall beleve
To be lordes of the ledes that here to me longes;
Lookes into Lumbardy that there no lede change,
And tenderly to Tuskane take tent als I bid;
Receive the rentes of Rome when they are reckoned;
Take sesin the same day that last was assigned,
Or elles all the hostage withouten the walles
Be hanged high upon height all holly at ones."
Now bounes the bold king with his best knightes,
Gars trome and trusse and trines forth after,
Turnes through Tuskane, tarries but little;
Lights not in Lumbardy but when the light failed;
Merkes over the mountaines full marvelous wayes,
Ayers through Almaine even at the gainest
Ferkes even into Flandresh with his fers knightes.
Within fifteen dayes his fleet is assembled,
And then he shope him to ship and shounes no lenger,
Sheeres with a sharp wind over the shire waters;
By the roche with ropes he rides on anker.
There the false men fleted and on flood lenged,
With chef chaines of charre chocked togeders,
Charged even chock-full of chevalrous knightes,
And in the hinter on height, helmes and crestes;
Hatches with hethen men heled were there-under,
Proudlich pourtrayed with painted clothes,
Ech a pece by pece prikked til other,
Dubbed with dagswainnes doubled they seem;
And thus the derf Denmarkes had dight all their shippes,
That no dint of no dart dere them sholde.
Then the roy and the renkes of the Round Table
All realy in red arrayes his shippes;
That day ducheries he delt and dubbed knightes,
Dresses dromoundes and dragges and drawen up stones;
The top-castels he stuffed with toiles, as him liked;
Bendes bowes of vise brothly there-after;
Toloures tently tackle they righten,
Brasen hedes full brode busked on flones,
Graithes for garnisons, gomes arrayes,
Grim godes of steel, gives of iron;
Stighteles steren on steren with stiff men of armes;
Many lovelich launce upon loft standes,
Ledes on leburd, lordes and other,
Pight pavis on port, painted sheldes,
On hinder hurdace on height helmed knightes.
Thus they shiften for shottes on those shire strandes,
Ilke shalk in his shroud, full sheen were their weedes.
The bold king is in a barge and about rowes,
All bare-hevede for besy with beveren lockes,
And a berne with his brand and an helm beten,
Menged with a mauntelet of mailes of silver,
Compast with a coronal and covered full rich;
Kaires to ech a cogge to comfort his knightes;
To Clegis and Cleremond he cries on loud:
"O Gawain! O Galyran! These good mens bodies!"
To Lot and to Lionel full lovely he meles,
And to Sir Launcelot de Lake lordlich wordes:
"Let us cover the kith, the coste is our own,
And gar them brothelich blenk, all yon blood-houndes!
Britten them within borde and brin them there-after!
Hew down hertily yon hethen tikes!
They are harlotes half, I hete you mine hand!" 210
Then he coveres his cogge and catches on anker,
Caught his comlich helm with the clere mailes;
Buskes banners on brode, beten of gules,
With crowns of clere gold clenlich arrayed;
But there was chosen in the chef a chalk-white maiden, 211
And a child in her arm that Chef is of heven;
Withouten changing in chase these were the chef armes
Of Arthur the avenaunt, whiles he in erthe lenged.
Then the mariners meles and masters of shippes;
Merrily ich a mate menes til other;
Of their termes they talk, how they were tidd, 212
Towen trussel on trete, trussen up sailes,
Bete bonnetes on brode, bettred hatches;
Braundisht brown steel, bragged in trumpes;
Standes stiff on the stamin, steeres on after,
Streken over the streme, there striving beginnes.
Fro the waggand wind out of the west rises,
Brothly bessomes with birr in bernes sailes,
Wether bringes on borde burlich cogges, 213
Whiles the biling and the beme bristes in sonder;
So stoutly the fore-stern on the stam hittes
That stockes of the steer-borde strikes in peces!
By then cogge upon cogge, crayers and other,
Castes crepers on-cross, als to the craft longes;
Then was hed-ropes hewen, that held up the mastes;
There was contek full keen and cracking of shippes!
Grete cogges of kemp crashes in sonder!
Many cabane cleved, cables destroyed,
Knightes and keen men killed the bernes!
Kidd castels were corven, with all their keen wepen,
Castels full comlich that coloured were fair!
Up ties edgeling they ochen there-after; 214
With the swing of the sword sways the mastes,
Over-falles in the first frekes and other;
Many freke in the fore-ship fey is beleved!
Then brothly they beker with bustous tackle;
Brushes boldly on borde brenyed knightes, 215
Out of botes on borde, was busked with stones,
Bete down of the best, bristes the hatches;
Some gomes through-gird with godes of iron,
Gomes gaylich cledde englaimes wepenes;
Archers of England full egerly shootes,
Hittes through the hard steel full hertly dintes!
Soon ochen in holly the hethen knightes,
Hurt through the hard steel, hele they never!
Then they fall to the fight, foines with speres,
All the frekkest on front that to the fight longes,
And ilkon freshly fraistes their strenghes,
War to fight in the fleet with their fell wepenes.
Thus they delt that day, thir dubbed knightes,
Til all the Danes were dede and in the deep throwen!
Then Bretons brothly with brandes they hewen;
Lepes in upon loft lordlich bernes;
When ledes of out-landes lepen in waters,
All our lordes on loud laughen at ones!
By then speres were sprongen, spalded shippes,
Spanioles speedily sprented over-bordes;
All the keen men of kemp, knightes and other,
Killed are cold-dede and casten over-bordes;
Their swyers swiftly has the swet leved;
Hethen hevand on hatch in thir hawe rises,
Sinkand in the salt se seven hundreth at ones!
Then Sir Gawain the good, he has the gree wonnen,
And all the cogges grete he gave to his knightes.
Sir Garin, Sir Griswold, and other grete lordes;
Gart Galuth, a good gome, gird off their hedes! 216
Thus of the false fleet upon the flood happened,
And thus these ferin folk fey are beleved!
Yet is the traitour on land with tried knightes,
And all trumped they trip on trapped steedes
Shews them under sheld on the shire bankes;
He ne shuntes for no shame but shewes full high!
Sir Arthur and Gawain avyed them bothen
To sixty thousand of men that in their sight hoved.
By this the folk was felled, then was the flood passed; 217
Then was it silke a slowde in slackes full huge
That let the king for to land in the low water.
For-thy he lenged on laye for lesing of horses,
To look of his lege-men and of his lele knightes,
Yif any were lamed or lost, live yif they sholde.
Then Sir Gawain the good a galley he takes
And glides up at a gole with good men of armes;
When he grounded, for gref he girdes in the water
That to the girdle he goes in all his gilt weedes,
Shootes up upon the sand in sight of the lordes,
Singly with his soppe, my sorrow is the more!
With banners of his badges, best of his armes,
He braides up on the bank in his bright weedes;
He biddes his banneour: "Busk thou belive
To yon brode batail that on yon bank hoves,
And I ensure you soothe I shall you sew after;
Look ye blenk for no brand ne for no bright wepen,
But beres down of the best and bring them o-dawe!
Bes not abaist of their boste, abide on the erthe;
Ye have my banneres borne in batailes full huge;
We shall fell yon false, the fend have their soules!
Fightes fast with the frap, the feld shall be oures!
May I that traitour over-take, torfer him tides
That this tresoun has timbered to my trew lord!
Of such a engendure full little joy happens,
And that shall in this journee be judged full even!"
Now they seek over the sand, this soppe at the gainest,
Sembles on the soudeours and settes their dintes;
Through the sheldes so sheen shalkes they touch
With shaftes shivered short of those sheen launces;
Derf dintes they delt with daggand speres;
On the dank of the dew many dede ligges,
Dukes and douspeeres and dubbed knightes;
The doughtiest of Danemark undone are forever!
Thus those renkes in rewth rittes their brenyes
And reches of the richest unrecken dintes,
There they throng in the thick and thrustes to the erthe
Of the throest men three hundreth at ones!
But Sir Gawain for gref might not again-stand,
Umbegrippes a spere and to a gome runnes,
That bore of gules full gay with goutes of silver;
He girdes him in at the gorge with his grim launce
That the grounden glaive graithes in sonder;
With that bustous blade he bounes him to die!
The King of Gotheland it was, a good man of armes.
Their avauntward then all voides there-after,
Als vanquist verrayly with valiant bernes;
Meetes with middle-ward that Mordred ledes;
Our men merkes them to, as them mishappened,
For had Sir Gawain the grace to hold the green hill,
He had worship, iwis, wonnen forever!
But then Sir Gawain, iwis, he waites him well
To wreke on this warlaw that this war moved,
And merkes to Sir Mordred among all his bernes,
With the Montagues and other grete lordes.
Then Sir Gawain was greved and with a grete will
Fewters a fair spere and freshly ascries:
"False fostered fode, the fend have thy bones!
Fy on thee, felon, and thy false workes!
Thou shall be dede and undone for thy derf deedes,
Or I shall die this day, if destainy worthe!"
Then his enmy with host of outlawed bernes
All enangles about our excellent knightes
That the traitour by tresoun had tried himselven;
Dukes of Danemark he dightes full soon,
And leders of Lettow with legions ynow,
Umbelapped our men with launces full keen,
Soudeours and Sarazenes out of sere landes,
Sixty thousand men, seemlyly arrayed,
Sekerly assembles there on seven score knightes,
Sodenly in dischaite by tho salt strandes.
Then Sir Gawain grette with his grey eyen
For gref of his good men that he guide sholde.
He wiste that they wounded were and wery for-foughten, 218
And what for wonder and wo, all his wit failed.
And then sighand he said with syland teres:
"We are with Sarazenes beset upon sere halves!
I sigh not for myself, so help our Lord,
But for to see us surprised my sorrow is the more!
Bes doughty today, yon dukes shall be yours!
For dere Drighten this day dredes no wepen.
We shall end this day als excellent knightes,
Ayer to endless joy with angeles unwemmed;
Though we have unwittyly wasted ourselven,
We shall work all well in the worship of Crist!
We shall for yon Sarazenes, I seker you my trewth,
Soupe with our Saviour solemnly in heven,
In presence of that Precious, Prince of all other,
With prophetes and patriarkes and apostles full noble,
Before His freelich face that formed us all!
Yonder to yon yaldsones! He that yeldes him ever
Whiles he is quick and in quert, unquelled with handes,
Be he never mo saved, ne succoured with Crist,
But Satanase his soul mowe sink into Hell!"
Then grimly Sir Gawain grippes his wepen;
Again that grete batail he graithes him soon,
Radly of his rich sword he rightes the chaines;
In he shockes his sheld, shuntes he no lenger,
But all unwise, wodewise, he went at the gainest,
Woundes of those widerwinnes with wrakful dintes;
All welles full of blood there he away passes;
And though him were full wo, he wondes but little,
But wrekes at his worship the wrath of his lord!
He stickes steedes in stour and sterenfull knightes,
That steren men in the stirrupes stone-dede they ligge!
He rives the rank steel, he rittes the mailes;
There might no renk him arrest; his resoun was passed!
He fell in a frensy for fersness of herte;
He fightes and felles down that him before standes!
Fell never fey man such fortune in erthe!
Into the hole batail hedlings he runnes
And hurtes of the hardiest that on the erthe lenges;
Letand as a lion he launches them through,
Lordes and leders that on the land hoves.
Yet Sir Wawain for wo wondes but little,
But woundes of those widerwinnes with wonderful dintes,
Als he that wolde wilfully wasten himselven,
And for wondsome and will all his wit failed,
That wode als a wild beste he went at the gainest;
All wallowed on blood there he away passed;
Ich a wye may be ware by wreke of another! 219
Then he moves to Sir Mordred among all his knightes,
And met him in the mid-sheld and malles him through,
But the shalk for the sharp he shuntes a little;
He share him on the short ribbes a shaftmond large.
The shaft shuddered and shot in the shire berne
That the sheddand blood over his shank runnes
And shewed on his shin-bawde that was shire burnisht!
And so they shift and shove he shot to the erthe,
With the lush of the launce he light on his shoulders
An acre-lenghe on a laund full lothly wounded.
Then Gawain gird to the gome and on the grouf falles;
All his gref was graithed; his grace was no better!
He shockes out a short knife shethed with silver
And sholde have slotted him in but no slit happened;
His hand slipped and slode o-slant on the mailes
And the tother slely slinges him under;
With a trenchand knife the traitour him hittes
Through the helm and the hed on high on the brain;
And thus Sir Gawain is gone, the good man of armes,
Withouten rescue of renk, and rew is the more!
Thus Sir Gawain is gone that guied many other;
Fro Gower to Gernesay, all the grete lordes
Of Glamour, of Galys land, these galiard knightes
For glent of glopining glad be they never!
King Frederik of Fres faithly there-after
Fraines at the false man of our fers knight:
"Knew thou ever this knight in thy kith rich?
Of what kind he was comen beknow now the sooth;
What gome was he, this with the gay armes,
With this griffon of gold, that is on grouf fallen?
He has gretly greved us, so me God help,
Gird down our good men and greved us sore!
He was the sterenest in stour that ever steel wered,
For he stonayed our stale and stroyed for ever!"
Then Sir Mordred with mouth meles full fair:
"He was makless on molde, man, by my trewth.
This was Sir Gawain the good, the gladdest of other,
And the graciousest gome that under God lived,
Man hardiest of hand, happiest in armes,
And the hendest in hall under heven-rich,
And the lordliest in leding whiles he live might,
For he was lion alosed in landes ynow;
Had thou knowen him, Sir King, in kithe there he lenged,
His cunning, his knighthood, his kindly workes,
His doing, his doughtiness, his deedes of armes,
Thou wolde have dole for his dede the dayes of thy life."
Yet that traitour als tite teres let he fall,
Turnes him forth tite and talkes no more,
Went weepand away and weryes the stounde
That ever his werdes were wrought such wandreth to work!
When he thought on this thing it thirled his herte;
For sake of his sib-blood sighand he rides;
When that renayed renk remembered himselven
Of reverence and riotes of the Round Table,
He romed and repent him of all his rewth workes,
Rode away with his rout, restes he no lenger,
For rade of our rich king, rive that he sholde.
Then kaires he to Cornwall, care-full in herte,
Because of his kinsman that on the coste ligges;
He tarries trembland ay, tidandes to herken.
Then the traitour treunted the Tuesday there-after,
Trines in with a trayn tresoun to work,
And by the Tamber that tide his tentes he reres,
And then in a mett-while a messanger he sendes
And wrote unto Waynor how the world changed
And what comlich coste the king was arrived,
On flood foughten with his fleet and felled them o life;
Bade her ferken o-fer and flee with her childer
Whiles he might wile him away and win to her speche, 220
Ayer into Ireland, into those oute-mountes,
And wonne there in wilderness within tho waste landes.
Then sho yermes and yeyes at York in her chamber,
Grones full grisly with gretand teres,
Passes out of the palais with all her pris maidens,
Toward Chester in a charre they chese her the wayes,
Dight her even for to die with dole at her herte;
Sho kaires to Caerlion and caught her a veil,
Askes there the habit in honour of Crist
And all for falshed and fraud and fere of her lord!
But when our wise king wiste that Gawain was landed,
He al to-writhes for wo, and wringand his handes,
Gars launch his botes upon a low water,
Landes als a lion with lordlich knightes,
Slippes in the sloppes o-slant to the girdle,
Swalters up swiftly with his sword drawen,
Bounes his batail and banners displayes,
Buskes over the brode sand with brethe at his herte,
Ferkes frely on feld there the fey ligges;
Of the traitours men on trapped steedes,
Ten thousand were tint, the trewth to account,
And, certain, on our side seven score knightes,
In suite with their soveraign unsound are beleved.
The king comly overcast knightes and other,
Erles of Afrike and Estriche bernes,
Of Argyle and Orkney the Irish kinges,
The noblest of Norway, numbers full huge,
Dukes and Danemarkes and dubbed knightes;
And the Guthede king in the gay armes
Lies gronand on the ground and gird through even.
The rich king ransackes with rewth at his herte
And up rippes the renkes of all the Round Table,
Sees them all in a soppe in suite by them one
With the Sarazenes unsound encircled about, 221
And Sir Gawain the good in his gay armes,
Umbegripped the gers and on grouf fallen,
His banners braiden down, beten of gules,
His brand and his brode sheld all bloody berunnen.
Was never our seemlich king so sorrowful in herte,
Ne that sank him so sad but that sight one. 222
Then gliftes the good king and glopins in herte,
Grones full grislich with gretande teres,
Kneeles down to the corse and caught it in armes,
Castes up his umbrere and kisses him soon,
Lookes on his eye-liddes that locked were fair,
His lippes like to the lede and his lire fallowed.
Then the crownd king cries full loud:
"Dere cosin of kind in care am I leved,
For now my worship is went and my war ended!
Here is the hope of my hele, my happing in armes,
My herte and my hardiness holly on him lenged!
My counsel, my comfort, that keeped mine herte!
Of all knightes the king that under Crist lived!
Thou was worthy to be king, though I the crown bare!
My wele and my worship of all this world rich
Was wonnen through Sir Gawain and through his wit one!
"Alas," said Sir Arthur, "now eekes my sorrow!
I am utterly undone in mine owen landes!
A doutous, derf dede, thou dwelles too long!
Why drawes thou so on dregh? Thou drownes mine herte!"
Then sweltes the sweet king and in swoon falles,
Swafres up swiftly and sweetly him kisses
Til his burlich berde was bloody berunnen,
Als he had bestes brittened and brought out of life;
Ne had Sir Ewain comen and other grete lordes,
His bold herte had bristen for bale at that stounde!
"Blinn," says these bold men, "thou blunders thyselven!
This is bootless bale, for better bes it never!
It is no worship, iwis, to wring thine handes;
To weep als a woman it is no wit holden!
Be knightly of countenaunce, als a king sholde,
And leve such clamour, for Cristes love of heven!"
"For blood," says the bold king, "blinn shall I never
Ere my brain to-brist or my breste other!
Was never sorrow so soft that sank to my herte;
It is full sib to myself; my sorrow is the more.
Was never so sorrowful a sight seen with mine eyen!
He is sakless surprised for sin of mine one!"
Down kneeles the king and cries full loud,
With care-full countenaunce he carpes these wordes:
"O rightwise rich God, this rewth thou behold,
This real red blood run upon erthe!
It were worthy to be shrede and shrined in gold,
For it is sakless of sin, so help me our Lord!"
Down kneeles the king with care at his herte,
Caught it up kindly with his clene handes,
Cast it in a kettle-hat and coverd it fair,
And kaires forth with the corse in kithe there he lenges.
"Here I make mine avow," quod the king then,
"To Messie and to Mary, the mild Queen of heven:
I shall never rivaye ne ratches uncouple,
At roe ne rein-dere that runnes upon erthe,
Never greyhound let glide, ne gossehawk let fly
Ne never fowl see felled that flighes with wing,
Faucon ne formel upon fist handle
Ne yet with gerefaucon rejoice me in erthe,
Ne regne in my royaltees, ne hold my Round Table,
Til thy dede, my dere, be duly revenged!
But ever droop and dare whiles my life lastes,
Til Drighten and derf dede have done what them likes!"
Then caught they up the corse with care at their hertes,
Carried it on a courser with the king selven;
The way unto Winchester they went at the gainest,
Wery and wandsomly with wounded knightes;
There come the prior of the place and professed monkes,
A-pas in procession, and with the prince meetes,
And he betook them the corse of the knight noble:
"Lookes it be clenly keeped," he said, "and in the kirk holden;
Don for him diriges, as to the dede falles,
Mensked with masses for meed of the soul;
Look it want no wax, ne no worship elles,
And that the body be baumed and on erthe holden;
Yif thou keep thy covent, encroch any worship
At my coming again, yif Crist will it thole;
Abide of the burying til they be brought under
That has wrought us this wo and this war moved."
Then says Sir Wichere the wye, a wise man of armes:
"I rede ye warily wend and workes the best,
Sujourn in this citee and semble thy bernes,
And bide with thy bold men in the burgh rich;
Get out knightes of countrees that castels holdes, 223
And out of garrisons grete good men of armes,
For we are faithly too few to fight with them all
That we see in his sorte upon the se bankes.
With cruel countenaunce then the king carpes these wordes:
"I pray thee care not, sir knight, ne cast thou no dredes!
Had I no segge but myself one under sun,
And I may him see with sight or on him set handes,
I shall even among his men malle him to dede,
Ere I of the stede stir half a steed lenghe!
I shall strike him in his stour and stroy him forever,
And there-to make I mine avow devotly to Crist
And to his moder Mary, the mild Queen of heven!
I shall never sujourn sound, ne saught at mine herte,
In citee ne in suburb set upon erthe,
Ne yet slomour ne sleep with my slow eyen,
Til he be slain that him slogh, if any sleight happen,
But ever persew the paganes that my pople destroyed
Whiles I may pare them and pinne in place there me likes."
There durst no renk him arrest of all the Round Table,
Ne none pay that prince with plesand wordes,
Ne none of his lege-men look him in the eyen,
So lordly he lookes for loss of his knightes!
Then drawes he to Dorset and dreches no lenger,
Dref-ful, dredless, with droopand teres,
Kaires into Cornwall with care at his herte;
The trace of the traitour he trines full even,
And turnes in by the Trentis the traitour to seek,
Findes him in a forest the Friday there-after;
The king lightes on foot and freshly ascries,
And with his freelich folk he has the feld nomen!
Now isshewes his enmy under the wood eves
With hostes of alienes full horrible to shew!
Sir Mordred the Malbranche, with his much pople,
Foundes out of the forest upon fele halves,
In seven grete batailes seemlich arrayed,
Sixty thousand men - the sight was full huge -
All fightand folk of the fer landes,
Fair fitted on front by tho fresh strandes.
And all Arthurs host was amed with knightes
But eighteen hundreth of all, enterd in rolles.
This was a match un-mete, but mightes of Crist,
To melle with that multitude in those main landes.
Then the royal roy of the Round Table
Rides on a rich steed, arrayes his bernes,
Buskes his avauntward, als him best likes;
Sir Ewain and Sir Errak, and other grete lordes
Demenes the middle-ward menskfully there-after,
With Merrak and Meneduke, mighty of strenghes;
Idrous and Alymer, thir avenaunt children,
Ayers with Arthur with seven-score of knightes;
He rewles the rereward redyly there-after,
The rekenest redy men of the Round Table;
And thus he fittes his folk and freshly ascries,
And senn comfortes his men with knightlich wordes:
"I beseek you, sirs, for sake of our Lord,
That ye do well today and dredes no wepen!
Fightes fersly now and fendes yourselven,
Felles down yon fey folk, the feld shall be ours!
They are Sarazenes, yon sorte, unsound mot they worthe!
Set on them sadly for sake of our Lord!
Yif us be destained to die today on this erthe,
We shall be heved unto heven ere we be half cold!
Look ye let for no lede lordly to work;
Layes yon laddes low by the laike end;
Take no tent unto me, ne tale of me recke;
Bes busy on my banners with your bright wepens,
That they be strenghely stuffed with steren knightes
And holden lordly on-loft ledes to shew;
Yif any renk them arase, rescue them soon;
Workes now my worship; today my war endes!
Ye wot my wele and my wo; workes as you likes!
Crist comly with crown comfort you all
For the kindest creatures that ever king led!
I give you all my blessing with a blithe will,
And all Bretons bold, blithe mot ye worthe!"
They pipe up at prime time, approches them ner,
Pris men and preste proves their strenghes;
Bremly the brethe-men bragges in trumpes,
In coronettes comlyly, when knightes assembles;
And then jollyly enjoines these gentle knightes;nobr>
A jollier journee ajudged was never,
When Bretones boldly enbraces their sheldes,
And Cristen encrossed them and castes in fewter! 224
Then Sir Arthur host his enmy escries,
And in they shock their sheldes, shuntes no lenger,
Shot to the sheltrones and shoutes full high;
Through sheldes full sheen shalkes they touch!
Redily those rydde men of the Round Table
With real rank steel rittes their mailes;
Brenyes brouden they brist and burnisht helmes,
Hewes hethen men down, halses in sonder!
Fightand with fine steel the fey blood runnes;
Of the frekkest on front un-fers are beleved.
Hethenes of Argyle and Irish kinges
Enverounes our avauntward with venomous bernes,
Peghtes and paynimes with perilous wepens,
With speres dispitously despoiles our knightes
And hewed down the hendest with hertly dintes!
Through the hole batail they holden their wayes;
Thus fersly they fight upon sere halves,
That of the bold Bretons much blood spilles;
There durst none rescue them for riches in erthe,
The steren were there so stedde and stuffed with other;
He durst not stir a step, but stood for himselven,
Til three stales were stroyed by strenghe of him one!
"Idrous," quod Arthur, "ayer thee behooves!
I see Sir Ewain over-set with Sarazenes keen!
Redy thee for rescues, array thee soon!
Hie thee with hardy men in help of thy fader!
Set in on the side and succour yon lordes!
But they be succoured and sound, unsaught be I ever!"
Idrous him answers ernestly there-after:
"He is my fader, in faith, forsake shall I never -
He has me fostered and fed and my fair brethern -
But I forsake this gate, so me God help,
And soothly all sibreden but thyself one.
I broke never his bidding for berne on life,
But ever buxom as beste blithely to work.
He commaund me kindly with knightly wordes,
That I sholde lely on thee lenge, and on no lede elles;
I shall his commaundment hold, if Crist will me thole!
He is elder than I, and end shall we bothen;
He shall ferk before, and I shall come after;
Yif him be destained to die today on this erthe,
Crist, comly with crown, take keep to his soul!"
Then romes the rich king with rewth at his herte,
Heves his handes on height and to the Heven lookes:
"Why then ne had Drighten destained at His dere will 225
That He had deemed me today to die for you all?
That had I lever than be lord all my life-time
Of all that Alexander ought whiles he in erthe lenged!"
Sir Ewain and Sir Errak, these excellent bernes,
Enters in on the host and egerly strikes;
The hethenes of Orkney and Irish kinges
They gobone of the gretest with grounden swordes,
Hewes on those hulkes with their hard wepens,
Layed down those ledes with lothly dintes;
Shoulders and sheldes they shrede to the haunches,
And middles through mailes they merken in sonder!
Such honour never ought none erthly kinges
At their ending day but Arthur himselven!
So the drought of the day dryed their hertes
That both drinkless they die; dole was the more!
Now melles our middle-ward and mengen togeder.
Sir Mordred the Malbranche with his much pople,
He had hid him behind within these holt eves,
With hole batail on hethe, harm is the more!
He had seen the contek all clene to the end,
How our chevalry cheved by chaunces of armes;
He wiste our folk was for-foughten that there was fey leved;
To encounter the king he castes him soon,
But the cherles chicken had changed his armes;
He had soothly forsaken the sauturour engreled,
And laght up three lions all of white silver,
Passand in purpure of perry full rich, 226
For the king sholde not know the cautelous wretch.
Because of his cowardice he cast off his attire;
But the comlich king knew him full swithe,
Carpes to Sir Cador these kindly wordes:
"I see the traitour come yonder trinand full yerne;
Yon lad with the lions is like to himselven;
Him shall torfer betide, may I touch ones,
For all his tresoun and trayn, als I am trew lord!
Today Clarent and Caliburn shall kithe them togeders
Whilk is keener of carfe or harder of edge!
Fraist shall we fine steel upon fine weedes.
It was my darling dainteous and full dere holden, 227
Keeped for encrownmentes of kinges annointed;
On dayes when I dubbed dukes and erles
It was burlich borne by the bright hiltes;
I durst never dere it in deedes of armes
But ever keeped clene because of myselven.
For I see Clarent uncledde that crown is of swordes,
My wardrope at Walingford I wot is destroyed.
Wiste no wye of wonne but Waynor herselven;
Sho had the keeping herself of that kidd wepen,
Of coffers enclosed that to the crown longed,
With ringes and relickes and the regale of Fraunce
That was founden on Sir Frolle when he was fey leved."
Then Sir Marrak in malencoly meetes him soon,
With a malled mace mightyly him strikes;
The bordour of his bacenett he bristes in sonder,
That the shire red blood over his breny runnes!
The berne blenkes for bale and all his blee changes,
But yet he bides as a bore and bremly he strikes!
He braides out a brand bright als ever any silver
That was Sir Arthur owen, and Utere his faders,
In the wardrope at Walingford was wont to be keeped;
Therewith the derf dog such dintes he reched
The tother withdrew on dregh and drust do none other
For Sir Marrak was man marred in elde,
And Sir Mordred was mighty and in his most strenghes;
Come none within the compass, knight ne none other,
Within the swing of sword, that he ne the swet leved. 228
That perceives our prince and presses to fast,
Strikes into the stour by strenghe of his handes,
Meetes with Sir Mordred; he meles unfair:
"Turn, traitour untrew, thee tides no better;
By grete God, thou shall die with dint of my handes!
Thee shall rescue no renk ne riches in erthe!"
The king with Caliburn knightly him strikes;
The cantel of his clere sheld he carves in sonder,
Into the shoulder of the shalk a shaftmonde large
That the shire red blood shewed on the mailes!
He shuddered and shrinkes and shuntes but little,
But shockes in sharply in his sheen weedes;
The felon with the fine sword freshly he strikes,
The felettes of the ferrer side he flashes in sonder,
Through jupon and gesseraunt of gentle mailes,
The freke fiched in the flesh an half-foot large;
That derf dint was his dede, and dole was the more
That ever that doughty sholde die but at Drightens will!
Yet with Caliburn his sword full knightly he strikes,
Castes in his clere sheld and coveres him full fair,
Swappes off the sword hand, als he by glentes -
An inch fro the elbow he oched it in sonder
That he swoones on the swarth and on swim falles -
Through bracer of brown steel and the bright mailes,
That the hilt and the hand upon the hethe ligges.
Then freshlich the freke the fente up-reres,
Broches him in with the brand to the bright hiltes,
And he brawles on the brand and bounes for to die.
"In faye," said the fey king, "sore me for-thinkes
That ever such a false thef so fair an end haves."
When they had finisht this fight, then was the feld wonnen,
And the false folk in the feld fey are beleved!
Til a forest they fled and fell in the greves,
And fers fightand folk followes them after,
Huntes and hewes down the hethen tikes,
Murtheres in the mountaines Sir Mordred knightes;
There chaped never no child, cheftain ne other,
But choppes them down in the chase; it charges but little!
But when Sir Arthur anon Sir Ewain he findes,
And Errak the avenaunt and other grete lordes,
He caught up Sir Cador with care at his herte,
Sir Clegis, Sir Cleremond, these clere men of armes,
Sir Lot and Sir Lionel, Sir Launcelot and Lowes,
Marrak and Meneduke, that mighty were ever;
With langour in the land there he layes them togeder,
Looked on their lighames, and with a loud steven,
Als lede that list not live and lost had his mirthes -
Then he stotays for mad and all his strenghe failes,
Lookes up to the lift and all his lire changes,
Down he sways full swithe, and in a swoon falles,
Up he coveres on knees and cries full often -
"King, comly with crown, in care am I leved!
All my lordship low in land is laid under,
That me has given guerdones, by grace of Himselven,
Maintained my manhed by might of their handes,
Made me manly on molde and master in erthe,
In a teenful time this torfer was rered,
That for a traitour has tint all my trew lordes!
Here restes the rich blood of the Round Table,
Rebuked with a rebaud, and rewth is the more!
I may helpless on hethe house by mine one,
Als a woful widow that wantes her berne!
I may werye and weep and wring mine handes,
For my wit and my worship away is forever!
Of all lordshippes I take leve to mine end!
Here is the Bretones blood brought out of life,
And now in this journee all my joy endes!"
Then relies the renks of all the Round Table;
To the real roy they ride them all;
Then assembles full soon seven score knightes
In sight to their soveraign that was unsound leved;
Then kneeles the crowned king and cries on loud:
"I thank thee, God, of thy grace, with a good will,
That gave us vertue and wit to venquish these bernes,
And us has graunted the gree of these grete lordes!
He sent us never no shame ne shenship in erthe
But ever yet the over-hand of all other kinges;
We have no leisere now these lordes to seek,
For yon lothly lad me lamed so sore!
Graith us to Glashenbury; us gaines none other; 229
There we may rest us with roo and ransack our woundes.
Of this dere day work the Drighten be lowed,
That us has detained and deemed to die in our owen."
Then they hold at his hest holly at ones,
And graithes to Glashenbury the gate at the gainest;
Entres the Ile of Avalon and Arthur he lightes,
Merkes to a manor there, for might he no further;
A surgen of Salerne enserches his woundes;
The king sees by assay that sound bes he never,
And soon to his seker men he said these wordes:
"Do call me a confessor with Crist in his armes;
I will be houseld in haste what hap so betides.
Constantine my cosin he shall the crown bere,
Als becomes him of kind, if Crist will him thole!
Berne, for my benison, thou bury yon lordes
That in batail with brandes are brought out of life,
And sithen merk manly to Mordred children,
That they be slely slain and slongen in waters;
Let no wicked weed wax ne writhe on this erthe;
I warn, for thy worship, work als I bid!
I forgive all gref, for Cristes love of heven!
If Waynor have well wrought, well her betide!"
He said "In manus" with main on molde where he ligges, 230
And thus passes his spirit and spekes he no more!
The baronage of Bretain then, bishoppes and other,
Graithes them to Glashenbury with glopinand hertes
To bury there the bold king and bring to the erthe
With all worhsip and welth that any wye sholde.
Throly belles they ring and Requiem singes,
Dos masses and matins with mornand notes;
Religious reveste in their rich copes,
Pontificalles and prelates in precious weedes,
Dukes and douspeeres in their dole-cotes,
Countesses kneeland and claspand their handes,
Ladies languishand and lowrand to shew;
All was busked in black, birdes and other,
That shewed at the sepulture with syland teres;
Was never so sorrowful a sight seen in their time!
Thus endes King Arthur, as auctors allege,
That was of Ectores blude, the kinge son of Troy
And of Sir Priamous, the prince, praised in erthe;
Fro thethen brought the Bretons all his bold elders
Into Bretain the brode, as the Brut telles.
Hic jacet Arthurus, rex quondam rexque futurus.
(Here lies Arthur, king once and king to be.)
Here endes Morte Arthure, written by Robert of Thornton
R. Thornton dictus qui scripsit sit benedictus. Amen.
(May the said R. Thornton, who wrote this, be blessed. Amen.)
at a disadvantage
a week from today; until
gave them to
each by himself
guard; (see note)
dreamed; morning; dreams
cowers in fear
search; interpret; dreams
wandered by myself
knew; whither; should go
waste place prey
enclosed place; extent covered
small grass clad; (see note)
Surrounded; groves; all kinds of
adorned; (see note)
Adorned; (see note)
spokes; plated; bars
outer edge; clung
wheel; (see note)
I thought of
face; body crippled
The one; (see note)
bowed to me
rag; body to cover
stronger; more determined
gripped; rim; (see note)
yon seat is denied me
sixth; psalter; bound
surplice (cover); sewn
top; wheel; eagerly
dressed; color; blue
The other; clad
bright (one); graciously
throne; sceptre; gave
curling lock; reached; (see note)
all sides; (see note)
dearly take a draught
wearied from dreaming
bowed to; (see note)
The one; (see note)
strong; (see note)
recover; (see note)
ninth of the Worthies; (see note)
i.e., will get
trouble has happened
tell (i.e., confess)
large cloth hat
[He takes] his hunting
language; i.e., Italian
at war; danger; (see note)
seize; stop (me)
captured; foreign men
Saxons; both sides; (see note)
South Wales; mercenaries
in his possession
held; (see note)
men; woe be to him
without remedy; color
Called with a trumpet
trouble; i.e., who this
prepared himself; delays
rear; (see note)
Adorned; heavy cloth
harm; (see note)
Supplies; stern (ship)
lee (sea side of ship)
Adorned; little mantle
Encircled; diadem; decorated
make; violently blanch
returns to; ship; anchor
Raises; adorned with red
noble; (see note)
get to work
Drag bundles on trestles
Set small sails; battened
blew in trumpets
stalwartly on the prow
Suddenly sweeps; force
planks; starboard side
ship; small ships
grappling hooks across
i.e., first blow
fight; powerful equipment
Men; clad make slimy; (see note)
completely cut down
to fight the battle
through the air
Spaniards; leaped overboard
young men; lifeblood
heaving; these gray waves
accompanied with trumpets
small bay (gully)
ran aground; leaps
Alone; small troop
banner bearer; Go quickly
out of daylight
If I can; woe
engendering; (see note)
Attack; set on
arms of red; droplets
Gothland (South Sweden)
if it be my destiny
captured; (see note)
alive; sound health
pushes; hangs back
Befell; a fated man
Acting like; stabs
cut; six inches deep
shin plate; brightly
as; fell precipitously
blow; i.e., Mordred
full length; hillock
leaps; on his face
the other; slyly hurls
sight of horror
Frisia; faithfully; (see note)
on his face; (see note)
the kingdom of heaven
curses the time
kinship; (see note)
moaned; foul deeds
fear; arrive; might
the River Tamar
cries; sobs; (see note)
i.e., became a nun
falsehood; fear; husband
Gives orders to
Splashes; (see note)
slain; (see note)
Together; not whole (dead)
Gothic; (see note)
little group; together
Clutched; grass; face down
adorned with red
stares; is terror-struck
lead; complexion pale
well-being; good fortune
fearful cruel death
delay; so long
covered with blood
without remedy; will be
hunt; hounds unleash
Falcon; female hawk
the Lord; cruel death
by the shortest route
Do; befits; (see note)
See that; lack; candles
embalmed; (see note)
promise claim; reward
nor have peace
unequal save for
may they be
end of the game
Pay no attention; believe
Be; around; (see note)
is captured by them
may you be glad
9 a.m.; approach; nearer
Boldly; buglers; blow
put on (their arms)
unfierce (i.e., defeated)
various sides; (see note)
going (to his aid)
(was) obedient as a beast
i.e., Ewain and Errak; chop
Ill-begotten; great army
whole battalion; heath
churlish offspring; (see note)
woe; if I can
Excalibur; make known
Knew; the dwelling place
weakened by age
i.e., to battle
six inches deep
rib plates; farther
gipon (tunic); hauberk
Arthur; vent raises
I sorely repent
painful; mischief; raised
i.e., upper hand
peace; search (treat)
costly; praised; (see note)
i.e., own land
for he could go
examination; will be
i.e., the Eucharist
given the Sacrament
grow nor flourish
person should have
Loudly; (see note)
Hector's blood; (see note)
thence (i.e., Troy)