Alliterative Morte Arthure, Part III


1 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

21 himself

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

41 lightens

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"


The 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.
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Alliterative Morte Arthure, Part III

   When these wordes was said,   the Welsh king himselven
Was ware of this widerwin   that warrayed his knightes;
Brothely in the vale   with voice he ascries:
"Viscount of Valence,   envious of deedes,
The vassalage of Viterbo   today shall be revenged!
Unvanquisht fro this place   void shall I never."
   Then the viscount, valiant,   with a voice noble
Avoided the avauntward,   enveround his horse;
He dressed in a derf sheld,   endented with sable,
With a dragon engoushed,   dredful to shew,
Devourand a dolphin   with doleful lates,
In sign that our soveraign   sholde be destroyed,
And all done of dayes,   with dintes of swordes,
For there is nought but dede   there the dragon is raised!
   Then the comlich king   castes in fewter,
With a cruel launce   coupes full even
Aboven the spayre a span,   among the short ribbes, 144
That the splent and the spleen   on the spere lenges!
The blood sprent out and spredde   as the horse springes,
And he sproules full spakely,   but spekes he no more!
And thus has Sir Valiant   holden his avowes,
And vanquisht the Viscount   that victor was holden!
   Then Sir Ewain fitz Urien   full enkerly rides
Anon to the Emperour   his egle to touch;
Through his brode batail   he buskes belive,
Braides out his brand   with a blithe cheer,
Reversed it redily   and away rides,
Ferkes in with the fowl   in his fair handes,
And fittes in freely   on front with his feres.
   Now buskes Sir Launcelot   and braides full even
To Sir Lucius the lord   and lothly him hittes;
Through paunce and plates   he perced the mailes
That the proud pensel   in his paunch lenges!
The hed hailed out behind   an half foot large,
Through hawberk and haunch   with the hard wepen;
The steed and the steren man   strikes to the ground,
Strak down a standard   and to his stale wendes!
   "Me likes well," says Sir Lot,   "yon lordes are delivered! 145
The lot lenges now on me,   with leve of my lord;
Today shall my name be laid,   and my life after,
But some lepe fro the life   that on yon land hoves!"
   Then strekes the steren   and straines his bridle, 146
Strikes into the stour   on a steed rich,
Enjoined with a giaunt   and jagged him through!
Jollily this gentle knight   for-jousted another,
Wrought wayes full wide,   warrayand knightes,
And woundes all wathely   that in the way standes!
Fightes with all the frap   a furlong of way,
Felled fele upon feld   with his fair wepen,
Vanquisht and has the victory   of valiant knightes,
And all enverouned the vale   and void when him liked.
   Then bowmen of Bretain   brothely there-after
Bekered with brigandes   of fer in tho landes; 147
With flones fletterd they flit   full freshly thir frekes,
Fichen with fetheres   through the fine mailes;
Such flytting is foul   that so the flesh deres,
That flow a ferrom   in flankes of steedes.
Dartes the Dutch-men   delten againes,
With derf dintes of dede   dagges through sheldes;
Quarrels quaintly   quappes through knightes 148
With iron so wekerly   that wink they never.
So they shrinken for shot   of the sharp arrows,
That all the sheltron shunt   and shuddered at ones;
The rich steedes rependes   and rashes on armes,
The hole hundreth on hie   upon hethe ligges; 149
But yet the hatheliest on hie,   hethen and other,
All hourshes over hede,   harmes to work.
And all these giauntes before,   engendered with fendes,
Joines on Sir Jonathal and gentle knightes,
With clubbes of clene steel   clanked in helmes,
Crashed down crestes   and crashed braines,
Killed coursers   and coverd steedes,
Chopped through chevalers   on chalk-white steedes;
Was never steel ne steed   might stand them againes,
But stonays and strikes down   that in the stale hoves,
Til the conquerour come   with his keen knightes.
With cruel countenaunce   he cried full loud:
"I wend no Bretons wolde be   bashed for so little,
And for bare-legged boyes   that on the bente hoves!"
   He clekes out Caliburn,   full clenlich burnisht, 150
Graithes him to Golopas,   that greved him most,
Cuttes him even by the knees   clenly in sonder;
"Come down," quod the king,   "and carp to thy feres!
Thou art too high by the half,   I hete thee in trewth!
Thou shall be handsomer in hie,   with the help of my Lord!"
With that steelen brand   he stroke off his hed.
Sterenly in that stour   he strikes another.
Thus he settes on seven   with his seker knightes;
Whiles sixty were served so   ne sesed they never;
And thus at this joining   the giauntes are destroyed,
And at that journee for-jousted   with gentle knightes.
   Then the Romanes and the renkes   of the Round Table
Rewles them in array,   rereward and other,
With wight wepenes of war   they wroughten on helmes,
Rittes with rank steel   full real mailes
But they fit them fair,   these frek bernes,
Fewters in freely   on feraunt steedes
Foines full felly   with flishand speres,
Fretten off orfrayes   fast upon sheldes;
So fele fey is in fight   upon the feld leved
That ech a furth in the firth   of red blood runnes.
By that swiftely on swarth   the swet is beleved,
Swordes swangen in two,   sweltand knightes
Lies wide open welterand   on walopand steedes;
Woundes of wale men   workand sides,
Faces fetteled unfair   in feltered lockes,
All craysed, for-trodden   with trapped steedes, 151
The fairest on folde   that figured was ever,
As fer as a furlong, a thousand at ones!
   By then the Romanes were   rebuked at little,
Withdrawes them drerily   and dreches no lenger;
Our prince with his power   persewes them after,
Prikes on the proudest   with his pris knightes,
Sir Kayous, Sir Clegis,   Sir Cleremond the noble,
Encounters them at the cliff   with clene men of armes;
Fightes fast in the firth,   frithes no wepen,
Felled at the first come   five hundreth at ones!
And when they fande them for-set   with our fers knightes,
Few men again fele   mot fich them better,
Fightes with all the frap,   foines with speres,
And fought with the frekkest   that to Fraunce longes.
But Sir Kayous the keen   castes in fewter,
Chases on a courser   and to a king rides;
With a launce of Lettow   he thirles his sides
That the liver and the lunges   on the launce lenges;
The shaft shuddered and shot   in the shire berne,
And sought throughout the sheld   and in the shalk restes.
But Kayous at the in-come   was keeped unfair
With a coward knight   of the kith rich;
At the turning that time   the traitour him hit
In through the felettes   and in the flank after
That the bustous launce   the bewelles entamed,
That braste at the brawling   and broke in the middes.
Sir Kayous knew well   by that kidd wound
That he was dede of the dint   and done out of life;
Then he raikes in array   and on row rides,
On this real renk   his dede to revenge:
"Keep thee, coward!"   he calles him soon,
Cleves him with his clere brand   clenlich in sonder:
"Had thou well delt   thy dint with thy handes,
I had forgiven thee my dede,   by Crist now of heven!"
   He wendes to the wise king   and winly him greetes:
"I am wathely wounded,   waresh mon I never;
Work now thy worship,   as the world askes,
And bring me to burial;   bid I no more.
Greet well my lady the queen,   yif thee world happen,
And all the burlich birdes   that to her bowr longes;
And my worthily wife,   that wrathed me never,
Bid her for her worship   work for my soul!"
   The kinges confessour come   with Crist in his handes,
For to comfort the knight,   kend him the wordes;
The knight covered on his knees   with a kaunt herte,
And caught his Creatour   that comfortes us all.
Then romes the rich king   for rewth at his herte,
Rides into rout   his dede to revenge,
Pressed into the plump   and with a prince meetes
That was eier of Egypt   in those este marches,
Cleves him with Caliburn   clenlich in sonder!
He broches even through the berne   and the saddle bristes,
And at the back of the blonk   the bewelles entamed!
Manly in his malencoly   he meetes another;
The middle of that mighty   that him much greved
He merkes through the mailes   the middes in sonder,
That the middes of the man   on the mount falles,
The tother half of the haunch   on the horse leved;
Of that hurt, as I hope,   heles he never!
He shot through the sheltrons   with his sharp wepen,
Shalkes he shrede through   and shrinked mailes;
Banners he bore down,   brittened sheldes;
Brothely with brown steel   his brethe he there wrekes;
Wrothely he writhes   by wightness of strenghe,
Woundes these widerwinnes,   warrayed knightes
Threped through the thickes   thriteen sithes,
Thringes throly in the throng   and chis even after!
   Then Sir Gawain the good   with worshipful knightes
Wendes in the avauntward   by tho wood hemmes,
Was ware of Sir Lucius   on land there he hoves
With lordes and lege-men   that to himself longed.
Then the Emperour enkerly   askes him soon:
"What will thou, Wawain?   Work for thy wepen?
I wot by thy wavering   thou wilnes after sorrow;
I shall be wroken on thee, wretch   for all thy grete wordes!"
   He laght out a long sword   and lushed on fast,
And Sir Lionel in the land   lordly him strikes,
Hittes him on the hed   that the helm bristes,
Hurtes his herne-pan   an hand-bred large!
Thus he layes on the lump   and lordly them served,
Wounded worthily   worshipful knightes,
Fightes with Florent,   that best is of swordes,
Til the fomand blood   til his fist runnes!
   Then the Romans releved   that ere were rebuked,
And all torattes our men   with their reste horses;
For they see their cheftain   be chauffed so sore,
They chase and chop down   our chevalrous knightes!
Sir Bedvere was borne through   and his breste thirled
With a burlich brand,   brode at the hiltes;
The real rank steel   to his herte runnes,
And he rushes to the erthe;   rewth is the more!
   Then the conquerour took keep   and come with his strenghes
To rescue the rich men   of the Round Table,
To outraye the Emperour,   yif aunter it shew,
Even to the egle,   and "Arthur!" ascries.
The Emperour then egerly   at Arthur he strikes,
Awkward on the umbrere,   and egerly him hittes;
The naked sword at the nose   noyes him sore;
The blood of the bold king   over the breste runnes,
Bebledde at the brode sheld   and the bright mailes!
Our bold king bowes the blonk   by the bright bridle,
With his burlich brand   a buffet him reches
Through the breny and breste   with his bright wepen;
O slant down fro the slot   he slittes him at ones!
Thus endes the Emperour   of Arthure handes,
And all his austeren host   there-of were affrayed.
   Now they ferk to the firth,   a few that are leved,
For ferdness of our folk,   by the fresh strandes;
The flowr of our fers men   on feraunt steedes
Followes frekly on the frekes   that frayed was never.
Then the kidd conquerour   cries full loud:
"Cosin of Cornwall,   take keep to thyselven
That no capitain be keeped   for none silver,
Ere Sir Kayous dede   be cruelly venged!"
   "Nay," says Sir Cador,   "so me Crist help!
There ne is kaiser ne king   that under Crist regnes
That I ne shall kill cold-dede   by craft of my handes!"
   There might men see cheftains   on chalk-white steedes
Chop down in the chase   chevalry noble,
Romanes the richest   and real kinges,
Braste with rank steel   their ribbes in sonder,
Braines forbrusten   through burnisht helmes,
With brandes forbrittened   on brode in the landes;
They hewed down hethen men   with hilted swordes,
By hole hundrethes on hie   by the holt eves;
There might no silver them save   ne succour their lives,
Sowdan, ne Sarazen,   ne senatour of Rome.
   Then releves the renkes   of the Round Table,
By the rich river   that runnes so fair;
Lodges them lovely   by tho lighte strandes,
All on lowe in the land,   those lordlich bernes.
They kaire to the carriage   and took what them likes,
Camels and cokadrisses   and coffers full rich, 152
Hackes and hackenays   and horses of armes,
Housing and herberage   of hethen kinges;
They drew out dromedaries   of diverse lordes,
Moilles milk-white   and marvelous bestes,
Olfendes and arrabys   and olyfauntes noble 153
That are of the Orient   with honourable kinges.
   But Sir Arthur anon   ayeres thereafter
Even to the emperour   with honourable kinges,
Laght him up full lovelyly   with lordlich knightes,
And led him to the layer   there the king ligges.
Then harawdes hiely   at hest of the lordes,
Huntes up the haythemen   that on height ligges,
The Sowdan of Surry   and certain kinges,
Sixty of the chef   senatours of Rome.
Then they buskes and bawmed   thir burlich kinges,
Sewed them in sendell   sixty-fold after,
Lapped them in lede,   less that they sholde
Change or chauffe   yif they might escheve 154
Closed in kestes   clene unto Rome,
With their banners aboven,   their badges there-under,
In what countree they kaire,   that knightes might know
Ech king by his colours,   in kith where he lenged.
   Anon on the second day,   soon by the morn,
Two senatours there come   and certain knightes,
Hoodless fro the hethe,   ovre the holt-eves,
Bare-foot over the bente   with brandes so rich,
Bowes to the bold king   and biddes him the hiltes.
Whether he will hang them or hedde   or hold them on life,
Kneeled before the conquerour   in kirtels alone,
With careful countenaunce   they carped these wordes:
"Two senatours we are,   thy subjettes of Rome,
That has saved our life   by these salt strandes,
Hid us in the high wood   through the helping of Crist,
Beseekes thee of succour,   as soveraign and lord;
Graunt us life and limm   with liberal herte,
For His love that thee lente   this lordship in erthe!"
   "I graunt," quod the good king,   "through grace of myselven;
I give you life and limm   and leve for to pass,
So ye do my message   menskfully at Rome,
That ilke charge that I you give here   before my chef knightes."
   "Yes," says the senatours,   "that shall we ensure,
Sekerly by our trewthes,   thy sayinges to fulfill;
We shall let for no lede   that lives in erthe,
For pope ne for potestate   ne prince so noble,
That ne shall lely in land   thy letteres pronounce,
For duke ne for douspeer,   to die in the pain!"
   Then the bannerettes of Bretain   brought them to tents
There barbours were boun   with basins on loft;
With warm water, iwis,   they wet them full soon;
They shoven these shalkes   shapely thereafter
To reckon these Romanes   recreant and yelden
Forthy shove they them to shew   for skomfit of Rome.
They coupled the kestes   on camelles belive,
On asses and arrabyes,   these honourable kinges;
The Emperour for honour   all by him one,
Even upon an olyfaunt,   his egle out over;
Bekend them the captives,   the king did himselven,
And all before his keen men   carped these wordes:
"Here are the kestes," quod the king,   "kaire over the mountes,
Mette full monee   that ye have mikel yerned, 155
The tax and the tribute   of ten score winteres
That was teenfully tint   in time of our elders;
Say to the senatour   the citee that yemes
That I send him the sum;   assay how him likes!
But bid them never be so bold,   whiles my blood regnes
Eft for to brawl them   for my brode landes,
Ne to ask tribute ne tax   by nokin title,
But such tresure as this,   whiles my time lastes."
   Now they raik to Rome   the rediest wayes
Knelles in the Capitol   and commouns assembles,
Soveraignes and senatours   the citee that yemes,
Bekend them the carriage,   kestes and other,
Als the conquerour commaunde   with cruel wordes:
"We have trustily travailed   this tribute to fetch,
The tax and the trewage   of foure score winteres,
Of England, of Ireland   and all thir out-iles,
That Arthur in the Occident   occupies at ones.
He biddes you never be so bold   whiles his blood regnes
To brawl you for Bretain   ne his brode landes,
Ne ask him tribute ne tax   by nokins title
But such tresure as this,   whiles his time lastes.
We have foughten in Fraunce   and us is foul happened,
And all our much fair folk   fey are beleved;
Eschaped there ne chevalry   ne cheftaines nother,
But chopped down in the chase,   such chaunce is befallen!
We rede ye store you of stone   and stuffen your walles;
You wakens wandreth and war;   be ware if you likes!"
   In the kalendes of May   this case is befallen;
The roy real renowned   with his Round Table
On the coste of Constantine   by the clere strandes
Has the Romanes rich   rebuked for ever!
   When he had foughten in Fraunce   and the feld wonnen
And fersely his fomen   felld out of life,
He bides for the burying   of his bold knightes,
That in batail with brandes   were brought out of life.
He buries at Bayonne   Sir Bedwere the rich;
The corse of Kayous the keen   at Came is beleved,
Covered with a crystal   clenly all over;
His fader conquered that kith   knightly with handes.
Senn in Burgoine he badde   to bury mo knightes,
Sir Berade and Bawdwyne,   Sir Bedwar the rich,
Good Sir Cador at Came,   as his kind askes.
Then Sir Arthur anon   in the Auguste thereafter,
Enteres to Almaine   with hostes arrayed,
Lenges at Lusheburgh   to lechen his knightes,
With his lele lege-men   as lord in his owen;
And on Cristofer day   a counsel he holdes
With kinges and kaisers,   clerkes and other,
Commaundes them keenly   to cast all their wittes
How he may conquer by craft   the kith that he claimes;
But the conquerour keen,   courtais and noble,
Carpes in the counsel   these knightly wordes:
"Here is a knight in these cleves,   enclosed with hilles,
That I have covet to know   because of his wordes,
That is Lorraine the lele,   I keep not to laine. 156
The lordship is lovely,   as ledes me telles;
I will that duchy devise   and dele as me likes,
And senn dress with the duke,   if destainy suffer;
The renk rebel has been   unto my Round Table,
Redy ay with Romanes   to riot my landes.
We shall reckon full rathe,   if resoun so happen,
Who has right to that rent,   by rich God of heven!
Then will I by Lumbardy,   likand to shew,
Set law in the land   that last shall ever,
The tyrauntes of Tuskan   tempest a little,
Talk with the temporal,   whiles my time lastes;
I give my protection   to all the pope landes,
My rich pensel of pees   my pople to shew.
It is a folly to offend   our fader under God
Other Peter or Paul,   tho postles of Rome;
If we spare the spiritual   we speed but the better;
Whiles we have for to speke,   spill shall it never!" 157
   Now they speed at the spurres   withouten speche more,
To the march of Meyes,   these manlich knightes,
That is in Lorraine alosed   as London is here,
Citee of that seinour   that soveraign is holden.
The king ferkes forth   on a fair steed
With Ferrer and Ferawnte   and other four knightes;
About the citee tho seven   they sought at the next,
To seek them a seker place   to set with engines.
Then they bended in burgh   bowes of vise,
Bekers at the bold king   with bustous lates,
Allblawsters at Arthur   egerly shootes
For to hurt him or his horse   with that hard wepen.
The king shunt for no shot   ne no sheld askes,
But shews him sharply   in his sheen weedes,
Lenges all at leisere   and lookes on the walles
Where they were lowest   the ledes to assail.
   "Sir," said Sir Ferrer,   "a folly thou workes,
Thus naked in thy noblay   to nighe to the walles,
Singly in thy surcote   this citee to reche
And shew thee within   there to shend us all;
Hie us hastily henne   or we mon foul happen,
For hit they thee or thy horse,   it harmes for ever!"
   "If thou be ferde," quod the king,   "I rede thee ride utter, 158
Less that they rew thee   with their round wepen.
Thou art but a fauntekein,   no ferly me thinkes!
Thou will be flayed for a fly   that on thy flesh lightes!
I am nothing aghast,   so me God help!
Though such gadlinges be greved,   it greves me but little;
They win no worship of me,   but wastes their tackle;
They shall want ere I wend,   I wagen mine heved!
Shall never harlot have happe,   through help of my Lord,
To kill a crownd king   with crisom annointed!"
   Then come the herbariours,   harageous knightes,
The hole batailes on hie   harraunt thereafter,
And our forreours fers   upon fele halfes
Come flyand before   on feraunt steedes,
Ferkand in array,   thir real knightes,
The renkes renowned   of the Round Table!
All the frek men of Fraunce   followed thereafter,
Fair fitted on front   and on the feld hoves.
Then the shalkes sharply   shiftes their horses,
To shewen them seemly   in their sheen weedes;
Buskes in batail   with banners displayed,
With brode sheldes enbraced   and burlich helmes,
With penouns and pensells   of ilke prince armes,
Apparelled with perry   and precious stones;
The launces with loraines   and lemand sheldes,
Lightenand as the levening   and lemand all ove
Then the pris men prikes   and proves their horses,
Satilles to the citee upon sere halves;
Enserches the suburbes   sadly thereafter,
Discoveres of shot-men   and skirmish a little,
Scares their skotifers   and their scout-watches
Brittenes their barrers   with their bright wepens,
Bette down a barbican   and the bridge winnes;
Ne had the garnison been good   at the grete gates,
They had won that wonne   by their owen strenghe!
   Then with-drawes our men   and dresses them better,
For drede of the draw-bridge   dashed in-sonder; 159
Hies to the herberage   there the king hoves
With his batail on high,   horsed on steedes.
Then was the prince purveyed   and their places nomen,
Pight paviliouns of pall   and plattes in sege. 160
Then lenge they lordly   as them lef thought,
Watches in ilke ward,   as to the war falles,
Settes up sodenly   certain engines.
   On Sononday by the sun   has a flethe yolden, 161
The king calles on Florent,   that flowr was of knightes:
"The Fraunchmen enfeebleshes;   ne ferly me thinkes!
They are unfonded folk   in tho fair marches,
For them wantes the flesh   and food that them likes.
Here are forestes fair   upon fele halves,
And thider fomen are fled   with freelich bestes.
Thou shall founde to the felle   and forray the mountes:
Sir Ferawnte   and Sir Floridas   shall follow thy bridle.
Us moste with some fresh mete   refresh our pople
That are fed in the firth   with the fruit of the erthe.
There shall wend to this viage   Sir Gawain himselven,
Warden full worshipful,   and so him well seemes;
Sir Wecharde, Sir Walter,   these worshipful knightes,
With all the wisest men   of the west marches,
Sir Clegis, Sir Claribald,   Sir Cleremond the noble,
The Capitain of Cardiff,   clenlich arrayed.
Go now, warn all the watch,   Gawain and other,
And wendes forth on your way   withouten mo wordes."
   Now ferkes to the firth   these fresh men of armes,
To the felle so fawe,   these freshlich bernes,
Through hoppes and hemland,   hilles and other,
Holtes and hore woodes   with heslin shawes,
Through morass and moss   and mountes so high,
And in the misty morning   on a mede falles,
Mowen and unmade,   mainovred but little, 162
In swathes sweppen down,   full of sweet flowres;
There unbridels these bold   and baites their horses.
To the gryging of the day   that birdes gan sing
Whiles the sours of the sun,   that sande is of Crist,
That solaces all sinful   that sight has in erthe.
   Then wendes out the warden,   Sir Gawain himselven,
Als he that wise was and wight,   wonders to seek;
Then was he ware of a wye,   wonder well armed,
Baitand on a water bank   by the wood eves,
Busked in breny   bright to behold,
Enbraced a brode sheld   on a blonk rich,
Withouten any berne,   but a boy one
Hoves by him on a blonk   and his spere holdes.
He bore gessenande in gold   three grayhoundes of sable,
With chappes and chaines   of chalk-white silver,
A charbocle in the chef,   changand of hewes, 163
And a chef aunterous,   challenge who likes.
   Sir Gawain gliftes on the gome   with a glad will;
A grete spere from his groom   he grippes in handes,
Girdes even over the streme   on a steed rich
To that steren in stour   on strenghe there he hoves, 164
Egerly on English   "Arthur!" he ascries.
The tother irously   answers him soon
On the lange of Lorraine   with a loud steven
That ledes might listen   the lenghe of a mile:
"Whider prikes thou, pilour,   that proffers so large?
Here pickes thou no prey,   proffer when thee likes,
But thou in this peril   put of the better,
Thou shall be my prisoner   for all thy proud lates!"
   "Sir," says Sir Gawain,   "so me God help,
Such glaverand gomes   greves me but little!
But if thou graithe thy gere   thee will gref happen
Ere thou go of this greve,   for all thy grete wordes!"
   Then their launces they latchen,   these lordlich bernes,
Laggen with long speres   on liard steedes,
Coupen at aunter   by craftes of armes
Til both the cruel speres   brusten at ones;
Through sheldes they shot   and sheered through mailes,
Both sheer through sholders   a shaft-monde large.
Thus worthily these wyes   wounded are bothen;
Ere they wreke them of wrath   away will they never.
Then they raght in the rein   and again rides,
Redily these rathe men   rushes out swordes,
Hittes on helmes   full hertilich dintes,
Hewes on hawberkes   with full hard wepens!
Full stoutly they strike,   thir steren knightes,
Stokes at the stomach   with steelen pointes,
Fighten and flourish   with flamand swordes,
Til the flawes of fire   flames on their helmes.
   Then Sir Gawain was greved   and grouched full sore;
With Galuth his good sword   grimly he strikes,
Clef the knightes sheld   clenlich in sonder.
Who lookes to the left side,   when his horse launches,
With the light of the sun   men might see his liver.
Then grones the gome   for gref of his woundes,
And girdes at Sir Gawain   as he by glentes,
And awkward egerly   sore he him smites;
An alet enameld   he oches in sonder,
Bristes the rerebrace   with the brand rich,
Carves off at the coutere   with the clene edge
Anentis the avawmbrace   vailed with silver; 165
Through a double vesture   of velvet rich
With the venomous sword   a vein has he touched
That voides so violently   that all his wit changed;
The vesar, the aventail,   his vestures rich
With a valiant blood   was verred all over.
   Then this tyraunt tite   turnes the bridle,
Talkes untenderly and says:   "Thou art touched!
Us bus have a blood-band   ere thy blee change! 166
For all the barbours of Bretain   shall not thy blood staunch, 167
For he that is blemist with this brode brande   blinne shall he never! 168
   "Ya," quod   Sir Gawain,   "thou greves me but little.
Thou weenes to glopin me   with thy grete wordes;
Thou trowes with thy talking   that my herte talmes;
Thou betides torfer   ere thou henne turn
But thou tell me tite   and tarry no lenger
What may staunch this blood   that thus fast runnes."
   "Yis, I say thee soothly   and seker thee my trewth,
No surgeon in Salerne   shall save thee the better,
With-thy that thou suffer me   for sake of thy Crist
To shew shortly my shrift   and shape me for mine end." 169
   "Yis," quod Sir Gawain,   "so me God help,
I give thee grace and graunt,   though thou have gref served, 170
With-thy thou say me sooth   what thou here seekes,
Thus singly and sulain   all thyself one,
And what lay thou leves on - laine not the sooth -
And what legeaunce and land   and where thou art lord."
   "My name is Sir Priamus,   a prince is my fader,
Praised in his partyes   with proved kinges;
In Rome there he regnes   he is rich holden;
He has been rebel to Rome   and ridden their landes,
Warrayand wisely   winters and yeres
By wit and by wisdom   and by wight strenghe
And by worshipful war   his owen has he won.
He is of Alexander blood,   overling of kinges;
The uncle of his aiele,   Sir Ector of Troy.
And here is the kinreden   that I am of come,
Of Judas and Josue,   these gentle knightes;
I am apparent his eier,   and eldes of other;
Of Alexandere and Afrike   and all tho out-landes
I am in possession   and plenerly sesed.
In all the pris citees   that to the port longes
I shall have trewly   the tresure and the landes
And both tribute and tax   whiles my time lastes.
I was so hautain of herte   whiles I at home lenged
I held none my hip-height   under heven rich;
For-thy was I sent hider   with seven score knightes
To assay of this war   by sente of my fader;
And I am for surquidrie   shamely surprised
And by aunter of armes   outrayed for ever!
Now have I told thee the kin   that I of come,
Will thou for knighthede   ken me thy name?"
   "By Crist," quod Sir Gawain,   "knight was I never!
With the kidd conquerour   a knave of his chamber
Has wrought in his wardrope   winters and yeres
On his long armour   that him best liked;
I poine all his paviliouns   that to himselve pendes,
Dightes his doublettes   for dukes and erles,
Aketouns avenaunt   for Arthur himselven
That he has used in war   all these eight winter!
He made me yomen at Yole   and gave me grete giftes,
An hundreth pound, and a horse,   and harness full rich."
   "Yif I hap to my hele   that hende for to serve 171
I be holpen in haste,   I hete thee for-sooth!
If his knaves be such,   his knightes are noble!
There is no king under Crist   may kempe with him one!
He will be Alexander eier   that all the world louted,
Abler than ever was   Sir Ector of Troy!
Now for the crisom that thou caught   that day thou was cristened,
Whether thou be knight or knave   knowe now the sooth."
   "My name is Sir Gawain,   I graunt thee for-sooth
Cosin to the conquerour,   he knowes it himselven,
Kidd in his kalender   a knight of his chamber,
And rolled the richest   of all the Round Table!
I am the douspeer and duke   he dubbed with his handes
Daintily on a day   before his dere knightes;
Grouch not, good sir,   though me this grace happen;
It is the gift of God;   the gree is his owen!"
   "Peter!" says Priamus,   "now payes me better
Than I of Provence were prince   and of Paris rich!
For me were lever privily   be priked to the herte 172
Than ever any priker   had such a prise wonnen.
But here is herberd at hand   in yon huge holtes,
Hole batailes on high,   take heed if thee like!
The Duke of Lorraine the derf   and his dere knightes,
The doughtiest of Dolfinede   and Dutch-men many,
The lordes of Lumbardy   that leders are holden,
The garnison of Goddard   gaylich arrayed,
The wyes of the Westfale,   worshipful bernes,
Of Sessoine and Suryland   Sarazenes ynow;
They are numbered full nigh   and named in rolles
Sixty thousand and ten, for sooth,   of seker men of armes;
But if thou hie fro this hethe,   it harmes us bothe,
And but my hurtes be soon holpen,   hole be I never!
Take heed to this hansemen,   that he no horn blow,
Or thou hiely in haste   bes hewen all to peces, 173
For they are my retinues   to ride where I will;
Is none redier renkes   regnand in erthe;
Be thou raght with that rout,   thou rides no further,
Ne thou bes never ransouned   for riches in erthe!"
   Sir Gawain went ere the wathe come   where him best liked,
With this worthilich wye   that wounded was sore,
Merkes to the mountain   there our men lenges
Baitand their blonkes   there on the brode mede,
Lordes lenand low   on lemand sheldes,
With loud laughters on loft   for liking of birdes,
Or larkes, of linkwhites,   that lovelich songen;
And some was sleght on sleep   with slight of the pople 174
That sang in the sesoun   in the sheen shawes,
So low in the laundes   so likand notes.
Then Sir Wicher was ware   their warden was wounded
And went to him weepand   and wringand his handes;
Sir Wecharde, Sir Walter,   these wise men of armes
Had wonder of Sir Wawain   and went him againes,
Met him in the mid-way   and marvel them thought
How he mastered that man,   so mighty of strenghes.
By all the welth of the world   so wo was them never:
"For all our worship, iwis,   away is in erthe!"
   "Greve you not," quod Gawain, "for Goddes love of heven,
For this is but gosesomer   and given on erles;
Though my shoulder be shrede   and my sheld thirled,
And the weld of mine arm   workes a little,
This prisoner, Sir Priamus,   that has perilous woundes,
Says that he has salves   shall soften us bothen."
   Then stertes to his stirrup   sterenfull knightes,
And he lordly alightes   and laght off his bridle,
And let his burlich blonk   baite on the flowres,
Braides off his bacenett   and his rich weedes,
Bounes to his brode sheld   and bowes to the erthe;
In all the body of that bold   is no blood leved!
Then presses to Sir Priamus   precious knightes,
Avisely of his horse   hentes him in armes
His helm and his hawberk   they taken off after,
And hastely for his hurt   all his herte changed;
They laid him down in the laundes   and laght off his weedes,
And he lened him on long   or how him best liked.
A foil of fine gold   they fande at his girdle,
That is full of the flowr   of the four welle
That flowes out of Paradise   when the flood rises,
That much fruit of falles   that feed shall us all;
Be it frette on his flesh   there sinews are entamed,
The freke shall be fish-hole   within four houres.
They uncover that corse   with full clene handes,
With clere water a knight   clenses their woundes,
Keled them kindly   and comforted their hertes;
And when the carves were clene   they cledde them again.
Barrel-ferrers they broched   and brought them the wine, 175
Both brede and brawn   and bredes full rich;
When they had eten   anon they armed after.
   Then tho auntrend men   " As armes!" ascries, 176
With a clarioun clere   thir knightes togeder
Calles to counsel   and of this case telles:
"Yonder is a company   of clene men of armes,
The keenest in contek   that under Crist lenges;
In yon oken wood   an host are arrayed,
Under-takand men   of these oute-landes,
As says Sir Priamus,   so help Saint Peter!
Go men," quod Gawain,   "and grope in your hertes
Who shall graithe to yon greve   to yon grete lordes;
If we get-less go home,   the king will be greved
And say we are gadlinges,   aghast for a little.
We are with Sir Florent,   as to-day falles,
That is flowr of Fraunce,   for he fled never;
He was chosen and charged   in chamber of the king
Cheftain of this journee,   with chevalry noble;
Whether he fight or he flee   we shall follow after;
For all the fere of yon folk   forsake shall I never!"
   "Fader," says Sir Florent,   "full fair ye it tell!
But I am but a fauntekin,   unfraisted in armes;
If any folly befall   the faut shall be ours
And fremedly o Fraunce   be flemed for ever!
Woundes not your worship,   my wit is but simple,
Ye are our warden, iwis;   work as you likes."
   "Ye are at the ferrest   not passand five hundreth
And that is fully too few   to fight with them all,
For harlottes and hansemen   shall help but little;
They will hie them henn   for all their grete wordes!
I rede ye work after wit,   as wise men of armes,
And warpes wilily away,   as worshipful knightes."
   "I graunt," quod Sir Gawain,   "so me God help!
But here are some galiard gomes   that of the gree serves,
The cruelest knightes   of the kinges chamber,
That can carp with the cup   knightly wordes;
We shall prove today   who shall the prise win!"
   Now forreours fers   unto the firth rides
And fanges a fair feld   and on foot lightes,
Prikes after the prey,   as pris men of armes,
Florent and Floridas,   with five score knightes,
Followed in the forest   and on the way foundes,
Flingand a fast trot   and on the folk drives.
Then followes fast to our folk   well a five hundreth
Of frek men to the firth   upon fresh horses;
One Sir Feraunt before,   upon a fair steed,
Was fostered in Famacoste;   the fend was his fader;
He flinges to Sir Florent   and prestly he cries:
"Why flees thou, false knight?   The Fend have thy soul!"
Then Sir Florent was fain   and in fewter castes,
On Fawnell of Frisland   to Feraunt he rides,
And raght in the rein   on the steed rich,
And rides toward the rout,   restes he no lenger!
Full butt in the front   he flishes him even,
And all disfigures his face   with his fell wepen!
Through his bright bacenett   his brain has he touched,
And brusten his neck-bone   that all his breth stopped! 177
   Then his cosin ascried   and cried full loud:
"Thou has killed cold-dede   the king of all knightes!
He has been fraisted on feld   in fifteen rewmes;
He fand never no freke   might fight with him one!
Thou shall die for his dede,   with my derf wepen,
And all the doughty for dole   that in yon dale hoves!"
   "Fy," says Sir Floridas,   "thou fleryand wretch!
Thou weenes for to flay us,   floke-mouthed shrew!"
But Floridas with a sword,   as he by glentes,
All the flesh of the flank   he flappes in sonder
That all the filth of the freke   and fele of his guttes
Followes his fole foot   when he forth rides!
   Then rides a renk   to rescue that berne;
That was Raynald of the Rodes,   and rebel to Crist,
Perverted with paynims   that Cristen persewes,
Presses in proudly   as the prey wendes,
For he had in Prussland   much prise wonnen;
For-thy in presence there   he proffers so large.
But then a renk, Sir Richere   of the Round Table,
On a real steed   rides him againes;
Through a round red sheld   he rushed him soon
That the rosseld spere   to his herte runnes!
The renk reeles about   and rushes to the erthe,
Rores full rudly   but rode he no more!
   Now all that is fere and unfey   of these five hundreth
Falles on Sir Florent   and five score knightes,
Betwix a plash and a flood,   upon a flat land;
Our folk fangen their feld   and fought them againes;
Then was loud upon loft   "Lorraine!" ascried,
When ledes with long speres   lashen togeders,
And "Arthur!" on our side   when them ought ailed.
   Then Sir Florent and Floridas   in fewter they cast,
Frushen on all the frap   and bernes affrayed,
Felles five at the front   there they first entered
And, ere they ferk further,   fele of these other;
Brenyes brouden they briste,   brittened sheldes,
Betes and beres down   the best that them bides;
All that rewled in the rout   they riden away,
So rudly they rere,   these real knightes!
   When Sir Priamus, that prince,   perceived their gamen,
He had pitee in herte   that he ne durste proffer;
He went to Sir Gawain   and says him these wordes:
"Thy pris men for thy prey   put are all under;
They are with Sarazenes over-set,   mo than seven hundreth
Of the Sowdanes knightes,   out of sere landes;
Wolde thou suffer me, sir,   for sake of thy Crist
With a sop of thy men   suppowel them ones."
   "I grouch not," quod Gawain,   "the gree is their owen;
They mon have guerdons full grete   graunt of my lord;
But the frek men of Fraunce   fraist themselven;
Frekes fought not their fill this fifteen winter!
I will not stir with my stale   half a steed lenghe,
But they be stedde with more stuff   than on yon stede hoves!"
   Then Sir Gawain was ware,   withouten the wood-hemmes,
Wyes of the Westfale,   upon wight horses,
Walopand wodely   as the way forthes,
With all the wepens, iwis,   that to the war longes;
The erl Antele the old   the avauntward he buskes,
Ayerand on either hand   eight thousand knightes;
His pelours and pavisers   passed all in number
That ever any prince lede   purveyed in erthe!
   Then the Duke of Lorraine   dresses thereafter
With double of the Dutch-men   that doughty were holden,
Paynims of Prussland,   prikers full noble,
Come prikand before   with Priamus knightes.
Then said the erl Antele   to Algere his brother:
"Me angers ernestly   at Arthures knightes,
Thus enkerly on an host   aunters themselven!
They will be outrayed anon,   ere undron ring,
Thus foolily on a feld   to fight with us all!
But they be fesed, in fey,   ferly me thinkes; 178
Wolde they purpose take   and pass on their wayes,
Prik home to their prince   and their prey leve,
They might lenghen their life   and losen but little,
It wolde lighten my herte,   so help me our Lord!"
   "Sir," says Sir Algere,   "they have little used
To be outrayed with host;   me angers the more!
The fairest shall be full fey   that in our flock rides,
Als few as they ben,   ere they the feld leve!"
   Then good Gawain,   gracious and noble,
All with glorious glee   he gladdes his knightes:
"Glopins not, good men,   for glitterand sheldes,
Though yon gadlinges be gay   on yon grete horses!
Bannerettes of Bretain,   buskes up your hertes!
Bes not baist of yon boyes   ne of their bright weedes!
We shall blenke their boste,   for all their bold proffer,
Als buxom as bird is   in bed to her lord!
Yif we fight today,   the feld shall be ours,
The fekil fey shall fail   and falssede be destroyed! 179
Yon folk is on frontere,   unfraisted them seemes;
They make faith and faye   to the Fend selven!
We shall in this viage   victores be holden
And avaunted with voices   of valiant bernes,
Priased with princes   in presence of lordes
And loved with ladies   in diverse landes!
Ought never such honour   none of our elders,
Unwine ne Absolon   ne none of these other!
When we are most in distress   Marie we mene
That is our master's saine   that he much traistes,
Meles of that milde queen   that menskes us all;
Who-so meles of that maid,   miscarries he never!"
   By these wordes were said   they were not fer behind,
But the lenghe of a land   and "Lorraine!" ascries;
Was never such a jousting   at journee in erthe
In the vale of Josephate,   as gestes us telles,
When Julius and Joatelle   were judged to die,
As was when the rich men   of the Round Table
Rushed into the rout   on real steedes,
For so rathely they rush   with rosseld speres
That the rascal was rade   and ran to the greves,
And kaired to that court   as cowardes for ever!
   "Peter!" says Sir Gawain,   "this gladdes mine herte,
That yon gadlinges are gone   that made grete number!
I hope that these harlottes   shall harm us but little,
For they will hide them in haste   in yon holt eves;
They are fewer on feld   than they were first numbered
By fourty thousand, in faith,   for all their fair hostes."
   But one Jolyan of Gene,   a giaunt full huge,
Has joined on Sir Gerard,   a justice of Wales;
Through a jerownde sheld   he jagges him through,
And a fine gesseraunt   of gentle mailes;
Jointer and gemous   he jagges in sonder!
On a jambe steed   this journee he makes;
Thus is the giaunt for-jouste,   that erraunt Jew,
And Gerard is jocound   and joyes him the more.
   Then the genatours of Gene   enjoines at ones
And ferkes on the frontere   well a five hundreth;
A freke hight Sir Frederik   with full fele other
Ferkes on a frush   and freshlich ascries
To fight with our forreours   that on feld hoves;
And then the real renkes   of the Round Table
Rode forth full ernestly   and rides them againes,
Melles with the middle-ward,   but they were ill-matched; 180
Of such a grete multitude   was marvel to here.
Senn at the assemblee   the Sarazenes discoveres
The soveraign of Sessoine   that salved was never;
Giauntes for-jousted   with gentle knightes
Through gesserauntes of Gene   jagged to the herte!
They hew through helmes   hautain bernes,
That the hilted swordes   to their hertes runnes!
Then the renkes renowned   of the Round Table
Rives and rushes down   renayed wretches;
And thus they driven to the dede   dukes and erles
All the dregh of the day,   with dredful workes!
   Then Sir Priamus the prince,   in presence of lordes,
Presses to his penoun   and pertly it hentes,
Reverted it redily   and away rides
To the real rout   of the Round Table;
And hiely his retinue   raikes him after,
For they his resoun had redde   on his sheld rich.
Out of the sheltron they shed   as sheep of a fold,
And steeres forth to the stour   and stood by their lord.
Senn they sent to the duke   and said him these wordes:
"We have been thy soudeours   these six yere and more;
We forsake thee today   by sert of our lord.
We sew to our soveraign   in sere kinges landes;
Us defautes our fee   of this four winteres.
Thou art feeble and false   and nought but fair wordes;
Our wages are wered out   and thy war ended;
We may with worship   wend whither us likes!
I rede thou trete of a trewe   and troufle no lenger,
Or thou shall tinne of thy tale   ten thousand ere even."
   " Fy a diables!" said the duke,   "the Devil have your bones!" 181
The daunger of yon dogges   drede shall I never!
We shall dele this day,   by deedes of armes,
My dede and my duchery   and my dere knightes;
Such soudeours as ye   I set but at little,
That sodenly in defaut   forsakes their lord!"
   The duke dresses in his sheld   and dreches no lenger,
Drawes him a dromedary   with dredful knightes;
Graithes to Sir Gawain   with full grete number
Of gomes of Gernaide   that grevous are holden.
Those fresh horsed men   to the front rides,
Felles of our forreours   by fourty at ones!
They had foughten before   with a five hundreth;
It was no ferly, in faith,   though they faint waxen.
Then Sir Gawain was greved   and grippes his spere,
And girdes in again   with galiard knightes,
Meetes the Marches of Meyes   and melles him through, 182
As man of this middle-erthe   that most had greved!
But one Chastelayne, a child   of the kinges chamber,
Was ward to Sir Wawain   of the west marches,
Chases to Sir Cheldrik,   a cheftain noble;
With a chasing-spere   he shockes him through!
This check him escheved   by chaunces of armes.
So they chase that child   eschape may he never;
But one Swyan of Swecy,   with a sword edge,
The swyers swire-bone   he swappes in sonder!
He swoonand died   and on the swarth lenged,
Sweltes even swiftly   and swank he no more!
   Then Sir Gawain gretes   with his gray eyen;
The guite was a good man,   beginnand of armes.
For the chery child   so his cheer changed
That the chilland water   on his cheekes runned!
"Wo is me," quod Gawain,   "that I ne witten had!
I shall wage for that wye   all that I weld,
But I be wroken on that wye   that thus has him wounded!"
He dresses him drerily   and to the duke rides,
But one Sir Dolphin the derf   dight him againes,
And Sir Gawain him gird   with a grim launce
That the grounden spere   glode to his herte!
And egerly he hent out   and hurt another,
An hethen knight, Hardolf,   happy in armes;
Slyly in at the slot   slittes him through
That the slidand spere   of his hand slippes!
There is slain in that slope   by sleghte of his handes 183
Sixty slongen in a slade   of sleghe men of armes!
Though Sir Gawain were wo,   he waites him by
And was ware of that wye   that the child wounded,
And with a sword swiftly   he swappes him through,
That he swiftly swelt   and on the erthe swoones!
And then he raikes to the rout   and rushes on helmes,
Rich hawberkes he rent   and rased sheldes;
Rides on a randoun   and his raik holdes;
Throughout the rereward   he holdes wayes,
And there raght in the rein,   this real the rich,
And rides into the rout   of the Round Table.
   Then our chevalrous men   changen their horses,
Chases and choppes down   cheftaines noble,
Hittes full hertely   on helmes and sheldes,
Hurtes and hewes down   hethen knightes!
Kettle-hattes they cleve   even to the shoulders;
Was never such a clamour   of capitaines in erthe!
There was kinges sonnes caught,   courtais and noble,
And knightes of the countree   that knowen was rich;
Lordes of Lorraine   and Lumbardy bothen
Laght was and led in   with our lele knightes.
Those that chased that day   their chaunce was better;
Such a check at a chase   escheved them never!
   When Sir Florent by fight   had the feld wonnen
He ferkes in before   with five score knightes;
Their preyes and their prisoneres   passes on after,
With pelours and pavisers   and pris men of armes;
Then goodly Sir Gawain   guides his knightes,
Gos in at the gainest,   as guides him telles,
For gref of a garnison   of full grete lordes
Sholde not grip up his gere   ne such gram work;
For-thy they stood at the straightes   and with his stale hoved,
Til his preyes were past   the path that he dredes.
   When they the citee might see   that the king seged
(Soothly the same day   was with assaut wonnen),
An heraud hies before   at heste of the lordes,
Home at the herberage,   out of the high landes,
Turnes tite to the tent   and to the king telles
All the tale soothly   and how they had sped:
"All thy forreours are fere   that forrayed withouten,
Sir Florent and Sir Floridas   and all thy fers knightes;
They have forrayed and foughten   with full grete number
And fele of thy fo-men   has brought out of life!
Our worshipful warden   is well escheved,
For he has won today   worship for ever;
He has Dolphin slain   and the duke taken!
Many doughty is dede   by dint of his handes!
He has prisoners pris,   princes and erles,
Of the richest blood   that regnes in erthe;
All thy chevalrous men   fair are escheved,
But a child, Chastelain,   mischaunce has befallen."
   "Hautain," says the king,   "heraud, by Crist,
Thou has heled mine herte,   I hete thee for-sooth!
I give thee in Hampton   a hundreth pound large!"
   The king then to assaut   he sembles his knightes
With somercastel and sowe   upon sere halves,
Shiftes his skotiferes   and scales the walles,
And ech watch has his ward   with wise men of armes.
Then boldly they busk   and bendes engines
Paises in pillotes   and proves their castes.
Ministeres and masondewes   they mall to the erthe, 184
Churches and chapels   chalk-white blaunched,
Stone steeples full stiff   in the street ligges,
Chambers with chimnees   and many chef inns,
Paised and pelled down   plastered walles;
The pine of the pople   was pitee for to here!
   Then the duchess her dight   with damesels rich,
The countess of Crasine   with her clere maidens,
Kneeles down in the kirnelles   there the king hoved,
On a covered horse   comlyly arrayed.
They knew him by countenaunce   and cried full loud:
"King crowned of kind,   take keep to these wordes!
We beseek you, sir,   as soveraign and lord,
That ye save us today,   for sake of your Crist!
Send us some succour   and saughte with the pople,
Ere the citee be sodenly   with assaut wonnen!"
   He veres his vesar   with a vout noble,
With visage virtuous,   this valiant berne,
Meles to her mildly   with full meek wordes:
"Shall none misdo you, madame,   that to me longes;
I give you charter of pees,   and your chef maidens,
The childer and the chaste men,   the chevalrous knightes;
The duke is in daunger;   dredes it but little!
He shall be deemed full well,   dout you nought elles."
   Then sent he on ech a side   to certain lordes
For to leve the assaut;   the citee was yolden
(With the erle eldest son   he sent him the keyes)
And sesed the same night,   by sent of the lordes.
The duke to Dover is dight   and all his dere knightes,
To dwell in daunger and dole   the dayes of his life.
   There fled at the ferrer gate   folk withouten number,
For ferd of Sir Florent   and his fers knightes;
Voides the citee   and to the wood runnes
With vitail and vessel,   and vesture so rich;
They busk up a banner   aboven the brode gates.
Of Sir Florent, in fay,   so fain was he never!
The knighte hoves on a hill,   beheld the walles,
And said: "I see by yon sign   the citee is oures!"
Sir Arthur enters anon   with hostes arrayed,
Even at the undron   ettles to lenge.
In eche levere on loud   the king did cry
On pain of life and limm   and lesing of landes
That no lele lege-man   that to him longed,
Sholde lie by no ladies,   ne by no lele maidens,
Ne by no burgess wife,   better ne worse
Ne no bernes misbid   that to the burgh longed.
   When the king Arthur   had lely conquered
And the castel covered   of the kith rich,
All the cruel and keen,   by craftes of armes,
Capitains and constables,   knew him for lord.
He devised and delt   to diverse lordes
A dower for the duchess   and her dere childer;
Wrought wardenes by wit   to weld all the landes
That he had wonnen of war   through his wise knightes.
Thus in Lorraine he lenges   as lord in his owen,
Settes lawes in the land   as him lef thought,
And on Lammas day   to Lucerne he wendes,
Lenges there at leisere   with liking ynow.
There his galleys were graithed,   a full grete number,
All glitterand as glass,   under green hilles,
With cabanes covered   for kinges annointed
With clothes of clere gold   for knightes and other;
Soon stowed their stuff   and stabled their horses,
Strekes streke over the streme   into the strait landes. 185
   Now he moves his might   with mirthes of herte
Over mountes so high,   those marvelous wayes,
Gos in by Goddard,   the garret he winnes,
Graithes the garnison   grisly woundes!
When he was passed the height,   then the king hoves
With his hole batail   beholdand about,
Lookand on Lumbardy   and on loud meles:
"In yon likand land   lord be I think!" 186
   Then they kaire to Combe   with kinges annointed,
That was kidd of the coste,   key of all other.
Sir Florent and Sir Floridas   then foundes before
With freke men of Fraunce   well a five hundreth;
To the citee unseen   they sought at the gainest,
And set an enbushment,   als themselve likes,
Then ishewes out of that citee,   full soon by the morn;
Sleyly discoverers   skiftes their horses;
Then skiftes these scowerers   and skippes on hilles,
Discoverers for skulkers   that they no scathe limpen. 187
Poverall and pastorelles   passed on after
With porkes to pasture   at the pris gates;
Boyes in the suburbes   bourden full high
At a bore singlere   that to the bente runnes.
   Then brekes our bushment   and the bridge winnes,
Braides into the burgh   with banners displayed,
Stekes and stabbes through   that them again-standes;
Four streetes, ere they stint,   they stroyed forever!
   Now is the conquerour in Combe   and his court holdes
Within the kidd castel   with kinges annointed,
Recounseles the commouns   that to the kith longes,
Comfortes the care-full   with knightly wordes,
Made a capitain keen   a knight of his owen;
But all the countree and he   full soon were accorded.
   The Sire of Milan herde say   the citee was wonnen,
And send to Arthur   certain lordes,
Grete summes of gold,   sixty horses charged,
Besought him as soveraign   to succour the pople,
And said he wolde soothly   be subjet forever,
And make him service and suite   for his sere landes;
For Plesaunce, for Pawnce,   and for Pownte Tremble,
For Pise and for Pavy   he proffers full large
Both purpure and pall   and precious stones,
Palfreyes for any prince   and proved steedes
And ilk a yere for Milan   a melion of gold,
Meekly at Martinmas   to menske with his hordes, 188
And ever, withouten asking,   he and his eiers
Be hommagers to Arthur   whiles his life lastes.
The king by his counsel   a condeth him sendes,
And he is comen to Combe   and knew him as lord.
   Into Tuskane he turnes   when thus wel timed,
Takes townes full tite   with towres full high;
Walles he welt down,   wounded knightes,
Towres he turnes,   and tourmentes the pople,
Wrought widowes full wlonk   wrotherayle singen,
Oft werye and weep   and wringen their handes;
And all he wastes with war   there he away rides;
Their welthes and their wonninges   wandreth he wrought!
   Thus they springen and sprede   and spares but little,
Spoiles dispiteously   and spilles their vines,
Spendes unsparely   that spared was long,
Speedes them to Spolett   with speres ynow!
Fro Spain into Spruysland   the word of him springes
And spekings of his spenses;   despite is full huge. 189
Toward Viterbo this valiant   aveeres the reines;
Avisely in that vale   he vitailes his bernes,
With Vernage and other wine   and venison baken
And on the Viscounte landes   he vises to lenge.
Vertely the avauntward   voides their horses
In the Vertenonne vale   the vines i-monges;
There sujournes this soveraign   with solace in herte,
To see when the Senatours   sent any wordes,
Revel with rich wine,   riotes himselven,
This roy with his real men   of the Round Table,
With mirthes and melody   and manykin gamnes;
Was never merrier men   made on this erthe!
adversary; warred on
(see note)
Left; vanguard; turned
strong; edged
Devouring; expression
strikes exactly
piece of armor plate
spurt; spread
sprawls; swiftly
eagerly; (see note)
hurries quickly
Goes; i.e., the eagle
hurries; pulls; (see note)
stomach guard; pierced
(Launcelot) strikes
struck; company
(see note)
laid low
leap; stand
Engaged; slashed
rode around; left
Pierce; feathers
contention; harms
flew; from afar
Germans; dealt; in return
troops hung back
buck; rush
(see note)
most noble hastily
Attack; (see note)
astonish; troop
supposed; abashed
knaves; remain
(see note)
did not cease
ordered themselves; bold
Fix lances; iron-gray
Duel; fiercely; flashing
Cut; gold ornaments; fastened
every stream; forest
By then; ground; lifeblood
swung; dying
rolling about; galloping
choice; paining
enclosed; matted
earth; created; (see note)
drearily; delay
(see note)
found; blockaded
against many must pierce
troop, duel
Lithuania; pierces
shining armor
went; man
entry; poorly protected
Against; privileged kind (powerful kinsmen)
loins; lower belly
wild; bowels pierced
goes; at the rank
royal person; (see note)
Defend yourself (On guard); (see note)
woefully; recover may
if you survive
stately maids
worthy; angered
i.e., the Host
told; i.e., absolution
arose to; stout
(see note)
heir; east
bowels pierced
rage (melancholy)
slashes; middle
other; remained
Men; cut; wrinkled
shining; anger
adversaries, attacked
Fought; crowds; times
Presses hard; pushes
vanguard; edges
do you want
roving; want
took out; lashed
skull; hand's breadth deep
scatter; rested
noble stout sword
sorrow is the greater
outrage; chance
Slantwise; visor
Bloodied; (see note)
turns; horse
blow; reaches to (gives)
Aslant; base of throat
burst into pieces
battered to death; abroad
hastily; edges of the wood
rally; warriors
pleasant; (see note)
on the ground
(see note)
Work horses
(see note)
Mules; beasts
(see note)
resting place
heralds quickly; command
embalmed; these strong
fine linen
Wrapped; lead
enclosed in chests
(see note)
immediately at dawn
wood's edge
gowns (i.e., without armor)
Providing; honorably
pledged words
(see note)
barbers; ready
shaved; men; suitably
mark; surrendered
shaved; discomfiture
chests; quickly
Arabian horses
Entrusted them to
(see note)
painfully lost
no kind of
Ring bells
Gave; baggage, chests
tribute; (see note)
those; outer isles
no kind of
escaped; neither
awaken trouble
first day
Caen; left
Burgundy; abode; more
(see note)
Caen; race requires
Autumn; (see note)
Luxembourg; heal
own (realm)
July 25; (see note)
(see note)
divide; deal out
deal; destiny allow
to ravage; (see note)
pleasing to see
Tuscany; trouble; (see note)
temporal lords (lay rulers)
pennant; peace
Either; apostles
region; Metz; manly
praised; (see note)
lord; (see note)
nearest (way)
secure; siege engines
town cross bows; (see note)
Shoot; hostile expressions
Arbalasters (crossbowmen)
hangs back
surcoat (i.e., without armor)
to those within; shame
hence; must
(see note)
lest; harm
baby; wonder
worthless men
lack (equipment); wager
rascal; fortune
holy oil
scouts; violent
in haste shouting
forragers; many sides
Going; these
on their arms; stately
pennons; pennants
pennons; shining
Flashing; lightning; gleaming
Converge on; many
Search; carefully
shield bearers; guards
Beat; main gate tower
Had not; garrison
dwelling; own
(see note)
as seemed good to them
siege engines
king [of Lorraine]
grow feeble; no wonder
untried (i.e., weakened)
is lacking to them
noble beasts
go; mountains; forage
we must
(see note)
mountain; colorful; eager
valleys; borderland
gray; hazel copses
dawning; did
rising; messenger
Grazing his horse
Holding on his arm; horse
servant; (see note)
couchant; (see note)
jowls; collars; (see note)
looks; man
Goes right
language; voice; (see note)
hear; length
spur; soldier
Unless; i.e., fight better
prepare; gear
from; grove
lay on; gray
Strike at random
span (six inches) deep
strikes; goes
shoulder plate; hacks
upper-arm plate
elbow piece
(see note)
visor, lower face-guard
think to terrify
suppose; falters
trouble; hence
pledge my word to you
(see note)
Providing; allow
(see note)
religion; believe; hide
allegiance; (see note)
country; experienced
Waging war
grandfather; Hector
Judas Maccabeus; Joshua
his heir apparent
fully in possession
as tall as my hip
experience; assent
pride shamefully captured
pitch; tents; belong
Put on
Padded jackets seemly
yeoman (free man); Yule
bowed to
holy oil
recorded as
[it] pleases
(see note)
lodged; woods
Dauphine (in France)
garrison; Mt. Goddard
Saxony; Syria
helped; whole (healthy)
servant (henchman)
(see note)
(see note)
If you are seized by
Grazing; mead
leaning; gleaming
(see note)
season; shrubs
hills; pleasing
(see note)
gossamer; to be expected
cut; pierced
movement; hurts
Draws; helmet
Leans on
Carefully off; take
leaned (stretched out)
(see note)
rubbed; where; cut
fit as a fish
wounds; clad
roast; lean meat; breads
trumpet; these
worthless men
Father (i.e., Sir)
infant; untested
hostilely; chased
(Priamus speaks); most
rascals; servants
according to
go with wile
deserve a reward
Dashing at
Famagusta (on Cyprus)
(his horse)
Smack-dab; forehead; pierces
cruel weapon
(see note)
strikes asunder
man; man
pagans; persecute
Prussia; praise (prize)
unhurt; alive
(see note)
marshy place
Rush; company
rudely; move
allow me
small troop; support
grudge; reward
should; granted by
But let; bold; test
troop; length
beset; place
Galloping madly; goes forth
bowmen; shield bearers
double the number
Who thus eagerly
undern (9 a.m.)
lengthen; lose
worthless men; (see note)
buck up
Be; abashed by; knaves
weaken; boast
submissive; maid
in front untested
praised by
(see note)
pray to
saint; trusts
Speaks; dignifies
By the time that
length of the field
tales; (see note)
swiftly; tempered
fearful; woods
worthless fellows
suppose; low fellows
judge; (see note)
gyronny; stabs; (see note)
coat of mail
Joint; clasp
outjousted; wandering
horse soldiers; Genoa
front rank
charge; eagerly
outjousted by; (see note)
hauberks; Genoa
pennon; openly
quickly; rushes
reason (intent); read
poured; from
feudal service
We lack our pay
truce; trifle
lose; number (tally)
bargain for
mercenaries; reckon
despite obligation
delays; (see note)
wonder; grow faint
(see note)
(see note)
i.e., young man
hunting spear; drives
defeat; achieved
young noble's neck bone
Dies; worked
cruel confronted
base of throat
(see note)
slung; ditch; skillful
swiftly; course
powerful nobleman
i.e., back to
i.e., kettle-shaped helmets
victory; achieved
bowmen; shield bearers
goes; quickest way
fear; troop
booty; mischief
herald; behest; (see note)
to; lodgings
foragers; safe
has well succeeded
Valiant man; herald
healed; promise
(see note)
moveable towers; shelters
Moves about; shield bearers
division; guard
Heave; pellets; try
Demolished; struck
by right; heed
make peace
turns up; visor; expression
(see note)
i.e., priests
fear; (see note)
(see note)
seized; assent
(see note)
victuals; precious vessels
(see note)
undern (9 a.m.); intends
limb; loss
harm what
widow's estate
August 1
leisure; pleasure
(see note)
Mt. Goddard; watch tower
Deals; garrison
i.e., of Lake Como
quickest way
Slyly scouts manage; (see note)
shift; searchers
Poor people; shepherds
Servants; jest
wild boar
breaks out; ambush
Stick; withstand
feudal homage
(see note)
Pisa; Pavia
purple dye; silk
safe conduct
Como; acknowledged
(see note)
fair misery to sing
dwellings; sadness
Plunder pitilessly; destroy
without stinting; saved
Shrewdly; victuals
white wine; baked
Viscount's; determines
many sorts of pleasures

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