Lancelot of the Laik, Book III
LANCELOT OF THE LAIK: FOOTNOTES1 When the bright and new[ly returned] source of light
2 While Phoebus [the sun] has thrice gone through his circuit
3 So, in such a way, fated was my lot
4 Then [I walked] to a garden, which was beautiful
5 There was the garden profusely adorned with flowers
6 Which is in poetry [i.e., figuratively] presented for my lady
7 And in such a state I endured very long
8 Alighted and said in her bird's way
9 And do nothing to bring about your own cure
10 Do you not know that the creator of all life
11 Makes no provision; for [it is] a long time before he will be healthy
12 Sound of body, who does not reveal his wound
13 Who speaks of love, between keeping it secret or revealing it
14 Neither am able nor know how to attain
15 Although often they contain much significance
16 And since letters and petitions such as these are
17 That [previously] unknown is, so as to undertake and write
18 Which does not cause any sorrow
19 However it might be, I shall not free myself from my responsibility
20 To what I know it pleases Love to command
21 Concerning his commands, as [one who is] entirely destitute
22 Nor many an encounter that Gawain caused to be made
23 This exposition must be closed and concluded
24 May his soul be saved in the joy [of heaven] on account of that
25 The Prologue ends and the first book begins
26 And in the morning singing as is their manner
27 Because observing the pleasant air / And the surpassing joy of the season
28 Were accustomed to hear of arms day by day [i.e., every day]
29 One of them, with their unanimous agreement
30 In such detail have they analyzed the thing [i.e., the dream]
31 The other [five] heard and are in agreement with them
32 For [knowledge of] things to come is reserved solely
33 Have designated one who will speak in this manner
34 But all night it was not out of his thoughts
35 The coming of day he eagerly longed for
36 The hunting dogs were unleashed upon the wild animals
37 After considering only a short time, the King gave his answer
38 That to please him is all they are concerned about
39 What have I done wrong or what [have I done] to deserve
40 Nothing that should give me joy remains to me
41 But that [being in prison] is nothing in comparison with my woe
42 Who have so long pleaded to you for a remedy
43 And intended to keep them in the perilous vanguard
44 The heads he smote off at the shoulders
45 For I presume there exist people of such a type
46 Sir knight, that's not the way things stand
47 For what I did was necessary because of a true need
48 I could not avoid it without harming my reputation
49 He arranged his forces facing the battlefield
50 What suffering I, in sorrow because of her, endure
51 Therefore I advise that you earn her thanks
52 It would be more expedient to pay heed to your honor
53 The spear is destroyed [literally gone]; with that [occurrence], he immediately leapt [to action]
54 But constantly conducted themselves courageously
55 Although they were good [warriors], they were a small force
56 And grant a respite to him until a year from today
57 And so he resolved, it seemed to him for the best
58 Each one of the knights of the lady of Melyhalt
59 She calls one of her very close relatives
60 That may you say, as if the best man that lives / Or the one who proves himself most worthy in arms / Or the one who has been [most worthy in arms] up to now, in any time before / Had worn them on the battlefield, in his greatest valor
61 It seems this knight has been well tested
62 So much has she worked upon her lady
63 The first book ends; the second begins
64 The sun rises; the warm morning dawns
65 "I do not heed, nor do I care about," said he
66 So fair is the path you depart from
67 You only look out for your own pleasure
68 And if it pleases you to abide by [my] advice
69 Done from the time when he passed the age of innocence
70 Where God Himself has taken up the cause
71 Consider your weakness and your lack [of sufficient manpower]
72 Whom they boast of as having such power
73 Ignorance is no defense
74 For whoever is accustomed to one of these [vices]
75 Therefore give your ears [i.e., a hearing] to the poor
76 A king should be the very light of truth
77 Where you [should] have summoned and called in every region
78 Then, to gladden and cheer them, conduct yourself
79 Who is capable of deeds of arms and of courage
80 Give them exotic, give them marvelous things
81 Or hawks or hounds provided for the occasion
82 And if he does not do so, the giver is deluded
83 For whoever gives as if he did not want to give
84 And shall in return so much the more altogether receive
85 Generously give, which you feared doing
86 Let him not care, but generously give always
87 As has been heard, because of generosity in former times
88 And whoever read these old books knows [it is so].
89 Therefore the voice, it shrieks quite directly up
90 For he, in truth, has given him the scepter
91 Is most adequate and most pleasing to him [the king]
92 To reprove them even though he knows of their vices
93 Should well maintain peace and order
94 As I have said, the wicked to be worthless people
95 The way the clerks interpreted them, / They said nothing about what they [truly] signified
96 In this world, [in] which they stand [i.e., are] enclosed
97 Their sin and also their great delight in the world [i.e., worldly things]
98 And has with him also other companions as well
99 To go home as soon as they can make provision
100 Very seriously wounded, and on [the litter] had [i.e., took] him with them
101 And let no knight from this time forth boast about himself
102 Heard of such a gathering made ever before
103 Either when they went or when they came back, they swore
104 For the enterprise is not so great a trial, / So I suppose, but that you shall accomplish it
105 Then took their leave and from the court they go
106 One day she had him brought into her presence
107 And if it had pleased you to say [your name]
108 For none worthier has been born on this earth
109 And greeted her with all his heart
110 I have a friend who has a trial by combat arranged
111 Necessarily tomorrow I must go home
112 Since it necessarily behooves me to go
113 When she had brought without delay
114 Whatever afterwards I might be able to attain
115 You shall have three choices and choose one of those
116 Constantly within your spirit to survive
117 Must say that thing which touches upon unknightly behavior
118 I shall have prepared according to your own instructions
119 She kept it secret. She was not gossipy about it.
120 Both for discretion and for womanly qualities, / For moral control, for breeding and for beauty
121 And holds feasts through all [times of] the year alike
122 The second part ends, the third part begins
123 Ornamented profusely and clad in fresh new [shoots]
124 Before the truce and the year had run [out]
125 And without delay they have undertaken their journey
126 Have come but [that they would] remain faithful to their quest
127 Where before he had one man now he had two [i.e., his forces were double what they were before]
128 In preparation for the morning, and to head for the field
129 Although he was poor, he fought well oftentimes
130 And has attacked directly into a band [of knights]
131 Yet always for one of them there were three of their enemies
132 That, in spite of themselves, they must necessarily retreat
133 But they made the King believe that not on account of that should he achieve death [i.e., die] at that time
134 To her to reveal, according to their intentions
135 Diligent effort in knightly deeds, always without sloth
136 "Sir," said she, "I advise you not to be displeased
137 That she had been so courteous to him
138 And comforted him and treated him hospitably
139 Just as the day began
140 Though he sees the knights jousting in the field
141 Immediately and caused his bed to be put
142 What is the cause that you ask and the reason
143 Has arranged and made ready his troops
144 As it did not please him [to go] back
145 Necessarily that army will take to flight
146 Tell the knight the Queen commends herself [to him]
147 According to his own wish, however it pleases him to arrange it
148 Unless death or another chance [which would prevent me] befall me
149 These six constantly remain by him as far as they are able
150 Who knew how to fight a battle quite valiantly
151 With the large number [of enemies] their army was overwhelmed
152 And say to him, "It seems to us that he is ill advised
153 And there are only two things which can cure you
154 That you make a good showing, since you may do no more
155 And in arms win yourself some reputation
156 His lance he lowered and swift as any cross-bow bolt
157 There the life of many a knight perishes
158 They may be called, and what they are I ask [you to tell me]
159 That Arthur's army would have perished
160 Were it not that they [Arthur's troops] were better, each one
161 As many as it pleases you to use
162 Through which we shall be much the less attacked
163 If we met them openly and resolutely
LANCELOT OF THE LAIK: NOTES2 Set is an astronomical term implying that the winter is no longer ascendent, but has passed.
3 Illumynare is an aureate term for the sun.
12 The kalendis (kalends) was the first day of a month in the Roman calendar (and the word from which "calendar" is derived).
18 The verb deuit (manuscript reading: "devit") is a form of "douen," which means "to have worth or validity; be useful, profitable, helpful, or effective; avail" (MED).
24 Phebus (Apollo) is the god of the sun.
28 The form carving reflects the common practice of this manuscript of using ing where one would expect to find en or in, as in infinitives or plural forms of verbs. Here "carving" is the infinitive following "cann," which gives a past sense to the verb (as also in line 36, "cann constrein" and many other places in the text). The subject of "cann carving" is the "suerd" of the following line, and "hart" is the object: "The terrible sword of love's intense desire did carve my sorrowful heart in two."
38-40 The motif of the helpless lover, frustrated by the knowledge that his beloved knows nothing of his plight, is commonplace in courtly literature. See, for example, Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, I, 806-812.
48 In the manuscript there is a line over the o, which is usually used for an abbreviation of n or m. Here it seems not to be significant (unless the scribe intended an abbreviation of gh. The same word with the same line occurs again in line 258.
51 Pryapus (Priapus) is the Greek god of fertility.
56 I follow Skeat in emending the manuscript reading "closit" to "clos it."
57 Skeat is probably correct in noting that the manuscript reading Alphest is erroneously written for "Alcest." Alcestis was a faithful wife who chose to die so that her husband Admetus could live. She was then rescued from the underworld by Hercules. Gower tells her story in Book VII of the Confessio Amantis, but the suggestion that she was turned into a flower is not found there. Nor is it found in the Classical sources of the legend such as Euripides' Alcestis. In the Prologue to The Legend of Good Women, Chaucer refers to "the quene Alceste, / That turned was into a dayesye" (lines 511-12). Perhaps this is the source of the identification here of Alceste with a "flour."
74 I follow Skeat and Gray in emending "besor" to "be sor." "Gan" in this line is an auxiliary to "occupy" in the following line and gives a past sense to that verb.
81 ff. Bird debates and instructions of lovers by birds are conventional devices in late medieval English poetry. See, for example, Chaucer's Parliament of Fowls and Thomas Clanvowe's "Boke of Cupid" ("The Cuckoo and the Nightingale").
109 Althir is a genitive plural of "al" (all). Literally the line translates: "The last he calls the best of all of the two (i.e., he calls the latter the better of the two)." The works of the Roman poet Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso [43 B.C.-17 or 18 A.D.]) were well known, particularly his Metamorphoses and his books about love. He is called by Chaucer "Venus clerk Ovide" in the House of Fame (1487). In the Art of Love (Ars amatoria), Ovid expresses the preference for keeping love secret that is referred to here: "Cytherea [Venus], especially, forbids that her mysteries should be revealed. I give thee warning, no babbling knaves should ever draw near her altars. . . . The beasts of the field abandon themselves, in any place and in the sight of all, to the delights of love, and often at the spectacle a young girl will turn away her head; but for our loves we must have a secret bower, closed doors, and we must needs cover with vesture the secret places of our body. . . . Let us, on the other hand, speak sparingly of our real amours, and hide our secret pleasures beneath an impenetrable veil" (The Art of Love and Other Love Books of Ovid [New York: The Universal Library, 1959], pp. 160-161).
112-14 The sense of these lines seems to be: Although you presume or believe that you will test yourself in his (Love's) service, to see whether you like it or not (literally, "whether it will run or walk"), do not presume it (that you will try love out and decide if you like it), for it will not be so.
115 Thine is the genitive of the pronoun "thou." Thus the opening of the line means "Entirely in spite of yourself" (or, loosely, "No matter what you want").
138 Say; in the manner; written. Be maner oft . That is, in courtly verse.
143 Skeat notes that at lyte (literally "in little") is here used as an expletive.
171 Gray glosses wyss as "wise man." Skeat translates the line: "At command of a wise (god from) whose vision." As Skeat's translation implies a preposition must be supplied or must be assumed to be implied by the case of the noun "visioune" in order to make sense of the line.
177-89 The poet's elaborate humility trope is part of the poem's wit. The device is common and ranges in its application from the pious sincerity of Chaucer's Parson (CT, X, 55-57) to the inflated modesty of his Franklin (CT, V, 716-28), or the youthful uncertainty of the Squire (CT, V, 34-41).
202 Lancelot's father, Ban, is king of Albanak (Malory's Benwick), generally said to be in Brittany.
204 A clerk in this context is someone who can read and write.
211 The term romans was originally applied to the language of France, as distinguished from Latin. (The term "romance language" was later used to describe any of the languages derived from the Latin of the Romans.) The word "romance" came to be transferred from the language itself to a story told in French. Then it came to be applied to the types of stories told in French, no matter what language they were written in.
214 Skeat translates the line: "I will not waste my efforts thereupon." Gray glosses "depend" as "expend, spend." The original reading may well have been "despend" rather than the manuscript reading "depend."
214-98 The author uses this elaborate instance of occupatio (the saying of what you say you are not going to say) to recount the material from his French source that he is not dealing with at length in his poem. This was a common rhetorical device. It appears, for example, in Chaucer's Knight's Tale (I, 2919-66) and, on a much smaller scale, in the Squire's Tale (V, 67-72).
226 Gray translates to the stak as "to the hilt." Skeat translates "iwondit to the stak" as "very deeply wounded." (In his glossary Skeat lists various conjectures to explain the phrase "to the stak." Among others, he quotes the Scottish phrase "to the steeks," meaning "completely" and refers to Gray's suggestion that "stak" may be a form of "stock" ("hilt"). MED cites the phrase "driven to the stak" (where "stak" is "a post to which someone is tied for execution, punishment, or restraint") as meaning "driven to the last extremity." A similar meaning might apply here. But perhaps, since the next line refers to the piercing of the heart, an anatomical image is intended here. MED cites one meaning of "stok n. (1)" as "a main vein or artery."
247-48 Skeat and Gray agree that the manuscript wrongly transposes these lines.
252 The prepositional phrase of desir seems not to be adjectival modifying "armys" but rather adverbial, meaning something like "eagerly."
255 The Lady of Nohalt (Nohaut in the Vulgate Lancelot) appealed to Arthur for a champion to aid her against the King of Northumberland, who was besieging her castle. Lancelot, who had just been knighted by Arthur, asked to be allowed to assist her; and Arthur could not refuse. Because Lancelot engaged in a fierce combat on his journey, the Lady of Nohalt delayed the fight with the King of Northumberland's champion until his wounds were healed. In the meantime, since no news had been received at court, Kay asked to be sent to complete the mission begun by Lancelot. When he arrived at the Lady of Nohalt's castle and found Lancelot ready to fight for the Lady, he was willing to fight Lancelot for the right to complete the mission. The Lady of Nohalt, however, diplomatically avoided such a fight by asking the King of Northumberland to send two champions so that both Lancelot and Kay could fight for her. In the ensuing combats both of Arthur's knights were victorious.
258 Achieved; extravagant. In the manuscript there is a line over the o in throue. Either this is a meaningless stroke or it is used to indicate the omission of gh. It surely does not signify here the omission of an m or n, as it usually does.
278 In the Vulgate Lancelot, while Lancelot is staring so intensely at Guinevere that he is unaware of what is going on around him, his horse wanders into dangerously deep water. Ywain leads him to a ford so he is out of danger. There Dagonet (Fr. "Daguenet") finds him and leads Lancelot, still gazing on the Queen and unaware of everything else, back to the court. In Malory, as in the French tradition, Dagonet is Arthur's fool as well as a knight.
291 The manuscript reads "to his his"; I follow Gray and Skeat in emending to "to hir his."
302 Galiot is referred to in Malory as "Galahalt" (or some variation thereof, such as "Galahaut" or "Galahaud"). He is sometimes referred to in French texts as the son of "la bele Jaiande," the wife of Brunor. The similarity between her name and the English word "giant" may have cause some confusion, as in the English Prose Merlin, where Galehaut is referred to as "the son of the Geaunt" (EETS os 36, 601).
309 Venus, siting hie abuf. Venus is the goddess of love and the deity usually addressed by courtly lovers as she, from her seat in the third sphere, watches over their woes. See, for example, Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, III, 1-49, his Complaint of Venus and Complaint of Mars, and the Knight's Tale, I, 1918-66; Henryson's Testament of Cresseid, lines 8-28; and Gower's Confessio Amantis, I, 124-202, and VIII, 2171-2940.
318 ff. The poet alludes to an unnamed Latin poet. Perhaps he has in mind a specific person like Ovid, who as a poet who wrote about love might be an appropriate figure to refer to and an obvious author for readers to think of in this context. Or perhaps he deliberately leaves the poet unnamed to create a mythic figure like the Lollius to whom Chaucer refers in Troilus and Criseyde, I, 394, or the "man of gret auctorite" at the end of The House of Fame.
334 Endit could mean one of two things in this context. Either it is a form of the verb "to end" and means that "this [prologue] ends [at this point]" or it is a noun meaning "composition" or "poem," in which case the meaning is that the great poet to whom the author refers has his thanks for any pleasant phrase that he writes and also for "this [entire] poem."
335-42 The Titans were pre-Olympian gods and were the children of Uranus and Gaia (Heaven and Earth). Among them was Hyperion, father of Helios (the Sun) to whom the name "Titan" is often applied in later poetry, as it is here. In this astrological reckoning of time, Titan (the sun) is twenty days into Aries. Since the sun enters Aries on March 12, the time is the very beginning of April. (See also the note to lines 2486-87.) Chaucer uses a similar device for telling the time in the General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, lines 1-8.
345 For anerding, Stevenson reads "awerding," which is clearly not the reading of the manuscript Skeat reads "auerding" and glosses "auerding to" as "belonging to (?)." Gray reads "anerding" and defines it as a Scottish word meaning "adhering." The confusion between u and n results from the fact that the two minims which comprise the letter could be read either way. Gray's reading seems correct. The Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue defines the verb "enherde" and its variant "anherd" as "to adhere." The OED lists "anerd" as another variant.
347 The Arthurian Handbook by Norris J. Lacy and Geoffrey Ashe (New York: Garland, 1988) identifies Carlisle as the "city of Cumbria, of Roman origin, that survived for some time after the separation of Britain from the empire. The first syllable of its old name, Luguvallum, suggests a connection with the god Lugh. In the course of time the name was shortened and the Welsh caer, "city," was prefixed. . . . It figures in English tales with Gawain as hero. It is also the place where, in Malory, Lancelot rescues Guinevere when she is about to be burnt at the stake" (323).
357 Camelot as the legendary site of Arthur's court first appears in Chrétien's Le Chavalier de la Charrette (l. 34). On the origin of the name see William C. Hale, "Camelot," Avalon to Camelot 2.2 (1986): 40-41. On the possible site of the central fortification of the historical figure behind the Arthurian legends, see Leslie Alcock, Was This Camelot? Excavations at Cadbury Castle 1966-70 (New York: Stein and Day, 1972).
374 The statement that Arthur thoght in the same manner (apone the samyne wyss) suggests a recurrence of the dream.
376 In his glossary under liging, Skeat notes that "the sense requires lay, i.e. the 3rd p. s. pt. t. indic., but properly the word is the present participle, lying." However, it may be that the ing is written for the ending normally appearing as en, as is a common practice in this manuscript Thus "liging" would be a plural form. The shift from singular to plural might reflect the difference between the stomach falling out and the guts lying on the ground.
390 The notion that dreams are thingis that askith no credens is similar to the opinion expressed by Pandarus in Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde: "A straw for alle swevenes significaunce! / God helpe me so, I counte hem nought a bene!" (V, 362-63), and by Pertelote in the Nun's Priest's Tale: "Ne do no fors of dremes" (VII, 2941). According to Macrobius (Commentary on the Dream of Scipio, trans. William Harris Stahl [1952; rpt. New York: Columbia University Press, 1990]), one of the standard medieval authorities on dreams, there are certain types of dreams, the nightmare and the apparition, which "are not worth interpreting since they have no prophetic significance" (p. 88). However, there are other types which Macrobius considers meaningful: the "oracular" dream "in which a parent, or a pious or revered man, or a priest, or even a god clearly reveals what will or will not transpire, and what action to take or avoid"; the "prophetic vision," which "actually comes true"; and the "enigmatic dream," which conceals with strange shapes and veils with ambiguity the true meaning of the information being offered, and requires an interpretation for its understanding" (p. 90). The last is the sort of dream that Arthur has. A summary of medieval dream lore can be found in the "Proem" to Chaucer's House of Fame. For further information on medieval beliefs about dreams, see chapters 8 and 9 ("Mediaeval Dream-Lore" and "Chauntecleer and Pertelote on Dreams") in Walter Clyde Curry's Chaucer and the Mediaeval Sciences (1926; rpt. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1960), and Stephen F. Kruger's Dreaming in the Middle Ages (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992).
393 Superfleuytee (or superfluity) is an excess of one of the bodily humors, which was believed to be one of the causes of dreams. In Chaucer's "The Nun's Priest's Tale," Pertelote tells Chauntecleer that his dream "Cometh of the greet superfluytee / Of youre rede colera" (VII, 2927-28).
401 Clergy here suggests not only clerics but also, and more importantly in this context, "learned men."
417 In order for the clerks to provide an astrological interpretation of the dream they must know the time ("the houre") and date ("the nyght") when it occurred.
433 Stevenson read "fete" for the manuscript "set." Skeat and Gray both suggest emending "set" to "fet" (fetched or got). However, it seems that the manuscript reading needs no emendation. The suggestion is that the scholars "arranged" or "set out" all the books they would need for their work.
434-36 A similar but longer list of authorities on astronomy occurs in Book 7 of Gower's Confession Amantis. George G. Fox, in The Mediaeval Sciences in the Works of John Gower (1931; rpt. New York: Haskell House, 1966), pp. 81-83, comments on Gower's list: "The astrological lore of Abraham [who is not mentioned in Lancelot of the Laik] and Moses may, Gower says, never have been committed to writing. Nimrod, or as Gower [as well as the author of Lancelot of the Laik] calls him, Nembrot, is the mighty hunter of the Bible, the son of Canaan, the son of Shem, the son of Noah. This is the genealogy given by Michael Scot . . . . Two manuscripts have been found which, although not by Nimrod himself, purport to be based on his teachings. Arachel refers probably to Arzachel (Al-Zarkali), whose astronomical tables were in common use." In Lancelot of the Laik, Danghelome is a bastardized form of Ptolemy (whose name appears in Gower as "Danz Tholome"). Ptolemy was most famous for a book called The System of Mathematics, which was known in the Middle Ages as the Almageste (from its Arabic title, al-Kitab-al-Midjisti, meaning "the greatest book"), a work which is, as its translator G. J. Toomer says (in Ptolemy's Almagest [New York: Springer, 1984], p. 1), "a complete exposition of mathematical astronomy as the Greeks understood the term." Herynes is, as Skeat notes, written for "Herymes" (Hermes). William Cecil Dampier in A History of Science (4th ed; Cambridge: Cambridge Up, 1949), p. 50, observes that "there are . . . writings, probably of the third century, assigned to "Hermes Trismegistor," the Greek equivalent of the Egyptian god Thoth. They are chiefly concerned with Platonic and Stoic philosophy, but they also contain much astrology as well as alchemy, and were afterwards well known in Latin translations."
438 The disposicioune is the "character or position (of a planet) in the horoscope as influencing persons or events" (MED).
472 I follow Skeat and Gray in emending manuscript "shat" to "shal."
519 Except through the watery lion; end. Fyne in this line is coordiante with "adew" in line 518.
536 The line completing the couplet (and rhyming with also) is apparently missing here, though there is no gap in the manuscript. Skeat constructs the line: "In to the feld can rusching to and fro" in imitation of line 3293.
538 Edward, Second Duke of York (in The Master of the Game, ed. Wm. A. and F. Baillie-Groham, [New York: Duffield, 1919]) says of the greyhound: "a good greyhound should go so fast that if he be well slipped he should overtake any beast . . . ." Line 538 echoes this idea.
554 To holde lands from someone is to receive them from a feudal lord. The implication is that Arthur would become a vassal to Galiot and thus owe him obligations ("tribut and rent") as overlord and ultimate owner of Arthur's lands.
559 Skeat and Gray read "Shir"; but Stevenson's edition follows the manuscript in reading "Schir."
599 Ackerman in An Index of the Arthurian Names in Middle English (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1952) identifies Galygantynis of Walys as "Seneschal to Galehaut." However, this is a different person. Galygantynis is clearly a knight of Arthur's court. Even in the Vulgate Lancelot, there are two different characters with similar names: Galeguinant, one of Galahot's knights whom Somers identifies as "le senescal Galahot" (Index, p. 39), and Galegantins li Galois (i.e., the Welshman), one of Arthur's knights.
600-601 These lines seem to echo the description of Chaucer's Knight who had "ridden, no man ferre, / As wel in cristendom as in hethenesse" and of whom we are told "At many a noble armee hadde he be" ("General Prologue," lines 48-49, 60).
621 Lest is a variant of "list" (to want or desire). The phrase translates literally, "This I want to say" and seems to be used as a way of emphasizing the previous statement. The phrase "ayan the morn" means "against the coming of the morning" or "towards the morning."
675-76 The use of anaphora, the repetition of a word or words at the beginning of successive clauses or sentences, in these lines and also in line 1289 has a Chaucerian ring. Compare these instances with the line from the Knight's Tale, "Up roos the sonne, and up roos Emelye" (I, 2273).
699 Skeat notes that "the metre of Lancelot's lament is that of Chaucer's 'Cuckoo and Nightingale,' and was very possibly copied from it." In his volume of Chaucerian and Other Pieces (1897), which is a supplement to the Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, Skeat himself observes that the author of this poem, "the true title" of which he gives as "The Book of Cupid, God of Love" is not Chaucer but probably Thomas Clanvowe, "a well known personage at the courts of Richard II and Henry IV" (lvii-lviii).
735-36 It is possible that the type of carts described here was some sort of armored vehicle with iron wheels and bars for defense against enemy weapons. In English Weapons & Warfare 449-1660, A. V. B. Norman and Don Pottinger (Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice Hall, 1979) describe such vehicles from the time of Henry VIII: "There are a number of references to armoured cars, and one drawing shows an English army accompanied by them. these were box-like structures on wheels with a battlemented top like a tiny castle. They were propelled by a horse or horses placed between the wheels and protected by the sides of the cart. . . . The immediate inspiration for these probably came from the Scots, who used them in the campaign of 1523, but ultimately they derive from the armoured wagons of the Hussite Wars in Bohemia (1420-1434)" (163).
753 As it was said Arthur's was. On the Kyng An Hundereth Knychtis, see the note to line 806.
771 The Dictionary of Middle English Musical Terms defines trumpet as "perhaps a short cylindrical bore instrument with a wide flared bell . . . (The ME. term may simply designate a small species of either the straight or the folded trumpet . . .)" and a "clarioun" as an instrument "of the trumpet class; before 1400 with probable reference to a straight trumpet . . . , afterwards to the folded trumpet." "Trumpet" is a diminutive from "trompe" or "trump," "a name applied to a wind-instrument with a long slender pipe, which was made of wood, horn, or metal, and which terminated in a fairly large, funnel-shaped bell . . .; after c1400, frequently an instrument folded in the shape of the letter S."
806 Maleginis is identified in the French source with the King of a Hundred Knights and is said to be the seneschal of Galiot ("la premiere bataille ot malaguins ses senescaus che fu li rois des C cheualiers qui moult estoit preus & hardis" [the first troop was commanded by Malaguins, his (i.e., Galiot's) seneschal, who was the King of One Hundred Knights who was very valiant and bold"] (Cf. H. Oskar Sommer's edition of The Vulgate Version of the Arthurian Romances, III, 236). The author of the English poem does not make a specific connection between the two in any of the places where he mentions Maleginis (see also line 2873, "Malenginys"; line 3151, "Malangins"; line 3155, "Malengynis"; line 753, "Kyng An Hundereth Knychtis"; line 1545, "King of Hundereth Knychtis"; line 1554, "King of Hunder Knyghtis").
809 Because of the way the second letter in the word is written in the manuscript, it is impossible to be sure whether the fourth word in this line should be read berde or borde. Stevenson and Skeat read "borde," but Skeat adds a note: "or 'berde.'" Skeat, who places a semicolon at the end of line 808, takes "borde" as a verb and translates "In the midst they encounter . . ." Gray, who has no punctuation at the end of line 808 and who reads "berde," glosses the phrase "in the berde" as "in the front, face to face." Gray's reading seems less forced.
817 The line translates: "When he saw their latter battalion move out . . ." In his note to the line, Skeat translates "latter" as "last." While it is possible that this is the sense, it seems more likely that the literal meaning is intended, perhaps as a way of showing the superior tactics of Gawain, who was advised on the disposition of his troops by Arthur. Instead of having one large charge by the mass of the army (the "rout") and just one battalion in reserve, Gawain has his smaller force attack in five waves, each time sending in fresh troops to support and boost the spirits of their comrades.
820 Skeat suggested the need for the insertion of the word "strokis" in this line. Both the meter and the sense suggest that something has been left out, and "strokis" seems satisfactory on both counts, and I have followed his emendation (though Skeat's translation "His enemies began his mortal strokes to feel" seems not quite accurate because it would be unusual for "feel" to be spelled with the double l. The line might better be translated: "His deadly strokes felled his enemies").
823 The manuscript reading into an hour seems strange and even inappropriate in this context, as if it sets a time limit on Gawain's ability to conduct himself well. It is more likely that the original reading was something like "into o shour" ("in a battle"). It makes much more sense to say that he conducts himself well in battle; and this formula is fairly common. See, for example lines 1107-8 where virtually the same phrase (with the substitution of "stour," another word meaning "battle" or "combat,") occurs.
895 At the beginning of the line a space for an illuminated letter (obviously a T) has been left. (A similar thing occurs in line 1083, where a space has been left for an A.)
911 The manuscript reads "presonerere" because of the use of an abbreviation for er followed by the letters er.
918 Skeat is probably correct in noting that wight is an "unusual, and perhaps wrong" form of "with."
923 It is tempting to emend mak to "tak." The sense would then be simple" Lancelot asks the Lady to accept the ransom which he is able to give. However the manuscript reading is possible if the phrase "mak the ransone" is taken to mean something like "set the ransom [at an amount]."
925 There are a couple of ways this line might be interpreted. If "on" is taken as part of "her" it could mean "Because I have been told about this ["her-on"] by word of mouth. But the construction "on be" meaning "by" appears again in line 964. So it seems preferable to read "her" as the verb "to hear" and translate the line as: Because I hear [it] told ["be-told," though the words are separated in the manuscript] by word of mouth.
960 Manuscript reads "behold." I follow Skeat and Gray in emending to "be hold."
963 Skeat is probably correct in identifying sutly here as a variant form of "sothly" ("truly").
979 Commandit is governed by haith in line 977.
1007 The manuscript reads "abertes." I follow Skeat and Gray in emending to "a bertes."
1009-10 Skeat translates: "His spirit started (owing to the) love (which) anon hath caught him."
1026 Mayne might be a variant of "mene" ("means" or "way") but it is probably a variant of "main" (force), the sense being that he is unable to come (to his lady's favor) by force.
1028 The ME verb "sterfen" or "sterven," which becomes the Modern English "starve," meant "to die" by any means and not just by hunger. Thus a knight could "sterf" in battle.
1047 The duties of the herlad originally seem to have concerned the conduct of tournaments but later also included such things as serving as messengers and marshalling troops in battle. They also recorded and reported deeds done in tournament or battle. Thus it seems perfectly appropriate for a herald to remind Lancelot to pay heed to his honor. By the fourteenth century knowledge of the heraldic devices of knights and noblemen, which was crucial to identifying knights in armor, became the herald's prime concern. On the history and functions of heralds, see Anthony Richard Wagner, Heralds and Heraldry in the Middle Ages (2d ed.; London: Oxford University Press, 1960) and Chapter VII of Maurice Keen's Chivalry (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984).
1053 Screwis (Modern English "shrews") means "rogues," "villains," or "ill-natured persons." In ME the term is more often applied to men than to women.
1056 The ventail is either "a piece of armour protecting the neck, upon which the helmet fitted" or "the lower movable part of the front of the helmet, as distinct from the vizor; latterly, the whole movable part including the vizor" or "one of the vents or air-holes in this" (cf. OED).
1064 As is explained below (1546-47) this king is so named because he is the first that Galyot conquered.
1066 The tother is from "thet other" or "that other"; it is formed in a manner similar to "the tone" (from "thet one" or "that one"), i.e., "the t of thet being attached to an, on [or other], when the became the general form of the definite article" (OED). ("The tother" is also found in lines 2571 and 2584, and the variant spelling "the tothir" in line 2536.)
1070 A hawbrek is a coat or tunic of chain mail.
1077 Manuscript reads "sched." Both Skeat and Gray emend to "scheld," which is obviously the correct reading.
1090 Gaping might refer to wounded knights and mean "gasping in pain" but more likely refers to the open mouths of the dead bodies.
1092 A vyre is a quarrel or bolt for a cross-bow.
1152-53 Generally, the places where I have placed a blank line between blocks of text are places where the manuscript indicates a division by a large capital letter. However, in order to facilitate reading, here and and after lines 1806, 1934, 1940, 1944, 1998, 2130, 2140, 2150, and 2252, I have added a blank line where no large capital appears.
1215 Skeat suggests that the manuscript reading of "them" might be a mistake for "then" but does not emend the text. Though the "Thir" at the beginning of the next line makes "them" seem redundant, the occurrence of a similar phrase in line 1552 (where the "them" again seems redundant and where Skeat again believes that "then" might be the correct reading), suggests the possibility of an idiomatic usage.
1221-22 The prefix "to-" serves as an intensive and is used with the words "hurt," "schent" and "rent" to indicate the severity with which Lancelot has been wounded, disfigured and cut up.
1233 Skeat and Gray emend "alyt" to "a lyt."
1243 The phrase the more is a survival of the instrumental form as in the phrase "the more, the merrier." The sense is that Lancelot will blame all others "by that much more."
1253 Gray offers no glosses for appelit or for thret. Skeat translates this and the following line, "But what if he be appealed to and threatened / and (meanwhile) his heart be elsewhere set to love." Thret is better read as from the verb "threte" meaning "to dispute, contend; to quarrel, wrangle" (OED). The sense seems to be: "But what if he is appealed to and [his love] disputed [by someone else], while his heart is fixed on love elsewhere [with the one contending for his affection]."
1302 The seven science (or branches of knowledge) are the seven areas of study in the medieval curriculum comprising the trivium (grammar, logic, and rhetoric) and the quadrivium (arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy).
1304 Bertram Vogel's article on "Secular Politics and the Date of 'Lancelot of the Laik' (Studies in Philology 40.1 [Jan. 1943]) observes that the wise man who advises Arthur is unnamed in the French source but that "Actually, the name Amytans is found elsewhere in the Old French story, in the slightly different form Amustans. Indeed, this character found in another section of the tale is also an advisor of King Arthur. He does not, however, give political advice, but denounces Arthur for his illicit relations with the second or 'false' Guinevere. What the Scottish poet has done, then, is apparent: he has converted a holy man who, in the Old French romance, gives Arthur exclusively moral advice into a political adviser . . ." (4-5). In a note to line 1608, Skeat observes that "for many of the precepts given by Amytans the author must have been indebted to Gower [Confessio Amantis, Book 7], or, at any rate, to the author of the Secreta Secretorum."
1318 Gray glosses careldis as "carols, merry-makings." Skeat suggests that it is the plural of "careld, a merry-making, revel"; but he adds a question mark to this gloss. In a note he translates the line: "nigh of thy revels (i.e. because of thy revels) in the gulf it falls." This is a forced reading of the phrase. Ney of seems not to be indicating causality but rather location. The phrase also appears to be part of the metaphor, which is explained in lines 1320 and following ("That is to say . . ."). The line seems to have been corrupted. The original sense may be something like "[Which] is near to [i.e., not far off the shore from] your [city of] Carduel" in which case the text should read "Ney of thi Carduel is."
1343 Skeat suggests that the word "diverss" is needed before "peplis" to complete the meter of the line and cites line 731 as an example of a similar construction.
1357 The concept of a spiritual raknyng (an accounting or reckoning) is similar to that found in Everyman, in which because of the sinfulness of the human race, God determines that He "will, in all the haste, / Have a reckoning of every man's person" (lines 45-46). When Death announces God's decision, he tells Everyman to bring "thy book of count" to the reckoning (line 104).
1365 and ff. It is not clear what Biblical passage the author is referring to in these lines. The author, who admits in lines 1438-39 that he is no confessor, may be mistaken about the source of the quotation. Perhaps he is thinking of Proverbs 14.31 ("He that oppresseth the poor upbraideth his Maker") or Proverbs 17.5 ("He that despiseth the poor, reporacheth the Maker"); but these are not the words of Daniel. Similarly in lines 1378-79, when the author attributes to "Salomon" the sentiment "Wo be to hyme that is byleft alone, / He haith no help" he is apparently misattributing the line from Ecclesiastes 4.10, "woe to him that is alone, for when he falleth, he hath none to lift him up."
1378-79 See the note to line 1365 and ff.
1404 Gray emends "amendit" to "amend it."
1414 Sins committed of fre will are sins of commission as opposed to those done of neglygens or by omission. Morton Bloomfield (The Seven Deadly Sins [1952; East Lansing: Michigan State UP, 1967] 126) observes that Vincent of Beauvais's Speculum naturale "discusses sins of omission and commisiion." See also Reginald Pecock's The Donet ([1921; rpt. New York: Kraus Reprint, 1971] EETS o.s. 156), which observes that sins can be the "leevingis or vnfulfillingis of eny poynt comaundid . . . or ellis doingis of the contrarye to eny poynt comaundid" (96).
1430 In addition to the five outer wits or senses, medieval theory recognized inner wits, one of which is the wit memoratyve. John of Trevisa (in On the Properties of Things: John of Trevisa's Translation of Bartholomæus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975] I, 98) says: "The innere witte is departid athre by thre regiouns of the brayn, for in the brayn beth thre smale celles. The formest hatte ymaginatiua, therin thingis that the vttir witte apprehendith withoute beth i-ordeyned and iput togedres withinne . . . . The middil chambre hatte logica therin the vertu estimatiue is maister. The thridde and the laste is memoratiua, the vertu of mynde. That vertu holdith and kepith in the tresour of the mynde thingis that beth apprehendid and iknowe bi the ymaginatif and racio."
1437 The holl romans or "whole romance" of which the author speaks is his French source, the Vulgate Lancelot. The author has catalogued above (lines 214-298) those parts of the source that he has chosen not to retell.
1448 The manuscript clearly reads "my" and not "thy"; and both Skeat and Gray follow the manuscript. However, the emendation to "thy" seems necessary. According to the Vulgate Lancelot, Arthur's father Uther Pendragon ("Uterpandragon") had helped Hoel (or Aramont) of Lesser Britain against his enemy Claudas. In return Hoel agreed to become Uther's vassal. Together Hoel and Uther desolated Claudas's lands. After the death of Hoel and Uther, Claudas regained control of his lands and began to wage war on Ban, who had been a vassal of Hoel. After Uther's death those who owed allegiance to him then became vassals of Arthur. When Arthur was fighting rebellious barons, he appealed to Ban for assistance and Ban responded, as was fitting for a vassal to do. When Claudas attacked Ban, the latter appealed to Arthur for help but Arthur did not respond because of his difficulties at home: "li rois bans auoit plusours fois enuoie pour secours au roi artu. Mail li rois artus auoit tant a faire de maintes pars quil ne se pooit mie legierement entremetre dautrui besoigne" (Sommer, III, p. 5). It is this failure to assist a vassal (one in his service) who had faithfully assisted him that Amytans suggests Arthur has forgotten to confess. The corresponding passage in the Vulgate Lancelot supports the emendation. Arthur is asked: "es tu confes del grant pechie que tu as del roi ban de benoic qui mors fu en ton ["thi" in English] seruice" (Sommer, III, p. 217).
1474 I follow Skeat and Gray in emending ms. "assit" to "assist."
1485 The land which God promised to his people is the land of Canaan, called the Promised Land because God promised to give it to Abraham and his descendants (see Genesis 12.7 and 28.13).
1500 Rent in this context must mean "the right to receive rents from tenants" (MED) rather than a payment made by Arthur to those who serve him. The term can also be used to mean the homage due to or from a lord. (See David Lyle Jeffrey, "The Friar's Rent," JEGP 70 , 600-06.)
1506 Punishment; so that they stand in awe.
1507 A fee is "an estate in land (in England always a heritable estate), held on condition of homage or service to a superior lord, by whom it is granted and in whom the ownership remains" (OED).
1517 The author seems to be presenting multitude (a term which often means "army" or "host") as an alternative to confluens ("a rushing together"). Thus the best translation for these terms might be something like "pitched battle" and "charge."
1541 Skeat's translation of the line--"Except wise conduct falleth to a king"--seems a forced reading. Perhaps a better translation is achieved by punctuating the Middle English line with a colon after "not" (which Skeat does not do): "Thus it does not fail: a king without moral control, both the realm and he go to ruin."
1545 On the King of Hundereth Knychtis, see note to line 806.
1546 As a name. Gray notes that she is emending Kinghe to "king he"; Skeat emends to "king" and explains the spelling as resulting from confusion with the word "knight" even though, as he believes, another spelling with h ("Kinghis") occurs in line 2527. In both cases, it seems that the scribe has merely run two words together and no emendation or further explanation is required to make sense of the lines.
1547 The phrase of one or "of ane" is used in Scottish in the sense of "of all," as, for example, in Rauf Coilyear, line 576 ("And in ane rob him arrayit richest of ane").
1552 On them thei both, where the "them" seems redundant and Skeat suggests the possibility of emending to "then," see the note to line 1215.
1608 Skeat suggests that the And at the beginning of the line is redundant in modern English. However, the word seems to have the force of "In either case."
1624 Skeat glosses medyre as "mediator" but follows his gloss with a question mark and says "I am not at all sure of this word." Gray notes: "Word almost undecipherable; 'medyre' is Professor Skeat's reading. Possibly 'mesyre,' a forced form of 'measure' for sake of rhyme." The word is in fact relatively clear in the manuscript except for the letter which Stevenson and Skeat read as d and which Gray suggests might be an s, which is partially obscured because it is written over the downward stroke of the elongated s from the line above. The letter does appear to be a d, but the word "medyre" is not recorded in the MED, the OED, or the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue. Assuming that the text is not corrupt and that the obscured letter is a d, the sense seems more likely to be "moderation" than "mediator."
1629 The ms. reads "w justly." Skeat is surely correct in emending to "wnjustly."
1666 The rhyme and an empty space in the ms. suggest that a line has been omitted here.
1668 I follow Skeat and Gray in emending "behold" to "be hold."
1687 Cuntreis might mean "countrysides" (to contrast with "tounis") or "counties."
1689 A bachelor is "a young knight, not old enough, or having too few vassals, to display his own banner, and who therefore followed the banner of another" (OED).
1700 The most philosephur or greatest philosopher is Aristotle, purported author of the Secreta Secretorum, which advises: "a kyng owith not to shewe him ouer oftene to his peple, ne ouer oft haunte the company of his sugetis, and specially of chorlis and ruralle folke, for bi ouyr moche homelynes [too much familiarity] he shalle be the lasse honourid" (Three Prose Versions of the Secreta Secretorum, ed. Robert Steele, EETS e.s. 74 [1898; rpt. Millwood, NY: Kraus Reprint, 1973] 12-13).
1728 The sense of the line is either that the greatest gifts and affections should be given after the knight berith uitnesing (bears witness) to his worthiness by his deeds or that the greatest gifts and affection should be given after the knight bears witness to the truth of the advice by having used well the earlier gifts of horse and treasure.
1729 Tennandis or "tennants" are those who hold land from a feudal lord. The OED, citing this line, defines a vavasour as "a feudal tenant ranking immediately below a baron."
1730 A hackney is "a small saddle horse, often one let for hire" (MED); a palfrey is a fine riding horse; and a courser is a war horse or charger.
1737 In the ms. there is a line over the a, but it appears to have not significance.
1788 The ms. reads "to lede"; the "to" seems in this context to make sense only as a prefix used as an intensive with "lede" (lead). Thus my reading of "to-lede."
1802 I take them to refer to princes, the plural being implied by the phrase "no prince" in line 1799. The sense is that except for virtue and honor which abide with princes, the world divides up the remainder (laif) when they are dead and buried. the lack of strict agreement according to modern rules is not uncommon in Middle English and is exemplified again in the verb "abidith," which is technically singular even though both "vertew" and "worschip" are subjects.
1818 The line contains a paradox: "The riches best kept are those well dispensed." The explanation is provided by the instruction given above in lines 1765-1778.
1856 Wearing the palm (palm leaf) was a sign of victory.
1864 The phrase takith larges in his awn kynd can be translated as "practice generosity according to its own [true] nature." "Take" in the phrase "take largess" seems to be used much as it is in "take pity."
1899 Skeat sees Ye as the equivalent of "The," which he says means "The one, He." However, the shift to direct address to God does not present any problems of interpretation and seems an effective rhetorical device.
1903-4 I take blyndis to be a variant of "blindness." (The MED does not record this form but gives "bleinasse" as a variant.) The sense of the lines is: In this [the oppression of his people which is punished by God] is the blindness of kings [because they do not foresee the ultimate rather than the immediate punishment by God] and the downfall of princes and of kingdoms.
1956and ff. There is a shift from the plural kingis in line 1956, which states a wish that all kings would act in the way outlined in the following lines, to the singular he in the elaboration of the specific circumstances.
1983 The ms. reads "that," which is the reading found in all earlier editions. I have emended to thai because the sense seems to demand the change. The word "that" in the ms. could be the result of scribal confusion caused by "that" in the line above.
2035 Hee, that is the lion who represents God, is in the water of the sin of the clerks interpreting the dream, not, of course, of his own sin.
2036 Skeat suggests that the correct reading might be "see" instead of "bee," though he does not emend his text. "Bee" makes sense if we read it with an understood main verb from several lines above: "On account of which [being in the water of sin] it is impossible to be [standing in pure religion]. Standing in the cleanliness of religion rather than in the murky water of sin would have allowed them to see clearly.
2047 The notion of the lion as the king of the beasts, which is still current today, can be found in the Etymologies of Isidore of Seville. Isidore says that "Leonis vocabulum ex Græca origine inflexum est in Latinum. . . . Leo autem Græce, Latine rex interpretatur, eo quod princeps sit omnium bestiarum" (Patrologia Latina, 82, p. 434). John of Trevisa (in On the Properties of Things: John of Trevisa's Translation of Bartholomæus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum [London: Oxford University Press, 1975]) echoes this notion in what is virtually a restatement of the passage from Isidore: "Leo in grew hatte rex in latyn, kyng in englisshe, and hatte leo 'king' for he is kyng and prince of alle bestes, as Ysidorus seith" (II, p. 1214).
2064 The qualyté of the year refers to the effect of a particular astrological sign. As Walter Clyde Curry notes in Chaucer and the Mediaeval Sciences (1926; rpt. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1960), "in astro-medical lore the Zodiacal signs have certain 'qualities' or 'virtues' assigned to them: Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius are fiery; Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn are earthy; Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius are airy; Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces are watery."
2065-67 On disposicioune see the note to line 438. A medieval doctor was expected to have a knowledge of astrology. Chaucer's Doctour of Phisik, for example, "was grounded in astronomye" (Canterbury Tales, General Prologue, 414). This was important because the heavens were believed to control the elements which made up all things, including the human body. Much of medieval medical theory was founded on the notion that an excess of one of the four bodily hwmowris (or "humors") was the cause of disease. The four humors were thought to be combinations of the basic attributes (heat, cold, moistness, and dryness) of the four elements of earth (cold and dry), air (hot and moist), fire (hot and dry), and water (cold and moist). The attributes combined to form the humors of blood (which was hot and moist), phlegm (cold and moist), yellow bile or cholera (hot and dry), and black bile or melancholia (cold and dry). The proportion of the humors in the body produced the compleccyoune ("complexion") or the temperament. Thus a person could be sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, or melancholy. The dominance of one of these humors predisposed a person to certain diseases and also to certain emotional states.
2068 The phrase wnder reull probably means "under the control [of God]" though it might also mean "according to [medical] procedures."
2153 Cardole (or Carduel) is a city in Wales which is identified in several medieval romances as one of the places where Arthur holds court.
2180 Travell (travail) and ess (comfort) are a contrasting pair such as is commonly used in Middle English to denote completeness. Thus when Arthur says his knights would not leave him for "travell nor for ess," he means they would not leave him for any reason.
2212 The line might be interpreted to mean either "The more who go, the less they achieve" or "The more who go, the fewer are those who succeed."
2221-24 James Bentley observes that "from the time of St. Augustine until just before the reformation a relic remained a powerful sanction when any person was required to take an oath. Fear of the consequences of offending the saint in Heaven after swearing on his earthly remains could keep the most powerful from breaking their vows." And he notes that "the first reference to taking an oath in the presence of a relic is to be found in the writings of St. Augustine. Augustine recounts that the people of Milan brought home to a thief the evil fruits of his larceny by making him swear before a saint not to steal again. Presumably the Bishop of Milan (later St. Ambrose) supported this, but we cannot be certain. The first theologian actually to declare in writing his approval of the practice was Augustine himself. A couple more centuries elapsed before the Popes began to approve" (Restless Bones: The Story of Relics, [London: Constable, 1985]: 79-80).
2231-33 Gawain encourages the knights to swear (Yhour oth to swer) to keep the same oath that he will swear to (Myne oith to kep).
2301 Logris or Logres is sometimes used to refer to Arthur's kingdom, as, e.g., in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, line 691 ("ryalme of Logres") and in Malory (I, 444 of Vinaver's edition) ("realme of Logrys"). Here, however, it clearly refers to the capital city of Arthur's realm. Geoffrey of Monmouth, in The Historia Regum Britanniæ, ed. Acton Griscom (London: Longmans Green, 1929), p. 253, traces the name to Locrine, one of the sons of Brutus, the legendary founder of Britain: "Locrinus qui primogenitus fuerat possedit partem insule quæ postea de nomine suo appellata est loegria" (Locrine, who was the first-born, possessed the part of the island which afterwards from his name is called Logris").
2312 Skeat and Gray emend conne to "come." This is the easier reading to explain: the lady says she does not come to court for no reason (i.e., she comes for a reason, which she gives in the next line). The ms. reading is, however, possible. She says "I know [that I come] not for nothing," by which she might mean that she knows that her quest will meet with success at Arthur's court.
2356 Gray glosses wy as "person," (taking it as a variant of "wye"); Skeat glosses as "reason" (taking it as a variant of "why"). Gray's interpretation seems preferable in the context of knightly reputation.
2374 Skeat and Gray both suggest that the first "say" in the line might be a scribal error and that the proper reading might be "bee."
2386 To boast of one's lady is blameworthy because the code of courtly love, in which the lovers were not married, demanded secrecy. In the Middle English poem Sir Launfal, Launfal's fairy lover makes this clear: "But o thing, Syr Knyght, I warne the, / That thou make no bost of me / For no kennes mede" (lines 361-63); the breaking of the injunction is temporarily disastrous for Launfal.
2395 A space is left at the beginning of this line for an illuminated letter. Skeat supplies I, Gray A, which seems to make better sense.
2436 Ellisquhat means "otherwise." That Lancelot is "ellisquhat . . . afyre" means that he is burning with love for someone else.
2471 Skeat notes that "The line is too long, and the sense imperfect; but there is no doubt about the reading of the MS." He suggests emending "pasag" to "pasith."
2473 The altitud is "the elevation or angular height of a celestial body above the horizon" (MED).
2474 Saturn was traditionally associated with cold and stormy weather. In the Tetrabiblos (ed. and trans. F. E. Robbins, [Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1940]), Ptolemy observes that: "because two of the four humours are fertile and active, the hot and the moist (for all things are brought together and increased by them), and two are desructive and passive, the dry and the cold, through which all things, again, are separated and destroyed, the ancients accepted two of the planets, Jupiter and Venus, together with the moon, as beneficent because of their tempered nature and because they abound in the hot and the moist, and Saturn and Mars as producing effects of the opposite nature, one [Saturn] because of his excessive cold and the other for his excessive dryness; the sun and Mercury, however, they thought to have both powers, because they have a common nature, and to join their influences with those of the other planets, with whichever of them they are associated" (39).
2475 Skeat suggests that the manuscript reading valis should be "falis." However, one of the meanings of the verb "vailen" or "valen" is "to fall."
2483 Gray glosses Scilla as "a bird, a lark." The term comes from Scylla, daughter of Nisus of Megara. Her story is told by Ovid in the Metamorphoses, Book 8. For love of Minos of Crete, she cut off a lock of purple hair from her father's head. Nisus's life and the fate of his city depended on that lock of hair. When Minos, appalled by her betrayal of father and country, rejected her and sailed off, Scylla leapt into the sea and clung to his ship. Her father, who had been turned into an osprey, attacked her, whereupon she was turned into a bird called "ciris." The exact translation of "ciris" is uncertain; Lewis and Short, in their Latin Dictionary define it merely as "a bird . . . into which Scylla, the daughter of Nisus, was changed."
2486-87 These lines echo a similar astrological dating in the opening of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales: "the yonge sonne / Hath in the Ram his half cours yronne" (lines 7-8). In Chaucer's lines the sun is halfway through or in the latter half of Aries. Since the sun is in Aries from March 12 to April 11, Chaucer opens his poem near the beginning of April. In Lancelot of the Laik, the sun (Phebus) is said to be beginning its course in Aries. The time would thus be near March 12. However, the precise date seems less important than the indication that the year has passed and spring--and the time for battle--has arrived.
2527 See the note to line 1546.
2574 I follow Skeat in emending ms. "Wihill" to "Whill."
2575 The he in this line does not appear in the ms. Skeat, Gray, and Stevenson are surely correct in supplying it.
2589 I follow Skeat in emending "borne" to "lorne."
2591 Galiot's knight Sir Esquyris is a minor figure who appears only in this scene in the extant text. Perhaps the most significant thing about him is that despite his poverty he fought well. Since he later becomes one of Arthur's knights, as lines 2596-97 make clear, he is a perfect example of why Arthur should follow the advice of Amytans (in lines 1696-98) that he show his favor not only to the rich but to the poor worthy man as well.
2605 Arthur's knight Galys Gwynans appears in no other Middle English text.
2606 Ywane the Bastart or Ywain the Bastard, a different character from Sir Ywain, is the illegitimate son of Urien begotten on his steward's wife. He appears again in lines 3085-86. It may also be that this is the Ywain referred to as "Ywons the King" in line 2861 and as "Ywons King" in line 3261.
2618 Ywane the Anterus is identified by Ackerman in An Index of the Arthurian Names in Middle English (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1952) as Ywain, the legitimate son of Urien rather than Ywain the Bastard, perhaps because the latter appears just twelve lines above as "Ywane the Bastart." However, as Ackerman in An Index of the Arthurian Names in Middle English (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1952) notes, Ywain the Bastard is often called Ywain les Avoutres because "Avoutres represents the Latin adulter." In Malory, the name also appears as Auenturous. Apparently there is some confusion between "Avoutres" and "Auenturous." Thus "Ywane the Anterus" might well be "Ywane les Avoutres" or Ywain the Bastard.
2630-2635 Skeat explains the arithmetical discrepancy in these lines by saying "It would appear that Galiot had 40,000, of whom 10,000 were held in reserve; so that in line 2632 only 30,000 are mentioned.
2636 Forswornn is the past participle of "forsweren," which usually means "to break an oath" or "to leave (a country) under oath not to return, go into banishment" (MED). Such meanings are clearly not applicable here. The sense suggests that the word must mean something like "cleared" the field. Perhaps this is a reasonable extension of the notion of banishment or exile sometimes implied by the word.
2663 Led is the past participle of the verb "leien," used here in the sense of "struck down" or "humbled."
2687 Ywan is, as is mentioned in the text (lines 2865-67), son of Urien. In Malory, his mother is Morgan le Fay. He is the hero of Chrétien's Yvain and one of the heroes of the Middle English Ywain and Gawain. "Sir Ywan" also appears in line 2707.
2693-94 Skeat suggests emending ms. "erde" to "felde," which would preserve the rhyme. However, there appear to be two or more lines missing from the text, probably inadvertently omitted by the scribe, since the second line seems not to follow naturally from the first.
2712 I follow Skeat and Gray in inserting "to" between "fore" and "depart."
2744 I follow Skeat in emending ms. "in in" to "into."
2762 The des (dais) is a raised platform where those of the highest rank would sit. This arrangement is very different from the equality among knights suggested by the Round Table.
2796 The word withall, which literally means something like "moreover," or "at the same time," or "likewise," is often difficult to translate directly into a modern equivalent. Sometimes, as here, it seems merely to have a kind of intensive force.
2820 The t in "knychtly" does not appear in the ms.
2833 The second l in "Melyhalt" does not appear in the ms.
2851 Ydrus (or Ydras in line 3152) is probably the Idrus whom Malory identifies as son of Ywain and as one of the knights who fought with Arthur against Emperor Lucius.
2853 Harvy the Reveyll appears in Malory (as Heruys de Reuel) as a knight who, according to Malory, does "merveylous dedys of armes" in Arthur's battle against Nero, brother of King Royns, and is recommended by King Pellinore as one of the older knights to be made a Knight of the Round Table to fill the seats of those killed in battle.
2858 Angus, King of Scotland, appears as Auguselus in Geoffrey of Monmouth and is identified in Layamon's Brut as brother to Lot and Urien. Originally opposed to Arthur, Angus becomes his ally.
2861 On Ywons the King see the note to line 2602.
2865 I follow Skeat in emending ms. "first" to "fift," which is obviously the correct reading. The same error occurs in line 2883, where I again follow Skeat in emending to "fift."
2865-67 On Ywan or Ywain, son of Urien, see the note to line 2687.
2873 On Malenginys, see the note to line 806.
2879 Walydeyne, the leader of one of Galiot's forces, appears again in line 3249 (Walydone, which I have normalized from the ms. reading Valydone).
2881 King Clamedeus, one of Galiot's knights is "Lord of Far Ylys." The Far Isles, sometimes referred to as the "Oute Isles," may refer to the Scilly Isles or the Hebrides. Ackerman, in An Index of the Arthurian Names in Middle English (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1952), notes that the name "was used by early historians to designate many islands such as Orkney, Wight, etc." (184).
2883 See note to line 2865.
2884 Brandymagus is Malory's Bagdemagus, King of Gore. In Malory, he is the father of the wicked knight Meleagant, who kidnaps Guinevere. On the name, see the section on "Baudemaguz" in Roger Sherman Loomis's Arthurian Tradition and Chrétien de Troyes (New York: Columbia University Press, 1949), pp. 240-250.
2890 The Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue, citing this line, defines a prekyne hat as "a (presum. lightweight) head-piece for riding, perh. of the sallet or basinet variety." The term translates the French "capel de fer" (cf. Sommer, vol. 3, 236, line 17] and is derived from a Middle English word ("priken" or "preken") meaning "to ride"; cf. line 3089 below for an example of the verb in this romance.
2895 In this line couth is used much the way "can" or "gan" is frequently used, as an auxiliary verb indicating the past tense (and here perhaps adding emphasis). Thus "he couth abyde" might be translated "he did remain."
2984 The word "not" does not appear in the ms.; but, as Skeat suggests, it "seems required." Gray also adds "not" to the line.
3020 Into contynent is the equivalent of "incontynent," which means "immediately."
3041 On that parapet. The second sche in this line does not appear in the ms. Skeat is surely correct in supplying it. Gray suggests not supplying the second "sche," but changing "Whar that" in the next line to "Wha that"; this seems a less satisfactory emendation.
3071 A rest is "a projection attached to the right side of the breastplate to receive the butt end of the lance when couched for the charge" (MED).
3074 Skeat and Gray emend held to "help." However, the emendation does not seem necessary. Though "held(e)," meaning "favor" or "grace," is usually used in a religious context, the extension of the meaning to "aid" or "assistance" saeems natural enough.
3083 Syr Sygramors (Malory's Sagramore le Desyrus) is called "the Desyrand" in the sense of desirous of or eager for battle, that is, bold.
3084 Gresown is a name otherwise unknown in Middle English Arthurian romance. Robert W. Ackermann (in An Index of the Arthurian Names in Middle English [Stanford: Stanford UP, 1952] suggests that the name mught be "a corrupt form of Gryflet." Though Ackermann offers no explanation for the conjecture, it must be based on the fact that in the corresponding passage in the Vulgate Lancelot "Gifles" (Middle English Gryflet) appears with Kay, Sagramore and Ywain (see Sommers, III, 239).
3087 Gaherss is Malory's Gaheris, son of Lot and Morgawse and brother to Gawain, Agravain and Gareth.
3150 The sense seems to be: "And many a fine point in the art of combat they performed."
3151, 3155 On Malangins or Malengynis, see note to line 806.
3184 Skeat glosses ward as "world" and observes that "the omission of the l is common." Gray glosses the word as "a division of an army, an army."
3204 Skeat gives the ms. reading of "qsquyaris." I follow Gray in omitting the initial q.
3240 Skeat glosses sarues as "service." However, it seems more likely that it is a plural form of "sorwe," hear meaning "injuries." The suggestion is that Sir Gawain laughs at the sufferings of his enemy at the hand of the older knight.
3249 On Walydone, see the note to line 2879.
3259 On King Clamedyus see the note to line 2881.
3261 On Ywons King see the note to line 2606.
3318 I follow Skeat in emending the ms. reading "Whilk" to "Whill."
3345 Skeat adds the word "in" after the manuscript reading "foundyne," though, as he notes, the word is required by the sense and not the meter. Thus Gray is probably right when he suggests that the correct reading is probably "found in" rather than "foundyne."
3373 I follow Skeat and Gray in adding his to this line.
3386 The reference here is to the practice of bear-baiting, "the sport of setting dogs to attack a bear ['bere'] chained to a stake ['stok']" (OED).
3435-36 On trumpetis and claryownis see the note to line 771. Hornys were "wind instruments which have as a distinguishing feature a tube gradually tapering outward from the mouthpiece to the opening rather than terminating in the flared bell of instruments of the trumpet class." Bugillis or "bugles" were wind instruments "of straight or semi-circular design, consisting of a hollow tube, usually of horn, which tapered gradually from the bell to the mouthpiece" and which were "used for sounding military or heraldic signals, alarms, announcements or assemblies" (quotations are from Henry Holland Carter, A Dictionary of Middle English Musical Terms [Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1961]).
3452 The Dictionary of Middle English Musical Terms, citing this line, defines wind: "In reference to the playing of a wind instrument: the breath, or breath control." However, the "wyndis bost" or "boast of wind" surely refers not only to the musical calls to battle but also to what Lancelot sees as the insubstantiality of the enemy's martial claims.
The long dirk pasag of the uinter and the lycht
Of Phebus comprochit with his mycht,
The which, ascending in his altitud,
Avodith Saturnn with his stormys rude.
The soft dew one fra the hevyne doune valis
Apone the erth, one hillis and on valis,
And throw the sobir and the mwst hwmouris
Up nurisit ar the erbis and in the flouris
Natur the erth of many diverss hew
Ovrfret and cled with the tendir new. 123
The birdis may them hiding in the gravis
Wel frome the halk, that oft ther lyf berevis.
And Scilla hie ascending in the ayre
That every uight may heryng hir declar
Of the sessone the passing lustynes.
This was the tyme that Phebus gan hym dress
Into the Rame and haith his courss bygown
Or that the trewis and the yher uas rown, 124
Which was yset of Galiot and the King
Of thar assemblé and of thar meting.
Arthur haith a fiftene dais before
Assemblit al his barnag and more
That weryng wnder his subjeccioune
Or lovith hyme or longith to his crown,
And haith his jornay tone, withouten let,
Onto the place the wich that was yset
Whar he hath found befor hyme mony o knycht
That cummyng war with al thar holl mycht
Al enarmyt both with spere and scheld
And ful of lugis plantith haith the feld,
Hyme in the wer for to support and serf
At al ther mycht, his thonk for to disserf.
And Gawan, which was in the seking yhit
Of the gud knycht, of hyme haith got no wit,
Remembrith hyme apone the Kingis day
And to his falowis one this wys can say:
"To yhow is knowin the mater, in what wyss
How that the King hath with his ennemys
A certan day that now comprochit nere,
And oneto ws war hevynes to here
That he uar into perell or into dreid
And we away and he of ws haith neid;
For we but hyme no thing may eschef,
And he but ws in honore well may lef.
For, be he lost, we may nothing withstond
Ourself; our honore we tyne and ek our lond.
Tharfor I red we pas onto the King,
Suppos our oth it hurt into sum thing,
And in the feld with hyme for til endur
Of lyf or deth and tak our adventur."
Tharto thei ar consentit everilkon,
And but dulay the have thar jorney tonne. 125
When that the King them saw, in his entent
Was of thar com right wonder well content,
For he preswmyt no thing that thei wold
Have cummyne but one furth to ther seking hold. 126
And thus the King his ost assemblit has
Agane the tyme, againe the day that uas
Ystatut and ordanit for to bee,
And everything hath set in the dogré.
And Galiot, that haith no thing forghet
The termys quhich that he befor had set,
Assemblit has, apone his best maner,
His folk and al his other thingis sere
That to o weryour longith to provid
And is ycome apone the tothir syde.
Whar he befor was one than uas he two, 127
And al his uthir artilyery also
He dowblith hath, that mervell was to senn.
And by the revere lychtit one the grenn
And stronghar thane ony wallit toune
His ost ybout yclosit in randoune.
Thus war thei cummyne apone ather syd
Befor the tyme, themself for to provid.
Or that the trewis was complet and rwn,
Men mycht have sen one every sid begwn
Many a fair and knychtly juperty
Of lusty men and of yong chevalry
Disyrus into armys for to pruf;
Sum for wynyng, sum causith uas for luf,
Sum into worschip to be exaltate,
Sum causit was of wordis he and hate
That lykit not ydill for to ben--
A hundereth pair at onis one the gren.
Thir lusty folk thus can thar tyme dispend
Whill that the trewis goith to the ende.
The trewis past, the day is cummyne ononne;
One every syd the can them to dispone;
And thai that war most sacret and most dere
To Galiot, at hyme the can enquere,
"Who sal assemble one yhour syd tomornne?
Tonycht the trewis to the end is worne."
He ansuerit, "As yhit oneto this were
I ame avysit I wil none armys bere
Bot if it stond of more necessitee,
Nor to the feld will pas bot for to see
Yhone knycht, the which that berith sich o fame."
Than clepit he the Conquest King be name
And hyme commandit thirti thousand tak
Againe the morne and for the feld hyme mak. 128
And Gawane haith, apone the tother syde
Consulit his eme he schuld for them provid
And that he schuld none armys to hyme tak
Whill Galiot will for the feld hyme mak.
"I grant," quod he, "wharfor yhe mone dispone
Yhow to the feld with al my folk tomorne
And thinkith in yhour manhed and curage
For to recist yhone fowis gret owtrag."
The nycht is gone; up goith the morow gray,
The brycht sone so cherith al the day.
The knychtis gone to armys than in hast.
One goith the scheildis and the helmys last.
Arthuris ost out ovr the furrde thai ryd.
And thai agane, apone the tother syd,
Assemblit ar apone o lusty greyne,
Into o vaill, whar sone thar mycht be seyne
Of knychtis togedder many o pair
Into the feld assemblyng her and thair,
And stedis which that haith thar master lorne;
The knychtis war done to the erth doune borne.
Sir Esquyris, which was o manly knycht
Into hymeself, and hardy uas and wycht
And intill armys gretly for to pryss,
Yhit he was pure, he previt wel oftsyss; 129
And that tyme was he of the cumpanee
Of Galiot, bot efterwart was hee
With Arthur. And that day into the feild
He come, al armyt boith with spere and scheld,
With ferss desir, as he that had na dout,
And is assemblit evyne apone a rowt. 130
His spere is gone; the knycht goith to the erd,
And out onon he pullith haith o swerd.
That day in armys previt he rycht well
His strenth, his manhed: Arthuris folk thai fell.
Than Galys Gwynans, with o manly hart,
Which brother was of Ywane the Bastart,
He cummyne is onone oneto the stour
For conquering in armys of honour
And cownterit with Esquyris hath so
Than horss and man, al four, to erth thai go.
And still o quhill lying at the ground
With that o part of Arthuris folk thei found
Till Gwyans and haith hyme sone reskewit.
Aganis them til Esquyris thei sewyt
Of Galiotis well thirti knychtis and mo.
Gwyans goith done and uthir seven also,
The wich war tone and Esquyris relevit.
Than Ywane the Anterus, aggrevit,
With kynnismen oneto the mellé socht.
The hardy knychtis, that one thar worschip thocht,
Cownterit them in myddis of the scheld
Whar many o knycht was born donn in the feld.
Bot thei wich ware one Galiotis part
So wndertakand nor of so hardy hart
Ne ware thei not as was in the contrare.
Sir Galys Gwyans was resqwyt thare
With his falowis, and Esqwyris don bore.
Thar al the batellis cam, withouten more,
On ather part, and is assemblit so
Whar fyfty thousand war thei and no mo.
In o plane besyd the gret rivere
Thirty thousand one Galiotis half thei uare.
Of Arthuris ten thousand and no mo
Thei ware, and yhit thai contenit them so
And in the feld so manly haith bornn
That of thar fois haith the feld forswornn.
The Conquest King, wich the perell knowith,
Ful manly oneto the feld he drowith.
The lord Sir Gawan, coverit with his scheld,
He ruschit in myddis of the feld
And haith them so into his com assayt
That of his manhed ware thei al affrait.
No langer mycht thei contrar hyme endur
Bot fled and goith oneto discumfiture.
And Galiot, wich haith the discumfit sen,
Fulfillit ful of anger and of ten,
Incontinent he send o new poware,
Wharwith the feldis al ovrcoverit ware
Of armyt stedis both in plait and maill,
With knychtis wich war reddy to assaill.
Sir Gawan, seing al the gret suppris
Of fois cummyng into sich o wys,
Togiddir al his cumpany he drew
And confortable wordis to them schew.
So at the cummyng of thar ennemys
Thei them resauf in so manly wyss
That many one felith deithis wound
And wnder horss lyith sobing one the ground.
This uther cummyth into gret desir,
Fulfillit ful of matelent and ire,
So freschly, with so gret o confluens,
Thar strong assay hath don sich vyolens
And at thar come Arthuris folk so led
That thai war ay abaysit and adred.
Bot Gawan, wich that, by this uorldis fame,
Of manhed and of knychthed bur the name,
Haith previt well be experiens;
For only intil armys his defens
Haith maid his falowis tak sich hardyment
That manfully thei biding one the bent.
Of his manhed war mervell to raherss.
The knychtis throw the scheldis can he perss
That many one thar dethis haith resavit.
None armour frome his mychty hond them savit,
Yhit ay for one ther ennemys wor thre. 131
Long mycht thei nocht endur in such dugree.
The press, it wos so creuell and so strong
In gret anoy and haith continewit longe
That, magré them, thei nedis most abak, 132
The way oneto thar lugis for to tak.
Sir Gawan thar sufferith gret myschef
And wonderis in his knychthed can he pref.
His falouschip haith mervell that hym saw;
So haith his fois that of his suerd stud aw.
King Arthur, that al this whill beheld
The danger and the perell of the feld,
Sir Ywan with o falowschip he sende,
Them in that ned to help and to defend,
Qwich fond them into danger and in were
And enterit nere into thar tentis were.
Sir Gawan fechtand was one fut at erde
And no defend but only in his swerde
Aganis them both with spere and scheld.
Of Galowa the knycht goith to the erde.
Thar was the batell furyous and woid
Of armyt knychtis. To the grownde thai yhud.
Sir Ywane, that was a noble knyght,
He schew his strenth, he schew thar his gret mycht,
In al his tyme that never of before
Off armys nore of knychthed did he more.
Sir Gawan thar reskewit he of fors,
Magré his fois, and haith hyme set one horss
That frome the first Conquest King he wann.
Bot Sir Gawan so evill was wondit than
And in the feld supprisit was so sore
That he the werss tharof was evermore.
Thar schew the lord Sir Ywan his curage,
His manhed, and his noble vassolage.
And Gawan, in his doing, wald nocht irk
So al the day enduring to the dyrk
Sal them, magré of thar desyre, constren
On athar half fore to depart in twen.
And when that Gawan of his horss uas tonn,
The blud out of his noiss and mouth is gonn,
And largly so passith every wounde,
In swonyng thore he fell oneto the ground.
Than of the puple petee was to here
The lemytable clamour and the chere,
And of the King the sorow and the care,
That of his necis lyf was in disspare.
"Far well," he sais, "my gladnes and my delyt,
Apone knychthed far well myne appetit,
Fare well of manhed al the gret curage,
Yow flour of armys and of vassolage,
Gif yow be lost." Thus til his tent hyme brocht
With wofull hart and al the surrygenis socht
Wich for to cum was reddy at his neid.
Thai fond the lord was of his lyf in dreid,
For wondit was he and ek wondit so
And in his syd ware brokyne ribys two.
Bot nocht forthi the King thai maid beleif
That at that tyme he shuld the deith eschef. 133
Off Melyhalt the Ladyis knychtis were
Into the feld and can thir tithingis here,
And home to thar lady ar thai went
Til hir to schewing efter thar entent 134
In every poynt how that the batell stud
Of Galiot and of his multitud;
And how Gawan hyme in the feld hath bornn,
Throw quhoys swerd so many o knycht uas lornn,
And of the knychtly wonderis that he wrocht;
Syne how that he oneto his tent uas brocht.
The lady hard, that lovit Gawan so
She gan to wep; into hir hart uas wo.
Thir tythyngis oneto Lancelot ar gonn,
Wharof that he was wonder wobygone.
And for the lady hastely he sent,
And sche til hyme, at his command, is went.
He salust hir and said, "Madem, is trew
Thir tithingis I her report of new
Of the assemblé and meting of the ost,
And of Sir Gawan, wich that shuld be lost?
If that be swth, adew the flour of armys!
Now nevermore recoveryt be the harmys.
In hyme was manhed, curtessy, and trouth,
Besy travell in knychthed, ay but sleuth, 135
Humilyté, gentrice, and cwrag.
In hyme thar was no maner of outrage.
Allace, knycht, allace! What shal yow say?
Yow may complen, yow may bewail the day
As of his deith, and gladschip aucht to ses,
Baith menstrasy and festing at the des;
For of this lond he was the holl comfort
In tyme of ned al knychthed to support.
Allace, madem, and I durst say at yhe
Al yhour behest not kepit haith to me,
Wharof that I was in to full belef
Aganne this day that I schuld have my lef
And nocht as cowart thus schamfully to ly
Excludit into cage frome chevalry,
Whar othir knychtis anarmyt on thar stedis
Hawntis ther yhouthhed into knychtly dedis."
"Sir," quod sche, "I red yhow not displess, 136
Yhe may in tyme herefter cum at es;
For the thrid day is ordanit and shal be
Of the ostis a new assemblé,
And I have gart ordan al the gere
That longith to your body for to were,
Boith horss and armour in the samyne wyss
Of sable, evyne aftir yhour awn devyss.
And yhe sal her remayne oneto the day;
Syne may yhe pass, fore well yhe knaw the way."
"I will obey, madem, to yhour entent."
With that sche goith and to hir rest is went.
One the morn arly up sche ross
Without delay and to the knycht sche gois
And twk hir lef and said that scho uald fare
Onto the court withouten any mare.
Than knelit he and thankit hir oftsys
That sche so mych hath done hyme of gentriss 137
And hir byhecht ever, at his myght,
To be hir awn trew and stedfast knycht.
Sche thonkith hyme and syne sche goith her way
Onto the King, withowten more delay,
Whar that in honour with King and Qwen sche sall
Rycht thonkfully resavit be withall.
Eft to Sir Gawan thai hir led, and sche
Ryght gladly hyme desyrit for to see.
And sche hyme fond, and sche was glad tharfore,
All uthirways than was hir told before.
The knycht, the wich into hir keping uas,
Sche had commandit to hir cussynece,
Wich cherist hyme apone hir best manere
And comfort hyme and maid hym rycht gud chere. 138
The days goith; so passith als the nycht.
The thrid morow, as that the sone uas lycht,
The knycht onon out of his bed aross.
The maden sone oneto his chalmer goss
And sacretly his armour one hyme spent.
He tuk his lef and syne his way he went
Ful prevaly, rycht to the samyne grenn
One the revere, whar he befor had ben,
Evyne as the day the first courss hath maad. 139
Alone rycht thar he hovit and abaade,
Behalding to the bertes whar the Qwenn
Befor at the assemblé he had senn
Rycht so the sone schewith furth his lycht
And to his armour went is every wycht.
One athir half the justing is bygon
And many o fair and knychtly courss is rown.
The Blak Knycht yhit hovyns on his sted;
Of al thar doing takith he no hed
Bot ay apone the besynes of thocht
In beholding his ey departit nocht.
To quhom the Lady of Melyhalt beheld
And knew hyme by his armour and his scheld,
Qwhat that he was. And thus sche said one hycht,
"Who is he yone? Who may he be, yhone knycht
So still that hovith and sterith not his ren
And seith the knychtis rynyng one the grenn?" 140
Than al beholdith and in princypale
Sir Gawan beholdith most of all.
Of Melyhalt the Lady to hyme maid
Incontinent, his couche and gart be had 141
Before o wyndew thore, as he mycht se
The knycht, the ost, and al the assemblé.
He lukith furth and sone the knycht hath sen;
And, but delay, he saith oneto the Qwen,
"Madem, if yhe remembir, so it was
The Red Knycht into the samyne place
That vencust al the first assemblé,
Whar that yone knycht hovis, hovit hee."
"Yha," quod the Qwen, "rycht well remembir I;
Qwhat is the causs at yhe inquere and quhy?" 142
"Madem, of this larg warld is he
The knycht the wich I most desir to see
His strenth, his manhed, his curag, and his mycht,
Or do in armys that longith to o knycht."
By thus, Arthur, with consell well avysit,
Haith ordanit his batellis and devysit: 143
The first of them led Ydrus King, and he
O worthy man uas nemmyt for to bee.
The secund led Harvy the Reveyll,
That in this world was knycht that had most feill
For to provid that longith to the were,
One agit knycht and well couth armys bere.
The thrid feld deliverit in the hond
Of Angus, King of Ylys of Scotlande,
Wich cusing was one to King Arthur nere.
One hardy knycht he was, withouten were.
The ferd batell led Ywons the King,
O manly knycht he was into al thing.
And thus devysit ware his batellis sere
In every feld fiftene thousand were.
The fift batell the lord Sir Ywan lede,
Whois manhed was in every cuntré dred.
Sone he was oneto Wryne the Kyng,
Forwart, stout, hardy, wyss, and yhing.
Twenty thousand in his ost thai past,
Wich ordanit was for to assemblé last.
And Galiot apone the tothir syde
Rycht wysly gan his batellis to devid.
The first of them led Malenginys the King,
None hardyar into this erth levyng.
He never more out of his cuntré raid,
Nor he with hyme one hundereth knychtis hade.
The secund the First-Conquest King led,
That for no perell of armys uas adred.
The thrid o king clepit Walydeyne,
He led, and was o manly knycht, but weyne.
The ferd, King Clamedeus has,
Wich that Lord of Far Ylys was.
The fift batell, whar forty thousand were,
King Brandymagus had to led and stere,
O manly knycht and previt well oftsyss,
And in his consell wonder scharp and wyss.
Galiot non armys bur that day,
Nor as o knycht he wald hymeself aray,
But as o servand in o habariowne,
O prekyne hat, and ek o gret trownsciownn
Intil his hond and one o cursour set,
The best that was in ony lond to get.
Endlong the revar men mycht behold and see
Of knychtis weryne mony one assemblé
And the Blak Knycht still he couth abyde
Without removyng, one the river syde,
Bot to the bartes to behold and see
Thar as his hart desyrit most to bee.
And quhen the Lady of Melyhalt haith senn
The knycht so stond, sche said oneto the Qwenn,
"Madem, it is my consell at yhe send
Oneto yone knycht, yourself for to commend,
Beseiching hyme that he wald wndertak
This day to do of armys for your sak."
The Quen ansuerit as that hir lykit nocht,
For othir thing was more into hir thocht:
"For well yhe se the perell, how disjont
The adventur now stondith one the point
Boith of my lord, his honore, and his lond,
And of his men, in danger how thai stond;
Bot yhe and ek thir uthere ladice may,
If that yhow lykith, to the knycht gar say
The mesag. Is none that wil yhow let,
For I tharof sal nocht me entermet."
Onto the Quen scho saith, "Her I,
If so it pless thir uthir ladice by,
Am for to send oneto the knycht content."
And al the ladice can tharto assent,
Beseching hir the mesag to devyss,
As sche that was most prudent and most wyss.
Sche grantit and o madenn haith thai tone,
Discret, apone this mesag for till gone.
And Sir Gawan a sqwyar bad also,
With two speris oneto the knycht to go.
The lady than, withouten more dulay,
Haith chargit hir apone this wyss to say,
"Schaw to the knycht, the ladice everilkone
Ben in the court, excep the Quen allon,
Til hyme them haith recommandit oftsyss,
Beseching hyme of knychthed and gentriss
(Or if it hapyne evermore that he shall
Cum quhar thai may, owther an or all,
In ony thing avail hyme or support,
Or do hyme ony plesans or comfort),
He wold vichsaif for love of them this day
In armys sum manhed to assay.
And say, Sir Gawan hyme the speris sent.
Now go; this is the fek of our entent."
The damysell, sche hath hir palfray tone,
The sqwyar with the speris with hir gonn.
The nerest way thai pass oneto the knycht,
Whar sche repete hir mesag haith ful rycht.
And quhen he hard and planly wnderstude
How that the Quen not in the mesag yude,
He spak no word, bot he was not content.
Bot of Sir Gawan, glaid in his entent,
He askit quhar he was and of his fair.
And thai to hyme the maner can duclair.
Than the sqwyar he prayth that he wold
Pass to the feld, the speris for to hold.
He saw the knychtis semblyng her and thare,
The stedis rynyng with the sadillis bare.
His spuris goith into the stedis syde,
That was ful swyft and lykit not to byd.
And he that was hardy, ferss, and stout,
Furth by o syd assemblyng on a rout
Whar that one hundereth knychtis was and mo.
And with the first has recounterit so
That frome the deth not helpith hym his scheld:
Boith horss and man is lying in the feld.
The spere is gone and al in pecis brak;
And he the trunscyoune in his hand hath tak
That two or thre he haith the sadillis reft
Whill in his hond schortly nothing is left.
Syne, to the squyar, of the feld is gonn.
Fro hyme o spere into his hond haith ton
And to the feld returnyt he agayne.
The first he met, he goith one the plan,
And ek the next, and syne the thrid also.
Nor in his hond, nore in his strak was ho.
His ennemys that ueryng in affray
Befor his strok and makith roum alway.
And in sich wyss ay in the feld he urocht,
Whill that his speris gon uar al to nocht.
Wharof Sir Gawan berith uitnesing
Throw al this world that thar uas non levyng,
In so schort tyme so mych of armys wrocht.
His speris gone, out of the feld he socht
And passit is oneto the revere syde,
Rycht thore as he was wont for to abyde
And so beholdyne in the samyne plann
As to the feld hyme lykit nocht agann. 144
Sir Gawan saw and saith onto the Quen,
"Madem, yhone knycht disponit not, I weynn,
To help ws more, fore he so is avysit.
As I presume, he thinkith hyme dispisit
Of the mesag that we gart to hyme mak.
Yhowreself yhe have so specialy outtak,
He thinkith evill contempnit for to bee,
Considering how that the necessitee
Most prinspaly to yhowr supporting lyis.
Tharfor my consell is, yhow to devyss
And ek yhowreself in yhowr trespas accuss
And ask hyme mercy and yhour gilt excuss.
For well it oucht o prince or o king
Til honore and til cheriss in al thing
O worthi man that is in knychthed previt.
For throw the body of o man eschevit
Mony o wondir, mony one adventure
That mervell war til any creature.
And als ofttyme is boith hard and sen,
Quhar fourty thousand haith discumfit ben
Uith five thousand and only be o knycht.
For throw his strenth, his uorschip and his mycht,
His falowschip sich comfort of hym tais
That thai ne dreid the danger of thar fays.
And thus, madem, I wot withouten were,
If that yhone knycht this day will persyvere
With his manhed for helping of the King,
We sal have causs to dred into no thing.
Our folk of hyme thai sal sich comfort tak
And so adred thar ennemys sal mak
That sur I am, onys or the nycht,
Of forss yhone folk sal tak one them the flycht. 145
Wharffor, madem, that yhe have gilt to mend,
My consell is oneto yhon knycht ye send."
"Sir," quod sche, "quhat plessith yhow to do
Yhe may devyss and I consent tharto."
Than was the Lady of Melyhalt content
And to Sir Gawan into contynent
Sche clepit the maid, wich that passit ar,
And he hir bad the mesag thus duclar.
"Say the knycht the Quen hir recommendith 146
And sal correk in quhat that sche offendith
At his awn will, howso hyme list devyss 147
And hyme exortith in most humyll wyss,
As ever he will, whar that sche can or may
Or powar haith hir charg be ony way,
And for his worschip and his hie manhede
And for hir luf to helpen in that ned
The Kingis honore, his land fore to preserf,
That he hir thonk forever may deserf."
And four squyaris chargit he also
With thre horss and speris ten to go
Furth to the knycht, hyme prayng for his sak
At his raquest thame in his ned to tak.
The maden furth with the sqwyaris is went
Oneto the knycht and schawith ther entent.
The mesag hard and ek the present senn,
He answerit and askith of the Qwen.
"Sir," quod sche, "sche into yhone bartiis lyis,
Whar that this day yhour dedis sal devyss,
Yhowr manhed, yhour worschip and affere,
How yhe contenn and how yhe armys bere,
The Quen hirself and many o lady to
Sal jugis be and uitnes how yhe do."
Than he, whois hart stant in o new aray,
Saith, "Damyceyll, onto my lady say
However that hir lykith that it bee,
Als far as wit or powar is in me,
I am hir knycht; I sal at hir command
Do at I may, withouten more demand.
And to Sir Gawan, for his gret gentriss,
Me recommend and thonk a thousand syss.
With that, o sper he takith in his hond
And so into his sterapis can he stond,
That to Sir Gawan semyth that the knycht
Encresyng gon o larg fut one hycht.
And to the ladice saith he, and the Qwen,
"Yhon is the knycht that ever I have sen
In al my tyme most knychtly of affere
And in hymeself gon farest armys bere."
The knycht that haith remembrit in his thocht
The Qwenys chargis and how sche hym besocht,
Curag can encresing to his hart.
His curser lap and gan onon to start;
And he the sqwaris haith reqwyrit so
That thai with hyme oneto the feld wald go.
Than goith he one, withowten mor abaid,
And ovr the revar to the feld he raid.
Don goith his spere onone into the rest,
And in he goith withouten mor arest
Tharas he saw most perell and most dred
In al the feld and most of held had ned,
Whar semblyt was the First-Conquest King
With mony o knycht that was in his leding.
The first he met, doune goith boith horss and man;
The sper was holl, and to the next he rann
That helpit hyme his hawbrek nor his scheld,
Bot throuch and throuch haith persit in the feld.
Sir Kay, the wich haith this encontyr sen,
His horss he strekith ovr the larg gren
And Syr Sygramors ek the Desyrand,
With Sir Gresown cummyth at thar honde,
Son of the duk and alsua Sir Ywan
The Bastart, and Sir Brandellis onan,
And Gaherss, wich that brothir was
To Gawan. Thir sex in a rass
Deliverly com prekand ovr the feldis
With speris straucht and coverit with thar scheldis,
Sum for love, sum honor to purchess
And aftir them one hundereth knychtis was,
In samyne will, thar manhed to assay.
On his five falowis clepit than Sir Kay
And saith them, "Siris, thar has yhonder ben
A courss that nevermore farar was sen
Maid be o knycht, and we ar cummyn ilkon
Only ws one worschip to dispone.
And never we in al our dais mycht
Have bet axampil than iffith ws yone knycht
Of well doing. And her I hecht for me
Ner hyme al day, if that I may, to bee
And folow hyme at al mycht I sall,
Bot deth or uthir adventur me fall. 148
With that, thir sex, al in one assent,
With fresch curag into the feld is went.
The Blak Knychtis spere in pecis gonne,
Frome o sqwyar onne uthir haith he tonne,
And to the feld onone he goith ful rycht.
Thir sex with hyme ay holdith at thar mycht. 149
And than bygan his wonderis in the feld.
Thar was no helme, no hawbryk, nore no scheld,
Nor yhit no knycht so hardy, ferss nore stout,
No yhit no maner armour mycht hald owt
His strenth, nore was of powar to withstond.
So mych of armys dyde he with his honde
That every wight ferleit of his deid
And al his fois stondith ful of dreid.
So besely he can his tyme dispend
That of the speris wich Sir Gawan send,
Holl of them all thar was not levit onne;
Throw wich but mercy to the deyth is gon
Ful many o knycht and many o weriour
That couth susten ful hardely o stour. 150
And of his horss supprisit ded ar two,
One of his awn, of Gawanis one also;
And he one fut was fechtand one the gren,
When that Sir Kay haith with his falowis senn.
The sqwyar with his horss than to hym brocht.
Magré his fois, he to his courseir socht
Deliverly, as of o mychty hart,
Without steropis into his sadill start,
That every wycht beholding mervell has
Of his strenth and deliver besynes.
Sir Kay, seing his horss, and how that thai
War cled into Sir Gawanis aray,
Askith at the squyar if he knewith
What that he was, this knycht. And he hym schewith
He wist nothing quhat that he was, nore hee
Befor that day hyme never saw with ee.
Than askith he how and one quhat wyss
On Gawanis horss makith hyme sich service.
The sqwar saith, "Forsuth Y wot no more;
My lord ws bad, I not the causs quharfore."
The Blak Knycht, horsit, to the feld can sew
Als fresch as he was in the morow new.
The sex falowis folowit hyme ilkone
And al in front onto the feld ar gonn.
Rycht freschly one thar ennemys thai foght
And many o fair poynt of armys uroght.
Than hapnyt to King Malangins ost
By Ydras King discumfit was and lost
And fled and to the Conquest King ar gonne;
Thar boith the batellis assemblit into one.
King Malengynis into his hart was wo,
For of hymeself no better knycht mycht go.
Thar forty thousand war thai for fiftene.
Than mycht the feld rycht perellus be sen
Of armyt knychtis gaping one the ground.
Sum deith and sum with mony a grevous wond;
For Arthuris knychtis that manly war and gud,
Suppos that uthir was o multitude,
Resavit tham well at the speris end.
Bot one such wyss thai may not lang defend.
The Blak Knycht saw the danger of the feld
And al his doingis knowith quho beheld
And ek remembrith into his entent
Of the mesag that sche haith to hyme sent.
Than curag, strenth encresing with manhed,
Ful lyk o knycht oneto the feld he raid,
Thinking to do his ladice love to have,
Or than his deth befor hir to resave.
Thar he begynyth in his ferss curag
Of armys, as o lyoune in his rag.
Than mervell was his doing to behold.
Thar was no knycht so strong nor yhit so bold
That in the feld befor his suerd he met
Nor he so hard his strok apone hyme set
That ded or wondit to the erth he socht,
For thar was not bot wonderis that he wrocht.
And magré of his fois everilkone,
Into the feld ofttymys hyme alonn
Throuch and throuch he passith to and fro.
For in the ward it was the maner tho
That non o knycht shuld be the brydill tak
Hyme to orest nore cum behynd his bak
Nor mo than on at onys one o knycht
Shuld strik, for that tyme worschip stud so rycht.
Yhit was the feld rycht perellus and strong
Till Arthuris folk set thai contenyt longe.
Bot in sich wyss this Blak Knycht can conten
That thai, the wich that hath his manhed senn,
Sich hardyment haith takyne in his ded,
Them thocht thai had no maner causs of dred
Als long as he mycht owthir ryd or go,
At every ned he them recomfort so.
Sir Kay haith with his falowis al the day
Folowit hyme al that he can or may,
And wondir well thai have in armys previt
And with thar manhed oft thar folk relevit.
Bot well thai faucht in diverss placis sere,
With multitud ther folk confusit were 151
That long in sich wyss mycht thai nocht contenn.
Sir Kay, that hath Sir Gawans squyaris sen,
He clepit hyme and haith hyme prayt so
That to Sir Harvy the Revell wil he go
And say to hyme, "Ws think hyme evil avysit, 152
For her throuch hyme he sufferit be supprisit
The best knycht that ever armys bur;
And if it so befell of adventur,
In his defalt, that he be ded or lamyt,
This warld sal have hyme utraly defamyt.
And her ar of the Round Table also
A falouschip that sall in well and wo
Abid with hyme and furth for to endur
Of lyf or deth, this day, thar adventur.
And if so fal discumfyt at thai bee,
The King may say that wonder evill haith he
Contenit hyme and kepit his honore,
Thus for to tyne of chevalry the flour."
The sqwar hard and furth his way raid;
In termys schort he al his mesag said.
Sir Harvy saith, "Y wytness God that I
Never in my days comytit tratory;
And if I now begyne into myne eld,
In evill tyme fyrst com I to this feld.
Bot, if God will, I sal me son discharg.
Say to Sir Kay I sal not ber the charg;
He sal no mater have me to rapref.
I sal amend this mys if that I lef."
The sqwyar went and tellit to Sir Kay.
And Sir Harvy, in al the hast he may,
Assemblyt hath his ostis and ononn
In gret desyre on to the feld is gon
Befor his folk and haldith furth his way.
Don goith his sper, and evyne before Sir Kay
So hard o knycht he strykith in his ten
That horss and he lay boith apone the gren.
Sir Gawan saw the counter that he maad
And leuch for al the sarues that he had.
That day Sir Harvy prevyt in the feld
Of armys more than longith to his eld;
For he was more than fyfty yher of ag,
Set he was ferss and yong in his curag.
And fro that he assemblyt his bataill
Doune goith the folk of Galotis al haill.
For to withstond thai war of no poware
And yhit of folk ten thousand mo thei uare.
Kyng Walydone, that sauch on such o wyss
His falowis dangerit with thar ennemys,
With al his folk, being fress and new,
Goith to the feld onon, them to resskew.
Thar was the feld rycht perellus aganne;
Of Arthuris folk ful many on uar slan.
Bot Angus, quhich that lykith not to bid
And saw the perell one the tothir sid,
His sted he strok and with his ost is gon
Whar was most ned; and thar the feld has ton.
Kyng Clamedyus makith non abaid,
Bot with his ost oneto the sid he raid.
And Ywons King, that haith his cummyn sen,
Encounterit hyme in myddis of the grenn.
The aucht batellis assemblyt one this wiss;
On ather half the clamore and the cryiss
Was lametable and petws for til her
Of knychtis wich in diverss placis sere
Wondit war and fallyng to and fro;
Yhit Galyotis folk war twenty thousand mo.
The Blak Knycht than onto hymeself he said,
"Remembir the how yhow haith ben araid,
Ay sen the hour that yow was makid knycht,
With love agane quhois powar and whois mycht
Yow haith no strenth; yow may it not endur,
Nor yhit non uthir erthly creatur.
And bot two thingis ar the to amend, 153
Thi ladice mercy or thi lyvys end.
And well yhow wot that onto hir presens,
Til hir estat nor til hir excellens,
Thi febilness nevermore is able
For to attan, sche is so honorable.
And sen no way yow may so hie extend,
My verray consell is that yow pretend
This dayÄÄsen yow becummyne art hir knycht
Of hir comand and fechtit in hir sycht--
And well yow schaw, sen yow may do no mor, 154
That of resone sche sal the thank tharfore,
Of every poynt of cowardy yow scham
And intil armys purchess the sum nam." 155
With that of love into o new desir
His spere he straucht and swift as any vyre 156
With al his forss the nerest feld he soght,
His ful strenth in armys thar he uroght,
Into the feld rusching to and fro.
Doune goith the man, doune goith the horss also;
Sum throw the scheld is persit to the hart,
Sum throw the hedÄÄhe may it not astart.
His bludy suerd he dreuch, that carvit so
Fro sum the hed and sum the arm in two;
Sum in the feld fellit is in swonn;
Throw sum his suerd goith to the sadill doune.
His fois waren abasit of his dedis,
His mortell strok so gretly for to dred is.
Whar thai hyme saw, within a lytall space
For dreid of ded, thai levyng hyme the place,
That many o strok ful oft he haith forlornn.
The spedy horss away the knycht hath bornn.
Into his wyrking nevermore he sest,
Nor non abaid he makith nor arest.
His falowis so in his knychthed assuryd,
Thai ar recomfort, thar manhed is recoveryt,
And one thar fois ful fersly thai soght.
Thar goith the lyf of many o knycht to nocht. 157
So was the batell wonderful to tell,
Of knychtis to se the multitud that fell
That pety was til ony knycht to senn
The knychtis lying gaping on the gren.
The Blak Knycht ay continewit so fast
Whill many one discumfit at the last
Are fled and planly of the feld thei pas.
And Galyot haith wondyr, for he was
Of mor powar, and askit at them qwhy
As cowartis thai fled sa schamfully.
Than saith o knycht, sor wondit in the brayne,
"Who lykith, he may retwrn agayne
Frome qwhens we come, mervalis for to see
That in his tyme never sich sauch hee."
"Marvell," quod he, "that dar I boldly say
Thay may be callit and quhat thai ar, I pray." 158
"Schir, in the feld forsuth thar is o knycht
That only throw his body and his mycht
Vencussith all that thar may non susten
His strokis, thai ar so fureows and ken.
He farith as o lyone or o beyre,
Wod in his rag, for sich is his affere.
Nor he the knycht into the armys red
Wich at the first assemblé in this sted
Vencussith all and had the holl renown,
He may to this be no comparysoune;
Fore never he sesith sen the day uas gonn
Bot evermore continewit into one."
Quod Galiot, "In nome of God and we
Al, be tyme, the suthfastness sal see."
Than he in armys that he had is gon
And to the feld with hyme agane hath ton
Al the flearis and found yne sich aray
His folk that ner discumfyt al war thay.
Bot quhen thai saw cummyne ovr the plan
Thar lord, thai tuk sich hardement agann
That thar essenyeis lowd thai gon to cry.
He chargit tham to go, that ware hyme by,
Straucht to the feld with al thar holl forss;
And thai, the wich that sparit not the horss,
All redy war to fillyng his command
And freschly went withowten more demand.
Throw qwich thar folk recoveryt haith thar place,
For al the feld preswmyt that thar was
O new ost, one such o wyss thai soght,
Whar Arthuris folk had passith al to nocht. 159
Ne war that thai the better war ilkonne 160
And at thai can them utraly disponne
Rathar to dee than flee, in thar entent,
And of the Blak Knycht haith sich hardyment,
For at al perell, al harmys and myschef,
In tyme of ned he can tham al ralef.
Thar was the batell dangerus and strong;
Gret was the pres, bath perellus and throng.
The Blak Knycht is born onto the ground;
His horss hyme falyth, that fellith dethis wound.
The six falowis that falowit hyme al day,
Sich was the press that to the erth go thay.
And thar in myd among his ennemys
He was about enclosit one sich wyss
That quhare he was non of his falowis knew
Nor mycht nocht cum to help hyme nore reskew.
And thus among his ennemys allon
His nakid suerd out of his hond haith ton;
And thar he previt his vertew and his strenth,
For thar was none within the suerdis lenth
That came bot he goith to confusioune.
Thar was no helme, thar was no habirioune
That may resist his suerd, he smytith so.
One every syd he helpith to and fro
That al about the compas thai mycht ken
The ded horss lyith uirslyng with the men.
Thai hyme assalyeing both with scheld and spere:
And he agane, as at the stok the bere
Snybbith the hardy houndis that ar ken,
So farith he; for never mycht be sen
His suerd to rest that in the gret rout
He rowmyth all the compas hyme about.
And Galiot, beholding his manhed,
Within hisself wonderith of his ded
How that the body only of o knycht
Haith sich o strenth, haith sich affere and mycht.
Than said he thus, "I wald not that throw me
Or for my causs that such o knycht suld dee,
To conquer all this world that is so larg."
His horss than can he with his spuris charg
A gret trunsioune into his hond hath ton
And in the thikest of the press is gonn
And al his folk chargit he to sess.
At his command thai levyng al the press;
And quhen he had departit all the rout
He said, "Sir knycht, havith now no dout."
Wich answerit, "I have no causs to dred."
"Yis," quod he, "sa ever God me sped,
Bot apone fut quhill ye ar fechtand here
And yhow defendith apone sich manere
So hardely and ek so lyk o knycht
I sal myself with al my holl mycht
Be yhour defens and uarand fra al harmys.
Bot had yhe left of worschip intil armys,
What I have don I wold apone no wyss.
Bot sen yhe ar of knychthed so to prys
Yhe salt no maner causs have for to dred.
And set yhour horss be falit at this ned,
Displess yhow not, forquhy ye sal not want
Als many as yhow lykith for to hawnt. 161
And I myself, I sal yhowr sqwyar bee,
And, if God will, never more sal wee
Depart." With that anon he can to lycht
Doune frome his horss and gaf hyme to the knycht.
The lord he thonkit and the horss hath ton,
And als so fresch oneto the feld is gon
As at no strokis he that day had ben.
His falowis glad one horss that hath hym sen,
To Galiot one uthir horss thai broght;
And he goith one and frome the feld he socht
And to the plan quhar that his ostis were.
And Brandymagus chargit he to stere
Efter hyme within a lytill space,
And ten thousand he takyne with hym hass.
Towart the feld onon he can to rid
And chargit them befor the ost to byd.
Wp goith the trumpetis and the claryownis,
Hornys, bugillis blawing furth thar sownis,
That al the cuntré resownit hath about.
Than Arthuris folk uar in dispar and dout
That hard the noys and saw the multitud
Of fresch folk: thai cam as thai war wod.
Bot he that was withowten any dred,
In sabill cled, and saw the gret ned
Assemblyt al his falowis and arayd.
And thus to them in manly termes said:
"What that ye ar I knaw not yhour estat;
Bot of manhed and worschip, well I wat,
Out throuch this warld yhe aw to be commendit,
This day ye have so knychtly yhow defendit.
And now yhe see how that, aganis the nycht,
Yhour ennemys pretendit, with thar myght
Of multitud and with thar new ost
And with thar buglis and thar wyndis bost
Freschly cummyng into sich aray,
To ifyne yhow one owtray or affray.
And now almost cummyne is the nycht,
Quharfor yhour strenth, yhour curag and yhour mycht
Yhe occupye into so manly wyss
That the worschip of knychthed and empryss
That yhe have wonyng and the gret renown
Be not ylost, be not ylaid doune.
For one hour the sufferyng of distress,
Gret harm it war yhe tyne the hie encress
Of uorschip servit al this day before.
And to yhow al my consell is, tharfore,
With manly curag but radour yhe pretend
To met tham scharply at the speris end
So that thei feil the cold speris poynt
Outthrow thar scheldis in thar hartis poynt
So sal thai fynd we ar nothing affrayt,
Wharthrouch we sall the well less be assayt. 162
If that we met them scharply in the berd, 163
The formest sal mak al the laif afferd."
And with o voyss thai cry al, "Sir knycht
Apone yhour manhed and yhour gret mycht
We sal abid for no man shall eschef
Frome yhow this day, his manhed for to pref."
And to his ost the lord Sir Ywane said,
"Yhe comfort yow, yhe be nothing affrayd.
Ws ned no more to dreding of suppriss:
We se the strenth of al our ennemys."
Thus he said, for he wend thai uar no mo,
Bot Sir Gawan knew well it uas not so;
For al the ostis mycht he se al day
And the gret host he saw quhar that it lay.
And Galiot, he can his folk exort,
Beseching them to be of good comfort
And sich enconter . . .
Banishes; fierce; (see note)
falls; (see note)
hide in the groves
air; (see note)
person may hear her
advanced; (see note)
Ram [i.e., Aries]; orbit
For; meeting [in combat]
are subject to; authority
had come; entire force
With; thanks; deserve
who was still in search
sorrow to hear
without him; achieve
without us; live
Although; in some measure
In preparation for
put in order
not at all forgotten
in the best way he can
for a warrior it is necessary
implements of war
camped in a field
Before; truce; elapsed
spirited; young knights
in arms to prove themselves
loud and impassioned
at once; field
These spirited; pass
they began; position
in this war
if there is a greater need
Counseled his uncle
not take up arms
Until; (see note)
must plan; (see note)
[to go] to the field
that enemy's; offense
the gray morning comes
they in response
In a vale; seen
lost; (see note)
brave; (see note)
in arms of great esteem
Who; (see note)
at once; battle
to the ground
a while; on
Until; they come
In response to; they followed
down; seven others
vexed; (see note)
into the battle went
of their honor
on Galiot's side
were; in the opposition
battalions; more ado
more; (see note)
in his attack engaged
who; defeat seen
armor and chain mail
in such a way
many a one feels death's
struck down; (see note)
confused and frightened
was the epitome
proved himself well by
fight on the field
press of battle; was
stood in awe
sent; (see note)
in danger and in peril
fighting on foot on the ground
rescued; by force
In spite of
prowess in battle
until the dark
On both sides; in two; (see note)
copiously; goes from
a swoon there
sorrowful cries; display
For; farewell; inclination
wounded to such a degree
and heard these tidings
have they gone
in her heart; (see note)
joy ought to cease
minstrelsy; dais; (see note)
dare say that you
In preparation for
Spend their youth in
had prepared all the gear
is necessary; wage war
took her leave; she would go
promised; as far as he could
received; (see note)
commended; female relative
morning; as soon as
took his leave
secretly; same field
remained and waited
On both sides; jousting
run; (see note)
in the preoccupation
(i.e., he stares)
went; (see note)
there so that
abides, he abided
what a knight should do
pertains to war
knew how to bear arms
battlefield he assigned to
fourth battalion; (see note)
in every way
arrayed; various forces
called; (see note)
without a doubt
fourth; (see note)
lead and command; (see note)
servant; coat of mail
(see note); club
In; war horse
to be had
Along the river
fighting many a skirmish
knew how to wait; (see note)
do deeds of arms; sake
it did not please her
in a difficult position
on the brink
these other ladies
cause to be said
these other ladies nearby
Declare; every one
commended many times
because of; courtesy
either one or all [of them]
bring him any pleasure
valor to undertake
most direct way; go
glad in his spirit
about his condition
horses running; empty
to stand still
fighting in a troop
in pieces broke
onto the ground
striking was there a halt
make way constantly
did such deeds of arms
made his way
where he usually remained
plans; suspect; (see note)
thinks himself despised
had delivered to him
concerns support for you
of your fault
it were to
heard and seen
know without a doubt
at some time before
called; who went before
exhorts; humble manner
them [the lances]
heard; gift seen
in a new condition
that [which]; demur
Grew a full foot in height
bore arms the best
charger reared; race forward
assembled [for battle]
under his command
[neither] his mail
close by them; (see note)
These six in a charge
With the same wish; prove
passage at arms; fairer; seen
Made by; each one
plan [on winning]
to the best of my ability
these six; in agreement
nor was strong enough
person wondered at his deeds
on foot; fighting
horse made his way
knew not at all who
in what manner
does him such
squire; in truth; know
bade us; know not
six companions; each one
were they as opposed to
(see note to l. 1090)
long hold out
act in order; lady's
lion; violent anger
That he did not
dead; made his way
one at a time
It seemed to them
either ride or walk
knows how or is able to
seen; (see note)
Because of his absence
it befalls; defeated that
borne himself and guarded
squire heard; rode
In a few words
in my old age
legal issue; charge against
as fast as he can
went forth on his way
Down; right before
laughed; (see note)
is expected of; age
more were they
saw; (see note)
many a one was slain
delay; (see note)
arrival seen; (see note)
lamentable; pitiable to hear
since you have become
So that reasonably; you
cowardice; be ashamed
fear of death; leave
In his activity; ceased
pity; for any; see
(see note to l. 1090)
defeated; (see note)
from the field; go
larger force; of
all the glory
in time; truth
those who fled; (see note)
that; utterly decided
in the midst of
with his hand; taken
without being killed
helmet; coat of mail
all around they might see
in response; (see note)
clears all the circumference
because of me
on my account; die
spurs urge on
club; hand; taken
leave all the battle
so; God help me
on foot; fighting
neglected honor in
in no way
since; of such worth
although; has failed
As if in no combat
gets on; went
heard the noise
courage and honor; know
just before the night
in such array
give; offense; fright
if you should lose
without fear; attempt
first; remainder afraid
stand fast; flee
such a battle
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