Sir Torrent of Portingale


1 He [the king] took Torrent under his guardianship

2 Most noble in apparel

3 If I were entitled to bear arms

4 He allowed no stone to stand

5 Who dared to desire that battle

6 Unless [the horse] was distressed (?spurred)

7 Then he knew no better plan

8 Torrent moved quickly under his [the giant's] staff

9 Let us be merry before our deaths

10 The king of Provence's son

11 Are shackled in prison together

12 His hooves [were] black as sloe berries

13 If it happens that I may capture [the falcons]

14 Thus [Torrent] gained ground on him

15 Who had destroyed many men

16 Torrent went to the side-board (a table for lower-ranking nobility)

17 To break [my promise to keep an appointed] date I will not

18 With severe and painful wounds

19 I have never seen anyone like him

20 I give you responsibility for it

21 You will not have to pay annual tribute on it

22 [So] that you are there and win your shoes (i.e., prove yourself worthy of knighthood)

23 For [fear of a] beating

24 But that he had done what was right

25 Lines 1235—37: The great lords who were at the feast loved the tale of the squire's [Torrent's] adventures and arranged the competition straight away

26 That it should be held there

27 Treachery, may evil befall it always

28 And give yourself nothing sorrowful (i.e., do not worry)

29 Lines 1694—95: For his own sake he [the king] gave me to him [the giant], / He [the giant] would [accept] nothing else

30 Even if [Torrent] had more lives than one

31 Do not worry about anything

32 But [she ran] into a wilderness

33 With wild and deadly beasts

34 And then he leaves his home

35 His acton (a padded jacket worn underneath chain mail) and his other garments

36 Both of you kiss your father

37 And he could do no good (i.e., he was helpless)

38 To pray for him and his family


A: Adam edition (EETS, 1887); BT: Bosworth and Toller, Anglo-Saxon Dictionary; C: Manchester, Chetham’s Library MS 8009 (Mun. A.6.31); CT: Canterbury Tales, ed. Benson; H: Halliwell edition (1842); M: Montgomery edition (2008); MED: Middle English Dictionary; OED: Oxford English Dictionary.

1—6 God that ys . . . . servyse to ende. Most Middle English romances begin with a benediction or prayer of this sort, often asking God to protect the audience from Satan or sin, and to deliver them to heaven. Torrent also ends with a benediction along similar lines, and the romance concludes with an “Amen” (see lines 2666–71).

7 ye woll lyst; I schall yow tell. Oral formulae such as these occur frequently in Middle English romance. The suggestion of live performance links this romance to the troubadour tradition, and tail-rhyme romances were especially popular amongst minstrels, since the short lines and structured rhyme scheme made the poems easy to memorize and easy for audiences to follow. Oral tags at the beginning of a romance, or at significant transitions in the narrative, where the performer may have paused to take a break, often include calls for attention, silence, or as is the case here, for the audience to stay put. Narratorial prayers, which appear in Torrent, are also suggestive of oral performance. Crosby (“Oral Delivery,” p. 110) says that “the religious beginning and ending” in medieval poetry (in Torrent, lines 1–6 and 2666–71) “may be considered as indications of the intention of oral delivery.” Such indications of orality are not, however, assured evidence that this romance was composed by a minstrel or that it ever existed in oral circulation before it was first written down. By the late fourteenth century oral tags had become such a mainstay of tail-rhyme romance that they could have been included by the author as a matter of convention, or simply to give the impression that the tale was “authentic” and genuinely came out of popular oral culture. Chaucer, for example, includes several oral tags in his parody of tail-rhyme romance, The Tale of Sir Thopas (CT VII[B2]712–14, 833–35, 891–96). For other oral tags in Torrent see, for instance, lines 335–36, 337–39, 513, 1090–91, 1105, 1122, 1125, 2169–71.

12 Rome. The insistence that the story comes from Rome, or that the author’s source is a “boke of Rome,” appears repeatedly in Torrent. The point is to add gravitas to the narrative by inventing an older and reputable source, and to signal the text’s generic affiliations. A (p. 101n1/12) notes that “there is evidently no difference at all between in Rome and in romance,” presumably in reference to the text’s expression of antiquity and exoticism, as clearly Rome is a specific geographic location in the romance (see line 2663). In any case, it is highly unlikely that there is a genuine Latin or Italian source for the story. For other instances of this device, see lines 118, 187, 190, 198, 558, 924, 1926, 2185, and 2663.

18 Tyrrant. The hero’s name, most often spelled “Torrent” or “Torent,” seems to hold no prior significance or history in chivalric literature. The particular spelling (as in line 26, “Torrayne”), provides a rhyme, but the variant is never used again in the romance. In the later Middle Ages a “torrent” was a body of swift and violently flowing water ( MED torenes (n. pl.)), which may be appropriate for Torrent’s character. Trevisa’s 1398 translation of De Proprietatibus Rerum uses the term to describe fast-flowing streams: “Of ryuers beþ two manere kyndes . . . Oon is yclepid [called] a lyuynge ryuer . . . þat oþer manere ryuer hatte [is called] torrens and is a water þat comeþ wiþ a swifte rees and passeth, and hatte torrens for it encresseþ [increases] in grete reyne and fordwyneth [runs dry] in drye wedir” (ed. Seymour, I:654). See M, p. 121–22n18, for further suggestions as to the origins of Torrent’s name, including the Old English verb torendan (BT tó-rendan, “to rend in two, tear in pieces”), and the Portuguese adjective torrente, whose meaning (“torrent, barrage, flood, outburst”) is strikingly similar to the later Middle English torenes.

25 kyng of Portynggall. That is, king Calamond, who is first named at line 1223.

28 fesomnyd. The MED records this line as a lone witness, and speculates a gloss on the phrase “fe somned in his hond”: “gathered fief in his hand, gave in fief.” See MED fesomned and samnen (v.). M speculates that the manuscript gives a garbled form of “fest on (hond),” or “placed in his hand” (p. 124n28).

31 feyer ase flowyr. Proverbial. See Whiting F304. Related similes in Middle English romance compare fair complexions to white horses (see line 456), white swans (see line 759), whale’s bone (see line 794), lilies (see line 1641), and foam (used in Sir Eglamour of Artois, line 26). Milk, paper, and snow are also used.

33 Worthyest in wede. The expression that women, and occasionally men, are “most noble in apparel” appears often in Middle English romance, as in Emaré, Amis and Amiloun, The Knightly Tale of Gologras and Gawain, and Guy of Warwick. Chaucer parodies the phrase as the most tired of clichés in The Tale of Sir Thopas (CT VII[B2]917), but the author of Torrent uses it often as an external sign of nobility. In lines 2397–99 the phrase is used to describe Torrent, and in line 2501 it is used to describe all the “lordys” of the court.

37—39 For love of . . . . gan he take. Central to chivalric practice in romance is the notion that knights should go on adventures for the sake of the ladies they love or parallel ladies they have chosen to champion. A central feature of romance, too, is the trope that knights on a quest or in combat can increase their prowess by thinking about the women they love, and the success of a knight in battle is often attributed to his romantic motivations, as is the case in lines 55–59.

40 tymbyr. A rare metonym for a lance, though other examples survive from the romances Duke Rowland and Sir Otuell of Spain (line 455) and The Wars of Alexander (line 1230), both of which, like Torrent, were likely composed around 1400. See MED timber (n.1), sense 1c. The Torrent-author must have been fond of it, as he uses it again in lines 2351 and 2485.
ovyr-ryde. Presumably refers to running over one’s fallen opponent whilst on horseback, an indication of complete dominance in the joust. According to MED (override (n.)), which gives the definition “?superiority in riding,” this is a unique occurrence of the word.

48 ordurrs. Chivalric orders are highly selective fellowships or societies of knights, and initiation into an order often coincides with one being “dubbed” or made a knight, usually after proving oneself in battle. There were several real-life chivalric orders across Europe during the Middle Ages, such as the Order of the Garter in England and the Order of the Star in France.

55—59 For the love . . . . schalt her wyne. That knights must perform feats of arms to prove themselves worthy of the women they love is one of the most central motivating forces in medieval chivalric fiction, and indeed in heroic literature more broadly. As is the case here, these tests often provide the impetus for narrative action that would appeal to a mixed audience.

73 the kyng for tene wax wode. At this point the cause of the king’s sudden anger remains unclear. Later (lines 786–88), he reveals that Torrent is unworthy of his daughter, and eventually his throne, because of Torrent’s relatively low status as an “erlls sone” (line 787).

75 trew. Treuth is a fundamental principle of medieval chivalry. It encompasses virtues such as honor, fidelity, and integrity. See MED treuth (n.).

79 Greks See. The Mediterranean Sea. In Torrent and related romances such as Sir Eglamour of Artois (lines 257, 894, 1064), Octavian (lines 407, 569), and Sir Isumbras (line 194), the Mediterranean is understood as a boundary (and point of contact) between the East and West, between the Muslim world and the Christian world. See also Hudson, ed. Four Middle English Romances, p. 32n194.

90 He wold fell thee with hys wynde. This allusion to the giant’s size and strength seems to be punning on the word “wynde,” as both breath and a fart (MED wind (n.), senses 4 and 5). Either way, it is intended as a swipe at the young Torrent’s prowess.

95 Samson. Samson was an Old Testament hero known for his extraordinary strength and his ill-fated relationship with the temptress Delilah, who betrayed him by cutting his hair upon discovering that it was the source of his strength. His wondrous story is recounted in Judges 13:24–16:31, and it was well known in the Middle Ages, as an historical account, a typological allegory, and a moral tale.

97 Hys squyerys. As Torrent is not made a knight until lines 1108–19, it is rather odd that he has squires assisting him at this point. In the feudal structure of later medieval military service a squire was a young man who attended upon a knight.

101 Begonmese. It appears as though the scribe did not recognize this unusual proper name, as he seems to have transcribed it as three words: “Be gon mese” (A and M hyphenate the word thus: “Be-gon-mese”), which makes no apparent sense. M speculates that, if the name has any etymological significance, it could mean “evil inhabitant,” from Old French mais “bad, evil, wicked” and Old English bígenga (Middle English beõeng) “inhabitant” (p. 129n101).

112—14 Now God, that . . . . for to have. The narrator’s prayer for Torrent is one of many such interjections in the romance (see lines 587, 683, 865–66, 1047, 2217). A lists these as evidence that the poem may have been written by a monk (pp. xx–xxi), though a narrator’s investments in the adventures of the hero is a staple of late-medieval romance, and the narrator’s prayers and benedictions may have been intended to generate sympathy for the protagonists rather than to make a theological point.

133—41 Torrent on kne . . . . be the Rode. This is the first of Torrent’s many prayers before battle. Their frequency, and their length, have led scholars like Dalrymple to label Torrent a “pious” romance (Language and Piety, p. 101n52). For the other prayers see lines 528–39, 670–73, 693–95, 987–99, 1275–79, 1309–14, 1496–1504, 1540–51, 1564–69, 2223–25, and 2577–85.

147 He swellyd ase dothe the see. Proverbial. See Whiting S113.

167 wed. The giant is punning off of Torrent’s demand for “amends” in line 162. See MED wed (n.), sense 5a (“something paid or yielded up as amends or penalty; ?also, a token of subservience, tribute”), and compare to “wede” in line 615.

181—89 Torrent undyr hys . . . . armys walloyng fast. Knights have a long history of wrestling giants in medieval chivalric literature, going back to Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain (c. 1138). Torrent’s fight in this passage corresponds in several details with the fight between Marhalt and a giant in Thomas Malory’s Morte Darthur (ed. Field, 1:139–40). Kennedy has suggested that Malory knew Torrent and used it as a source for the episode (“Malory and his English Sources,” pp. 34–39). Kennedy’s view is largely endorsed by Norris, Malory’s Library, pp. 46–49.

228 Schynyng ase crystall clere. Proverbial. See Whiting C594.

237 blowe. Blue; that is, he turned pale out of fear. See MED blóen (v.), sense a, “to become livid or pale,” which cites this line.

276—77 Owt of the . . . by thy tale. The disjunction here suggests that there is perhaps one stanza missing between lines 276 and 277. It seems likely that it would have included Torrent’s account of his journey to the palace, in which he purposefully omits his encounter with the giant.

283—88 for thy gentry . . . . they wrowght. That lions were powerless to harm ladies of genteel birth, or that they must submit themselves to those who remained virgins, seems to have held some folkloric currency in the Middle Ages. Early readers who encountered Torrent in C would have also seen this trope in Bevis of Hampton, another romance in C. This romance makes clear that the heroine, Josian, cannot be harmed by the lions she encounters in a cave because she is a pure virgin (ed. Herzman, Drake, and Salisbury, lines 2390–94). In Octavian (ed. Hudson, lines 349–51) and the Prose Lancelot (ed. Sommer 3:233), the lion refuses to harm the child of a king. In Torrent it is explicitly the lady’s “gentry,” or high birth, that ensures her safety, though virginity might also be implied.

291 lemered ase gold bryght. Proverbial. See Whiting G314.

343—44 of Gales lond, / Elyoner. M hesitantly identifies Gales as Galicia, a medieval kingdom located on the modern-day border between Poland and Ukraine (p. 146n344). M also notes that in the N-Town play Parliament of Hell; Temptation, “Portyngale” and “Galys” are listed together in a catalogue of place names that also includes “Aragon” (ed. Sugano, lines 172–73). A less exotic possibility is that Gales refers to Wales.

347 Berweyne. M speculates that this may refer to French “Burgoyne,” or Burgundy (p. 147n347). A, however, suggests that this line is corrupt in multiple ways (p. 103n13/344). The possible errors in the manuscript make any speculation on the names and places in this stanza dubious at best.

371 thei trussyd the gyantts hed. That Torrent needs a dedicated horse to carry the giant’s head suggests something of the head’s size. Here, as in several other places in the romance, the author makes use of the trophy motif, in which the defeated giant’s head is taken back to court both as evidence of victory and as a gift for the king or for those the giant had previously oppressed. For comparable moments see lines 691–92, 703–04, 723–25, 750–55, 1051–59, and 1750–57. For other examples of decapitation as the trophy motif in Middle English romance, see King Horn ( ed. Herzman, Drake and Salisbury, lines 625–28), Sir Eglamour of Artois (ed. Hudson, lines 298–300, 493–95), and the Alliterative Morte Arthure (ed. Benson, lines 1175–82).

380 a devyll ys hed. “Ys” here is a possessive marker. The disappearance of the Old English genitive -es inflection, as in “se sunu æs cyninges” [the son of the king], led to split possessive constructions in Middle English. The loss of the “e” sound eventually led to the use of an apostrophe in its place, producing the modern English possessive form, e.g., “devil’s head.” Find parallel constructions at lines 440, 449, and 460. See Allen, Genitives in Early English, especially chapters 3 and 4.

390—93 The kyng seyd . . . . joy and blyse. The kiss is a formal greeting intended to display trust and affection. The suggestion seems to be, however, that the king dares not approach Torrent because he is afraid of the lions at Torrent’s side. To put the king at ease, Torrent commands the lions to lie down while they embrace.

412 Perrown. May refer to modern Péronne, in the north of France. M cites Cardim (“Torrent of Portyngale,” p. 120) to note that its appearance suggests Torrent’s indebtedness to Sir Eglamour of Artois. M also notes that Péronne is the site of a thirteenth-century castle located near a mountain, which fits with the reference to it in line 659 (p. 152n415).

425 Yt ys ase glemyrryng ase the glase. Proverbial. See Whiting G125.

426 Thorrow Velond wroght. Velond, or Weyland, was a master blacksmith of Old Norse legend. He was a well-known figure throughout the Middle Ages, mentioned in English literature as early as Beowulf (ed. Klaeber, line 455). Metalwork attributed to his making, particularly weapons, testifies to the close relationship between craft and magic in the period, and the attribution here is meant to suggest the possibility of the sword’s supernatural qualities, as well as its antiquity and rarity.

434 Adolake. Named swords suggest both their uniqueness and their extraordinary quality. A named sword, like a named romance hero, might also have a history and career beyond the adventures of the romance itself, a possibility reinforced by Adolake’s origins in Weyland’s legendary smithy. The most popular named swords in medieval romance and chronicle are King Arthur’s Excalibur and Roland’s Durendal, but there are many others scattered throughout the medieval romance tradition. Unlike Excalibur, however, which Malory glosses as meaning “kutte stele” (ed. Field, 1:51), the name Adolake does not hold any obvious or explicit onomastic significance, or hearken to any traditions beyond the romance. It is also mentioned by name in line 665 (“Adyloke”) and again in line 791 (“Hatheloke”). The Old English æðele means “noble,” (BT æðele (n. and adj.)). The word survived into the Middle English period and still held some currency in the fifteenth century, particularly in romances. For another named sword, see lines 711–16, and the corresponding note to line 716 below.

457 And whyt as the flowyr in med. Proverbial (see Whiting F308), though usually used to describe beautiful women, not horses. See also note to line 31 above.

458 blac ase slo. Proverbial. See Whiting S385.

459—67 have here thys . . . . may I none. As perhaps the most basic requirement of chivalric endeavor, good horses make for excellent gifts in romance (“chivalry” literally meaning “horse-soldiery”). Moreover, the magical aid ascribed to this particular horse — that no man shall die whilst mounted on it — suggests its value beyond the ordinary. This supernatural attribute, however, or any of the consequences thereof, is not mentioned again in the romance. Of course Torrent does not, in fact, die while seated on the horse, but there remains no way of knowing whether this can be chalked up to the horse’s magic or Torrent’s own martial skill. Indeterminacy of this kind, which allows for the population of romances with magical objects but also for characters to achieve feats of arms on their own accord, is part of what Cooper identifies as “magic that doesn’t work” (English Romance in Time, ch. 3). Magic rings are by far the most common gifts women give to their lovers in romance, as seen in lines 2001–06.

477 that was trew ase styll. Proverbial. See Whiting S709.

489 the forrest of Maudelayne. According to a well-known medieval legend, witnessed in the Legenda aurea, Mary Magdalene lived for thirty years in a forest, supposedly in Provence (trans. Ryan, 1:380). The forest is named again in line 505, and in line 737 Torrent describes his adventures as taking place at “Mawdlenys well.” For more on Mary Magdalene see note to line 737 below.

507—09 Berys and apes . . . . And lyons. The forests of medieval romance, even those set in Britain or in western Europe more broadly, are often filled with exotic and dangerous animals. Apes (present only in F.II’s reading of these lines), of course, never inhabited the woodlands of Europe. By the fifteenth century, though, the presence of such dangerous creatures in romance had become a mainstay. One of the earliest romances, the twelfth-century Roman de Thèbes, for example, describes the trials of its hero in exile: Par mi un bois vet chevauchant, / fieres bestes vet encontrant: / gripons, serpanz, guivres, dragons, / lieparz et tygres et lÿons (ed. Raynaud, 1.649–52) [He went riding through a forest, encountering savage beasts there: griffins, serpents, snakes, dragons, leopards, and both tigers and lions] (my translation). By the later Middle Ages, the trope had developed to the point that it was ripe for satirical send-offs, such as with Chaucer’s dainty knight Sir Thopas, who encounters all manner of “wilde bestes,” including bucks and hares (CT VII[B2]755–56). For another encounter with lions and bears in Torrent see lines 1454–56, as well as the note to line 1454 below.

552 On the tayle an hed ther wase. Dragons or serpents with heads at both ends (amphisbaenae) were known to medieval encyclopedists and natural philosophers such as Isidore of Seville (trans. Barney et al., Etymologies, Book XII.iv.20). According to Collins (Symbolism of Animals, p. 162), such creatures were depicted in medieval church carvings, and with the particular representation of the dragon Torrent faces here (lines 552–63), they were likely responses to the imagery of Apocalypse 9:18–19: “And by these three plagues was slain the third part of men, by the fire and by the smoke and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. For the power of the horses is in their mouths, and in their tails. For, their tales are like to serpents, and have heads: and with them they hurt.”

553 byrnyd bryght as anny glase. Proverbial. See Whiting G108.

555 schyld. The author, or copyist, apparently forgot what he wrote in lines 525–27 and 549: that Torrent had only his sword to hand.

559 ells. An ell was a unit of measurement commonly used by merchants in the textile industries. Its length varied from country to country, but an English ell was equal to 45 inches (for comparison, a Scotch ell was 37.2 inches and a Flemish ell was 27 inches). Going by the English measurement, then, Torrent cuts off about fifteen feet of the dragon’s tail, which was, according to line 544, originally seven yards, or twenty-one feet, long.

564—75 The gyant seyd . . . . mayster were I. Torrent is a romance more densely populated with giants and dragons than most. It is, moreover, unique amongst surviving Middle English romances in that it establishes what appears to be a master and pet relationship between giants and dragons, both in these lines and with a different giant and two dragons in lines 1588–93. This latter giant, named Weraunt, also has a brother, Cate (see lines 1594–96) — details that work to develop a far more domestic scenario for giants than one might normally expect, especially for one that has been “of the devill be-taught” (line 1653).

582—83 Tyll the day . . . myrre to syng. The author seems to be rather fond of this bucolic tableau. He uses it twice more, with slight variations, at lines 1516–18 and 1860–62.

596 holtts hore. Literally, a dark or gloomy wood, though in Middle English romance the term is frequently used to suggest wildness and danger borne of the unknown. For more on wild places in romance, see Saunders, Forest of Medieval Romance.

610—14 Fellow, so God . . . . yowr wyl be. The use of pronouns in the exchange between Rochense and Torrent’s squire suggest that the giant is assuming the superior social position. Rochense twice uses the familiar pronoun “thow” (lines 611, 612), while the squire uses the formal “yowr” (line 614) after addressing him as “Lord” (line 613).

615 ley a wede. See the note to line 167 above.

618—19 In four quarters . . . uppon a bowe. Those convicted of treason in England were sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered, a punishment introduced by Edward I in the thirteenth century (Bellamy, Law of Treason, pp. 23–24). To ensure none of the tortures were redundant for the accused, the drawing and quartering took place after the hanging but before death. Quartering was also seen as an effective method of crime prevention in the Middle Ages, as the dismembered parts could be hung up in prominent places as a reminder to others, which is what Rochense does to Torrent’s squire here. However, given that there is nothing especially treasonous about the squire’s quest for a hawk’s nest, and that Rochense’s attack does not seem to have any political motivation, these lines may have been intended to imply the giant’s cannibalism. By quartering the squire and hanging the cuts from a tree branch, he could be simply aging the meat for a more tender and flavorful meal. Cannibalistic giants have a long history in medieval romance, from Geoffrey of Monmouth in the 1130s (ed. Thorpe, The History of the Kings of Britain, pp. 237–41) to Thomas Malory in the 1470s (ed. Field, Le Morte Darthur, 1:154–59).

651—52 He gathyred sum . . . and hys spere. Kennedy cites these lines, as well as lines 685–86 about Torrent’s weaponry, as evidence that Malory drew directly on Torrent for his depiction of Marhalt’s fight with the giant (“Malory and His English Sources,” p. 36).

654—68 Bacward than be . . . . day in fere. Kennedy cites these lines, in which Torrent drives the giant into the water, as evidence that Malory drew directly on Torrent for his depiction of Marhalt’s fight with the giant (“Malory and his English Sources,” p. 36). See also lines 1293–1308, which Kennedy also suggests were a source for Malory.

716 Mownpolyardns. The name of the sword, not the prince. M (p. 171n714–16) suggests a hypothetical etymology of mouen (MED mouen (v.1), senses a and b), and polle (MED polle (n.), sense 1a), combined to possibly mean “cut heads.” Along with Adolake, it is likely one of the two swords of extreme value that Torrent gives to his sons in lines 2657–59. For more on Adolake, and on named swords in romance, see the notes to line 434 above and to lines 790–91 below.

737 Mawdlenys well. While Gospel accounts never represent Mary Magdalene (first named in Mark 15:40) at a well, it is likely that medieval traditions conflated her with the unnamed Samaritan woman whom Jesus encounters at a well in John 4:6–42, among others (Haskins, Mary Magdalen, pp. 5–16). More simply, the ascription could just reference the location of the well in the “forrest of Maudelayne” (see note to line 489 above), a fitting place for encounters with the exotic and the marvelous. The cult of Mary Magdalene was particularly strong in medieval England (as it was in France), with her feast day assigned to a prime midsummer slot: 22 July. By the end of the Middle Ages nearly 200 churches were dedicated to her, along with two colleges, Magdalen (Oxford) and Magdalene (Cambridge), both of which, of course, only admitted men (ed. Reames, Middle English Legends of Women Saints, pp. 51–52).

744 Sen Jame. St. James the Greater, one of Christ’s apostles, was beheaded by Herod. As patron saint of Spain, his body was translated to Santiago de Compostella, where his shrine became one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in medieval Europe (Farmer, Dictionary of Saints, p. 256). Given that Calamond has been presented with the severed head of a giant, the oath may not be coincidental. Calamond swears by St. James again in line 788.

753 Sen Myhell. Based on Apocalypse 12:7–9, the archangel Michael is often represented in medieval iconography as slaying a dragon or standing over a dead dragon. As the patron saint of soldiers, he is also frequently represented wielding a banner and a sword. Even though his evocation in the collective utterance of the lords takes the form of an oath, it could be understood as a calculated association intended to suggest Torrent’s worthiness.

756—58 ordeynyd prysts fyve . . . . hym by name. Within medieval Catholic tradition it would have been considered an act of charity to provide for masses to be performed, and prayers said, for the souls of the departed. This practice, it was believed, would help speed souls through the pains of purgatory and quicken their path to Heaven. This is especially important for Torrent’s squire due to the unexpected nature of his death.

759 whyt ase swane. Proverbial. See Whiting S930. See also the note to line 31 above.

775—79 The kyng to . . . . may governe me. The petitionary or advisory role was well established for virtuous women of the period, especially women of the court. Thomas of Chobham, in his thirteenth-century Summa confessorum (ed. Broomfield, 7.2.15), suggests just how far women should go to be good wives to their wayward husbands: Debet enim in cubiculo et inter medios amplexus virum suum blande alloqui, et si durus est et immisericors et oppressor pauperum, debet eum invitare ad misericordiam; si raptor est, debet detestari rapinam; si avarus est, suscitet in eo largitatem [Even in the bedroom, in the midst of their embraces, a wife should speak alluringly to her husband, and if he is hard and unmerciful, and an oppressor of the poor, she should invite him to be merciful; if he is a plunderer, she should denounce plundering; if he is avaricious, she should arouse generosity in him] (trans. Farmer, “Persuasive Voices,” p. 517).

786—88 He seyd . . . by Sen Jame. Compare lines 73–75, and the explanatory note to line 73 above. The king’s disdain for Torrent’s slightly lower social class exposes a widespread concern with matters of genealogy, marriage, primogeniture, and property in medieval romance. See Cooper, English Romance in Time; Maddox, Fictions of Identity; and Crane, Insular Romance.

790—91 Yt ys hys sword . . . Hatheloke ys ys name. See note to line 434 above. The attribution of Torrent’s martial success to his sword, rather than his own prowess, hints at the common romance trope in which heroes are somehow chosen or favored by supernatural chivalric weapons that aid them in their adventures.

794 whyt ase walls bone. C’s reading, “snalls bone,” appears to be a clear corruption, especially since “white as whale’s bone” was a proverbial simile (see Whiting W203) and a common metaphor for describing the complexion of beautiful women in Middle English romance. See the note to line 31 above.

813—15 they went to mas . . . . notts and solemnyté. That Torrent begins his day by going to mass is in keeping with the expectations of Christian chivalry, at least within the world of romance. See the reiteration of this practice in line 2462.

819 syd bord. The meal’s seating plan, with Torrent relegated to a side table with the squires (line 820), indicates his relatively junior or inferior social position as an earl’s son. Near the end of the romance he sits next to the king at the high table (line 2345), signifying his social ascendancy.

847 Calabur. Calabria, a region of southern Italy that forms the toe of the Italian “boot.”

868 Prevyns. Provence, a region of southern France with a coastline on the Mediterranean Sea.

901 squyer. At first glance it seems this would be a simple copyist’s mistake, and that the line should read “sword.” The repetition of “squyer” in line 909, however, suggests that Torrent is using it as a metaphor to mean that the only help he brings with him is his own sword, a sentiment reiterated in line 902: “No man schall with me wend.”

925—26 He wase get . . . on slepe lay. More than once in medieval romance does the devil (or a devil) impregnate human women while they sleep, or while they are otherwise unaware. The progeny of these couplings tend to be monstrous, as with Sir Gowther or Robert the Devil, but the most famous example of this motif is the child, Merlin. In the Vulgate Cycle, Merlin is capable of using his supernatural powers for good, presumably on account of both God’s providence and the piety of his mother, who was a nun (trans. Pickens, Story of Merlin, pp. 50–56).

927 Seynt Adryan. There are several possible candidates for this allusion. The seventh-century scholar and missionary St. Adrian (also called Hadrian), an African monk who accompanied Theodore of Tarsus when he was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 669, was widely venerated in England. The location of his tomb in St. Augustine’s Abbey, which was said to be the site of many miracles, made it a convenient stop for the huge number of pilgrims traveling to Canterbury to visit the shrine of St. Thomas Becket. It was also common for English monarchs to either send offerings to his tomb, or deliver them in person, and Henry III ordered two altars to be built to Adrian, one at Westminster and one in Dover Castle. See Webb, Pilgrimage in Medieval England, pp. 131, 284n38. A potentially more tantalizing possibility, however, is the early martyr saint Adrian of Nicomedia (d. 304), whose Life is included in the Legenda aurea (trans. Ryan, 2:160–64), as well as in the Scottish Legendary, c. 1390–1400 (ed. Metcalfe, 2:272–91), and the Gilte Legende from 1438 (ed. Hamer, 2:660–66). Adrian is a soldier who fights for Emperor Maximian, and who converts to Christianity when he witnesses the fortitude of Christians facing torture and execution for their faith. The main part of his legend focuses on his relationship with his wife Natalia. Both are young and beautiful, and both are wholly devoted to each other. After Adrian’s death, Maximian wants to marry off Natalia to another soldier. She manages to escape, however, taking with her one of Adrian’s dismembered hands, which she carries to his tomb in Constantinople, Later, Adrian appears to her in a dream, shortly before she dies, telling her that they will be reunited in death. The unusual emphasis on married love in this legend, along with the heroics of both Adrian and Natalia (especially Adrian’s status as a soldier, his steadfastness during his gruesome tortures, and Natalia’s unfailing support for her husband even after his death) makes for a poignantly ironic allusion in the context of the king’s oath (lines 927–34). In swearing by St. Adrian, the king promises to give his daughter’s hand in marriage if Torrent will stay with the king and let someone else take on the battle with the giant Slochys, a fight that Torrent vows to undertake in order to win the hand of Desonell (lines 825–54).

942—44 Menstrells was them . . . nottis on hyght. The representation of minstrels performing in a court has an air of self-referentiality to it in a romance that itself may have been performed by minstrels, and perhaps even within court settings. See note to lines 7 and 10 above for more on oral tags within the text. For another instance of minstrelsy and performance see lines 2376–78.

970 cyté of Hongryé. M suggests that the author has conflated Calabria and Hungary, perhaps because both had coastlines on the Adriatic Sea. He also notes a possible (though improvable) connection to Zungria, a city “in modern day Calabria . . . which was in existence by 1310 and is located on the coast” (p. 185n986).

986 chafer. MED lists this line as an example of the definition, “any transaction or agreement involving an exchange” (chaffere (n.), sense 2a). But sense 2b, “any kind of dealings of doings; also, unfair dealings” makes more sense in this context.

994 A man schall but onnys dyee. An early example in English of this proverbial expression (the earliest of six citations in Whiting D242). The sentiment likely originates in Hebrews 9:27: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment.” The Wycliffite Bible, from the end of the fourteenth century, reads: “And as it is ordeynede to men, onys to die” (ed. Forshall and Madden, p. 495).

1000 spere. “Sword,” perhaps, makes better sense here. Torrent soon tests his spear and shield (line 1001), so it seems most logical that he would want to test his third weapon — his sword — here, rather than testing his spear twice.

1016 berdles gadlyng. A “gadlyng” is a base or low-born fellow, or worse, a scoundrel or a bastard (MED gadeling (n.), sense b). “Beardless” signifies immaturity, and it is nearly always an attack on the fitness of one’s manhood. It is a common insult in medieval romance, as it is in masculine-oriented heroic literature more broadly.

1019 croke. Large crooks are standard weapons for giants in medieval romance, as are huge clubs, staffs the size of tree trunks, and other crude implements appropriate for those who lack the chivalric sophistication of steel swords and armor. The giant Cate, whom Torrent later fights, carries with him two or three “iryn stavis” (line 1247), and his brother, Weraunt, carries a crook greater than twelve feet long (lines 1579–81 and 1654).

1027 The thef had non ey but on. The most famous of one-eyed giants is Polyphemus, one of the Cyclopes, an ancient race of giants from Greek mythology that appears in Book 9 of Homer’s Odyssey (trans. Powell), though it is unclear how many fifteenth-century readers of Torrent would have been familiar with Homer’s epic. The story of the Cyclops would likely have been known in the Middle Ages through Book 3 of Virgil’s Aeneid (trans. West), a Latin text commonly taught in schools. Although Virgil’s poem was not translated into English until 1522, Trevisa’s 1398 translation of De Proprietatibus Rerum includes a physical description of the Cyclopes: “Certeyn bestes . . . beþ y cleped Ciclopes and han þat name for oon of hem haþ but oon yhe, and þat in þe myddel of þe forheed” (quoted in MED Ciclopes (n. pl.), quote b).

1071 I com heder to sech my deth. In other words, the adventure is so dangerous that Torrent expects to die.

1084—89 I yeve yt . . . . God me save. The king is giving Torrent the land free of any homage or feudal dues, and Torrent and his heirs will own it in perpetuity.

1092 Cardove. The scribe’s nearly indistinguishable u and n makes both “Cardon” and “Cardove” plausible readings. If read as Cardon, the town may be identified with Cardona, a town in Catalonia (Cardim, “Torrent of Portyngale,” p. 133). However, M suggests that Cardove is more likely given the rhyme with save (saue in C) in line 1089; thus, Cardove may speculatively be identified with Cordova (modern Cordoba), “a Spanish royal seet until the late fifteenth century” whose castle was “a very riche hold . . . extensively rebuilt in the thirteenth century” (p. 192n1090).

1123—31 On azure . . . . he hym there. Heraldic devices such as these were used to identify knights who would be covered head to foot in armor. The colors azure and gold are often used in romance to indicate true nobility (M, p. 193n1118–28). That Torrent’s shield depicts a golden knight fighting a teeth-bearing dragon gives some suggestion as to how the hero understands himself, or how he wants to be understood by other knights. Torrent’s new armor represents his change in social status, following his (brief) knighting ceremony (lines 1108–19), and the first instance in the romance in which he is given a title — “Sir” Torrent (line 1120). Notably, too, only Torrent and Sir Eglamour of Artois use “molde” to refer to a heraldic field (see MED mold(e (n.1), sense 4), a further indication of Torrent’s indebtedness to Eglamour. For other depictions of heraldry see lines 2172–74, 2254–58, and 2407–11. For a discussion of knighting ceremonies in Middle English romance, see Ackerman, “Knighting Ceremonies.”

1145 In at the hall dur he rade. Knights who enter a king’s hall on horseback often do so in order to set a challenge or instigate adventure in medieval romance, as seen in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the Alliterative Morte Arthure, and Chaucer’s Squire’s Tale. The Middle English Sir Perceval of Galles uses this trope to comic effect when Sir Perceval’s mare gets so close to King Arthur that it kisses the king on the forehead (ed. Braswell, lines 493–500).

1182 For tynding of his hond. That is, for fear of Torrent’s strength or prowess, or more literally, for fear of a beating from Torrent’s fist. According to MED tynding (ger.), this is the sole Middle English use of the word. To “tund,” a word that survives from the nineteenth century, is to beat or to thump (OED tund (v.), sense 2).

1192 His squiers habite he had. Torrent is apparently in disguise, given that Desonell does not recognize him (lines 1162–64) and the emperor calls him “squier” (line 1229). Disguise is one of the most popular narrative tropes in Middle English romance, and knights regularly hide their true identities or, at certain points in their narratives, appear unrecognizable, even to those who know them best. Torrent’s motivation for disguising himself as his squire at this point is not especially clear.

1194 couped shone. Slashed shoes, cut for decoration, are often worn by knights in medieval romance. Such a fad is mentioned in Langland’s description of Christ as a chivalric knight in Piers Plowman: “. . . sprakliche he loked, / As is þe kynde of a knyõt þat comeþ to be dubbed, / To geten hym gilte spores on galoches ycouped” (ed. Schmidt, 18.12–14). Such shoes are likely implied in line 1118. See also M, p. 197n1192.

1217 Seynt Gryffen. No trace of a “Saint Griffin” survives from the Middle Ages, or any other time in history for that matter. There also appears to be no saint whose name would have plausibly been confused with “Griffin.” Rather, it seems the reference could be chalked up to an authorial flight of fancy, and a fascination with the marvelous beast that appears in the romance, and after which one character is named. See line 1872 and the corresponding note on griffins, as well as line 2000 and its note on Antony Fice Greffoun.

1226 emperoure of Rome. Kennedy suggests the possibility that Malory was inspired by Torrent to include the king of Portugal in his list of Emperor Lucius’ allies in the Tale of Arthur and Lucius (“Malory and His English Sources,” p. 38).

1247 iryn stavis. A stave is a post or a pole. See OED stave (n.1), sense 2, and MED staf (n.), sense 1c(a). On giants’ weapons see the note to line 1019 above.

1262—71 The gyaunt shyped . . . he cannot ryde. Torrent’s fight with the giant Cate shares many similarities with the battle between Guy and Colbrond in the popular Middle English romance Guy of Warwick. As with Cate, Colbrond refuses to fight on horseback because he is too heavy, a clear sign of his inherent inability to conform to chivalric standards (ed. Zupitza, lines 10590–95). A similar logic operates in the romance Bevis of Hampton, which also survives in C; in this case the giant Ascopard refuses to be baptized because he cannot fit within the baptismal font (ed. Herzman, Drake, and Salisbury, lines 2592–96).

1271 He is so hevy he cannot ryde. Kennedy argues that Malory drew from this line for Marhalt’s fight with the giant in his Morte (“Malory and His Sources,” pp. 36–38).

1274 housell and shrefte. Knights are rarely shown going to confession before a dangerous adventure in romance, with Gawain in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (ed. Gollancz, lines 1870–92) being an outlier. The underlying principle is that, in the likely event (from their point of view) that they should die, their absolution would speed them straight to heaven rather than to purgatory. All medieval readers would have learned from a young age that contrite confession and the appropriate performance of penance is essential for the forgiveness of sin, and Torrent’s attention to confession and absolution here (and in lines 1443–44 and 2141), adds support to Dalrymple’s claim that Torrent is a “pious” romance. In contrast, the so-called “penitential” romances — Guy of Warwick, Sir Gowther, Sir Isumbras, and Robert of Cisyle — never feature orthodox confessions in their heroes’ quests for absolution, though Sir Gowther insists that he will seek confession only with the Pope himself (ed. Laskaya and Salisbury, lines 250–52). For more on confession in romance, see Wade, “Confession, Inquisition and Exemplarity.”

1300—05 good cobled stonys . . . . sad and sore. That Torrent throws stones at the giant Cate hearkens to the well-known account of David and Goliath in the Old Testament, though of course David uses a slingshot (1 Samuel 17:48–51). In The Tale of Sir Thopas, Chaucer turns this around for comic effect, having his giant, Olifaunt, hurl stones at the hero Thopas, though in this case even the giant uses a slingshot (CT VII[B2]827–29).

1325 Both the erth and the woman. In other words, Torrent wins both land (half of Aragon, from line 1260) and the right to wed Desonell (promised in line 1218).

1328 Cargon. Cardim suggests this may be the modern city of Carrión de los Condes, in Aragon (“Torrent of Portyngale,” p. 133). M further speculates that it was chosen because it was on the popular pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostella (p. lxxix).

1330—32 Archbeshoppes . . . . with gret solempnité. Legally sanctioned separations, be they divorces or annulments, were relatively rare in the Middle Ages. They were normally granted only if it could be shown in court that the spouses were related (i.e., brother and sister, or parent and child), as happens in the Middle English Sir Degaré, when the hero unwittingly marries his own mother (ed. Laskaya and Salisbury, lines 1092–93); if there was evidence of infertility (prostitutes could be used, in court, to provide such evidence); or if there was some sort of legal impediment to the marriage, such as one of the partners being already married to someone else (McCarthy, Marriage in Medieval England, pp. 139–41). In Torrent, “Archbeshoppes” divorce the prince of Aragon and Desonell, and they do so, the text says, according to Church law. Such a display of ecclesiastical legality finds an analogue in the Middle English prose Brut chronicle (c. 1450), which records how “The Archbisshop . . . deuorsed and departed the Duke of Gloucestre and Dame Alianore Cobham, as for matrymony made before betwene theym two” (ed. Brie, 2:480–81). In Torrent, the grounds for separation are never spelled out, though we could be meant to infer that it was allowed because Desonell had earlier been promised to Torrent (lines 55–60), or because her marriage to the prince had not been consummated, or both. Anne of Cleves, who outlived Henry VIII, agreed to an annulment on the grounds that, she claimed, the marriage had not been consummated, though the king argued for the annulment on the basis of her pre-contract of marriage with Francis I, duke of Lorraine (Warnicke, The Marrying of Anne of Cleves, pp. 204–05).

1339 Saint Nycholas de Barr. St. Nicholas of Bari would later become the model for Santa Claus, as he was known for giving unexpected gifts. Nicholas is also the patron saint of sailors, making him a fitting recipient of benefaction in this romance, given all of Torrent’s hazardous seafaring. In various places around Europe Nicholas also happens to be the patron saint of thieves, pawnbrokers, and students.

1356 broke her well. Essentially, Calamond offers Desonell to Torrent as a piece of property for his pleasure. Compare to lines 1324–25, in which women are understood as prizes akin to other forms of property, such as land. See MED brouken (v.), sense 1a (“to have the benefit of (sth.), enjoy; take (one’s) pleasure in (a woman as wife or mistress”), which cites this line, and sense 1b (“to possess (sth.), get, take, keep”).

1366—68 Such gestenyng she . . . . that lady gent. This is typical of the kind of veiled language used to indicate lovemaking in romance.

1398 gold ryngs. Rings as recognition tokens have a long history in medieval romance, going back at least to the twelfth century Anglo-Norman Romance of Horn. On recognition tokens, see Cooper, English Romance in Time, pp. 327–29. The recognition often comes from the design or signet of the ring, though in Torrent it is simply the gold, and the wealth it signifies, that marks out the young children as nobility (Leobertus, lines 1921–25; Antony, lines 1956–62 and 2001–03). The rings are also used at the end of the romance to bring about the long-deferred family reunion (lines 2550–52). Recognition tokens in Middle English romance take other forms as well, from embroidered cloths to gloves to sword-tips. In lines 1827–29 Desonell and her mother tear a silk cloth, each taking half before Desonell is sent out to sea on a rudderless boat. The practice of using two identical objects, or one object split in half, so that only its counterpart will match, is a common technique for creating at least the possibility of a reunion after long periods. London’s Foundling Hospital, or orphanage, established in 1741, allowed mothers to leave such tokens with the children they gave up, and the hospital would only release a child to someone with the corresponding token (Cooper, English Romance in Time, pp. 327–28). Many of these tokens can still be seen in the London Foundling Museum.

1402 sownyng. In the Middle Ages swooning was understood to be a consequence of the physiological effects of either intense grief or overwhelming physical pain. It was not, in the period, connected with weakness or effeminacy, or with misogynistic stereotypes of temporary loss of control or irrationality. Rather, swooning occurs when violent emotion restricts blood, heat, and “vital spirits” from the heart, resulting in a temporary condition that looks like, and is often mistaken for, death. In Torrent Desonell does most of the swooning, though Torrent swoons once, when he hears the news that Desonell and their two infant children had been exiled from Portugal in a rudderless boat (lines 2094–96). Remarkably, when Desonell is actually set adrift, 100 people watching from the beach simultaneously swoon (lines 1830–32). For other instances see lines 1784–85, 2507, and 2616–18. For further discussion of swooning in romance see Weiss, “Modern and Medieval Views on Swooning.”

1423 rode. That is, Torrent and his men anchor their ship along a forested stretch of land and remain aboard for a time. See MED riden (v.), sense 7b, “to ride at anchor, be moored.” This sense of “ride” is now nearly obsolete (see OED ride (v.), senses II.15a and II.16).

1443 shryve. Normally, under canon law, one could confess only to one’s parish priest, but under exceptional circumstances it might still be considered efficacious to confess to one another (“Lay Confession,” Catholic Encyclopedia, 9:94–95). In much the same way, midwives could perform emergency baptisms if it was thought that the newborn’s life was in danger (“Baptism,” Catholic Encyclopedia, 2:270–71). See note to line 1274 above for more on confession in romance.

1452 Brasill. Torrent and his men ride through a forest of Brazil trees, not through a forest in the South American country. In the Middle Ages, Brazil was the name of a mythical island located variously in the Atlantic (M, p. 205n1450), but it was also the name of a reddish-brown wood that came from the East Indian tree Sappan, or the name of the dye produced from this wood, as found in the epilogue to Chaucer’s Nun’s Priest’s Tale (CT VII[B2]3459). After the discovery of the New World (Brazil was first colonized by Portugal, as it happens), the name gradually transferred to a similar South American wood, and eventually, to the land of Brazil (OED Brazil (n.1), sense 1a). See also MED brasile (n.). The Torrent-author presumably mentions Brazil trees here to conjure up associations with the mythical Atlantic island, so as to amplify the exotic and dangerous setting, as if Norway — where they really are (line 1414) — is not foreign enough.

1454 Lyons and berys. Norway is an unlikely place to encounter lions in the wild, though Norwegian bears are real enough. For more wildlife in Torrent see lines 507–09 and the corresponding note above, 594–605, 1484–86, 1546–47, 1845–47, 2013–21, and 2028–30.

1494 lay. Lays are short narrative songs thought to be originally composed by ancient Bretons and performed with the accompaniment of a harp. In the twelfth century Marie de France wrote twelve lays in Anglo-Norman French, treating matters of courtesy, chivalry, and courtly love. The form proved to be popular in the later Middle Ages, and several survive in Middle English. See, for example, The Middle English Breton Lays, ed. Laskaya and Salisbury. Why the two dragons are singing a lay is a difficult question to answer, just as it is hard to imagine what their lay would be about. Unfortunately, the text gives no firm indication as to whether or not one of the dragons is also playing a harp. A more prosaic reading might gloss “lay” as “field, clearing” (see line 165), and “song” as “roar.” MED singen (v., senses 6 and 7) lists several animals that “sing,” such as donkeys, frogs, and — predictably — various species of birds. Neither the MED nor the OED records this or any other instance of “singing” dragons.

1570—75 A voys was . . . . mede he wyll. Amis and Amiloun, ed. Foster, includes a similar heavenly voice at line 1250.

1578 As bold as any bore. Proverbial. See Whiting B389.

1594—96 To thee I . . . . by full dere. There are other giants in Middle English romance who seek to avenge the deaths of their brothers, including Arrok and Marras in Sir Eglamour, and Moradas, Morgan, Urgan, and Burlond in Sir Tryamour. For more on the familial and domestic aspects of giants in Torrent, see lines 564–75 and the note above.

1600—23 Sir Torent yave . . . . so it ware. The multiple pronouns in this passage occasionally make it difficult to distinguish between Torrent and the giant (named Weraunt in line 1652). The battle begins with Torrent striking Weraunt in the breast with a spear, so that the spear-head is lodged in Weraunt’s chest (lines 1600–05). Weraunt strikes back in kind (1606–08), and when Weraunt’s crook lodges in Torrent, they grapple for control over it, with presumably Weraunt trying to push the crook further and Torrent trying to dislodge it (1609–11). During the struggle the crook breaks, but not before inflicting considerable pain on Torrent (1612–14). But Torrent recovers, snatching away what remains of Weraunt’s crook, along with Weraunt’s shield, and casting them into the water (1615–20). Weraunt then strides into the water and apparently drowns while attempting to recover his weapons (1621–23).

1641 White as lylye floure. Proverbial. See Whiting L285. See also the note to line 31 above.

1652 Weraunt. M (p. 213n1650) notes that the giant’s name is reminiscent of other giants in romances such as Ameraunt (in Guy of Warwick), Olifaunt (in the Tale of Sir Thopas), and Termagaunt (in King of Tars). He also speculates on possible derivations of the name: from Old English wer (“man”) or were (“guardian”), and Old French were ((n.), “involving misfortune”).

1679 Seynt George. St. George was a popular medieval figure, best known for rescuing a lady from a dragon. He has been connected with a huge number of patronages, including — perhaps coincidentally — England, Portugal, and Aragon. He is also the patron saint of knights, crusaders, horsemen, armorers, and archers.

1704 made hell. “Harood hell” is a possible reading and a more conventional expression (see line 1801 and explanatory note below), though C’s witness is perfectly acceptable. A suggests the possibility but allows C’s reading to stand; M emends.

1740 She sought his woundis. Women in romance are often shown to be skilled in the medical sciences, such as Melior in Partonope of Blois, Josian in Bevis of Hampton, and Loospaine in Eger and Grime, among many others. The connection appears to stem from real-life practices. From the twelfth century, women were linked to the healing arts through the legendary figure Trotula, and the medical texts associated with her. See Barratt, ed., Knowing of Woman’s Kind in Childing.

1762 Fals thevis. Here the king of Norway is addressing the shipmen who had deserted Torrent at lines 1457–62.

1778 Peron. See the note for line 412 above.

1786—87 tokenyng of her . . . . her right syde. A sign that the baby will be a boy. The theory that males are conceived on the right and females on the left has origins in Aristotle, and was translated to the medieval West through the twelfth-century Latin gynecological treatise known as the Trotula (so named because it was supposed to have been written by a woman named Trotula, a gynecologist or midwife from Salerno, who we now believe to have been called Trota, Trotta, or Trocta). It was popular both in Latin and in European vernacular languages, and in the fifteenth century it was translated into Middle English. See Barratt, ed., Knowing of Woman’s Kind in Childing, pp. 5, 46–47 and Green, ed., The Trotula.

1794—96 Therefore thou shalt . . . . for to ride. The king seems to be punning on the word “ride.” OED ride (v.) gives both “Of a ship, etc.: to float or move on the water, to sail, esp. in a buoyant manner” (sense II.13.a), and “To mount a partner or mate for the purpose of sexual intercourse; (also) to have sexual intercourse, esp. when positioned on top” (sense III.20.a).

1801 harood hell. The Harrowing of Hell, a story found only in the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus, in which Christ descends into hell between his crucifixion and resurrection in order to rescue the righteous dead, was central to stories of the life of Christ in the Middle Ages. Accounts of the Harrowing survive from the Middle Ages in both Latin and vernacular languages, and in England it often found representation on stage. See Tamburr, The Harrowing of Hell in Medieval England.

1807 Right of lond. This may be a reference to “pleading the belly,” a process in English common law whereby pregnant women who were handed the death sentence were permitted to deliver the child before the execution was carried out. Female convicts could make such a plea at least as early as 1387, and it was rendered obsolete in the twentieth century by the Sentence of Death (Expectant Mothers) Act of 1931. See Oldham, “On Pleading the Belly.”

1827 cloth of silke. Desonell and her mother tear the silk cloth in two so that, by matching the two halves, they could recognize each other if they were ever to meet again. For more on recognition tokens see the note to line 1398 above.

1836—38 Rightfull God . . . . may crystened bene. One of Desonell’s chief concerns is the christening of her children, also expressed in lines 1896 and 2076–77. Antony is christened in lines 1995–97, though Leobertus’ christening, if or when it happens, is never mentioned.

1842—47 The wynd rose . . . . wyld bestis were. Rudderless boats have powerful associations in medieval romance, and in medieval Christian tradition more broadly. Typically, they were used as a form of punishment that would result either in exile or, more likely, in death. Whatever happened, however, was entirely in the hands of God, as whoever was in a boat without rudder, sail, or oars had absolutely no control over its direction. If the winds landed the boat on some distant shore, then, it was a result of providence, just as it was equally an act of God’s will if the ship was destroyed in a storm, or if the person in it perished of dehydration or exposure after days at sea. In the several Middle English romances in which central characters are cast adrift in rudderless boats, such as King Horn, Emaré, Sir Eglamour of Artois, and Chaucer’s Man of Law’s Tale, to name a few, the character’s survival in the face of adversity — often tyranny — is a sign of divine favor. For another manifestation of this trope see lines 2130–50. For a discussion of its history in romance see Cooper, >i, ch. 2.

1872 grype. A griffin is a mythical animal with the head and wings of an eagle and the body and hindquarters of a lion. In medieval romance, as (of course) in real life, they are much more commonly represented in heraldic imagery than purported to exist in the real world. In Torrent, however, the griffin is very much real, and its description and behavior accords in several ways with how John Trevisa describes a griffin in his late fourteenth-century translation of De Proprietatibus Rerum: “Þe grype . . . . is strong enemy to hors . . . Þat he takyþ vp þe hors and þe man y-armed . . . . [a]nd grypes kepen þe mounteyns in þe whiche [ben] gemmes [gems] and precious stones” (ed. Seymour, 2:1207). A griffin also abducts a child in Sir Eglamour of Artois (ed. Hudson, lines 827–31), and in Octavian (ed. Hudson, lines 352–60) a griffin abducts both a child and the lioness guarding it. The griffin from which the abducted boy takes his surname, Antony Fice Greffoun (line 2000; see note below), is also mentioned in line 1983, there spelled “greffon.”

1876 Seynt Antony. There are two plausible origins for this character. One is St. Anthony, or Anthony the Great, an Egyptian saint and a prominent leader amongst the desert fathers. His signification here as an “ermet” or hermit is correct, insofar as his biographer, Athanasius of Alexandria, represented him as the first known ascetic who went into the wilderness (Life of Antony, trans. Gregg, pp. 68–72). Athanasius’ biography of Anthony was influential in spreading the concept of monasticism. In any case St. Anthony was certainly not, as noted in line 1972, the son of the king of Greece. The other possibility is St. Anthony of Padua, who was born in Lisbon in 1195, and was much venerated in his country of birth. While also not the son of the king of Greece, he did abandon a wealthy upbringing for his religious calling (Life of St. Anthony, ed. Da Rieti, pp. 14–16). He is also the patron saint of animals, and of finding lost things or people.

1884—86 She sye it . . . . and Seynt John. This pious acceptance of hardship is a particular (though not exclusive) trait of female protagonists in Middle English romance, as seen in Emaré, Le Bone Florence of Rome, Sir Amadace, Sir Gowther, and Sir Isumbras.

2000 Antony Fice Greffoun. The name plays on two Middle English meanings of the word “griffoun.” MED griffoun (n.(1)) is defined as “A Greek,” and MED griffoun (n.(2)) as “The fabulous griffin.” The MED (n.2, sense d) also records a few instances of “Griffin” or “Griffon” as a personal or family name.

2001—04 thou this ryng . . . . in every fight. The ring protects the wearer from injury in combat. In the tail-rhyme romance Ipomadon (also preserved in C) the hero finds similar powers in a precious stone set in a ring: “He towchyd the wounde wyth the ston; / Off bledyng was he stavnchyd sone, / So was the vertu good” (ed. Purdie, lines 8018–20). See the note to lines 459–67 above for more on magical objects, especially those that are never shown to actually work. The ring was one of two originally given as recognition tokens for Torrent’s unborn children (see line 1398).

2009 Her song was welaway! Proverbial. See Whiting S469.

2055 Seynt Katryn. A prose version of the life of St. Katherine survives in C, along with the lives of St. Dorothy and St. Anne (see Introduction, p. 4). In medieval England St. Katherine was perhaps the preeminent exemplar of Christian femininity. She is the patron saint of unmarried women, and it was thought that those who invoked her in their hour of greatest need would have their petitions answered, which likely explains Desonell’s reference to her in these lines.

2063 stede. This is the marvelous horse Desonell gives to Torrent in lines 456–67. See also the corresponding note to these lines above. Here the king of Nazareth makes it clear that he intended it as a wedding gift to her.

2104 row. This is perhaps another of the king’s grim puns. MED rouen (v.1) can mean “To propel a vessel by means of oars or paddles, row” (sense a), and “to swim” (sense d). For his other grim pun, see line 1796 and the note to lines 1794–96 above.

2137—38 shippes of hede . . . and of tree. The ships are built of wood joined with iron clench-nails, similar to what we would call “rivets” today. In some of the larger ships, such as the Grace Dieu of 1418, the clench-nails could be as large as eight or nine inches in length (Friel, Good Ship, p. 72), making it perfectly appropriate to describe them as being made “Of irun and of tree,” given the amount of iron used. In line 1530 the narrator describes a city gate also made “Of irun and eke of tree,” presumably using the same clench-nail technique. The ship “all of tree” (line 2130) would have been less expensive to build, less sturdy, and therefore appropriate for its use as described in lines 2139–50.

2139—40 A bote of . . . of holis it was boryn. There is a sense of poetic justice in condemning the king to the same sentence he had given his daughter. There is another sense, however, in which drilling a rudderless boat full of holes does not give providence much of a fighting chance. See the note to lines 1842–47 above on rudderless boats.

2155—56 Falshode wyll have . . . wyll have evermore. Proverbial. See Whiting F51.

2168 There God was . . . bought and sold. The Holy Land, or more specifically, Jerusalem. The reference is presumably to the story of Judas Iscariot, one of Christ’s disciples who betrays him by agreeing to deliver him to the Sanhedrin in exchange for thirty silver coins (Matthew 26:14–16). The phrase “bought and sold” is also proverbial; see Whiting B637.

2170 he toke armes of Kyng Colomond. Torrent’s motivation for taking Calamond’s coat of arms remains unclear, though it may have something to do with his supplanting of the king. The arms — three silver ships on an azure field — are never mentioned again, and when Torrent’s arms are next described his crest shows “A gyaunt with an hoke in hond” (line 2410), though even that differs from his original coat of arms, which depict a grimacing dragon (lines 1126–28). Torrent’s wearing of Calamond’s coat of arms may also be part of an impulse to disguise (see lines 1192–95 and the note above).

2176 a knight. The poet, or the copyist, seems to have forgotten that in lines 2160–01 Torrent leaves his lands in the care of two knights.

2184 Quarell. This name does not seem to correspond with any known historical city. As M notes, “it is tempting to speculate that the poet has garbled Al-Qahirah, the Arabic name for modern Cairo, which dates from CE 969” (p. 234n2179) though this seems unlikely.

2186 soudan. A sultan is a ruler of a Muslim kingdom, though in Middle English literature the term is rarely used with much precision, aside from signifying someone pagan, powerful, and antagonistic.

2193—95 And tho . . . . ded to be. M notes that such instances of “wholesale slaughter” were common in siege warfare (p. 235n2188–90). Barber observes a similar justification for indiscriminate killing during siege warfare: “if [the inhabitants of a besieged site] remained adamant, the town lay at the besieger’s mercy . . . It is the idea that rapine is a legal remedy for defiance that underlies the incredible cruelties of mediaeval sieges” (Knight and Chivalry, p. 239).

2231 Antioche. Antioch was an ancient Greco-Roman city whose ruins are found near the modern city of Antayka, Turkey. The city was besieged during the First Crusade (1096–99).

2235—37 the seven yere . . . . fill of fyght. At this point Torrent has been fighting Saracens for fifteen years. He besieges the first city for two years (line 2191), the second for six years (line 2208), and the third for seven years (line 2232). Meanwhile, his son Leobertus (along with his other son, of course) has grown old enough to win his spurs.

2298 God, hast thou forsakyn me? This is a particularly audacious line — in terms of its attempt to establish the terms of Torrent’s suffering — in that it imitates the words of Christ on the Cross: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

2304 wekid lond. MED wikked(e (adj.), sense d, “resulting from or permeated with sin,” cites this line. M notes that this is an “odd epithet for Jerusalem, but by the time of Torrent’s composition Jerusalem had been under the control of the Islamic Mamalukes for around 150 years” (p. 240n2299).

2409 His creste is a noble lond. The meaning of this line is difficult to construe. For A, the line could have been replaced with line 1129 (“The crest, that on his hade shold stond”), but he does not emend (p. 111n2407). As M points out, it is possible that “a noble lond” could be a corruption of “noble a-lond” (i.e., “noble everywhere”) (p. 241n2404). While this is only conjecture, it is probably at least close to the intended meaning of the original line.

2416 Raynes. Cardim (“Torrent of Portyngale,” p. 120) conjectures that Raynes can be identified with modern-day Ramla, which is located on the road to Jerusalem. M (p. 243n2411) notes that it was occupied by the crusaders in the First Crusade, but was recaptured by Saladin in 1187.

2480 Sir Torent stode and beheld. Richardson suggests that this line is drawn from the Thornton MS (Lincoln Cathedral MS 91) version of Sir Eglamour of Artois, in which an anonymous Eglamour likewise watches his sons on the tournament field: “His fadir hovede and byhelde” (line 1234). Given the similarity in context and the possibility of indebtedness, the lines that follow in Sir Eglamour perhaps give some clue as to what happens in Torrent’s missing lines: “His fadir hovede and byhelde / How he fellid in the felde / The knyghtis all bydene. / His sonne hym sawe and rade hym till; / Said, ‘Sir, why houys þou sa stille / Amange thir knyghtis kene?’” (ed. Richardson, lines 1234–39).

2601 Sone. M reads “sone” not as a form of address, but as an adverb (“soon” or “presently”), which is also possible (p. 253n2596). H and A accord with the reading given here.

2657—59 He yave his sonnys . . . . one had they. These two swords are likely Adolake and Mownpolyardns. See the notes to lines 434 and 716 above.

2660 up-tyed. That is, Torrent has the deeds established such that the churches and abbeys he founded could do nothing but pray for his soul and the souls of his heirs (see A, p. 112n92/2658). Alternatively, M notes that “up-tyed” could be derived from “tighten up” (p. 255n2655). MED tighten (v.(2)), sense 2b, gives “to erect (a structure).” In this reading Torrent is therefore simply commissioning the construction of churches and abbeys, rather than restricting their remit to pray for only him and his family. On prayers for the dead see the note to lines 756–58 above.

2663 In Rome this romans berith the crown. A notes that in Eglamour, line 1339, the Lincoln MS reads “In Rome this romance crouned es” and the Cambridge MS reads “In Rome thys geste cronyculd ys.” A then adds: “I am inclined to think that crouned is nothing else but a misreading for cronyculd. Afterwards, considered to be correct, it has originated expressions like those we find here” (p. 112n2261).

2665 He leyth in Rome in a feire abbey. Indicating the real-world location of the hero’s grave is an attempt at generating authenticity for the narrative. The most famous example of this practice can be found in texts that locate King Arthur’s grave at Glastonbury Abbey, Somerset. These include the Alliterative Morte Arthure, John Lydgate’s Fall of Princes, and Caxton’s preface to Malory’s Morte Darthur.


A: Adam edition (EETS, 1887); F.I through F.VII: fragments of early sixteenth-century prints by Richard Pynson (1505?) and Wynkyn de Worde (1510?) which survive in Oxford, Bodleian Library, Douce E.20; H: Halliwell edition (1842); M: Montgomery edition (2008); MED: Middle English Dictionary; MS: Manchester, Chetham’s Library, MS 8009 (Mun. A.6.31) (c. 1475).

1 God. MS: line begins with a large, five-line rubricated G.

32 Desonell. MS: Dyscenys. See M, p. 125n33, for the possibility that Dyscenyr, like Torrayne at line 26, is a poetic form of Desonell, not a scribal error.

50 see. MS: bee. A and M emend likewise.

63 Yowr. MS: r inserted above the line.

65 a-go. MS: agone, with ne struck out.

75—76 Be trew and . . . me sped ere. This stanza appears to be missing its middle six lines between lines 75 and 76. No doubt this lost passage would indicate to whom they in line 77 refers, as would it likely illuminate a reading of line 78. Because the text of Torrent is incomplete, I will indicate missing lines with ellipses, where a three-point ellipsis indicates a single missing line and a four-point ellipsis indicates multiple missing lines.
contnance. MS: a inserted above the line.

78 chaunce. MS: second c erased.

80 in an yle. So MS, H, M. A reads MS as mauyle, assuming that the scribe erroneously supposed it to be the name of the giant, who is in fact named Begonmese in line 101.

84 No ston lyttethe he stond . . . . The final six lines of this stanza appear to be missing. They likely would have continued the description of how the giant further laid waste to the king’s lands.

85 Terrent. MS: line begins with a large, four-line rubricated T.

86 he. MS: inserted above the line.

88 kyng. MS: knyght. Emendation following A and M.

123 seke. So MS, corrected in lighter ink from an unclear word, which is struck out. A: ches. M: ther.

129 grene. MS: smale. A, H, and M emend likewise.

136 ryght. MS: ryght, lyght, or possibly fyght, written above the line.

171 In. MS: Jesu. It is hard to imagine how the scribe could write Jesu (abbreviated as Ihu with a macron) in this line, and it is suggestive of over-hasty copying, or otherwise mechanical copying without any attention to sense. Emendation following A and M.

175 to hym. MS: inserted above the line.

178 he no better. MS: not he better. A: not he bettur. M: not he bettyr.

181 sprent. MS: spred. Emendation following A and M.

192 brast. MS: Rane. Emendation following A and M; brast is a verb commonly used in romance descriptions of combat, and its fit with the stanza’s other tail-line rhymes suggests the possibility of authenticity.

196—97 And also hys . . . fell that tyd. These lines are transposed in MS.

198 I. MS: he. Emendation following A, H, and M.
As I herd in Rome. A adds an ellipsis following this line to suggest missing text, presumably on account of the two non-rhyming tail-lines that follow. M postulates six missing lines at this point, a new stanza beginning with line 199, and another six missing lines following line 204.

201 gan him warke. MS: he gan warke. A: gan hym quelle. M: he gan warke.

210 Upp bothe hys hands held. Parentheses are used here to indicate that Torrent’s speech continues through line 213. So A. M reads the speech’s conclusion at 209.

214 to. Written above the line in MS.

214-15 Now ys ther . . . fyld that day. Following these lines in MS is a near-duplication: Now ys ther non other say / Of hyme to wyne the fyld þat day. Perhaps the scribe was not sure which reading he preferred, so included both. Emendation following A, H, and M.

219 to se. Written above the line in MS.

236 Crystyn man thow he were. MS: Crystyn thow thow they were. Aside from the problem of duplicated thow, lines 237–40 clearly refer to Torrent, not to the two slain guards, so I have followed the emendation given in A. M: Crystyne thow [that] they were.

241 Torrant. MS: line begins with a large, four-line rubricated T.

244 whalle. MS: corrected with lighter ink from whyle.

245 syghyng. MS: corrected with lighter ink from syngyng.

261 sche gothe anon. MS: anon sche gothe. This is one of several instances where a simple shift of syntax places the rhyming word at the end of the line. A makes these changes, and I follow A’s emendations, considering the likelihood that such transpositions could have been easily made by the MS scribes or by earlier scribes along the line of recension. M: gothe sche a-non.

265—66 Say me now . . . schall me hyght. MS: Say me now, fayer lady, / Who owte of thys plase schall hyght. I follow A’s emendation for the insertion of of in line 266. I have added me to line 266 to restore plausible meaning, and wyght to line 265, a common adjective for ladies of romance (see line 759), to restore consistency in meter and rhyme. A offers different possibilities: Say me now, fayer lady, belyve, / Who owte of thys plase schall me dryve. M offers another possibility: Say me now, fayer lady, right, / Who owte thys plase schall hym hyght.

273 Thy. MS: They. Emendation following A.

276—77 Out of the . . . by thy tale. The discontinuity in the dialogue between Torrent and Desonell suggests a missing stanza between these lines. A likewise posits a missing stanza. Alternatively, however, M suggests that the discontinuity could be mitigated by restoring my in line 277 (see note below), making it possible that MS is complete here (p. 142n277–79). See also the explanatory note for these lines.

277 thy. MS: my erased and thy inserted above the line.

283 thy. MS: corrected from my.
gentry. MS: corrected from gentre.

285 nyee. MS: e1 inserted above the line.

286 hand. MS: d corrected from e.

287 betwe. MS: bewte. Emendation following A.

300 onely God on hyght. MS: ondly gode a lone. A: onely Godes myght. M: ondly God all-myght.

318 owt. MS: ow. Emendation following A and M.

325 fyve. MS has a struck-out V preceding fyve. Perhaps the scribe decided to spell out the number for the sake of the visual rhyme with lyve; compare with lines 697 and 756.

336 well to sped. MS: to sped well. Rhyming word transposed within the line, following A and M.

337 Lordds. MS: line begins with a large, four-line rubricated L.
wol. MS: wol is followed by a struck-out be.

343—48 The kyngs dawghttyr . . . wase Amyas bold. A places lines 343–45 after lines 346–48, presumably to clarify that sche in line 349 refers to Elyoner, who is named in line 344.

353 lyghtand. MS: lygand. A: al schynand. Emendation following M.

354 trusse. MS: corrected from truste.

357 redy. MS: omitted. Emendation following A.

358 wote. MS: corrected from what.

359 Had. MS: corrected from han byn, with byn almost entirely erased.
gyant. MS: corrected from gyand.

361 gan. MS: line ends with lle on the, struck out. Emendation following H.

366 keys. MS: e inserted above the line.

367 lyons. MS: lyone.

368 Were. MS: wase.

369 On. MS: Vn. Emendation following A.
hym. MS: corrected from hem.
thay. MS: corrected from that.

371 On. MS: Vn. Emendation following A.
thei. MS: i written above the line.

373 wer. MS: ther struck out and wer written above.

382—83 Desonell seyd . . . ase he went. There appears to be a line missing between 382 and 383, presumably relating how Desonell sees Torrent approaching.

390 thee. MS: hym. Emendation following A and M, to accord with thy in line 391.

396 clere. MS: jent. The epithet ladys clere seems likely given the tail-lines in this stanza end in squyerres, ner, and ther, and given the occurrence of the same expression elsewhere in the poem, in lines 259 and 1648. Emendation following A and M.
toke. MS: to. Emendation following M.

402 kyng seyd. MS: kyngs messengere. Emendation following A.

408 Than seyd they that to Gales yede. MS: That they than to Gales yede, with Gales corrected in lighter ink from Calles and yede corrected from went. Emendations following A.

409 hym were. MS: were hym. A emends to Yeftys to take were hem no ned, though given the number of transposed phrases elsewhere in the MS, the transposition of hym were seems like the most likely scribal error. Emendation following M.

410 Verdownys. MS: Downys.

412—13 At Perrown on . . . mot I thee. There appears to be one line missing between these lines. M places the presumed missing line at lines 411–12.

416 Gales. MS: G corrected in lighter ink from C.

427 Bettyr ys non to hold. MS: entire line inserted to the right of the main text.

431 it bold. MS: i told. M emends likewise.

435 mayney. MS: mayne, corrected to mayneyer with lighter ink.

438 I. MS: omitted. Emendation following A and M.

440 ys rest to take. MS: to take ys rest. Rhyming word transposed within the line, following A and M.

451 love. MS: lowe.

461 settyste. MS: settythe. A and M emend likewise.

462 persewyd. MS: prevyd. Emendation following A.

465 Nazareth sent hym me. MS: Portynggalle seyd so mot I thee. Emendation following F.I, as in A and M.

466 hym on thee. MS: of the. Emendation following F.I, as in A and M.

469 they. MS: the. Emendation following F.I, as in M.
went. So MS. F.I: walkyd.
watyrs. So MS. F.I: ryvers.

471 ded were. MS: were ded. Emendation following F.I, as in A and M.
The kyng. So MS. F.I: this lorde.

472 he. MS: hym. Emendation following F.I, as in A and M.
wyst. So MS. F.I: wyst nat.

477 that was. MS: omitted. Emendation following F.I, as in A.

481 lestyned and nere yed. So MS. F.I: came nere and lystened.

484—85 Loo lord come ner and see / Abowght a facon schene. So MS. F.I: Lord it is sent to me / For a faucon shene.

487 that they. MS: they ne. Emendation following F.I, as in A.

489 Maudelayne. MS: Mavdlen. Emendation following F.I: Mavdeleyn, as in A.

498 Hys squyer. MS: Hys squyers. F.II: To his squyer. Emendation following A.

500 byddythe. So MS. F.II: abode.

502 noble. MS: nothere. Emendation following F.II, as in A.

503 And forthe than rod hee. F.II: omitted.

504 Torrent. MS: line begins with a large, five-line rubricated T.

507—09 Berys and apes . . . where they lay. MS: Berrys he sawe stondyng, / And wyld bestes ther goyng, / Gret lyonys ther he fond. Emendation following F.II, as in A.

510 tyght. MS: thyke. Emendation following F.II, as in A and M.
wase. So MS. F.II: is.

511 nere-hand nyght. So MS. F.II: towarde the nyght.

512 By dymmynge. MS: And in the dawnyng. Emendation following F.II, as in A. M: And in the dymmynge.

513—15 Lysten lordes . . . then were they. MS: Harkyn, lords, what I schall sey, / He and hys squyer partyd they, / Carfull they were that Day. Emendation following F.II, as in A.

524 to fyght. MS: to syght. A: to fond. M: syngande.

532 thys. MS: hys. Emendation following A.

533 I take order. MS: I have or take other. A and M: I have take order.

542 clough. MS: colvd. Emendation following M. A: clow.

543 and. MS: an. Emendation following A.

548 swowe. MS, H: swayne. Emendation following A. M: swoghe.

554 it. MS: he. Emendation following A.

558 tellys. MS: tellythe. Emendation following A and M.

595 wyld. MS: wyd. Emendation following A and M.

597 lytyl. MS: lyty. Emendation following A and M.

608—09 That was bothe . . . and ny yed. Three lines appear to be missing from the end of this stanza. Presumably they would have described the squire riding through the forest toward the castle. A likewise locates the missing lines at line 608; M locates them between lines 602 and 603.

609 him. MS: hem. Emendation following A.

624 fre. MS: fer. Emendation following A and M.

630 wot yow. MS: wote w yow. A, H, and M emend likewise.

635 I. MS: omitted. A, H, and M emend likewise.

642 wood. MS: wodd. Emendation following A and H.

658 ron. MS: rond.

662 stere. MS: schere. Emendation following A.

668 All the day. MS: all þe day. A, H, and M emend likewise.

671 he knelyd. MS: knelyd he. Rhyming word transposed within the line, following M.

690 grownd. MS: gownd. A, H, and M emend likewise.

697 he. MS: ii. Emendation following A.
gyantys too. So A, M. MS: gyantys ii too. Compare with lines 325 and 756.

718 he hym ches. MS: sche hym chesys. Emendations following A and M.

738 seyd. MS: omitted. M: sayd. A: quod. H: ase.

739 slyke. MS: sylke. Emendation following M. A, H: sybbe.

742 knyght hys. MS: knyghts. Emendation following A.

748 Fuolls. MS: o inserted above the line.

749—50 That wyt ys . . . lese and more. Three lines appear to be missing from the end of this stanza, perhaps containing Torrent’s further telling of his exploits. A likewise locates the missing lines at line 749; M locates between lines 740 and 741.

752 browght hol whome. So MS, M. A reads ho and interprets this as a scribal error and omits to give: browght whome.

753 The. MS: omitted. Emendation following A.
seyd Be Sen. MS: lords seyd he be sen myhell. M: He! By Sen Myhell! Emendation following A.
Myhell. MS: my her with lle written over the r in lighter ink.

756 prysts fyve. MS: prysts v fyve. Compare with lines 325 and 697.

766 yongest. MS: youngeest.

771 way. MS: omitted. Emendation following A.

775 The kyng. MS: quene to the precedes kyng. Transposition noted and emended in MS. A, H, and M likewise follow the scribal emendation.

781 aske. MS: aseke. A and H emend likewise.

790 hys. MS: omitted. Emendation following A.

794 walls. MS: swalls. Emendation following A and M.

796 All. MS: And. Emendation following A and M.

815 notts. MS: netts.

822 a-mydds. MS: the mydds. Emendation following F.III, as in A.

825 save. MS: sped. Emendation following F.III, as in A and M.

831 for her sake. MS: parmafay. Emendation following F.III, as in A and M.

833 broke. MS: breke. Emendation following F.III, as in A and M.

834 or I go. MS: ar I gan Rage. Emendation following F.III, as in A and M.

835 make me so. MS, M: me make. A: me ma. Emendation following F.III.

838—39 Before xxvii knyghts . . . were Torrents frende. F.III: By vii score of hardy knyghtes. Three lines appear to be missing, presumably detailing the twenty-seven knights assembled to bear witness to the king’s assurances.

839 frende. MS: frendds. Emendation following F.III, as in A.

840 seris gan Torrant sey. So MS. F.III: lordes I you praye.

844 be. MS: omitted. F.III is cropped just at the d of schold. A, H, and M emend likewise.

845 wolde. MS: omitted. Emendation following F.III, as in A.

848 wyght. MS: whyte. Emendation following F.III, which crops the end of the line but still preserves wyg.

849 And he ys bothe strong and bold. F.III: omitted.

851 that waye. MS: ways. Emendation following F.III, as in A.

852 good. MS: goo. A and M emend likewise. F.III: . . . Torente . . .

853 And. MS: leaves room for a large, five-line A, though the rubrication has not been completed. M notes that there is a “minuscule th, visible next to the Chetham’s stamp that occupies the space, [which] indicates that the t in tho (line 855) was to be capitalized” (p. 180n853–57).

856 ryde. MS: ryght. Emendation following A and M.

862 thee. MS: than. Emendation following A.

871 An. MS: And. Emendation following A.

872 kyng dyd dwelle. MS: kyng dwellyd. Emendation following A.

875 tell. MS: tyll. Emendation following A.

878 yt bee ys will. So M. MS: ys will to Bee. Rhyming word transposed within the line.

891—902 The kyng arose . . . . with me wend. Irregularly, the tail lines of this stanza rhyme on two different consonant clusters, leading A to emend wynd (line 899) to leng, and leading M to divide the stanza into two six-line stanzas. The continuity in narration, however, suggests that there are not two half-stanzas missing.

892 knyghts. MS: knygs.

915 kyng. MS: kyngs.

922 seté. MS: final e corrected from a.

924 boke. So MS. F.IV: bokes.

929 the. MS: omitted. Emendation following F.IV, as in A.
have the degré. So F.IV. MS, H, M: haue degré. A emends degre to the gre, which perhaps makes more sense in context and accords with usage elsewhere in the text.

932-33 And yf yt . . . duchyes in londe. MS: omitted. F.IV: And yf it thy wyll be / Two duchyes in honde / I wyll geve her in londe. Following A and M, I have inverted F.IV’s placement of the rhyming words londe and honde, though altering this reading is not absolutely necessary for sense.

935 Gramercy sir sayd he. MS: Gramarcy seyd he thane. Emendation following F.IV, as in A.

940 send. F.IV: brynge.

942-43 Menstrells was . . . myrre songe. So MS. F.IV: Mynstralsy was them amonge / With harpe fedyll and songe.

947 of. MS: on. Emendation following F.IV, as in A.

948 toke. MS: to. Emendation following F.IV, as in A and M.

951 stret. F.V: waye.
nome. MS: none. Emendation following F.V, as in A and M.

952 come. MS: gone. Emendation following F.V, as in A.

954 come ther folks. F.V: he met folke.

955 folloyng. F.V: comynge.

958 yow. MS gives nowe following yow, which I have omitted following F.V, A, and M.

961 countre fare. F.V: londe brode.

962 A large decorative Portyngale has been added in lighter ink in the right-hand margin of this line.

964 lothly. MS: lovely. Unless intentionally ironic, lothly seems most plausible, occurring also in lines 561 and 689. A and H emend likewise. F.V: fendes den.

968 had he slayne. MS: had he slaylne. F.V: he hath slone.

969doth ly. MS: ys. Emendation following F.V, as in A.

970 cyté. MS: knyghthod. Emendation following F.V, as in A.

990 wyn. MS: wynd. Emendation following A and M.

991 Undyr nethe spere and schyld. So MS and M. This line is omitted by A, presumably on the grounds that it disrupts the tail-rhyme form and the twelve-line stanza pattern. Compare with line 1200.

1009 Let thy beytyng and thy ermyght be. So M. MS: Let be thy beytyng and thy ermyght. Rhyming word transposed within the line.

1012 sayd. Written above the line in MS.

1018 he. MS: omitted. Emendation following F.VI, as in A and M.

1019 he. MS: her. Emendation following A and M.

1021 croke. MS: creke. Emendation following F.VI, as in A and M.
gret. So MS. F.VI: longe.

1023 Tyll wone of them ded bee. So MS. F.VI: . . . darste thou come nere.

1025 the thef. MS: theff preceded by a single f. Emendation following A and M.

1029 Neyther by nyght nor by day. MS: blyther be day and be nyght. F.VI: . . . nor by nyght. Emendations following F.VI, as in A.

1030 and sen Awsden. MS: and sen tawsden. F.VI: . . . of god of heuen.

1041 that thef. MS: þat þe theff. Emendation following A.

1055 lede. MS: Rede struck out and lede added in lighter ink.

1064 hys. MS: her. Emendation following A and M.

1073 To Torrent. MS: Torrent said. Emendation following A and M.

1082 it. MS: is.

1084 yt. MS: omitted. Emendation following A.
of my hond. MS: of all my lond. Emendation following A, to maintain the sense of line 1085.

1102 sertaynly. MS: sertayn. Emendation following A and H.

1104 uncouth ray. MS: additional a preceding Ray. Emendation following A.

1116 By this day sevynnyght. This line has been transposed in MS with the following tail-line, Gete thee armes bryght, at line 1119. Emendation following A and M.

1123 On. MS: Of. Emendation following A.

1135 he. MS: i. H: i-telle. Emendation following A and M.

1140 Might he none . . . not in passe. There appears to be three lines missing from the end of this stanza, which may tell of Torrent’s plans to challenge the prince of Aragon.

1142 at. MS: omitted. A and M emend likewise.

1144 theyre glade. So MS and M. A reads glade as an adjective and emends to theyre mete glade. It is possible, however, that glade is a noun (MED glad (n.), sense 4, which cites this line), making emendation unnecessary. Although the MED definition is speculative (“?entertainment, ?merry-making”), theyre glade has the advantage of preserving the extant text and a metrically regular line.

1145 he. MS: they. Emendation following A and M.

1152 Or. MS: omitted. Emendation following A.
her. MS: it. Emendation following A and M.

1200 They spake nether ylle ne good. A omits; compare with line 991.

1213 kyng and knyght. MS: ky cancelled before knyght.

1222 all you. So M. MS: you all. Rhyming word transposed within the line.

1232 ryghts. MS: restys. Emendation following A.

1237 that. MS: than. Emendation following A.

1238 the thoght. MS: omitted. Emendation following A, which must be close to the sense of the passage, though it is one of the more conjectural supplements I have adopted for this edition. M simply gives it; H follows MS.

1250 counsell kyng and knyght. MS: counsell of kyng and knyght. There is clearly no additional subject; rather it is the king and knights who are taking counsel. Emendation following A.

1280 To. MS: line begins with a large, three-line rubricated T.
Torent went. MS: yode, struck out, precedes went.

1285 Stode and beheld on lond. So M. MS: On lond stode and beheld. Rhyming word transposed within the line.

1295—96 Tho Sir Torent . . . hym have slayn. There appears to be one line missing between these lines, presumably elaborating on Torrent’s attack on Cate.

1322 The kyngs.. MS: omitted, but kyngs appears in the following line after other.

1323 And other two or thre. MS: And other kyngs two or thre. Preceding thre is the, blotched out with ink.

1339 Saint. MS: sir. Emendation following A, M.

1340 a marr. So MS, H, M. A: simarr. A posits that simarr is a variant of Middle English chimar, which he glosses as a “cloak” (A, p. 107n47/1338). This word is not otherwise attested in the Middle English canon. See M, p. 202n1338, a note with which I agree.

1366 she. M emends likewise. MS, A, H: he.

1393 Sir. MS: line begins with a large, three-line rubricated S.

1394—95 Full curtesly and . . . have good day. The tail-line (rhyming with fend in line 1397) between these lines appears to be missing, though it does not seem to cause much obstruction to sense.

1395 Desonell. MS: Denosell. A and M emend likewise.

1399 Kepe well my lady fre. So MS, H, and M. A emends to Kepe them well my lady ffre, which may be correct, but I keep the reading from MS because it is possible, considering the following line, that Torrent is meant to refer to Desonell herself rather than the rings.

1419—20 Of the coste . . . were all preste. There appears to be a line missing between these lines, which presumably concerned an approach to the Norwegian coast.

1436 Torrent. MS: Torerent. A, H, and M emend likewise.

1447 My lord was never fleand. So MS. A gives failand for fleand, which would perhaps offer a more conventional reading, but I retain the reading in MS because lines 1448–50 develop the concept of Jesus’ participation in the upcoming battle. See MED flen (v.1), sense 3b: “to desert or depart from (someone), to go away.” A’s failand could be seen as a variant of the same verb. M retains MS reading.

1448 make. MS: made. Emendation following A, H, and M.

1453 bowes. MS: browes. Emendation following A and M.

1462 habyde. So M. MS: have ryde. H: have byde. A: haue kyde.

1466—67 To the chamber . . . hymself lay. MS: line 1467 precedes line 1466. Emendation following A.

1468—69 And fals talis . . . the geaunt abyde. There appears to be three lines missing between these lines. They likely would have described the shipmen’s false account of Torrent’s cowardice, which is elaborated in lines 1469–71.

1478 knyght. MS: ky cancelled before knyght.

1504 bare he. So M. MS: he bare. Rhyming word transposed within the line.

1508—09 The other dragon . . . all his myght. One line appears to be missing here. A likewise locates the missing line here, while M locates it between lines 1507 and 1508.

1518 hyght. MS: hyõe.

1524—25 With towrys hyght . . . an hyghe strete. There appears to be three lines missing here, likely describing the castle in further detail. A likewise locates the missing lines here, while M locates them between lines 1525 and 1526.

1537 not. MS: wot. Emendation following A.

1539 they. MS: thou. Emendation following A.

1555 And let hym bayte on the ground. MS: additional hym preceding on. Emendation following A.

1563 they. MS: omitted. A and M emend likewise.

1569 to. MS: than. Emendation following A.

1575 Quyte thy mede he wyll. MS: He wyll quyte thee thy mede. Rhyming word transposed within the line. A offers something different: Thy mede the quyte he wyll. M offers: Quyte the thy mede he wyll.

1605—06 So evill was . . . hym ayen smate. M locates six missing lines here, although their existence would not significantly affect meaning.

1652 Weraunt. MS: weraumt. A, H, and M emend likewise.

1690 Fore. MS: For. Emendation following A.

1697—98 Fayn he was . . . made noble chere. There appear to be seven lines missing from the middle of this stanza, presumably describing how they dined and the cheer they made. A likewise locates the missing lines at the end of the stanza; M, however, locates one following line 1697, and the other six after line 1700.

1776 hath. MS: hatt. Emendation following A.

1809 Thus the. MS: This. Emendation following F.VII, as in A.

1810 Tyll. MS: omitted. Emendation following F.VII, as in A.

1812 In all poyntes. MS: in poyntes. F.VII: of all poyntes. A likewise combines these variants.

1820 Ayen the law. So MS. F.VII: Agaynst right.

1824 The quene. So MS. F.VII: The queen hir moder.
wexid tho nere wood. So MS. F.VII: was nere wode.

1828 between hem twa. So MS. F.VII: bytwene the children two.

1829 Therin they were wonde. MS: omitted. Supplied by F.VII, as in A and M.

1830 Whan they had shypped that lady yeng. MS: Whan they clepud that lady yeng. Emendation following F.VII, which reads Whan they had shypped that gentyll thynge. A likewise combines these variants, but also emends yeng to ying.

1831 An hunderid fell. F.VII: Anone she fell.

1833—34 Whan that lady . . . dyd she call. Supplied by F.VII, as in A. MS: Downe knelid that lady clere / Ihesu Cryste that come up here.

1835 clene. MS: clere. Emendation following A.
Down knelid that lady clene. F.VII: To defende hir with his honde.

1836—37 Rightfull God . . . on to lende. MS: Jesu Cryste, that com up here / On this strond, as I wenyd. Supplied from F.VII, as in A and M.

1838 my chyldren. MS: we. Emendation following F.VII, as in A.

1839 Knyghtis and ladyes gent. So MS. F.VII: ladyes fayre and gent.

1842 rose ayen the nyght. So MS. F.VII: arose on the myght.

1843 From lond. MS: ffro lond. F.VII: Fro the londe.

1844 Uppon. So MS. F.VII: Into.

1851 woke and. So MS. F.VII: omitted.

1855 man nere hond. So MS. F.VII: man at hande.

1860 Tho. So MS. F.VII: Tyll.

1861 Foules arose and mery. So MS. F.VII: Foules on trees merely.

1863 mowntayn. So MS. F.VII: hyll.

1864 Sone. So MS. F.VII: Where.

1883—84 Carefull of blood . . . no better be. There appears to be six lines missing from this stanza, presumably devoted to elaborating on Desonell’s sorrow. A likewise locates the missing lines here; M locates them after line 1886.

1887 her. M emends likewise. MS, A, H: his.

1892—93 The sorow she . . . no further fare. Six lines seem to be missing from this stanza as well, possibly also devoted to elaborating on Desonell’s sorrow at the abduction of her other child. A likewise locates the missing lines here; M locates three missing lines at lines 1889–90, one at lines 1891–92, and two at lines 1893–94.

1939 sholdist. MS: woldist. Emendation following A.

1954 sett. MS: lett. Emendation following A.

2006 Other be nyght or day. MS, M, H: Other be nyght or forme of day. A: Be nyght and be day.

2020 have. MS: corrected from heue.

2021—22 My children ye . . . . walkid than alone. Three lines seem to be missing from this stanza, perhaps containing further details on Desonell’s surroundings. M likewise locates the missing lines here; A locates them at lines 2018–19.

2027—28 By the yatis . . . a wildernes. Three lines seem to be missing here, perhaps describing why Desonell flees from the hunting party.

2036—37 Thereof she was . . . kyng and knyght. Six lines seem to be missing from this stanza as well, no doubt describing the initial encounter between Desonell and the knights. A and M likewise locate the missing lines here.

2115 Calaber. MS: Cababer. A, H, and M emend likewise.

2118 Colomond. MS: Calomond.

2134 command. MS: comland.

2141 askyd. MS: had. This line makes perfect sense on its own, but the following three lines make it plain that the king is not given the opportunity to take the Eucharist and confess. A emends to wold. M and H preserve MS reading.

2172 The line begins with a large, three-line rubricated O.
On. MS: Off. Emendation following A.

2184 seté. MS: see. A: cité.

2189 say. MS: says. Emendation following A. M emends to storyes say.

2197 third. MS: thrid.

2205—16 There he stode . . . in this contré. MS: lines 2211–16 come before lines 2205–10. Emendation following A and M. Because the sultan’s message to Torrent (lines 2211–16) acknowledges the starved people of the city, suggesting that the description of Torrent besieging the city (lines 2205–10) precedes it, I have followed A and M in reversing the order of these lines.

2211 The soudan. MS: a Soudan. Emendation following A.

2229—34 Sith he buskyd . . . the Sarzins bryght. MS: lines 2232–34 come before lines 2229–31. Because Torrent must first arrive in a new city (Antioch) before he can live there for seven years, I (following A and M) have chosen to reverse the order of these line groupings.

2237—38 Found hym his . . . Jerusalem herd tell. This stanza seems to be missing three lines, which may well describe Leobertus’ martial exploits of which the king of Jerusalem hears at the beginning of the following stanza. A and M likewise locate the missing lines here.

2245 thousand. MS: thousaid. Emendation following A and M.

2246—47 Ageyn Torent for . . . Jerusalem said thus. The end of this stanza also seems to be missing three lines. A and M likewise locate the missing lines here.

2248 Leobertus. MS, M: Liobertious. A: Liobertus.

2255 On. MS: Of. Emendation following A.

2258 Full woo was her that see it myght. MS: it ought. A: Woo was her, that se it myght! M: full woo was that i-dight.

2283 hom. MS: hem. A and M emend likewise.

2285 And in preson. MS: and and in preson. Emendation following A. M gives And an presone.

2301 slee. MS: flee. Emendation following A.

2315 be nyght ne be day. MS: be day ne be nyõt. Rhyming word transposed within the line.

2318 this nyght pray. MS: pray this nyght. Rhyming word transposed within the line.

2359 Feyre. MS: Feyrer.
turnaments. MS: Turments. Emendation following A.

2375 were. So MS. A and M emend to lay in order to complete this stanza’s tail-rhyme scheme.

2405 he. MS: ye. Emendation following A and M.

2417 Quarell. MS: Quarellis. A and M emend likewise.

2438—39 With moche solempnité . . . Nazareth sent me. There appears to be at least three lines missing at the beginning of this stanza, possibly describing the messenger’s audience.

2447 semled. MS: semlend. Emendation following A and M.

2473 fy Gryffon. MS: ffygryffon. M likewise construes as two separate words.

2474 there they yeld. MS: they yeldyd there. Rhyming word transposed within the line. Emendation following A and M.

2477—78 Smertley in the . . . Gryffon yonger were. There appears to be three lines missing here. A likewise locates the missing lines here; M locates them at the end of the stanza, after line 2480.

2480—81 Sir Torent stode . . . said Torent thanne. There may be six lines missing at the beginning of the stanza (see M, p. 245n2475), though this may also be just an idiosyncratic six-line stanza.

2485—86 And hent a . . . hym rode he. These lines are transposed in MS. Emendation following A.

2487 so sore to hym rode. So MS. A: to hym rode so sore. M: rode to hyme so sore.

2488 he bare hym to the ground. So MS. A: he to the ground hym bare. M: to the ground he hyme bare.

2504 on her kne she knelid. So MS. A: knelid on her kne. M: she knelid on her knee.

2523—25 As was dame . . . that doughty ys. This tercet seems to be all that survives of a distinct stanza. The nine missing lines might have further described Desonell’s beauty, provided additional details on the feast, and introduced the two kings mentioned in line 2526. A suggests that only three lines are missing here and combines them with lines 2226–28 to create a “complete” stanza. See M, p. 245n2475, for different stanza divisions, beginning at line 2480 ff.

2537 wonder had they. MS: they had wonder. A: There of they had envye. M: they had ferly.

2544 fader. MS: omitted. Emendation following A.

2562 Sothe. MS: so. Emendation following M.

2590 Al. MS: at. A, H, and M emend likewise.

2604—09 The quene said . . . it so be. MS, M: lines 2607–09 come before lines 2604–06. Emendation following A based on the likelihood that the knight’s enthusiasm stems from the news that Torrent is returning, as opposed to the appearance of unidentified ships, which may well have conventionally elicited dread rather than joy.

2618 grene. MS: kene. Emendation following A.

2621 sene. MS: see. Emendation following M and A.

2623 of. MS: omitted. Emendation following A and M.

2642—43 And sith rejoyse . . . of gret renown. There seems to be three lines missing at the end of this stanza, which may well have described how Torrent accepts the king of Jerusalem’s offer.

2644—45 Torent gave hym . . . Sir knyght. The tail line (rhyming with flood in line 2647) seems to be missing here.

2647 To the Grekys flood. MS: To the Grekys flood I plight. Emendation following A.

2648 Vouch. MS: Wouch.

2656 they yode her way. MS: her way they yode. Rhyming word transposed within the line.

2666—71 Now Jesu Cryst . . . . we shall wend. The text’s final stanza was probably not composed in the standard twelve-line form. Rather, it seems likely that it is an idiosyncratic stanza written as separate from the main narrative and intended to close the romance, in conventional fashion, with a prayer. See also the explanatory note to lines 7; 10.

Print Copyright Info

Sir Torrent of Portingale

by: James Wade (Editor)

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Here bygynneth a good tale
Of Torrente of Portyngale.

God that ys worthy and bold
Heven and erthe have in hold,
Fyld, watyr, and wynde,
Yeve us grace hevyn to wyne,
And brynge us owt of dedly synne,
And in Thy servyse to ende.
A stounde and ye woll lyst be-dene,
Ale dowghtty men that evyr hathe byn,
Wher so that they lende.
I schall yow tell, ore I hense pase,
Of a knyght that dowghtty wase,
In Rome ase clarkys fynde.

In Portynggall, that ryche londe,
An erell that wase wonande,
That curtese wase and dowghtty.
Sone aftyr he had a sone,
The feyerest that on fot myght gon,
Tyrrant, men seyd, he hyght.
Be tyme he wase eighteen yer old,
Of dedds of armys he wase bold,
To felle bothe kyng and knyght.
And now commythe dethe appon a day,
And takythe hys father, ase I yow sey,
For God ys most of myght.

The kyng of Portynggall wase fayne,
To warde hym he takythe Torrayne, 1
That dowghtty ys in dedde.
And ther he fesomnyd in hys hond
A good eyrldom in that lond,
Bothe forest and downe.
The kyng hathe a dowghttyr feyer ase flowyr,
Desonell wase her name,
Worthyest in wede. 2
When Torrent had of her a syght
More he lovyd that swet wyte
Than all ys fathyrys londe.

For love of thys lady deyr,
In dede of armys far and nere
Aventorrs gan he take.
With heve tymbyr and ovyr-ryde,
Ther myght no man hys dent abydde,
But to the erthe he them strake.
Her father and other knyghtts mo
Had farly how he ryd soo,
And on a day to hyme spake.
He seyd, “Torrent, howe may thys byne,
That thow dysplesyst thes knyghtts kene,
And ordurrs non woll take?”

Torrent sayd, “So mut I thee,
And other sayment woll I see,
Ore I take ordor of knyght.”
Tho he sware by hevyn kyng,
Ther wase told hym a wondyr thyng
In hys chambyr to nyght:
“For the love of my doughter dere
Thow makyst good, far and nere,
In dedde of armys bryght.
And wyt thow wyll, so God me save,
Thow schalt her wyne, yf thow her have,
Be thow never so wyttht.”

Torrent sayd, “Be Mary dere,
And I were of armyse clere, 3
Yowr dowghttyr me leve were.”
The kyng seyd, “Yf yt be soo
Ore seven yere be a-go,
More schall we here.
Durst thow, for my dowghttyr sake,
A poynt of armys for to take,
With owt helpe of fere?”
Than seyd Torrant, “So God me sped,
With anny man that syttythe on stede
Other far ore nere.”

Ther-of the kyng for tene wax wode:
“Yf thow wylt make thy body good
Be trew and hold thy contnance . . . .

Tho seyd Torrant, “So God me sped ere!
And I wyst in what sted they were,
Fore no man wold I chaunce.”

“Into the Greks See a mylle
Ther lyghttythe a gyant in an yle,
Full evyll thow dourst hyme stond.
My fayer forests fellythe downe he,
And ryche castells in that contré,
No ston lyttythe he stond.” 4

Terrent sayd, “Be Marre bryght,
Yt ys gret sorrow that he hathe syght,
The devyll of hell hym blynd.”
The kyng sayd, “Par la more le dewe,
Thow darryst full evyll with thy ey hym sewe,
He wold fell thee with hys wynde.”
“Now be my trowthe,” seyd Torrent than,
“Als I ame a jentylman,
Yf I may hym fynd
Won fot woll I not from hym pase,
Thow he be stronger than Samson wase,
Or anny man of hys kynd.”

Hys squyerys, they mornyd sore,
Withowt fere that he schold fare
To that gret jorney,
With the gyant heygh for to fyght.
Begonmese that gyant hyght
That fyndds fare for aye.
To arme hyme Torrant goos,
Hys good stede with hym he takythe,
Withowt squyer that day.
He takythe leve at lorddys hend,
And on hys wey gan he wynd,
For hym all they prayd.

Lytyll wyst Desonell that jente,
For whos love that he went,
To fyght with that knave.
Now God, that dyed appon a Rode,
Strengithe hym both bone and blod,
The fyld for to have.
He that schall wend soche a wey,
Yt were nede for hym to pray,
That Jesu hym schuld save.
Yt ys in the boke of Rome,
Ther was no knyght of Kyrstendome,
That jorney durst crave. 5

Six days rydythe he
By the cost of the feyer see,
To seke the gyant kene.
By the cost, as he rode,
In a forest longe and brode
And symly wase to see,
Hey sperrys ther he fonde,
And gret olywys growonde,
Coverd in levys grene.
Sone wase he ware, ase Y yow say,
Uppon a mounteyn ther he laye
On slepe, ase I wene.

Torrent on kne knelyd he,
And be-sowght Jesu so fre,
That bowght hym with Hys blod:
“Lord, ase Thow dyd ryght for Maré,
Let me never take velony,
And gef me of Thy fode.
Sertts, yf I hym slepyng slone,
Manfull ded were yt none,
For my body, be the Rode.”
Tho Terrant blewe hys bugell bold,
To loke that he awake wold,
And sythe ner hyme rode.

So fast aslepe he wase browght,
Hys hornys blast awoke hyme nowght,
He swellyd ase dothe the see.
Torrent saw he woll not wake,
He reynyd hys sted unto a stake,
Ase a jentyll man in fere.
So hy, he say, wase the mounteyne,
Ther myght no horse wynd hym agen,
But yf he nowyd wold be. 6
Thowe the wey never so wykkyd were,
On hys wey gan he fare,
In gret perayll went hee.

Torent went to that mounten,
He put hys spere hyme ageyne,
“Aryse, fellow,” gan he saye.
“Who made thee so bold here to dwell,
My lords frethe thus to fell?
Amends thee behovythe to pay.”
The gyant rysythe as he had byn wod,
And redyly by hyme stode,
Besyd hyme on a lay,
And seyd, “Sertes, yf I leve,
Soche a wed I woll thee gef,
To meve thee evyr and ay.”

Thow the chyld were nevyr so yonge,
The fynds spere sparrythe hyme no-thyng,
In the holtts horee.
Who had fare and nere byne,
And never had of fytyng seyn,
He myght a lernyd there.
The gyant, the fyrst stroke to hym he cast,
Hys good schyld all to-brast,
In schevyrs spred wase there.
Tho coud he no better ryd, 7
But stond styll tyll one were ded;
The gyant lefte hym ther.

Torrent undyr hys spryt he sprent 8
And abowght the body he hyme hente,
As far as he myght last.
“A! Fellow, wylt thow so?”
And to the grownd gan they goo,
Of the mounteyn bothe downe gan they pase.
Ase the boke of Rome tellys,
They tornyd xxxii tymys,
In armys walloyng fast.
Yt tellythe in the boke of Rome,
Evyr ase the gyant above come,
Hys gutts owt of hys body brast.

At the fot of the mounteyn
Ther lay a gret ragyd ston, serteyn,
Yt nyhed ys schulder bon
And also hys ryght syd.
Ther to that gyant fell that tyd,
Ase I herd in Rome.
Thorrow Hyme, that mad man,
Torrent sone abovyn wane,
And fast he gan him warke
With a knyfe feyer and bryght.
Torrent with all hys myght
Therewith he gard hyme dwell.

Torent knelyd on hys kne,
To Jesu Cryst prayd he,
That hathe thys world to wyld:
“Lord, lovyd, evyr lovyd Thowe be,
The feyer fyld Thow hast lent me”
(Upp bothe hys hands held)
“All onely withowt any knave,
Of the fynd the maystry to have,
Of hym to wyn the fyld.”
Now ys ther none other to say,
Of hyme he wane the fyld that day.
I pray God hyme schyld.

Torrent went uppe ageyne
To the mount, ase I gan sayne,
The londs to se far and nere.
In the see a myle, hyme thought,
An hold wase rychyly wrowt,
In that lond wase not here perre.
The see wase ebbyd, I yow sey,
Torrent thether toke the way,
Werry all thow he were.
And ther he fownd ryche wayes,
Towrrs endentyd with presyos stonys,
Schynyng ase crystall clere.

The gattys of yron ther he fond,
Ther in Torrent gan wonde,
A nyghts rest there in he take.
And at the hale dore ther wase
A lyon and a lyonesse,
Ther men betwene them twayne,
Fast etyng, ase ye may here.
Crystyn man thow he were,
Hys browys be gan to blowe,
And wit yow will, Lord God yt wote,
He durst go no fote,
Lest they wold hyme sle.

Torrant stod and beheld,
And prayd to God, that ale may wyld,
To send hyme harborrow good.
Sone hard he within a whalle
The syghyng of a lady smalle,
Sche weppte ase sche were wod.
Sche mornyd sore and sayd, “Alas,
That evyr kyngs dowghttyr wase
Overcome of so jentyll blod,
For now ame I holdyn here
In lond with a fynds fere.”
Torrent hard, wher he stod.

“Dere God,” seyd Torrant than,
“Yf ther be anny Crystyn man
In thys hold of ston,
That woll, for the love of God of myght,
Harbourrow a jentylman thys nyght,
For I ame but on.”
“Seynt Marry,” seyd that lady clere,
“What Crystyn man axithe harburrow here?”
Nere hym sche gothe anon.
“I wold harburrow thee full fayne,
But a gyant wyll thee slayne.”
To hym sche mad here mone.

“Say me now, fayer lady wyght,
Who owte of thys plase schall me hyght,
Thes tourrs that are so feyer and bryght?”
Ther sche seyd, “Be hevyn kyng,
Here ys a gyant dwellyng,
That meche ys of myght.
Be my trowthe, and he thee see,
Were there twenti lyvys in thee,
Thy dethe than wyll he dyght.
Jesu Cryst yef me grace
To hyde thee in some preve plase,
Owt of the fynds syght.”

. . . .

“Evyr me thynkythe by thy tale,
The song of the burds smale
On slepe hathe hyme browght.”
“Ye,” seyd Torrent, “ore he be wakyn,
I schall thee tell soche a tokyn,
Of hym thow have no thowght.
But woldds thow for thy gentry
Do the lyonnys downe lye,
That they nyee me nowght?”
By the hand sche ganne hym tane
And led hyme in betwe them twayne,
Ryght ase sche wold, they wrowght.

The lady wase nevyr so a-drad,
Into the hale sche hym lad,
That lemyred ase gold bryght.
Sche byrlyd whyt wyne and rede:
“Make use myrre ageyne owre dedd, 9
I wot will, yt ys so dyght!”
“Be my trowthe,” seyd Torrent,
“I wole be thy warrant,
He comythe not here thys nyght.
On soche a slepe he ys browght,
All men of lyve wakythe hym nowght,
But onely God on hyght!”

Blythe then wase that lady jent,
For to onharnes Torrent,
That dowghtty wase and bold.
“For sothe,” sche seyd, “I wot wher ys
The kyngs sone of Provense, 10
Fast put in hold
In a dongon that ys dym.
Fowyre good erylls sonnys be with hyme,
Ys fet in fere and fold. 11
The gyant wan theme in a tyde,
Ase they rane be the watyr syd,
And put them in preson cold.

In an yron cage he hathe them done.”
Torrent went thether sone:
“Are ye yet levand?”
The kyngs sone askyd than,
Yf ther were anny Crysten man,
“Wold bryng use owt of bond?”
“Lord,” he seyd, “God all-myght,
I had levyr on a day to fyght,
Than all my fathyrys lond.”
With an iryn mall styff and strong
He brake upe an yron dore or longe,
And sone the keyes he fond.

Owt he toke thys chyldryn fyve,
The feyrest that were on lyve,
I-hold in anny sted.
The lady wase full glad,
Sche byrlyd whyt wyn and redd,
And sethyn to soper sone they yed.
“Lords,” he seyd, “syn yow are her,
I red yow make ryght good cher,
For now ys all thy nede.”
Thus he covyrd owt of care.
God that sofryd wondds sore,
Grante use well to sped.

Lordds, and ye wol lythe,
The chyldyr namys I woll tell blythe,
Herekyn, how they were me told.
The kyngs sone, that dowghtty wase,
Wase clepyd Verdownys,
That dowghtty wase and bold.
The kyngs dowghttyr of Gales lond,
Elyoner, I undyrstond,
That worthy wase in hold.
And an erylls son that hyght Torren,
Another Jakys of Berweyne,
The forthe wase Amyas bold.

Into hys chambyr sche hyme led,
Ther gold and sylvyr wase spred,
And asur, that wase blewe.
In yron ther he gan stond,
Body and armys lyghtand,
In powynt to trusse and goo.
Into a stabyll sche hym led,
Eche toke a full feyer sted,
They were redy to goo.
And wote ye well and undyrstond,
Had the gyant be levand,
They had not partyd soo.

They woll not to bed gan,
Tyll on the morrow the day spronge,
Thus awey to fare.
Torrant sperryd the gattys, i-wyse,
All that he lyst he clepyd hys,
The keys and thyng he bare.
The lyons at the dore
Were led to her maysteer that wase befor;
On hym thay fed them ther.
Upp won of the horse that wase ther levyd,
On hym thei trussyd the gyantts hed.
Thus helpt hym God ther.

But ore thre weks wer commyn to end,
To Portynggall gan he wend,
Ther ase the kyng gan lye.
The porter ther sawe he stood,
He fled awey ase he were wod,
Flyngyng ase a fynd.
“Syr kyng,” he seyd, “be Godds dede,
Torrant bryngythe a devyll ys hed,
Therwith he woll yow present.”
Desonell seyd, “Porter, be styll.” . . .
In hys walke ther ase he went.

The kyng to the gatys gan pase,
Gret lords that ther wase,
Bothe knyghts and squyerres,
Lords wase full sore a-dred
Fore the lyonys that he had,
They durst not come hyme ner.
The kyng seyd, “I wyll thee kysse,
Durst I for thy bests, i-wysse.”
Torrent dyd them ly ther,
And kyssyd the kyng with joy and blyse,
And aftyr other lords of hys,
And aftyr other ladys clere.

Messengyrs toke the weye,
To the kyng of Provyns to sey,
Hys sone ys owt of hold.
“Yoyng Torrent of Portynggall
Hathe browght hym owt of balle
And slayne the jeyant bold.”
The kyng seyd, “So mot I thee,
I woll geff thee towynnys three
For the talls thow hast me told.”
Lytyll and mykyll that ther wer,
All they mad good cher,
Her prynse fayne see wold.

Than seyd they, that to Gales yede,
Yeftys to hym were no ned,
Then Verdownys had they.
Ase they seylyd on a tyde,
At Perrown on the see syd . . .
The kyng of Provynse seyd: “So mot I thee,
Yftles schall they not be,
That dare I sothely sey.
The kyng of Gales proferd hym feyer:
“Wed my dowghttyr and myn eyer,
When so evyr thow may!”

The kyng of Pervense seyd, “So mot I thee,
Thys seson yeftles schall thow not be,
Have here my ryng of gold,
My sword, that so wyll ys wrowyt,
A better that yt know I nowght
Within Crystyn mold.
Yt ys ase glemyrryng ase the glase,
Thorrow Velond wroght yt wase,
Bettyr ys non to hold.
I have syne sum tyme in lond,
Loke thou hold yt with fulle hond,
Whoso had yt of myn hond,
I fawght therefore it bold.”

Tho wase Torrent blythe and glad,
The good swerd ther he had,
The name was Adolake.
A gret mayney let he make,
That lest all a fortnyght,
Who so will hys met take.
Evyry man toke ys leve, as I yow say,
Homward to wend ther wey,
Every man ys rest to take.
Tyll yt befell uppon a day,
Ase they went be the wey,
The kyng to hys dowghttyr spake:

“Ye schall take hed of a jeentyll man,
A feyer poynt for yow he wane,
Desonell, at the last.”
“Syr,” sche seyd, “be hevyn kyng,
Tyll ye me told I knewe no thyng,
For who ys love yt wase.”
“Desonell, so mut I thee,
Yt wase for the love of thee
That he trovylld so fast.
I warne yow, dowghttyr, be the Rode,
Yt ys for yow bothe good,
Ther to I red yow trust!”

Forthe sche browght a whyt sted,
And whyt as the flowyr in med,
Ys fytte blac ase slo. 12
“Leman, have here thys fole,
That dethe ys dynt schalt thou not have,
Whyll thow settyste hyme appon,
And yf thow had persewyd be,
And hadyst ned fore to fle,
Fast for to gone.
The kyng of Nazareth sent hym me,
Torrent, I wet-safe hym on thee,
For better love may I none.”

Aftyrward uppon a tyd,
Ase they went be the watyrs syd,
The kyng and yong Torrent,
The kyng wold fayne that he ded were,
And he wyst in what maner,
How he schuld be schent.
A false lettyr mad the kyng
And dyd messengyrs forthe yt bryng,
On the rever, ase they went,
To Torrent, that was trew ase styll,
Yf he love Desonell wyll,
Get her a facon jent.

Torrent the letter began to red,
The kyng lestyned and nere yed,
Ase he yt nevyr ad syne.
“Syr,” he seyd, “what may thys be?
Loo, lord, come ner and see,
Abowght a facon schene.
I ne wot, so God me sped,
In what lond that they bred.”
The kyng answerd, “I wene,
In the forrest of Maudelayne,
Ther be hawks ase I herd seyne,
That byn of lenage gene.

And than seyd the kyng ontrew:
“Yf thow get hawkys of gret valew,
Bryng on of them to me.”
Torrent seyd, “So God me save,
Yf yt betyd that I may have, 13
At yowr wyll they schal be.”
Hys squyer bode he ther,
Aftyr hys armor for to far,
In the fyld byddythe he.
They armyd hym in hys wed,
Tho he bestrod a noble sted,
And forthe than rod hee.
Torrent toke the wey ageyn
Into the forest of Mawdleyn,
In the wyldsome way.
Berys and apes there founde he,
And wylde bestys great plenté,
And lyons where they lay.
In a wod that wase tyght,
Yt drew nere-hand nyght,
By dymmynge of the day.
Lysten, lordes, of them came wo,
He and his squyer departed in two;
Carefull men then were they.

At the schedyng of a rome,
Eche partyd other frome,
For sothe, ase I undyrstond.
Torrent toke a dulful wey,
Downe in a depe valey,
Besyd a well strong.
A lytyll before mydnyght,
Of a dragon he had syght
That grysly wase to fyght.
He had hym nowght to were,
But hys schyld and hys spere,
That wase in hys squyers hond.

Torrent knelyd on hys kne,
To Jesu Cryst prayd he:
“Lord, mykyll of myght,
Syne I wase in meche care,
Let me nevuyr owt of thys world far,
Tyll I take order of knyght.
Ase I ame falsely hether sent,
Wyldsom weyes have I went,
With fynds for to fyght.
Now, Jesu, for Thy holy name,
Ase I ame but man alone,
Than be my helpe tonyght!”

Ase Torrent Jesu gan pray,
He herd the dragon, ther he lay,
Undyr-nethe a clough.
Off and on he wase stronge,
Hys tayle wase seven yerds long,
That aftyr hyme he drewe.
Hys wynggs was long and wyght,
To the chyld he toke a flyght,
With a howge swowe.
Had he nether schyld ne spere,
But prayd to God he schold hyme were,
For he wase in dred i-nowthe.

On the tayle an hed ther wase,
That byrnyd bryght as anny glase,
In fyer whan it was dyght.
Abowght the schyld he lappyd yt ther,
Torrent the bowght asondyr schere,
Thurrow the grace of God almyght.
As the boke of Rome tellys,
Of hys taylle he cut four ells,
With hys sword so bryght.
Than cryed the lothely thyng,
That all the dall began to ryng,
That the gyant hard wyght.

The gyant seyd, “I undyrstond,
There ys sum Crystyn man nere hond,
My dragon here I cry.
By Hym that schope bothe watyr and lond,
All that I can se before me stond,
Dere schall they abye.
Me thynkythe I here my dragon schowt,
I deme there be some dowghtty man hym abowght,
I trow, to long I ly.
Yf I dwell in my pyll of ston,
And my chef foster were gone,
A false mayster were I!”

Be the gyant wase redy dyght,
Torrent had slayne the dragon ryght;
Thus gan God hyme scheld.
To the mownteyne he toke the way
To rest hyme all that day,
He had myster to be kyllyd.
Tyll the day began to spryng
Fowllys gan myrre to syng,
Bothe in frethe and in fold.
Leve we now of Torrent there
And speke we of thys squyer more:
Jesu hys sole fro hell schyld.

Hys squyer rod all nyght
In a wod that wase full tyght,
With meche care and gret fare,
For to seke hys lord Torrent,
That wysly wase frome hyme sent,
And he wyst nevyr whethyr ne wher.
He durst nevyr cry ne schuot,
For wyld bests were hym abowght
In the holtts hore.
A lytyl whyll before the day
He toke into a ryde wey,
Hyme self to meche care.

Forthe he rod, I undyrstond,
Tyll he an hey wey fond,
Withowtyn any delay,
Also fast ase he myght fare,
Fore berrys and apys that ther were,
Lest they wold hym byght.
The sone arose and schone bryght,
Of a castyll he had a syght,
That wase bothe feyer and whyte . . . .

The gyant him se, and ny yed,
And seyd, “Fellow, so God me sped,
Thow art welcom to me.
What dost thow here in my forest?”
“Lord, to seke an hawkys nest,
Yf yt yowr wyl be.”
“Thee behovythe to ley a wede.”
To an oke he hym led:
Gret ruthe yt wase to se.
In four quarters he hym drewe,
And every quarter uppon a bowe.
Lord, soche weys toke hee.

Ase Torrent in the mounteyn dyd ly,
Hym thowght he hard a reufull cry,
Gret fere ther hyme thowght.
“Seynt Marre,” seyd the chyld so fre,
“Wher evyr my jentyll squyer myght be,
That I with me to wod browght?”
On he dyd hys harnes ageyne,
And worthe on hys sted, serteyne,
And thetherward he sowght.
And wot yow wyll, I undyrstond,
In fowre quartyrs he hym fownd,
For otherwyse wase yt nowght.

The gyant lenyd to a tre,
And behyld Torrent so free,
For sothe, ase I yow seye.
Thys fend wase ferly to fyght,
Rochense, seythe the boke, he hyght,
Ther wase a dredfull fraye.
To the chyld than gan he smyght:
“A, thef, yeld thee asttyt,
As fast as thow may!”
“What,” seyd Torrent, “art thow wood?
God, that dyed on the Rood,
Gef thee evyll happe thys day!”

He rawght Torrent suche a rowght,
Hys stedds brayne he smot owte,
So mykyll he began.
Torrent tho a good sped,
Ase fast abowte an eche went,
Ase swefte ase he myght ryne.
He gathyred sum of hys gere,
Bothe hys schyld and hys spere;
Nere hym yod he than.
Bacward than be a browgh,
Twenty fote he gard hyme goo,
Thus erthe on hym he wane. 14

Yt solasyd Torrent than,
When he sawe hyme bacward ron,
Downe be a mounteyn of Perowne,
Stomlyng thurrow frythe and fen,
Tyll he com to a depe thorne,
Ther myght non hym stere.
Torrent wase glad and folowyd fast,
And hys spere on hyme he brast,
Good Adyloke yed hyme nere.
The fynd in the watyr stod,
He fawte ageyn, ase he were wod,
All the day in fere.

Tho nere hond wase the day gone,
Torrent wase so werry than,
That on hys kne he knelyd:
“Helpe, God, that all may!
Desonell, have good day!”
Fro hym he cest hys schyld.
Jesu wold not he were slayne,
To hym He sent a schowyr of rayne,
Torrent full wyll yt kelyd.
The fynd saw he wase ny mate,
Owt of the watyr he toke the gate,
He thowght to wyne the fyld.

Thoo wase Torrent fresse and good;
Nere the fynd sore he stod,
Cryst hym save and see.
The fynd fawt with an yron staff,
The fyrst stroke to hym he gafe,
He brast hys schyld on thre.
Torrent undyr hys staff rane,
To the hart he baryd hym than,
And lothely cry gane he.
To the grownd he fell as tyght,
And Torrent gan hys hed off smyght,
And thus he wynnythe the gre.

Torrent knelyd on the grownd,
And thankyd God that ylke stownd,
That soche grace hyme send.
Thus two journeys in thys woo,
With hys hands slew he gyantys too,
That meny a man hathe schent. 15
Torrent forthe frome hyme than yod,
And met hyme xxiiii fotte,
Ther he lay on the bent.
Hedles he left hym there,
Howt of the fyld the hed he bare,
And to the castell he went.

To thys castell he gan far.
Ther fond he armor and other gere,
A sword that wase bryght.
To the towre he toke the wey,
Ther the gyants bed lay,
That rychyly wase dyght.
At the bedds hed he fond
A swerd worthe an erllys lond,
That meche wase of myght.
On the pomell yt wase wret,
Fro a prynce yt wase get,
Mownpolyardns he hyght.

The sarten, withowt lese,
A schef chambyr he hym ches,
Tyll on the morrow day.
To the stabull tho he yod,
There he fond a nobyll sted,
Wase comely whyt and grey.
The gyantts hed gan he take,
And the dragonnys wold he not forsake,
And went forthe on hys wey.
He left mor good in that sale
Than was within all Portynggall,
Ther ase the gyant laye.

Tho he rod bothe day and nyght,
Tyll he come to a castell bryght,
Ther ys lord gan dwell.

Torrent on kne he fond ther at,
Schort tall for to tell.
“Have thow thys in thyn hond,
No nother hawkys ther I fond,
At Mawdlenys well.”
The kyng seyd, “Ase so have I blyse,
Torrent, I trow, slyke ys,
To the dewell of hell!”

“Here besyd dwellythe won on lond,
Ther ys no knyght hys dynt may stond,
So stronge he ys on grond.”
“Syr,” he seyd, “fore Sen Jame,
What ys the gyants name,
So evyr good me sped?”
“Syr,” he seyd, “so mut I thee,
Slogus of Fuolls thus hyght hee,
That wyt ys undyr wede.” . . . .

Lytyll and mykyll, lese and more,
Wondyr on the hedds thore,
That Torrent had browght hol whome.
The lords seyd, “Be Sen Myhell,
Syr kyng, but ye love hyme wyll,
To yow yt ys gret schame.”
Torent ordeynyd prysts fyve,
To syng for hys squyerys lyve,
And menythe hym by name.
Therfor the lady whyt ase swane
To Torrant, here lord, sche went than,
Here hert wase to hyme tane.

Lettyrrs come hetherward
To the kyng of Portynggall,
To ax hys dowghttyr derre,
Fro the kyng of Eragon,
To wed her to hys yongest son,
The lady that ys so clere.
For Torrent schuld no her have,
To hyme fyrst he here gafe,
To the messenger,
And hys way fast agayn dyd pase,
Whyle Torrent an huntyng wase,
Therof schuld he not be ware.

On a mornyng ther ase he lay,
The kyng to the quene gan sey:
“Madame, for cherryté,
Thow art oftyn hold wyse;
Now woll ye tell me yowr devyce,
That how I may governe me.
The ryche kyng hathe to me sent,
For to aske my dowghttyr gente,
That ys so feyer and fre.”
“Syr,” sche seyd, “so God me save,
I red yow let Torrent her have,
For best worthy ys he.”

He seyd, “Madame, were that feyer,
To make as erlls sone myn eyer?
I will not, by Sen Jame!
There he hathe done maystrs thre,
Yt ys hys sword, yt ys not he,
For Hatheloke ys ys name.”
“Lord, he myght full wyll sped,
A knyghts dowghttyr wase hyme bed,
Ase whyt ase walls bone.
And yf ye warne hym Desonell,
All that therof here tell,
Therof wyll speke schame.”

“Madam, unto thys tyd
Ther lythe a gyant here besyd,
That many a man hathe slayne.
I schall hyght hym my dowghttyr dere,
To fyght with that fynds fere,
Thus he holdythe hyme in trayne.
But I schall make myn commnant so,
That there schall non with hyme go,
Squyer ne swayne.”
“Syr,” sche seyd, “so mut I thee,
So sore bestad hathe he be,
And wyll commyn ageyne!”

Tho the bells began to ryng,
Upe rose that ryche kyng,
And the lady in feree.
And aftyrward they went to mase,
Ase the law of Holy Chyrge wase,
With notts and solemnyté.
Trompettys on the wall gan blowe,
Knyghts semlyd on a rowe,
Gret joy wase to see.
Torrent a syd bord began, 16
The squyers nexte hym than,
That good knyghts schuld be.

Ase they sat a-mydds the mete,
The kyng wold not foreget;
To Torrent the kyng gan sey,
He seyd, “Torrent, so God me save,
Thow wolds fayne my dowghttyr have,
And hast lovyd her many a day.”
“Ye, be trouthe,” seyd Torrent than,
“And yf that I were a ryche man,
Ryght glad, parmafay!”
“Yf thow durst for her sake,
A poynt of armys undyrtake,
Thow broke her well fore ay!”

“Ye,” seyd Torrent, “or I go,
Sekyrnes ye schall make me so,
Of yowr dowghttyr hend.
And aftyrward my ryghts,
Before xxvii knyghts.” . . . .
And all were Torrents frende.
“Now, good seris,” gan Torrant sey,
“Bere wittnes her of som daye,
Ageyne yf God me send!”

Torrent seyd, “So mut I thee,
Wyst I where my jorney schold be,
Thether I wolde me dyght.”
The kyng gaf hyme an answere:
“In the lond of Calabur ther
Wonnythe a gyant wyght,
And he ys bothe strong and bold,
Slochys he hyght, I thee told,
God send thee that waye ryght.”
Than quod Torrent, “Have good day,
And, or I come ageyn, I schall asay,
Whether the fynd can fyght!”

Tho wold he no longer abyde,
He toke ys wey for to ryde
On a sted of gret valewe.
Into a chambyr he gothe,
Hys leve of Desonell he toke,
Sche wepte, all men myght rewe.
He seyd, “Lady, be styll.
I schall come ageyn thee tyll,
Thurrow helpe of Marry trewe.”
Thus he worthe on a stede.
In hys wey Cryst hyme sped,
Fore he yt no thyng knewe.

He toke hym a redy wey,
Thurrow Prevyns he toke the wey,
As hys jorney fell.
Tyll the castell be the see,
An hy stret heldythe hee,
Ther the kyng dyd dwelle.
To the porter he gan seye,
“Wynd in, fellow, I thee pray,
And thy lord than tell,
Pray hym, on won nyght in hys sale,
To harburrow Torrent of Portynggall,
Yf yt bee ys will!”

The porter dyd hys commandment,
To the kyng he ys wente,
And knelyd uppon ys kne:
“God blyse thee, lord, in thy sale.
Torrent of Portynggale
Thus sendythe me to thee.
He praythe yow, yf ye myght,
To harburrow hym thys won nyght,
Yf yowr will yt bee.”
The kyng swere by Hym that dyed on tre,
“There ys no man in Crystyanté
More welcome to me!”

The kyng arose and to the gat yod,
Lords and other knyghts good,
That were glad of hys commyng.
Into the hale he hyme browght,
Ryche met spare they nowght,
Before Torrent fore to bryng.
“Syr,” sayd the kyng, “I pray thee,
Where be thy men of armys free,
That with thee schuld wynd?”
“Syr, to a lord I must ryde,
My squyer hongythe be my syde,
No man schall with me wend.”

“Syr,” seyd the kyng, “I pray thee,
Where schall thy ded of armys bee,
Yf yt be thy wyll?”
“Syr,” he seyd, “uttyrly,
At Calabur, sekyrly,
I ame all redy ther tyll
With a squyer that will can ryde;
Fast be the see sydde
Schuld we play owr fyle.
And wot ye wyll, and undyrstond,
Ther schall no knyght come nere hond
Fore dred of dentts yll.”

The kyng seyd, “Be Goddes ore,
I rede that thou come not there,
Fore why, I wyll thee saye:
Meche folke of that contré
Come hether for sokor of me,
Bothe be nyght and day.
There ys a gyant of gret renowne,
He destrowythe bothe seté and towyn,
And all that evyr he may.
And ase the boke of Rome dothe tell,
He wase get of the dewell of hell,
As hys moder on slepe lay.”

The kyng seyd, “Be Seynt Adryan,
I rede, another jentyll mane
Be there and have the degré.
I have a dowghttyr that ys me dere,
Thow schalt here wed to thy fere,
And yf yt thy wyll be
Two duchyes in londe,
I wille geve here in hande.”
“Gramercy, syr,” sayd he,
“With my tonge so have I wrowght,
To breke my day than will I nowght, 17
Nedys me behovythe ther to bee.”

“In Godds name,” the kyng gane sayne,
“Jesu send thee will ageyne,
Lord so mekyll of myghte!”
Menstrells was them amonge,
Trompetts, harpys, and myrre songe,
Delycyous nottis on hyght.
When tyme was, to bed they wente.
On the morrow rose Torrente
And toke leve of kyng and knyght,
And toke a redy weyye,
Be a see syd as yt laye.
God send hym gatts ryght!

A hye stret hathe he nome,
Into Calabur hy ys come,
Within to days ore thre.
Soo come ther folks hym ageyne,
Fast folloyng with cart and wayne,
Forward the sytté.
“Dere God,” seyd Torrent nowe,
“Leve folks, what eyllythe yow
Soo fast fore to flee?”
“There ys a gyante here besyde,
In ale thys countré fare and wyde,
No mane on lyve levythe hee.”

“Dere God,” sayd Torrant thane,
“Where schall I fynd that lothly man?”
Ther they answerd hym ageyne:
“In a castyll besyd the see,
Slongus, soo hyght hee,
Many a man had he slayne.
We wot will where he doth ly:
Before the cyté of Hongryé;
He will not thus gone,
Tyll he have the ryche kyng
To hys presone for to bryngg,
To be lord of hymeself alone.”

Tho wold he no lenger abyd,
But to the sytte gan he ryde,
As fast as he myght fare.
Here barys fell and broke downe,
And the gatts of gret renowne,
Stondyng all baree.
Men of armys stond hyme ageyne,
Mo than fyfty had he slayne
With gryme woundds and sare. 18
When Torrent of hym had a syght,
Thowe Desonell be nevyr so bryght,
He will rewe hym hys chafer.

Torrent in the storrope stod
And prayd to God that dyed on Rode:
“Lord, ase Thow schalt ale wyld at wyle,
Gyf me grace to wyn the fyld
Undyr nethe spere and schyld,
That thys fynd hym yeld
Anon to me tyll.
A man schall but onnys dyee,
I will fyght whill I may dryee!”
He mad nobyll cher.
When he had Jesu prayd of grace,
He wyscheyd hyme a battell place,
There as hym lyst were.

Torrent hys spere asay began,
Bothe schyld and spere than,
That they were sekyr and good.
Aftyr that, within a throwe,
Hys good horne gane he blowe.
The gyant sawe wher he stodde;
Slongs of Flonthus staryd than
Quod Torrent, “Yf thow be a gentyll man,
Or come of gentyll blod,
Let thy beytyng and thy ermyght be
And come prove thy strenghe on me,
Therfor I sowght thee, be the Rodde!”

The gyant sayd, “Be the Roode,
Dewell of hell send thee fode,
Hether to seche me.
By the nose I schall thee wryng,
Thow berdles gadlyng,
That all hell schall thow see!”
The wey than to hym he toke
And on hys bake he bare a croke,
Wase ten fot long and thre.
And thow he never so gret were,
Torrent thowght not fare to fare,
Tyll wone of them ded bee,

Thoo wold Torrent no lenger byd,
Tyll the thef gan he ryde,
Ase fast ase evyr he may.
The thef had non ey but on,
Soche sawe I never none, 19
Neyther be nyght nor be day.
Thurrow Godds helpe and Sen Awsden,
The spere anon he toke to hym,
God send hym the ryght wey.
Than the thef begane to rore.
All that in the sytté were,
Ovyr the wallys they laye.

Thow the fynds ey were owte,
Fast he leyd hym abowte,
All that sommyrrs nyght.
He set ys backe to an hyll,
That Torrent schuld not come hym tyll,
So meche that thef coud of fyght.
He bled so sore, I undyrstond,
Hys croke fell owt of hys hond,
Hys dethe to hyme ys dyght.
Torrent to hyme rane with a spere,
Thurrow the body he gan hym bere,
Thus helpe hym God of myght.

That all in the sytté were,
Mad full nobill chere,
That thys fynd wase dedde.
Forthe they ran with stavys of tre,
Torrent seyd, “So mut I thee,
Kepe hold hys hed!
Yf yt be broke, so God me sped,
Yt ys wyll the worse to lede.”
That seson they dyd ase hyme bad;
Mo than thre hunderd on a throng,
Yt ys solas evyr among,
Whan that he was dede.

Than the kyng of Calaber ayen hym went,
Torrent be the hond he hent,
To the hall he gan hym lede
And comaundid squiers tho,
Of hys harnes for to do,
And cloth hym in another wede.
Waytes on the wall gan blowe,
Knyghtis assemled on a rowe,
And sith to the deyse they yede.
“Sir,” quod the kyng, “of whens are ye?”
“Of Portingale, sir,” said he,
“I com heder to sech my deth.”

Ful curtesly the kyng gan say,
To Torrent on the other day:
“Wyll ye wend with me
A litull here beside to passe,
There as the geaunts dwelling was,
His manner now for to see?”
To the castell gan they gone,
Richer saw they never none,
Better myght none be.
“Sir,” he said, “by God allmyght,
For thow hym slew, that it dight,
I vouche it save of thee. 20

“I yeve yt thee, sir, of my hond,
And thereto, an erledome of lond,
For soth, ye shall it have.
Omage thou shalte non fyne, 21
But ever more to thee and thyne,
Frely, so God me save!”
Lordys, and ye liston wold,
What was clepud the riche hold:
The castell of Cardove.
Two days or thre dwellith he there,
And sith he takyth the way to fare,
Both at knyght and knave.

By the kyng of Pervens he gan gane,
That he had oute of preson i-tane
His son uppon a day.
Gentilmen, were blith and fayn,
That he in helth was comyn agayn,
That they myght with hym play.
Thereof herd he, sertaynly,
That Desonell wedid shold be,
With an uncouth ray.
And listonyth, lordis, of a chaunce,
Howe he lefte his countenaunce,
And takyth hym armes gay!

Byfore the kyng he fell on kne
“Good lord,” he said, “for charité,
Yeve me order of knyght!
I wott well, ye are leryd,
My lordys doughter shall be wed
To a man of myght.”
“Sir,” he said, “I trow, she mone
To the prynce of Aragon,
By this day sevynnyght.
Swith,” he seith, “that this be done,
That thow be there and wyn thy shone, 22
Gete thee armes bryght.”

Sir Torrent ordenyth hym a sheld,
It was ryche in every feld,
Listonyth what he bare:
On azure a squier of gold,
Richely bett on mold;
Listonyth what he ware:
A dragon lying hym besyde,
His mouth grennyng full wyde,
All fyghtyng as they were.
The crest, that on his hade shold stond,
Hit was all gold shynand,
Thus previd he hym there.

Lordys assembelid in sale,
Well mo than I have in tale,
Or ellis gret wonder were.
There herd he tell for certayn,
That Desonell wed shold be than,
That was hymselfe full dere.
And whan he herd of that fare,
Wors tydingis than were thare,
Might he none gladly here . . . .

He wold not in passe,
Till at the myd-mete was
The kyng and meny a knyght.
As they satt at theyre glade,
In at the hall dur he rade
In armes feye and bryght,
With a squier that is fre.
Up to the lady ryduth he,
That rychely was i-dight.
“Lordys,” he said, “among you all,
I chalenge thre coursus in the hall,
Or delyver her me with right!”

The kyng of Aragon sett her bye,
And he defendid her nobely:
“I wyll none delyver thee.”
His son said, “So muste I thryve,
There shall no man just for my wife.
But yf youre wyll it be,
For her love did I never no dede,
I shall today, so God me spede;
Behold and ye shall se.”
“Alas,” said Desonell the dere,
“Full longe may I sitt here,
Or Torrent chalenge me!”

Trumpetts blew in the prese,
Lordys stond on rengis,
Ladyes lay over and beheld.
The prynce and Torrent than
Eyther to other gan ren,
Smertely in that feld.
Torrent sett on hym so sore,
That hors and man down he bore,
And all to-sheverd his sheld.
So they tombelid all in fere,
That afterward of seven yere
The prynce none armes myght weld.

Torrent said, “So God me save,
Other two coursus wyll I have,
Yf ye do me law of lond.”
Gret lordys stond styll,
They said nether good ne yll,
For tynding of his hond. 23
The prynce of Aragon in they barr
With littill worshipp and sydes sare,
He had no fote on for to stond.
Thus these lordys justid aye;
Better he had to have be away,
Suche comfort there he found.

He wold not in passe,
Till they at myd-mete was,
On the other day at none.
His squiers habite he had,
Whan he to the deyse yad,
Withoute couped shone,
And the hede on the bord he laid.
“Lo, sir kyng, hold this,” he said,
“Or ellis wroth we anon!”
They sett still at the bord,
None of hem spake one word,
They spake nether ylle ne good,
But ryght that he had done. 24

Torrent at the syde bord stode:
“Lystonyth, lordyngs, gentill of blood,
For the love of God all-myght.
The kyng heyght me his doughter dere,
To fyght with a fendys fere,
That wekyd was and wight,
To wed her to my wyfe,
And halfe his kyngdome be his life,
And after his days all his ryght.
Lokyth, lordys, yow among,
Whether he do me ryght or wrong!”
Tho waried hym both kyng and knyght.

Tho said the kyng of Aragon, i-wys:
“Torrent, I wiste no thing of thys,
A gret maister arte thou.”
The kyng sware be Seynt Gryffen:
“With a sward thow shalte her wynne,
Or thow have her nowe.
For why, my son to her was wed,
Gret lordys to churche her led,
I take wittnes of all you.”
“Kyng Calamond, have good day,
Thow shalt i-bye it and I may,
To God I make avowe.”

The emperoure of Rome ther was,
Betwene thes kyngs gan he passe,
And said, “Lordys, as sone,
This squier that hath brought this hede,
The kyng had wend he had be dede,
And aventurly gan he gone.
I rede you take a day of ryghts,
And do it uppon two knyghts,
And let no man be slayn!”
Gret lordys that were thare,
This talis lovid at that fare,
And ordenyd that anon. 25

To the kyng the thoght com was,
To send unto Sathanas,
For a geaunt that hight Cate,
For to make hym knyght to his hond
And sease hym in all his lond.
The messingere toke the gate.
Gret othes he sware hym than,
That he shold fyght but with one man,
And purvey hym he bad
Iryn stavis two or thre,
For to fyght with Torent fre,
Though he there of ne wott.

Than take counsell kyng and knyght,
On lond that he shold not fyght,
But far oute in the see,
In an yle long and brod.
A gret payn there was made,
That holdyn shold it be. 26
Yf Cate slow Torent, that fre ys,
Halfe Portyngale shold be his,
To spend with dedys fre.
And yf Sir Torrent myght hym overcom,
He shold have halfe Aragon,
Was better than suche thre.

The gyaunt shyped in a while
And sett hym oute in an yle,
That was grow both grene and gay.
Sir Torrent com prekand on a stede,
Richely armed in his wede.
“Lordyngys,” gan he say,
It is semely for a knyght,
Uppon a stede for to fyght.”
They said sone: “Nay,
He is so hevy he cannot ryde.”
Torrent said, “Evil mut he betyde,
Falshode, woo worth it aye!” 27

“Sir, takyth housell and shrefte!”
To God he did his hondys lifte,
And thankid hym of his sond:
“Jesu Cryste, I thee praye,
Send me myght and strengith this day,
Ayen the fend to stond!”
To the shipp Sir Torent went,
With the grace God had hym sent,
That was never fayland.
All the lordys of that contré,
Frome Rome unto the Grekys se,
Stode and beheld on lond.

Whan Sir Torrent into the ile was brought,
The shipmen lenger wold tary nought,
But hied hem sone ageyn.
The giaunt said, “So must I thee,
Sir, thow art welcom to me,
Thy deth is not to layn!”
The firste stroke to hym he yave,
Oute of his hand flew his staff:
That thefe was full fayn.
Tho Sir Torent went nere Cate . . .
He thought he wold hym have slayn.

The thef couth no better wonne,
Into the see rennyth he sone,
As faste as he myght fare.
Sir Torrent gaderd good cobled stonys
Good and handsom for the nonys,
That good and round were.
Meny of them to hym he caste,
He threw stonys on hym so faste,
That he was sad and sore.
To the ground he did hym fell,
Men myght here the fend yell,
Halfe a myle and more.

Sir Torent said, as he was wonne,
He thankid Jesu, Maryes son,
That kyng that sent hym myght.
He said, “Lordys, for charité,
A bote that ye send to me,
It is nere hand nyght.”
They reysed a gale with a sayll,
The geaunt to lond for to trayll,
All men wonderid on that wight.
Whan that they had so done,
They went to Sir Torent full sone
And shipped that comly knyght

The emperoure of Rome was there,
The kyngs of Pervens and of Calabere yare,
And other two or thre.
They yave Sir Torent, that he wan,
Both the erth and the woman,
And said well worthy was he.
Sir Torent had in Aragon
The riche cité of Cargon,
And all that riche contré.
Archbeshoppes, as the law fell,
Departid the prynce and Dessonell,
With gret solempnité.

For Sir Torent the fend did fall,
Gret lordys honoured hym all,
And for a doughty knyght hym tase.
The kyng said, “I understond,
Thou hast fought for my doughter and my lond,
And well wonne her thou hase.”
He gave to Saint Nycholas de Barr
A grett erldome and a marr,
That abbey of hym redith
For Jesus love, moch of myght,
That hym helpeth day and nyght,
Whan he to the batell yode.

Lordys than at the laste,
Echone on theyre way paste,
And every man to his.
The quene of Portingale was fayn,
That Sir Torent was com agayn,
And thankyd God of this
Than said the kyng, “I understond,
Thou hast fought for my doughter and my lond,
And art my ward i-wys.
And I wyll not ageyn thee say,
But abyde halfe yere and a day,
And broke her well with blis!”

Torent said, “So muste I thee,
Sith it wyll no better be,
I cord with that assent.”
After mete, as I you tell,
To speke with mayden Desonell,
To her chamber he went.
The damysell so moche of pride
Set hym on her bed syde,
And said, “Welcom, verament!”
Such gestenyng she a-right,
That there he dwellid all nyght,
With that lady gent.

Sir Torent dwellid thare
Twelfe wekys and mare,
Till letters com hym till
Fro the kyng of Norway.
For Jesus love he did hym praye,
Yf it were his wyll,
He shold com as a doughty knyght,
With a geaunt for to fyght,
That wyll his londys spyll.
He wold hym yeve his doughter dere,
And halfe Norway far and nere,
Both be hold and be hyll.

Sir Torent said, “So God me save,
I-nough to lyve uppon I have,
I wyll desyre no more.
But it be for Jesu is sake
A poynt of armes for to take,
That hath helpid me before.
I yeve thee here oute of my hond,
To thy doughter all my lond,
Yf that I end there.”
And whan he toke his way to passe,
Mo than fyfty with hym was,
That fals to hym were.

Syr Torent to the lady went,
Full curtesly and gent: . . .
“Desonell, have good day.
I muste now on my jurnay,
A kyngis lond for to fend.
These gold ryngs I shall yeve thee,
Kepe well my lady fre,
Yf God a child us send!”
She toke the ryngis with moche care,
Thries in sownyng fell she thare,
Whan she saw that he wold wend.

Shipp and takyll they dight,
Stede and armour for to fyght,
To the bote they bare.
Gentilmen, that were hend,
Toke her leve at theyre frend,
With hym for to fare.
Kyng Colomond, is not to layn,
He wold that he cam never agayn,
Therefore God yef hym care.
So within the fyfty dayes
He come into the lond of Norways,
Hard contré found he thare.

Thus Sir Torrent for soth is fare,
A noble wynd droffe hym thare,
Was blowyng oute of the weste.
Of the coste of Norway they had a sight . . .
Of sayling they were all preste.
So feyre a wynd had the knyght,
A litull before the mydnyght,
He rode be a foreste.
The shipmen said, “We be shent.
Here dwellith a geaunt, verament,
On his lond are we sett.”

The maistershipmen said, “Nowe
I rede we take down sayle and rowe,
While we have this tyde.
Sir,” he said, “be God allmyght,
The giant lieth here every nyght,
On the mowntayn here besyde.
My lord the kyng wyll not fyght,
Till he of you have a sight,
On you ys all his pryde.”
Sir Torrent said, “Here my hond!
Sith we be ryven on this lond,
Tonyght wyll I ryde.”

Sir Torent armyd hym anon
And his knyghts, everychone,
With sheld and spere in hond.
The shipmen said, “As mut I thryve,
I rede that every man other shryve,
Or that we go to the lond.”
Sir Torent said, “As God me spede,
We will firste se that fede,
My lord was never fleand!”
Gentilmen, make chere godd,
For Jesu love, that died on Rood,
He will be oure waraunt!”

In a forest can they passe,
Of Brasill, saith the boke, it was,
With bowes brod and wyde.
Lyons and berys there they found
And wyld bests about goand,
Reysing on every side.
These men of armes, with trayn
To the shipp they flew agayn,
Into the see at that tyde.
Fast from land row they began,
Above they left that gentilman,
With wyld bestis to habyde.

The shipmen of the same lond,
Ryved up, I understond,
In another lond of hold.
To the chamber they toke the way,
There the kyng hymself lay,
And fals talis hym told . . . .
For he wold not the geaunt abyde,
For all this contrey feyre and wyde,
Though he yef it hym wold.

“Sir kyng, ye have youreselfe
Erlis ten or twelfe,
Better know I none.
Send youre messingeris far and wyde,
For to fell the geaunts pride,
That youre doughter hath tane.”
“I had lever to have that knyght,
With hym is grace of God allmyght,
To be here at his bane.”
Full litull wist that riche kyng,
Of Sir Torrents ryding,
In the forest all alone.

Thorough helpe of God that with hym was,
Fro the wyld bestis gan he passe,
To an hye hyll.
A litull while before the day,
He herd in a valey,
A dynnyng and a yell.
Theder than riduth he,
To loke what thing it myght be,
What adventure that befell.
It were two dragons stiff and strong,
Uppon theyre lay they sat and song,
Beside a depe well.

Sir Torent said thanne,
To God, that made man,
And died uppon a tree:
“Lord, as thou mayst all weld,
Yeve me grace to wyn the feld,
Of thes fendys ontrewe!”
Whan he had his prayers made,
Pertely to hem he rade,
And one thoroughoute bare he.
Thus sped the knyght at his comyng,
Thorough the helpe of hevyn kyng;
Lord, lovid muste thou be!

The other dragon wold not flee, . . .
But shotith all his myght.
He smote fire, that lothely thing,
As it were the lightenyng,
Uppon that comly knyght.
Therefore Sir Torent wold not lett,
But on the dragon fast he bett,
And overcome that foule wight.
Tho anon the day sprong,
Fowles rose, mery they song,
The sonne arose on hyght.

Torent of the day was full blithe,
And of the valey he did hym swith,
As fast as ever he may.
To a mowntayn he rode ryght,
Of a castell he had a sight
With towrys hyght and gay . . . .
He come into an hyghe strete,
Few folke gan he mete,
To wish hym the way.

To the gatys tho he rode,
Full craftely they were made,
Of irun and eke of tree.
One tre stonding there he found,
Nyne oxen of that lond
Shold no drawe the tre.
The giaunt wrought up his well,
And laid stonys gret and small;
A lothely man was he.
“Now,” quod Torrent, “I not whare
My squiers be fro me to fare,
Ever waried they be!

“Lord God, what is beste,
So Jesu me helpe, est or weste,
I can not rede to done,
Yf I to the shipp fare,
And no shipmen fynd thare;
It is long sith they were away.
Other wayes yf I wend,
Wyld bestis wyll me shend:
Falshede, woo worth it aye.
I fyght here, Jesu, for Thy sake;
Lord, to me kepe Thou take,
As Thou best may!”

Down light this gentill knyght,
To rest hym a litull wight,
And unbrydelid his stede
And let hym bayte on the ground,
And aventid hym in that stound,
Thereof he had gret nede.
The gyaunt yode and gaderid stone,
And sye where the knyght gan gone,
All armed in dede.
And wet ye well and not wene,
Whan eyther of hem had other sene,
Smertely they rerid her dede.

For that Sir Torent had hym sene,
He worth uppon his stede, I wene,
And Jesu prayed he till:
“Mary son, thou here my bone,
As I am in venturis sad come,
My jurnay to full-fyll!”
A voys was from hevyn sent,
And said, “Be blith, Sir Torent,
And yeve thee no thing yll, 28
To fyght with my lordys enemy.
Whether that thou lyve or dye,
Quyte thy mede he wyll!”

Be that the giaunt had hym dight,
Cam ageyn that gentill knyght,
As bold as any bore.
He bare on his nek a croke,
Woo were the man that he overtoke,
It was twelfe fote and more.
“Sir,” he said, “for charité,
Loke, curtes man, that thou be,
Yf thy wyll ware.
I have so fought all this nyght
With thy two dragons wekyd and wight,
They have bett me full sore.”

The geaunt said, “Be my fay,
Wors tydings to me this day
I myght not goodly here.
Thorough the valey as thou cam,
My two dragons hast thou slayne;
My solempnité they were.
To thee I have full good gate;
For thou slow my brother Cate,
That thou shalte by full dere!”
Betwene the giaunt and the knyght
Men myght se buffetts right,
Who so had be there.

Sir Torent yave to hym a brayd;
He levid that the aungell said,
Of deth yave he no dynt.
Into the brest he hym bare,
His spere hede lefte he thare,
So evill was hitt mynt.
The giaunt hym ayen smate
Thorough his sheld and his plate,
Into the flesh it sought.
And sith he pullith at his croke,
So fast into the flesh it toke,
That oute myght he gete it nought.

On hym he hath it broke,
Glad pluckys there he toke,
Set sadly and sore.
Sir Torent stalworth satt,
Oute of his handys he it gatt,
No longer dwellid he there.
Into the water he cast his sheld,
Croke and all togeders it held,
Fare after how so ever it fare.
The geaunt folowid with all his mayn,
And he come never quyk agayn:
God wold that so it ware.

Sir Torent bet hym there,
Till that this fend did were,
Or he thens wend.
On hym had he hurt but ane,
But lesse myght be a mannus bane,
But God is full hend.
Thorough grace of Hym, that all shall weld,
There the knyght had the feld,
Such grace God did hym send.
Be than it nyed nere hand nyght,
To a castell he rode right,
All nyght there to lend.

In the castell found he nought,
That God on the Rode bought.
High uppon a toure,
As he caste a side lokyng,
He saw a lady in her bed syttyng,
White as lylye floure.
Up arose that lady bryght,
And said, “Welcom, sir knyght,
That fast art in stoure!”
“Damysell, welcom mut thou be.
Graunt thou me for charité,
Of one nyghtis socoure.”

“By Mary,” said that lady clere,
“Me for-thinkith, that thou com here,
Thy deth now is dight.
For here dwellith a geaunt,
He is clepud Weraunt;
He is of the devill be-taught.
Today at morn he toke his croke,
Forth at the yates the way he toke,
And said he wold have a draught.
And here be chambers two or thre,
In one of hem I shall hide thee,
God thee save frome harmes right!”

“Certayn,” tho said the knyght,
That thefe I saw tonyght,
Here beside a slate.
He was a ferly freke in fyght,
With hym faught a yong knyght,
Ech on other laid good lode.
Me thought well, as he stode,
He was of the fendus blood,
So rude was he made.
Dame, yf thou leve not me,
Come here, and thou shalt se,
Which of hem abode.”

Blith was that lady bryght
For to se that sight,
With the knyght went she.
Whan she cam where the geaunt lay,
“Sir,” she said, “parmafay,
I wott well it is he.
Other he was of God allmyght,
Or Seynt George, oure lady knyght,
That there his bane hath be.
Yf eny Cryston man smyte hym down,
He is worthy to have renown
Thoroughoute all Crystiaunté!”

“I have wonder,” said the knyght,
“How he gate thee, lady bryght,
Fro my lord the kyng.”
“Sir,” she said, “verament,
As my fader on huntyng went
Erly in a mornyng,
Fore his men pursued a dere,
To his castell that stondith here,
That doth my handys wryng,
This giaunt hym toke, wo he be!
For his love he gevith hym me,
He wold none other thinge.” 29

Forth she brought bred and wyne,
Fayn he was for to dyne . . . .
This knyght made noble chere,
Though that he woundid were,
With the geaunt strong.

Sir Torrent dwellid no longer thare,
Than he myght away fare
With that lady bryght.
“Now, Jesu, that made hell,
Send me on lyve to Desonell,
That I my trouth to plight!”
Tho sye they be a forest syde
Man of armes faste ride
On coursers comly dight.
The lady said, “So must I thee,
It is my fader, is com for me,
With the geaunt to fyght.”

An harood said anon right:
“Yon I se an armed knyght,
And no squier, but hym one:
He is so long of bone and blood,
He is the geaunt, be the Rode!”
Som seith, he riduth uppon.
“Nay,” said the kyng, “verament,
It is the knyght that I after sent,
I thanke God and Seynt John,
For the geaunt slayn hath he
And wonne my doughter, well is me!
All his men are tane!”

Wott ye well, with joy and blis
Sir Torent there recevid ys,
As doughty man of dede.
The kyng and other lordys gent
Said, “Welcom, Sir Torent,
Into this uncouth lond!”
Into a state they hym brought,
Lechis sone his woundis sought;
They said, so God hem spede,
Were there no lyve but ane, 30
His life they wyll not undertane,
For no gold ne for mede.

The lady wist not or than,
That he was hurt, that gentilman,
And sith she went hym tyll.
She sought his woundis and said thare:
“Thou shalte lyve and welfare,
Yf thee no thing evyll. 31
My lord the kyng hath me hight,
That thou shalt wed me, sir knyght,
The forward ye to fullfyll.”
“Damysell, loo here my hond:
And I take eny wyfe in this lond,
It shall be at thy wyll!”

Gendres was that ladyes name.
The geaunts hede he brought hame,
And the dragons also.
Mene myght here a myle aboute,
How on the dede hedys they did shoute,
For the shame that they had hem wrought,
Both with dede and with tong
Fyfté on the hedys dong,
That to the ground they sought.
Sir Torrent dwellid thare
Twelfe monthis and mare,
That further myght he nought.

The kyng of Norway said, “Nowe,
Fals thevis, woo worth you,
Ferly sotell were ye:
Ye said, the knyght wold not com.
Swith oute of my kyngdome,
Or hangid shall ye be!”
His squiers, that fro hym fled,
With sore strokys are they spred,
Uppon the wanne see,
And there they drenchid every man,
Save one knave, that to lond cam,
And woo begone is he.

The child, to lond that God sent,
In Portyngale he is lent,
In a riche town,
That hath hight be her day,
And ever shall, as I you say,
The town of Peron.
Byfore the kyng he hym sett,
“Full well thy men, lord, they grett,
And in the see are they drowned.”
Desonell said, “Where is Torent?”
“In Norway, lady, verament.”
On sownyng fell she down.

As she sownyd, this lady myld,
Men myght se tokenyng of her child,
Steryng on her right syde.
Gret ruth it was to tell,
How her maydens on her fell,
Her to cover and to hide.
Tho the kyng said, “My doughter, do way,
By God, thy myrth is gone for aye,
Spousage wyll thou none lede.
Therefore thou shalt into the see
And that bastard within thee,
To lerne you for to ride.”

Erlis and barons, that were good,
Byfore the kyng knelid and stode
For that lady free.
The quene, her moder, on knees fell:
“For Jesu is love, that harood hell,
Lord, have mercy on me.
That ylke dede that she hath done,
It was with an erlis sonne,
Riche man inough is he.
And yf ye wyll not let her lyve,
Right of lond ye her yeve,
Till she delyvered be!”

Thus the lady dwellith there,
Tyll that she delyverd were
Of men children two.
In all poyntes they were gent,
And like they were to Sir Torent;
For his love they sufferid woo.
The kyng said, “So mut I thee,
Thou shalte into the see,
Withoute wordys moo.
Every kyngis doughter fer and nere,
At thee shall they lere,
Ayen the law to do.”

Gret ruth it was to se,
Whan they led that lady free
Oute of her faders lond.
The quene wexid tho nere wood
For her doughter, that gentill fode,
And knyghtis stode wepand.
A cloth of silke gan they ta,
And partyd it betwene hem twa,
Therin they were wonde.
Whan they had shypped that lady yeng,
An hunderid fell in sownyng
At Peron on the sond.

Whan that lady was downe fall,
On Jesu Cryste dyd she call.
Down knelid that lady clene:
“Rightfull God, ye me send,
Some good londe on to lende,
That my chyldren may crystened bene!”
She said, “Knyghtis and ladyes gent,
Grete well my lord, Sir Torrent,
Yf ye hym ever sene!”
The wynd rose ayen the nyght,
From lond it blew that lady bryght
Uppon the see so grene.

Wyndes and weders have her drevyn,
That in a forest be they revyn,
There wyld bestis were.
The see was eb, and went her froo,
And lefte her and her children two
Alone withoute fere.
Her one child woke and began to wepe,
The lady awoke oute of her slepe
And said, “Be still my dere,
Jesu Cryst hath sent us lond;
Yf there be any Cryston man nere hond,
We shall have som socoure here.”

The carefull lady was full blith,
Up to lond she went swith,
As fast as ever she myght.
Tho the day began to spryng,
Foules arose and mery gan syng
Delicious notys on hight.
To a mowntayn went the lady free,
Sone was she warr of a cité,
With towrus feyre and bryght.
Therefore, i-wys, she was full fayn,
She sett her down, as I herd sayn,
Her two children for to dight.

Uppon the low the lady found,
An erber wrought with mannus hond,
With herbis that were good.
A grype was in the mowntayn wonne,
Away he bare her yong son
Over a water flood,
Over into a wyldernes,
There Seynt Antony ermet was,
There as his chapell stode.
The other child down gan she lay,
And on the foule did shoute and crye,
That she was nere hond wood.

Up she rose ageyn the rough,
With sorofull hert and care inough,
Carefull of blood and bone . . . .
She sye it myght no better be,
She knelid down uppon her kne,
And thankid God and Seynt John.

There come a libard uppon her pray,
And her other child bare away.
She thankid God there
And his moder Mary bryght.
This lady is lefte alone ryght:
The sorow she made there . . . .

That she myght no further fare:
“Of one poynt is my care,
As I do now understond,
So my children Crystonyd were,
Though they be with beests there,
Theyre life is in Goddus hond.”
The kyng of Jerusalem had bene
At his brothers weddyng, I wene,
That was lord of all that lond.
As he com homward on his way,
He saw where the liberd lay,
With a child pleyand.

Torrent had yeve his lady rings two,
And every child had one of tho,
Hym with all to save.
The kyng said, “Be Mary myld,
Yonder is a liberd with a child,
A mayden or a knave.”
Tho men of armes theder went,
Anon they had theyre hors spent,
Her guttys oute she rave.
For no stroke wold she stynt;
Till they her slew with speris dynt,
The child myght they not have.

Up they toke the child yong,
And brought it before the kyng,
And undid the swathing band,
As his moder before had done,
A gold ryng they found sone,
Was closud in his hond.
Tho said the kyng of Jerusalem:
“This child is come of gentill teme,
Where ever this beest hym found.”
The boke of Rome berith wytnes,
The kyng hym namyd Leobertus,
That was hent in hethyn lond.

Two squiers to the town gan flyng,
And a noryse to the child did bryng,
Hym to kepe frome grame.
He led it into his own lond
And told the quene how he it fond
By a water streme.
Whan the lady saw the ryng,
She said, withoute lettyng:
“This child is com of gentill teme:
Thou hast none heyre, thy lond to take,
For Jesu love thou sholdist hym make
Prynce of Jerusalem.”

Now, in boke as we rede,
As Seynt Antony aboute yede,
Byddyng his orysoun,
Of the gripe he had a sight,
How she flew in a flight,
To her birdus was she boun.
Betwene her clawes she bare a child;
He prayed to God and Mary myld,
On lyve to send it down.
That man was well with God allmyght,
At his fote gan she light,
That foule of gret renown.

Up he toke the child thare,
To his auter he did it bere,
There his chapell stode.
A knave child there he found,
There was closud in his hond,
A gold ryng riche and good.
He bare it to the cité grett,
There the kyng his fader sett,
As a lord of gentill blood,
For he wold save it fro dede.
A grype flew above his hede
And cryed as he were wood.

This holy man hied hym tyte.
To a cité with touris white,
As fast as he may.
The kyng at the yate stode,
And other knyghts and lordys good,
To se the squieris play.
The kyng said, “Be Mary myld,
Yonder comyth Antony, my child,
With a gryffon gay.
Som of his byrdus take hath he,
And bryngith hem heder to me.”
Gret ferly had thaye.

The kyng thereof toke good hede,
And ageyn his sonne he yede,
And said, “Welcom ye be!”
“Fader,” he said, “God you save.
A knave child found I have,
Loke that it be dere to thee.
Frome a greffon he was reste,
Of what lond that he is lefte,
Of gentill blood was he.
Thou hast none heyre, thy lond to take,
For Jesu love thy sonne hym make,
As in the stede of me!”

The kyng said, “Yf I may lyve,
Helpe and hold I shall hym yeve,
And receyve hym as my son.
Sith thou hast this lond forsake,
My riche londys I shall hym take,
Whan he kepe them can.
To a font they hym yave,
And crystonyd this yong knave;
Fro care he is wonne.
The holy man yave hym name,
That Jesu shild hym frome shame,
Antony Fice Greffoun.

“Fader, than have thou this ryng,
I found it on this swete thing,
Kepe it, yf thou may.
It is good in every fight,
Yf God yeve grace that he be knyght,
Other be nyght or day.”
Let we now this children dwell,
And speke we more of Desonell:
Her song was welaway!
God, that died uppon the Rode,
Yf grace that she mete with good,
Thus disparlid are thay.

This lady walkyd all alone
Amonge wyld bestis meny one,
Ne wanted she no woo.
Anon the day began to spryng,
And the foules gan to syng,
With blis on every bowghe.
“Byrdus and bestis aye woo ye be.
Alone ye have lefte me,
My children ye slough.” . . . .

As she walkid than alone,
She sye lordis on huntyng gone,
Nere hem she yode full sone.
This carfull lady cried faste,
Than she herd this hornes blaste,
By the yatis gone . . . .
But into a wildernes, 32
Amongst beests that wyld was,
For drede the shold be slone.

Till it were under of the day,
She went in that wilsom way,
Into a lond playn.
The kyng of Nazareth huntid there,
Among the herts that gentill were,
Thereof she was full fayn . . . .

They had ferly, kyng and knyght,
Whens she come, that lady bryght,
Dwelling here alone.
She said to a squier that there stode:
“Who is lord of most jentill blood?”
And he answerid her anon:
This ys the lond of Nazareth,
Se where the kyng gethe,
Of speche he is ful bone.
All in gold coverid is he.”
“Gramercy, sir,” said she,
And nere hym gan she gone.

Lordys anon ageyn her yode,
For she was com of gentill blood,
In her lond had they bene:
“God loke thee, lady free,
What makist thou in this contré?”
“Sir,” she said, “I wene,
Seynt Katryn I shold have sought,
Wekyd weders me heder hath brought
Into this forest grene.
And all is dede, I understond,
Save myselfe, that com to lond,
With wyld beestis and kene.” 33

“Welcom,” he said, “Desonell,
By a token I shall thee tell:
Onys a stede I thee sent.
Lady gent, feyre and free,
To thee shold I have wedid be,
My love was on thee lent.”
Knyghtis and squiers that there were,
They horsid the lady there,
And to the cité they went.
The quene was curtes of that lond
And toke the lady be the hond,
And said, “Welcom my lady gent!”

“Lady, thou art welcom here,
As it all thyn own were,
All this feyre contree.”
“Of one poynt was my care,
And my two children Crystonyd ware,
That in the wood were reft fro me.”
“Welcom art thou, Desonell,
In my chamber for to dwell,
Inough therein shall ye see!”
Leve we now that lady gent,
And speke we of Sir Torrent,
That was gentill and fre.

The kyng of Norway is full woo,
That Sir Torent wold wend hym fro,
That doughty was and bold.
“Sir,” he said, “abyde here,
And wed my doughter, that is me dere!”
He said, in no wise he wold.
He shipped oute of the kyngs sale,
And ryved up in Portingale,
At another hold.
Whan he herd tell of Desonell,
Swith on sownyng there he fell
To the ground so cold.

The fals Kyng of Portingale
Sparid the yatis of his sale,
For Torent the free.
He said, “Be Mary clere,
Thou shalt no wyfe have here,
Go sech her in the see!
With her she toke whelpis two,
To lerne to row wold she go.”
“By God, thou liest,” quod he,
“Kyng Colomand, here my hond!
And I be knyght levand,
I-quytt shall it be!”

Torent wold no lenger byde,
But sent letters on every side
With force theder to hye.
Theder com oute of Aragon
Noble knyghts of gret renown,
With grett chevalrye.
Of Provens and Calaber also
Were doughty knyghts meny moo,
They come all to that crye.
Kyng Colomond had no knyght,
That with Sir Torent wold fyght,
Of all that satt hym bye.

There wold none the yatis defend,
But lett Sir Torent in wend
With his men everychone.
Swith a counsell yede they to,
What deth they wold hym do,
For he his lady had slone.
“Lordis,” he said, “he is a kyng,
Men may hym nether hede ne heng.”
Thus said they everychone.
They ordenyd a shipp all of tree,
And sett hym oute into the see,
Among the wawes to gone.

Gret lordis of that lond,
Assentid to that command,
That hold shold it be.
In the havyn of Portyngale,
There stode shippes of hede vale,
Of irun and of tree.
A bote of tre they brought hym beforn,
Full of holis it was boryn,
Howsell and shryfte askyd he.
Sir Torent said, “Be Seynt John,
Seth thou gave my lady none,
No more men shall do thee!”

The shippmen brought Sir Colomond,
And sent hym forth within a stound,
As far as it were.
Wott ye well and understond,
He come never ayen to lond,
Such stormes found he there.
Gret lordys of renown
Betoke Sir Torent the crown
To rejoyse it there.
Loo, lordys of every lond:
Falshode wyll have a foule end,
And wyll have evermore.

Sir Torent dwellid thare
Fourty days in moche care,
Season for to hold.
Sith he takith two knyghts,
To kepe his lond and his rights,
That doughty were and bold.
He said, “Madam,” to the quene,
“Here than shall ye lady bene,
To worth as ye wold.”
He purveyd hym anon,
To wend over the see fome,
There God was bought and sold.

And ye now will liston a stound,
How he toke armes of Kyng Colomond,
Listonyth, what he bare.
On asure, as ye may see,
With sylver shippes thre,
Who so had be thare.
For Desonell is love so bryght,
His londis he takyth to a knyght,
And sith he is home to fare. 34
“Portyngale, have good day,
For sevyn yere, parmafay,
Paraventure som dele more!”

Sir Torent passid the Grekys flood,
Into a lond both riche and good.
Full evyn he toke the way,
To the seté of Quarell;
As the boke of Rome doth tell,
There a soudan lay.
There he smote and set a-down
And yave asaute into the town,
That well the storye say.
To well they vetelid were,
That he lay there two yere,
And sith into the town went they.

And tho Sir Torent found on lyve,
He comaundid with spere and knyfe
Smertely ded to be.
He said, “We have be here
Moche of this two yere
And onward on the third.”
All the good that Sir Torent wan,
He partid it among his men,
Sylver, gold, and fee.
And sith he is boun to ride
To a cité there besyde,
That was worth such thre.

There he stode and smote adown,
And leyd sege to the town:
Six yere there he lay.
By the six yere were all done,
With honger they were all slone,
That in the cité lay.
The soudan sent to Sir Torent than,
With honger that thes people be slayn,
All thes folke of this cité:
“Yf ye thinke here to lye,
Ye shall have wyne and spycery,
I-nough is in this contré!”

Now God do his soule mede.
On the soudan he had a dede,
Uppon every Good Fryday.
Jesu sent hym strengith i-nough,
With dynt of sword he hym slough,
There went none quyk away.
Down knelid that knyght,
And thankid God with all his myght:
So ought he well to say.
The cité that Sir Torent was yn,
Worldely goodis he left ther yn,
To kepe it nyght and day.

Sith he buskyd hym to ride,
Into a lond there besyde,
Antioche it hight.
Sevyn yere at the cité he lay,
And had batell every Good Fryday,
Uppon the Sarzins bryght.
And be the seven yere were gone,
The child that the liberd had tane,
Found hym his fill of fyght . . . .

The kyng of Jerusalem herd tell
Of this lord good and fell,
How doughtyly he hym bare.
Uppon his knyghts can he call,
“Ordeyn swith among you all,
For no thing that ye spare!”
They buskyd hem oute of the lond,
The nombre of fyfty thousand,
Ageyn Torent for to fare . . . .

The kyng of Jerusalem said thus:
“My dere son, Leobertus,
That thou be bold and wight!
Thou shalt be here and defend the lond,
From that fals traytors hond,
And take the ordre of knyght!”
He yave hym armes, or he did passe:
Right as he found was,
On gold he bare bryght
A liberd of asure blay,
A child betwene his armes tway:
Full woo was her that see it myght!

Sir Torent wold no lenger abyde,
But thederward gan he ride;
And to the feld were brought,
Two knyghts that were there in stede;
Many a man did they to blede,
Such woundis they wrought.
There durst no man com Torent nere,
But his son, as ye may here,
Though he knew hym nought.
All to nought he bet his shild,
But he toke his fader in the feld,
Though he there of evill thought.

Whan Sir Torent was takyn than,
His men fled than, every man,
They durst no lenger abyde.
Gret ruth it was to behold,
How his sword he did uphold,
To his son that tyde.
To Jerusalem he did hym lede,
His actone and his other wede, 35
All be the kyngis side.
“Sir,” he said, “have no care,
Thou shalte lyve and welfare,
But lower ys thy pryde.”

Fro that Sir Torent was hom brought,
Doughty men uppon hym sought,
And in preson they hym throughe.
His son above his hede lay,
To kepe hym both nyght and day,
He wist well that he was strong.
Thus in preson as he was,
Sore he sighed and said alas,
He couth none other songe.
Thus in bondys they held hym thare
A twelfmonyth and som dele mare,
The knyght thought full long.

In a mornyng as he lay,
To hymselfe gan he say:
“Why lye I thus alone?
God, hast thou forsakyn me?
All my truste was in Thee,
In lond where I have gone.
Thou gave me myght for to slee
Dragons two, other thre,
And giauntes meny one.
And now a man in wekid lond
Hath myn armor and stede in hond;
I wold my life were done!”

His son herd hym say soo
And in his hert was full woo,
In chamber there he lay.
“Sir,” he said, “I have thy wede,
There shall no man rejoyse thy stede,
Yf so be that I may.
By oure lady Seynt Mary,
Here shalt thou no lenger lye,
Nether be nyght ne be day!
As I am curtesse and hend,
To the kyng I shall wend,
For thy love this nyght pray!

On the morow whan he rose,
The prynce to the kyng gose
And knelid uppon his knee.
“Sir,” he said, “for Godds sonne,
The knyght that lieth in the dungeon,
Ye wold graunt hym me.
I hard hym say be hym alone,
Many geaunts had he slone
And dragons two or thre.”
The kyng said, “Be my fay,
Be warr he scape not away;
I vouch hym save on thee!”

The prynce into the preson went,
Torent by the hond he hent
And toke hym oute of his bondys cold.
To the castell he brought hym sone,
And light fettouris did hym uppon,
For brekyng oute of hold.
The kyng said, “Be my faye,
And he ever scape away,
Full dere he shall be sold!”
“Sir,” he said, “parmafay,
We wyll hym kepe, and we may,
Thereof be ye bold.”

For he was curtes knyght and free,
At the mete sett was he,
By the kyng at the deyse.
“Sir, thou haste i-bene
At justis and at tornements kene,
Both in warr and in peas.
Sith thy dwelling shall be here,
That thou woldist my son lere,
Hys tymber for to asay.”
“Sir,” he said, “I understond,
After the maner of my lond,
I shall withouten lese.”

The castell court was large within,
They made ryngis for to ren,
None but they alone.
Every of hem to other rode;
Feyre turnaments than they made,
Men sye never none.
The prynce in armes was full preste,
Thre shaftys on his fader he breste,
In shevers they gan gone.
Sir Torent said, “So mut I thee,
A man of armes shall thou be,
Stalworth of blood and bone!”

Harroldys of armes cryed on hight,
The prynce and that other knyght,
No more juste shall thay.
But lordys of other lond,
Every one to other fond,
And sith went theyre way.
Sixe wekys he dwellid there,
Till that all delyverd were,
That in the cité were.
Tho they held a gestonye,
With all maner of mynstralsye,
Tyll the sevynth day.

Lordis with all other thing
Toke leve at the kyng,
Home theyre ways to passe.
That tyme they yave Torent the floure
And the gre with moch honowre,
As he well worthy was.
The kyng said, “I shall thee yeve,
Life and lyvelode whill I lyve,
Thyn armor, as it was.”
Whan he sye feyre ladyes wend,
He thought on her that was so hend,
And sighed and said, “Alas!”

The kyng of Nazareth home went,
There that his lady lent,
In his own lede.
“Sir,” she said, “for Godds pité,
What gentilman wan the gre?”
He said, “So God me spede,
One of the feyrest knyghtis
That slepith on somer nyghts
Or walkyd in wede.
He is so large of lym and lith,
All the world he hath justid with,
That come to that dede.”

“Good lord,” said Desonell,
“For Godds love, ye me tell,
What armes that he bare!”
“Damysell, also muste I thee,
Sylver and asure beryth he,
That wott I well thare.
His creste is a noble lond,
A gyaunt with an hoke in hond,
This wott I well he bare.
He is so stiff at every stoure,
He is prynce and victoure,
He wynneth the gree aye where.

Of Portyngale a knyght he ys,
He wanne the town of Raynes,
And the cité of Quarell.
At the last jurney that he was sett,
The prynce, my broders son, was gatt,
And in his hond he fell.
The prynce of Grece leth nere,
There may no juster be his pere,
For soth as I you tell.
A dede of armes I shall do crye,
And send after hym in hye.”
Blith was Desonell.

This dede was cried far and nere,
The kyng of Jerusalem did it here,
In what lond that it shold be.
He said, “Sone, anon right,
Dight thee and thy Cryston knyght,
For sothe, theder will we.”
Gret lordys that herith this crye,
Theder come richely,
Every man in his degré.
The kyng of Grece did assigne,
With hym come Antony fygh Greffon,
With moche solempnité.

. . . . “The kyng of Nazareth sent me,
That there shold a justynge be,
Of meny a Cryston knyght.
And all is for a lady clere,
That the justyng is cryed far and nere,
Of men of armes bryght.”
Gret joye it was to here tell,
How thes kyngs with the knyghtis fell,
Come and semled to that fyght.

There come meny another man,
That thought there to have to done,
And than to wend her way.
Whan they come to the castell gent,
A roall fyght, verament,
There was, the sothe to say.
Trompes resyn on the wall,
Lordys assembled in the hall,
And sith to souper yede thay.
They were recevid with rialté,
Every man in his degré,
And to her logyng went her way.

The lordys rosyn all be-dene,
On the morow, as I wene,
And went masse for to here.
And furthermore, withoute lent,
They wesh and to mete went,
For to the feld they wold there.
After mete, anon right,
They axid hors and armes bryght,
To hors-bak went thay in fere.
Knyghtis and lordys revelid all,
And ladyes lay over the castell wall,
That semely to se were.

Than everyman toke spere in hond,
And everych to other found,
Smert boffetts there they yeld.
The prynce of Jerusalem and his brother,
Everiche of hem ran to other,
Smertely in the feld . . . .
Though Antony fy Gryffon yonger were,
His brother Leobertus he can down bere,
Sir Torent stode and beheld

. . . . “Be my trouth,” said Torent thanne,
“As I am a Cryston man,
I-quytt shall it be!”
Torent bestrode a stede strong,
And hent a tymber gret and long,
And to hym rode he.

Torrent so sore to hym rode,
That he bare hym to the ground,
And let hym lye in the feld.
There was no man hyghe ne lowe,
That myght make Torent to bowe,
Ne his bak to bend.
They justyd and turneyd there,
And everyman found his pere,
There was caught no dethis dynt.
Of all the justis that there ware,
Torent the floure away bare,
And his sonnys in that tyde.

And on the morow, whan it was day,
Amonge all the lordys gay,
That worthy were in wede,
Desonell wold no lenger lend,
But to Sir Torent gan she wend
And on her kne she knelid.
She said, “Weclom, my lord Sir Torent!”
“And so be ye, my lady gent!”
In sownyng than fell she.
Up they coveryd that lady hend,
And to mete did they wend
With joye and solempnité.

Dame Desonell be sought the kyng,
That she myght, withoute lesyng,
Sytt with Torent alone.
“Yes, lady, be hevyn kyng,
There shall be no lettyng;
For well worthy is he, be Seynt John!”
Tho they washid and went to mete,
And rially they were sett,
And servid worthely, verament.
Every lord in the hall,
As his state wold befall,
Were couplid with ladyes gent.

But of all ladyes that were there sene,
So feire myght there none bene,
As was dame Desonell . . . .

Thes two kyngis, that doughty ys,
To the cité come i-wys,
With moche meyne.
To the castell they toke the way,
There the kyng of Nazareth lay,
With hym to speke on high.
At none the quene ete in the hall,
Amongst the ladyes over all,
That couth moche curtesye.
Desonell wold not lett,
By Sir Torent she her sett,
Thereof wonder had they.

Whan eyther of hem other beheld,
Of care no thyng they feld,
Bothe her herts were blithe.
Gret lordys told she sone,
What poyntes he had for her done,
They began to be blithe.
And how her fader in the see did her do,
With her she had men childre two;
They waried hym fell sithe.
“Sir kyng, in this wildernes,
My two children fro me revid was,
I may no lenger hem hide.

The knyght yave me ryngs two,
Everich of hem had one of thoo,
Better saw I never none.
A gryffon bare the one away,
A liberd the other, parmafay,
Down by a roche of stone.”
Than said the kyng of Jerusalem:
“I found one by a water streme,
He levith yet with blood and bone!”
The Kyng of Grece said, “My brother,
Antony, my son, brought me another!”
She saith, “Soth, be Seynt John?”

The kyng said, “Sith it is sothe,
Kys ye youre fader bothe, 36
And axe hym his blessyng.”
Down they knelid on her knee:
“Thy blessing, fader, for charité!”
“Welcom, children yong!”
Thus in armes he hem hent,
A blither man than Sir Torent,
Was there none levyng.
It was no wonder, thoughe it so were;
He had his wife and his children there,
His joye began to spryng.

Of all the justis that were thare,
Away the gre his sonnys bare,
That doughty were in dede.
Torent knelid uppon his knee,
And said, “God yeld you, lordys free,
Thes children that ye have fed.
Ever we will be at youre will.
What jurney ye will put us tyll,
So Jesu be oure spede.
With that the kyng thre,
Into my lond will wend with me,
For to wreke oure stede.”

They graunted that there was,
Gret lordys more and lesse,
Bothe knyght and squiere.
And with Desonell went
Al the ladyes that were gent,
That of valew were.
Shippis had they stiff and strong,
Maistis gret and sayles long,
Hend, as ye may here,
And markyd into Portingale,
Whan they had pullid up her sayll,
With a wynd so clere.

The riche quene of that lond
In her castell toure gan stond,
And beheld into the see.
“Sone,” she said to a knyght,
“Yonder of shippis I have a sight,
For sothe, a grett meyne.”
The quene said, “Verament,
I se the armes of Sir Torent,
I wott well it is he.”
He answerid and said tho:
“Madam, I will that it be so,
God gefe grace that it so be!”

A blither lady myght none be,
She went ageyn hym to the see
With armed knyghtis kene.
Torent she toke by the hond:
“Lordys of uncouth lond,
Welcom muste ye bene!”
Whan she sye Desonell,
Swith in sownyng she fell
To the ground so grene.
Torent gan her up ta:
“Here bene her children twa,
On lyve thou shalt hem sene!”

In the castell of Portyngale
Arose trumpes of hede vale,
To mete they went on hye.
He sent letters far and nere;
The lordys that of valew were,
They come to that gestonye.
The emperoure of Rome,
To that gestonye he come,
A noble knyght on hyghe.
Whan all thes lordys com ware,
Torrent weddid that lady clere,
A justyng did he crye.

So it fell uppon a day,
The kyng of Jerusalem gan say,
“Sir, thy sonne I found
Lying in a liberts mouth,
And no good he ne couth, 37
Dede he was nere hond.
Wold thou that he dwellid with me,
Till that I dede be,
And sith rejoyse my lond?” . . . .

Before lordys of gret renown,
Torent gave hym his son . . .
The kyng of Grece said, “Sir knyght,
I yef thy son all my right
To the Grekys flood:
Vouch thou save, he dwell with me?”
“Ye, lord, so mut I thee,
God yeld you all this good!”
For Sir Torent was stiff in stoure,
They chose hym for emperoure,
Beste of bone and blood.

Grete lordys that there were,
Fourty days dwellith there,
And sith they yode her way.
He yave his sonnys, as ye may here,
Two swerdys that were hym dere,
Ech of hem one had they.
Sith he did make up-tyed
Chirchus and abbeys wyde,
For hym and his to praye. 38
In Rome this romans berith the crown
Of all kerpyng of renown:
He leyth in Rome in a feire abbey.

Now Jesu Cryst, that all hath wrought,
As He on the Rode us bought,
He geve us His blessing.
And as He died for you and me,
He graunt us in blis to be,
Oute of this world whan we shall wend!


Explicit Torent of Portyngale

(see note); (t-note)

Give; win

[In] a short time; hear immediately; (see note)

scholars; (see note)

earl; dwelling
courteous; manly

Torrent; was called; (see note)

strike down

glad; (see note)

gathered fief; (see note)

highland plains
(see note)
(see note)


(see note)

heavy lance; trample down; (see note)
blow withstand


displease; brave
orders [of knighthood]; (see note)

As I may prosper
exploits; (t-note)

(see note)

know; well


would be dear to me; (t-note)

have gone by; (t-note)

feat of arms
So God help me

grew mad from anger; (see note)
prove your strength
maintain your composure; (see note); (t-note)

knew; place
deviate from my purpose; (t-note)

(see note)
comes; (t-note)
dare; stand (remain)



By the love of God; (t-note)
eye; see
(see note)
truth (honor)

One foot
(see note)
nature (i.e., any human man)

(see note)
companion; travel
tall giant
was called; (see note)
fiends’ companion forever

of courteous lords
he went


Cross; (see note)

It is [recorded]


Tall trees
olive trees growing


(see note)

Mary; (t-note)
give; [spiritual] food
Certainly; struck (killed)

make sure

sea; (see note)

tied his steed [by the reins]


dangerous (wicked)


against [the giant]

woods; chop down
it is necessary

if I am allowed
amends (tribute); give; (see note)
move; ever and always (i.e., to kill)

noble youth
held him back
dark woods; (t-note)

burst in pieces
splinters; (t-note)

(see note); (t-note)

turned thirty-two times
tumbling from side to side together

burst; (t-note)

hard (rough)
By means of Him (i.e., God); made
moved above [the giant]

put an end to him


alone; squire
fiend (i.e., the giant)

(t-note); (t-note)


palace; built
her (i.e., the palace's) peer

adorned; precious
Shining; (see note)

brow; turn pale; (see note)
well; knows

control (wield)
heard; wall; (t-note)





made her complaint

shall I call

if he
prepare; (t-note)

secret place
(see note); (t-note)


sign of evidence

gentility (i.e., noble lineage); (see note); (t-note)
Make (cause)
approach; (t-note)
took (did take) him; (t-note)
[the lions] behaved just as she wished

glimmered; (see note)

know well; already done




truth; know


captured; time




iron mace
before long



then; went


recovered; trouble

succeed; (t-note)

if; listen; (t-note)
knight's names; happily tell
Pay attention


Galicia; (see note); (t-note)

(see note)

azure; blue

get ready; depart; (t-note)

living; (t-note)

go; (t-note)

locked; indeed
liked; called (i.e., claimed)
carried away; (t-note)
their master (i.e., the giant); (t-note)

tied; (see note); (t-note)

(t-note); before


a devil's head; (see note)



grievously afraid
Because of

(see note); (t-note)

beautiful ladies



Lowborn and highborn (i.e., everyone)

Gift; not lacking; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)
So may I prosper


well; made
(see note)
(see note)

fought; boldly; (t-note)

(see note)
celebration; (t-note)

man's; (t-note)

most recently


labored so vigorously


meadow; (see note)
(see note)
charger; (see note)
death's blow
pursued; (t-note)

vouchsafe; (t-note)


thought; (t-note)

On the river (i.e., while hunting)
steel; (see note); (t-note)

falcon gentle (noble)

came near
As if; had seen

precious falcon

(see note); (t-note)

respectable pedigree

dishonest king


asked; (t-note)


wild (desolate)
(see note); (t-note)

dense; (t-note)
Sorrowful; (t-note)

parting; road


powerful spring

terrifying; (t-note)
nothing to protect himself


travel (i.e., die); (t-note)

small mound


huge onrush; (t-note)


head; (see note)
 (see note)
ready (i.e., when it wished); (t-note)
wrapped around; (see note)
loop [in the dragon’s tail]

(see note)

heard right away

(see note)


Dearly (i.e., at high cost); pay for it

chief foster-child

need; refreshed
(see note)
Birds; merrily
(i.e., everywhere)


dark forest; (see note)
riding path

highway (main road)

bite (i.e., eat)


came near; (t-note)
(see note)

pay a forfeit; (see note)

(see note)
[tree] bough

It seemed to him that
generous (noble); (t-note)






mad; (t-note)

bad luck

steed's brain

(see note)

steep slope; (see note)

solaced (consoled)

thicket of thorn trees
nothing move him; (t-note)

together [against Torrent]; (t-note)





i.e., Christ protect him


quickly; (t-note)


same time

two; (t-note)

he measured twenty-four feet


gear (equipment)


it is called; (see note)

Certainly; lying
chief; chose; (t-note)

treasure (wealth); hall


(see note)
is like; (t-note)


(see note)


home; (t-note)
Michael; (see note) ; (t-note)

(see note); (t-note)

(see note)






(see note); (t-note)



  (see note)

(see note); (t-note)
Adolake is its name

whale's; (see note); (t-note)
refuse to give
hear; (t-note)

i.e., [the giant] has slain many men




mass; (see note)
Holy Church
[musical] notes; ceremony; (t-note)

assembled in a line

(see note)



by my faith

enjoy forever; (t-note)

before; (t-note)
Securities; in this way; (t-note)

twenty-seven; (t-note)


Calabria; (see note)
before; test; (t-note)



feel pity

to you; (t-note)


Provence; (see note)

high street (highway); (t-note)

Go in
one; hall



gate; (t-note)

(see note)


compete (fight); enough to satisfy us

brutal blows

mercy; (t-note)

here; help

city; (t-note)

begotten; (see note)

(see note)





Minstrels; (see note); (t-note)

Beautiful music


good pathways

taken; (t-note)
two or three days
heavy wagon; (t-note)
Away from; city

Dear; frightens; (t-note)



know well; (t-note)
city of Hungary; (see note)(t-note)


bare (exposed)
stand against him

unfair dealings; (see note)


govern at will

(see note)
have strength
high spirits

prayed for

test; (see note)

in a short time

harassment; misery; (t-note)

young knight
search for

low-born fellow; (see note)

(see note); (t-note)
ten and three (i.e., thirteen) feet long
to move very far

Toward; (t-note)

eye; one; (see note)

Saint Austin; (t-note)


attacked on all sides

knew how to fight; (t-note)


wooden clubs


well; for everyone; (t-note)
time; commanded


remove; (t-note)


then; dais; went

seek; (see note)



mansion (manoral estate)

that is awarded to you; (t-note)

(see note); (t-note)

you and your sucessors

(see note)

rescued [from prison]

compete in chivalric sport

foreign king; (t-note)
courtly conduct
took up bright armor


must [be wedded]


square; (see note); (t-note)
engraved on the heraldic field

grinning (i.e., baring its teeth)

head (i.e., helmet)

more than I can count



lunch; (t-note)

merry-making; (t-note)
door; rode; (see note); (t-note)


battle charges (i.e., jousts)

placed her beside [himself]




in a group
leaned over [the castle walls] and watched


completely splintered
all together (i.e., the prince and his horse)

(see note)

honor; sore

(see note)
went to the high table
slashed shoes; (see note)




wicked; monstrous

during [Calamond's] lifetime

cursed; (t-note)

(see note)



pay the price for it

(see note)


chivalric competition; (t-note)


is called

went off

prepare; asked for
(see note)

nothing knew



(see note)

pricking (i.e., galloping)

(see note)

holy communion; confession; (see note)





quickly took

cannot be denied


knew; option

(see note)
easy to handle; indeed

as he was wont [to do]

galley; sail
drag [with the boat]

transported by ship

without delay; (t-note)

land; (see note)

(see note)

(see note)
observance of ceremony


(see note); (t-note)
even more; (t-note)

Each one

child under guardianship
assay (test)

enjoy; (see note)


hospitality; prepared; (see note); (t-note)


in woods and in hills (i.e., everything)

Jesus' sake
feat of arms




(see note)

Thrice; swooning; (see note)

tackle; prepared

cannot be denied


(see note)


confess; (see note)

wanting; (t-note)


(see note)
(see note)


encounter; (t-note)

land with a fortified town or castle

face in combat

cut down
rather; (t-note)

his (i.e., the giant's) destruction

song; (see note)


ran through; (t-note)


struck with repeated blows








decide what to do


be mindful of me

graze; (t-note)

know you; doubt not

fought; (t-note)


(see note)

Repay; reward; (t-note)

(see note)


good cause to kill you; (see note)

pay dearly

stroke; (see note)

aimed; (t-note)

sudden sharp pulls

however it came about



injury; one
man's death



(i.e., people)

(see note)

strong; battle



(see note); (t-note)
taught by the devil

take a walk

area of flat land
terrifying warrior

several blows


by my faith

a knight of the Virgin Mary; (see note)



(see note)



he is on the move


foreign (pagan)
Physicians; examined


before then

searched; (see note)
fare well

If I were to take

decapitated heads

Fifty; beat

(see note)

dark sea

lost in woe


long ago; (t-note)

(see note)
cried out

a sign; (see note)

(see note)

harrowed; (see note)


Law of the land; (see note)


physical features; excellently formed; (t-note)


mad; (t-note)
young woman
they (i.e., the queen and Desonell) take; (see note)


(see note); (t-note)

(see note); (t-note)

at low tide



Birds; (t-note)


prepare [to enter the enter the city]


grffin; mountain aerie; (see note)

hermit; (see note)

against the harsh [landscape]

(see note)

leopard; (t-note)


Their guts (i.e., the horses' innards); tore



seized; heathen

wet nurse


Reciting his prayers

young; bound

alter; (t-note)


took himself quickly

his (i.e., the griffin's) young





Support; assistance

(see note)

(see note)


alas; (see note)




gates; (t-note)

midday (noon)
wild (desolate)





Katherine; (see note)

(see note)



(see note)

If; living

a band of armed men


call to arms

What [kind of] death



great value; (see note)

wooden boat; (see note)



Bestowed upon
possess (rule)

(see note)

In order to hold court


(see note)

Calamond's coat of arms; (see note)


(see note)

By chance

city; (see note); (t-note)

sultan (Muslim leader); (see note)


(see note)


property; won
goods (wealth)


sixth year



prepared; (t-note)

(see note)

Saracens (Muslims)
seventh year; (see note)

(i.e., he gained experience in battle); (see note); (t-note)

carried himself

Make preparations





(i.e., Torrent and Leobertus)


threw; (t-note)


(see note)

slay; (t-note)

wicked (sinful, heathen); (see note)

possess (i.e., ride); warhorse




paid for



[I pray] that; teach
lance (i.e., his jousting)

without lie (truly)

ringed arenas for jousting





proceeded (separated)

feast (festival)




limbs and joints (i.e., in all parts)


noble everywhere; (see note)

strong (unwavering); battle
in all places

(see note)




many knights

Who thought to do business there

royal (i.e., fit for a king, magnificent)

Trumpets (i.e., trumpeters) arise





asked for


Swift blows; (t-note)


(see note); (t-note)



peer (equal match)
death's blow (i.e., no one was killed)



prayed to


social rank


many troops




many times











Young man; (see note)




greatest value; (t-note)





(see note)

bound (restricted); (see note)

(see note)
talking (storytelling); (see note)



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