Stanzaic Guy of Warwick: Introduction


1 Fewster, pp. 85-89.

2 Timothy A. Shonk, "A Study of the Auchinleck Manuscript: Bookmen and Bookmaking in the Early Fourteenth Century," Speculum 60 (1985), 71-91. See also Ikegami, pp. 17-33.

3 Mills, 1991, p. 215.

4 This analysis takes into consideration the original language of the stanzaic Guy and the detailed dis-cussions that are available elsewhere of the dialect of Auchinleck Scribe 1, who copied the text into the manuscript. A profile of Auchinleck Scribe 1's written repertoire, which localizes his dialect within Middlesex, is provided in A Linguistic Atlas of Late Medieval English, ed. Angus McIntosh, M. L. Samuels, and Michael Benskin (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1986), linguistic profile ("LP") 6510. A slightly different interpretation of the linguistic evidence, which localizes the language of this scribe within London, is offered by M. L. Samuels in his seminal study "Some Applications of Middle English Dialectology," English Studies 44 (1963), 81-94; see especially pp. 87-88.

5 Smithers, 1957, pp. 40-55; Wiggins, pp. 222-25.

6 Mills, 1991, p. 227.

7 These are listed and discussed in detail by Mills, 1991, Loomis, and W. Möller, Untersuch-ungen Über Dialekt u. Stil des Mitteleng. Guy of Warwick in der Fassung der Auchinleck-Handschrift u. Über das Verhältnis des Strophischen Teiles des Guy zu der Mitteleng. Romanze Amis und Amiloun, Ph.D. Dissertation, Konigsberg, 1917, pp. 47-105.

8 For discussion of the date, provenance, and content of these romances see Severs, vol. 1.

9 Andrea Hopkins, p. 79, observes in the stanzaic Guy "a marked intensification of the pious elements of the Anglo-Norman poem" resulting from the Middle English redactor's alterations to structure and tone. Her chapter on Guy of Warwick provides further discussion of this issue. For an example of a specific modification which increases the pious themes of the Middle English redaction, see the note to lines 2353-70 in this edition.

10 For further discussion of the relationship between Guy of Warwick and the Life of Saint Alexis, see Dannenbaum, 1984, pp. 357-63, and Klausner, pp. 103-17.

11 The term "penitential romance" is applied by Hopkins, whose study provides a thorough comparison of this group of Middle English romances.

12 Comparison can be made with the fully developed allegory of pilgrimage presented in Le Pèlerinage de la Vie Humaine by Guillaumne de Deguileville (first recension, c. 1330-31), where the pilgrim en-counters personified sins and wears a suit of armor symbolizing his Christian virtue. For a discussion of this text and its translation into Middle English prose see The Pilgrimage of the Lyfe of the Manhode, ed. Avril Henry, 2 vols., EETS o.s. 288, 292 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985, 1988).

13 "Place pilgrimage," a term used by Dee Dyas, refers to pilgrimages to holy places, a practice "by no means universally approved and . . . by some regarded as actually harmful to the spiritual life" (pp. 4-5). Dyas differentiates three basic strands of life as pilgrimages: interior pilgrimage (the Contemplative Life - monasticism, anchoritism, meditation, and mysticism), moral pilgrimage (the Active Life, manifesting daily obedience to God and commitment to avoiding the Seven Deadly Sins), and place pil-grimage, to specific sites for general indulgences, healing, or to learn express devotion (p. 6).

14 The term "moral pilgrimage" is used by Dyas to define this kind of daily obedience; for further discussion of the term, including analysis of its appearance as an important concept is medieval writings, see pp. 6-7 and her chapters on Piers Plowman and The Canterbury Tales. See note 12, above.

15 For further discussion of contemporary journeys to Jerusalem and their significance see: Dyas, pp. 236-37, and Colin Morris, "Pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the Late Middle Ages" in Morris and Roberts, pp. 141-63.

16 See note 12, above.

17 Roger Dalrymple, 2000, p. 122, also acknowledges this possibility and argues that the allegorical significances of the narrative are strongly suggested by the language.

18 Jonas (lines 899-900), Triamour (lines 1003-08), Amorant (lines 1478-88), Tirri (lines 2272-92), and Felice (lines 3361-62) each comment on Guy's appearance or identity and always in a way that involves puzzlement, speculation, and curiosity.

19 Of particular relevance here is the discussion of "the significance of a knight's coat of arms in relation to his honour or dishonour" and "the relationship of peculiar intimacy between knight and sign" in J. A. Burrow, Essays on Medieval Literature (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984), chapter 7, "Honour and Shame in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," pp. 122-23.

20 Dannenbaum, 1984, and Hopkins each offer a detailed consideration of this issue; see also the note to lines 2728-33 in this edition.

21 Speculum Gy de Warewyke, ed. Georgiana Lea Morrill, EETS e.s. 75 (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., 1898; rpt. Millwood, NY: Kraus Reprint, 1973).

22 The objects at Winchester are described in full in the note to line 2794 of this edition.

23 Descriptive accounts of the wide-ranging appearances of the figure of Guy of Warwick are provided by Richmond and Ronald Crane.
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Stanzaic Guy of Warwick: Introduction

by: Alison Wiggins (Editor)

The narrative of the Stanzaic Guy of Warwick begins with Guy's return to Warwick after he has established his status as a pre-eminent knight in a series of battles and adventures across Europe. He marries Felice, the daughter of the earl of Warwick and the original inspiration for the conquests in battle that have dominated his life up until this point. Their marriage celebrations last for two weeks, during which time Felice conceives a son (lines 1-228). The festivities are barely over when Guy is suddenly struck by remorse for his past deeds at arms. He repents that he has so long neglected God and is inspired to go on a pilgrimage of atonement. Despite Felice's protestations, and having her assurance that she will not reveal his departure until he is away, he sets off wearing a gold ring from Felice and disguised as a pilgrim. Felice is distressed and only desists from suicide because she knows that she is pregnant and that Guy might be accused of her murder. The next day she tells her father of Guy's departure and search parties are sent out to find him (lines 229-516).

Meanwhile, Guy reaches Jerusalem and Bethlehem, where he visits the holy places. Guy then encounters Earl Jonas and hears of his plight. Jonas tells the story of how he and his fifteen sons had been warring with the Saracen invaders of Jerusalem and, having pursued them into Saracen lands, were outnumbered and imprisoned by King Triamour. During their imprisonment, Triamour's son, Fabour, fought with and killed Sadok, the son of the rich and powerful Sultan. As punishment, the Sultan's court granted Triamour a year and forty days in which to find a champion to match the Sultan's Egyptian giant, Amorant. When asked by Triamour for advice on this matter, Jonas told him that only Guy of Warwick or his companion Herhaud could defeat such a giant. He then made a bargain with Triamour and agreed to bring him Guy or Herhaud within a year in exchange for his liberty and that of his sons. Ever since, Jonas has wandered throughout Europe and the East searching for Guy and Herhaud (lines 517-864). Guy offers to act as Triamour's champion and, though initially put off by Guy's bedraggled appearance, Jonas accepts and presents him to King Triamour in Alexandria. Triamour tells Guy (who uses the pseudonym "Youn") that he should hate him for being an Englishman and a fellow countryman of Guy (who slew his brother and his uncle). Nevertheless, after some speculation about Guy's shabby dress, he accepts him as champion and promises that if he wins he will not only release Jonas and his sons but will liberate and ensure safe passage for all Christian travelers to the Holy Land (lines 865-1056). Guy arms for a battle which takes place in a field encompassed by a river. During the battle Guy grants Amorant leave to drink but, when he asks for the same privilege, is denied unless he reveals his true name. When he hears Guy's name, Amorant is infuriated since Guy in his younger years had wrought such destruction on the Saracen people. Guy makes a desperate dash for the river to drink, then resumes battle, cutting off both Amorant's hands and then his head, which he presents to Triamour, who holds true to his promised rewards. Guy reveals his identity to Jonas before sending him back to his homeland (lines 1057-1683).

Next Guy visits the shrines of Greece and Constantinople. After another long pilgrimage he reaches Germany where he encounters his old friend Tirri, who is in a wretched state. Unrecognized, Guy encourages him to explain the cause of his poverty and distress, and Tirri describes how the Emperor's steward Berard has falsely accused him of the death of his uncle, Duke Otoun (who in fact was slain by Guy during his youth). Tirri tells how he was imprisoned but then, following an appeal to the Emperor by his friends, was released on agreement that he would find and bring Guy to defend him against Berard's accusation. Having searched far and wide, Tirri is now convinced that Guy must be dead. He is full of despair as the time has now come to fulfill his agreement with the Emperor (lines 1684-1896). Guy offers comfort and Tirri has a dream that leads the two of them to a cave of treasure, from which Guy takes a magnificent sword. They head towards court together, but Tirri becomes so fearful that Guy leaves him at an inn and goes on alone. He enters the court as an anonymous pilgrim, angers Berard with reports of his bad reputation abroad, and challenges his treatment of Tirri, whom he then agrees to defend (lines 1897-2136). Guy and Berard are prepared (Berard with a suit of "double" armor and Guy with the sword from the treasure cave), and they engage in a fierce battle. Tirri hides in a church; when he does emerge to view the battle, he is unable to believe that the warrior on the field is the same pilgrim who volunteered to take his part. Evening falls, and it is agreed that the battle will be resumed next morning. During the night, through Berard's treachery, Guy is cast adrift in his bed on the sea and rescued by a fisherman (lines 2137-2400). The Emperor confronts Berard when he finds the pilgrim gone the next morning. However, the fisherman intervenes with the news of his rescue and the battle is resumed until Guy is victorious. Guy goes to tell Tirri the news of Berard's defeat and, after correcting his fears of betrayal, has him instated as steward in place of the treacherous duke. Before departing, Guy reveals his identity to Tirri (lines 2401-2784).

Guy returns to England where he learns that King Athelstan and the English barons are at Winchester praying to God for help against the Danish invaders. The Danes have demanded tribute if no match can be found for their gigantic African champion, Colbrond. No champion for the English comes forward, but that night Athelstan is visited by an angel who tells him that his champion will be the first pilgrim at the north gate of the city the next day. The king follows the angel's instructions and finds Guy, who eventually agrees to take up the fight despite reservations about his own waning physical strength (lines 2785-2976). Guy is armed and prays for divine deliverance. The terms of the battle are set and Colbrond comes forward armed in black steel and with enough weapons to fill a cart. Guy struggles under Colbrond's blows and loses his sword. He makes a dash for Colbrond's stash of weapons and selects a long-handled axe. Colbrond is so enraged that his aim goes awry. When he reaches to retrieve his sword, Guy takes the opportunity to cut off his arm; when he tries again for the weapon, reaching downwards, Guy beheads him. There is great rejoicing among the English, though Guy will accept no reward and asks only for the return of his pilgrim's cloak. Before leaving Guy reveals his identity to Athelstan and elicits from him a promise that he will keep his secret for a year (lines 2977-3324).

Guy joins the poor men fed by Felice at the gates of Warwick Castle and one day is among thirteen invited to eat alongside her. Still unrecognized, he is singled out by Felice for his poor demeanor and offered daily sustenance. However, when the tables are set he leaves. He goes to a hermitage in a nearby forest, where he hopes to receive instruction. When Guy finds the hermit has died, he decides to remain there himself and receives the sacraments daily from a priest. A week before death he is visited by an angel and told to make his final preparations. He sends his page to Felice with her gold ring, and she reaches him on the point of death. A miraculous, sweet smell surrounds Guy after death, and no physical effort can move his body from the hermitage. Felice dies soon after and is buried alongside Guy. When news reaches Tirri, he moves their bodies to Lorraine and has an abbey built where masses are continually sung for Guy and Felice (lines 3325-3576).

Manuscript, Language, and Literary Relations

The source for the Stanzaic Guy of Warwick is the Anglo-Norman Gui de Warewic, a romance written in England in the thirteenth century (c. 1220) which recounts the story of Guy's life from his earliest years until his death and includes the adventures of his son Reinbroun. It is a vast, ambitious romance and its grand, epic sweep consumes close to thirteen thousand lines. The process of translation into English by the redactor of the Stanzaic Guy of Warwick (c. 1300) involved adaptation at a number of different linguistic levels. The redactor limited himself to approximately one-third of the source material, rendering the three and a half thousand or so lines which deal with the story of Guy's later life, from his marriage until his death (Gui de Warewic, lines 7409-8974 and 9393-11656). In addition to selecting a specific section of the source, the redactor chose to convert the verse form and rendered the couplet source into twelve-line tail-rhyme stanzas. A number of significant and sometimes revealing adaptations to the content were also made by the redactor (see the Explanatory Notes).

The only extant copy of the Stanzaic Guy of Warwick appears in National Library of Scotland Advocates' Manuscript 19.2.1 (known as the Auchinleck Manuscript), folios 146vb-167rb. This manuscript is thought to have been produced in London in the 1330s and is one of the largest and earliest collections of Middle English verse. It is notable not only for its wide-ranging compilation of romances, but also for the variety of other Middle English verse texts it contains, including chronicle, satire, hagiography, and pious instruction.

The Stanzaic Guy of Warwick is preceded in the manuscript by a couplet Guy of Warwick (folios 108ra-146vb), a romance that deals with the early years of Guy's life, from his childhood role as cupbearer to the earl of Warwick through the subsequent years in which he proves his prowess as a military champion. The stanzaic Guy, dealing as it does with the later years of Guy's life, is thus presented as a sequel to the couplet Guy. A third installment of the legend then follows: the romance Reinbroun (folios 167rb-175vb), which deals with the story of Guy's son. Between them, these three romances cover all the material from the Anglo-Norman source Gui de Warewic and present, albeit in piecemeal form, a complete version of the legend in Middle English.

A number of commentators have considered the question of why and how these three texts, with such marked stylistic differences between them, came to be juxtaposed in this manuscript. Carol Fewster approaches the issue from a literary perspective. She draws attention to the way that the pious themes of the latter part of the legend in many ways undermine the values of the first part and as a result offer an ironic commentary on the traditional values of knighthood. Her thesis proposes that the pairing of the couplet and stanzaic texts in the Auchinleck Manuscript was intentionally contrived in order to draw attention to these literary themes. The shift in style and verse form, she argues, brings out contrasts and comparisons between Guy's early and later life that are inherent in and important to the narrative.1

The work of Fewster is undoubtedly important for reading the Stanzaic Guy of Warwick within the context of the Auchinleck Manuscript. However, there has been a tendency to overstate this kind of reading and only consider the couplet Guy and the stanzaic Guy in terms of their association with one another. This tendency has been encouraged by Laura Hibbard Loomis' notorious theory (1942) that the Auchinleck Manuscript was produced in a bookshop where texts were translated as well as copied. Her theory is based largely on analysis of the poem and proposes that all three parts were translated simultaneously by a team of poet-scribes who decided to dismantle the source text into three different sections during translation. More recent work on the Auchinleck Manuscript and its texts has shown that Loomis' production theory is untenable and that the manuscript should not be regarded as a bookshop production but as the result of the careful compilation of pre-existing texts.2 This recognition that Auchinleck was not a collection of new translations but a compilation of available texts (some of which had been in circulation for several decades) is important to understanding the stanzaic Guy. It shows that, although linked to these other romances in this manuscript, it was originally composed and intended to be read as an independent romance.

It is important not to lose sight of the fact that the stanzaic Guy was composed independently and was likely to have circulated and been read on its own elsewhere, that is, without the couplet Guy or Reinbroun. Study of the language confirms the autonomy of the stanzaic Guy: Maldwyn Mills has pointed out that it derives from a version of Gui de Warewic different from that of the couplet Guy (and that they could not, therefore, have been translated under the same circumstances).3 Furthermore, whereas the couplet Guy was most likely to have been composed in London, examination of the dialect shows that the stanzaic Guy was composed in an East Midland dialect. Southern and Eastern influence are suggested by two features: the reflex of OE y is regularly , for example, kende : (hende) in lines 301-02 and 370-71, and dent : (went) in lines 3148-49; and the reflex of OE ea before l-combinations is or , for example, welde : beld : (feld : scheld) in lines 1191, 1194, 1197, and 1200, bihold : (gold) in lines 1993-94, and teld : (feld) in lines 2107-08. Southern influence is also indicated by instances in rhyme of the verbal suffix -th for singular and plural forms of the third person present indicative (lines 724 and 3195). There are also certain relatively unusual lexical forms which seem to have been restricted to East Midland texts, such as he ("they," lines 942, 1075, and 3274) and therkenes ("darkness," line 1217). Amid this dominant Southern and Eastern coloring, one further feature convincingly indicates an East Midland provenance: certain Northern-derived rhyme sequences are included in which the reflex of OE _ is , such as those of the type sare : ware : (fare : bare) in lines 573, 576, and 567, 570, respectively. These Northern-derived rhyme sequences are traditional and, in the context of a large number of Southern and Eastern rhymes, should not be regarded as indicative of a Northern provenance but as broadly characteristic of East Midland romance composition. The stylized nature of the language makes it difficult to attempt more precise localization of the dialect. However, as there is nothing in the vocabulary or proportions of forms to suggest the extreme East or North, somewhere in the South Central part of the region, such as Cambridgeshire, is most likely.4

The twelve-line tail-rhyme stanza is typical of East Midland romances from this early date, and it determines certain features of their style and tone. Like other stanzaic romances, the stanzaic Guy displays a tendency toward highly patterned phrasing, including alliteration. This is especially so in phrases involving poetic vocabulary (such as "bern," lines 10, 198, 239, 587 and "wede," lines 117, 207, 293, 366, 440, 630, 1065) and in the tail-rhyme position. The tail line regularly contains highly stylized descriptive additions which may be repeated elsewhere in the text or borrowed between romances. The opening stanza, for example, has three tail lines each with conventionalized, alliterating epithets in praise of Guy: "freest founde in fight . . . man most of might . . . Of Warwike wise and wight" (lines 6-12). Similarly, the designation of descriptive formulae to the tail-line position determines the structure of the earl of Warwick's speech to Felice. It here also results in a repeated line, when the same formula is used twice:
Than seyd th'erl with wordes fre
"Douhter, yblisced mot thou be
Of Godes mouthe to mede.
Ich hadde wele lever than al mi fe
With than he wald spousy thee,
That douhti man of dede.
He hath ben desired of mani woman
And he hath forsaken hem everilcan,
That worthly were in wede.
Ac natheles ichil to him fare
For to witen of his answare,
That douhti man of dede." (lines 109-20)
As these examples begin to show, the stanza form encouraged the use of certain techniques, structural patterns, and traditional rhymes and phrases. These can be observed in other stanzaic romances and, broadly speaking, have resulted in a stylistically distinctive corpus. An occasionally lyrical tone is also distinctive among the stanzaic romances, and in the stanzaic Guy this can be found in descriptions of nature where simile or metonym are employed:
Than seighe he an ermine com of his mouthe,
Als swift as winde that bloweth on clouthe
As white as lilii on lake (lines 1936-38)

The sterres on the heven he seighe,
The water about him drawe.
Thei he was ferd no wonder it nis;
Non other thing he no seyghe, ywis,
Bot winde and wateres wawe. (lines 2348-52)
This lyrical tone can be contrasted with the strongly epic-influenced style of the couplet romances produced in London in the early fourteenth century, such as Kyng Alisaunder, Of Arthour and Merlin, and the couplet Guy of Warwick.5

Mills has suggested that composition of the stanzaic Guy was directly inspired by knowledge of the style and thematic context of another East Midland stanzaic romance, Amis and Amiloun:
The romance of [Amis and Amiloun], broadly cognate in tone and in some of its material, first suggested that the final stages of Guy's story should be told as a self-contained romance, and told in tail-rhyme stanzas instead of couplets.6
The number of parallels between the stanzaic Guy and Amis and Amiloun lend plausibility to Mills' proposal.7 But these similarities of tone should also be seen within the context of a broader interest in themes of piety and long-suffering exhibited among a number of early stanzaic romances. In addition to the stanzaic Guy and Amis and Amiloun, these include a cluster of stories of the Eustace or Constance type, such as Octavian, Sir Isumbras, and The King of Tars.8 It was an interest in such themes that gave impetus to the decision of the redactor of the Stanzaic Guy of Warwick to focus upon the legend's hagiographic content. Although the identity of the redactor and the earliest readership of the stanzaic Guy remain unknown, then, a literary and linguistic community can to some extent be implied. An early fourteenth-century tradition of romance composition, which used the stanza form and was focused upon the East Midlands, was influential in terms of both linguistic procedures and the selection of material. It was as a result of contact with this tradition that the redactor of the stanzaic Guy achieved the distinctive tone and the intensified piety which characterizes this version of the romance.9


Every romance involves a journey or quest of some kind. This may be an exile, banishment, separation, seeking of fortune, abduction, abandonment, or a crusade. In the case of the Stanzaic Guy of Warwick, the journey is a pilgrimage. The traditional narrative pattern of "exile-and-return," common in romance and folktale, underpins Guy's pilgrimage and is defined around five episodes: (1) the departure from Warwick and journey to the Holy Land, (2) the battle with Amorant in the East, (3) the battle with Berard in Germany, (4) the battle with Colbrond at Winchester, and (5) the return to Warwick and removal to the hermitage. Structural symmetry is maintained by the geographical departure and return to Warwick and the use of parallel characters and episodes (the first and fifth stages both feature Felice; the second and fourth stages both involve a battle with a monstrous opponent).

The adaptation of the well-rehearsed exile-and-return pattern to incorporate a pilgrimage of atonement is the result of the narrative's close association with the Life of Saint Alexis. Guy, like Alexis, leaves his wife when newly married in order to pursue a life of pious devotion and poverty in the Holy Land. The Stanzaic Guy of Warwick is thus the first Middle English romance in which hagiographical material and themes are incorporated, and (including the other versions of Guy of Warwick) it is the one in which their incorporation is most complete.10 Guy much more closely follows the pattern of a saint's life than the heroes of other so-called penitential romances, like Sir Isumbras, Sir Gowther, and Robert of Cisyle.11 He is the only protagonist, for example, who does not re-enter secular society but dies a pilgrim-hermit with posthumous miracles to confirm his spiritual status. And whereas Sir Isumbras, Sir Gowther, and Robert of Cisyle each undertake a pilgrimage as a one-time penitential act, Guy's pilgrimage never ends.

It is the treatment of the pilgrimage motif that to a large extent determines Guy's portrayal and that is used to characterize and idealize his distinctively chivalrous brand of piety. Pilgrimage is by no means an unusual theme in medieval literature, but it receives a particular kind of treatment in the stanzaic Guy. In general terms, the presentation of Guy's pilgrimage is underpinned by the well-known theme of the "pilgrimage of life." According to this metaphor, all people are pilgrims exiled from their home who must make their way towards their spiritual goal or homeland and endure hardships and temptation along the way. The three battles Guy undertakes are thus figured as representations of the obstacles or temptations that the Christian pilgrim must overcome on the path of life. This is achieved through the alternating use of angelic and demonic imagery. In the first battle Guy's opponent is described as a kind of devil: Amorant seems to be "a fende . . . comen . . . out of helle" (lines 743-44), he is "the devels rote" (line 922) or "a devel fram helle" (line 1139), and his sword was "bathed in the flom of Helle" (line 1177). In counterpoint, the second battle figures Guy as an angel: he fights with a sword which shines and flashes like lightning (lines 1988-91) and which he believes was sent to him "fram Heven" (line 1992); those watching the battle say to one another that the "pilgrim was non erthely man; / It was an angel from Heven cam" (lines 2248-49) and conclude that to punish Berard's wickedness God has sent this "angel out of heven-blis" (line 2255). Both strands of imagery come together in the final battle when Guy, bearing a jewel that emanates light and an image of the Three Kings, encounters Colbrond the "fendes fere" (line 3066) whose black armor seems to be that of a "fende of Helle" (line 3060).12

The metaphorical and figural potentials of Guy's pilgrimage are made apparent in the text in this way, but there is also a marked interest in the actual pilgrimage that Guy undertakes. Guy first of all visits the shrines and holy places of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The journey to the Holy Land was the most ambitious, arduous, and exalted of all medieval place pil-grimages.13 It is therefore remarkable that, having visited the Holy Land, Guy still desires to see more holy places:
Yete he bithought him sethen tho
Forto sechen halwen mo
To winne him heven-mede. (lines 526-28)
He extends his pilgrimage farther around the eastern Mediterranean, to the shrines of Greece and Constantinople. Whilst his pilgrimage exceeds the highest of expectations in terms of its geographical scope, it also exemplifies a method of spiritual scourging through physical hardship. Guy will pay for his sins through bodily suffering:
That ich have with mi bodi wrought,
With mi bodi it schal be bought
To bote me of that bale. (lines 346-48)
He will walk "barfot" (lines 263, 345) and beg for food (line 264), and the references, as the story progresses, to his gradual dishevelment and deterioration make his physical denial a key feature of the journey.

In these ways an idealized place pilgrimage is depicted. But this is given a further dimension as, simultaneously, Guy's place pilgrimage comes to represent his moral pilgrimage. The idea of a moral pilgrimage involves living out one's prescribed social role, according to one's calling, in the obedient service of God.14 As a knight, Guy's fulfillment of his social role gains particular emphasis through his success as a crusading figure. His victory in the service of Earl Jonas and King Triamour leads to the release of all Christian prisoners and the granting of free passage for all Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land. This has real significance for a period in which "Saracens" presented a threat to Christian visitors to Jerusalem and when battles over the control of Jerusalem resulted in the crusades.15 Crusade was itself regarded as a kind of pilgrimage and, again, it is a type of pilgrimage at which Guy excels.

Guy's third and final journey is presented as the culmination of his pilgrimage experience: the interior pilgrimage. Contemporary writing depicts interior pilgrimage as a psychological and emotional journey towards union with God. In contrast to the other kinds of pilgrimage, it is accompanied by physical immobility and social withdrawal. It is this kind of stationary pilgrimage that Guy undertakes in the hermitage and in relative solitude in the final stage of his life. Guy's preparedness for this final pilgrimage is built into the structure of the narrative: there is a gradual decreasing of movement at each stage, and each of Guy's journeys is shorter than the last. Great expanses of land are covered in the first two stages (Warwick to Jerusalem, Constantinople, and Germany), but then each journey contracts as Guy travels from Germany to Winchester, then to Warwick, and finally to the hermitage in a forest outside the city. This correlation between spiritual growth and increased stability is also figured in terms of the shift in Guy's role from one who causes to one who cures wandering. Both Jonas and Tirri wander distressed and lost because they are seeking Guy, and it is Guy who is able to return each to his home and to a position of social stability.

The stanzaic Guy is unusual in its attempt to present and reconcile several different types of pilgrimage within a single narrative. Guy's place pilgrimage is overlaid with his moral pilgrimage and both are followed by an interior pilgrimage. As Dyas observes, these three distinct types of pilgrimage are most often found in tension or conflict with one another in medieval literature and writings.16 Underlying these tensions was the long-standing debate over place pilgrimage. Critics emphasized the liability of place pilgrimage to abuse, questioned its theological justification, and challenged its relevance alongside versions of pilgrimage which promoted good works and inner virtue. This sense of the inferiority of place pilgrimage can, to some extent, be detected in the Stanzaic Guy of Warwick. There is an embedded hierarchy of pilgrimage within the narrative, according to which interior pilgrimage is the superior or higher form. It is no coincidence that it is Guy's final, inner journey which leads him to tread the "redi way . . . to the blis of Heven" (lines 3415 and 3419). However, any real sense of conflict or tension between the different types of pilgrimage is avoided by presenting the interior pilgrimage as the culmination of Guy's journeying. This final journey does not supplant the others, it is prepared for by them.

These idealized notions of pilgrimage are set against the more materialistic attitude to piety voiced by Felice who, attempting to dissuade Guy from departure, tells him that: "Chirches and abbays thou might make / That schal pray for thi sake" (lines 331-32). Whereas Guy is moved by penitential remorse and a desire to make right his individual relationship with God, Felice's piety is based on a more straightforward transaction whereby her charitable donation equates with spiritual merit. The pious behavior of both Guy and Felice conforms to contemporary definitions of orthodoxy, but it is Guy's emphasis upon a personal relationship with God that is promoted and preferred by the narrative.

The presentation of Guy as an ideal or model pilgrim is signaled directly during his final battle when he carries:
A targe listed with gold
Portreyd with thre kinges corn
That present God when he was born,
Mirier was non on mold. (lines 2997-3000)
The Three Kings, who journeyed from the East to pay homage to Christ, are archetypal pilgrims. The image replaces the heraldic arms usually displayed on a shield to identify a knight, and, as such, it makes a bold statement about Guy's identity. Up until this point, Guy has taken the role of pilgrim as a disguise; here, the pilgrim identity has become his own. The development of Guy's identity is central to much of the dramatic irony in the text. It is also suggestive of Guy's figural potential.17 He is repeatedly presented as a figure who provokes speculation and inquisition from others, and a number of attempts are made to interpret or decipher his identity from his physical appearance.18 The public revelation after Guy's death of his dual role as knight and pilgrim-hermit is the occasion for further speculation and confusion. Should he be commemorated with the pomp due to a chivalric knight and military hero, or should his burial reflect his life as an impoverished, pious recluse? Far from being resolved at the end of the narrative, the chaos ensuing over his burial is presented as the closing tableaux. The narrative invites interpretation of the significance of Guy as a pious figure, and the emblem of the Three Kings, model pilgrims, on his shield sets the standard by which he is to be judged.19

The significance of Guy as a pious figure has continued to be debated by critics and commentators who have also found that the figures of "ideal knight" and "ideal pilgrim" do not necessarily reside comfortably together.20 Comments from contemporary churchmen have been used to enforce the assertion that in a number of respects Guy's piety was lacking. There remains, however, no doubt about the widespread popular success of Guy as a pious figure in the two centuries following the composition of the Stanzaic Guy of Warwick. The figure of Guy the pilgrim-hermit gives an extra dimension to the Speculum Gy de Warewick (that survives in eight manuscripts, including the Auchinleck Manuscript), in which Guy's instruction by the hermit becomes the dramatic frame for a homiletic sermon.21 Objects associated with Guy's life were held at Winchester Cathedral and described by Gerard of Cornwall and John Lydgate.22 In fifteenth-century Warwick, a chantry chapel was built in Guy's honor and the supposed location of his "cave" and the "well" from which he drank were subsequently discovered.23 These artifacts, from a range of different geographical regions and social levels, imply how widely known the story of Guy of Warwick the knight turned hermit must have been. They became objects of veneration themselves, objects of pilgrimage, and as such they indicate how the text can itself be seen in part as a promotional document. Above all, they indicate the way in which, by combining the popular motif of pilgrimage with the idealism of romance, the Stanzaic Guy of Warwick contributed to the construction of a late medieval cultural icon.

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Indexed in

IMEV 946.

The Manuscript of the Stanzaic Guy of Warwick

Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Advocates' MS 19.2.1 (the Auchinleck Manuscript), fols. 146vb-167rb.

Pearsall, Derek, and Ian C. Cunningham, eds. The Auchinleck Manuscript: National Library of Scotland, Advocates' MS 19.2.1. London: Scolar Press, 1977. [Facsimile edition.]

Manuscripts Containing Other Redactions of Guy of Warwick

Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College MS 107/176.
[c. 1475; couplets. See Zupitza below.]

Cambridge, Cambridge University Library MS Ff.2.38.
[c. 1500; couplets. Edited as a single text, Julius Zupitza, The Romance of Guy of Warwick: The Second or Fifteenth-Century Version, EETS e.s. 25-26 (London: Trübner, 1875-76).]

London, British Library, Sloane MS 1044 (single-folio fragment).
[Fourteenth century; couplets. Edited by Julius Zupitza, "Zur Literaturgeschichte des Guy of Warwick," Sitzungesberichte der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften der Philo-sophisch-Historische Classe, 74, no. 1, pp. 623-68.]

Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales MS Binding Fragments 572 and London, British Library MS 14408.
[Early fourteenth century; couplets (fragmentary). See below, Mills and Huws.]


Burnley, David, and Alison Wiggins, eds. The Auchinleck Manuscript. July 2003. National Library of Scotland.

Mills, Maldwyn, and Daniel Huws, eds. Fragments of an Early Fourteenth-Century Guy of Warwick. Medium Ævum Monographs n.s. 4. Oxford: Blackwell, 1974.

The Romance of Guy of Warwick: Edited from the Auchinleck Manuscript in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh, and from MS 107 in Caius College, Cambridge. Ed. Julius Zupitza. 3 vols. EETS e.s. 42, 49, 59. Bungay, UK: Clay and Sons, 1883, 1887, 1891; rpt. London: Oxford University Press, 1966.

Primary Texts

Amis and Amiloun. In Amis and Amiloun, Robert of Cisyle, and Sir Amadace. Ed. Edward E. Foster. Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 1997.

An Anonymous Short English Metrical Chronicle. Ed. Ewald Zettl. EETS o.s. 196. London: Oxford University Press, 1935. See also Burnley and Wiggins.

Athelston. See Four Romances of England.

Bevis of Hampton. See Four Romances of England.

Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Riverside Chaucer. Third ed. Ed. Larry D. Benson. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987.

Floris and Blancheflour. In Middle English Verse Romances. Ed. Donald B. Sands. Exeter: Exeter University Press, 1966.

Four Middle English Romances: Sir Isumbras, Octavian, Sir Eglamour of Artois, Sir Try-amour. Ed. Harriet Hudson. Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 1996.

Four Romances of England: King Horn, Havelok the Dane, Bevis of Hampton, Athelston. Ed. Ronald B. Herzman, Graham Drake, and Eve Salibury. Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 1999.

Gui de Warewic: roman du XIII siècle. Ed. Alfred Ewert. 2 vols. Les Classiques Français du Moyen Age 74-75. Paris: E. Champion, 1933.

Horn Child and Maiden Rimnald. Ed. Maldwyn Mills. Middle English Texts 20. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1988. See also Burnley and Wiggins.

King Horn. See Four Romances of England.

The King of Tars: Edited from the Auchinleck MS, Advocates' 19.2.1. Ed. Judith Perryman. Middle English Texts 12. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1980. See also Burnley and Wiggins.

Kyng Alisaunder. 2 vols. Ed. G. V. Smithers. 2 vols. EETS o.s. 227, 237. London: Oxford University Press, 1952, 1957; rpt. 1961, 1969.

The Middle English Breton Lays. Ed. Anne Laskaya and Eve Salisbury. Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 1995.

Der mittelenglische Vers roman über Richard Löwenherz: Kritische Ausgabe nach allen Handschriften mit Einleitung Anmerkungen und deutscher Ubersetzung [Richard Coer de Lyon]. Ed. Karl Brunner. Wiener Beiträge zur Englischen Philologie 42. Vienna: W. Brau-müller, 1913. See also Burnley and Wiggins.

Of Arthour and Merlin. Ed. O. D. Macrae-Gibson. 2 vols. EETS o.s. 268 and 279. London: Oxford University Press, 1973. See also Burnley and Wiggins.

Octavian. See Four Middle English Romances.

Reinbroun. See The Romance of Guy of Warwick.

Richard Coer de Lyon. See Der mittelenglische Vers roman über Richard Löwenherz.

Robert Mannyng of Brunne, The Chronicle. Ed. Idelle Sullens. Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies 153. Binghamton, NY: Binghamton University, 1996.

The Seege or Batayle of Troye: A Middle English Metrical Romance. Ed. Mary Elizabeth Barnicle. EETS o.s. 172. London: Oxford University Press, 1927; rpt. New York: Kraus Reprint, 1971.

Short Metrical Chronicle. See An Anonymous Short English Metrical Chronicle.

Sir Amadace. See Amis and Amiloun.

Sir Cleges. See The Middle English Breton Lays.

Sir Eglamour of Artois. See Four Middle English Romances.

Sir Gowther. See The Middle English Breton Lays.

Sir Isumbras. Ed. James O. Halliwell. In The Thornton Romances. Works of the Camden Society 30. London: J. B. Nichols and Son, 1844.

Sir Launfal. See The Middle English Breton Lays.

Sir Orfeo. See The Middle English Breton Lays.

The Song of Roland. Trans. and intro. Robert L. Harrison. New York: New American Library, 1970.

La Vie de Saint Alexis
. Ed. Maurizio Perugi. Textes Littéraires Français 529. Geneva: Droz, 2000.

La Vie de Saint Alexis. Ed. Christopher Storey. Oxford: Blackwell, 1968.

William of Palerne: An Alliterative Romance. Ed. Gerrit H. V. Bunt. Medievalia Groningana 6. Groningen: Bouma's Boekhuis, 1985.


Childress, Diana T. "Between Romance and Legend: 'Secular Hagiography' in Middle English Literature." Philological Quarterly 57 (1978), 311-22.

Crane, Ronald S. "The Vogue of Guy of Warwick from the Close of the Middle Ages to the Romantic Revival." PMLA 30 (1915), 125-94.

Crane, Susan. Insular Romance: Politics, Faith, and Culture in Anglo-Norman and Middle English Literature. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986.

---. "Knights in Disguise: Identity and Incognito in Fourteenth-Century Chivalry." In The Stranger in Medieval Society. Ed. F. R. P. Akehurst and Stephanie Cain Van D'Elden. Medieval Cultures 12. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997. Pp. 63-79.

Dalrymple, Roger. "A Liturgical Allusion in Guy of Warwick." Notes and Queries n.s. 45 (1998), 27-28.

---. Language and Piety in Middle English Romance. Cambridge, UK: D. S. Brewer, 2000.

Dannenbaum, Susan Crane. "Guy of Warwick and the Question of Exemplary Romance." Genre 17 (1984), 351-74.

Dyas, Dee. Pilgrimage in Medieval English Literature, 700 - 1500. Woodbridge, UK: D. S. Brewer, 2001.

Ferris, Sumner. "Chronicle, Chivalric Biography, and Family Tradition in Fourteenth-Century England." In Chivalric Literature: Essays on Relations between Literature and Life in the Later Middle Ages. Ed. Larry Dean Benson and John Leyerle. Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 1980. Pp. 25-38.

Fewster, Carol. Traditionality and Genre in Middle English Romance. Cambridge, UK: D. S. Brewer, 1987.

Field, Rosalind. "Romance as History, History as Romance." In Mills, Fellows, and Meale. Pp. 163-73.

Hopkins, Andrea. The Sinful Knights: A Study of Middle English Penitential Romance. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990.

Ikegami, Masa T. "The Tripartite Authorship of the Auchinleck Guy of Warwick." Kyoyo-Ronso 78 (1988), 17-33.

Klausner, David N. "Didacticism and Drama in Guy of Warwick." Medievalia et Humanistica n.s. 6 (1975), 103-19.

Krueger, Roberta L. The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Romance. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Legge, M. Dominica. Anglo-Norman Literature and Its Background. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963.

---. "Anglo-Norman Hagiography and the Romances." Medievalia et Humanistica n.s. 6 (1975), 41-49.

Loomis, Laura Hibbard. "The Auchinleck Manuscript and a Possible London Bookshop of 1330-1340." PMLA 57 (1942), 595-627. Rpt. in Adventures in the Middle Ages: A Memorial Collection of Essays and Studies. New York: B. Franklin, 1962. Pp. 150-87.

Mason, Emma. "Legends of the Beauchamps' Ancestors: The Use of Baronial Propaganda in Medieval England." Journal of Medieval History 10 (1984), 25-40.

Mills, Maldwyn. "Techniques of Translation in the Middle English Versions of Guy of War-wick." In The Medieval Translator II. Ed. Roger Ellis. Westfield Publications in Medieval Studies 5. London: Centre for Medieval Studies, Queen Mary and Westfield College, Uni-versity of London, 1991. Pp. 209-29.

---. "Structure and Meaning in Guy of Warwick." In From Medieval to Medievalism. Ed. John Simons. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992. Pp. 54-68.

Mills, Maldwyn, Jennifer Fellows, and Carol M. Meale, eds. Romance in Medieval England. Cambridge, UK: Brewer, 1991.

Morris, Colin, and Peter Roberts, eds. Pilgrimage: The English Experience from Becket to Bunyan. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Richmond, Velma Bourgeois. The Legend of Guy of Warwick. Garland Studies in Medieval Literature 14. New York: Garland, 1996.
Smithers, G. V. "The Style of Hauelok." Medium Ævum 57 (1988), 190-218.

Stopford, Jennie, ed. Pilgrimage Explored. Woodbridge, UK: York Medieval Press, 1999.

Weiss, Judith. "Emperors and Antichrists: Reflections of Empire in Insular Narrative, 1130 -1250." In The Matter of Identity in Medieval Romance. Ed. Phillipa Hardman. Woodbridge, UK: D. S. Brewer, 2002. Pp. 87-102.

Wiggins, Alison. "Guy of Warwick in Warwick?: Reconsidering the Dialect Evidence." English Studies 84 (2003), 219-30.

Woolgar, C. M. The Great Household in Late Medieval England. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999.

Common Reference Works

Bordman, Gerald Martin. Motif-Index of the English Metrical Romances. Helsinki: Suo-malainen Tiedeakatemia, 1963.

Borland, Katherine R., ed. A Descriptive Catalogue of the Western Mediaeval Manuscripts in Edinburgh University Library. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1916.

Brown, Carleton, and Rossell Hope Robbins, eds. The Index of Middle English Verse. New York: Columbia University Press, 1943.

Farmer, David Hugh, ed. The Oxford Dictionary of Saints. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978.

Kurath, Hans, and Sherman M. Kuhn, eds. [Ed. Sherman M. Kuhn and S. Reidy after 1965]. Middle English Dictionary. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1952-2003.

Severs, J. Burke, gen. ed. Manual of the Writings in Middle English 1050-1500. Vols. 1-5. New Haven: Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1967.

Storey, Christopher. An Annotated Bibliography and Guide to Alexis Studies (La Vie de saint Alexis). Histoire des idées et critique littéraire 251. Geneva: Droz, 1987.

Whiting, Bartlett Jere, with the collaboration of Helen Wescott Whiting. Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases from English Writings Mainly before 1500. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1968.