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Art. 70, The Geste of Kyng Horn


ABBREVIATIONS: AND: Anglo-Norman Dictionary; ANL: Anglo-Norman Literature: A Guide to Texts and Manuscripts (R. Dean and Boulton); BL: British Library (London); Bodl.: Bodleian Library (Oxford); CCC: Corpus Christi College (Cambridge); CUL: Cambridge University Library (Cambridge); IMEV: The Index of Middle English Verse (Brown and Robbins); IMEV Suppl.: Supplement to the Index of Middle English Verse (Robbins and Cutler); MED: Middle English Dictionary; MWME: A Manual of the Writings in Middle English, 1050–1500 (Severs et al.); NIMEV: A New Index of Middle English Verse (Boffey and Edwards); NLS: National Library of Scotland (Edinburgh).

4 Allof. The King of Sudenne is named Murry (Mory, Moy) in the Cambridge and Oxford versions. The Harley version names Horn’s father Allof in its opening setup, but confuses the matter by naming Murry his father later on; see explanatory notes to lines 873 and 1345.

5 by weste. The phrase serves to define Sudenne, that is, vaguely, “England,” a place to the west of the Continent, named an island at line 1330. The phrase will return as a marker of Horn’s homeland and also of his travels further westward. See explanatory note to line 775.

10-18 On the intensity of Horn’s “numinous beauty,” see Bradbury 2010, pp. 297–99.

11 byryne. “Dampen.” The verb word is recorded only in King Horn. See MED, birinen (v.).

21 Tuelf. The MS reading is tueye. The text elsewhere (and in other versions) clearly indicates that Horn has twelve companions, like the number of Christ’s disciples. Tweye therefore seems a mistake for twelve, caused perhaps by an anticipation of the two soon-to-be-named companions Athulf and Fikenild, or even by aural elision with feren, allowing tweye to sound like twelf. Other editors retain tweye, but McKnight glosses it “twelve.”

66 Sarazyns. Dunn and Byrnes’s and Treharne’s emendation to churches for is based on the readings found in the other two manuscripts: And churchen for to felle (Cambridge) and Cherches he gonnen gelle (Oxford). The Harley version, though awkward, has an intelligible sense and is retained.

165 Westnesse. The place-name Westness appears in the Harley and Oxford versions. In Cambridge, King Aylmer’s realm is named Westerness.

197 ylome. “On and on, for a long time.” See MED, ilome (adv.), “frequently, often.”

214 brouc. “Suit, be fitting, do credit to.” For this idiom, see MED, brouken (v.), sense 4.

311-14 For the terms of legal marriage expressed in these lines of private betrothal, see MED, welden (v.), sense 7.

362 For the idiomatic sense of this line, see MED, alive (adv. & adj.), sense 3(a).

379-80 Athelbrus’s warning cuts two ways and shows political acumen: Horn must be cautious in how he converses with the impetuous Rimenild, and he must also be secretive because the king does not know of the meeting.

383 to ryhte. For the meaning “directly,” see MED, right (n.), sense 8(c).

492 myn other derlyng. “My other favorite.” Aylmer seems to be saying that Horn will join Athelbrus in his inner circle at court. This concept fits with the pattern of paired comrades in the poem: for Allof, the two who are killed with him; for Horn, Athulf and Fikenild; later for Horn in Ireland, Berild and Athild. It is interesting that Aylmer later goes hunting with Fikenild. It seems that the treacherous friend fills in for Horn with the king, in parallel to the way Athulf often stands in for Horn in matters pertaining to Rimenild.

569-74 On the power of the ring, symbol of Horn and Rimenild’s love, see the interesting discussion by Cooper, pp. 149–50, 153–54. Observing that the ring itself seems less than magical, Cooper identifies its grace as the strength generated whenever Horn thinks upon his lady. She notes how “the condition of thinking of his lady to make the magic work . . . becomes the focus of the story” (p. 150).

589 sredde. “Clothed, dressed, armed (oneself).”; for this verb, which is repeated a few times in King Horn, see MED, shriden (v.)

732-34 In this farewell to Rimenild, Horn the “foundling,” repeats the word fo(u)nde, drawn from different verbs: “to depart” and “to seek, to experience”; see MED, founden (v.(1)) and finden (v.).

773 Godmod. Horn’s disguise name in the other versions is Cuthbert or Cutberd. On this name borrowed from a saint and specifically attached to Horn’s Irish adventure, see Bell, pp. 264–65. The name Godmod, “good or godly in spirit,” counterpoints Horn’s enemy, King Mody, whose name denotes arrogant pride.

775 from byweste. “from home.” The phrase puns on the direction of Horn’s travels. He has journeyed west to Ireland, so the phrase indicates literal travel from east to west; see MED, bi west(en (phrase, adv., prep.) and west (n.), sense 1.(b). But the poet has also expanded the meaning of the phrase by weste — first used unambiguously in line 5 to refer to Sudenne — to embrace its homonym, the OE-derived biwist (n.), “a dwelling place, home; a way or condition of life” (MED). The phrase — key to the meanings behind Horn’s movements — has confused many commentators. See, for example, Garbáty: “the author, minstrel, or scribe seems to have a predilection for blundering around the compass in odd directions” (p. 161). Compare lines 1135, 1181, and 1335.

813 Site, Kyng, bi kynge. In this version, the pagan giant names himself a king in his challenge to King Thurston: “Sit, King, beside another king.” The other versions read: Syte knythes by þe king (Oxford) and Site stille, sire kyng (Cambridge).

862 day. The variant in the Cambridge manuscript is deþ. Compare line 1378.

873 Kyng Murry. The maker of this version seems to have forgotten that he named Horn’s father Allof earlier in the poem. Murry is his name in other versions; see explanatory notes to lines 4 and 1345.

954 Estnesse. This place-name (a seeming synonym for Sudenne) does not occur in the Cambridge version, but it is found in the Oxford version. Horn is from Sudenne, which is east of Westness. In traveling to Ireland, land of King Thurston, he has traveled even further west.

1036 So he sprong of the stone. For this proverbial saying, see MED, ston (n.), sense 1.(j). Other instances cited there verify that the meaning is: “as alone and barren (of goods) as when he was born.” The proverb might allude to the myth of Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha throwing stones over their backs, from whence sprung people (Ovid, Metamorphoses, 1:390–415). See also McKnight’s proposed meaning: “The simile is one of quickness[,] that of a spark from the stone of striking a light, like modern ‘quick as a flash’” (p. 144, note to line 1102).

1072 bicollede. “Blackened with coal or soot.” The verb is attested only in King Horn. See MED, bicolwen (v.).

1116 ybounde. The semantic range of this past participle is rich, especially in this context. See MED, binden (v.). It could mean that Horn feels trapped or constrained in his disguised situation. It could mean that he is captivated and spellbound as he looks upon Rimenild. It may suggest that he is now ensnared in her net, in fulfillment of her dream. It also suggests his sense of obligation to her, in marriage and in sworn troth. The word also suggests that Horn faces his destiny and feels a compulsion to act.

1135 byweste. The phrase riddles on three meanings: “from the west” (i.e, from Ireland), “from Sudenne” (designated by weste, line 5), and “home” beside his wife Rimenild (see explanatory note to line 775).

1136 beste. Literally, “my best.” This word adds to the riddle. It means: “fortune” or “my best action” or “my best person” (i.e., Rimenild). Lines 1135–36 echo words spoken by Horn when he arrived in Ireland (lines 775–76), and similar riddling occurs at lines 1181–82. See MED, beste (adj. as n.), senses 1 and 2.

1148 have yorne. “Have traveled rapidly.” The verb is the past participle of MED, runnen (v.(1)).

1154 for Horn. The line puns on drinking from the horn and drinking to Horn. Rimenild is bewildered that the beggar has asked to drink from the horn, requesting an honor reserved for knights and nobles, and also that he has asked her to drink to Horn.

1179 Seint Gyle. The saint’s name puns on “guile” as it is uttered by the disguised Horn.

1181-82 See explanatory notes to lines 775, 1135, and 1136.

1202 gredde. This verb, “cried out” (MED, greden (v.)), obscures an important detail found in the other versions, both of which indicate that Rimenild has hidden a knife or knives in her bower for the purpose of slaying herself and King Mody, should Horn not come. The Oxford version reads hauede knyues leyd and the Cambridge version reads heo knif hudde.

1230 sclavin. This emendation of MS brunie (coat of mail), taken by Dunn and Byrnes and by Treharne, agrees with the reading found in the other two versions, and it makes better sense of the passage: Horn removes his disguise, the pilgrim’s cloak.

1291 thorhreche. “Penetrate, or seize.” For the range of this rare verb of violent action, see MED, thurghrechen (v.).

1335 woneth her by weste. This phrase means either “dwells here to the west” or “is from this western place” (i.e., Sudenne). See explanatory notes to lines 5 and 775.

1345 Kyng Mury. See the explanatory notes to lines 4 and 873.

1355 These words spoken by Athulf’s father may be meant to lightly recall the Nunc dimittis, or Canticle of Simeon. Promised by the Holy Ghost that he would not die before he had seen the Savior, Simeon rejoiced when he beheld infant Jesus with Mary (Luke 2:29–32).

1378 deye. The word means “death,” and yogh (deõe) is substituted for thorn (deþe). Compare the explanatory note to line 862.

1401 Murie. One might suspect wordplay here: Horn reestablishes his father’s murie kingdom. See also line 1489, where Horn brings this spirit to Westness.

1412 byflette. “Surrounded (by water).” This is the only instance of the word recorded in the MED; see biflette (v. (p.t.)). It appears in the Cambridge and Harley versions.

1429 overblenche. “Overturn, capsize.” This word is known only in King Horn.

1448 Ferde. Dunn and Byrnes, as well as Treharne, read the manuscript word as seide, “asked,” but the correct reading is ferde, attested by McKnight and Hall and also found in the other versions.

1456 Rymenildes. The reading in Harley and Oxford is Fykenildes. The emendation, adopted from the Cambridge version, is made because Rymenild’s bower is a symbolic constant in the poem, and because this line marks a shift to the heroine’s point of view.

1489 murie. See explanatory note to line 1401.

1525 under reme. “At a realm,” as in the Oxford version (in a reaume); the term is omitted in the Cambridge version. Dunn and Byrnes, and later Treharne, translate the phrase “at Reynis,” that is, the land of King Mody. Compare line 959.


ABBREVIATIONS: As: Aspin; Bö: Böddeker; Bos: Bossy; Br: Brook; BS: Bennett and Smithers; BZ: Brandl and Zippel; B13: Brown 1932; B14: Brown 1952; DB: Dunn and Byrnes; Deg: Degginger; Do: Dove 1969; Gr: Greene 1977; Ha: Halliwell; Hal: Hall; Hol: Holthausen; Hor1: Horstmann 1878; Hor2: Horstmann 1896; Hu: Hulme; JL: Jeffrey and Levy; Ju: Jubinal; Kel: Keller; Ken: Kennedy; Le: Lerer 2008; Mc: McKnight; Mi: Millett; MR: Michelant and Raynaud; Mo: Morris and Skeat; MS: MS Harley 2253; Mu: H. M. R. Murray; Pa: Patterson; Pr: Pringle 2009; Rei: Reichl 1973; Rev1: Revard 2004; Rev2: Revard 2005b; Ri1: Ritson 1877; Ri2: Ritson 1885; Ro: Robbins 1959; Sa: Saupe; Si: Silverstein; St: Stemmler 1970; Tr: Treharne; Tu: Turville-Petre 1989; Ul: Ulrich; W1: Wright 1839; W2: Wright 1841; W3: Wright 1842; W4: Wright 1844; WH: Wright and Halliwell.

8 myhte. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: myghte.

10 myhte. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: myghte.

15 So whit so. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, DB. Tr: Is so whit so.

21 Tuelf. MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal: Tueye. DB, Tr: Tweye. See explanatory note.

24 suythe. So MS (suyþe), Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: swyþe.

26 tueye. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: tweye.

37 tuo. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: two.

38 to. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: too.

45 yherde. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, DB. Tr: yherd.

46 onsuerede. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB: onswerede.

47 londfolk. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, DB. Tr: landfolk.

49 the. So MS (þe), Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: þee.

53 tuo. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB: two.

59 to. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: too.

66 Sarazyns. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: cherches for. See explanatory note.

67 myhte. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: myghte.

86 wrthe. So MS (wrþe), Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: wurþe.

94 this. So MS (þis), Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: thise.

112 suerd. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB: swerd.

123 suythe. So MS (suyþe), Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: swyþe.

153 sey thene. So MS (sey þene), Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: seythene.

161 dounes. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: doune.

162 children. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: chidren.
tounes. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: toune.

166 Crist. So Ri2, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. MS: est.

168 suythe. So MS (suyþe), Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: swyþe.

172 suythe. So MS (suyþe), Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: swyþe.

174 felaurade. So MS, Mc, Hal. Ri2: felanrade. DB, Tr: felawrade.

175 seh Y never. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, DB. Tr: seh Ich ynever.

198 londe. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, DB. Tr: lande.

199 Nou. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: Now.

202 spille. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: spylle.

207 onsuerede. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB: onswerede.

214 brouc. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: brouk (reads bront or brout).

216 dales. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: dale.
hulle. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: hille (reads halles).

218 Thurhout. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: Thurghout.

219 springe. So MS (ri abbreviated), Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: sprynge.

223 suete. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB: swete.

230 knyhtes. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: knyghtes.

234 fundling. So MS, Ri2, Hal, Tr. Mc, DB: fundlyng.

240 wystest. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: wystes.

255 kynges. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: kinges.

256 thohte. So MS (þohte), Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: thote.

273 hire. So MS, Ri2, Hal, DB, Tr. Mc: hue.

279 suythe. So MS (suyþe), Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: swyþe.

307 tueye. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: tweye.

309 heo. So MS, Ri2, Hal, DB, Tr. Mc: he.

326 Ant other. So MS (& oþer), Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: Other.

335 underfonge. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: undersonge.

338 so. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: sa.

340 aknen. So MS, Ri2, Mc. Hal, DB, Tr: akneu.

352 Bituene. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: Bitwene.
tueye. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: tweye.

363 thou. So MS (þou), Ri2, Hal, DB, Tr. Mc: þon.

379 suythe. So MS (suyþe), Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: swyþe.

380 herte. So MS, Ri2. Mc, Hal, DB, Tr: horte.

385 Aknewes. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: A kne wes.

386 suetliche. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB: swetliche.

389 spac. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: spak.

391 sothte. So MS (soþte), Mc. Ri2: sothta. Hal, DB, Tr: softe.

402 suere. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: swere.

413 wythoute. So MS (wyþoute), Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: withoute.

425 felde. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: selde.

428 Bituene. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: Bitwene.

440 Suete. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB: Swete.

454 ringes. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: ringe.

493 tuelve. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB: twelve.

499 springe. So MS (ri abbreviated), Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: sprynge.

501 tuelf. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB: twelf.

534 by me. So MS, Ri2, DB, Tr. Mc, Hal: byme.

550 fythte. So MS (fyþte), Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: fyhte.

560 ant. So MS, Ri2, Hal, DB, Tr. Mc: aut.

578 Myd. So MS, Ri2, Hal. Mc, DB, Tr: Mid.

580 sound. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: found.

589 sredde. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: fredde.

619 suerde. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB: swerde .

627 Y. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: I.

637 brynge. So MS, Ri2, Hal. Mc, DB, Tr: bringe.

640 woldeste. So MS. Ri2: wolde. Mc, Hal, DB, Tr: woldest.

659 Y caste. So MS. Ri2, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr: ycaste.

666 The. So MS (þe), Ri2, Mc, Hal, DB. Tr: Þat.

667 Seinte. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: seint.

694 suerd. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: swerd.

714 suert. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: swert.

721 suerd. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB: swerd.

722 to. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB: too.

723 suerd. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB: swerd.

744 Ant. So MS (&), Ri2, Mc, Hal, DB. Tr: An.

750 my love. So MS, Ri2, Hal, DB, Tr. Mc: loue.

764 hy. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: by.

765 bi. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: by.

766 tueye. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB: tweye.

778 bridel. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: bride.

796 be. So MS, Ri2, Hal, DB, Tr. Mc: þe.

804 nower. So MS, DB, Tr. Ri2: newer. Mc, Hal: no wer.

809 com. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: come.

810 suythe. So MS (suyþe), Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: swyþe.

821 oure thre. So MS (oure þre), Mc, Hal. Ri2: ure thre. DB, Tr: eure þre.

822 ore. So MS, Mc, Hal. Ri2: ure. DB, Tr: eure.

823 oure. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: eure.

843 suerd. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: swerd.

864 faylen. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: saylen.

871 ner. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: omitted.

885 suerd. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: swerd.

890 con. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: gon.

913 yslawe. So MS, Ri2, Hal, Tr. Mc, DB: yflawe.

916 Nys. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB, Tr: Nis.

917-18 In MS this couplet is added in the right margin.

926 Fulle. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, DB. Tr: Full.

932 hyre. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, DB. Tr: byre.

978 suythe. So MS (suyþe), Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: swyþe.

981 see. So Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. MS, Ri2: omitted.
throwe . So MS (þrowe), Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: thhrowe.

1014 were. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: wer.

1062 ye. So MS (3e), Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB: Y. Tr: I.

1070 wrynge. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: wringe.

1074 onsuerede. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB: onswerede.

1077 ywynne. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: ywinne.

1083 thre. So MS (þre), Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: the.

1118 hydeward. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: hyderward.

1119 shenh. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: shench. (reads shenk).

1131 null Ich ibite. So MS, Ri2, Hal, DB. Mc, Tr: nullich I bite.

1136 beste. So Ri2, Hal, DB, Tr. MS, Mc: bestee.

1169 hyre. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB: her.

1201 Hue. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, DB. Tr: Hoe.

1211 suere. So MS, Mc, Hal. Ri2: fuere. DB, Tr: swere.

1230 sclavin. So DB, Tr. MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal: brunie.

1237 froth. So MS, Mc, DB, Tr. Ri2, Hal: forth.

1247 suithe. So MS (suiþe), Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: swiþe.

1252 he. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: hue.

1257 suoren. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: sworen.

1259 suore. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: swore.

1267 suete. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB: swete.

1295 yynge. So MS (õynge), Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: yinge.

1297 shipe. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: ship.

1301 croude. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: cronde.

1302 loude. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: londe.

1303 Wythinne. So MS (wyþinne), Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: Withinne.

1304 bigan. So MS, Ri2, Tr, Hal. Mc, DB: began.

1312 liggynde. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: liggunde.

1315 knyht. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: knyght.

1321 thuncheth. So MS (þuncheþ), Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: thinks.

1324 suerd. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB: swerd.

1325 knyht. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: knyght.

1331 Sarazyns. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: Sarazynes.

1332 After this line DB insert 2 lines from the Oxford version: God, on wam Y leve, / Tho hue makeden me reve.

1345 Ant slowen. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB: Hue slowen. Tr: Ant hue slowen.

1346 Hornes cunesmon. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: Horn es com es mon.

1348 Tuelf. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal. DB, Tr: Twelf.

1355 tueye. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB: tweye.

1369 Suete. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB: Swete.

1382 folk. So MS, Ri2, Hal. Mc, DB, Tr: folc.

1390 The. So MS (de þe, de marked for deletion), Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: De the.

1398 fette. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: sette.

1417 Thus. So MS (þus with us abbreviated), Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: Ther.

1419 gan. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: gen.

1423 Rymenild. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, DB. Tr: Rymenhild.

1425 nyht. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: nyhte.
suete. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB: swete.

1430 adrenche. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, DB. Tr: drenche.

1434 suerdes. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB: swerdes.

1448 Ferde. So MS, Mc, Hal. Ri2: Sende. DB, Tr: Seide.

1449 brhyte. So MS, Mc, Hal. Ri2, DB, Tr: bryhte.

1456 Rymenildes. MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr: Fykenildes. See explanatory note.

1462 Horn. So Ri2, Hal, Mc, DB, Tr. MS: horns.

1466 abide. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: abyde.

1467 kynges sone. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: kyngsone.

1470 Yweddeth. So MS (yweddeþ), Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB: Y-wedded.

1476 no. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: na.

1482 toc. So MS (toc or tot), Ri2, Mc (reads tot), Hal, DB, Tr.

1485 Oven. So MS, Mc, Hal, DB, Tr. Ri2: Onen.

1486 suerde. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB: swerde.

1493 harpeirs. So MS, Mc, DB, Tr. Ri2, Hal: harperis.

1500 weylaway. So MS, Ri2, Hal. Mc, DB, Tr: weylawey.

1508 suorde. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, Tr. DB: sworde.

1539 com. So MS, Ri2, Mc, Hal, DB. Tr: corn.






























































































































































































































































































































Her bygynneth the Geste of Kyng Horn.

     ¶ Alle heo ben blythe
That to my song ylythe.
A song Ychulle ou singe
Of Allof the gode kynge.
Kyng he wes by weste
The whiles hit yleste;
Ant Godylt his gode quene,
No feyrore myhte bene;
Ant huere sone hihte Horn,
Feyrore child ne myhte be born.
For reyn ne myhte byryne,
Ne sonne myhte shyne
Feyrore child then he was:
Bryht so ever eny glas,
So whit so eny lylye-flour,
So rose red wes his colour.
He wes feyr ant eke bold,
Ant of fyftene wynter old.
Nis non his yliche
In none kinges ryche!
      Tuelf feren he hadde
That he with him ladde,
Alle riche menne sones,
Ant alle suythe feyre gomes
Wyth him forte pleye.
Mest he lovede tueye:
That on wes hoten Athulf Chyld,
Ant that other Fykenyld.
Athulf wes the beste,
Ant Fykenyld the werste.
      Hyt was upon a someres day,
Also Ich ou telle may.
Allof the gode kyng
Rod upon ys pleyyyng
Bi the seeside
Ther he was woned to ryde.
With him ne ryde bote tuo —
Al to fewe hue were tho!
He fond by the stronde,
Aryved on is londe,
Shipes fyftene
Of Sarazynes kene.
He askede whet hue sohten
Other on is lond brohten.
     A payen hit yherde
Ant sone him onsuerede:
“Thy londfolk we wolleth slon,
That ever Crist leveth on,
Ant the, we wolleth ryht anon,
Shalt thou never henne gon!”
     The kyng lyhte of his stede,
For tho he hevede nede;
Ant his gode feren tuo
Mid ywis huem wes ful wo.
Swerd hy gonne gripe
Ant togedere smyte.
Hy smyten under shelde,
That hy somme yfelde.

     ¶ The kyng hade to fewe
Ageyn so monie schrewe:
So fele myhten ethe
Bringe thre to dethe!
The payns come to londe
Ant nomen hit an honde.
The folk hy gonne quelle,
Ant Sarazyns, to felle,
Ther ne myhte libbe,
The fremede ne the sibbe,
Bote he is lawe forsoke
Ant to huere toke.
     Of alle wymmanne
Werst wes Godyld thanne:
For Allof hy wepeth sore
Ant for Horn yet more.
Godild hade so muche sore
That habbe myhte hue na more.
Hue wente out of halle,
From hire maidnes alle,
Under a roche of stone
Ther hue wonede alone.
Ther hue servede Gode
Ageyn the payenes forbode;
Ther hue servede Crist,
That the payenes hit nust,
Ant ever hue bad for Horn Child,
That Crist him wrthe myld.

     ¶ Horn wes in payenes hond
Mid is feren of the lond.
Muche wes the feyrhade
That Jesu Crist him made.
Payenes him wolde slo,
Ant summe him wolde flo;
Yyf Hornes feyrnesse nere,
Yslawe this children were.
     Tho spec on admyrold,
Of wordes he wes swythe bold:
“Horn, thou art swythe kene,
Bryht of hewe ant shene;
Thou art fayr ant eke strong,
Ant eke eveneliche long.
Yef thou to lyve mote go,
Ant thyne feren also,
That Y may byfalle
That ye shule slen us alle.
Tharefore thou shalt to streme go,
Thou ant thy feren also;
To shipe ye shule founde
Ant sinke to the grounde!
The see the shal adrenche,
Ne shal hit us ofthenche.
For yef thou were alyve
With suerd other with knyve,
We shulden alle deye
Thy fader deth to beye.”
     The children ede to the stronde,
Wryngynde huere honde,
Ant into shipes borde
At the furste worde.
Ofte hade Horn be wo,
Ah never wors then him wes tho!

     ¶ The see bygon to flowen,
Ant Horn faste to rowen,
Ant that ship wel suythe drof,
Ant Horn wes adred therof!
Hue wenden mid ywisse
Of huere lyve to misse.
Al the day ant al the nyht,
O that sprong the daylyht,
Flotterede Horn by the stronde
Er he seye eny londe.
     “Feren,” quoth Horn the yynge,
“Y telle ou tydynge:
Ich here foules singe,
Ant se the grases springe.
Blythe, be ye alyve!
Ur ship is come to ryve.”
     Of shipe hy gonne founde
Ant sette fot to grounde
By the seesyde.
Hure ship bigon to ryde.
     Thenne spec him Child Horn,
In Sudenne he was yborn:
“Nou, ship, by the flode,
Have dayes gode!
By the see brynke,
No water the adrynke.
Softe mote thou sterye,
That water the ne derye.
Yef thou comest to Sudenne,
Gret hem that me kenne.
Gret wel the gode
Quene Godild mi moder!
Ant sey thene hethene kyng,
Jesu Cristes wytherlyng,
That Ich, hol ant fere,
In londe aryvede here,
Ant say that he shal fonde
Then deth of myne honde!”

     ¶ The ship bigon to fleoten,
Ant Horn Child to weopen.
By dales ant by dounes
The children eoden to tounes.
Metten hue Eylmer the kyng,
Crist him geve god tymyng! —
Kyng of Westnesse,
Crist him myhte blesse!
      He spec to Horn Child
Wordes suythe myld:
“Whenne be ye, gomen,
That bueth her alonde ycomen,
Alle threttene
Of bodye suythe kene?
By God that me made,
So feyr a felaurade
Ne seh Y never stonde
In Westnesse londe.
Say me whet ye seche.”
Horn spec huere speche.

     ¶ Horn spac for huem alle,
For so hit moste byfalle —
He wes the wyseste
Ant of wytte the beste:
“We bueth of Sudenne,
Ycome of gode kenne,
Of Cristene blode,
Of cunne swythe gode.
Payenes ther connen aryve
Ant Cristine brohten of lyve,
Slowen ant todrowe
Cristine men ynowe.
So Crist me mote rede,
Ous hy duden lede
Into a galeye
With the see to pleye.
Day is gon ant other,
Withoute seyl ant rother,
Ure ship flet forth ylome,
Ant her to londe hit ys ycome.
Nou thou myht us slen ant bynde
Oure honde us bihynde,
Ah yef hit is thi wille,
Help us that we ne spille!”

     ¶ Tho spac the gode kyng,
He nes never nythyng:
“Sey, child, whet is thy name?
Shal the tide bote game.”
     The child him onsuerede
So sone he hit yherde:
“Horn Ych am yhote,
Ycome out of this bote
From the seeside.
Kyng, wel the bitide.”
     “Horn Child,” quoth the kyng,
“Wel brouc thou thy nome, yyng.
Horn him goth so stille
Bi dales ant by hulles;
Horn hath loude soune
Thurhout uch a toune.
So shal thi nome springe
From kynge to kynge,
Ant thi feirnesse
Aboute Westnesse.
Horn, thou art so suete,
Ne shal Y the forlete.”
     Hom rod Aylmer the kyng,
Ant Horn with him, his fundlyng,
Ant alle his yfere
That him were so duere.
     The kyng com into halle,
Among his knyhtes alle.
Forth he clepeth Athelbrus,
His stiward, ant him seide thus:
“Stiward, tac thou here
My fundling, forto lere,
Of thine mestere,
Of wode ant of ryvere;
Ant toggen o the harpe
With is nayles sharpe;
Ant tech him alle the listes
That thou ever wystest:
Byfore me to kerven,
Ant of my coupe to serven.
Ant his feren devyse
With ous other servise.
Horn Child, thou understond,
Tech him of harpe ant of song.”

     ¶ Athelbrus gon leren
Horn ant hyse feren.
Horn mid herte lahte
Al that mon him tahte.
Withinne court ant withoute,
Ant overal aboute,
Lovede men Horn Child,
Ant most him lovede Rymenyld,
The kynges oune dohter,
For he wes in hire thohte.
     Hue lovede him in hire mod,
For he wes feir ant eke god.
Ant thah hue ne dorste, at bord,
Mid him speke ner a word,
Ne in the halle,
Among the knyhtes alle,
Hyre sorewe ant hire pyne
Nolde never fyne
Bi daye ne by nyhte,
For hue speke ne myhte
With Horn, that wes so feir ant fre.
Tho hue ne myhte with him be,
In herte hue hade care ant wo,
Ant thus hue bithohte hire tho.
Hue sende hyre sonde
Athelbrus to honde,
That he come hire to,
Ant also shulde Horn do,
Into hire boure,
For hue bigon to loure.
Ant the sonde sayde
That seek wes the mayde,
Ant bed him come suythe,
For hue nis nout blythe.

     ¶ The stiward wes in huerte wo,
For he nuste whet he shulde do,
What Rymenild bysohte.
Gret wonder, him thohte,
Aboute Horn the yinge,
To boure forte bringe.
He thohte on is mode
Hit nes for none gode.
He tok with him another:
Athulf, Hornes brother.
     “Athulf,” quoth he, “ryht anon
Thou shalt with me to boure gon
To speke with Rymenild stille,
To wyte hyre wille.
Thou art Hornes yliche —
Thou shalt hire bysuyke;
Sore me adrede
That hue wole Horn mysrede.”
     Athelbrus ant Athulf bo
To hire boure beth ygo.
Upon Athulf Childe
Rymenild con waxe wilde —
Hue wende Horn it were
That hue hade there.
Hue seten adoun stille
Ant seyden hure wille;
In hire armes tueye
Athulf he con leye.
     “Horn,” quoth heo, “wel longe
Y have loved the stronge;
Thou shalt thy treuthe plyhte
In myn hond, with ryhte,
Me to spouse welde
Ant Ich the louerd to helde.”
     So stille so hit were
Athulf seyde in hire eere:
“Ne tel thou no more speche,
May Y the byseche
Thi tale gyn thou lynne,
For Horn nis nout herynne,
Ne be we nout yliche,
For Horn is fayr ant ryche,
Fayrore by one ribbe
Then ani mon that libbe.
Thah Horn were under molde
Ant other ellewher he sholde
Hennes a thousent milen,
Y nulle him bigilen.”

     ¶ Rymenild hire bywente,
Ant Athelbrus thus heo shende:
“Athelbrus, thou foule thef,
Ne worthest thou me never lef!
Went out of my boure!
Shame the mote byshoure,
Ant evel hap to underfonge
Ant evele rode on to honge!
Ne speke Y nout with Horne,
Nis he nout so unorne!”

     ¶ Tho Athelbrus, astounde,
Fel aknen to grounde:
“Ha, levedy myn owe,
Me lythe a lutel throwe,
Ant list werefore Ych wonde
To bringen Horn to honde.
For Horn is fayr ant riche —
Nis non his ylyche —
Aylmer the gode kyng
Dude him me in lokyng.
Yif Horn the were aboute,
Sore Ich myhte doute
With him thou woldest pleye,
Bituene ouselven tueye.
Thenne shulde withouten othe
The kyng us make wrothe.
Ah, forgef me thi teone,
My levedy ant my quene!
Horn Y shal the fecche,
Whamso hit yrecche.”
     Rymenild, yef heo couthe,
Con lythe with hyre mouthe;
Heo loh ant made hire blythe.
For wel wes hyre olyve!
“Go thou,” quoth heo, “sone,
Ant send him after none,
A skuyeres wyse.
When the king aryse,
He shal myd me bileve
That hit be ner eve;
Have Ich of him mi wille —
Ne recchi whet men telle!”

     ¶ Athelbrus goth withalle;
Horn he fond in halle,
Bifore the kyng o benche,
Wyn forte shenche.
     “Horn,” quoth he, “thou hende
To boure gyn thou wende
To speke with Rymenild the yynge,
Dohter oure kynge;
Wordes suythe bolde
Thin herte gyn thou holde,
Horn, be thou me trewe.
Shal the nout arewe.”
     He eode forth to ryhte
To Rymenild the bryhte.
Aknewes he him sette,
Ant suetliche hire grette.
Of is fayre syhte
Al that bour gan lyhte!
He spac faire is speche;
Ne durth non him teche:
“Wel thou sitte ant sothte,
Rymenild, kinges dohter,
Ant thy maydnes here,
That sitteth thyne yfere.
Kynges styward oure
Sende me to boure
Forte yhere, levedy myn,
Whet be wille thyn.”
     Rymenild up gon stonde
Ant tok him by the honde.
Heo made feyre chere,
Ant tok him bi the suere,
Ofte heo him custe,
So wel hyre luste.
“Welcome, Horn,” thus sayde
Rymenild that mayde.
“An even ant amorewe,
For the Ich habbe sorewe
That Y have no reste,
Ne slepe me ne lyste.
Horn, thou shalt wel swythe
Mi longe serewe lythe.
Thou shalt, wythoute strive,
Habbe me to wyve.
Horn, have of me reuthe,
Ant plyht me thi treuthe.”

     ¶ Horn tho him bythohte
Whet he speken ohte.
“Crist,” quoth Horn, “the wisse
Ant geve the hevene blisse
Of thine hosebonde,
Who he be alonde.
Ich am ybore thral,
Thy fader fundlyng, withal;
Of kunde me ne felde
The to spouse welde.
Hit nere no fair weddyng
Bituene a thral ant the kyng.”
     Tho gon Rymenild mislyken,
Ant sore bigon to syken,
Armes bigon unbowe,
Ant doun heo fel yswowe.
Horn hire up hente,
Ant in is armes trente.
He gon hire to cusse,
Ant feyre, forte wisse.
     “Rymenild,” quoth he, “duere,
Help me that Ych were
Ydobbed to be knyhte,
Suete, bi al thi myhte,
To mi louerd the kyng —
That he me geve dobbyng.
Thenne is my thralhede
Al wend into knyhthede;
Y shal waxe more,
Ant do, Rymenild, thi lore.”
     Tho Rymenild the yynge
Aros of hire swowenynge:
“Nou, Horn, to sothe,
Y leve the, by thyn othe.
Thou shalt be maked knyht
Er then this fourteniht.
Ber thou her thes coppe,
Ant thes ringes theruppe,
To Athelbrus the styward,
Ant say him he holde foreward.
Sey Ich him biseche,
With loveliche speche,
That he for the falle
To the kynges fet in halle,
That he, with is worde,
The knyhty with sworde.
With selver ant with golde
Hit worth him wel yyolde.
Nou Crist him lene spede
Thin erndyng do bede.”

     ¶ Horn toke is leve,
For hit wes neh eve.
Athelbrus he sohte
Ant tok him that he brohte,
Ant tolde him thare
Hou he hede yfare.
He seide him is nede,
Ant him bihet is mede.
     Athelbrus so blythe
Eode into halle swythe
Ant seide: “Kyng, nou leste
O tale mid the beste.
Thou shalt bere coroune
Tomarewe in this toune.
Tomarewe is thi feste —
The bihoveth geste.
Ich the rede mid al my myht
That thou make Horn knyht
Thin armes do him welde.
God knyht he shal the yelde.”
     The kyng seide wel sone:
“Hit is wel to done!
Horn me wel quemeth;
Knyht him wel bysemeth.
He shal have mi dobbyng
Ant be myn other derlyng,
Ant hise feren tuelve
He shal dobbe himselve.
Alle Y shal hem knyhte
Byfore me to fyhte!”
     Al that the lyhte day sprong,
Aylmere thohte long.
The day bigon to springe.
Horn com byfore the kynge
With his tuelf fere,
Alle ther ywere.
Horn knyht made he
With ful gret solempnite,
Sette him on a stede
Red so eny glede.
Smot him a lute wiht
Ant bed him buen a god knyht.
Athulf vel akne ther
Ant thonkede Kyng Aylmer:

     ¶ “Nou is knyht Sire Horn,
That in Sudenne wes yborn.
Lord he is of londe
Ant of us, that by him stonde.
Thin armes he haveth ant thy sheld
Forte fyhte in the feld.
Let him us alle knyhte,
So hit is his ryhte.”
     Aylmer seide ful ywis:
“Nou do that thi wille ys.”
Horn adoun con lyhte
Ant made hem alle to knyhte.
For muchel wes the geste,
Ant more wes the feste!
     That Rymenild nes nout there.
Hire thohte seve yere.
Efter, Horn hue sende.
Horn into boure wende.
He nolde gon is one —
Athulf wes hys ymone.

     ¶ “Rymenild welcometh Sire Horn
Ant Athulf, knyht him biforn:
“Knyht, nou is tyme
Forto sitte by me.
Do nou that we spake:
To thi wyf thou me take.
Nou thou hast wille thyne,
Unbynd me of this pyne!”
     “Rymenild, nou be stille.
Ichulle don al thy wille,
Ah her hit so bitide,
Mid spere Ichulle ryde
Ant my knyhthod prove
Er then Ich the wowe.
We bueth nou knyhtes yonge,
Alle today yspronge,
Ant of the mestere
Hit is the manere:
With sum other knyhte
For his lemmon to fythte,
Er ne he eny wyf take,
Other wyth wymmon forewart make.
Today, so Crist me blesse,
Y shal do pruesse
For thi love, mid shelde,
Amiddewart the felde.
Yef Ich come to lyve,
Ychul the take to wyve.”
     “Knyht, Y may yleve the,
Why, ant thou trewe be.

     ¶ “Have her this gold ring.
Hit is ful god to thi dobbyng.
Ygraved is on the rynge
‘Rymenild, thy luef, the yynge.’
Nis non betere under sonne
That eny mon of conne.
For mi love thou hit were,
Ant on thy fynger thou hit bere.
The ston haveth suche grace
Ne shalt thou, in none place,
Deth underfonge
Ne buen yslaye with wronge,
Yef thou lokest theran
Ant thenchest o thi lemman.
Ant Sire Athulf, thi brother,
He shal han enother.
Horn, Crist Y the byteche,
Myd mourninde speche —
Crist the geve god endyng,
Ant sound ageyn the brynge!”
The knyht hire gan to cusse,
Ant Rymenild him to blesse.
     Leve at hyre he nom
Ant into halle he com.
Knyhtes eode to table,
Ant Horn eode to stable.
Ther he toc his gode fole,
Blac so ever eny cole.
With armes he him sredde,
Ant is fole he fedde.
     The fole bigon to springe,
Ant Horn murie to synge.
Horn rod one whyle,
Wel more then a myle.
He seh a shyp at grounde
With hethene hounde.
He askede wet hue hadden,
Other to londe ladden.
An hound him gan biholde
Ant spek wordes bolde:
“This land we wolleth wynne
Ant sle that ther bueth inne!”
     Horn gan his swerd gripe
Ant on is arm hit wype.
The Sarazyn he hitte so
That is hed fel to ys to.
Tho gonne the houndes gone
Ageynes Horn ys one.
He lokede on is rynge
Ant thohte o Rymenyld the yynge.
He sloh therof the beste,
An houndred at the leste,
Ne mihte no mon telle
Alle that he gon quelle;
Of that ther were oryve,
He lafte lut olyve.

     ¶ Horn tok the maister heued,
That he him hade byreved,
Ant sette on is suerde,
Aboven o then orde.
He ferde hom to halle,
Among the knyhtes alle.
     “Kyng,” quoth he, “wel thou sitte,
Ant thine knyhtes mitte.
Today Ich rod o my pleyyng
After my dobbyng.
Y fond a ship rowen
In the sound byflowen
Mid unlondisshe menne
Of Sarazynes kenne,
To dethe forte pyne
The ant alle thyne.
Hy gonne me asayly;
Swerd me nolde fayly!
Y smot hem alle to grounde
In a lutel stounde.
The heued Ich the brynge
Of the maister, Kynge.
Nou have Ich the yolde
That thou me knyhten woldeste.”
     The day bigon to springe.
The kyng rod on hontynge
To the wode wyde
Ant Fykenyld bi is syde,
That fals wes ant untrewe,
Whose him wel yknewe.

     ¶ Horn ne thohte nout him on,
Ant to boure wes ygon.
He fond Rymenild sittynde
Ant wel sore wepynde,
So whyt so the sonne,
Mid terres al byronne.
     Horn seide: “Luef, thyn ore,
Why wepest thou so sore?”
     Hue seide: “Ich nout ne wepe
Ah Y shal er Y slepe!
Me thohte o my metyng
That Ich rod o fysshyng.
To see my net Y caste,
Ant wel fer hit laste.
A gret fysshe at the ferste
My net made berste.
That fysshe me so bycahte
That Y nout ne lahte —
Y wene Y shal forleose
The fysshe that Y wolde cheose!”

     ¶ “Crist ant Seinte Stevene,”
Quoth Horn, “areche thy swevene:
No shal Y the byswyke,
Ne do that the mislyke.
Ich take the myn owe,
To holde ant eke to knowe
For everuch other wyhte.
Therto my trouthe Y plyhte.”
     Wel muche was the reuthe
That wes at thilke treuthe!
Rymenild wep wel ylle,
Ant Horn let terres stille.
     “Lemmon,” quoth he, “dere,
Thou shalt more yhere.
Thy sweven shal wende:
Summon us wole shende.
That fysshe that brac thy net —
Ywis, it is sumwet
That wol us do sum teone.
Ywis, hit worth ysene.”

     ¶ Aylmer rod by Stoure,
Ant Horn wes yne boure.
Fykenyld hade envye
Ant seyde theose folye:
“Aylmer, Ich the werne,
Horn the wole forberne!
Ich herde wher he seyde,
Ant his suerd he leyde
To brynge the of lyve,
Ant take Rymenyld to wyve.
He lyht nou in boure,
Under covertoure,
By Rymenyld thy dohter,
Ant so he doth wel ofte.
Do him out of londe
Er he do more shonde.”

     ¶ Aylmer gan hom turne,
Wel mody ant wel sturne.
He fond Horn under arme
In Rymenyldes barme.
“Go out!” quoth Aylmer the kyng.
“Horn, thou foule fundlyng,
Forth out of boures flore,
For Rymenild thin hore!
Wend out of londe sone!
Her nast thou nout to done —
Wel sone bote thou flette,
Myd suert Y shal the sette!”
     Horn eode to stable,
Wel modi for that fable.
He sette sadel on stede;
With armes he gon him shrede.
His brunie he con lace,
So he shulde, into place.
His suerd he gon fonge;
Ne stod he nout to longe.
To is suerd he gon teon.
Ne durste non wel him seon.
     He seide: “Lemmon, derlyng,
Nou thou havest thy swevenyng.
The fysshe that thyn net rende,
From the me he sende.
The kyng with me gynneth strive;
Awey he wole me dryve.
Tharefore, have nou godneday!
Nou Y mot founde ant fare away
Into uncouthe londe.
Wel more forte fonde,
Y shal wonie there
Fulle seve yere.
At the seve yeres ende,
Yyf Y ne come ne sende,
Tac thou hosebonde.
For me that thou ne wonde.
In armes thou me fonge
Ant cus me swythe longe!”
Hy custen hem a stounde,
Ant Rymenyld fel to grounde.

     ¶ Horn toc his leve,
He myhte nout byleve.
He toc Athulf is fere
Aboute the swere
Ant seide: “Knyht, so trewe,
Kep wel my love newe.
Thou never ne forsoke
Rymenild to kepe ant loke.”
His stede he bigan stryde,
Ant forth he con hym ryde.
Athulf wep with eyyen,
Ant alle that hit yseyyen.
     Horn forth him ferde.
A god ship he him herde
That him shulde passe
Out of Westnesse.
The wynd bigon to stonde
Ant drof hem upo londe.
     To londe that hy fletten,
Fot out of ship hy setten.
He fond bi the weye
Kynges sones tueye.
That on wes hoten Athyld,
Ant that other Beryld.
Beryld hym con preye
That he shulde seye
What he wolde there
Ant what ys nome were.

     ¶ “Godmod,” he seith, “Ich hote,
Ycomen out of this bote,
Wel fer from byweste,
To seche myne beste.”
     Beryld con ner him ryde
Ant toc him bi the bridel:
“Wel be thou, knyht, yfounde.
With me thou lef a stounde.
Also, Ich mote sterve,
The kyng thou shalt serve!
Ne seh Y never alyve
So feir knyht her aryve!”
     Godmod he ladde to halle.
Ant he adoun gan falle,
Ant sette him a knelyng,
Ant grette thene gode kyng.
Tho saide Beryld wel sone:
“Kyng, with him thou ast done;
Thi lond tac him to werie.
Ne shal the no mon derye,
For he is the feyreste man
That ever in this londe cam.”

     ¶ Tho seide the kyng: “Wel dere
Welcome be thou here!
Go, Beryld, wel swythe,
Ant make hym wel blythe.
Ant when thou farest to wowen,
Tac him thine gloven!
Ther thou hast munt to wyve,
Awey he shal the dryve —
For Godmodes feyrhede,
Shalt thou nower spede!”
     Hit wes at Cristesmasse,
Nouther more ne lasse.
The kyng made feste
Of his knyhtes beste.
Ther com in at none
A geaunt, suythe sone,
Yarmed of paynyme,
Ant seide thise ryme:
“Site, Kyng, bi kynge,
Ant herkne my tidynge.
Her bueth paynes aryve,
Wel more then fyve.
Her beth upon honde,
Kyng, in thine londe.
On therof wol fyhte
Togeynes thre knyhtes.
Yef oure thre sleh oure on,
We shulen of ore londe gon;
Yef ure on sleh oure thre,
Al this lond shal ure be.
Tomorewe shal be the fyhtynge
At the sonne upspringe.”

     ¶ Tho seyde the Kyng Thurston:
“Godmod shal be that on,
Beryld shal be that other,
The thridde, Athyld is brother,
For hue bueth strongeste
Ant in armes the beste.
Ah wat shal us to rede?
Y wene we bueth dede!”
     Godmod set at borde
Ant seide theose wordes:
“Sire Kyng, nis no ryhte
On with thre fyhte;
Ageynes one hounde,
Thre Cristene to founde.
Ah, Kyng, Y shal alone,
Withoute more ymone,
With my suerd ful ethe
Bringen hem alle to dethe.”
     The kyng aros amorewe;
He hade muche sorewe.
Godmod ros of bedde.
With armes he him shredde:
His brunye he on caste,
Ant knutte hit wel faste,
Ant com him to the kynge
At his uprysynge.
     “Kyng,” quoth he, “com to felde
Me forte byhelde,
Hou we shule flyten
Ant togedere smiten.”

     ¶ Riht at prime tide
Hy gonnen out to ryde.
Hy founden in a grene
A geaunt swythe kene,
His feren him biside,
That day forto abyde.
Godmod hem gon asaylen —
Nolde he nout faylen!
He gef duntes ynowe;
The payen fel yswowe.
Ys feren gonnen hem withdrawe,
For huere maister wes neh slawe.
     He seide, “Knyht, thou reste
Awhyle, yef the leste.
Y ne hevede ner of monnes hond
So harde duntes, in non lond,
Bote of the Kyng Murry,
That wes swithe sturdy.
He wes of Hornes kenne.
Y sloh him in Sudenne!”

     ¶ Godmod him gon agryse,
Ant his blod aryse.
Byforen him he seh stonde
That drof him out of londe
Ant fader his aquelde!
He smot him under shelde.
He lokede on is rynge
Ant thohte o Rymenild the yynge.
Mid god suerd, at the furste,
He smot him thourh the huerte.
     The payns bigonne to fleon
Ant to huere shype teon —
To ship hue wolden erne!
Godmod hem con werne.
The kynges sones tweyne,
The paiens slowe beyne.
Tho wes Godmod swythe wo,
Ant the payens he smot so
That in a lutel stounde
The paiens hy felle to grounde.
Godmod ant is men
Slowe the payenes everuchen.
His fader deth ant ys lond
Awrek Godmod with his hond!
     The kyng, with reuthful chere,
Lette leggen is sones on bere,
Ant bringen hom to halle.
Muche sorewe hue maden alle
In a chirche of lym ant ston.
Me buriede hem with ryche won.

     ¶ The kyng lette forth calle
Hise knyhtes alle,
Ant seide: “Godmod, yef thou nere,
Alle ded we were!
Thou art bothe god ant feyr.
Her Y make the myn heyr,
For my sones bueth yslawe
Any ybroht of lyfdawe.
Dohter Ich habbe one —
Nys non so feyr of blod ant bone! —
Ermenild that feyre may,
Bryht so eny someres day.
Hire wolle Ich geve the,
Ant her kyng shalt thou be.”
     He seyde: “More Ichul the serve,
Kyng, er then thou sterve.
When Y thy dohter yerne,
Heo ne shal me nothyng werne.”

     ¶ Godmod wonede there
Fulle six yere,
Ant the sevethe yer bygon.
To Rymynyld sonde ne sende he non.
Rymenyld wes in Westnesse
With muchel sorewenesse.
A kyng ther wes aryve
Ant wolde hyre han to wyve.
At one were the kynges
Of that weddynge.
The dayes were so sherte,
Ant Rymenild ne derste
Latten on none wyse.
A wryt hue dude devyse —
Athulf hit dude wryte,
That Horn ne lovede nout lyte.
Hue sende hire sonde
Into everuche londe
To sechen Horn Knyhte
Whesoer me myhte.
     Horn therof nout herde,
Til o day that he ferde
To wode forte shete,
A page he gan mete.
Horn seide, “Leve fere,
Whet dest thou nou here?”
     “Sire, in lutel spelle
Y may the sone telle:
Ich seche from Westnesse
Horn Knyht of Estnesse,
For Rymenild that feyre may
Soreweth for him nyht ant day.
A kyng hire shal wedde,
A Sonneday to bedde,
Kyng Mody of Reynis,
That is Hornes enimis.
Ich habbe walked wyde
By the seeside.
Ne mihte Ich him never cleche
With nones kunnes speche,
Ne may Ich of him here
In londe fer no nere.
Weylawey the while,
Him may hente gyle!”

     ¶ Horn hit herde with earen
Ant spec with wete tearen:
“So wel, grom, the bitide.
Horn stond by thi syde.
Ageyn to Rymenild turne,
Ant sey that hue ne murne —
Y shal be ther bitime,
A Sonneday er prime.”
     The page wes wel blythe,
Ant shipede wel suythe.
The see him gon adrynke!
That Rymenil may ofthinke!
The see him con ded throwe
Under hire chambre wowe.
Rymenild lokede wide
By the seesyde
Yef heo seye Horn come
Other tidynge of eny gome;
Tho fond hue hire sonde,
Adronque, by the stronde,
That shulde Horn brynge.
Hire hondes gon hue wrynge!

     ¶ Horn com to Thurston the kynge
Ant tolde him thes tidynge,
Ant tho he was biknowe
That Rymenild wes ys owe,
Ant of his gode kenne,
The kyng of Sudenne,
Ant hou he sloh afelde
Him that is fader aquelde.
Ant seide: “Kyng, so wyse,
Yeld me my service.
Rymenild help me to wynne,
Swythe, that thou ne blynne!
Ant Y shal do to house
Thy dohter wel to spouse,
For hue shal to spouse have
Athulf, my gode felawe.
He is knyht mid the beste
Ant on of the treweste.”
     The kyng seide so stille,
“Horn, do al thi wille.”
He sende tho by sonde
Yend al is londe
After knyhtes to fyhte
That were men so lyhte.
To him come ynowe
That into shipe drowe.

     ¶ Horn dude him in the weye
In a gret galeye.
The wynd bigon to blowe
In a lutel throwe.
The see bigan with ship to gon,
To Westnesse hem brohte anon.
Hue striken seyl of maste
Ant ancre gonnen caste.
Matynes were yronge
Ant the masse ysonge
Of Rymenild the yynge
Ant of Mody the kynge.
Ant Horn wes in watere —
Ne mihte he come no latere!
He let is ship stonde
Ant com him up to londe.
His folk he made abyde
Under a wode syde.

     ¶ Horn eode forh alone
So he sprong of the stone.
On palmere he ymette
Ant with wordes hyne grette.
“Palmere, thou shalt me telle,”
He seyde, “of thine spelle,
So brouke thou thi croune —
Why comest thou from toune?”
     Ant he seide on is tale:
“Y come from a brudale,
From brudale wylde
Of maide Remenylde.
Ne mihte hue nout dreye
That hue ne wep with eye.
Hue seide that ‘hue nolde
Be spoused with golde —
Hue hade hosebonde,
Thah he were out of londe.’
Ich wes in the halle,
Withinne the castel walle;
Awey Y gon glide —
The dole Y nolde abyde!
Ther worth a dole reuly!
The brude wepeth bitterly.”
     Quoth Horn: “So Crist me rede,
We wolleth chaunge wede.
Tac thou robe myne,
Ant ye schlaveyn thyne.
Today Y shal ther drynke
That summe hit shal ofthynke.”
     Sclaveyn he gon doun legge,
Ant Horn hit dude on rugge,
Ant toc Hornes clothes —
That nout him were lothe!

     ¶ Horn toc bordoun ant scrippe
Ant gan to wrynge is lippe.
He made foule chere
Ant bicollede is swere.
He com to the gateward,
That him onsuerede froward.
Horn bed undo wel softe,
Moni tyme ant ofte,
Ne myhte he ywynne
Forto come therynne.
Horn the wyket puste
That hit open fluste.
The porter shulde abugge —
He threw him adoun the brugge,
That thre ribbes crakede!
Horn to halle rakede,
Ant sette him doun wel lowe
In the beggeres rowe.
He lokede aboute
Myd is collede snoute.
Ther seh he Rymenild sitte
Ase hue were out of wytte,
Wepinde sore,
Ah he seh nower thore
Athulf is gode felawe,
That trewe wes in uch plawe.

     ¶ Athulf wes o tour ful heh
To loke, fer ant eke neh,
After Hornes comynge,
Yef water him wolde brynge.
The see he seh flowe,
Ah Horn nower rowe.
He seyde on is songe:
“Horn, thou art to longe!
Rymenild thou me bitoke,
That Ich hire shulde loke.
Ich have yloked evere,
Ant thou ne comest nevere!”
     Rymenild ros of benche
The beer al forte shenche
After mete in sale,
Bothe wyn ant ale.
An horn hue ber an honde
For that wes lawe of londe;
Hue dronc of the beere
To knyht ant skyere.
Horn set at grounde;
Him thohte he wes ybounde.

     ¶ He seide, “Quene, so hende,
To me hydeward thou wende.
Thou shenh us with the vurste — [quire 10]
The beggares bueth afurste.”
     Hyre horn hue leyde adoune,
Ant fulde him, of the broune,
A bolle of a galoun.
Hue wende he were a glotoun.
Hue seide: “Tac the coppe
Ant drync this ber al uppe.
Ne seh Y never, Y wene,
Beggare so kene!”
     Horn toc hit hise yfere,
Ant seide: “Quene, so dere,
No beer null Ich ibite
Bote of coppe white.
Thou wenest Ich be a beggere;
Ywis, Ich am a fysshere,
Wel fer come byweste
To seche mine beste.
Min net lyht her wel hende
Withinne a wel feyr pende.
Ich have leye there,
Nou is this the sevethe yere.
Ich am icome to loke
Yef eny fysshe hit toke.
Yef eny fysshe is therinne,
Therof thou shalt wynne.
For Ich am come to fysshe,
Drynke null Y of dysshe.
Drynke to Horn of horne,
Wel fer Ich have yorne.”

     ¶ Rymenild him gan bihelde.
Hire herte fel to kelde!
Ne kneu hue noht is fysshyng,
Ne himselve nothyng,
Ah wonder hyre gan thynke
Why for Horn he bed drynke.
Hue fulde the horn of wyne
Ant dronke to that pelryne.
Hue seide: “Drync thi felle,
Ant seththen thou me telle
Yef thou Horn ever seye
Under wode-leye.”

     ¶ Horn dronc of horn a stounde
Ant threu is ryng to grounde,
Ant seide, “Quene, thou thench
What Y threu in the drench.”
     The quene eode to boure
Mid hire maidnes foure,
Hue fond that hue wolde:
The ryng ygraved of golde
That Horn of hyre hedde.
Fol sore hyre adredde
That Horn ded were,
For his ryng was there.
Tho sende hue a damoisele
After thilke palmere.
“Palmere,” quoth hue, “so trewe,
“The ryng that thou yn threwe —
Thou sey wer thou hit nome,
Ant hyder hou thou come.”
     He seyde: “By Seint Gyle,
Ich eode mony a myle,
Wel fer yent byweste,
To seche myne beste,
Mi mete forte bydde,
For so me tho bitidde.
Ich fond Horn Knyht stonde,
To shipeward at stronde;
He seide he wolde gesse
To aryve at Westnesse.
The ship nom into flode
With me ant Horn the gode.
Horn bygan be sek ant deye,
Ant, for his love, me preye
To gon with the rynge
To Rymenild the yynge.
Wel ofte he hyne keste.
Crist geve is soule reste.”

     ¶ Rymenild seide at the firste:
“Herte, nou toberste!
Horn worth the no more,
That haveth the pyned sore.”
Hue fel adoun abedde
Ant after knyves gredde
To slein mide hire kyng lothe
Ant hireselve, bothe,
Withinne thilke nyhte,
Come yef Horn ne myhte.
     To herte knyf hue sette.
Horn in is armes hire kepte.
His shurte lappe he gan take
Ant wypede awey the foule blake
That wes opon his suere,
Ant seide, “Luef, so dere,
Ne const thou me yknowe?
Ne am Ich, Horn, thyn owe,
Ich, Horn of Westnesse?
In armes thou me kesse!”
Yclupten ant kyste
So longe so hem lyste.
     “Rymenild,” quod he, “Ich wende
Doun to the wodes ende,
For ther bueth myne knyhte,
Worthi men ant lyhte,
Armed under clothe.
Hue shule make wrothe
The kyng ant hise gestes
That bueth at thise festes —
Today Ychulle huem cacche!
Nou Ichulle huem vacche.”

     ¶ Horn sprong out of halle.
Ys sclavin he let falle.
Rymenild eode of boure,
Athulf hue fond loure:
“Athulf, be wel blythe,
Ant to Horn go swythe —
He is under wode bowe
With felawes ynowe.”
     Athulf gon froth springe
For that ilke tydynge;
Efter Horn he ernde —
Him thohte is herte bernde!
He oftok him, ywisse,
Ant custe him with blysse.
     Horn tok is preye
Ant dude him in the weye.
Hue comen in wel sone,
The gates weren undone.
Yarmed suithe thicke
From fote to the nycke,
Alle that ther evere weren,
Withoute is trewe feren.
Ant the Kyng Aylmare,
Ywis, he hade muche care!
Monie that ther sete,
Hure lyf hy gonne lete.
     Horn understondyng ne hede
Of Fykeles falssede.
Hue suoren alle ant seyde
That hure non him wreyede,
Ant suore othes holde
That huere non ne sholde
Horn never bytreye,
Thah he on dethe leye.
Ther hy ronge the belle
That wedlak to fulfulle;
Hue wenden hom with eyse
To the kynges paleyse.
Ther wes the brudale suete
For riche men ther ete.
Telle ne mihte no tonge
The gle that ther was songe.

     ¶ Horn set in chayere
Ant bed hem alle yhere.
He seyde: “Kynge of londe,
Mi tale thou understonde.
Ich wes ybore in Sudenne.
Kyng wes mi fader of kenne.
Thou me to knyhte hove;
Of knythod habbe Y prove.
Thou dryve me out of thi lond,
Ant seydest Ich wes traytour strong.
Thou wendest that Ich wrohte
That Y ner ne thohte:
By Rymenild forte lygge.
Ywys, Ich hit withsugge!
Ne shal Ich hit ner agynne
Er Ich Sudenne wynne.
Thou kep hyre me a stounde
The while that Ich founde
Into myn heritage.
With this Yrisshe page,
That lond Ichulle thorhreche
Ant do mi fader wreche!
Ychul be kyng of toune,
Ant lerne kynges roune;
Thenne shal Rymenild the yynge
Ligge by Horn the kynge.”

     ¶ Horn gan to shipe drawe
With hyse Yrisshe felawe,
Athulf with him, his brother;
He nolde habbe non other.
The ship bygan to croude;
The wynd bleu wel loude.
Wythinne dawes fyve
The ship bigan aryve
Under Sudennes side.
Huere ship bygon to ryde
Aboute the midnyhte.
Horn eode wel rihte.
He nom Athulf by honde
Ant ede up to londe.
Hue fonden under shelde
A knyht liggynde on felde;
O the shelde wes ydrawe
A croyz of Jesu Cristes lawe.
The knyht him lay on slape
In armes wel yshape.

     ¶ Horn him gan ytake
Ant seide: “Knyht, awake!
Thou sei me whet thou kepest,
Ant here whi thou slepest.
Me thuncheth, by crois liste,
That thou levest on Criste,
Bote thou hit wolle shewe,
My suerd shal the tohewe.”
     The gode knyht up aros,
Of Hornes wordes him agros.
He seide: “Ich servy ille
Paynes togeynes mi wille —
Ich was Cristene sumwhile.
Ycome into this yle
Sarazyns, lothe ant blake.
Me made Jesu forsake,
To loke this passage
For Horn that is of age,
That woneth her by weste,
God knyht mid the beste!
Hue slowe mid huere honde
The kyng of thisse londe,
Ant with him mony honder.
Therfore me thuncheth wonder
That he ne cometh to fyhte.
God geve him the myhte,
That wynd him hider dryve,
To don hem alle of lyve!
Ant slowen Kyng Mury,
Hornes cunesmon hardy.
Horn of londe hue senten.
Tuelf children with him wenten.
With hem was Athulf the gode,
Mi child, myn oune fode!
Yef Horn is hol ant sounde,
Athulf tit no wounde.
He lovede Horn with mihte,
Ant he him, with ryhte.
Yef Y myhte se hem tueye,
Thenne ne roht I forte deye!”
     ¶ “Knyht, be thenne blythe,
Mest of alle sythe
Athulf ant Horn is fere,
Bothe we beth here!”
     The knyht to Horn gan skippe
Ant in his armes clippe.
Muche joye hue maden yfere
Tho hue togedere ycome were.
He saide with stevene thare:
“Yunge men, hou habbe ye yore yfare?
Wolle ye this lond wynne
Ant wonie therynne?”
He seide: “Suete Horn Child,
Yet lyveth thy moder Godyld.
Of joie hue ne miste
Olyve yef hue the wiste.”
     Horn seide on is ryme:
“Yblessed be the time
Ich am icome into Sudenne
With fele Yrisshemenne.
We shule the houndes kecche
Ant to the deye vecche!
Ant so we shulen hem teche
To speken oure speche!”

     ¶ Horn gon is horn blowe.
Is folk hit con yknowe.
Hue comen, out of hurne,
To Horn swythe yurne.
Hue smiten ant hue fyhten
The niht ant eke the ohtoun.
The Sarazyns hue slowe,
Ant summe quike todrowe;
Mid speres-ord hue stonge
The olde ant eke the yonge.

     ¶ Horn lette sone wurche
Bothe chapel ant chyrche.
He made belle rynge,
Ant prestes masse synge.
He sohte is moder halle
In the roche walle;
He custe hire ant grette,
Ant into the castel fette.
Croune he gan werie
Ant make feste merye.
Murie he ther wrohte,
Ah Rymenild hit abohte.

     ¶ The whiles Horn wes oute,
Fikenild ferde aboute,
The betere forte spede.
The riche he gef mede,
Bothe yonge ant olde,
With him forte holde.
Ston he dude lade,
Ant lym therto he made:
Castel he made sette,
With water byflette,
That theryn come ne myhte
Bote foul with flyhte,
Bote when the see withdrowe,
Ther mihte come ynowe.
     Thus Fykenild gon bywende
Rymenild forte shende,
To wyve he gan hire yerne.
The kyng ne durst him werne
Ant habbeth set the day
Fykenild to wedde the may.
Wo was Rymenild of mode;
Terres hue wepte of blode.
     Thilke nyht Horn suete
Con wel harde mete
Of Rymenild his make:
That into shipe wes take;
The ship gon overblenche —
Is lemmon shulde adrenche!

     ¶ Rymenild mid hire honde
Swymme wolde to londe;
Fykenild ageyn hire pylte
Mid his suerdes hylte.
Horn awek in is bed —
Of his lemmon he wes adred!
     “Athulf,” he seide, “felawe,
To shipe nou we drawe!
Fykenild me hath gon under
Ant do Rymenild sum wonder!
Crist for his wondes fyve
Tonyht thider us dryve.”

     ¶ Horn gon to shipe ride,
His knyhtes bi his side.
The ship bigon to sture
With wynd god of cure.
     Ant Fykenild her the day springe
Ferde to the kynge
After Rymenild the brhyte,
Ant spousede hyre by nyhte.
He ladde hire, by derke,
Into is newe werke.
The feste hue bigonne
Er then aryse the sonne.
     Hornes ship atstod in Stoure
Under Rymenildes boure.
Nuste Horn alyve
Wher he wes aryve.
Thene castel hue ne knewe
For he was so newe.
     The see bigon to withdrawe.
Tho seh Horn his felawe,
The feyre knyht Arnoldyn,
That wes Athulfes cosyn,
That ther set in that tyde
Kyng Horn to abide.
     He seide: “Kyng Horn, kynges sone,
Hider thou art welcome.
Today hath Sire Fykenild
Yweddeth thi wif Rymenild.
White the nou this while
He haveth do the gyle.
This tour he dude make
Al for Rymenildes sake.
Ne may ther comen ynne
No mon with no gynne.

     ¶ “Horn, nou Crist the wisse,
Rymenild that thou ne misse!”
     Horn couthe all the listes
That eni mon of wiste.
Harpe he gon shewe
Ant toc him, to felawe,
Knyhtes of the beste
That he ever hede of weste.
Oven o the sherte
Hue gurden huem with suerde.
Hue eoden on the gravele
Towart the castele.
Hue gonne murie singe,
Ant makeden huere gleynge,
That Fykenild mihte yhere.
He axede who hit were.
Men seide hit were harpeirs,
Jogelers, ant fythelers.
Hem me dude in lete.
At halle dore hue sete.
Horn sette him a benche;
Is harpe he gan clenche.
He made Rymenild a lay,
Ant hue seide, “Weylaway!”

     ¶ Rymenild fel yswowe —
Tho nes ther non that lowe!
Hit smot Horn to herte;
Sore con him smerte.
He lokede on is rynge
Ant o Rymenild the yynge.
He eode up to borde
Mid his gode suorde;
Fykenildes croune
He fel ther adoune,
Ant alle is men arowe
He dude adoun throwe,
Ant made Arnoldyn kyng there,
After Kyng Aylmere,
To be kyng of Westnesse
For his mildenesse.
The kyng ant is baronage
Geven him truage.

     ¶ Horn toc Rymenild by honde
Ant ladde hire to stronde,
Ant toc with him Athelbrus,
The gode stiward of hire fader hous.
The see bigan to flowen,
Ant hy faste to rowen.
Hue aryveden under reme
In a wel feyr streme.
Kyng Mody wes kyng in that lond.
That Horn sloh with is hond.
Athelbrus he made ther kyng
For his gode techyng;
For Sire Hornes lore,
He wes mad kyng thore.

     ¶ Horn eode to ryve;
The wynd him con wel dryve.
He aryvede in Yrlonde
Ther Horn wo couthe er fonde.
He made ther Athulf Chyld
Wedde mayden Ermenyld.
     Ant Horn com to Sudenne
To is oune kenne.
Rymenild he made ther is quene,
So hit myhte bene.
In trewe love hue lyveden ay,
Ant wel hue loveden Godes lay.
Nou hue beoth bothe dede.
Crist to heovene us lede!
Here begins the romance of King Horn.

     ¶ They all shall be glad
Who listen to my song.
I shall sing you a song
Of Allof the good king.
He was king in the west
For as long as it lasted;
And Godild his good queen,
No fairer might there be;
And their son named Horn,
A fairer child was never born.
For the rain couldn’t dampen,
Nor the sun shine on
A fairer child than he was:
Brighter than ever was any glass,
As white as any lily-flower,
His color was as red as a rose.
He was fair and also brave,
And fifteen winters old.
None is his equal
In any king’s realm!
     Twelve companions he had
Under his leadership,
All rich men’s sons,
And all such fair young men
To play with him.
He most loved two:
One was named Athulf Child,
And the other Fikenild.
Athulf was the best,
And Fikenild the worst.
      It was on a summer’s day,
As I may tell you.
Allof the good king
Rode for his leisure
Along the seashore
Where he normally rode.
With him rode only two —
All too few were they then!
He encountered at the coast,
Arrived on his land,
Fifteen ships
Of fierce Saracens.
He asked what they sought
Or brought to his land.
     A pagan heard it
And soon answered him:
“We intend to kill your people,
Who stubbornly believe in Christ,
And you, we intend right now,
Shall never escape!”
     The king got off his horse,
For then he was forced to;
And his two good companions
Were indeed very frightened.
They began to grip swords
And struck against them.
They struck under shields,
Causing some to die.

     ¶ The king had too few
Against so many villains:
So many could easily
Bring three to death!
The pagans came to land
And took control of it.
The people they did kill,
And the Saracens, to oppress,
Allowed no one to live,
No stranger or relative,
Unless he forsook his religion
And adopted theirs.
     Of all women
The saddest then was Godild:
She wept sorely for Allof
And even more for Horn.
Godild bore so much sorrow
That she couldn’t have any more.
She left the hall,
Away from all her maidens,
[To go] under a rock of stone
Where she dwelled alone.
There she served God
Against the pagans’ edict;
There she served Christ,
So the pagans didn’t know about it,
And always she prayed for Horn Child,
That Christ to him be kind.

     ¶ Horn was in the pagans’ hands
With his fellows of the land.
Great was the beauty
Jesus Christ bestowed on him.
The pagans planned to kill him,
And some wished to flog him;
Had Horn not been beautiful,
These children would’ve been slain.
     Then spoke a commander,
Of speech he was most arrogant:
“Horn, you’re very brave,
Good-looking and radiant;
You’re fair and also strong,
And also straight and tall.
If you were to escape alive,
And your fellows too,
Then I’d be responsible
Should you slay us all.
Therefore you shall go to sea,
You and your fellows too;
You shall depart on a ship
And sink to the bottom!
The sea shall drown you,
And it won’t grieve us.
For were you to remain alive
With sword or with knife,
We’d all have to die
To pay for your father’s death.”
     The children went to the shore,
Wringing their hands,
And boarded the ship
Upon the first command.
Often had Horn been fearful,
But never worse than then!

     ¶ The sea began to surge,
And Horn perforce to sail,
And that ship traveled rapidly,
And Horn was scared by that!
They believed with certainty
They would lose their lives.
All day and all night,
Until daylight arose,
Horn was tossed in the sea
Before he saw any land.
     “Fellows,” said Horn the young,
“I have good news for you:
I hear birds sing,
And see the grass grow.
Happily, you’re alive!
Our ship has come to shore.”
     They began to leave the ship
And stepped onto ground
Along the seashore.
Their ship did set off.
     Then spoke Child Horn,
In Sudenne he was born:
“Now, ship, by the wave,
Have good day!
By the sea’s edge,
May no water drown you.
Calmly may you steer,
So water does not harm you.
If you come to Sudenne,
Greet them who know me.
Greet well the good
Queen Godild my mother!
And tell your heathen king,
Jesus Christ’s enemy,
That I, whole and sound,
Have arrived here on land,
And say that he shall find
Death thus by my hand!”

     ¶ The ship did float away,
And Horn Child wept.
By dale and by down
The children walked to town.
They met Aylmer the king,
Christ give him good fortune! —
King of Westness,
May Christ bless him!
     He spoke to Horn Child
Words very kind:
“Where are you from, lads,
Who’ve come ashore here,
All thirteen
So daring of body?
By God who created me,
So fine a fellowship
I’ve never seen stand
In the land of Westness.
Tell me what you seek.”
Horn spoke their response.

     ¶ Horn spoke for them all,
For so it must be —
He was the wisest
And the best of wit:
“We are from Sudenne,
Come of good kin,
Of Christian blood,
From very good families.
Pagans arrived there
And bereft Christians of life,
Slew and cut to pieces
Many Christian men.
As Christ must guide me,
They did lead us
Into a galley
To sport with the sea.
Day after another,
Without sail or rudder,
Our ship drifted on and on,
And here ashore it is come.
Now you might slay us and bind
Our hands behind us,
But if it be your will,
Help us so we don’t die!”

     ¶ Then spoke the good king,
He was never a coward:
“Say, child, what’s your name?
Only play shall befall you.”
     The child answered him
As soon as he heard this:
“Horn I am called,
Come out of this boat,
From the seashore.
King, may you be well.”
     “Horn Child,” said the king,
“Your name suits you, lad.
A horn sounds so gently
By dales and by hills;
A horn carries a loud sound
Through every town.
So shall your name spring
From king to king,
And your fairness
All around Westness.
Horn, you’re so sweet,
I’ll not abandon you.”
     King Aylmer rode home,
And Horn, his foundling, with him,
And all his companions
Who were so dear to him.
     The king came into hall,
Among all his knights.
He calls forth Athelbrus,
His steward, and said this to him:
“Steward, take here
My foundling, to be instructed,
According to your profession,
About wood and river;
And to pluck the harp
With his sharp nails;
And teach him all the arts
That you’ve ever known:
How to carve before me,
And to serve my cup.
And arrange for his fellows
To have other service with us.
Of Horn Child, you understand,
Teach him harp and song.”

     ¶ Athelbrus began to teach
Horn and his fellows.
Horn learned willingly
All that man taught him.
In and out of court,
And everywhere,
People loved Horn Child,
And Rimenild loved him most,
The king’s own daughter,
For he was on her mind.
     She loved him passionately,
For he was fair and also good.
And though she dared not, at table,
Speak to him barely a word,
Nor in the hall,
Among all the knights,
Her sorrow and her pain
Would never cease
Day or night,
For she might not speak
With Horn, who was so fair and noble.
Since she might not be with him,
In heart she had care and pain,
And so she devised a plan then.
She sent her messenger
To summon Athelbrus,
That he should come to her,
And that Horn should come too,
Into her bower,
Because she began to feel ill.
And so the messenger said
That the maiden was sick,
And bade him come quickly,
For she’s not at all happy.

     ¶ The steward was concerned,
For he didn’t know what he should do,
Or what Rimenild was after.
It was very strange, he thought,
Concerning Horn the young,
To bring him to her bower.
He decided in his mind
That it was for nothing good.
He took with him someone else:
Athulf, Horn’s brother.
     “Athulf,” he said, “right now
You shall go with me to bower
To speak privately with Rimenild,
To understand her will.
You are like Horn —
You will trick her;
I am deeply worried
That she’ll lead Horn astray.”
     Athelbrus and Athulf both
Have gone to her bower.
Upon Athulf Child
Rimenild did grow rash —
She thought it was Horn
Whom she had there.
She sat down softly
And revealed her will;
In her two arms
Athulf did lie.
     “Horn,” she said, “very long
I’ve loved you deeply;
You shall plight your troth
In my hand, properly,
To marry me as wife,
And I to hold you as lord.”
     As quietly as could be
Athulf whispered in her ear:
“Don’t say any more,
I beg you,
You must end your speech,
For Horn isn’t here,
Nor are we at all alike,
For Horn is fair and splendid,
Fairer by one rib
Than any man alive.
Though Horn were under ground
Or even somewhere
A thousand miles from here,
I’d never be false to him.”

     ¶ Rimenild turned around,
And she rebuked Athelbrus thus:
“Athelbrus, you foul thief,
You’ll never be dear to me!
Get out of my bower!
May shame fall on you,
And ill fortune seize you
And hang you on an evil cross!
I’m not speaking with Horn,
Nor is he so unattractive!”

     ¶ Then Athelbrus, perplexed,
Kneeled upon the ground:
“Ah, my own lady,
Listen to me for a moment,
And hear why I hesitated
To bring Horn near you.
Because Horn is fair and splendid —
None is his equal —
Aylmer the good king
Placed him in my care.
If Horn were near you,
I might anxiously suspect
That you’d take pleasure with him,
Between your two selves.
Then assuredly would
The king be angry at us.
Ah, spare me your reproach,
My lady and my queen!
Horn I shall fetch for you,
Whatever anyone cares.”
     Rimenild, as well she might,
Did break into a smile;
She laughed and grew happy.
She was ever so delighted!
“Go,” she said, “at once,
And send him after noon,
Dressed as a squire.
When the king arises,
He shall remain with me
Until almost evening;
I’ll have my will of him —
I don’t care what people say!”

     ¶ Athelbrus left immediately;
He found Horn in the hall,
Before the king at table,
Ready to pour wine.
     “Horn,” he said, “politely
To the bower you must go
To speak with Rimenild the young,
Daughter of our king;
Words overly bold
You must hold in your heart,
Horn, as you’re true to me.
You shall not regret it.”
     He went forth directly
To Rimenild the bright.
On knees he set himself,
And sweetly greeted her.
By his fair countenance
All the bower was brightened!
He spoke his words eloquently;
No one needed to teach him:
“Well may you be and true,
Rimenild, king’s daughter,
And your maidens here,
Assembled around you.
Our king’s steward
Sent me to your bower
In order to hear, my lady,
What may be your will.”
     Rimenild did stand up
And took him by the hand.
She behaved pleasantly,
And clasped him by the neck,
Often she kissed him,
As much as she pleased.
“Welcome, Horn,” then said
Rimenild that maiden.
“By evening and morning,
Because of you I’ve had sorrow
Such that I find no rest,
Neither sleep nor pleasure.
Horn, you shall very soon
Assuage my long-held sorrow.
You shall, without resistence,
Have me as wife.
Horn, take pity on me,
And plight me your troth.”

     ¶ Horn then considered
What he ought to say.
“Christ,” Horn said, “guide you
And give you heaven’s bliss
With your husband,
Whoever on earth he be.
I am born a slave,
Your father’s foundling, too;
It doesn’t fall to me by nature
To marry you as spouse.
There’s no proper wedding
Between a thrall and the king.”
     Then Rimenild was perturbed,
And began to sigh desperately,
Began to throw up her arms,
And she fell down in a swoon.
Horn caught her up,
And turned her in his arms.
He began to kiss her,
And sweetly, to tell the truth.
     “Rimenild,” he said, “dear one,
Help me so that I may be
Dubbed as a knight,
Sweet one, by all your power,
Before my lord the king —
That he give me dubbing.
Then will my servitude
Wholly change to knighthood;
I shall grow greater,
And do, Rimenild, your bidding.”
     Then Rimenild the young
Woke up from her swoon:
“Now, Horn, in truth,
I believe you, by your oath.
You shall be made knight
Within this fortnight.
Take here this cup,
And these rings too,
To Athelbrus the steward,
And tell him to keep his agreement.
Say that I beseech him,
With gracious words,
That for you he should bow
At the king’s foot in hall,
So that he should, with his oath,
Knight you with sword.
With silver and with gold
He’ll be well rewarded.
Now Christ lend him success
In urging your business.”

     ¶ Horn took his leave,
For it was near evening.
He sought Athelbrus
And gave him what he brought,
And told him there
How he had fared.
He told him about his need,
And promised him his reward.
     Athelbrus ever so joyfully
Walked quickly into the hall
And said: “King, now listen
To the best of stories.
You shall bear the crown
Tomorrow in this town.
Tomorrow is your feast —
You need to host an event.
I advise you wholeheartedly
That you dub Horn knight
To have him wield your arms.
A good knight he’ll prove for you.”
     The king said right away:
“That’s a good thing to do!
Horn pleases me well;
Knighthood well suits him.
He shall have my dubbing
And be my other favorite,
And his twelve comrades
He himself shall dub.
I shall knight them all
To fight before me!”
     Until the daylight dawned,
Aylmer pondered long.
The day began to arise.
Horn came before the king
With his twelve companions,
All of them were there.
He made Horn a knight
With most great solemnity,
Placed him on a horse
Red as any spark.
He struck him a gentle blow
And bade him be a good knight.
Athulf fell to knee there
And thanked King Aylmer:

     ¶ “Now knighted is Sir Horn,
Who was born in Sudenne.
Lord he is of lands
And of us, who stand by him.
He has your arms and shield
To fight with in the field.
Let him knight us all,
For such is his right.”
     Aylmer responded readily:
“Now do what you will.”
Horn did dismount
And dubbed them all knights.
Great indeed was the occasion,
And even more the feast!
     Rimenild was not there.
It seemed to her seven years.
Afterwards, she sent for Horn.
Horn entered the bower.
He wished not to go alone —
Athulf was his companion.

     ¶ Rimenild welcomes Sir Horn
And Athulf, knight before him:
“Knight, now it is time
To sit next to me.
Do now what we spoke of:
Take me as your wife.
Now that you have your will,
Release me from this pain!”
     “Rimenild, now be calm.
I shall do all your will,
But before it happens thus,
I shall ride with a spear
And prove my knighthood
Before the time I woo you.
We are now young knights,
All risen up today,
And of the profession
This is the manner:
[One must] with some other knight
Fight for his beloved,
Before he take any wife,
Or with a woman make contract.
Today, may Christ bless me,
I shall do deeds of prowess
For your love, with shield,
In the midst of the field.
If I return alive,
I shall take you as wife.”
     “Knight, I may trust you,
Why, if you be true.

     ¶ “Accept here this gold ring.
It is proper to your dubbing.
On the ring is engraved
‘Rimenild, your beloved, the young.’
Under the sun there’s none better
That anyone knows of.
Wear it for my love,
And bear it on your finger.
The stone has such power
That you’ll not, in any place,
Be captured by death
Or slain unjustly,
Should you look upon it
And think of your beloved.
And Sir Athulf, your brother,
He shall have another.
Horn, I commend you to Christ,
With sorrowful lament —
May Christ give you success,
And bring you back sound!”
The knight kissed her,
And Rimenild blessed him.
     He took leave of her
And came into the hall.
Knights went to the table,
And Horn went to the stable.
There he took his good horse,
As black as any coal.
With weapons he armed himself,
And his horse he fed.
     The horse started to prance,
And Horn to sing merrily.
Horn rode for awhile,
Fully more than a mile.
He saw a ship moored
With heathen hounds.
He asked what they wanted
Or brought to land.
A hound began to look at him
And speak insolent words:
“This land we plan to conquer
And slay those who are in it!”
     Horn began to grip his sword
And wipe it on his arm.
He hit the Saracen so hard
That his head fell to his toes.
Then the hounds started to attack
Against Horn on his own.
He looked upon his ring
And thought of Rimenild the young.
He slew the best of them,
A hundred at least,
Nor might any man count
All that he did kill;
Of those who were ashore,
He left few alive.

     ¶ Horn took the leader’s head,
Which he’d cut off of him,
And set it on his sword,
On top at the point.
He traveled home to hall,
Among all the knights.
     “King,” he said, “well may you be,
And your knights with you.
Today I rode for my leisure
After my dubbing.
I found a ship steered
Into the flowing channel
By foreign men
Of Saracen race,
Intending to torment to death
You and all yours.
They began to attack me;
My sword didn’t fail me!
I struck them all to ground
In a brief moment.
I bring to you the head
Of the leader, King.
Now have I repaid you
For making me a knight.”
     The day began to dawn.
The king rode off to hunt
Into the wide woods
With Fikenild by his side,
Who was false and untrue,
Whoever knew him well.

     ¶ Horn thought not at all of him,
And has gone to the bower.
He found Rimenild sitting
And weeping very pitifully,
As white as the sun,
With tears all flowing.
     Horn said: “Dear one, your mercy,
Why do you weep so pitifully?”
     She said: “I scarcely weep at all
As I shall before I sleep!
It seemed to me in my dream
That I rode to go fishing.
I cast my net to sea,
And quite long it held.
A big fish all of a sudden
Made my net burst.
That fish so got the better of me
That I might not capture it —
I think I shall lose
The fish I want to choose!”

     ¶ “By Christ and Saint Stephen,”
Said Horn, “understand your dream:
I shall not deceive you,
Nor do what displeases you.
I take you as my own,
To hold and also to know
Before every other creature.
Thereto I plight my troth.”
     Great was the sorrow
That came with this troth!
Rimenild wept very hard,
And Horn stilled her tears.
     “Beloved,” he said, “dear one,
You shall hear more.
Your dream will come about:
Someone will injure us.
That fish that broke your net —
Indeed, it is something
That will do us some harm.
Indeed, it will come to pass.”

     ¶ Aylmer rode by the Stour,
And Horn was in the bower.
Fikenild was envious
And spoke this nonsense:
“Aylmer, I warn you,
Horn will destroy you!
I heard what he said,
And he swore by his sword
To take your life,
And take Rimenild to wife.
He lies now in bower,
Under bedcovers,
With Rimenild your daughter,
And so he does quite often.
Exile him from the land
Before he does more harm.”

     ¶ Aylmer began to turn home,
So angry and so stern.
He found Horn embraced
In Rimenild’s bosom.
“Get out!” said Aylmer the king.
“Horn, you evil foundling,
Be off from bower’s floor,
From Rimenild your whore!
Leave the land at once!
You’ve no business here —
Unless you flee right now,
I’ll strike you with sword!”
     Horn went to the stable,
Very offended at that lie.
He put saddle on horse;
With weapons he did arm himself.
He laced his coat of mail,
As he ought, in place.
He did grasp his sword;
He didn’t pause long at all.
His sword he held on to.
He dared let no one see him.
     He said: “Sweetheart, darling,
Now you have your dream.
The fish that tore your net,
He sends me away from you.
The king begins to fight me;
He plans to drive me away.
Therefore, have now farewell!
Now I must leave and go away
To a strange land.
In order to experience much more,
I shall dwell there
Seven full years.
At the seventh year’s end,
If I don’t come or send a message,
Take yourself a husband.
Don’t hesitate on my account.
Embrace me in your arms
And kiss me very long!”
They kissed for a while,
And Rimenild fell to ground.

     ¶ Horn took his leave,
He could not delay.
He took Athulf his fellow
By the neck
And said: “Knight, so true,
Protect well my new love.
You’ve never failed
To protect and look after Rimenild.”
He began to mount his horse,
And forth he did ride.
Athulf wept by eye,
And so did all who saw it.
     Horn traveled forth.
He hired a good ship
That would carry him
Away from Westness.
The wind began to rise
And drove him onto land.
     At land where he sailed,
He stepped from the ship.
He found on the road
Two king’s sons.
One was called Athild,
And the other Berild.
Berild did pray of him
That he should explain
What he wanted there
And what was his name.

     ¶ “Godmod,” he said, “I’m called,
Come from this boat,
Very far from home,
To seek my best.”
     Berild did ride near him
And took him by the bridle:
“Well may you be found, knight.
Stay with me awhile.
Indeed, as I must die,
You shall serve the king!
I never saw alive
So fair a knight arrive here!”
     He led Godmod to hall.
And he began to bow down,
Set himself on knee,
And greeted that good king.
Then said Berild at once:
“King, with him you ought to deal;
Use him to defend your land.
Then no one shall do you harm,
For he’s the fairest man
Who ever came to this land.”

     ¶ Then said the king: “Most dearly
Be you welcome here!
Go now, Berild, very swiftly,
And make him most glad.
And when you go to woo,
Challenge him with your glove!
Wherever you mean to propose,
He’ll drive you off —
Because of Godmod’s good looks,
You shall prosper nowhere!”
     The time was Christmas,
Neither more nor less.
The king hosted a feast
For his best knights.
There came in at noon
A giant, quite suddenly,
Armed like a pagan,
Who said this rhyme:
“Sit, King, by king,
And heed my tiding.
Here do pagans arrive,
Well more than five.
They’re here at hand,
King, in your land.
One means to fight
Against three knights.
If your three slay our one,
From your land we’ll be gone;
If our one slays your three,
All this land ours shall be.
Tomorrow shall be the fighting
With the sun’s uprising.”

     ¶ Then said King Thurston:
“Godmod shall be one,
Berild shall be another,
The third, Athild his brother,
For they are strongest
And the best at arms.
But what shall avail us?
I fear we are dead!”
     Godmod sat at table
And said these words:
“Sir King, it’s not right
For one to fight three;
Against one hound,
Three Christians to fight.
So, King, I shall alone,
Without more companions,
Full readily with my sword
Bring them all to death.”
     The king arose the next day;
He bore deep sorrow.
Godmod rose out of bed.
With weapons he armed himself:
He put on his coat of mail,
And laced it very tightly,
And he came to the king
As he was arising.
     “King,” he said, “come to field
To behold me,
How we shall oppose
And strike each other.”

     ¶ Just at the hour of prime
He began to ride out.
He encountered on a green
A ferocious giant,
His companions beside him,
Expectant of that day.
Godmod then engaged them —
He would not fail!
He struck plenty of blows;
The pagan fell in a swoon.
His companions withdrew,
For their leader was almost slain.
     He said: “Knight, pause
Awhile, if you please.
I’ve never felt by anyone’s hand
Such hard strokes, in any land,
Except from King Murry,
Who was very powerful.
He was of Horn’s kin.
I slew him in Sudenne!”

     ¶ Godmod began to tremble,
And his blood rose.
He saw stand before him
The one who’d exiled him
And killed his father!
He struck him under shield.
He looked upon his ring
And thought of Rimenild the young.
With his good sword, at once,
He struck him through the heart.
     The pagans started to flee
And withdraw to their ship —
To ship they wanted to run!
Godmod did hinder them.
The king’s two sons,
The pagans slew them both.
Then Godmod was aggrieved,
And he smote the pagans so hard
That in a brief while
He felled them to ground.
Godmod and his men
Slew every pagan.
His father’s death and his land
Godmod avenged with his hand!
     The king, with sad demeanor,
Had his sons laid on bier,
And had them brought into hall.
Great sorrow they all made
In a church of lime and stone.
They buried them with rich splendor.

     ¶ The king caused to be summoned
All his knights,
And said: “Godmod, had you not come,
We would all be dead!
You are both good and fair.
I make you here my heir,
For my sons are slain
And taken from life.
I have one daughter —
None living is so fair! —
Ermenild that fair maiden,
Bright as any summer’s day.
I intend to give her to you,
And king here you shall be.”
     He said: “More shall I serve you,
King, before you die.
When I desire your daughter,
She’ll refuse me nothing.”

     ¶ Godmod lived there
Six full years,
And the seventh year began.
To Rimenild he sent no messenger.
Rimenild remained in Westness
In deep sorrow.
A king had arrived there
And planned to marry her.
The kings were in accord
Regarding that wedding.
The time was so brief,
And Rimenild dared not
Resist in any way.
She composed a letter —
Athulf did write it,
He who loved Horn not a little.
She sent her messenger
Into every land
To seek Horn Knight
Wherever one might.
     Horn heard nothing of this,
Until one day when he went
To shoot in the woods,
He did come upon a page.
Horn said, “Dear friend,
What are you doing now here?”
     “Sir, in few words
I can quickly tell you:
From Westness I seek
Horn Knight of Eastness,
For Rimenild that fair maiden
Who grieves for him night and day.
A king shall wed her,
On Sunday take her to bed,
King Mody of Reynes,
Who is Horn’s enemy.
I have walked far
Along the seashore.
I’m never able to find him
By any kind of report,
Nor have I heard of him
In lands far or near.
Wailaway the while,
Guile may overtake him!”

     ¶ Horn heard it with his ears
And spoke with wet tears:
“Much good, man, come to you.
Horn stands by your side.
Return to Rimenild,
And tell her not to mourn —
I shall be there on time,
On Sunday before prime.”
     The page was quite pleased,
And set sail very quickly.
The sea made him drown!
Rimenild may be sorry for it!
The sea tossed his corpse
Under her chamber window.
Rimenild looked far off
By the seashore
To see whether Horn came
Or news came of any man;
Then she found her messenger,
Drowned, by the shore,
He who should bring back Horn.
She began to wring her hands!

     ¶ Horn came to Thurston the king
And told him this news,
And then he revealed
How Rimenild was his own,
And he was of good family,
Of the king of Sudenne,
And how he slew in the field
Him who’d killed his father.
And he said: “King, so wise,
Repay me my service.
Help me win Rimenild,
Quickly, don’t delay!
And I shall act to establish
Well your daughter’s marriage,
For she shall have as husband
Athulf, my good friend.
He’s of the best knights
And one of the truest.”
     The king said most humbly,
“Horn, do all your will.”
He then sent by messenger
Throughout all his land
For battle-ready knights
Who were very skilled men.
Many came to him
Who drew into a ship.

     ¶ Horn set out on his way
In a great galley.
The wind started to blow
In a little while.
The sea began to drive the ship,
Bringing them soon to Westness.
He lowered sail from mast
And cast the anchor.
Matins were rung
And the mass sung
For Rimenild the young
And Mody the king.
And Horn was in the water —
He mightn’t have come any later!
He caused his ship to rest
And came ashore.
He made his men wait
Beside a forest.

     ¶ Horn walked forth alone
As on the day he was born.
He met a palmer
And greeted him with words.
“Palmer, you must tell me,”
He said, “your story,
If you value your head —
Why come you from town?”
     And he said in reply:
“I come from a wedding,
From the cruel wedding
Of maiden Rimenild.
She mightn’t make dry
What she wept from her eyes.
She said ‘she didn’t want
To be wedded with gold —
She had a husband,
Though he was away.’
I was in the hall,
Inside the castle wall;
I slipped away —
I couldn’t stand the grief!
There was piteous sorrow!
The bride weeps bitterly.”
     Horn said: “As Christ counsels me,
We have to exchange clothes.
Take my robe,
And you [give me] your cloak.
Today I shall there drink
Such that some shall regret it.”
     He laid down his cloak,
And Horn put it on his back,
And took Horn’s clothes —
He wasn’t at all displeased!

     ¶ Horn took staff and wallet
And twisted his lip.
He formed an ugly face
And blackened his neck.
He came to the gatekeeper,
Who answered him insolently.
Horn gently asked to enter,
Many times and oft,
But he might not succeed
In coming inside.
Horn pushed the wicket door
Till it flew open.
The porter must pay —
He threw him over the bridge,
Cracking three ribs!
Horn hastened to the hall,
And set himself down low
In the beggar’s row.
He looked about
With his blackened snout.
There he saw Rimenild sit
As though she were crazed,
Weeping pitifully,
But he saw nowhere there
Athulf his good friend,
True in every adventure.

     ¶ Athulf was quite high in a tower
To look out, far and also near,
For Horn’s coming,
If the waves should carry him.
He saw the sea flowing,
But Horn nowhere sailing.
He said in his song:
“Horn, you’re too late!
You’ve entrusted Rimenild to me,
That I should look after her.
I’ve looked out always,
And yet you never come!”
     Rimenild rose from the bench
In order to pour the beer
With food in the hall,
Both wine and ale.
A horn she bore in hand
For that was the land’s custom;
She drank of the beer
To [honor] knight and squire.
Horn sat on the ground;
It seemed to him he was bound.

     ¶ He said: “Queen, so noble,
Come hither to me.
Pour to us right away — [quire 10]
The beggars are first.”
     Her horn she laid down,
And filled for him, from a brown vessel,
A bowl holding a gallon.
She thought he was a glutton.
She said: “Take the cup
And drink this beer up.
I never saw, I think,
A beggar so bold!”
     Horn gave it to his fellows,
And said: “Queen, so dear,
No beer will I taste
Unless it be from a white cup.
You think I’m a beggar;
In fact, I’m a fisher,
Come very far home
To seek my best.
My net lies quite near here
Inside a most fair shelter.
I have laid it there,
Now is this the seventh year.
I am come to take a look
Whether it’s caught any fish.
Should any fish be in it,
Of that you shall win.
Since I am come to fish,
I’ll not drink from a dish.
Drink to Horn from a horn,
So far have I traveled.”

     ¶ Rimenild did stare at him.
Her heart began to chill!
She knew nothing about his fishing,
And nothing about him,
But she began to wonder
Why to Horn he’d asked to drink.
She filled the horn with wine
And drank to that pilgrim.
She said: “Drink your fill,
And afterwards tell me
If you ever saw Horn
Under cover of woods.”

     ¶ Horn drank a bit from the horn
And threw his ring in its bottom,
And said, “Queen, consider
What I threw into the drink.”
     The queen went to her bower
With her four maidens.
She found what she desired:
The engraved ring of gold
That Horn received from her.
She was terribly afraid
That Horn was dead,
For there was his ring.
Then she sent a maiden
After that palmer.
“Palmer,” she said, “so true,
The ring you threw in —
Say where you got it,
And how you came hither.”
     He said: “By Saint Giles,
I traveled many a mile,
Far away from home,
To seek my best,
To beg for my food,
For such then was my lot.
I found Horn Knight standing,
Headed to ship by a shore;
He said that he planned
To arrive in Westness.
The ship took to sea
With me and Horn the good.
Horn began to sicken and die,
And, for his love, prayed me
To go with the ring
To Rimenild the young.
So often he kissed it.
Christ give his soul rest.”

     ¶ Rimenild said at once:
“Heart, now burst asunder!
You no longer have Horn,
For whom you’ve pined sorely.”
She fell down on her bed
And cried out for knives
To slay her hated king
And herself, too,
On this very night,
If Horn could not come.
     She set a knife to her heart.
Horn restrained her in his arms.
His shirt’s edge he began to take
And wiped away the foul black
That was on his neck,
And said: “Beloved, so dear,
Don’t you know me?
Who I am, Horn, your own,
I, Horn of Westness?
Kiss me in your arms!”
They embraced and kissed
As long as they wished.
     “Rimenild,” he said, “I must go
Down by the forest’s edge,
For there are my knights,
Worthy and skilled men,
Armed under clothing.
They shall disturb
The king and his guests
Who be at these feasts —
Today I’ll catch them!
Now will I go fetch them.”

     ¶ Horn rushed out of hall.
He let fall his cloak.
Rimenild went out of bower,
And found Athulf frowning:
“Athulf, be cheerful,
And go swiftly to Horn —
He’s under the forest shade
With numerous friends.”
     Athulf began to leap forth
Upon hearing that very news;
He longed for Horn —
It seemed his heart burned!
He caught up with him, indeed,
And kissed him happily.
     Horn took his band
And set them on the path.
They entered directly,
The gates were unlatched.
[They were] armed most heavily
From foot to neck,
All those who were there,
Except for his true companions.
And then King Aylmer,
Assuredly, he had much care!
Many who sat there,
Their lives they did lose.
     Horn had no knowledge
Of Fikenild’s falseness.
They all vowed and said
They would not betray him,
And swore loyal oaths
That none of them would
Ever betray Horn,
Even if he lay dying.
There they rang the bell
To seal that wedlock;
They went home with delight
To the king’s palace.
The wedding feast was pleasing
For the richness they ate there.
No tongue might describe
The merriment there sung.

     ¶ Horn sat on a throne
And summoned them all there.
He said: “King of the land,
You know my story.
I was born in Sudenne.
A king was my father by blood.
You made me a knight;
Of knighthood am I proven.
You drove me out of your land,
And said I was a fierce traitor.
You thought that I’d done
What I never considered:
To lie by Rimenild.
Indeed, I deny it!
Nor shall I ever undertake it
Before I’ve won Sudenne.
Protect her for me awhile
Until the time that I found
My heritage.
With this Irish page,
I shall penetrate that land
And avenge my father!
I shall be king of that town,
And learn the language of kings;
Then shall Rimenild the young
Lie by Horn the king.”

     ¶ Horn began to board ship
With his Irish companion,
Athulf with him, his brother;
He would have no other.
The ship began to move;
The wind blew loudly.
Within five days
The ship did reach land
Along Sudenne’s coast.
Their ship came to rest
At around midnight.
Horn proceeded immediately.
He took Athulf by the hand
And went upon land.
They found under a shield
A knight lying on the field;
On the shield was drawn
A cross of Jesus Christ’s law.
The knight lay asleep
In well-fashioned arms.

     ¶ Horn began to shake him
And said: “Knight, wake up!
Tell me what you guard,
And why you sleep here.
I assume, by the cross emblem,
That you believe in Christ,
But unless you prove it,
My sword will cut you to pieces.”
     The good knight rose up,
Shuddering at Horn’s words.
He said: “I wrongly serve
Pagans against my will —
I was once a Christian.
Upon this island have come
Saracens, hideous and black.
They made me forsake Jesus,
To look out at this passage
For Horn who’s of age,
And dwells here to the west,
A good knight with the best!
They slew with their hands
The king of this land,
And with him many hundred.
Therefore it seems to me strange
That he’s not come to fight.
God give him the strength,
The wind drive him hither,
To kill them all!
And they slew King Murry,
Horn’s powerful kinsman.
They exiled Horn from the land.
Twelve children went with him.
With him was Athulf the good,
My child, my own offspring!
If Horn is whole and sound,
Athulf suffers no wound.
He loved Horn deeply,
And he him, rightly.
If I might see those two,
Then I don’t care if I die!”
     ¶ “Knight, be then happy,
Most of all because
Athulf and Horn his friend,
We both are here!”
     The knight did skip toward Horn
And clasp him in his arms.
Much joy they made at once
When together they had come.
He said in familiar tones there:
“Young men, how have you been?
Do you think to win this land
And dwell therein?”
He said: “Sweet Horn Child,
Your mother Godild still lives.
She won’t lack for joy
If she finds out you’re alive.”
     Horn said in his rhyme:
“Blessed be the time
That I’ve come to Sudenne
With many Irishmen.
We will the hounds catch
And to the death fetch!
And so shall we teach
To converse in our speech!”

     ¶ Horn began to blow his horn.
His people did know it.
They came, out of hiding,
To Horn most eagerly.
They struck and they fought
All the night and also dawn.
They slew the Saracens,
And some they cut up alive;
With spear-point they pierced
The old and also the young.

     ¶ Horn soon caused to be built
Both chapels and churches.
He had the bells rung,
And the priests sing masses.
He sought out his mother’s hall
In the rock’s wall;
He kissed and honored her,
And established her in the castle.
He began to wear the crown
And make merry feasts.
Joyously he ruled there,
But Rimenild suffered for it.

     ¶ While Horn was away,
Fikenild schemed about,
The better to succeed.
To the rich he gave rewards,
Both young and old,
So that they’d ally with him.
He had stone carried in,
And lime made for that purpose:
He had a castle built,
Surrounded by water,
So that none might enter there
Except bird in flight,
The sea then withdrew,
Then many might come.
     Thus did Fikenild proceed
To harm Rimenild,
He aimed to marry her forcefully.
The king dared not refuse him
And has set the day
For Fikenild to wed the maiden.
Rimenild was anxious of mind;
She wept tears of blood.
     This same night noble Horn
Dreamed nightmarishly
About Rimenild his mate:
That she was taken into a ship;
The ship began to capsize —
His beloved would drown!

     ¶ Rimenild with her hands
Wanted to swim to land;
Fikenild thrust against her
With his sword’s hilt.
Horn awoke in his bed —
For his beloved he was afraid!
     “Athulf,” he said, “friend,
Let’s now draw to the ship!
Fikenild has deceived me
And does some horror to Rimenild!
May Christ for his five wounds
Tonight drive us thither.”

     ¶ Horn did ride to his ship,
His knights by his side.
The ship began to stir
In a good healthy wind.
     And Fikenild before dawn
Went to the king
For Rimenild the bright,
And wedded her by night.
He brought her, in the dark,
Into his new fortress.
The feast they began
Before the sun rose.
     Horn’s ship halted in the Stour
Under Rimenild’s bower.
She didn’t know Horn was alive
Nor where he’d arrived.
She didn’t know that castle
Because it was so new.
     The sea began to withdraw.
Then Horn saw his friend,
The fair knight Arnoldin,
Who was Athulf’s cousin,
Stationed in that tide
To await King Horn.
     He said: “King Horn, king’s son,
You are welcome here.
Today Sir Fikenild has
Wedded your wife Rimenild.
Know now that in this time
He has plotted against you.
He’s had this tower built
Just for Rimenild’s sake.
No one may enter there
By any contrivance.

     ¶ “Horn, now may Christ guide you,
That you not lose Rimenild!”
     Horn knew all the tricks
Of which anyone was aware.
He did bring out his harp
And took with him, for company,
The very best knights
He’d ever had from the west.
On top of their shirts
They girded themselves with swords.
They went on the sand
Toward the castle.
They began to sing merrily,
And make their minstrelsy,
So that Fikenild might hear it.
He asked who it was.
Men said that it was harpers,
Jugglers, and fiddlers.
They did let them in.
They sat at the hall door.
Horn sat down on a bench;
His harp he began to pluck.
He sang a lay for Rimenild,
And she said, “Wailaway!”

     ¶ Rimenild fell in a swoon —
Then no one was laughing!
It struck Horn to the heart;
He was deeply pained.
He looked upon his ring
And upon Rimenild the young.
He went up to the table
With his good sword;
Fikenild’s head
He there struck down,
And all his men in a row
He did overthrow,
And made Arnoldin king there,
After King Aylmer,
To be king of Westness
On account of kindness.
The king and his baronage
Offered him tribute.

     ¶ Horn took Rimenild by the hand
And led her to the shore,
And took with him Athelbrus,
The good steward of her father’s house.
The sea began to flow,
And he quickly sailed.
They arrived in a realm
By a most favorable current.
King Mody was king of that land,
Whom Horn slew with his hand.
He made Athelbrus king there
For his good teaching;
Because of Sir Horn’s learning,
He was made king there.

     ¶ Horn went to sea;
The wind drove him well.
He arrived in Ireland
Where Horn had once felt grief.
He there had Athulf Child
Wed maiden Ermenild.
     And Horn came to Sudenne
To his own family.
Rimenild he made there his queen,
As it should happen.
They lived always in true love,
And they loved well God’s law.
Now they’re both dead.
Christ lead us to heaven!

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Go To Appendix: Full Contents of MS Harley 2253