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Alliterative Morte Arthure, Part IV


1 Harmful Scotland with skill he rules as it pleases him

2 From Swynn (an arm of the North Sea near Zeeland) to Sweden, with his sharp sword

3 Created and gave out dukedoms in diverse realms

4 Caerleon; skillfully made

5 Where he might assemble his followers to review when it pleased him

6 Bishops and young knights (bachelers) and noble senior knights (bannerettes)

7 As the bold men at the table were served with bread (the first course)

8 And then (he bowed) again to the man (Arthur) and delivered his message

9 Think it not a trifle, his shield (armorial device) is to be seen hereon

10 August 1; hindrance found

11 Burn Britain the broad (Great Britain) and beat down your knights / And with anger bring you compliantly as a beast where he pleases / And you shall not sleep nor rest under the great heaven, / Though for fear of Rome you run to the earth (like a hunted animal)

12 The king looked on the man with his large eyes, / Which burned very fiercely like coals because of (his) anger

13 It is loyal (our duty) for us to do his pleasure

14 There is a certain man in this hall, and he was sorely grieved / That you dared not look on him once for all Lombardy (as a reward)

15 In appearance; lies; you seem

16 Since; country; holy oil

17 Don't save money on spices, but spend what you please

18 If you guard my honor, man, by my pledged word, / You shall have very great rewards that will profit you forever

19 Now are they nobly lodged and regarded as guests

20 In chambers with chimneys (heat), they change their clothes

21 himself

22 All with men trained and taught, in very rich clothes, / All of royal blood in a troop, sixty together

23 Flesh fattened in season with noble frumentee (a wheat dish), / Along with wild (game) to choose, and pleasant birds

24 Very many large swans on silver platters, / Pies of Turkey, to be tasted by whomever it pleases

25 Then shoulders of wild boars, with the lean meat sliced, / Barnacle geese and bitterns in pastry-covered dishes

26 Wavy with azure-colored sauce all over, and they appeared to be flaming; / From each slice the flame leaped very high

27 With pastries glazed with egg yolks and many (other) dainties

28 Then Claret and Cretan wine were cunningly made to flow / By conduits that were skillfully made, all of pure silver

29 With great jewels gilded over, glorious of hue

30 So that if any poison should go secretly under them (in the cup), / The bright gold would burst all to pieces with anger, / Or else the poison should lose its power because of the virtue of the precious stones

31 Therefore, without pretending (that you are enjoying it), force yourself all the more

32 Went round very quickly in russet-colored (gold) cups

33 Smiles at him pleasantly with pleasing features

34 sadness because of the ban

35 You take account of no circumstances, nor consider (the matter) any further

36 stately man; Brittany

37 Arrested them unjustly and afterwards held them for ransom

38 At Lamas (August 1) I shall take my leave, to remain freely / In Lorraine or Lombardy, whichever seems preferable to me

39 riders; excellent; siege

40 Unless he (the eagle) is quickly rescued by vigorous knights

41 lightens

42 Before any day's fight (the major battle) begins, to joust with himself (Lucius)

43 Despite the strong (ones) in battle that remain in his troop

44 Within a week from today with one hundred and twenty knights

45 If I can see the Romans, who are considered so powerful, / Arrayed in their riotous groups on a broad field.

46 Ride through all the company, rear guard and the rest, / To make a ready way and paths full spacious

47 He needs be afraid; such

48 When they had confidently discussed (this business), they blew on trumpets afterwards (conclusion of the council)

49 Seize the revenues, in faith, of all those fair realms, / Despite the threat of his power and regardless of his resistance

50 With safe-conduct and credentials; go where you please

51 I shall assign the resting-places for your journey, order them myself

52 stoutly from. Wherever you set down by night you must by necessity remain

53 Lodge yourself under trees, wherever it seems good to you

54 Whether (my order) is now hateful or a hindrance in your mind

55 You shall be speedily beheaded and torn apart by horses, / And then quickly hanged for dogs to gnaw.

56 They dress themselves worthily in precious clothes

57 I summoned him solemnly (to appear in Rome) with his knights looking on

58 Since; born; fearful (afraid)

59 I advise you to prepare yourself therefore and delay no longer

60 A watch-tower shall be raised on Mount Goddard (in the Alps)

61 Equipped with noble bachelors and bannerets (see note to line 68)

62 To Ambyganye and Orcage (Albania?) and Alexandria as well, / To India and to Armenia, where the Euphrates runs

63 Hyrcania; Elam; outer isles

64 From Persia and Pamphilia and Prester John's lands

65 By this time; prepared

66 At the Octave of St. Hillary's day (i.e., a week after January 24) Sir Arthur himself

67 To outrage my enemy, if a chance should appear

68 See that my forests are enclosed (from poachers), on pain of losing my favor, / That no one be allowed to hunt the game except for Guinevere herself, / And even she is to hunt only at the season when the game are fat enough to be hunted, / So that she will take her pleasure at appropriate times

69 earthly prosperity; as well

70 Sheriffs sharply move the common soldiers about, / Give orders (to their men) before the powerful (men) of the Round Table

71 Large ships and small boats then hoist their sails

72 Stoutly on the gunwale they weigh up their anchors

73 Launch the lead on the luff (the bow) to measure the depth of the water

74 And all the stern men of the stream (sailors) struck sail at once

75 Wandering unbecomingly; surging waves

76 Covered with waves of azure, enamelled (colored) very fair; / His shoulders were all covered with scales of pure silver / That clothed the monster with shrinking points (like mail)

77 Then came out of the East, directly against him, / A wild, black bear above in the clouds, / With each paw as big as a post, and palms very huge, / With very perilous claws that seemed all curling; / Hateful and loathly, his hair and the rest, / With legs all bowed, covered with ugly hair / That was churlishly matted, with foaming lips

78 So violently he stamped on it (the earth) to enjoy himself

79 He reared up on his hind legs so rudely that all the earth was shaken

80 Thus he beat down the bear and killed him

81 These dreams so oppress the king aboard the ship / That he nearly bursts for pain on the bed

where he lies

82 Before I must die quickly, interpret my dream for me

83 trumpet calls; boldly

84 And as many infants (baptized babies) of noble children

85 I would give the revenues of all of France for the past fifteen years / To have been even a furlong from that man

86 visor; face guard; plated

87 He puts on the arm straps (braces) of a broad shield and asks for his sword

88 They tie their horses with a good distance between them

89 And afterwards you shall make your offerings, each after the other

90 You crossed yourself unsafely (started out wrong) to go to these mountains; / Six such as you would be too weak to attack him alone, / For, if you see him with sight (of your eyes), you will not have the heart / To cross yourself securely, so huge does he seem

91 He had murdered this mild one by the time that midday (bell) was rung

92 nations he thinks little of

93 For it will be a sorrow without remedy if you offer him anything else

94 spiced wine; Portuguese

95 There that fiend fills himself, to try when you please

96 smoke; went; quickest

97 Those who are roasted on spits in the field and broken with your hands

98 haired; eye-holes

99 Each fold (in the quivering skin of his lips) at once twisted out like the head of a wolf

100 Limbs and loins very loathesome, believe you, truly

101 Right up to; cut; asunder

102 In his death throes the thief squeezes him so fiercely

103 drags; holy body; these

104 He was stronger by far than any I had ever found

105 Quickly strike off his head and put it on a stake thereafter

106 Sir Kay himself brings the club and the coat as well

107 With his battalion spread out by those calm streams

108 Spares; liberty; affrights

109 By foreigners the French tongue is destroyed

110 I shall stop him before much longer if life is granted to me (if I live)

111 These courteous ones wait on a hill by the edge of the wood

112 Palaces (rich tents) proudly pitched, / That had rich walls of silk and purple cloth adorned with precious stones

113 Within a short time I shall not leave him in Paris / So much as a tiny spot; let him test this when he pleases

114 That bears on his shield a heraldic device all of purple, striped with silver

115 With great force, on a brown horse, he offers battle boldly

116 Outjousted at that battle despite his great boasts

117 is filled; pale sea; away

118 astonished; thrusts

119 May I never look on my lord the rest of my life / If we serve him so poorly, we who once pleased him so well

120 die; ground; cut down

121 Even so, he (Sir Gawain) rescued Sir Bois despite all their baleful knights!

122 For, doubtless, if you delay or play any tricks

123 Because of the crowd at the ford they leaped into the water together

124 On the path by the stream they adjust their hauberks

125 They placed the riotous (Roman) knights in the rear guard (as prisoners)

126 God skillfully handles trouble as He pleases. / No one is so harmful that he can escape or slip away from His hands

127 All that concerns temporal life is yours while I live

128 Make ready their battalions, display their banners

129 No attack from ambush is ever defeated

130 See that you pack up your trumpets and trifle no longer

131 Whether we shun (battle) or show (fight), decide as you please

132 I would be boiled alive and cut in quarters

133 Where shrubs were bright under the shining eaves of the forest

134 Of rivets and strong steel and rich gold chain mail

135 Ride on iron-gray steeds at the front rank (of the Romans)

136 Keep what you have taken; it does little harm, / For scorn is internal, use it who will

137 Sir Cador commanded that they be put in wagons and covered with fair cloths

138 When you were placed in a stronghold, you should have endured

139 astonished; destroyed

140 I did my duty today - I put myself at the judgment of lords

141 Commands that his fires be fed so that they flame very high / And (commands them) to pack up securely and march away thereafter

142 Suddenly; each side; troops

143 Sir Kayous, Sir Clegis, and good men of arms / The king decides should keep watch by those shining strands.

144 Six inches above the waist, between the short ribs

145 fulfilled [their] vows

146 Then rushes the steadfast man and grips his bridle

147 Fought with foot-soldiers (brigands) from afar in those lands; / With feathered arrows they very eagerly shoot those men

148 Crossbow bolts skillfully whip through knights

149 whole; hastily; heath;

150 draws; Excalibur

151 All crushed, stamped to death by armored steeds

152 cockatrices (crocodiles)

153 Camels; Arabian horses; elephants

154 Spoil or rot before they could arrive

155 Measured; money; much

156 take care not to deceive

157 While I have power to speak, the Church's possessions shall never be harmed

158 For fear of being dashed asunder by the draw bridge

159 further back

160 Pitched tents of silk and placed (themselves) in siege

161 On Sunday by the time the sun gave out a flood of light

162 (The hay) mown and unstacked, worked over but little, / In rows of cuttings swept down, full of sweet flowers

163 A carbuncle is in the chef (upper third of the shield), changing in colors, / And (he was) an adventurous chief, challenge him who will

164 To that man, steadfast in battle, strongly he stands

165 Near the lower arm plate, veiled with silver

166 We must have a bandage, ere your color changes

167 barbers (surgeons)

168 For he who is wounded with this broad sword shall never cease bleeding!

169 I give you grace and grant you your life, though you have deserved grief

170 confession; prepare

171 If I have the good luck, for my recovery, to serve that noble (Arthur), / I will be quickly cured, I tell thee truly

172 I would rather be stabbed to the heart in private / Than to have an ordinary soldier win such a prize

173 quickly; will be; pieces

174 And some had fallen asleep because of the skillful singing of the creatures

175 Wine casks; broke open

176 those adventuring; To arms!

177 broke; breath

178 If they are not defeated, in faith, it would seem to me a great wonder

179 false of faith; falsehood

180 Meddles; middle guard

181 Devil take you

182 Marquis of Metz; pierces

183 hillside by skill

184 Monasteries and hospitals they hammer to earth

185 Strikes straight; narrow

186 I intend to be lord of that pleasing land!

187 Scout for those hiding so that no harm may befall them

188 Meekly on St. Martin's Day (November 11) to pay homage with his treasures

189 talk; spending; bitterness

190 Sept. 13-14; invade

191 He throws himself quickly on the bed and loosens his belt

192 Beautifully enclosed upon the noble boughs; / There was no moisture that could harm anything

193 expensively; patterned

194 brooches; medallions

195 strange (hostile) to others

196 defeated; hostile

197 Whom you unkindly (as a stranger) left dead in France.

198 Charlemagne; king's

199 An armor neckpiece, a stomach guard, and an excellent belt

200 Pauses at a main road, thinking by himself

201 A man in a full-cut cloak and very roomy clothes

202 With wallet and with pilgrim's mantle and many scallop shells, / Both staff and palm branch,
as if he were a pilgrim

203 I need ask for no credentials; I know you are true

204 Therefore to Great Britain it behooves us to hasten

205 See that in Lombardy no man change his allegiance

206 Sends forth troops and baggage and goes forth thereafter

207 Linked together with great wagon chains

208 Arranged wooden shields on the left (port), painted shields

209 All bareheaded because of business, with beaver-colored locks

210 They are on the rascal's side, I swear by my hand

211 But there was placed in the chef (upper third of shield) a chalk-white maiden

212 They talk in their jargon about what has happened

213 Weather (wind) brings stout ships against planks (of other ships), / So that the bilge and the beam burst apart

214 mast-stays; edgewise; hack

215 Armored knights rush boldly on board, / (Coming) out of small boats on board, (and) were pelted with stones

216 i.e., the captives'

217 By the time the battle was finished the high tide had passed; / Then was the water near the shore such a slush in very large pools / That the king could not land in the low water. / Therefore, he remained on the deep water for fear of losing his horses

218 exhausted with fighting

219 Each man may be warned by vengeance wreaked on another

220 Until he could get away by stealth and come to speak to her

221 not whole (i.e., dead)

222 Nor was there anything that sank him so sad as that sight alone

223 Get knights who hold your castles from their countries

224 Christians; crossed themselves

225 Why did the Lord not destine (me to die) at His dear will

226 Passant (shown from the side, walking) on a purple background of very rich jewels

227 (i.e., the sword Clarent); dainty

228 lifeblood left

229 Let us go to Glastonbury, nothing else avails

230"Into Your hands"


The following abbreviations are used in these notes to indicate editorial attribution:

Ba: Mary Macleod Banks, ed. An Alliterative Poem of the Fourteenth Century. London, New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1900.

Be: Larry D. Benson, ed. King Arthur's Death. Indianapolis and New York: Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1974.

Bj: Erik Bjorkman, ed. Morte Arthure. Alt- und mittelenglische Texte, 9. Heidelberg and New York: Carl Winters, 1915.

Br: Edmund Brock, ed. Morte Arthure or The Death of Arthur. EETS o.s. 8. London, New York, Toronto: Oxford University Press, New Edition, 1871; reprinted 1961.

F: the present editor

GV: E. V. Gordon and Eugene Vinaver. "New Light on the Text of the Alliterative Morte Arthure." Medium Aevum 6 (1937), 81-98.

H: Mary Hamel, ed. Morte Arthure: A Critical Edition. Garland Medieval Texts, 9. New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1984.

K: Valerie Krishna, ed. The Alliterative Morte Arthure. New York: Burt Franklin and Company, Inc., 1976.

OED: Oxford English Dictionary

OL: J. L. N. O'Loughlin. "The Middle English Alliterative Morte Arthure." Medium Aevum 4 (1935), 153-168.

1 Himselven. On the prominence of reflexive formulas in the poem (himselven, him likes, etc.) as indicators of the will and willfulness, see Peck, pp. 158 ff.

29 Uter. Uther Pendragon, Arthur's father.

32 Scotland and England were often at war in the fourteenth century, hence scathel ("harmful") Scotland.

37 Grace. The MS reading. Most editors emend to Grece (Greece) but Grace (Grasse) makes more geographical sense. Grasse is a small city in southern France, north of Cannes, which was an episcopal see from 1244 to 1790. K retains Grace.

41 Vienne. Ackerman suggests Vienna, though K thinks, rather, that it must refer to a town north of Valence or a district in Poitier.

42 Overgne (Ba, Be, K, H). I.e., Auvergne. MS: Eruge.

47 I.e., the whole extent of Denmark.

61 Caerlion. One of Arthur's principal cities where, according to the chronicles, he often spent Pentecost. K suggests that the reference to the city's "curious walles" may derive from Giraldus' description of the city: "[Caerleon] was of undoubted antiquity, and handsomely built of masonry, with courses of bricks, by the Romans. Many vestiges of its former splendour may yet be seen; immense palaces . . . a tower of prodigious size, remarkable hot baths, relics of temples, and theatres, all enclosed within fine walls, parts of which remain standing. You will find on all sides, both within and without the circuit of the walls, subterraneous buildings, aqueducts, underground passages; and what I think worthy of notice, stoves contrived with wonderful art, to transmit the heat insensibly through narrow tubes passing up the side walls" (p. 164).

64 Carlisle. Here, Arthur's new city, located on the Scottish border; another favorite site for Arthur's festivities, according to Froissant. The Middle English romance Sir Gawain and the Carl of Carlisle suggests the city's foundation at a place where courtesy turned monstrosity to civility.

66 douspeeres. Originally Charlemagne's twelve peers, but here simply "high noblemen."

68 A bannerette was a senior knight entitled to bear his own banner; a bacheler ranked somewhat lower and was either a newly made knight or a young man about to be knighted.

77 West Marches. The territories bordering Wales.

79 The bread is the first course (since the other food was heaped upon it), and the first course is the traditional time for the arrival of a messenger. Compare Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, lines 116-132.

86 Lucius Iberius: "The Emperor Lucius was apparently invented by Geoffrey of Monmouth [History of the Kings of Britain], who calls him Lucius Tiberius. . . . The attempt at a reconquest of Britain by the Romans in the sixth century also derives from Geoffrey" (K, p. 165).

92 Lamass Day: a harvest festival formerly celebrated on August 1.

95 Prime was "the first hour of the day, beginning at six-o'clock throughout the year or at the varying times of sunrise" (OED).

105 The Romans held title to Britain on the basis of Caesar's conquest, as recorded in chronicles based ultimately on Book V of Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain.

108 route. "Ambigious: either 'snore' (OE hrutan), an expression of Lucius's angry contempt, or more neutrally 'go, travel' (OF router), a contrast rather than a parallel to ryste (rest)" (H, p. 257).

134 There is (Br, Be, K). MS: thare.

142 crowned was (Bj, Be, K). MS: corounde.

168 Chambers with chimneys are heated rooms, a luxury at this time. See note to line 61.

176ff. The elaborate feast that follows might actually have been served at a royal household of the late fourteenth century. Menus for royal feasts are printed in Two Fifteenth-Century Cooking Books, ed. Austin, EETS o.s. 91 (London, 1888; reprinted 1964). See H's extensive notes on the dishes and feast practices of the later fourteenth century (pp. 259-63).

178 togges (OL, Be). MS: togers. H reads toges; Br and K follow MS.

186 whom. MS: whame. Bj, Be, and H emend to when or whan, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS sense.

200 Crete. The poet regularly identifies wines by their place of origin. The universality of Arthur's wine cellar is impressive.

213 The virtues (powers) of precious stones were commonplace in the Middle Ages. See English Medieval Lapidaries, eds. Evans and Serjeantson, EETS o.s. 190 (London, 1932; reprinted 1960).

233 Waynor and Gaynor for Guinevere are used interchangeably as are Gawain and Wawain for Gawain.

234 Sir Owglitreth. Sir Owghtreth of Turry is evidently one of Arthur's vassals. Turry perhaps is Turin, Italy. J. L. N. O'Loughlin, "The Middle English Alliterative Morte Arthure,"Medium Aevum 4 (1935), 159, suggests that he is one of Lucius' ambassadors, who out of courtesy is assigned with Gawain to accompany the Queen.

245 Giauntes Towr. Since giants occupied Britain before the arrival of Brutus, this tower is, presumably, a "prehistoric" edifice.

256 deffuse. Be and H emend to disuse, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.

277 In Book III of Geoffrey's History we are told that, long before Caesar came to Britain, Belinus and Brennius conquered and ravaged Rome. This is, of course, not historical.

"Baldwin the Third is unknown; perhaps he was invented for the sake of alliteration" (K, p. 169).

282 According to Geoffrey (Book V, chapter 6) Constantine was the son of a Roman Senator and a British Princess, and he succeeded to the kingship of Britain. Then he overthrew the Emperor Maxentius and became Emperor. According to legend, his mother, Helen, discovered the True Cross. Arthur claims kinship with Constantine because of his supposed British mother. Constantine actually did proclaim himself Caesar while in York, but he was never king of Britain and not of British descent.

288 King Aungers. Robert W. Ackerman, An Index of Arthurian Names in Middle English (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1952), p. 20, identifies King Aungers as Geoffrey of Monmouth's Auguselus, a king of Scotland, son of Bryadens, grandson of Igerne, and brother of Lot and Urien. He was, like Lot, an enemy of Arthur who later became an ally.

297 The vernacle (the relic of Veronica) is the handkerchief with which St. Veronica wiped the face of Christ on His way to the Crucifixion. Miraculously, the image of His face was preserved on the handkerchief, which still survives. The cult of Veronica was especially strong in the fourteenth century. Pope John XXII granted an indulgence of ten thousand days for a prayer to the Veronica, and its legend had an important part in the popular romances about Titus and Vespasian.

301 eldes. Bj and Be emend to monthes, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS. It probably means "of two generations".

304 Berne of Britain the Little. King Hoel of Brittany.

305 beseekes. MS; besekys. Bj and Be emend to congee beseekes, but I have followed Br, K, and H in adhering to the MS reading.

320 The Welsh king. Perhaps Sir Valiant (line 2064).

334 Of Wyghte and. GV and Be emend to of wightest; H emends to of wyghte men, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.

337 Sir Ewain fitz Urien. Iwain son of Urien and Morgan le Fay.

352 Petersand (Petrasanta, i.e., the Vatican); Pis (Pisa); Pount Tremble (Pontremoli).

368-70 "Lancelot, the great hero of the Vulgate tradition, was unknown in the earlier chronicles. In introducing him as one of the 'lesse men' among Arthur's retainers, the poet gives his audience a clear signal: this poem will not be concerned with the issues and themes of that tradition" (H, p. 268).

369 love. H reads lone and translates the line "I praise God for this contribution" (H, p. 268).

375 Genivers (Genoese): "The notorious giants from Genoa in Lucius' army may derive from the Genoan mercenaries who fought with France against Edward III at Crecy and other important battles" (K, p. 170).

391 renkes. Not rankes (men) but renkes (paths) from OF renc.

415 Epiphany. From the Greek for "appearance" or "manifestation," it is the feast on January 6, commemorating the coming of the Magi to see the child Jesus and symbolizing the "manifestation" of the newborn savior to the whole world (OED).

450 Watling Street. The old Roman road leading from the southern coast by way of London to Cardigan in Wales.

451 nyghes (Ba, K). MS: nyghttes. "The appearance of nyghte in the same line is very likely the source of the scribal error" (K, p. 171).

458 lette. Bj, Be, and H emend to lefe, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.

471 sixteen (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: sex sum of six. "Either 'part of a company of six' or 'along with a company of six'. . . . In either case the number given [in the MS] is inconsistent with that of line 81, where the Senator arrives with a company of sixteen" (K, p. 171).

482 Catrik. A town in Yorkshire, identified with the Roman cataractonium.

490 Sandwich is the port from which the Romans will take ship. One of the "cinque ports," Sandwich is the site of the Church of St. Peter where curfew, now ceremonial, was rung.

497 Mount Goddard. One of the principal passes through the French Alps into Italy.

513 sandes. Bj, Be, and H emend to sandesman, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.

515 wye (OL, Be, K, H). MS: waye. Br's emendation.

572 Ambyganye and Orcage are apparently in the East. H emends to Arcage, the OF spelling of Arcadia. Ambyganye, she suggests, could be Albania.

575 Irritane (Hyrcania) and Elamet (Elam) are not islands but countries in Asia.

587 Bayous. Be emends to boyes; H emends to barons, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS. This is an odd location in the context, but the suggested emendations are not persuasive. Bayonne (Beune) is in southwestern France.

588 Prester John was thought to be a Christian ruler living somewhere in the Orient. In The Travels of Sir John Mandeville (a famous fourteenth century book of fictitious travels, presented as a true account), Prester John is said to be the Emperor of India, allied by marriage to the great Khan of China. The legend was probably based on reports of Christian communities which actually did exist in the East. Pamphile is a region of Asia Minor.

604-05 Prussland (Prussia) and Lettow (Lithuania) were still pagan in the fourteenth century.

625 The octave of St. Hillary's day would be a week after January 24.

628-29 Constantine (the Peninsula of Cotentin) and Barflete (Barfleur) are on the coast of Normandy.

656 Arthur's concern for the protection of his game is not surprising in a century when (as shown by Sir Gawain and the Green Knight) hunting was of great importance to the aristocracy.

674 wordles. MS: werdez. Bj, K, H read wer[l]de?.

716 Sways (Bj, Be). MS: Twys.

734 Hackes. MS: Hukes. K emends to Hekes. H follows MS on grounds that hukes are outergarments or possibly "caparisons for horses" (MED, s.v.); she finds Bj's emendation hackes to be redundant if paired with hackeneys.

769 Be, following GV, supplies a supposed missing line after 769: His tail was totattered with tonges ful huge; K notes but does not accept the insertion. H accepts. I have followed K.

771 Be, following GV, supplies a supposed missing line after 771: And his clawes were enclosed with clene gold; K does not note. H accepts. I have not included the line.

785 at. Be notes MS at, but prints it. I have retained the MS reading as do Br and K. H deletes the word, explaining that the scribe miscopied the following to which he then corrected by writing to but failed to cross out the at.

Rapped, H suggests, means "barked," not dashed to earth, which is inconsistent with the flying posture.

804 thring. MS: brynge. Holthausen's emendation, followed by Bj, Be, and K. H suggests breen, meaning "frighten, terrify." See her note discussing the problem. Br follows MS.

808 seven science. The seven liberal arts (grammar, rhetoric, logic, which were the trivium, and arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music, which were the quadrivium); these were the basis of Medieval education.

812 Second half of 812 appears in the MS as the second half of 813 and vice versa (Bj, Be). K and H disagree, but I have followed Be.

821 tattered (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: taschesesede. Br: tachesesede.

841 Templar. A member of the Knights Templar, a military order founded c. 1118 for the protection of the Holy Sepulchre and pilgrims visiting the Holy Land. The order was suppressed in 1312.

848 countree of Constantine. The country around Cotentin, a peninsula on the coast of Normandy.

880 The promontory is Mont-Saint-Michel, on which, according to this story, Arthur founds the famous monastery to commemorate his victory. See also line 899.

905 jupon. A gipon is a sleeveless cloth garment worn over the armor; Arthur's is jagged in shredes - with fashionable scallopings at the edges. Jerodine is apparently a kind of cloth (perhaps gabardine).

910 enarmed. Bj and Be emend to enamelled, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.

946 them. MS: thus. Br, K, and H retain MS.

964 Wade. A figure in German legend and a now-lost English romance.

1028 piment. Wine mixed with honey and spices.

1041 source (Bj, Be). MS: sowre. Br and K retain MS. H emends to sowþe.

1083 eyen-holes (Bj, Be). MS: hole eyghn. Br, K, and H retain MS.

1123 genitals (Bj, Br, Be, K, H). MS: genitates.

1142 buskes. Bj and Be emend to wild buskes, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.

1175 A reference to the giant Pitho, whom Arthur slew "in Aravio Montem" (in the mount of Araby), the Aran mountains in Wales. The story is from Geoffrey of Monmouth, History of the Kings of Britain, Book X.

1225 Castel Blank is unique in this poem.

1231 mene-while. GV, Be, and H emend to mete-while, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS even though the emendation is plausible.

1248 frayes (Bj, Be, K). MS: fraisez. Br and H retain MS.

1263 Sir Bois. Earl of Oxford. "The name Bos (Boso de Vado Boum in Geoffrey [of Monmouth] was probably invented by Geoffrey as a pun on bos and Oxford" (Ackerman, p. 38).

1264 Sir Berille. Perhaps Borel, Earl of Mans, who fights on Arthur's side and is given Le Mans.

1265 Sir Grime. Bj emends to Geryn of Chartres, one of Arthur's vassals who appears at this point in the chronicles and also in line 3708. Grime is not known elsewhere.

1281 with (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: that with. Br follows MS.

1302 worthy (Bj, Be, K). MS: worthethy. Br and H retain MS.

1334 Appears in MS as line 1330 (Bj, Be, H).

1364 sable (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: salle. Br follows MS.

1378 unabaist all. Bj and Be emend to all unabaist, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS word order and have punctuated to make the grammatical relation clear.

1402-02 The perilous water that falls from the sea fifty miles away apparently refers to a tidal estuary (n.b. salt strandes in line 1422).

1405 I agree with H that changen should be taken as a hunting metaphor: to "change" attention from prey to prey.

1408 all (Bj, Be). MS: and; Bedvere (Be, H). MS: Bedwyne. Br and K retain both MS readings. Perhaps a miswriting of Baldwin, who appears in lines 1606 and 2384.

1427 redies. Be emends to relies, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.

1436 stokes. Br and Be emend to strokes, but K notes that emendation is unnecessary, citing OED stoke sb2 (p. 182). H follows MS too.

1466-67 Appear in MS in reverse order (Be). I have followed K, H in retaining MS order.

1503 not (Bj, Be). MS: now. Br, K, and H follow MS.

1558 Sir Ewain fitz Henry. Probably Sir Ewain fitz Urien, as in line 337. Ackerman notes that he is given both names in Layamon's Brut as well (p. 248).

1567 tithandes (Bj, Be, H). MS: thy?andez. Br and K retain MS spelling, as a variant of tydandis.

1622 Sir Evander. King of Syria and one of Lucius's vassals.

1638 Sir Clegis, Sir Cleremus, Sir Cleremond. Sir Clegis is a knight of the Rount Table. Either Sir Cleremus and Sir Cleremond might allude to Clarrus of Clere Mounte who appears in other romances aiding Launcelot in his war against Arthur. Here the pair fill out the alliterative quatrain.

1653 kith (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: lythe. Br retains MS but glosses: "Read Kythe."

1681 Clegis challenges the Romans to a formal tournament, with three courses of war (that is, three jousts with the lance) and the claims of knighthood (the winner to take the horse and arms of the loser.)

1683 Clegis' insult, like the King of Syria's, is part of the formal "flyting."

1688 hufe. Bj and Be emend to leng, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS. The charge that Clegis is trying to delay things is only a pro forma insult. More significant is the King of Syria's inquiry about Clegis' ancestry, since it would be beneath his dignity to joust with any but the highest noble.

1690 crest (Bj, Be, H). MS: breste (Br, K).

1695 Sir Brut. The legendary founder of Britain. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth he was the great-grandson of Aeneas of Troy.

1698 Forthy (Be). MS: ffro the.

Brut (Bj, Be, H). MS: Borghte (Br, K).

1732 on. Bj, Be, and H emend to on the, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.

1744 Wawayne. Bj, Be, and H emend to Bawdwyne, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.

1745 Rowlaundes (Bj, Be, H). MS: and Rowlandez (Br, K).

1768 all on loud (Bj, Be). MS: o laundone (Br, K, H).

1786 corn-bote. Literally a fine paid in grain.

1797 in his (Bj, Be, K). MS: his ine (Br). H argues that MS reads in his.

1855 I.e., the Saracens are six feet from the waist up.

1866 Cordewa. Be and H emend to Cornett, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.

1878 men. Bj, Be, and H emend to hethen men, but I have followed K in retaining MS.

1904 Utolf (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: Vtere (Br). Uther, Arthur's father, is dead. Utolfe appears in lines 1622 and 1868, along with Evander, as knights on the Roman side.

1908 Carous (K, H). MS: Barous. Br emends to Barouns.

1911 Sarazenes ynow (Bj, Be, K). MS: sarazenes.

1912 are (Bj, Be, H). MS: a (Br, K).

1930 never berne (Bj, Be). MS: never (Br, K, H).

1938 Though (Be). MS: Thofe (Br, K, H).

1979 them. Bj and Be emend to then, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.

1980 halfe. Bj and Be emend to side, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.

1982 Wales (Bj, Be, H). MS: Vyleris (Br, K).

2016 sees. Bj and Be emend to him sees, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.

2047 The knights of the Round Table fulfill the vows they made; the King of Wales fulfills the vow he made in lines 330-32.

2066 Ewain fitz Urien (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: Ewayne sir Fytz Vriene (Br). Ewain fitz Urien fulfills the vow he made in lines 357-63.

2073 Lancelot had vowed (lines 372-77) to strike down the emperor himself, and accordingly he now strikes him down and leaves a spear stuck in his belly. The emperor evidently recovers very quickly, for he is soon back in battle.

2081 Lot had vowed to be the first to ride through the Roman ranks (lines 386-94), which he now does. When Lot has accomplished this, the vows are all fulfilled and the battle proper begins.

2108 hethe (Bj, Be, K). MS: heyghe (Br,H).

2112 Jonathal (OL, Be, H, K). MS: Ienitall (Br). Jonathal appears in a corresponding passage in Geoffrey of Monmouth.

2123 Caliburn is used for Excalibur by Geoffrey of Monmouth.

2151 on folde (Bj, Be, K). MS: fygured folde (Br). H emends to faireste-fygured felde.

2157 Sir Cleremond the noble (Bj, K). MS: with clene mene of armes (Br). Be, H have Sir Bedvere the rich, but Cleremond the noble is as familiar a formula and improves the alliteration.

2180 real renk (Bj, Be, H). MS: reall (K). Br reads ryalle. The addition of renk so much improves both rhythm and alliteration that a scribal omission seems likely.

2181 he (K). MS: and (Br, H).

2198 into. Bj, Be, and H emend to into the, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.

2217 chis. Bj, Be, and H emend to thriches, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.

2250 at. Bj, Be, and H emend to all, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.

2280 lighte. Bj and Be emend to lithe, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.

2283 cokadrisses (Be, K, H). MS: sekadrisses (Br).

2286 dromedaries of (Bj, Be, H). MS: of dromondaries (Br).

2288 Olfendes (Bj, Be, K). MS: elfaydes (Br, H).

2305 he lenged (Br, Be, K, H). MS: lengede. The colours are the heraldic devices on the banners set above the caskets.

2328 ne. Bj, Be, and H emend to we ne, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.

2343 full monee. Bj and Be emend to full of the monee, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.

2358 Br, Bj, Be, and H all emend MS fowre to ten. "However, though the messenger is presumably referring in 2358 to the tribute that Arthur's court owed and had not paid for four score winters, Arthur in 2344 is referring to something else - the tribute from Rome to his own kingdom that was lost in his ancestors' days" (K, 187).

2384 Sir Bedwar the rich. Apparently not the same knight as Sir Bedwere the rich who was buried in line 2379. See Bj, p. 158, and K, pp. 187-88, on defects in lines 2371-85.

2386 the Auguste. OL, Be, and H emend to Auguste, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.

2390 Cristofer day. St. Christopher's day, July 25. St. Christopher has since been de-canonized.

2398 Lorraine the lele. Bj and Be emend to of Lorraine the lege, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.

2403 to (K). MS: and.

2408 Tuskan (Ba, Be, K, H). MS: Turkayne (Br).

2418 is in (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: es (Br).

2419 Citee (Br, Be, K, H). MS: Pety.

2424 Br, Be, and H note MS beneyde: bended (Bj). K emends to bendyde.

2438 ferde. Bj and Be emend to rade, but I have followed K and H in retaining MS.

2478 plattes. Bj and Be emend to plantes, but I have followed K in retaining MS.

2495 Wecharde. Be emends to Wicher, but I have followed K in retaining MS.

2519 withouten any berne (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: with birenne ony borne.

2521 gessenande. Be and H emend to glessenand, but I have followed K. Instead of glistening in gold the sable (black) grayhounds are lying couchant.

2522 and (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: a (Br).

2531 the lange (Bj, Be, H). MS: a launde (Br, K).

2568 vailed (K). MS: vrayllede (Br). Bj and Be emend to railed.

2586 Salerne. Salerno. The University of Salerno was famous in the Middle Ages for its medical school.

2588 Be follows GV suggestion to insert two lines to follow 2588: That I might be cristened, with crisom annointed, / Become meek for my misdeeds for meed of my soul.

2594 legeaunce and land (OL, Be). MS: legyaunce (Br, K). H emends to undir what legyaunce.

2648 It would be dishonorable for Priamus to be defeated by an ordinary soldier. Gawain is such a great knight that even to be defeated by him is an honor that Priamus would prize even if no one were to learn of it.

2663 Be, following GV, inserts the following after 2663: For here hoves at thy hand an hundreth good knightes. H agrees, but I have followed Br and K in omitting the line.

2664 For they are. Be emends to they are, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.

2675 slight (Bj, Be, K). MS: slaughte. H emends to a slaughte.

2680 Wecharde (K). MS: Wychere.

2705 The four wells of Paradise (which were thought to be in the East) were celebrated for their magical qualities (one was the Fountain of Youth) and thought to be the sources of the four great rivers of the East - the Nile, the Ganges, the Tigris, and the Euphrates.

2771 breth (Bj, Be, H). MS: breste (Br, K).

2797 and (Bj, Be, H). MS: a (Br, K).

2854 Though (Bj, Be). MS: Thofe (Br, K, H).

2868 Unwine. A legendary hero of the Goths, probably known to the poet from a lost English romance.

Absolon. Absalom (2 Samuel 13-19), celebrated in medieval romance for his personal beauty.

2876 The adventure in the vale of Josephat, to which the gestes refer, is an episode in the Fuerre de Gaderes, a story of the Crusades.

2890 Gerard (Bj, Be, H). MS: Ierante (Br, K).

2891 He stabs him through a gyronny shield (a shield decorated with two colors divided into triangles).

2908 Giauntes. Bj and Be emend to giauntes are, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.

2940 duke dresses (Bj, Be, H). MS: duke (Br, K).

2950 Marches. MS: maches (Br). Be emends to matchless, but I have followed K and H.

2951 middle-erthe. "The earth, as placed between heaven and hell, or as supposed to occupy the centre of the universe" (OED).

2977 sleghte (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: elagere (Br).

3013 at heste (Bj, Be, H). MS: the beste (Br, K).

3031 in Hampton. According to H, the phrase "indicates that the messenger's reward is not simply a lump sum but an estate worth £100 a year - a princely gift for a mere herald" (p. 351).

3057 none (GV, Be, H). MS: no (Br, K).

3061 be deemed (Bj, Be, K). MS: idene the (Br). H emends to indeue the, meaning "endow you" or "provide you with a livelihood."

3064 he. Bj and Be emend to sho, but I have followed K and H in retaining MS.

3067 MS lines 3068-3083 are moved by Be to become lines 3112-3127. Although H agrees with Be, I have followed K in leaving them in their MS position.

3074 knighte. GV, H, and Be emend to king, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.

3101 He crosses over Lake Lucerne into Switzerland.

3117 Slely. MS: slal (Br). Bj and Be emend to skathel, but I have followed K.

3140 for Pawnce and for (Bj, Be, H, K). MS: of Pawnce and of. Br: Plesaunce (Piacenza), Pawnce (Ponte), and Pownte Tremble (Pontremole) are towns in Lombardy.

3150 thus wele timed. GV and Be emend to him time semed, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.

3186 sceptre and swerde. MS: his ceptre (Br). Be emends to sceptre, for sooth, but I have followed K. H emends to ceptre forsothe.

3209 honden. Bj and Be emend to holde, but I have followed K in retaining MS. H emends to honouren.

3212 Cross-days: Rogation Days, three special days of prayer preceding Ascension Day (forty days after Easter).

3220 slakes his (Bj, Be). MS: slakes (Br, H, K).

3241 clerewort. Bj and Be emend to clevewort, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.

3251 Dame Fortune, with her Wheel of Fortune, is a familiar figure in late Medieval poetry, as are the Nine Worthies whom Arthur sees in his dream. The Nine Worthies first appear in fourteenth century works such as The Parlement of Three Ages and reappear as late as Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream.

3256 With brouches (Bj, Be, H). MS: bruches (Br, K).

besauntes are coins, originally from Byzantium, here coin-shaped golden discs.

3257 Her back (Bj, Be, H). MS: With hir bake (Br, K).

3263 riches (Bj, Be, K). MS: reched (Br), but K thinks MS may read reches anyway.

3272 this (Bj, Be). MS: thir (Br, K). H reads thi.

roo (Bj, Be, K). MS: rog (Br, H).

3282 tone eye (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: two eyne (Br).

3308 folded (Bj, Be, K). MS: fayled (Br). H emends to falded in.

3345 Frollo was the ruler of France whom Arthur killed in single combat when he conquered that country as part of the conquests that immediately precede the action of this poem and that are summarized in the opening lines. The story is told in Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain, Book IX, chapter 11, where Arthur's adversary is called Flollo, and in Wace's Brut (which our poet may have known), where he is called Frolle or Frollo.

3352 crispand (Bj, Be, H). MS: krispane (Br, K).

3356 Circled (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: Selkylde (Br).

3408-10 Alexander the Great, Hector of Troy, and Julius Caesar are the three Pagan Worthies.

3412-16 Judas Maccabeus, Joshua, and King David are the three Jewish Worthies.

3422 tone climand kyng (Bj, Be, H). MS: two clymbande kynges.

3423 Karolus (Charlemagne) is the first of the three Christian Worthies. The second is Godfrey of Bouillon (line 3430), and the third is Arthur himself.

3427 lifelich. Bj and Be emend to loveliche, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.

3434 He shall recover the cross when he conquers Jerusalem. Godfrey's deeds, like Charlemagne's (lines 3423-29), are prophesied, since Arthur historically precedes both.

3439 ninde (Bj, Be). Ms: nynne (Br, K, H).

3470 Be interprets rowme ("roomy, or full-cut") to be fashionable, as he does the shreddes and shragges ("scalloped edges") in line 3473, but I am inclined to agree with H that the stranger is dressed quite unfashionably.

3474 slawin. Bj and Be emend to sclavin ("pilgrim's garb"), but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.

The scallop shells were the mark of a pilgrimage to St. James of Compostela in Spain, the palm branch of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

3480 wathe (Bj, Be, H). MS: wawthe (Br, K).

3505 Be reverses 3505 and 3506, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.

3510 I. Bj and Be emend to I was, but I have followed K and H in retaining MS.

3530 Of (Bj, Be). MS: To (Br, K, H).

3541 From the Humber River (at the southern border of Yorkshire) to the town of Hawick (in southern Scotland), i.e., the whole North Country.

3545 Hengest and Horsa were traditionally the first Germanic (that is, Anglo-Saxon) invaders of Britain; Geoffrey of Monmouth (History, Book VI, chapter 11) gives the traditional account.

3592 trome. Bj, Be, and H emend to trumpe, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.

3605 Lines 3605 and 3606 appear in reverse order in the MS (Be).

3611 Apparently the painted cloths (sewn together and doubled) are meant to serve as a protection against arrows.

3648-49 The maiden on the chef, the upper third of the shield, is the Blessed Virgin, who is holding the Christ-child, the Chef or Lord of heaven. In 3650 the sense seems to be "noble."

3650 Arthur will not change his arms to disguise himself even when hard-pressed, as Mordred later does (lines 4181-85).

3662 Wether (Be). MS: With hir (Br, K, H).

Ramming and boarding were the principal tactics in fourteenth century sea battles, since cannon had only recently been introduced.

3672 bernes (Bj, Be). MS: braynes (Br, K). H reads berynes.

3675 Up ties (Be, K, H). MS: Vpcynes (Br).

3678 Many freke (Bj, Be). MS: ffreke (Br, K, H).

3684 englaimes (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: englaymous (Br).

3709 Galuth is Gawain's sword, here personified as "a good gome."

3720 in (Be, K). MS: and (Br, H).

3743 Engendure may be a reference to Mordred's incestuous begetting (see Stanzaic Morte Arthure, lines 2955-56), though there is no direct reference to it in this poem.

3773 The Montagues were a famous Northern English family. The head of the family was a supporter of Richard II and a suspected heretic. He rebelled against Henry IV in 1400; he was beheaded and his head was displayed on London Bridge as a warning to other potential traitors.

3796 help. Be emends to help me, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.

3797 to see us (Br, Be, K, H). MS: to us.

3864 Fres. Bj and Be emend to Frisland, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.

3869 The golden griffin (a winged dragon) is Gawain's usual heraldic device.

3891 sib-blood. Mordred and Gawain are half brothers; their mother is Arthur's sister.

3911 yeyes (Bj, Be, H, K). MS: ?ee (Br).

3924 Swalters. Bj and Be emend to swafres, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.

3929 trewth (Bj, Be, H). MS: trewghe (Br, K).

3937 It is unclear whether the MS reads Guthede or Guchede. The former makes more sense.

3942 encircled (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: enserchede (Br).

3996 kithe (Bj, Be, H). MS: kyghte (Br, K).

4010 Carried it (Br, Be, H). MS: Karyed (Br, K).

4017 Don for him (Bj, Be). MS: Done for (Br, K, H).

4020 erthe. Bj, Be, and H emend to bere, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.

4095 The banners must be defended not only for the sake of honor but because signals made with the banners are the only means of communication during a battle.

4129 sere. Bj and Be emend to fele, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.

4157 Why then ne (Be). MS: Qwythen. K explains that an emendation may not really be necessary since the OED glosses the MS word in the same words as the emendation.

4181 churles. OL and Be emend to churlish, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS. Mordred adopts the cowardly stratagem of changing his heraldic devices, which Arthur would never do (see note on line 3650).

4221 and in (Br, Be, K, H). MS: and.

4223 he ne (Br, Be, K, H). MS: ne he.

4303 Arthur is said to have been buried at Glastonbury.

4305 day. Be emends to dayes, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.

4326 In manus is a common Medieval short form of Pater, in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum: "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit," Christ's last words on the cross according to Luke 23:46.

4332 Requiem. Mass for the dead.

4343 blude. Bj and Be emend to kin, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.

4346 Brut. The History of Britain, which begins with Brutus, who settled the country. Brut refers to any history of Britain, though the poet may have meant some specific work, such as the popular English prose Brut.

4347 This and the following lines are not by the original author of our poem. This line, which is the inscription on Arthur's tomb (dating from 1278), was added by a later reader of the manuscript. The next lines concern the scribe rather than the author of the poem. Robert Thornton, who lived in Yorkshire, about 1440, wrote out the manuscript that contains this and a number of other romances. The final Latin line, asking that Robert be blessed for his work, was written by a grateful reader in the later fifteenth century.
   But on a Saterday at noon,   a seven-night there-after,
The cunningest Cardinal   that to the court longed
Kneeles to the conquerour   and carpes these wordes,
Prayes him for the pees   and proffers full large
To have pitee of the Pope,   that put was at-under
Besought him of suraunce   for sake of the Lord
But a seven-night day   to they were all sembled
And they sholde sekerly him see   the Sononday there-after
In the citee of Rome,   as soveraign and lord,
And crown him kindly   with crismed handes
With his sceptre and swerde,   as soveraign and lord.
Of this undertaking   hostage are comen,
Of eiers full avenaunt,   eight score children,
In togges of tars   full richly attired,
And betook them the king   and his clere knightes.
   When they had treted their trewe,   with trumping thereafter
They trine unto a tent   where tables were raised;
The king himselven is set   and certain lordes
Under a sylure of silk,   saught at the bordes.
All the senatours are set   sere by them one,
Served solemnly   with selcouthe metes.
The king, mighty of mirth,   with his mild wordes,
Rehetes the Romanes   at his rich table,
Comfortes the Cardinal,   so knightly himselven,
And this roy real,   as romaunce us telles,
Reverences the Romans   in his rich table.
The taught men and the cunning,   when them time thought,
Tas their leve at the king   and turned again;
To the citee that night   they sought at the gainest,
And thus the hostage of Rome   with Arthur is leved.
   Then this roy real   reherses these wordes:
"Now we may revel and rest,   for Rome is our owen!
Make our hostage at ese,   these avenaunt children,
And look ye honden them all   that in mine host lenges,
The Emperour of Almaine   and all these este marches;
We shall be overling of all   that on erthe lenges!
We will by the Cross-days   encroch these landes 190
And at the Cristenmass day   be crowned there-after,
Regne in my realtees   and hold my Round Table,
With the rentes of Rome,   as me best likes;
Senn graithe over the grete se   with good men of armes
To revenge the Renk   that on the Rood died!"
   Then this comlich king   as cronicles telles,
Bounes brothly to bed   with a blithe herte;
Off he slinges with sleght   and slakes his girdle, 191
And for slewth of slomour   on a sleep falles.
But by one after midnight   all his mood changed;
He mette in the morn-while   full marvelous dremes;
And when his dredful dreme   was driven to the ende,
The king dares for doute,   die as he sholde,
Sendes after philosophers,   and his affray telles:
"Senn I was formed, in faith,   so ferd was I never!
For-thy ransackes redily   and rede me my swevenes,
And I shall redily and right   rehersen the sooth.
   "Me thought I was in a wood,   willed mine one
That I ne wiste no way   whider that I sholde,
For wolves and wild swine   and wicked bestes
Walked in that wastern   wathes to seek,
There lions full lothly   licked their tuskes
All for lapping of blood   of my lele knightes!
Through that forest I fled   there flowres were high,
For to fele me for ferd   of tho foul thinges,
Merked to a medow   with mountaines enclosed
The merriest of middle-erthe   that men might behold.
The close was in compass   casten all about
With clover and clerewort   cledde even over;
The vale was enveround   with vines of silver,
All with grapes of gold,   greter were never,
Enhorild with arbory   and alkins trees,
Erberes full honest,   and herdes there-under;
All fruites foddemed was   that flourished in erthe,
Fair frithed in fraunk   upon the free bowes; 192
Was there no danking of dew   that ought dere sholde;
With the drought of the day   all dry were the flowres.
   "Then descendes in the dale,   down fro the cloudes,
A duchess dereworthily dight   in diapered weedes, 193
In a surcote of silk   full selcouthly hewed,
All with loyotour overlaid   low to the hemmes
And with ladily lappes   the lenghe of a yard,
And all redily reversed   with rebanes of gold,
With brouches and besauntes   and other bright stones; 194
Her back and her breste   was broched all over,
With kell and with coronal   clenlich arrayed,
And that so comly of colour   one knowen was never.
   "About sho whirled a wheel   with her white handes,
Overwhelm all quaintly   the wheel, as sho sholde;
The rowel was red gold   with real stones,
Railed with riches   and rubies ynow;
The spekes was splented   all with speltes of silver,
The space of a spere-lenghe   springand full fair;
There-on was a chair   of chalk-white silver
And checkered with charbocle   changing of hewes
Upon the compass there cleved   kinges on row,
With crowns of clere gold   that cracked in sonder;
Six was of that settle   full sodenlich fallen,
Ilk a segge by himself   and said these wordes:
'That ever I regned on this roo   me rewes it ever!
Was never roy so rich   that regned in erthe!
When I rode in my rout   rought I nought elles
But rivaye and revel   and raunson the pople!
And thus I drive forth my dayes   whiles I drie might,
And therefore derflich   I am damned for ever!'
   "The last was a little man   that laid was beneth;
His leskes lay all lene   and lothlich to shew,
His lockes liard and long   the lenghe of a yard,
His lire and his ligham   lamed full sore,
The tone eye of the berne   was brighter than silver
The other was yellower   than the yolk of a nay.
   "'I was lord,' quod the lede,   'landes ynow,
And all ledes me louted   that lenged in erthe.
And now is left me no lap   my ligham to hele
But lightly now am I lost,   leve eche man the sooth.'
   "The second sir, forsooth,   that sewed them after
Was sekerer to my sight   and sadder in armes;
Oft he sighed unsound   and said these wordes:
'On yon see have I sitten   als soveraign and lord,
And ladies me loved   to lap in their armes,
And now my lordshippes are lost   and laid for ever!'
   "The third thoroughly was thro   and thick in the shoulders,
A thro man to thret of   there thirty were gadered;
His diadem was dropped down,   dubbed with stones,
Endented all with diamaundes   and dight for the nones;
'I was dredde in my dayes,' he said,   'in diverse rewmes,
And now damned to the dede,   and dole is the more!'
   "The fourt was a fair man   and forcy in armes,
The fairest of figure   that formed was ever.
'I was frek in my faith,' he said,   'whiles I on folde regned,
Famous in fer landes   and flowr of all kinges;
Now is my face defaded   and foul is me happened,
For I am fallen fro fer   and frendles beleved.'
   "The fift was a fairer man   than fele of these other,
A forcy man and a fers,   with fomand lippes;
He fanged fast on the feleighes   and folded his armes
But yet he failed and fell   a fifty foot large;
But yet he sprang and sprent   and spradden his armes,
And on the spere-lenghe spekes   he spekes these wordes:
'I was in Surry a Sire   and set by mine one
As soveraign and seinyour   of sere kinges landes;
Now of my solace I am   full sodenly fallen
And for sake of my sin   yon sete is me rewed.'
   "The sixt had a sawter   seemlich bounden
With a surepel of silk   sewed full fair,
A harp and a hand-sling   with hard flint-stones;
What harmes he has hent   he hallowes full soon:
'I was deemed in my dayes,' he said,   'of deedes of armes
One of the doughtiest   that dwelled in erthe;
But I was marred on molde   in my most strenghes
With this maiden so mild   that moves us all.'
   "Two kinges were climband   and claverand on high,
The erest of the compass   they covet full yerne.
'This chair of charbocle,' they said,   'we challenge hereafter,
As two of the chefest   chosen in erthe.'
   "The childer were chalk-white,   cheekes and other,
But the chair aboven   cheved they never.
The furthermost was freely   with a front large
The fairest of fisnamy   that formed was ever,
And he was busked in a blee   of a blew noble
With flourdelys of gold   flourished all over;
The tother was cledde in a cote   all of clene silver,
With a comlich cross   corven of gold;
Four crosselettes crafty   by the cross restes
And thereby knew I the king,   that cristened him seemed.
   "Then I went to that wlonk   and winly her greetes,
And sho said: 'Welcome, iwis,   well art thou founden;
Thou ought to worship my will,   and thou well couthe,
Of all the valiant men   that ever was in erthe,
For all thy worship in war   by me has thou wonnen;
I have been frendly, freke,   and fremmed til other. 195
That thou has founden, in faith,   and fele of thy bernes,
For I felled down Sir Frolle   with froward knightes; 196
For-thy the fruits of Fraunce   are freely thine owen.
Thou shall the chair escheve,   I chese thee myselven,
Before all the cheftaines   chosen in this erthe.'
   "Sho lift me up lightly   with her lene handes
And set me softly in the see,   the septer me reched;
Craftily with a comb   sho kembed mine heved,
That the crispand krok   to my crown raught;
Dressed on me a diadem   that dight was full fair,
And senn proffers me a pome   pight full of fair stones,
Enameld with azure,   the erthe there-on depainted,
Circled with the salt se   upon sere halves,
In sign that I soothly   was soveraign in erthe.
   "Then brought sho me a brand   with full bright hiltes
And bade me braundish the blade:   'The brand is mine owen;
Many swain with the swing   has the swet leved,
For whiles thou swank with the sword   it swiked thee never.'
   "Then raikes sho with roo   and rest when her liked,
To the rindes of the wood,   richer was never;
Was no pomerie so pight   of princes in erthe,
Ne none apparel so proud   but paradise one.
Sho bade the bowes sholde bow down   and bring to my handes
Of the best that they bore   on braunches so high;
Then they helded to her hest,   all holly at ones,
The highest of ech a hirst,   I hete you forsooth.
Sho bade me frith not the fruit,   but fonde whiles me liked:
'Fonde of the finest,   thou freelich berne,
And reche to the ripest   and riot thyselven.
Rest, thou real roy,   for Rome is thine owen,
And I shall redily roll   the roo at the gainest
And reche thee the rich wine   in rinsed cuppes.'
   "Then sho went to the well   by the wood eves,
That all welled of wine   and wonderlich runnes,
Caught up a cup-full   and covered it fair;
Sho bade me derelich draw   and drink to herselven;
And thus sho led me about   the lenghe of an hour,
With all liking and love   that any lede sholde.
   "But at the mid-day full even   all her mood changed,
And made much menace   with marvelous wordes.
When I cried upon her,   she cast down her browes:
'King, thou carpes for nought,   by Crist that me made!
For thou shall lose this laik   and thy life after;
Thou has lived in delite   and lordshippes ynow!'
   "About sho whirles the wheel   and whirles me under,
Til all my quarters that while   were quasht all to peces,
And with that chair my chin   was chopped in sonder;
And I have shivered for chele   senn me this chaunce happened.
Thus wakened I, iwis,   all wery fordremed,
And now wot thou my wo;   worde as thee likes."
   "Freke," says the philosopher,   "thy fortune is passed,
For thou shall find her thy fo;   fraist when thee likes!
Thou art at the highest,   I hete thee forsooth;
Challenge now when thou will,   thou cheves no more!
Thou has shed much blood   and shalkes destroyed,
Sakeles, in surquidrie,   in sere kinges landes;
Shrive thee of thy shame   and shape for thine end.
Thou has a shewing, Sir King,   take keep yif thee like,
For thou shall fersly fall   within five winters.
Found abbeyes in Fraunce,   the fruites are thine owen,
For Frolle and for Feraunt   and for thir fers knightes
That thou fremedly in Fraunce   has fey beleved. 197
Take keep yet of other kinges,   and cast in thine herte,
That were conquerours kidd   and crowned in erthe.
   "The eldest was Alexander   that all the world louted,
The tother Ector of Troy,   the chevalrous gome;
The third Julius Cesar,   that giaunt was holden,
In eche journee gentle,   ajudged with lordes.
The fourth was Sir Judas,   a jouster full noble,
The masterful Macabee,   the mightiest of strenghes;
The fift was Josue,   that jolly man of armes,
That in Jerusalem host   full much joy limped;
The sixt was David the dere,   deemed with kinges
One of the doughtiest   that dubbed was ever,
For he slew with a sling   by sleight of his handes
Golias the grete gome,   grimmest in erthe;
Senn endited in his dayes   all the dere psalmes
That in the sawter are set   with selcouthe wordes.
   "The tone climand king,   I know it forsooth,
Shall Karolus be called,   the kinge son of Fraunce;
He shall be cruel and keen   and conquerour holden,
Cover by conquest   contrees ynow;
He shall encroch the crown   that Crist bore himselven,
And that lifelich launce   that lepe to His herte
When He was crucified on cross,   and all the keen nailes
Knightly he shall conquer   to Cristen men handes.
   "The tother shall be Godfray,   that God shall revenge
On the Good Friday   with galiard knightes;
He shall of Lorraine be lord   by leve of his fader
And senn in Jerusalem   much joy happen,
For he shall cover the cross   by craftes of armes
And senn be crowned king   with crisom annointed.
Shall no dukes in his day   such destainy happen,
Ne such mischief drie   when trewth shall be tried.
   "For-thy Fortune thee fetches   to fulfill the number,
Als ninde of the noblest   named in erthe;
This shall in romaunce be redde   with real knightes,
Reckoned and renownd   with riotous kinges,
And deemed on Doomesday   for deedes of armes,
For the doughtiest that ever   was dwelland in erthe;
So many clerkes and kinges   shall carp of your deedes
And keep your conquestes   in cronicle for ever.
   "But the wolves in the wood   and the wild bestes
Are some wicked men   that werrayes thy rewmes,
Is entered in thine absence   to werray thy pople,
And alienes and hostes   of uncouthe landes.
Thou gettes tidandes, I trow,   within ten dayes,
That some torfer is tidde   senn thou fro home turned.
I rede thou reckon and reherse   unresonable deedes
Ere thee repentes full rathe   all thy rewth workes.
Man, amend thy mood,   ere thou mishappen,
And meekly ask mercy   for meed of thy soul."
   Then rises the rich king   and raght on his weedes,
A red acton of rose,   the richest of flowres,
A pesan and a paunson   and a pris girdle; 199
And on he hentes a hood   of scarlet full rich,
A pavis pillion-hat   that pight was full fair
With perry of the Orient   and precious stones;
His gloves gaylich gilt   and graven by the hemmes
With graines of rubies   full gracious to shew.
His bede greyhound and his brand   and no berne else
And bounes over a brode mede   with brethe at his herte.
Forth he stalkes a sty   by tho still eves,
Stotays at a high street,   studyand him one. 200
   At the sours of the sun   he sees there comand,
Raikand to Rome-ward   the rediest wayes,
A renk in a round clok   with right rowme clothes 201
With hat and with high shoon   homely and round;
With flat farthinges the freke   was flourished all over
Many shreddes and shragges   at his skirtes hanges
With scrip and with slawin   and scallopes ynow 202
Both pike and palm,   als pilgrim him sholde;
The gome graithly him grette   and bade good morwen;
The king, lordly himself,   of langage of Rome,
Of Latin corrumped all,   full lovely him menes:
"Wheder wilnes thou, wye,   walkand thine one?
Whiles this world is o war,   a wathe I it hold;
Here is an enmy with host,   under yon vines;
And they see thee, forsooth,   sorrow thee betides;
But if thou have condeth   of the king selven,
Knaves will kill thee   and keep at thou haves,
And if thou hold the high way,   they hent thee also,
But if thou hastily have help   of his hende knightes."
   Then carpes Sir Craddok   to the king selven:
"I shall forgive him my dede,   so me God help,
Any gome under God   that on this ground walkes!
Let the keenest come   that to the king longes,
I shall encounter him as knight,   so Crist have my soul!
For thou may not reche me   ne arrest thyselven,
Though thou be richly arrayed   in full rich weedes;
I will not wonde for no war   to wend where me likes
Ne for no wye of this world   that wrought is on erthe!
But I will pass in pilgrimage   this pas to Rome
To purchase me pardon   of the Pope selven,
And of the paines of Purgatory   be plenerly assoilled;
Then shall I seek sekerly   my soveraign lord,
Sir Arthur of England,   that avenaunt berne!
For he is in this empire,   as hathel men me telles,
Hostayand in this Orient   with awful knightes."
   "Fro whethen come thou, keen man,"   quod the king then,
"That knowes King Arthur   and his knightes also?
Was thou ever in his court   whiles he in kith lenged?
Thou carpes so kindly   it comfortes mine herte!
Well wele has thou went   and wisely thou seekes,
For thou art Breton berne,   as by thy brode speche."
   "Me ought to know the king;   he is my kidd lord,
And I called in his court   a knight of his chamber;
Sir Craddok was I called   in his court rich,
Keeper of Caerlion,   under the king selven;
Now I am chased out of kith,   with care at my herte,
And that castel is caught   with uncouthe ledes."
   Then the comlich king   caught him in armes,
Cast off his kettle-hat   and kissed him full soon,
Said: "Welcome, Sir Craddok,   so Crist mot me help!
Dere cosin of kind,   thou coldes mine herte!
How fares it in Bretain   with all my bold bernes?
Are they brittened or brint   or brought out of life?
Ken thou me kindly   what case is befallen;
I keep no credens to crave;   I know thee for trew." 203
   "Sir, thy warden is wicked   and wild of his deedes,
For he wandreth has wrought   senn thou away passed.
He has castels encroched   and crownd himselven,
Caught in all the rentes   of the Round Table;
He devised the rewm   and delt as him likes;
Dubbed of the Denmarkes   dukes and erles,
Disservered them sonderwise,   and citees destroyed;
Of Sarazenes and Sessoines   upon sere halves
He has sembled a sorte   of selcouthe bernes,
Soveraignes of Surgenale   and soudeours many
Of Peghtes and paynims   and proved knightes
Of Ireland and Argyle,   outlawed bernes;
All tho laddes are knightes   that long to the mountes,
And leding and lordship has all,   als themselve likes;
And there is Sir Childrik   a cheftain holden,
That ilke chevalrous man,   he charges thy pople;
They rob thy religious   and ravish thy nunnes
And redy rides with his rout   to raunson the poor;
Fro Humber to Hawyk   he holdes his owen,
And all the countree of Kent   by covenant entailled,
The comlich castles   that to the crown longed,
The holtes and the hore wood   and the hard bankes,
All that Hengest and Hors   hent in their time;
At Southampton on the se   is seven score shippes,
Fraught full of fers folk,   out of fer landes,
For to fight with thy frap   when thou them assailes.
But yet a word, witterly,   thou wot not the worst!
He has wedded Waynor   and her his wife holdes,
And wonnes in the wild boundes   of the west marches,
And has wrought her with child,   as witness telles!
Of all the wyes of this world,   wo mot him worthe,
Als warden unworthy   women to yeme!
Thus has Sir Mordred   marred us all!
For-thy I merked over these mountes   to mene thee the sooth."
   Then the burlich king,   for brethe at his herte
And for this booteless bale   all his blee changed;
"By the Rood," says the roy,   "I shall it revenge!
Him shall repent full rathe   all his rewth workes!"
All weepand for wo   he went to his tentes;
Unwinly this wise king   he wakenes his bernes,
Cleped in a clarioun   kinges and other,
Calles them to counsel   and of this case telles:
"I am with tresoun betrayed,   for all my trew deedes!
And all my travail is tint,   me tides no better!
Him shall torfer betide   this tresoun has wrought,
And I may traistely him take,   as I am trew lord!
This is Mordred, the man   that I most traisted,
Has my castels encroched   and crownd himselven
With rentes and riches   of the Round Table;
He made all his retinues   of renayed wretches,
And devised my rewm   to diverse lordes,
To soudeours and Sarazenes   out of sere landes!
He has wedded Waynor   and her to wife holdes,
And a child is y-shaped,   the chaunce is no better!
They have sembled on the se   seven score shippes,
Full of ferrom folk   to fight with mine one!
For-thy to Bretain the Brode   buske us behooves, 204
For to britten the berne   that has this bale raised.
There shall no freke men fare   but all on fresh horses
That are fraisted in fight   and flowr of my knightes.
Sir Howell and Sir Hardolf   here shall beleve
To be lordes of the ledes   that here to me longes;
Lookes into Lumbardy   that there no lede change,
And tenderly to Tuskane   take tent als I bid;
Receive the rentes of Rome   when they are reckoned;
Take sesin the same day   that last was assigned,
Or elles all the hostage   withouten the walles
Be hanged high upon height   all holly at ones."
   Now bounes the bold king   with his best knightes,
Gars trome and trusse   and trines forth after,
Turnes through Tuskane,   tarries but little;
Lights not in Lumbardy   but when the light failed;
Merkes over the mountaines   full marvelous wayes,
Ayers through Almaine   even at the gainest
Ferkes even into Flandresh   with his fers knightes.
Within fifteen dayes   his fleet is assembled,
And then he shope him to ship   and shounes no lenger,
Sheeres with a sharp wind   over the shire waters;
By the roche with ropes   he rides on anker.
There the false men fleted   and on flood lenged,
With chef chaines of charre   chocked togeders,
Charged even chock-full   of chevalrous knightes,
And in the hinter on height,   helmes and crestes;
Hatches with hethen men   heled were there-under,
Proudlich pourtrayed   with painted clothes,
Ech a pece by pece   prikked til other,
Dubbed with dagswainnes   doubled they seem;
And thus the derf Denmarkes   had dight all their shippes,
That no dint of no dart   dere them sholde.
   Then the roy and the renkes   of the Round Table
All realy in red   arrayes his shippes;
That day ducheries he delt   and dubbed knightes,
Dresses dromoundes and dragges   and drawen up stones;
The top-castels he stuffed   with toiles, as him liked;
Bendes bowes of vise   brothly there-after;
Toloures tently   tackle they righten,
Brasen hedes full brode   busked on flones,
Graithes for garnisons,   gomes arrayes,
Grim godes of steel,   gives of iron;
Stighteles steren on steren   with stiff men of armes;
Many lovelich launce   upon loft standes,
Ledes on leburd,   lordes and other,
Pight pavis on port,   painted sheldes,
On hinder hurdace on height   helmed knightes.
Thus they shiften for shottes   on those shire strandes,
Ilke shalk in his shroud,   full sheen were their weedes.
   The bold king is in a barge   and about rowes,
All bare-hevede for besy   with beveren lockes,
And a berne with his brand   and an helm beten,
Menged with a mauntelet   of mailes of silver,
Compast with a coronal   and covered full rich;
Kaires to ech a cogge   to comfort his knightes;
To Clegis and Cleremond   he cries on loud:
"O Gawain! O Galyran!   These good mens bodies!"
To Lot and to Lionel   full lovely he meles,
And to Sir Launcelot de Lake   lordlich wordes:
"Let us cover the kith,   the coste is our own,
And gar them brothelich blenk,   all yon blood-houndes!
Britten them within borde   and brin them there-after!
Hew down hertily   yon hethen tikes!
They are harlotes half,   I hete you mine hand!" 210
   Then he coveres his cogge   and catches on anker,
Caught his comlich helm   with the clere mailes;
Buskes banners on brode,   beten of gules,
With crowns of clere gold   clenlich arrayed;
But there was chosen in the chef   a chalk-white maiden, 211
And a child in her arm   that Chef is of heven;
Withouten changing in chase   these were the chef armes
Of Arthur the avenaunt,   whiles he in erthe lenged.
   Then the mariners meles   and masters of shippes;
Merrily ich a mate   menes til other;
Of their termes they talk,   how they were tidd, 212
Towen trussel on trete,   trussen up sailes,
Bete bonnetes on brode,   bettred hatches;
Braundisht brown steel,   bragged in trumpes;
Standes stiff on the stamin,   steeres on after,
Streken over the streme,   there striving beginnes.
Fro the waggand wind   out of the west rises,
Brothly bessomes with birr   in bernes sailes,
Wether bringes on borde   burlich cogges, 213
Whiles the biling and the beme   bristes in sonder;
So stoutly the fore-stern   on the stam hittes
That stockes of the steer-borde   strikes in peces!
By then cogge upon cogge,   crayers and other,
Castes crepers on-cross,   als to the craft longes;
Then was hed-ropes hewen,   that held up the mastes;
There was contek full keen   and cracking of shippes!
Grete cogges of kemp   crashes in sonder!
Many cabane cleved,   cables destroyed,
Knightes and keen men   killed the bernes!
Kidd castels were corven,   with all their keen wepen,
Castels full comlich   that coloured were fair!
Up ties edgeling   they ochen there-after; 214
With the swing of the sword   sways the mastes,
Over-falles in the first   frekes and other;
Many freke in the fore-ship   fey is beleved!
Then brothly they beker   with bustous tackle;
Brushes boldly on borde   brenyed knightes, 215
Out of botes on borde,   was busked with stones,
Bete down of the best,   bristes the hatches;
Some gomes through-gird   with godes of iron,
Gomes gaylich cledde   englaimes wepenes;
Archers of England   full egerly shootes,
Hittes through the hard steel   full hertly dintes!
Soon ochen in holly   the hethen knightes,
Hurt through the hard steel,   hele they never!
Then they fall to the fight,   foines with speres,
All the frekkest on front   that to the fight longes,
And ilkon freshly   fraistes their strenghes,
War to fight in the fleet   with their fell wepenes.
Thus they delt that day,   thir dubbed knightes,
Til all the Danes were dede   and in the deep throwen!
Then Bretons brothly   with brandes they hewen;
Lepes in upon loft   lordlich bernes;
When ledes of out-landes   lepen in waters,
All our lordes on loud   laughen at ones!
   By then speres were sprongen,   spalded shippes,
Spanioles speedily   sprented over-bordes;
All the keen men of kemp,   knightes and other,
Killed are cold-dede   and casten over-bordes;
Their swyers swiftly   has the swet leved;
Hethen hevand on hatch   in thir hawe rises,
Sinkand in the salt se   seven hundreth at ones!
Then Sir Gawain the good, he has the gree wonnen,
And all the cogges grete   he gave to his knightes.
Sir Garin, Sir Griswold,   and other grete lordes;
Gart Galuth, a good gome,   gird off their hedes! 216
Thus of the false fleet   upon the flood   happened,
And thus these ferin folk   fey are beleved!
   Yet is the traitour on land   with tried knightes,
And all trumped they trip   on trapped steedes
Shews them under sheld   on the shire bankes;
He ne shuntes for no shame   but shewes full high!
Sir Arthur and Gawain   avyed them bothen
To sixty thousand of men   that in their sight hoved.
By this the folk was felled,   then was the flood passed; 217
Then was it silke a slowde   in slackes full huge
That let the king for to land   in the low water.
For-thy he lenged on laye   for lesing of horses,
To look of his lege-men   and of his lele knightes,
Yif any were lamed or lost,   live yif they sholde.
   Then Sir Gawain the good   a galley he takes
And glides up at a gole   with good men of armes;
When he grounded, for gref   he girdes in the water
That to the girdle he goes   in all his gilt weedes,
Shootes up upon the sand   in sight of the lordes,
Singly with his soppe,   my sorrow is the more!
With banners of his badges,   best of his armes,
He braides up on the bank   in his bright weedes;
He biddes his banneour:   "Busk thou belive
To yon brode batail   that on yon bank hoves,
And I ensure you soothe   I shall you sew after;
Look ye blenk for no brand   ne for no bright wepen,
But beres down of the best   and bring them o-dawe!
Bes not abaist of their boste,   abide on the erthe;
Ye have my banneres borne   in batailes full huge;
We shall fell yon false,   the fend have their soules!
Fightes fast with the frap,   the feld shall be oures!
May I that traitour over-take,   torfer him tides
That this tresoun has timbered   to my trew lord!
Of such a engendure   full little joy happens,
And that shall in this journee   be judged full even!"
   Now they seek over the sand,   this soppe at the gainest,
Sembles on the soudeours   and settes their dintes;
Through the sheldes so sheen   shalkes they touch
With shaftes shivered short   of those sheen launces;
Derf dintes they delt   with daggand speres;
On the dank of the dew   many dede ligges,
Dukes and douspeeres   and dubbed knightes;
The doughtiest of Danemark   undone are forever!
Thus those renkes in rewth   rittes their brenyes
And reches of the richest   unrecken dintes,
There they throng in the thick   and thrustes to the erthe
Of the throest men   three hundreth at ones!
But Sir Gawain for gref   might not again-stand,
Umbegrippes a spere   and to a gome runnes,
That bore of gules full gay   with goutes of silver;
He girdes him in at the gorge   with his grim launce
That the grounden glaive   graithes in sonder;
With that bustous blade   he bounes him to die!
The King of Gotheland it was,   a good man of armes.
Their avauntward then all   voides there-after,
Als vanquist verrayly   with valiant bernes;
Meetes with middle-ward   that Mordred ledes;
Our men merkes them to,   as them mishappened,
For had Sir Gawain the grace   to hold the green hill,
He had worship, iwis,   wonnen forever!
   But then Sir Gawain, iwis,   he waites him well
To wreke on this warlaw   that this war moved,
And merkes to Sir Mordred   among all his bernes,
With the Montagues   and other grete lordes.
Then Sir Gawain was greved   and with a grete will
Fewters a fair spere   and freshly ascries:
"False fostered fode,   the fend have thy bones!
Fy on thee, felon,   and thy false workes!
Thou shall be dede and undone   for thy derf deedes,
Or I shall die this day,   if destainy worthe!"
   Then his enmy with host   of outlawed bernes
All enangles about   our excellent knightes
That the traitour by tresoun   had tried himselven;
Dukes of Danemark   he dightes full soon,
And leders of Lettow   with legions ynow,
Umbelapped our men   with launces full keen,
Soudeours and Sarazenes   out of sere landes,
Sixty thousand men,   seemlyly arrayed,
Sekerly assembles there   on seven score knightes,
Sodenly in dischaite   by tho salt strandes.
Then Sir Gawain grette   with his grey eyen
For gref of his good men   that he guide sholde.
He wiste that they wounded were   and wery for-foughten, 218
And what for wonder and wo,   all his wit failed.
And then sighand he said   with syland teres:
"We are with Sarazenes beset   upon sere halves!
I sigh not for myself,   so help our Lord,
But for to see us surprised   my sorrow is the more!
Bes doughty today,   yon dukes shall be yours!
For dere Drighten this day   dredes no wepen.
We shall end this day   als excellent knightes,
Ayer to endless joy   with angeles unwemmed;
Though we have unwittyly   wasted ourselven,
We shall work all well   in the worship of Crist!
We shall for yon Sarazenes,   I seker you my trewth,
Soupe with our Saviour   solemnly in heven,
In presence of that Precious,   Prince of all other,
With prophetes and patriarkes   and apostles full noble,
Before His freelich face   that formed us all!
Yonder to yon yaldsones!   He that yeldes him ever
Whiles he is quick and in quert,   unquelled with handes,
Be he never mo saved,   ne succoured with Crist,
But Satanase his soul   mowe sink into Hell!"
   Then grimly Sir Gawain   grippes his wepen;
Again that grete batail   he graithes him soon,
Radly of his rich sword   he rightes the chaines;
In he shockes his sheld,   shuntes he no lenger,
But all unwise, wodewise,   he went at the gainest,
Woundes of those widerwinnes   with wrakful dintes;
All welles full of blood   there he away passes;
And though him were full wo,   he wondes but little,
But wrekes at his worship   the wrath of his lord!
He stickes steedes in stour   and sterenfull knightes,
That steren men in the stirrupes   stone-dede they ligge!
He rives the rank steel,   he rittes the mailes;
There might no renk him arrest;   his resoun was passed!
He fell in a frensy   for fersness of herte;
He fightes and felles down   that him before standes!
Fell never fey man   such fortune in erthe!
Into the hole batail   hedlings he runnes
And hurtes of the hardiest   that on the erthe lenges;
Letand as a lion   he launches them through,
Lordes and leders   that on the land hoves.
Yet Sir Wawain for wo   wondes but little,
But woundes of those widerwinnes   with wonderful dintes,
Als he that wolde wilfully   wasten himselven,
And for wondsome and will   all his wit failed,
That wode als a wild beste   he went at the gainest;
All wallowed on blood   there he away passed;
Ich a wye may be ware   by wreke of another! 219
   Then he moves to Sir Mordred   among all his knightes,
And met him in the mid-sheld   and malles him through,
But the shalk for the sharp   he shuntes a little;
He share him on the short ribbes   a shaftmond large.
The shaft shuddered and shot   in the shire berne
That the sheddand blood   over his shank runnes
And shewed on his shin-bawde   that was shire burnisht!
And so they shift and shove   he shot to the erthe,
With the lush of the launce   he light on his shoulders
An acre-lenghe on a laund   full lothly wounded.
Then Gawain gird to the gome   and on the grouf falles;
All his gref was graithed;   his grace was no better!
He shockes out a short knife   shethed with silver
And sholde have slotted him in   but no slit happened;
His hand slipped and slode   o-slant on the mailes
And the tother slely   slinges him under;
With a trenchand knife   the traitour him hittes
Through the helm and the hed   on high on the brain;
And thus Sir Gawain is gone,   the good man of armes,
Withouten rescue of renk,   and rew is the more!
Thus Sir Gawain is gone   that guied many other;
Fro Gower to Gernesay,   all the grete lordes
Of Glamour, of Galys land,   these galiard knightes
For glent of glopining   glad be they never!
   King Frederik   of Fres   faithly there-after
Fraines at the false man   of our fers knight:
"Knew thou ever this knight   in thy kith rich?
Of what kind he was comen   beknow now the sooth;
What gome was he,   this with the gay armes,
With this griffon of gold,   that is on grouf fallen?
He has gretly greved us,   so me God help,
Gird down our good men   and greved us sore!
He was the sterenest in stour   that ever steel wered,
For he stonayed our stale   and stroyed for ever!"
   Then Sir Mordred with mouth   meles full fair:
"He was makless on molde,   man, by my trewth.
This was Sir Gawain the good,   the gladdest of other,
And the graciousest gome   that under God lived,
Man hardiest of hand,   happiest in armes,
And the hendest in hall   under heven-rich,
And the lordliest in leding   whiles he live might,
For he was lion alosed   in landes ynow;
Had thou knowen him, Sir King,   in kithe there he lenged,
His cunning, his knighthood,   his kindly workes,
His doing, his doughtiness,   his deedes of armes,
Thou wolde have dole for his dede   the dayes of thy life."
   Yet that traitour als tite   teres let he fall,
Turnes him forth tite   and talkes no more,
Went weepand away   and weryes the stounde
That ever his werdes were wrought   such wandreth to work!
When he thought on this thing   it thirled his herte;
For sake of his sib-blood   sighand he rides;
When that renayed renk   remembered himselven
Of reverence and riotes   of the Round Table,
He romed and repent him   of all his rewth workes,
Rode away with his rout,   restes he no lenger,
For rade of our rich king,   rive that he sholde.
   Then kaires he to Cornwall,   care-full in herte,
Because of his kinsman   that on the coste ligges;
He tarries trembland ay,   tidandes to herken.
Then the traitour treunted   the Tuesday there-after,
Trines in with a trayn   tresoun to work,
And by the Tamber that tide   his tentes he reres,
And then in a mett-while   a messanger he sendes
And wrote unto Waynor   how the world changed
And what comlich coste   the king was arrived,
On flood foughten with his fleet   and felled them o life;
Bade her ferken o-fer   and flee with her childer
Whiles he might wile him away   and win to her speche, 220
Ayer into Ireland,   into those oute-mountes,
And wonne there in wilderness   within tho waste landes.
   Then sho yermes and yeyes   at York in her chamber,
Grones full grisly   with gretand teres,
Passes out of the palais   with all her pris maidens,
Toward Chester in a charre   they chese her the wayes,
Dight her even for to die   with dole at her herte;
Sho kaires to Caerlion   and caught her a veil,
Askes there the habit   in honour of Crist
And all for falshed and fraud   and fere of her lord!
   But when our wise king wiste   that Gawain was landed,
He al to-writhes for wo,   and wringand his handes,
Gars launch his botes   upon a low water,
Landes als a lion   with lordlich knightes,
Slippes in the sloppes   o-slant to the girdle,
Swalters up swiftly   with his sword drawen,
Bounes his batail   and banners displayes,
Buskes over the brode sand   with brethe at his herte,
Ferkes frely on feld   there the fey ligges;
Of the traitours men   on trapped steedes,
Ten thousand were tint,   the trewth to account,
And, certain, on our side   seven score knightes,
In suite with their soveraign   unsound are beleved.
   The king comly overcast   knightes and other,
Erles of Afrike   and Estriche bernes,
Of Argyle and Orkney   the Irish kinges,
The noblest of Norway, numbers full huge,
Dukes and Danemarkes   and dubbed knightes;
And the Guthede king   in the gay armes
Lies gronand on the ground   and gird through even.
The rich king ransackes   with rewth at his herte
And up rippes the renkes   of all the Round Table,
Sees them all in a soppe   in suite by them one
With the Sarazenes unsound   encircled about, 221
And Sir Gawain the good   in his gay armes,
Umbegripped the gers   and on grouf fallen,
His banners braiden down,   beten of gules,
His brand and his brode sheld   all bloody berunnen.
Was never our seemlich king   so sorrowful in herte,
Ne that sank him so sad   but that sight one. 222
   Then gliftes the good king   and glopins in herte,
Grones full grislich   with gretande teres,
Kneeles down to the corse   and caught it in armes,
Castes up his umbrere   and kisses him soon,
Lookes on his eye-liddes   that locked were fair,
His lippes like to the lede   and his lire fallowed.
Then the crownd king   cries full loud:
"Dere cosin of kind   in care am I leved,
For now my worship is went   and my war ended!
Here is the hope of my hele,   my happing in armes,
My herte and my hardiness   holly on him lenged!
My counsel, my comfort,   that keeped mine herte!
Of all knightes the king   that under Crist lived!
Thou was worthy to be king,   though I the crown bare!
My wele and my worship   of all this world rich
Was wonnen through Sir Gawain   and through his wit one!
"Alas," said Sir Arthur,   "now eekes my sorrow!
I am utterly undone   in mine owen landes!
A doutous, derf dede,   thou dwelles too long!
Why drawes thou so on dregh?   Thou drownes mine herte!"
   Then sweltes the sweet king   and in swoon falles,
Swafres up swiftly   and sweetly him kisses
Til his burlich berde   was bloody berunnen,
Als he had bestes brittened   and brought out of life;
Ne had Sir Ewain comen   and other grete lordes,
His bold herte had bristen   for bale at that stounde!
   "Blinn," says these bold men,   "thou blunders thyselven!
This is bootless bale,   for better bes it never!
It is no worship, iwis,   to wring thine handes;
To weep als a woman   it is no wit holden!
Be knightly of countenaunce,   als a king sholde,
And leve such clamour,   for Cristes love of heven!"
   "For blood," says the bold king,   "blinn shall I never
Ere my brain to-brist   or my breste other!
Was never sorrow so soft   that sank to my herte;
It is full sib to myself;   my sorrow is the more.
Was never so sorrowful a sight   seen with mine eyen!
He is sakless surprised   for sin of mine one!"
   Down kneeles the king   and cries full loud,
With care-full countenaunce   he carpes these wordes:
"O rightwise rich God,   this rewth thou behold,
This real red blood   run upon erthe!
It were worthy to be shrede   and shrined in gold,
For it is sakless of sin,   so help me our Lord!"
   Down kneeles the king   with care at his herte,
Caught it up kindly   with his clene handes,
Cast it in a kettle-hat   and coverd it fair,
And kaires forth with the corse   in kithe there he lenges.
   "Here I make mine avow,"   quod the king then,
"To Messie and to Mary,   the mild Queen of heven:
I shall never rivaye   ne ratches uncouple,
At roe ne rein-dere   that runnes upon erthe,
Never greyhound let glide,   ne gossehawk let fly
Ne never fowl see felled   that flighes with wing,
Faucon ne formel   upon fist handle
Ne yet with gerefaucon   rejoice me in erthe,
Ne regne in my royaltees,   ne hold my Round Table,
Til thy dede, my dere,   be duly revenged!
But ever droop and dare   whiles my life lastes,
Til Drighten and derf dede   have done what them likes!"
   Then caught they up the corse   with care at their hertes,
Carried it on a courser   with the king selven;
The way unto Winchester   they went at the gainest,
Wery and wandsomly   with wounded knightes;
There come the prior of the place   and professed monkes,
A-pas in procession,   and with the prince meetes,
And he betook them the corse   of the knight noble:
"Lookes it be clenly keeped," he said,   "and in the kirk holden;
Don for him diriges,   as to the dede falles,
Mensked with masses   for meed of the soul;
Look it want no wax,   ne no worship elles,
And that the body be baumed   and on erthe holden;
Yif thou keep thy covent,   encroch any worship
At my coming again,   yif Crist will it thole;
Abide of the burying   til they be brought under
That has wrought us this wo   and this war moved."
   Then says Sir Wichere the wye,   a wise man of armes:
"I rede ye warily wend   and workes the best,
Sujourn in this citee   and semble thy bernes,
And bide with thy bold men   in the burgh rich;
Get out knightes of countrees   that castels holdes, 223
And out of garrisons grete   good men of armes,
For we are faithly too few   to fight with them all
That we see in his sorte   upon the se bankes.
   With cruel countenaunce then   the king carpes these wordes:
"I pray thee care not, sir knight,   ne cast thou no dredes!
Had I no segge but myself   one under sun,
And I may him see with sight   or on him set handes,
I shall even among his men   malle him to dede,
Ere I of the stede stir   half a steed lenghe!
I shall strike him in his stour   and stroy him forever,
And there-to make I mine avow   devotly to Crist
And to his moder Mary,   the mild Queen of heven!
I shall never sujourn sound,   ne saught at mine herte,
In citee ne in suburb   set upon erthe,
Ne yet slomour ne sleep   with my slow eyen,
Til he be slain that him slogh,   if any sleight happen,
But ever persew the paganes   that my pople destroyed
Whiles I may pare them and pinne   in place there me likes."
   There durst no renk him arrest   of all the Round Table,
Ne none pay that prince   with plesand wordes,
Ne none of his lege-men   look him in the eyen,
So lordly he lookes   for loss of his knightes!
Then drawes he to Dorset   and dreches no lenger,
Dref-ful, dredless,   with droopand teres,
Kaires into Cornwall   with care at his herte;
The trace of the traitour   he trines full even,
And turnes in by the Trentis   the traitour to seek,
Findes him in a forest    the Friday there-after;
The king lightes on foot   and freshly ascries,
And with his freelich folk   he has the feld nomen!
   Now isshewes his enmy   under the wood eves
With hostes of alienes   full horrible to shew!
Sir Mordred the Malbranche,   with his much pople,
Foundes out of the forest   upon fele halves,
In seven grete batailes   seemlich arrayed,
Sixty thousand men - the sight was full huge -
All fightand folk   of the fer landes,
Fair fitted on front   by tho fresh strandes.
And all Arthurs host   was amed with knightes
But eighteen hundreth of all,   enterd in rolles.
This was a match un-mete,   but mightes of Crist,
To melle with that multitude   in those main landes.
   Then the royal roy   of the Round Table
Rides on a rich steed,   arrayes his bernes,
Buskes his avauntward,   als him best likes;
Sir Ewain and Sir Errak,   and other grete lordes
Demenes the middle-ward   menskfully there-after,
With Merrak and Meneduke,   mighty of strenghes;
Idrous and Alymer,   thir avenaunt children,
Ayers with Arthur   with seven-score of knightes;
He rewles the rereward   redyly there-after,
The rekenest redy men   of the Round Table;
And thus he fittes his folk   and freshly ascries,
And senn comfortes his men   with knightlich wordes:
"I beseek you, sirs,   for sake of our Lord,
That ye do well today   and dredes no wepen!
Fightes fersly now   and fendes yourselven,
Felles down yon fey folk,   the feld shall be ours!
They are Sarazenes, yon sorte,   unsound mot they worthe!
Set on them sadly   for sake of our Lord!
Yif us be destained to die   today on this erthe,
We shall be heved unto heven   ere we be half cold!
Look ye let for no lede   lordly to work;
Layes yon laddes low   by the laike end;
Take no tent unto me,   ne tale of me recke;
Bes busy on my banners   with your bright wepens,
That they be strenghely stuffed   with steren knightes
And holden lordly on-loft   ledes to shew;
Yif any renk them arase,   rescue them soon;
Workes now my worship;   today my war endes!
Ye wot my wele and my wo;   workes as you likes!
Crist comly with crown   comfort you all
For the kindest creatures   that ever king led!
I give you all my blessing   with a blithe will,
And all Bretons bold,   blithe mot ye worthe!"
   They pipe up at prime time,   approches them ner,
Pris men and preste   proves their strenghes;
Bremly the brethe-men   bragges in trumpes,
In coronettes comlyly,   when knightes assembles;
And then jollyly enjoines   these gentle knightes;nobr>
A jollier journee   ajudged was never,
When Bretones boldly   enbraces their sheldes,
And Cristen encrossed them   and castes in fewter! 224
   Then Sir Arthur host   his enmy escries,
And in they shock their sheldes,   shuntes no lenger,
Shot to the sheltrones   and shoutes full high;
Through sheldes full sheen   shalkes they touch!
Redily those rydde men   of the Round Table
With real rank steel   rittes their mailes;
Brenyes brouden they brist   and burnisht helmes,
Hewes hethen men down,   halses in sonder!
Fightand with fine steel   the fey blood runnes;
Of the frekkest on front   un-fers are beleved.
Hethenes of Argyle   and Irish kinges
Enverounes our avauntward   with venomous bernes,
Peghtes and paynimes   with perilous wepens,
With speres dispitously   despoiles our knightes
And hewed down the hendest   with hertly dintes!
Through the hole batail   they holden their wayes;
Thus fersly they fight   upon sere halves,
That of the bold Bretons   much blood spilles;
There durst none rescue them   for riches in erthe,
The steren were there so stedde   and stuffed with other;
He durst not stir a step,   but stood for himselven,
Til three stales were stroyed   by strenghe of him one!
   "Idrous," quod Arthur,   "ayer thee behooves!
I see Sir Ewain over-set   with Sarazenes keen!
Redy thee for rescues,   array thee soon!
Hie thee with hardy men   in help of thy fader!
Set in on the side   and succour yon lordes!
But they be succoured and sound,   unsaught be I ever!"
   Idrous him answers   ernestly there-after:
"He is my fader, in faith,   forsake shall I never -
He has me fostered and fed   and my fair brethern -
But I forsake this gate,   so me God help,
And soothly all sibreden   but thyself one.
I broke never his bidding   for berne on life,
But ever buxom as beste   blithely to work.
He commaund me kindly   with knightly wordes,
That I sholde lely on thee lenge,   and on no lede elles;
I shall his commaundment hold,   if Crist will me thole!
He is elder than I,   and end shall we bothen;
He shall ferk before,   and I shall come after;
Yif him be destained to die   today on this erthe,
Crist, comly with crown,   take keep to his soul!"
   Then romes the rich king   with rewth at his herte,
Heves his handes on height   and to the Heven lookes:
"Why then ne had Drighten   destained at His dere will 225
That He had deemed me today   to die for you all?
That had I lever than be lord   all my life-time
Of all that Alexander ought   whiles he in erthe lenged!"
   Sir Ewain and Sir Errak,   these excellent bernes,
Enters in on the host   and egerly strikes;
The hethenes of Orkney   and Irish kinges
They gobone of the gretest   with grounden swordes,
Hewes on those hulkes   with their hard wepens,
Layed down those ledes   with lothly dintes;
Shoulders and sheldes   they shrede to the haunches,
And middles through mailes   they merken in sonder!
Such honour never ought   none erthly kinges
At their ending day   but Arthur himselven!
   So the drought of the day   dryed their hertes
That both drinkless they die;   dole was the more!
Now melles our middle-ward   and mengen togeder.
Sir Mordred the Malbranche   with his much pople,
He had hid him behind   within these holt eves,
With hole batail on hethe,   harm is the more!
He had seen the contek   all clene to the end,
How our chevalry cheved   by chaunces of armes;
He wiste our folk was for-foughten   that there was fey leved;
To encounter the king   he castes him soon,
But the cherles chicken   had changed his armes;
He had soothly forsaken   the sauturour engreled,
And laght up three lions   all of white silver,
Passand in purpure   of perry full rich, 226
For the king sholde not know   the cautelous wretch.
Because of his cowardice   he cast off his attire;
But the comlich king   knew him full swithe,
Carpes to Sir Cador   these kindly wordes:
"I see the traitour come yonder   trinand full yerne;
Yon lad with the lions   is like to himselven;
Him shall torfer betide,   may I touch ones,
For all his tresoun and trayn,   als I am trew lord!
Today Clarent and Caliburn   shall kithe them togeders
Whilk is keener of carfe   or harder of edge!
Fraist shall we fine steel upon fine weedes.
It was my darling dainteous   and full dere holden, 227
Keeped for encrownmentes   of kinges annointed;
On dayes when I dubbed   dukes and erles
It was burlich borne   by the bright hiltes;
I durst never dere it   in deedes of armes
But ever keeped clene   because of myselven.
For I see Clarent uncledde   that crown is of swordes,
My wardrope at Walingford   I wot is destroyed.
Wiste no wye of wonne   but Waynor herselven;
Sho had the keeping herself   of that kidd wepen,
Of coffers enclosed   that to the crown longed,
With ringes and relickes   and the regale of Fraunce
That was founden on Sir Frolle   when he was fey leved."
   Then Sir Marrak in malencoly   meetes him soon,
With a malled mace   mightyly him strikes;
The bordour of his bacenett   he bristes in sonder,
That the shire red blood   over his breny runnes!
The berne blenkes for bale   and all his blee changes,
But yet he bides as a bore   and bremly he strikes!
He braides out a brand   bright als ever any silver
That was Sir Arthur owen,   and Utere his faders,
In the wardrope at Walingford   was wont to be keeped;
Therewith the derf dog   such dintes he reched
The tother withdrew on dregh   and drust do none other
For Sir Marrak was man   marred in elde,
And Sir Mordred was mighty   and in his most strenghes;
Come none within the compass,   knight ne none other,
Within the swing of sword,   that he ne the swet leved. 228
   That perceives our prince   and presses to fast,
Strikes into the stour   by strenghe of his handes,
Meetes with Sir Mordred;   he meles unfair:
"Turn, traitour untrew,   thee tides no better;
By grete God, thou shall die   with dint of my handes!
Thee shall rescue no renk   ne riches in erthe!"
   The king with Caliburn   knightly him strikes;
The cantel of his clere sheld   he carves in sonder,
Into the shoulder of the shalk   a shaftmonde large
That the shire red blood   shewed on the mailes!
He shuddered and shrinkes   and shuntes but little,
But shockes in sharply   in his sheen weedes;
The felon with the fine sword   freshly he strikes,
The felettes of the ferrer side   he flashes in sonder,
Through jupon and gesseraunt   of gentle mailes,
The freke fiched in the flesh   an half-foot large;
That derf dint was his dede,   and dole was the more
That ever that doughty sholde die   but at Drightens will!
   Yet with Caliburn his sword   full knightly he strikes,
Castes in his clere sheld   and coveres him full fair,
Swappes off the sword hand,   als he by glentes -
An inch fro the elbow   he oched it in sonder
That he swoones on the swarth   and on swim falles -
Through bracer of brown steel   and the bright mailes,
That the hilt and the hand   upon the hethe ligges.
   Then freshlich the freke   the fente up-reres,
Broches him in with the brand   to the bright hiltes,
And he brawles on the brand   and bounes for to die.
"In faye," said the fey king,   "sore me for-thinkes
That ever such a false thef   so fair an end haves."
   When they had finisht this fight,   then was the feld wonnen,
And the false folk in the feld   fey are beleved!
Til a forest they fled   and fell in the greves,
And fers fightand folk   followes them after,
Huntes and hewes down   the hethen tikes,
Murtheres in the mountaines   Sir Mordred knightes;
There chaped never no child,   cheftain ne other,
But choppes them down in the chase;   it charges but little!
   But when Sir Arthur anon   Sir Ewain he findes,
And Errak the avenaunt   and other grete lordes,
He caught up Sir Cador   with care at his herte,
Sir Clegis, Sir Cleremond,   these clere men of armes,
Sir Lot and Sir Lionel,   Sir Launcelot and Lowes,
Marrak and Meneduke,   that mighty were ever;
With langour in the land   there he layes them togeder,
Looked on their lighames,   and with a loud steven,
Als lede that list not live   and lost had his mirthes -
Then he stotays for mad   and all his strenghe failes,
Lookes up to the lift   and all his lire changes,
Down he sways full swithe,   and in a swoon falles,
Up he coveres on knees   and cries full often -
"King, comly with crown,   in care am I leved!
All my lordship low   in land is laid under,
That me has given guerdones,   by grace of Himselven,
Maintained my manhed   by might of their handes,
Made me manly on molde   and master in erthe,
In a teenful time   this torfer was rered,
That for a traitour has tint   all my trew lordes!
Here restes the rich blood   of the Round Table,
Rebuked with a rebaud,   and rewth is the more!
I may helpless on hethe   house by mine one,
Als a woful widow   that wantes her berne!
I may werye and weep   and wring mine handes,
For my wit and my worship   away is forever!
Of all lordshippes I take   leve to mine end!
Here is the Bretones blood   brought out of life,
And now in this journee   all my joy endes!"
   Then relies the renks   of all the Round Table;
To the real roy   they ride them all;
Then assembles full soon   seven score knightes
In sight to their soveraign   that was unsound leved;
Then kneeles the crowned king   and cries on loud:
"I thank thee, God, of thy grace,   with a good will,
That gave us vertue and wit   to venquish these bernes,
And us has graunted the gree   of these grete lordes!
He sent us never no shame   ne shenship in erthe
But ever yet the over-hand   of all other kinges;
We have no leisere now   these lordes to seek,
For yon lothly lad   me lamed so sore!
Graith us to Glashenbury;   us gaines none other; 229
There we may rest us with roo   and ransack our woundes.
Of this dere day work   the Drighten be lowed,
That us has detained and deemed   to die in our owen."
   Then they hold at his hest   holly at ones,
And graithes to Glashenbury   the gate at the gainest;
Entres the Ile of Avalon   and Arthur he lightes,
Merkes to a manor there,   for might he no further;
A surgen of Salerne   enserches his woundes;
The king sees by assay   that sound bes he never,
And soon to his seker men   he said these wordes:
"Do call me a confessor   with Crist in his armes;
I will be houseld in haste   what hap so betides.
Constantine my cosin   he shall the crown bere,
Als becomes him of kind,   if Crist will him thole!
Berne, for my benison,   thou bury yon lordes
That in batail with brandes   are brought out of life,
And sithen merk manly   to Mordred children,
That they be slely slain   and slongen in waters;
Let no wicked weed wax   ne writhe on this erthe;
I warn, for thy worship,   work als I bid!
I forgive all gref,   for Cristes love of heven!
If Waynor have well wrought,   well her betide!"
   He said "In manus" with main   on molde where he ligges, 230
And thus passes his spirit   and spekes he no more!
   The baronage of Bretain then,   bishoppes and other,
Graithes them to Glashenbury   with glopinand hertes
To bury there the bold king   and bring to the erthe
With all worhsip and welth   that any wye sholde.
Throly belles they ring   and Requiem singes,
Dos masses and matins   with mornand notes;
Religious reveste   in their rich copes,
Pontificalles and prelates   in precious weedes,
Dukes and douspeeres   in their dole-cotes,
Countesses kneeland   and claspand their handes,
Ladies languishand   and lowrand to shew;
All was busked in black,   birdes and other,
That shewed at the sepulture   with syland teres;
Was never so sorrowful a sight   seen in their time!
   Thus endes King Arthur,   as auctors allege,
That was of Ectores blude,   the kinge son of Troy
And of Sir Priamous, the prince,   praised in erthe;
Fro thethen brought the Bretons   all his bold elders
Into Bretain the brode,   as the Brut telles.
   Hic jacet Arthurus, rex quondam rexque futurus.
(Here lies Arthur, king once and king to be.)
Here endes Morte Arthure, written by Robert of Thornton
R. Thornton dictus qui scripsit sit benedictus. Amen.
(May the said R. Thornton, who wrote this, be blessed. Amen.)
at a disadvantage
a truce
a week from today; until
(see note)
Chinese silk
gave them to
discussed; truce
canopy; reconciled
each by himself
rehearses (tells)
ease; pleasant
guard; (see note)
(see note)
(see note)
sloth; slumber
1:00 a.m.
dreamed; morning; dreams
cowers in fear
search; interpret; dreams
rehearse (tell)
wandered by myself
knew; whither; should go
waste place prey
hide; fear
enclosed place; extent covered
small grass clad; (see note)
Surrounded; groves; all kinds of
(see note)
surcoat; rarely
otter fur
ladylike lappets
trimmed; ribbons
(see note)
adorned; (see note)
hairnet; diadem
Turned skillfully
Adorned; (see note)
spokes; plated; bars
spear length
outer edge; clung
wheel; (see note)
I thought of
to hunt
loins; lean
face; body crippled
The one; (see note)
an egg
bowed to me
rag; body to cover
quickly; believe
stronger; more determined
Adorned; diamonds
fourth; forceful
bold; earth
forceful; foaming
gripped; rim; (see note)
leaped; spread
yon seat is denied me
sixth; psalter; bound
surplice (cover); sewn
suffered; announces
top; wheel; eagerly
noble; forehead
dressed; color; blue
fleur-de-lis (lilies)
The other; clad
little crosses
bright (one); graciously
knew how
(see note)
throne; sceptre; gave
curling lock; reached; (see note)
orb set
all sides; (see note)
lifeblood left
labored; failed
bowed; command
grove; promise
spare; try
Try; noble
reach; enjoy
dearly take a draught
should want
time; crushed
wearied from dreaming
Bold warrior
Innocent; pride
Confess; prepare
bowed to; (see note)
(see note)
The one; (see note)
(see note)
strong; (see note)
i.e., for
The other
recover; (see note)
holy oil
suffer; proved
ninth of the Worthies; (see note)
i.e., will get
trouble has happened
tell (i.e., confess)
quickly; sad
have misfortune
quilted jacket
large cloth hat
small stones
[He takes] his hunting
meadow; anger
Going; quickest
(see note)
shoes; comfortable
coins; adorned
scalloped edges
(see note)
greeted; morning
language; i.e., Italian
corrupted; speaks
Whither seek
at war; danger; (see note)
seize; stop (me)
fully forgiven
Warring; awesome
(see note)
British; plain
(see note)
captured; foreign men
blood relative
i.e., Mordred
misery; since
i.e., Danes
Scattered; everywhere
Saxons; both sides; (see note)
South Wales; mercenaries
Picts; pagans
(see note)
in his possession
hoar (gray)
held; (see note)
men; woe be to him
came; tell
without remedy; color
quickly; calamitous
Called with a trumpet
labor; destroyed
trouble; i.e., who this
can surely
break; grief
(see note)
Hastens; Flanders
prepared himself; delays
Cuts; translucent
rocks; anchor
rear; (see note)
painted; on
Adorned; heavy cloth
harm; (see note)
galleys; barges
crossbows; fiercely
Haulers carefully
Bronze; missiles
goads; fetters
Supplies; stern (ship)
lee (sea side of ship)
rear barrier
maneuver; shooting
adorned (beaten)
Adorned; little mantle
Encircled; diadem; decorated
Travels; ship
make; violently blanch
aboard; burn
returns to; ship; anchor
Raises; adorned with red
(see note)
noble; (see note)
get to work
each; speaks
Drag bundles on trestles
Set small sails; battened
blew in trumpets
stalwartly on the prow
When; swaying
Suddenly sweeps; force
(see note)
stern; prow
planks; starboard side
ship; small ships
grappling hooks across
(see note)
Proven; carved
(see note)
i.e., first blow
(see note)
fight; powerful equipment
pierced; goads
Men; clad make slimy; (see note)
Strikes; mortal
completely cut down
front rank
each one
to fight the battle
through the air
broken; split
Spaniards; leaped overboard
young men; lifeblood
heaving; these gray waves
(see note)
accompanied with trumpets
shows himself
set out
(see note)
small bay (gully)
ran aground; leaps
Alone; small troop
heraldic devices
banner bearer; Go quickly
out of daylight
Be; abashed
If I can; woe
built for
engendering; (see note)
small troop
Attack; set on
give; countless
arms of red; droplets
prepares himself
Gothland (South Sweden)
vanquished; verily
middle guard
advance toward
(see note)
creature; fiend
if it be my destiny
flowing tears
(see note)
captured; (see note)
Go; spotless
whore sons
alive; sound health
Quickly; cuts
pushes; hangs back
enemies; wrathful
pierces; stern
cleaves; rips
Befell; a fated man
Acting like; stabs
fierceness; wilfulness
hangs back
cut; six inches deep
dashed; shining
shin plate; brightly
as; fell precipitously
blow; i.e., Mordred
full length; hillock
leaps; on his face
draws; sheathed
slid; aslant
the other; slyly hurls
Glamorgan; Wales
sight of horror
Frisia; faithfully; (see note)
Inquires of
on his face; (see note)
most fortunate
the kingdom of heaven
praised as
at once
curses the time
fates; misery
kinship; (see note)
moaned; foul deeds
fear; arrive; might
set forth
Goes; trick
the River Tamar
short time
hasten afar
outer mountains
live; deserted
cries; sobs; (see note)
i.e., became a nun
nun's garment
falsehood; fear; husband
writhes violently
Gives orders to
pools; aslant
Splashes; (see note)
slain; (see note)
Together; not whole (dead)
turned over
Gothic; (see note)
little group; together
(see note)
Clutched; grass; face down
adorned with red
run over
stares; is terror-struck
lead; complexion pale
blood relative
well-being; good fortune
fearful cruel death
delay; so long
covered with blood
stop; harm
without remedy; will be
shatter; either
closely related
clothed; enshrined
(see note)
hunt; hounds unleash
Falcon; female hawk
death; beloved
lie still
the Lord; cruel death
(see note)
by the shortest route
entrusted to
Do; befits; (see note)
Honored; reward
See that; lack; candles
embalmed; (see note)
promise claim; reward
Wait for
nor have peace
slumber; heavy
slew; chance
hurt; imprison
pacify; pleasing
Sorrowful doubtless
River Trent
issues out
reckoned by
unequal save for
most active
may they be
end of the game
Pay no attention; believe
Be; around; (see note)
strongly provided
is captured by them
may you be glad
9 a.m.; approach; nearer
Choice; ready
Boldly; buglers; blow
join battle
put on (their arms)
thrust; delay
unfierce (i.e., defeated)
mortal blows
various sides; (see note)
beset; hard-pressed
i.e., Arthur
safe; troubled
going (to his aid)
(was) obedient as a beast
cries; grief
(see note)
i.e., Ewain and Errak; chop
midriffs; cut
attacks; mingles
Ill-begotten; great army
whole battalion; heath
churlish offspring; (see note)
saltire engrailed
heraldic device
woe; if I can
Excalibur; make known
Which; carving
i.e., drawn
Knew; the dwelling place
left dead
border; helmet
blanches; complexion
boar; fiercely
i.e., Mordred
other; back
weakened by age
(see note)
(see note)
i.e., to battle
speaks gruffly
six inches deep
rib plates; farther
gipon (tunic); hauberk
hideous blow
turf; swoon
Arthur; vent raises
I sorely repent
heathen dogs
bodies; voice
man; desired
staggers; dizziness
sky; face
painful; mischief; raised
victory over
i.e., upper hand
i.e., Mordred
(see note)
peace; search (treat)
costly; praised; (see note)
i.e., own land
Glastonbury; way
for he could go
surgeon; treats
examination; will be
i.e., the Eucharist
given the Sacrament
pursue manfully
wisely; slung
grow nor flourish
(see note)
Glastonbury; dismayed
person should have
Loudly; (see note)
Monastics dressed
mourning garments
dressed; women
sepulcher; flowing
authorities tell
Hector's blood; (see note)
thence (i.e., Troy)
(see note)
(see note)