The Deeds of the Young Squires
THE DEEDS OF THE YOUNG SQUIRES: FOOTNOTES1 entré, beginning.
2 than, when.
3 erbys, plants; entermedled, mixed.
4 swote, sweet; lusty, lively.
7 for, because of.
9 travayle, hardship.
11 sure for, safe because of; Saisnes, Saxons.
12 vitaile, food.
13 er, before; mysbelevynge peple, the pagan Saxons.
15 ofte sithes, many times.
16 childeren, youths.
19 brent, burned.
21 piled, pillaged.
22 someres, pack horses; charged, loaded.
23 carres, wagons; cariage, baggage train.
24 unnethe, scarcely.
25 journey, a day's travel.
27 chyvachie, foraging expedition; playntes, complaints; mene, ordinary.
28 withoute, not counting.
29 putaile, rabble.
33 garnysshed, provisioned.
34 forfete, harm.
34-35 so doilfull, very sorrowful.
37 pray, livestock.
38 kepe, guard.
40 what, who.
41 beknowen what, know who.
42 trowed, believed.
45 castelleins and vavasours, i.e., protectors and overseers.
49 As, To; how, who.
50 in oure heritages, i.e., in lands belonging to our kin.
51 oure right, i.e., what is rightfully ours.
52 ronne, ran.
53 hem renged and distreyned, i.e., arranged and ordered themselves.
55 socoure, help.
56 what, counting those; yede, went.
57 cariage, baggage train.
60 scantly, scarcely.
62 ateyned, reached.
62-63 ne ascaped oon ne other, neither escaped one or another.
63 slowgh, slew.
66 araught, struck.
67 ne durste abide, were able to withstand.
69 of, off.
70 martire, slaughter; agein, against.
71 style, steel.
73 that, so that.
74 pray, livestock.
75 chivachie, foraging party.
76 trussed, packed away.
78 cariage, baggage train.
80 wise, manner; come to, get at.
82 condited, conducted.
84 after, afterwards; into, until.
85 rerewarde, rear guard.
86 stoure, fighting.
87 slowe, slew.
88-89 briste bon, breast bone.
89 trenchaunt, sharp.
90 plonged, plunged; presse, crowd.
91 yeve so, to give such; sore, greatly.
92 douted, fear; draught, shot.
94 wende, thought; he2, i.e., Gaheret; be, been.
98 occision, killing.
100 bounté, ability.
102 be, by; wode, wood.
104 arblaste, cross-bow shot.
105 meyné, retinue.
106 pray, animals.
108 stope, bend over.
109 kyutte, cut; gyge, handle.
109-10 with all, along with.
110 dide, made.
111 swowne, swoon.
113 ne concented not, were not willing; hem renged, arranged themselves.
114 partyes, sides.
116 tymbir, wooden shafts.
117 durste, dared.
118 fro fer, from afar.
122 rendinge, tearing; heer, hair.
123 that, i.e., Gawain.
125 but, unless; socoure delyverly, help quickly.
128 wote, know; yef, if.
129 doel, sorrow.
135 sein, seen; sewe, follow.
136 Feire, Fair; whider will ye go, wherever you wish to go.
136-37 shall noon abide, no one will depart.
138 hem renged, arranged themselves; priked, rode; quarelles, bolts; arblast, cross-bow.
140 martire, torment; fly, flew.
141 partyes, sides.
143 lyggynge at erthe upright, lying on the ground face up.
144 coyf, hood; take, capture; quyk, alive.
148 maltelent, wrath; vileinliche araide, shamefully arrayed.
149 yede, went; rude, furious.
150 noon durste, no one dared; disparbled, dispersed; wode lyon, crazed lion.
152 but yef, unless.
154 delyverly, swiftly; hente, seized.
155 appareilede, prepared.
156 do, done.
157 full nygh, very nearly.
159 delyvered, rescued.
160 relied her, rally their.
162 ordeyned, arranged.
164 pray, livestock; conquered, i.e., recovered; cariage, baggage train.
168 peyned hem, took pains.
169 to moche, too many; her feliship, their companions.
170 douted, feared; pray, animals.
176 mette with, encountered.
177 forayoures, foragers.
178 discounfited, defeated; sesed us with, i.e., have given to us.
180 socoure, aid; yef, if.
182 cetezeins, citizens.
183 anoon, soon.
184 seiden, said; parte, portion.
185 toure, tower.
186 Anoon, Soon; issed, issued.
187 abode, they awaited.
189 ungarnysshed of, unprotected by.
191 but soche, unless.
192 that, so that.
194 renged, followed.
195 flote, group.
196 thei hem saugh, the Saxons saw them; douted, feared; ynge, young.
198 adubbed, knighted; what, including those.
201 departed, divided; partyes, groups.
203-04 moche oute of mesure, immensely large.
204 as, as if.
206 agein, against; formest, foremost.
208 haubreke, mail shirt; the squyer, i.e., Gawain.
209 yaf, gave.
210 croupe, hind quarters.
211 glenched, glanced.
213 shodered, crowded; wende, thought.
217 socours on, aid from.
218 fell, terrible
219 coveyted, desired.
222 stoupe, slump.
223 moche, greatly; of, off.
224 wax ny wode for ire, grew crazed with anger; threste, broke; presse, throng.
228 girdill, belt.
229 sesed, seized.
230-31 nother wode ne playn hem shall warante, neither wood nor plain shall protect them.
232 stede, steed; martire, slaughter.
233 hepes, heaps; as hey, like hay; medowe, meadow.
235 hente, grabbed; rude, rough.
236 iyen, eyes.
237 two folde, i.e., very far.
241 enclyne on, slump over.
242 fly, flew.
245 laught, took; sore hym, with difficulty himself.
247 meddelynge amonge, fighting about.
248 light, easy.
250 amasid, stunned.
251 bataile, company.
252 recovered thei that, were rescued those who.
253 cowde here of, could hear about; wiste, knew.
254 discounfited, defeated; noon, not; hovid stille, waited.
255-56 renged hem aboute, arranged themselves around.
256 be, been; and, for.
259 but as the socoure com, if not for the aid that came.
262 badde hem, told them to.
265 refresshed, readied; girde, saddled.
266 streyte, tight.
267 irouse, wrathful.
268 braste, burst.
269 fell, fierce.
271 crasinge, crashing.
275 stour, battle; medlé, melee.
277 dured, lasted.
278 beholden, regarded.
279 Than fill it, Then it happened.
282 of, off; tho, then.
283 stoure, battle; oon part bisied, one side worked.
285 so, such.
286 dissever, disperse.
289 mased, startled.
290 ther, where.
291 sege, siege; unnethe, scarcely.
292 ne noon ne abode, nor could one wait for.
294 to foren, before [the others]; martirdom, slaughter.
296 thourgh, through.
297 ascaped, escaped.
298 discounfited, defeated.
301 piled, pillaged.
304 prise, goods.
305 heilde for, held to be.
306 departe at his voluntee, distribute it as he saw fit.
306-07 medle in no manere, not involve himself.
307 yeve, give.
308 suffretouse, needy.
308-09 do his volunté, follow his wishes.
314 forfete, harm.
314-15 that ne speketh, i.e., will not speak of them.
THE DEEDS OF THE YOUNG SQUIRES: NOTES
The Deeds of the Young Squires
[Fols. 65r (line 35)_69r (line 30)]
In an episode unique to the PM, the Young Squires hold the Saxon invaders at bay while Arthur is absent from Logres. Nothing of this kind occurs in the Geoffrey of Monmouth or in the other chronicle accounts, nor does it occur in later renditions such as Malory's. Here these yet-to-be knighted youths prove themselves deserving of knighthood, and their noble actions also lay the groundwork for the later reconciliation between Arthur and the rebel barons. Especially emphasized are the great deeds of Gawain, who proves himself a warrior of superior prowess. Here Gawain's great love for his brothers is also depicted, especially for Gaheris, who corresponds to Malory's Gareth. Besides describing the heroic deeds of the Squires, this section of the PM offers a realistic portrayal of the devastation that could be visited on the land by a foraging, pillaging army.
1 aboute the entré of May. This passage depicting the season of May, while highly conventional, reflects the joy at the coming of spring so often expressed in medieval literature, especially in lyric poetry. It brings to mind the opening verses of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales as well as Malory's famous passages on the merry month of May (Vinaver, pp. 648_49; 673).
14-15 wherof was grete pité . . . for myslyvinge. This is one of the few places in the PM where the writer suggests that the Saxons are a divine scourge sent to punish the British for their sins. This remark is reminiscent of the attitude toward his fellow countrymen expressed by the sixth-century British monk Gildas, who bitterly denounced the sinfulness of the British in De Excidio Britonum (The Ruin of Britain).
66 neded hym no salve. This is ironic understatement, of course, for it would take more than salve to help anyone who had been on the receiving end of a direct blow from Gawain's ax.
83 that ther were dwellynge. The reference is to the local British inhabitants whom the Young Squires have enlisted to take the baggage train, now recaptured from the Saxons, back to the city.
99-100 he was of merveilouse prowesse . . . to Gawein his brother. Gaheris (Malory's Gareth) is usually the youngest of King Lot's sons, while Gawain is the oldest. It is pointed out here that in time Gaheris will prove himself to be Gawain's equal in prowess. Indeed, in Malory Gareth reaches the point where he surpasses his older brother, not only in physical prowess but in chivalric virtue.
131-32 Seinte Marie Virgin . . . ne suffre not that I lese my brother. The fact that Gawain offers a prayer to the Virgin may simply be what any medieval Christian would do in similar circumstances. However, in some other Arthurian works, particularly Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Gawain is shown to have a special association with Mary and is even described as being Mary's knight. In any case, Gawain is especially distraught here because it is Gaheris, the brother he loves most, who is in danger of being killed. When Gareth is killed in the final section of Malory's Morte D'Arthur, Gawain is inconsolable.
167 two Scottissh myle. According to the OED, the Scottish mile was somewhat longer than the English mile. It is now obsolete as a measure of distance, unlike the Irish mile (also different from the English mile) which still survives. In "Merlin's Imprisonment" the PM writer uses the phrases two Walsh myle (line 124) and half a Walissh myle (lines 152-53) .
231 ye shall se my strokes and my prowesse double. It is not clear whether Gawain means that he intends to double his efforts, or if he is actually referring to the fact that his strength increases during the day as the heat of the sun increases.
[The Deeds of the Young Squires]
Now seith the boke that aboute the entré of May, in the tyme whan these briddes
syngith with clier voys and all thynge rejoyseth, and than these wodes and medowes
beth florished grene, and these medowes full of newe tendir erbys and entermedled
with dyverse colours that swote be of odoures, and these amerouse yonge lusty
peple rejoyse because of the lusty seson, it befill that Gawein and Agravayn and
Gaheret and Gaheries and Galashyn, and thei that become in here companye, ben
risen erly for the heete that dide hem grete anoye on the day, as they that wolde
ride in the cole of the mornynge that was feire and stille and a softe weder. And
thei were yonge and tender to suffre grete travayle, and thei were wele armed and
hadde on hattes of stile as squyres used in tho dayes, and theire swerdes hangynge
at the pomell of theire sadeles before; for the contrey was not sure for the Saisnes
that rode and ronne thourgh the contrey for vitaile and for to robbe and distrye
the londe that was so plenteuouse and riche er the mysbelevynge peple were
entred, wherof was grete pité that so goode a londe sholde be distroyed for synne
and for myslyvinge, as God hath ofte sithes chastysed diverse remes.
The thirde daye that thise childeren rode togeder, lyke as that ye have herde,
thei mette the Kynge Leodobron and the Kynge Segagan and the Kynge Mandalet
and the Kynge Sernagut of the londe of Yroys, that hadde the contré aboute Logres
brent and wasted, and ledde with hem grete plenté of vitaile, so that the hoste for
longe tyme was refresshed of brede and wyne and of flessh. For thei hadde so
piled and robbed thourgh the contrey and the portes where the shippeswere aryved,
and the marchaundise was so grete, that five hundred someres were charged, and
twenty-five cartes and seven carres; and the cariage and the multitude of peple
was so grete that the duste arose so huge that unnethe oon myght knowe another;
and also the fiere and the smoke so grete in the contrey that half a journey aboute
men myght knowe what peple ther were. And whan thise childeren approched to
this chyvachie, and herde the playntes and the cryes that the mene peple made for
the Saisnes that hem so distroyed, that were well ten thousand of horsemen, withoute
the putaile that ronne up and down and robbed the peple and brente the vilages as
thei passed thourgh the contrey.
Whan the childeren saugh this doloure and this sorowe, thei asked of hem that
passed by that thei saugh so affraied, where that Kynge Arthur was. And they
seyde he was gon into Tamalide at myd-Lenton, and hadde wele garnysshed alle
the forteresses of his londe that noon ne myght not gretly forfete. And thei were so
doilfull that the sarazins so distroied the londe, as ye have herde. And whan the
childeren herde that the kynge was not in the contrey, thei seide thei wolde
[deffende] the londe and the contrey for her oncle, and also the pray that the Saisnes
ledden, and that thei wolde kepe the londe and it deffende till here oncle were
come home. And whan the peple of the contrey herde hem speke thus, thei asked
of hem what thei were that so wolde deffende the londe of Kynge Arthur as thei
seiden. And thei lete hem beknowen what thei were. And whan the peple knewe
what the childeren weren, thei hadde grete joye, for by hem thei trowed that the
Kynge Arthur sholde be lorde of all the reame of Logres. And the love of the
fadres he sholde have thourgh the childeren that ther were come with thise five
cosins and with other that were ryche mennes sones, as castelleins and vavasours
of the londe, that after were of grete prowesse in the house of Kynge Arthur, and
of soche as were moste preysed.
And as soone as the childeren saugh the grete damage, theire hertis begonne to
ryse and [they] cried, "As armes, gentill squyers, for now shall it be sene how is
goode and hardy and worthy to bere armes, for we be in oure heritages; and
therfore we sholde deffende oure right agein these mysbelevynge peple that thus
this londe robbed and wasted." Hastely ronne these squyers to armes and lepen to
horse and hem renged and distreyned as the knyghtes hem taughten, whereof
were twenty-four that were noble men and right gode knyghtes and trewe. And
whan the peple of the contré saugh that thei hadde socoure, ther com to hem more
than five hundred, what on horse and on fote. And than thei yede togeder as
starlynges, and mette first the cariage and the vitaile that the Sasines ledden towarde
the hoste, and were moo than three thousand with the cariage.
And as the storye seith, it was passed myd-day and was right hote weder, and
the duste arose so thikke that scantly a man myght se fro hymself the caste of a
stone. And as soone as that the childeren saugh theire enmyes, thei lete theire
horse renne; and [thei] overthrew and slowgh alle that thei ateyned that ther ne
ascaped oon ne other. That day Gawein slowgh many a Sarazin of the Saxouns,
more than eny of his felowes, so that he was all blody, bothe he and his horse.
And he heilde an axe in his honde, and he was so crewell and fiers that whom he
araught a full stroke, neded hym no salve. And his other bretheren dide also right
wele, so that noon of hem ne durste abide of hem a stroke. And Galashyn was all
day with Gawein that merveilously dide wele, for ther myght noon endure his
strokes that he ne smote of arme or legge or heede or other membre. But above
alle othir, it was merveile to se the martire that Gawein made, for agein his strokys
ne myght not endure iren ne style ne no mannys body, were he never so myghty
And so the childeren smyten up and down aboute hem that of three thousand
that ledde the pray towarde the hoste, ne ascaped not thirty. And ten of hem that
ascaped returned unto her chivachie that were comynge after with seven thou-
sand. But thei were not wele armed, for thei hadde made it to be trussed for the
grete hete that hem greved. And whan the ten that fledden com into the hoste, thei
cryed that all was deed that were lefte with the cariage. Whan thei herde that all
was loste, thei ronne to theire armes, alle they that eny hadden, and hem armed in
the beste wise that thei myght. And the thirde part of hem ne myght not come to
their armoure, for theire squyers were gon before with the cariage that the childeren
hadde wonne, and let it be ledde to Logres, and lete it be condited by men of the
same contrey that ther were dwellynge and weren fallen into theire company; and
after thei pursude the Saisnes, that fledden into the tyme that thei were fallen in
amonge the rerewarde.
Ther than was fierce bataile and stronge stoure and harde and crewell that
merveille it was to have seyn. Ther Gawein slowe the Kynge Noas of Iselonde,
for he smote hym with an axe with bothe hondis that he cleft hym to the briste
bon. And Galashyn smote so the Kynge Sarnagut with a swerde trenchaunt that he
made his heede fle into the feilde. And Agravayn, that was plonged into the presse,
smote on bothe sides hym aboute and began yeve so grete strokes that sore thei
hym douted. And Gaheries hadde chased Gynebande the length of a bowe draught
from his felowes, for that he hadde smyte down his brother Gaheret with a spere,
but he hadde noon other harm; and therfore wende well Gaheries he hadde be
slayn, and therfore he pursude upon hym with swerde drawen as fiercely as a
Whan Guynebans saugh Gaheries so fiercely come, he turned to flight for he ne
durste not abide for the grete merveilouse occision that he hadde seyn hym do.
And withoute faile he was of merveilouse prowesse, for as the story rehersith, it
failed but litill that he was even like of bounté to Gawein his brother whan he com
to his right age and was knyght. And whan Gaheries saugh the Sarazin thus fleynge,
he swore be God that he sholde never cesse ne leve hym, for playn newode, till he
were avenged of his brotheres deth. And so he hym chased as faste as his horse
myght hym bere till he hadde lefte his felowes behynde the space of an arblaste.
And so he hym overtoke amonge the meyné of Guynebans that com redy to fight,
and gladde were they of the pray that thei hadde so ledde.
Whan Gaheries hadde overtake Guynebans, he stroke hym so sore upon the
helme that he kutte awey a quarter, that he made hym to stope; and the swerde
swarved betwene the shelde and the nekke and kyutte the gyge of the shelde with
all the arme, so that he dide it falle into the felde. And whan this kynge saugh
hymself so dismembred, he fill in swowne. And than Gaheries was gladde of the
vengaunce of his brother and turned his horse hede. But the Saisnes that this stroke
hadde sein ne concented not to lete hym passe. And than thei hem renged by
hundredes and by thowsandes, and closed hym in on alle partyes, and smote upon
hym with theire speres at ones, and overthrewe hym and his horse. And whan the
tymbir of theire speres were broken, he lepe upon his feet vigerousely, as he that
hadde inough of breth and myght that ther nas noon so hardy that durste put to
hys honde hym to take; and [they] launched at hym fro fer speres and swerdes
and knyves, that thei made hym falle on his knees two tymes or thre. But so
myght he not longe endure but that he sholde have be take or deed.
Than a squyer that saugh hym chase so the hethyn kynge com cryinge and
betynge his hondes togeder and rendinge his heer to Gawein that hadde remounted
Gaheret upon another horse, that hadde smeten down the Kynge Sernage fro. Than
the squyer cried, "Ha, Gawein! Where aboute arte thow? For thow hast loste thy
brother Gaheries but thow hym socoure delyverly. For he chased a Saisne that he
hath overtake in this derke valey, and hath hym smetyn down; but the sarasins
have besette hym on alle partyes and have hym overthrowen, and slayn his horse,
and made hym falle upon his kne I wote not how often. And yef ye hym thus lese,
it is grete doel and grete damage."
Whan Gawein undirstode hym that made soche doel for his brother, he seide,
"Ha! Seinte Marie Virgin and Moder to Jhesu Criste, ne suffre not that I lese my
brother, for than myn herte shall never be gladde. And yef I hym thus lese, shall
ther never shelde hange aboute my nekke." Than he asked of the squyer whiche
wey it was. And he shewde hym the valey be the wodeside. And he cryed to his
felowes with high voys, "Now shall it be sein who that shall me sewe."
"Feire cosin," quod Galashyn, "whider will ye go in so grete haste shall noon
abide from yow; and therfore set forth smartly, for I drede leste we tarye to
longe." Than the childeren hem renged and priked as faste as quarelles of arblast;
and [Gawein] perced the presse with his gode horse and heilde an axe in bothe
handes wherewith he made soche martire and soche slaughter that thei fly from
hym on alle partyes. And it lasted the space of a myle aboute of the peple that thei
hadde leide to grounde. And thei sought up and down till thei founde Gaheries,
that was lyggynge at erthe upright. And thei hadde pulled of his hatte of stiell and
his coyf of mayle for to smyte of his heed, but thei thought to have take hym quyk
and lede hym to Bernage, the Kynge of Saxon. Than thei fillen upon hym at ones
and wolde bynde hys hondes behynde hys bakke.
Than com Gawein prikinge, gripynge a spere, and sprange in amonge hem so
full of ire and maltelent for that he sawgh his brother so vileinliche araide that ny
he yede oute of witte. And than he leide aboute hym so grym strokes and rude that
noon durste hym abide but disparbled abrode fro hym as from a wode lyon in
rage. Whan that thei that heilde his brother saugh the merveile that he dide, thei
ne durste not abide ne holde his brother no lenger but yef thei wolde have receyved
the deth, but turned to flight and made hym wey. Whan Gaheries saugh his brother
Gawein, he lepte upon his feet and sette on his heed his hatte delyverly, and hente
agein his swerde and appareilede hym to diffende. And Agravayn hymbrought an
horse and seide, "Brother, now lepe up lightly, for grete foly have ye do to go so
fer oute of oure company, for full nygh hadde ye more loste than wonne." Whan
Gaheries saugh hymself hooll and sounde and that he was agein ihorsed and
delyvered, he was right gladde.
Than the bretheren drough hem togeder to relied her peple. And the Saisnes
blewe hornes and trumpes and armed hem and assembled hem thourgh all the
contrey, and ordeyned theire batailes. But now cesseth awhile to speke of thise
childeren and of the Saisnes, and speke of the men of the contrey that ledde the
pray that the childeren hadde conquered, and the cariage, to the cité of Logres.
Here seith the storye that full gladde were the peple of the contrey of the
wynnynge that the childeren hadde geten; and [they] wente joyfull and mery with
the vitaile for thei were but two Scottissh myle fro the town, and therfore thei
peyned hem faste to come to the cité saf, for well thei knewe that the Saisnes were
to moche peple to fight ageyn the childeren and her feliship. And therfore thei
douted that the pray sholde be rescued and take agein be strength, and therfor thei
hasted to come tymely to saf garde. And whan thei that kepte the cité saugh come
the riche pray, thei asked how it was geten. And thei tolde how Gawein, the
Kynges sone Loot, and his bretheren and Galashin, the Kynges sone Ventres, that
is cosin to Gawein, be come to helpe the Kynge Arthur and have lefte theire londes
and theire contrey; and [they] sey thei will never faile the Kynge Arthur while
that thei be lyvinge, "For thei be come with twenty-seven felowes, and mette with
thre thousande forayoures that this pray ledden, and foughten with hem till thei
have hem alle slayn and discounfited, and sesed us with the pray to brynge to this
citee saf. And therfore open the yates and receyve it in, and after we shull returne
hem for to socoure, for grete pité it were yef thei were deed or taken in so tendre
age, for thei ben of high valoure and grete worthynesse."
Whan the cetezeins undirstode these wordes of the childeren that were come in
soche manere, anoon after thei opened the gates and receyved hem into thecitee.
And after thei seiden that a parte of hem sholde go helpe the childeren. Thanne
thei lete blowe an horn in the maister toure, and than ronne to armes thourgh the
town. Anoon they were armed with grete spede and issed oute at the maister gate,
and than abode the Castelein of Cardoell, that was a noble man and a trewe. And
whan he was come, he fonde oute of the town seven thousand; and than he seide,
"Sirs, it were no wisdom to leve the town ungarnysshed of peple, for we knowe
not what shall falle ne what peple we shall mete." And than thei ansuerde that he
seide well, ne thei wolde not go but soche as he wolde have. Than he toke oute
five thousand, and two thousande he lefte for to kepe the town that it were not
Than thei rode forth and renged close that wey whereas the childeren foughten
full sore, for the Saisnes were no mo than seven thousand in a flote. And as soone
as thei hem saugh, thei ne douted nothinge so small a peple that were so ynge.
And ther was of hem but twenty-four knyghtes, and five squyers and twenty that
were not yet adubbed, and three hundred men what on horsebak and of fotemen of
peple of the contrei that were falle to hem; and [they] seide thei wolde rather be
deed than thei wolde forsake her companye.
But Madelans and Guynehan hadde departed her men in two partyes, and eche
was four thousande, for alle the Saisnes were assembled to hem two. Than com
Guynehan first with a grete spere, for he was myghty and stronge and moche oute
of mesure and therto right hardy; and [he] ran upon hem so fiercely as he hymself
alone all wolde have confounded. And Gawein, that was before his felowes, heilde
an ax trenchaunt and com agein hym fiercely. And Guynehan, that com formest,
ran agein hym and smote Gawein so harde with his spere that it fley all to peces,
for the haubreke was so stronge of dubble maile and the squyer so full of prowesse
that he ne meved not for the stroke, but yaf Gynehans soche a stroke with his ax
upon the helme that he bente over his horse croupe.And the stroke of the ax
glenched and smote the horse bakke asonder that thei fill to grounde bothe upon
Whan the Saisnes saugh that stroke, thei shodered aboute hym, for thei wende
that the Kynge Guynehan hadde ben deed; and than thei pressed faste to the
rescowe. And Gawein smote amonge hem, and thei smote hym with theire speres
and slow his horse under hym. And he lept lightly upon his feet and yaf so grete
strokes that noon durste hym aproche. Than com the socours on bothe sides and
ther began the bataile abowte Gawein, fell and longe lastinge, for the Saisnes
coveyted to remounte Gynehans and for to take Gawein, and his felowes so hym
defended that it was merveile for to beholden.
Whan Gawein saugh that thei desired so hym to take and holde, he griped hys
axe and com to a Saisne that hadde made Agravayn to stoupe in his sadill, and
moche he hym payned for to smyten of the heed. And whan Gawein saugh this, he
wax ny wode for ire. Than he threste thourgh the presse to that Saisne, and for to
yeve hym a gret stroke he reysed his ax. And the Saisne saugh he myght not voyde
the stroke and caste his shelde ther ageins; and Gawein hym hitte so harde that he
slytte the shelde in two partyes; and the stroke descended on the lifte shulder so
grete that he slyt hym to the girdill, and than he fill to grounde. Than Gawein
sesed the stede and lepte into the sadill, and than he cryed to his felowes, "Now
shewe youre hardynesse, that these sarazins not us ascape, and that nother wode
ne playn hem shall warante, for ye shall se my strokes and my prowesse double."
Than he smote the stede and rode in amonge hem and made of hem soche martire
that thei lay upon hepes in the feilde, as hey in a medowe. But for all that, the
Saisnes have horsed Guynehans. And whan he was remounted amonge the Saisnes,
he hente a stronge spere and a rude and com to Agravayn, that hadde his nevewe
slayn before hys iyen. And he hitte Agravayn with his spere so sorethat it preced
two folde thurgh his haubreke, and therto he shof theron so harde that Agravayn
fill to the erthe, bothe he and his horse on an hepe.
Whan Gaheries and Galashin saugh Agravayn falle, thei hadde grete drede that
he were slayn. And Galashin come formest and smote Guynehans with his swerde
upon the helme that he made hym enclyne on his sadill bowe; and Gaheries smote
hym with his swerde upon the arme that it fly into the feilde; and Gaheriet smote
hym betwene the nekke and the shulders as he was stopynge, that he made the
heed fle into the playn; and Galashin with his fote spurned his body to grounde
and laught the steede and ledde it to Agravayn that sore hym deffended on fote.
And whan Agravayn hadde the horse, he lepte up as soone as he myght; and than
began the meddelynge amonge hem full crewell and fell. But of Gawein knewe
thei no tidynges, for he was so depe in amonge the Saisnes that it was no light
thynge hym for to fynde.
Whan the Saisnes sawgh the Kynge Gynehans deed, thei were so amasid that
thei wiste not what to do, but turned to flight upon the bataile of Kynge Madelen
that was theire chief lorde, and there recovered thei that fledde. And Gawein, that
hadde gon here and there, that nothynge cowde here of his bretheryn and wiste
not whether thei were discounfited or noon, he hovid stille till he saugh his felowes
comynge, and whan that he knewe it were thei, he was gladde. And thei renged
hem aboute Gawein, for of hym thei hadde be in grete feere, and Madalen rode
with grete plenté of peple, and were six thousand; and it ne myght not longe
endure but that Gawein sholde have ben loste, whereof it hadde ben grete damage
and harme to all the londe of Logres, but as the socoure com oute of the citee,
and were five thousand men of armes. Whan the childeren saugh the socour that
com oute of Logres and the baner that Doo of Cardoell brought, the men of
contrey that were with the childeren badde hem be of gode counforte, for "Loo!
Heere cometh the citee of Logres yow for to helpe and to socoure."
Whan the childeren undirstode that thei of Logres were come hem for to helpe,
thei were gladde and joyfull. Than thei refresshed theire horse and girde hem
newe agein and lepten up and hem renged, and after rode streyte and close. And
the Saisnes com hem ageins full irouse and crewell for the deth of Guynehans.
Than thei braste theire speres in theire counterynge upon sheldes and helmes, and
began a bataile full fell and merveillouse whiche myght not be withoute grete losse
on bothe partyes. Than com in amonge hem the socour that com oute of Logres
as faste as theire horse myght renne, and ther sholde ye have herde grete crasinge
of speres. And than thei drowgh oute swerdes and begonne ther a stronge bataile
and mortall, for ther was shedde so moche blode that it ran like stremes doun the
Full grete was the stour and the medlé in the playnes before Logres of the
childeren and the socoure that com oute of Logres, and of the Saisnes; and [it]
dured all the day till it was nyght. Ther dide Gawein soche merveiles in armes that
wondirfully was he beholden of hem of Logres, for he smote down men and
horse and slow so many that noon ne durste hym no stroke abide. Than fill it that
he mette with the Kynge Madelen that hadde overthrowe Doo of Cardoell, that
was the captein of Logres, and heilde hym be the helme at the erthe, and peyned
sore hys heede of to smyten. And therwith com Gawein; but ther tho was grete
stoure and hidouse, for that oon part bisied for the rescew and the tother hym for
to sle or withholde. But the kynge ther myght thei not take, for he hadde so grete
plenté of peple. And therwith Gawein smote so grete strokes amonge hem that he
made hem alle to dissever. And it fill so that Madalen com in his wey, and he
smote hym so with bothe hondes with his axe upon the helme that he slitte hym to
the brayn, and he fell ded to the erthe.
Whan the Saisnes saugh the Kynge Madalen deed, thei were so mased that they
turned to flight, oon here and another there, and toke the wey to Valdesbires ther
the sege lay. Than aroos the duste and the powder so grete that unnethe oon
myght knowe another, ne noon ne abode his felowe. But there were many
overthrowen in that chase, for as soone as Doo was remounted, he hem chased
vigerously. But the childeren were ever to foren, that made soche martirdom upon
the Saisnes that fyve myle lay the wey full of hem that were wounded and caste to
grounde. And thourgh the helpe of God and of hem that come oute of the citee,
thei slough of hem so many that of twelve thousand ne ascaped not thre thousande
that ne were deed or wounded. And thus were the Saisnes discounfited, and the
chase endured till nyght. Than thei turned gladde and joyfull to the citee, whereas
thei founde merveilouse richesse that thei hadde rescued fro the Saisnes of that
thei hadde robbed and piled thourgh the londe and the contrey, whiche was all
ledde into the cité of Logres.
Whan the childeren were alle come to Logres, the citee made of hem grete joye
whan thei hem knewe. Than thei brought before theym all the riche prise that thei
hadde geten and seide unto Gawein that thei heilde for the chief lorde that he
sholde it departe at his voluntee. And he ansuerde that he wolde therof medle in no
manere before Doo of Cardoel; "For," he seide, "he can it beter departe and yeve
than can I, for he knoweth beste the pore and the suffretouse; and therfore do his
volunté." Whan the citezins herde Gawein thus speke, thei hym comended and
preysed moche and seide he myght not faile to be a worthy man. And thei hym
loved hertely above alle thynge and preised the grete gentilnesse that thei in hym
Thus restede the childeren and sojournede in the citee of Logres, that the Saisnes
ne dide hem no forfete. But now cesseth the story of the childeren at this tyme that
ne speketh a gret while, and returneth to Kynge Arthur and Kynge Ban and Kynge
Boors and her companye that be gon into the reame of Tamelide for to serve the
Go To Arthur at Tamelide