The Tournament at Logres; King Lot and his Sons; and Morgan and Gyomar
THE TOURNAMENT AT LOGRES; KING LOT AND HIS SONS; AND MORGAN AND GYOMAR: FOOTNOTES1 jocounde, cheerful; for that, because.
4 agein, against.
6 asked, called for.
10 deyse, dais.
12 a forty, forty more.
13 acorded, agreed.
14 nede, errand.
17 lede, take.
18 douted of, feared for.
19 tentefly, intensely.
21 hardely, boldy.
22 no drede, nothing to fear.
24 lever I hadde, I would prefer.
25 counseiled, negotiated.
26 me acorde, concur; seth, since.
27 ordeyned, proposed.
27-28 appareile hym, arrange.
28 that1, so that; whider, where.
29 cleped, summoned.
30 hem ageins, to them.
31 yelde hir, returned to her; salew debonerly, greeting politely.
32 moste, must.
32-33 amonge hem purveyed, to them assigned.
36 but, besides.
37 somer ne male trussed, pack horse nor bags packed.
38 garison, safety.
39 yef myster, if need; behoveth, profits us; noon abidinge, no waiting.
40 somme, light.
43-44 thinke on, care for.
44 leven, remain.
46 paraventure, perhaps; bourde, game.
48 suffre hem to make no party, do not permit them any such activity; graunte, promise.
50 Saisnes, Saxons; Be, By.
53 departeden, separated.
54 abode, remained.
55 wardrope, small room.
56 wrought, worked; coyf, scarf.
58 brown of visage, dark-complexioned; sangwein colour, ruddy; nother, neither; to, too.
59 apert, lively; avenaunt, cheerful; streight, slender.
60 moste hotest, lustiest; luxuriouse, lecherous.
61 clergesse, scholar; cowde, knew.
62 and, then.
63 egramauncye, necromancy.
66 therto, also.
67 feirest heed, fairest heads; sholdres, shoulders.
67-68 at devise, to see.
68 tretable, gracious; debonair, courteous.
69 in hir right witte, i.e., when calm; and, but.
70 evell for to acorde, vile tempered.
73 wherfore, why.
74 theras, where.
75 salued, greeted.
78 crull, curly.
79 chere, demeanor; aresoned hir, spoke to her; beheilde, considered.
82 and that, so that; gan, began to.
83 aparceyved, saw.
85 bothe thei, both of them; begonne to chauffe, became excited; nature wolde, was natural.
86 pleyde the comen pley, i.e., made love.
87 yef, if.
88 noon it wiste, no one knew it; after, later.
89 departed, separated.
90 annoye, harm; blames, troubles; areised, caused.
92 be go, have gone.
93 so cleped so, so named.
95 corage, strength; ne, nor; no spore, any spur.
95-96 ne no skyn . . . swete, nor did he anywhere show sweat.
96 hem, i.e., Lot and his sons.
97 conysshaunce, heraldic emblems.
98 hoved and abode, stopped and waited; bad, told.
99 delyverly, swiftly.
100 gromes, grooms.
103 glenche, turn aside; noone, 3 p.m.
104-05 a softe paas, an easy pace.
106 ne sholde . . . coveite but, should desire nothing but.
107 perce hem thourghout, ride right through them.
109 hem ascride, shouted to them.
110 what, who.
112 Cesse, Stop.
113 kepe, guard; weyes, roads.
114-15 this pray, these livestock.
116 whan ye may, i.e., if you can.
117 her, their.
120 arblast, bow shot.
121 sore peyned, tried hard.
121-22 ascried hym, shouted at him.
122 Wy, Man (Wight).
123 gate, gained; sore, quickly.
125 yeve, i.e., trade.
126 walopinge, galloping.
130 swowne, a swoon.
133 entended, attended; nought elles, nothing else; wende, thought.
134 se fer, see far.
138 peyned hem sore hem for to sewe, taken great pains them to follow.
142 anoon, soon.
142-43 abode for nought, waited in vain.
144 wende, thought; that, so that.
145 ther, where.
147 who, whoever.
148 at sojourne, idle.
150 stronge stour, fierce battle; with that, when; ther, where.
151 gromes, grooms; of, off.
153 grete, large.
154 that2, who.
157 closed, enclosed.
158 environed, surrounded by; therto, near.
159 breres, briars; noon wolde have wende, no one would have thought.
161 her, their; posterne, back gate.
162 crie, shout.
163 what, who.
167 otes, oats; stuffed, supplied.
168 be the grounde, through the grounds.
169 vavasour, landholder.
173 foyson, quantity.
174 salt flessh, salted meat.
175 behilde, looked at.
176 merveiled, wondered; what, who.
180 as aboute soche, for such.
182 delitable, delightful.
184 briddes songen, birds sung.
185 high, loudly; wode ronge, woods rang; hem herkened, listened to them.
186 remembred hem on, thought about.
187 thinkinge on, listening to.
188 that, who; amourouse, in love; newe, newly.
191 stale, wait.
192 begonne, began.
195 yef, if.
197 wille, desires.
200 be, by.
201 nought, worth nothing; but yef, unless.
202 that, what.
203 lough, laughed.
205 by, be.
206-07 se that noon dide hem noon harme, see that no one harmed them.
208 seide, said; seith, says.
212 japed, joked.
214 yelde, yield.
215 evill besette, evilly received.
216 no mayme of hande ne foote, i.e., any physical harm.
217 lese all worship, i.e., be disgraced.
222 sette at a boton, set at the value of a button.
224 yelden into, go to; ther, where.
225 demene, believe.
226 myscheve, have trouble.
227 hym befill after, it befell him later; langwissid, suffered.
230 roynouse, ruinous (diseased).
231 seide hir soche vilonye, said such mean things; oo, one.
232 hooll, whole; but yef, unless; be tweyne of the, by one of the two.
233 terme of garison, condition of relief.
234 warisshed, accomplished.
237 fell, cruel; pryme, 9 a.m.
238 discounfited, defeated.
240 somers, pack horses.
245 evell suerté, certain misfortune.
246 happe wele, succeeds.
247 evell, badly.
249 talent, desire; rage within, flirt with; maydenes, maidens.
250 a traverse, a glance.
251 talent, desire.
252 Saisne, Saxon; ne hadde be, if not for.
253-54 may no more do therto, i.e., do not deny it.
254 myschef, danger.
255 pees, peace.
256 at soche pointe, i.e., so scared.
258 breche, breeches.
259 and for that, because.
260 recreaunt, coward; maltalent, malice.
262 distrif, strife.
263 do, done; somers, pack horses.
265 it abeyen, pay for it; tronchon, shaft.
268 lefte, remained; ne, nor; cowde, could.
270 what aray that was, i.e., what was going on.
273 felonye, wrong.
274 abye, pay; be ruled, be controlled.
275 of the newe, something new.
275-76 lette for yow to do ought, stop because you might do something.
278-79 Ne Gaheries . . . litill ne moche, i.e., Gaheris remained still.
281 it, i.e., this strife.
283 harlot, rascal; fell, mean.
285 astoned, stunned.
288 mysproude lurdeyn, prideful villain.
290 elther, older; sitteth me, is right for me.
293 fole, fool; meved, i.e., started.
294 evell happe, misfortune.
298 anoon right, right now.
299 but, unless; quyte, repay.
300 acolee, blow.
301 yef, if; owther, either.
302 owe, ought.
303 diffende, charge; dere, dearly.
304 have, hold; noon evell, no harm.
306 hevyeth, grieves.
307 medle yow, turn yourself; diffouled, injured; nought, no reason.
308 agein, against; deffence, command.
308-09 in dispite of, as an insult to.
309 wrathed, got angry; buffet, blow.
310 In dispite of, To shame.
312 litill, a little.
313 haste, have.
314 lurdeynes, felons.
315 talent, desire.
316 boyes, uncouth youths; fell, cruel; forswollen, enraged; Verilé, Truly.
319 reddure, punishment; harlottes, rascals; ribaudes, thieves.
322 Harlot, Villain.
328 wherefore, why.
335 we be, we are allied.
337 trewys, truce.
338 this, now; Yole, Yuletide.
339 suerly, safely.
343 clene quyte, entirely acquited; synnes, wrongs.
345 dide, offered; amonesté, amnesty.
348 myshapped, had misfortune.
349 trowe, believe; this peple, i.e., the Saxons.
351-52 nothinge do, not behaved.
352 yede upon, went against.
354 faile, a doubt.
356 leven, desert.
356-57 magré myn, against my wishes.
357 wende, intended.
357-58 to greve, injure.
358 anoyen, harm; made, made.
360 cas was befallen, adventure occurred.
361 seith, since; so, thus.
362 wolde, wished.
363 happed, acted; that, and.
372 lough, laughed.
373 avaunte ne noon other to manace, boast or anyone to threaten.
THE TOURNAMENT AT LOGRES; KING LOT AND HIS SONS; AND MORGAN AND GYOMAR: NOTES
[Fols. 172r (line 28)-199v (line 27)]
This section of the PM is unusually rich in characterization, offering glimpses into the individual personalities of Gawain's brothers, in particular Gaheris and Agravain, as well as a glimpse into the character of Arthur's half-sister Morgan le Fay. The brief episode involving Morgan not only reflects her intensely amorous nature, but it also establishes the fact that she can be powerfully vindictive. Indeed, this episode provides an explanation for the great antagonism that develops later between Morgan and Gonnore. The rancorous dispute that occurs in this section between Gawain's younger brothers serves to do two things -- it creates sharp distinctions amongst them, separating them into a highly virtuous pair (Gawain and Gaheris) and a much-less-virtuous pair (Agravain and Gueheret); and it also allows for the introduction of a discussion of proper attitudes and behavior towards women, as Agravain's extremely unchivalrous attitude is played off against Gaheris's more idealistic one. This section is notable, too, for containing the briefepisode in which Gawain wins the magnificent horse Gringolet away from one of his Saxon foes.
Summary Based on EETS 36, pp. 483-503.
Summary Based on EETS 36, pp. 504-06.
88 But after it knewe the Quene Gonnore. This later episode occurs in the Vulgate Lancelot (Sommer, vol. 4, p. 121). When Gonnore learns of the love affair between Morgan and Gyomar (who is Gonnore's cousin), the queen insists upon breaking it up and forcing the lovers to go their separate ways. As a result, Morgan develops an intense hatred for Gonnore. It should be noted that in Chrétien's Erec there is a reference to a man named Guingamar, who is said to be "the friend of Morgan le Fay." It seems probable the figures of Gyomar and Guingamar are closely related.
Summary Based on EETS 36, pp. 509-10.
99 to lepe upon theire horses. That is, Gawain directs them to shift from their riding horses (their palfreys) to their warhorses. The grooms then take the palfreys into the forest for safekeeping.
Summary Based on EETS 36, pp. 510-12.
Summary Based on EETS 36, pp. 513-16.
Summary Based on EETS 36, pp. 518-25.
After line 182. St. Bartholomew's Day. The Feast of St. Bartholomew (who was one of the twelve Disciples) is celebrated on August 24. In fact, though, the meeting with the barons actually takes place on the Feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, which is September 8.
205-06 Gaheries hath seide beste. Gawain's judgment on the views of his three brothers establishes a basic tenet of the knightly code of conduct -- that a knight should never take a woman by force; for as Gawain says, "ther were no werse enmy than he" (lines 208-09). This provision of the Arthurian code of ethics is made very explicit in Malory's Morte D'Arthur: "Allwayes to do ladyes, damsels, and jantilwomen and wydowes [socour:] strengthe hem in hir ryghtes, and never to enforce them, uppon payne of dethe" (Vinaver, p. 75).
Summary Based on EETS 36, pp. 528-35.
263 "Sir," quod Gaheries. Gaheris's remark is nothing more than a wisecrack in which he implies that Agravain is a know-it-all. As this scene makes clear, Gaheris has a talent for getting under Agravain's skin.
266-67 Gaheries remeved not but suffred. Gaheris stands stock still and suffers the blows that Agravain inflicts upon him; and he also refrains from retaliating -- noble behavior, to be sure, but undoubtely infuriating to his attacker.
Summary Based on EETS 36, pp. 538-58.
328-29 Seint Marie Even. The Eve of the Feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, September 7.
350 knowe it verily that it cometh thourgh oure synnes. Beginning with Gildas in the sixth century, Arthurian writers frequently suggested that the Saxon invasion was visited upon Britain because of the sinful behavior of the British people, particularly their leaders. Here it is also suggested that if the barons had only accepted Arthur at the outset as God's duly appointed king, they would not have had such great difficulties dealing with the Saxons. Hence, they have brought their troubles upon themselves.
[The Tournament at Logres; King Lot and his Sons; and Morgan and Gyomar]
[Summary. Still chaffing over their humiliation in the Tournament at Toraise, the Knights
of the Round Table challenge the Queen's Knights to compete in a tournament at Logres.
Arthur, fearing a repetition of the malice and rancor that surfaced previously, asks Gawain
to promise that it will not occur this time, but Gawain refuses to do so. King Ban advises
Arthur to arm another group and hold them in reserve in case trouble develops.
The Knights of the Round Table take on a group of Gawain's young knights, who are
assisted by King Lot's knights. When the Round Table Knights begin to get the upper
hand, Gawain, Ewain, Sagremor, and Gifflet rush into the fray and drive their opponents
back toward the river. Now greatly incensed, the Round Table Knights decide to arm
themselves with "speres, grete and rude" - weapons whose use had been forbidden. See-
ing what their foes are going to do, Gawain and his fellows decide to do likewise. Now the
fighting becomes bitter and intense, with the two sides acting as if they are fighting a
"mortal werre." Gawain unsheathes Calibourne and kills forty men himself. The Round
Table Knights flee, with Gawain and his fellowship in pursuit. At this point Arthur and the
three kings rush to the scene and intervene. Arthur rebukes Gawain,but Gawain insists
that the real fault lies with the Round Table Knights. King Lot sternly berates his son,
telling him to end his folly. At last Gawain begins to cool down.
The knights retire from the field, wash themselves, and then return to the court. The
Knights of the Round Table agree to make amends, which pleases the king and queen.
Gawain, however, remains hostilely silent. The king reproves Gawain for continuing in
his anger. The queen, in a gentler fashion, urges Gawain to leave his anger and reminds
him that all of Arthur's men should "love eche other and helpe agein alle peple; and yef
youre enmyes come agein yow, to hem ye sholde be fierce, and not to hem that tomorowe
shull put her bodyes in aventure of deth for my lorde." Gawain, moved by the queen's
words, says he will do as she wishes. The Round Table Knights bow down to Gawain and
ask him to pardon them. Gawain then joins their fellowship, and all of Arthur's knights
agree never to tourney against each other again. The other Queen's Knights also become
members of the Round Table, making a total of 90 Round Table Knights. Later, the author
says, that number will become 400.
Tidings are brought to the people of Britain concerning the "Seint Graal," the holy
vessel in which Joseph of Arimathea collected the blood that flowed from Christ's wounded
side. They learn that this holy vessel, along with the Holy Spear, have come from heaven
to the City of Sarras, and from there out into the world. Now no one knows what has
become of them. Indeed, they are told that these objects will never be found until the
coming of the best knight of the world. After learning this, Arthur's knights invite all the
best knights from other countries to join their knightly fellowship. Fols. 172v (line 28)-
179r (line 29).]
Full gladde and jocounde were the companye of the Rounde Table for that thei
were acorded with Sir Gawein. And full moche thei hym preised and comended
for the grete prowesse that thei saugh hym do at this turnement, and seide amonge
hem in counseile that ten the best knyghtes therynne sholde not agein hym en
dure, body for body. Thus the knyghtes therynne seide theire volunté. But moche
more spake the ladyes and the maydenes in the chambers. Than was water asked;
and whan thei hadde waisshen, than sat every knyght as hym ought for to do. And
the Quenes Knyghtes were sette by the Knyghtes of the Rounde Table. And the
Kynge Arthur and the Kynge Ban and the Kynge Bohors and the Kynge Looth sat
at the high deyse as thei ought for to do, and mo sat ther not but thei foure. And
that day served Gawein and Kay the Stiward and Lucas the Botiller and Gifflet
and other aboute a forty.
[Summary. After dinner, the four kings retire to a chamber and discuss what they should
do in regard to the Saxons. Lot believes that if all of the British barons would unite behind
Arthur, they could drive the Saxons out; he suggests that they ask the Saxons for a year's
truce. Ban urges Lot to take that message to the Saxons, and Lot agrees to do so. Fols.
179v (line 6)-180r (line 23).]
Whan the Kynge Looth saugh how thei acorded that he sholde go upon this
nede, he knewe well how thei hadde reson. Than he seide he wolde go and have
with hym his foure sones. "Trewly," seide the Kynge Bohors, "yef thei bene with
yow, than have ye no drede of no man of moder born." Whan [the Kynge Arthur]
saugh that thei were to this acorded that the Kynge Looth sholde lede with hym
his foure sones, he yaf a grete sigh, for he douted of Sir Gawein, in whom he
hadde so tentefly sette his love, so that ther was nothinge in the worlde that he
loved so moche. And the quene knewe a partie of his thought and seide to the
kynge, "Sir, graunte the Kynge Looth to lede with hym his children hardely, for
thei shull have no drede yef God will; for the more thei be youre frendes the
better, and withe the more tendir herte shull thei do youre message as is nede,
more than sholde another that therof sette no charge. And lever I hadde that my
frende counseiled with myn enmyes than another that were straunge."
"Dame," seide the Kynge Arthur, "I me acorde, seth the barouns have it
ordeyned." And than he seide to the Kynge Looth and praide hym to appareile
hym to go secretly that no man knewe whider he wolde go. With that was Gawein
cleped and his brethren that were pleyinge in the halle. And whan thei come to the
quene, she aroos and wente hem ageins and seide thei were welcome. And thei
dide yelde hir agein hir salew debonerly. Than Arthur tolde hem all as was de
vised, how thei moste go on the message, and why thei hadde it amonge hem
purveyed. And than thei ansuerde and seide that it was goode for to be don.
After that seide the Kynge Looth to Sir Gawein, "Feire sone, goth forth and
appareile yow and youre brethern, that ye faile nought whan we shull go." "Sir,"
seide Gawein, "what arayment sholde we have eny more but oure armours and
oure horse? We shull neither have somer ne male trussed, neither grete ne small,
but goode stedes and swyft on the whiche we shull ride, that may bere us to garison
yef myster be. Ne here behoveth noon abidinge, for yef ye do my counseile, we
shull meve yet this nyght at the first somme, and ride as grete journeyes as we
may, for soche a nede as this is sholde not be put in no delay." "Trewly, nevew,"
seide Arthur, "ye sey soth. Now, go reste yow awhile and slepe."
Than Gawein turned hym to the quene and seide, "Madame, I prey that ye thinke
on my felowes that leven here with yow, for the Knyghtes of the Rounde Table ne
love not hem wele in herte, but have to hem envye, as ye knowe well youreself.
And paraventure whan I and my brethern be gon, thei will make some bourde or
some turnement agein hem; wherefore I praye yow, as my goode lady, that ye
suffre hem to make no party." "And I yow graunte," seide the quene, "that ther ne
shall noon be; yef my lorde will leve my counseile, ther shall never be turnement
as longe as the Saisnes be in this londe." And than the kynge seide, "Be the feith
that I owe unto yow, no more ther sholde." With that thei departed and wente to
theire chambres for to slepe and to reste; and thei that were in the halle wente to
theire hostelles and departeden.
But who that departed, Gyomar ne departed never but abode spekynge with
Morgain, the sustur of Kynge Arthur, in a wardrope under the paleys, where she
wrought with silke and golde, for she wolde make a coyf for hir suster, the wif of
Kynge Looth. This Morgain was a yonge damesell, fressh and jolye. But she was
somwhat brown of visage and sangwein colour, and nother to fatte ne to lene, but
was full apert, avenaunt, and comely, streight and right plesaunt, and well syngynge.
But she was the moste hotest woman of all Breteigne and moste luxuriouse; and
she was a noble clergesse, and of astronomye cowde she inough, for Merlin hadde
hir taught. And after he lerned hir inough, as ye shull heren afterward, and so
moche she sette theron hir entent and lerned so moche of egramauncye that the
peple cleped hir afterward Morgain le Fee, the suster of Kynge Arthur, for the
merveiles that she dide after in the contrey. And the beste workewoman she was
with hir handes that eny man knewe in eny londe; and therto she hadde oon of the
feirest heed and the feirest handes under hevene, and sholdres well shapen at de
vise. And she hadde feire eloquense, and tretable and full debonair she was, as
longe as she was in hir right witte; and whan she were wroth with eny man, she
was evell for to acorde. And that was well shewed afterward, for hir that she
sholde moste have loved of all the world dide she after the moste shame, wherof it
was after alle the dayes of hir lif; and that was the Quene Gonnore, as that ye shull
it heren hereafter, and wherfore it was.
Whan Guyomar entred into the chambre theras was Morgain the Fee, he hir
salued full swetly, and she hym salued agein curteisly. And he sette hym down by
hir and helped to wynde the threde of golde, and asked hir what she sholde therwith
make. And he was a feire knyght and comly, well shapen, and his visage well
coloured, and his heer was crull and yelowe, and was feire and plesaunt of body
and of chere laughinge. And he aresoned hir of many thinges, and she beheilde
hym gladly and was well plesed with all that he seide and dide. And so longe thei
spake togeder that he praied hir of love; and the more that she hym behilde, the
better she was with hym plesed, and that she gan love hym so well that she re-
fused nothinge that he wolde hir require. And whan he aparceyved that she wolde
suffre gladly his requeste, he began hir to enbrace, and she hym suffred; and he
began to kysse hir tendirly that bothe thei begonne to chauffe, as nature wolde,
and fellen down on a grete bedde and pleyde the comen pley, as thei that gretly it
desired. For yef he were desirouse, she was yet moche more, so that thei loved
hertely togeder longe tyme that noon it wiste. But after it knewe the Quene Gonnore,
as ye shull here telle, wherfore thei were departed; and therfore she hated the
quene and dide hir after gret annoye and of blames that she areised that ever en
dured while hir lif lasted. But now retourne we to Kynge Looth and his sones that
be go to slepe.
[Summary. That night Lot and his sons set out. After riding for eight days they encounter
a large party of Saxons. Clarion, one of the Saxon leaders, rides upon a magnificent
horse. Fol. 181r (line 32)-181v (line 23).]
This Clarion rode on Gringalet, an horse that was so cleped so for the grete
bounté that he hadde. For as the storye seith, for ten myle rennynge abated he
never his corage ne hym neded no spore, ne no skyn of hym therfore ne sholde not
swete. And whan the Saisnes hem saugh ridinge on her wey, thei knewe well by
theire armes and hir conysshaunce that thei were noon of her companye; and thei
hoved and abode. And whan Gawein saugh that, he hoved stille and bad his fader
and his brethren to lepe upon theire horses, and so thei dide delyverly. And the
gromes toke the palfreys and lepte up and rode into the foreste that wey streight as
theire wey turned.
And thei com toward the Saisnes as the wey hem ledde, for thei deyned not to
glenche. And mid-day was than passed and drough towarde noone. And so rode
the Kynge Looth formest, and Gawein after, and his brethern hym beside a softe
paas. And whan thei hadde so riden that thei began to come nygh, than seide
Gawein to his fader that he ne sholde entende to noon other thinge ne coveite but
to perce hem thourghout - and to his brethern he seide the same - till thei were
come on that other side.
Than the Saisnes hem ascride and seide, "Ye knyghtes that come ther, yelde
yow and telle us what ye be and what ye go sechinge." And the Kynge Looth
ansuerde, "We ben fyve messagiers of the Kynge Arthur that go on his erunde
ther he hath us sente; and more will we not sey." And thei seide, "Cesse and go no
ferther; for we kepe the weyes in the name of Kynge Hardogabran and Orienx, the
sone of Brangue of Saxoyne, and in the name of Margrat, to whom we lede this
pray and these prisoners; and of yow also shull we make present." "Ye," quod the
Kynge Looth, "whan ye may!"
[Summary. King Lot and his sons charge through the Saxons, who turn and pursue
them. When Lot's horse is killed, he fights on foot. Using Calibourne, Gawain defends his
father against forty Saxons. Then he brings the horse of a dead Saxon to his father while
his three brothers inflict great harm to the other Saxons. Lot and his sons then make
another attempt to escape. Fols. 182r (line 10)-182v (line 14).]
And whan the thre kynges saugh hem departe, thei cried upon her men, "Now
after hem, and lete not the traitours ascape." Than thei passed the forde and chaced
hem harde. And the Kynge Clarion that satte upon the Gringalet chaced hem formest
the lengthe of an arblast. And Sir Gawein was behynde alle his felowes, his swerde
in his hande all blody. And the sarazin that sore peyned hym to overtake ascried
hym, "Wy, yelde thee, or thow art but deed!" And Gawein loked and saugh the
horse so swyftly renne that he gate grounde sore after hym; and gretly he hym
coveited in his herte, and seide yef he myght gete soche an horse, he wolde not
yeve it for the beste citee that Kynge Arthur hadde. And than he gan to ride a
softer paas and rode walopinge; and Clarion hym enchased faste after.
And whan Gawein saugh he was come so nygh, he turned his shelde, and Clarion
smote so harde hym upon the shelde that the spere fly on peces. And Gawein hym
hitte upon the helme that he slytte thourgh the coyf of mayle and the flessh to the
harde boon, that he was so astoned that he fill in swowne to the grounde out of his
sadill. And Gawein caught Gringalet be the bridell and ledde hym to a grove ther
faste by of half a myle. And his fader rode alwey forth before and his thre sones,
and entended to nought elles but to go theire wey, and wende thei hadde alle foure
be by hym. And the duste and the powder was so thikke that oon myght not se fer
from hym; and so thei hadde lefte Gawein behynde the space of half a myle.
And whan Gawein was come into the grove, he sawgh the five gromes come
oute of the foreste that rode on the five palfreyes, and than was he gladde and
preised hem moche for that thei hadde peyned hem sore hem for to sewe. Than he
alight of his horse and lepte on the Gringalet, and toke his horse to oon of the
gromes for to lede, and comaunded hem to go after his fader and his brethern that
were gon before, and bidde hem spede hem faste on hir journey. "And I shall
folowe anoon after, but I will se where these peple will be come." But he abode
for nought, for thei chaced no ferther after thei fonde the Kynge Clarion lyinge,
but stode abowte hym and wende well he hadde ben deed, and made gret doel that
Sir Gawein myght here the crye ther he was.
[Summary. Lot and his sons, discovering that Gawain is not with them, mourn his
demise. But then the grooms arrive with the palfreys and tell them that Gawain is safe.
Meanwhile, Gawain sets upon the Saxons, who chase him but are not able to catch the
fleet-footed Gringolet. Then Lot and his sons ride to Gawain's aid, slaying many of the
Saxons. The remaining Saxons ride back to Clarion; Lot and his sons ride on their way
until evening. Fols. 183r (line 6)-184v (line 15).]
And the Kynge Loot and his sones saugh it drough to nyght and rode forth
theire wey, but who hadde sein theire armours, he myght have seide thei hadde
not ben at sojourne, for theire sheldes were slitte and theire helmes tohewen and
theire armours all torente and theire horse all blode and brayn; and it semed that
out of stronge stour thei were departed, with that thei be come to the grove ther
the gromes hem abiden. And thei alight of theire horse and lepe on the palfreyes.
And the gromes ledde theire horse and bare theire speres and theire sheldes and
theire helmes, and rode thourgh the wode that was grete till it was fer in the nyght.
And the mone shone right clier till that thei come to a forester, that was a goode
man and hadde foure sones that were feire yonge bachelers and hadde a wif that
was a goode lady.
This foresters place was stronge and well closed with depe diches full of water,
and was environed with grete okes; and therto it was so thikke of busshes and of
thornes and breres that noon wolde have wende that ther hadde be eny habitacion.
Thider com the Kynge Loot and his foure sones at the first cok crowinge, and
happed that her wey hem ledde to a posterne wherby men entred into the place,
and made oon of theire gromes to crie and knokke till the yate was opened. And
oon of the foresteres sones hem asked what thei were; and thei seide thei were
five erraunt knyghtes that wente upon theire grete nede. "Sirs," seide the yonge
man, "ye be welcome," and ledde hem into the middill of the court, and thei alight
of theire horse. And ther were inowe that ledde hem to stable and yaf hem hay and
otes, for the place was well stuffed.
And a squyer hem ledde into a feire halle be the grounde, hem for to unarme.
And the vavasour and his wif and his foure sones that he hadde and his tweyne
doughtres dide arise and light up torches and other lightes therynne, and sette
water to the fier and waisshed theire visages and theire handes, and after hem
dried on feire toweiles and white, and than brought eche of hem a mantell. And
the vavasour made cover the tables and sette on brede and wyne grete foyson, and
venyson and salt flessh grete plenté. And the knyghtes sat down and ete and dranke
as thei that therto have grete nede. The vavasours two doughtres behilde Sir Gawein
tenderly and his brethern, and sore thei merveiled what thei myght be. And the
foresters foure sones served before the knyghtes, and the maidenes served of wyn.
And the lady satte before Sir Gawein, and the hoste before Agravain and Gueheret
and Gaheries togeder; and the Kynge Loot satte even beside his hoste a litill above.
And thei were well served as aboute soche hour, for it was full nygh mydnyght.
[Summary. When King Lot discovers that the forester is the liegeman of King Clarion
of Northumberland and that his wife is related to several of Arthur's knights, he tells the
forester that all of the barons are to assemble at a certain place in Scotland on St.
Bartholomew's Day; the forester agrees to take that message to Clarion. The story then
turns to King Pelles of Lystenoys, the brother of King Pellynor. King Pelles's son wishes
to go to Arthur's court and receive his arms from Gawain, who he says is the best knight
of the world. The youth sets out, accompanied by one squire, but they soon encounter the
Saxons, who chase them. With the Lord's help, they defend themselves from the Saxons,
killing several of them. Fols. 184v (line 12)-187v (line 4).]
Whan the Kynge Looth and his foure sones were departed from the forester,
thei rode thourgh the foreste that was grete and high and delitable in for to traveile.
And it was feire weder and stille, and that nyght hadde ben a grete dewe; and the
briddes songen for swetnesse of the myry seson, and thei songe so myrily and so
high in theire langage that all the wode ronge. And the kynge hem herkened, and
his foure sones that were yonge and lusty, and remembred hem on theire newe
loves. And so thei ride a two myle, thinkinge on the briddes songe. And Gaheries,
that was amourouse, began for to singe a newe made songe; and he songe right
wele and merily and well entuned. And whan the sonne was up and he saugh his
brethern were somwhat fer behynde hym, he turned beside the wey to make his
horse stale till thei were come to hym, for thei herkened hym gladly. And Gaheries
com to Agravain and to Geheret and seide, "Let us singe"; and than thei begonne
to singe alle thre.
And than seide Gaheries to Agravain and to Gueheret, "Now telle me by the
feith that ye owe to the Kynge Looth my fader and yours, yef ye hadde the two
doughtres of oure hoste that was this nyght and thei were now here, telle me, what
wolde ye do?" "So God me helpe," seide Agravain, "I sholde have my wille." "So
helpe me God," seide Gaheries, "so wolde not I do, but I wolde bringe hem to
saftee. And ye, Gueheret, what wolde ye do?" Quod Gueheret, "I sholde make hir
my love, yef I myght therto hir entrete; but be force wolde I nothinge do, for than
were the game nought but yef it plesed hir as well as me."
While thei seide these wordes, overtoke hem the Kynge Looth and Gawein that
wele hadde herde that thei hadde seide. And thei lough alle togeder. And than thei
asked whiche hadde seide beste. "Of that," quod the kynge, "shall Gawein youre
brother by juge." "And I shall soone have seide," quod Gawein. "Gaheries hath
seide beste and Agravain werste, for Agravain sholde se that noon dide hem noon
harme but sholde helpe to diffende hem at his power; but me semeth ther were no
werse enmy than he. And Geheret hath yet seide better than he, for he seith he
wolde nothinge do be force; and that he seith so cometh hym but of love and
curtesie. And Gaheries hath seide as a goode man, for so as he seith wolde I do the
same, yef it were for me to do."
And than thei lough and japed with Agravain, and the kynge hymself more than
eny other, and rode to Agravain and seide, "What, Agravain, hadde ye the doughter
of youre hoste for youre foule delite, a feire rewarde yelde ye for the feire servise
and the goode chere that she hath yow don, for trewly, she hath it evill besette."
"Sir," seide Agravain, "thei sholde not therfore have no mayme of hande ne foote."
"No, " quod the kynge, "but thei shull lese all worship." "I cannot sey," quod
Agravain, "of eny man that wolde hem spare, yef he hadde hem alone by hymself,
for after that he lete her passe, she sholde hym never love." "But he sholde kepe
and save his honour," seide the kynge. "Certes," seide Agravain, "never after he
hadde lefte hir, she wolde but skorne and preyse hym the lesse." Quod the kynge,
"I wolde not sette at a boton what oon seide, so that my worship were saved, so
that I hadde no vylonye ne reprof." "Ya, ther is no more of," quod Agravain, "but
we shull us yelden into soche place ther we shull se no women." "Ha, Agravain,"
quod the Kynge Looth, "yef ye yow thus demene as ye sey, wite ye well ye shull
myscheve, and that shull ye well se."
And even as the kynge seide, so hym befill after that he langwissid longe above
the erthe for the vilonye that he dide to a mayden that rode with hir frende with
whom he faught till that he hadde hym discounfited and maymed of oon of his
armes. And after wolde [he] have leyen by his love, and fonde hir roynouse of oon
of hir thighes; and [he] seide hir soche vilonye that she after hurte his oo thigh and
his arme so that it sholde never be made hooll, but yef it were be tweyne of the
best knyghtes of the worlde, to whom she sette terme of garison. And the booke
shall yow devyse hereafter how that it was warisshed by Gawein his brother and
by Launcelot de Lak that was so noble a knyght. But of this mater speketh no
more at this tyme, but returneth how the Kynge Looth speketh to his sone Agravain
that was prowde and fell. And thus thei rode in the foreste till it was paste pryme.
[Summary. Lot and his sons meet the squire of King Pelles's son, who has become
separated from him. Then, seeing King Pelles's son being chased by Saxons, they ride to
his aid and fight the Saxons. It is a difficult fight in which Gawain performs great deeds.
At one point Gaheris rescues his father. The Saxons finally retreat, and Lot and the others
escape into the forest. Fols. 188r (line 22)-190v (line 29).]
Whan the Saisnes were discounfited in the Valey of Rorestok, the Kynge Looth
was gladde for the squyer that thei hadde rescowed. And than thei wente to the
somers that the Saisnes sholde have ledde to the siege before Clarence, and gadered
hem togeder and behelde hem gretly. And than seide Gaheries a worde that was
well herde. "Lord God!" quod he, "why be ther so many pore bachelers in the
contrey whan thei myght thus wynne inough? Certes, thei lose nothinge but for
slouthe and cowardise, for thei ne sholde not slepe in no bedde but wayte aboute
on the marches." "Feire sone," seide the kynge, "so myght thei have evell suerté,
for who that soche thinge will undirtake, yef oon tyme hym happe wele, hit falleth
hym foure tymes evell."
And than seide Gaheries to his fader, "Sir, aske Agravain my brother yef he
have eny talent now to rage within these maydenes, yef he hadde hem here on this
playn." And Agravain loked on hym a traverse full proudly and seide to hym in
reprof, "Gaheries, it is not longe tyme past that ye hadde no talent to jape whan
the Saisne smote yow down of youre horse with his axe; and ne hadde be Gawein,
ye hadde mette with hym in evell tyme." "Though I fell," quod Gaheries, "I may
no more do therto. But I was not at so grete myschef, but I me diffended so as it
myght be. And of that ye myght wele have holde youre pees, for I saugh yow
today at soche pointe that though the feirest lady of the worlde hadde preide yow
of love, ye wolde not have ansuered hir a worde, for a maiden of five yere of age
myght have take from yow youre breche!"
And whan Agravain undirstode this, he was wroth and angry and for that he
cleped hym recreaunt. Wax he rody for shame and loked on hym with maltalent;
and yef thei hadden be alone, he wolde with hym have foughten. But the kynge
turned the wordes into other maner, for he wolde not have in no wise distrif
betwene hem two. And than he asked what sholde be do with the somers. "Sir,"
quod Gaheries, "asketh of Agravain." And than began Agravain sore to wrathe
and seide he sholde it abeyen, and hilde a tronchon of a spere in his honde and
smote Gaheries on the helme that it fly all to peces; and Gaheries remeved not but
suffred. And Agravain recovered and smote twys or thries so that nought of the
tronchon lefte in his handes. And his brother Gueheret ne hys fader cowde hem
not so departe, but ever he ran upon hym as he myght from hem ascape.
Than com Gawain from the chace, and asked what aray that was. And the kynge
tolde hym all, worde for worde. And Gawein com to Agravain and blamed hym
sore for that he hadde so idon. And Agravain swor all that he myght swere that
never he wolde it hym foryeve. And whan Gawein undirstode the grete felonye,
he seide he sholde abye on his body but yef he wolde be ruled. "Fy," quod
Agravain, "in dispite of the devell this were of the newe that I sholde lette for
yow to do ought!" "Now shall it be sene," quod Gawein, "what thow wilt do."
Than Agravain smote the horse with the spores and ran to Gaheries with swerde
drawen, and smote hym on the helme that the fire sparcled oute. Ne Gaheries ne
remeved litill ne moche, for nothinge that he dide. And whan Gawein saugh his,
he drough oute Calibourne and swor by his fader sowle that in evell tyme he
hadde it begonne.
And whan the fader behilde all this he seide, "Now upon hym, feire sone! And
go sle this harlot, for he is fell and proude!" And Gawein thought well what he
wolde do, and com to Agravain and smote hym with the pomell of his swerde
under the temple that he fill from his horse to the erthe so astoned that he wiste not
where he was. And Gaheries seide to Gawein, "Sir, be not wroth for nothinge that
he doth to me, for he is fell and proude; and therfore taketh nothinge to herte that
he doth to me ne seith." "Fle from hens," quod Gawein, "mysproude lurdeyn!
Never shall I love thee, whan thou wilt not spare for my lorde my fader, ne for
noon of us." "Sir," seide Gaheries, "he is myn elther brother, and it sitteth me to
do hym honour and reverence; ne for nothinge that I dide ne seide to him, ne dide
I but jape."
"He is a fole and prowde," quod Gueheret, "but all that hast thow meved, and
therfore have thow evell happe." And Gaheries hym ansuerde, "Full evell sholde I
pleye with a straunger whan I may not pley nother with yow ne with hym. And
wyte ye well," quod he, "this is the firste tyme and the laste that ever I shall pleye
or jape with hym or with yow; and yef it were not for because that we be comen
oute togeder, I wolde returne anoon right that no more companye sholde I yow
holde." And Geheret seide agein, "Evell happe have Agravain but he quyte yow
this dere for this acolee that he hath hadde for yow."
"So God me helpe," quod Gawein, "yef owther of yow do enythinge othirwise
than ye owe to do, I shall sette yow in soche place where ye shull not se nother
hande ne foote this seven monethes. And therfore I diffende yow as dere as ye
have youre owne bodyes that ye loke ye do hym noon evell." "Sir," seide Gueheret,
"we shull kepe us therfro right wele, seth ye it comaunde; for agein youre
comaundement ne may we not do, ne we will not, but it hevyeth me whan ye will
medle yow agein us for hym, and that ye have Agravain thus diffouled for nought."
"For nought is it not," quod Gawein, "whan agein my deffence he ran upon hym in
dispite of me, in my fader sight and myn. Ne never Gaheries ne wrathed for buffet
that he hym yaf. In dispite of the devell sholde he be so proude, for his pride shall
greve bothe thee and hym."
"So helpe me God," quod the Kynge Looth, "For litill I shall take awey all the
armes that thow haste, and of Agravain also, and leve yow in myddell of the felde
like lurdeynes." "Sir, " seide Gueheret, "ye speke not of this of youre owen mouthe
but of others; for of this that ye sey ye have no talent for to do ne power, yef other
ne were." "Ha, boyes!" quod the kynge, "thow art fell and forswollen. Verilé art
thow his brother, for ye bothe be contrariouse. And I comaunde my sone Gawein
that yef thow or Agravain do ought to my sone Gaheries that he do upon yow as
grete reddure as upon harlottes or ribaudes."
Whan the squyer saugh that Gawein hadde smyte down Agravain that he bledde
bothe at mouthe and nose, he ran to take his horse and brought hym by the bridill
and made hym for to lepen up. And Gawein com to hym and seide, "Harlot, fle
from hens! For with thee have I nought to do. And loke that I se thee never more in
my companye! And go where thow wilt, for with me shalt thow come no more.
And go ye alle forth with hym that love hym better than me, and with me that love
[Summary. The young squire who is son of King Pelles now reveals his name; he is
called Elizer; he says he has come to be knighted by Gawain. That night they lodge with a
hermit. Hearing cries for help, Gawain and Elizer ride to the aid of a woman and a knight.
Gawain rescues the lady from six attackers, while Elizer rescues the knight; they take them
to the Castle of Roestok. In the morning Lot's party rides on to Cambenyk, where Duke
Escam is being besieged by the Saxons. They tell the duke of the meeting of all the barons
to be held in Scotland; then follows a great battle with the Saxons. Duke Escam sends
messengers to the other barons, informing them of the meeting to be held on the Nativity of
the Virgin. Lot and his sons proceed to the meeting place, and the barons arrive there
also. Fols. 192r (line 2)-199r (line 19.]
And whan thei were alle assembled, the Kynge Looth seide that on the morowe
he wolde telle wherefore he hadde made hem to assemble. And this was on Seint
Marie Even in Septembre. And eche of hem made to other grete joye and myrthe,
and rested ther all that nyght.
And on the morowe, thei assembled togeder all the prevy counseile and Sir
Gawein and his thre bretheren. And whan thei weren all sette upon a cloth of silke
that was leide upon the grene grasse, than aroos Gawein by the comaundement of
his fader the Kynge Looth, and seide: "Feire lordes, we be come hider for to speke
with yow in the name of the Kynge Arthur with whom we be. And my lorde yow
sendeth and prayeth as to hem that he wolde gladly have to his frendes yef it
myght be, that ye sholde yeve hym trewys saf to come and saf to go by feith and
suerté betwene this and Yole. And ye also to go and come thourgh his power
suerly, and he in yours at youre plesier. For yef it plese yow that we go alle togeder
and fight with the Saisnes that be come into this contrey till that we have hem oute
chaced, and yef God will ordeyne, that thei be discounfited, than acorde yow
togeder yef ye may be, and the pardon is yoven and graunted to alle tho that will
go fight with the Saisnes, that thei shull be clene quyte of alle ther synnes as thei
were the day of theire birthe."
Whan the princes herde the request of Sir Gawein of that he dide hem amonesté,
thei asked the Kynge Looth his advise. And he seide it was the grettest bounté that
ever was seide or don. "And I do yow to wite I sey it nothinge for that I am his
sworn man, but I sey as longe as ye have ben ageins hym ye have myshapped, for
as I trowe this peple hadde never entred into this londe yef we hadde holden togeder,
and knowe it verily that it cometh thourgh oure synnes."
"What!" seide the Kynge Urien. "Have ye don hym homage? Ye have nothinge
do as a trewe knyght, and I will telle yow whi, for yef it fill so that we yede upon
hym, hit behoveth us to go agein yow." "That were right," seide the Kynge Looth,
"withoute faile; and wite ye well, whoso hath werre agein hym hath werre agein
me." "For sothe," seide the Kynge Urien, "that is untrewly don, for ye be oon of
us, and ye sholde not us so leven." "Sir," seide the Kynge Looth, " I dide it magré
myn and agein my will, for I do yow to wite that day that I wende hym moste to
greve or anoyen, I dide hym homage, and all this made me Gawein for to do, that
ye here se."
Than he tolde hem alle worde for worde how the cas was befallen. And whan
the other princes herde this, thei seide he myght noon other do, seith it was so he
was not moche to blame. And some of hem that were there wolde right gladly that
thei hadde happed in the same maner. Thei spake of oo thinge and of other, that
thei accorded to holde the trewis. And therto thei it assured in Sir Gaweins honde
hit trewly to holde, and sette hem a day that eche of hem sholde be with all his
power on the playn of Salisbery with all his peple as eche of hem myght bringe.
But thei seide well that whan the Saisnes were driven oute of the londe, that thei
dide the kynge to wite that he diffende hym from theym. And Sir Gawein hem
tolde that whan it were come therto that yef thei wolde hym ought mysdon, thei
sholde fynde that thei sholde have bothe theire armes wery and overcharged.
Whan the princes undirstode the wordes of Sir Gawein, ther were some that
lough and some frowned with the heede. And the Kynge de Cent Chivaliers, that
liste not hym to avaunte ne noon other to manace, seide he wolde be ther at
Halowmesse, yef God hym sende lif, in the playn of Salisbery. And so seid eche
of hem for his partye.