The Young Squires
THE YOUNG SQUIRES: FOOTNOTES2 disconfiture, defeat; playnynge and regretinge, lamenting.
3 ne thei . . . dronke of, they neither ate nor drank.
3-4 no more . . . don of, i.e., nor had they eaten.
5 more disese, great discomfort.
12 Orcanye, Orkney.
12-13 distruxion of, destruction caused by.
13 dide, i.e., moved.
19 bacheler, knight-aspirant.
20 bewté, beauty.
24 here, hear.
30 debonertee, courtesy.
31 ne were not ye, were you not.
34 disconfited, defeated.
36 trowe, believe; soche herte, such courage; but yef, unless.
39 yen, eyes.
46-47 sethe be discovered of, since been revealed by.
48 that2, who (i.e., Ulfin).
52 sithes, times.
55 wele spede, succeed.
58 withholde, keep.
59 spede, manage.
62 pryvely, secretly.
63 Phasche, Easter.
69 than, then.
73 Saisnes, Saxons; prayes, livestock.
76 sowdiers, soldiers.
77-78 withoute hem, not including those.
79 kepte, protected; contré environ, surrounding countryside.
80 mysdo, harm.
81 forrey, forage; wan, won.
82 myster, need.
83 loos, praise.
85 bounté, goodness.
87 largesse, generosity.
88 oon, one (i.e., Gawain).
94 moche, important.
95 more clere that I make yow, more clearly must I make you.
96 moche, many.
101 loigged, lodged; meyné, retinue.
103 he2, i.e., Antor.
105 do made a cowche, made a couch (i.e., a bed).
108 toke grete hede of, observed closely.
109 saugh, saw.
110 covetted, desired.
111 bounté, goodness.
116 toke, i.e., planned.
120 ne not, i.e., not even.
121 wyste, knew.
124 kepe, notice.
125 stilliche, quietly; yede, went.
126 turnynge and wendynge, tossing and turning; noon, no; durste, dared.
130 anoon, soon.
131 that2, i.e., when; it tolde, i.e., told it to her.
135 bountees, goodness.
137 but yef, unless; ensured, promised; discover, reveal.
139 ne toke noon kepe, had little concern.
141 wax all rody, blushed.
142 lefte her mete utterly, left her food untouched.
143-44 it fill her, it befell her.
144 grete, pregnant.
146 also, as; he, i.e., Arthur.
148 for1, because of; werre, war.
149 hym, i.e., Arthur.
151 leeshe, a set of three.
152 brace, pairs.
154 tecche, characteristic.
155 whan he aroos, i.e., in the very early morning; force, strength.
156 pryme, 9 a.m.
157 tierce, 12 a.m.; mydday, 3 p.m.
159 noone, 6 p.m.
163 evyll will, enmity.
164 mortalité, slaughter; by, because of.
166 aventure to be, in danger of being; ther, therefor.
167-68 moche of, large for.
169 hevied, grieved.
171 foly, frivolous things.
174 purchase, obtain; pees, peace.
176 deyne, deign.
178 here, their.
179-80 ne we ne shull no helpe have, nor shall we have any help.
182 acorde of, make peace between.
183 nought elles, nothing else.
184 lese, waste.
184-85 me semeth, it seems to me.
188 ne doute yow nought, doubt it not at all.
190 debonerly, courteously.
191 pensif, sad.
194 tho, those.
196 letted, held back.
200 wete, know; by, be.
202 agein, against.
205 heilde stille, continued.
209 repeire, abide; musardes, dullards, idlers; ne awayte nought elles, await nothing else.
210 take, caught; bridde, bird; a journé hens, a day's journey away.
214 nought gete, nothing achieve; prowesse, valorous deeds.
216 lese . . . ages, i.e., waste our youth.
218 apareile us, prepare ourselves.
221 hem, them (i.e., her sons); Dismay, Worry.
222 ordeyne yow, arrange for you.
227 gentill, noble.
230 hadde oon, i.e., married one.
231 deyde, died.
233 moche, large.
236 high prowesse, great deeds.
239 Renomee, Renown; yede, went.
240 largesse, generosity.
246 of2, by.
247 whoso, whoever; moste in evry wise, must in every respect.
248 tho, then.
252 appareiled, readied.
256 leffte, remained.
258 withoute, without counting.
258-59 were wele, were at least.
259 sege, i.e., invading Saxons; journé, a day's journey.
260 thei, the barons and the Saxons.
262 so sore, so severely; nought to gete, nothing left.
263 nought elles saf by that, no other means except by what.
264 but yef, unless; by aventure, by chance.
268 lette, hinder.
THE YOUNG SQUIRES: NOTES
The Young Squires
[Fols. 58r (line 28)-65r (line 34)]
The Young Squires introduced in this section of the PM are the sons or close relatives of the rebelling barons; but unlike their fathers or uncles, they take up arms in support of Arthur, not against him. Hoping to be knighted by Arthur, they set off to find him and offer their support. The author emphasizes the noble lineage of these young men and describes the circumstances that prompt them to set off in search of Arthur. The Young Squires' brave deeds against the Saxon invaders are depicted in the sections that follow.
Also occurring in this section is the important episode concerning the begetting of Mordred; he is the fifth son of King Lot's wife but is fathered by Arthur. This event is told as a flashback, and the author's intention is to suggest that both Arthur and King Lot's wife are essentially blameless. Arthur is portrayed as an exuberant, lusty youth, while Lot's wife does not realize she has slept with someone other than her husband until Arthur confesses it to her later.
9 Bandemagu. This character is more commonly known in Arthurian works as Bagdemagus or Baugdemagus. Early in Malory he is called Sir Bagdemagus and later Kynge Bagdemagus. In Chrétien's Lancelot, as in Malory, he is the father of Meleagant (Mellyagaunce in Malory), the evil knight who abducts Queen Guenevere.
Summary Based on EETS 21, pp. 172-77.
22-23 Basyne, the wif of Kynge Ventres. In Malory, the woman who marries King Ventres of the land of Garlot is named Elaine; in both the PM and Malory she is said to be Arthur's half-sister and one of the daughters of Ygerne and the Duke of Tintagel.
24-25 two hundred fifty Knyghtes of the Rounde Table. The number of Round Table knights varies from work to work, and here the author suggests the number was 250. Malory states the number was 150, not 250.
43-44 I have herde my moder sey. This description of Ygerne's great sorrow at the loss of her son is a poignant humanizing detail; it does not occur in Malory.
82-88 Kynge Loot . . . frely yaf hem all . . . were come of. The writer praises King Lot's noble qualities and emphasizes the fact that his sons inherit their noble qualities from their father. Malory is far less charitable in his characterization of King Lot; he never portrays Lot as coming to see the error of his ways, nor does he describe any reconciliation between Lot and Arthur. In Malory, Lot lives and dies a villain.
93-94 Mordred . . . that the Kynge Arthur begat. The author of the PM offers a very different account of the begetting of Mordred from the one given by Malory. As he says, "moche peple it preyse the lesse that knowe not the trouthe" (lines 96-97) and his clear intention in this little digression is to set the record straight and to do all he can to exculpate both parties from harsh moral judgments. Malory has no such intention; indeed, Malory suggests that Arthur's adulterous and incestous act will have dramatic and disastrous consequences.
98 Hit befill in the tyme that. In the PM the begetting of Mordred occurs before Arthur has even become a knight; in Malory it occurs after Arthur has become king, after his liaison with Lyonors, and after he has seen and fallen in love with Guenevere. In neither work, though, does Arthur know that Lot's wife is also his own half-sister.
154-55 of hym deviseth no more here saf only of a tecche that he hadde. Gawain's waxing and waning strength, one of his most famous attributes in medieval Arthurian literature, is here detailed. Although the PM author's account is a little confusing, it appears that Gawain's great strength doubles once by the time it is fully prime (the period from 6 to 9 a.m.); doubles again by the completion of tierce (the period from 9 to 12 a.m.); and doubles yet again by mydday (the period from 12 a.m. to 3 p.m.), when the sun has reached its zenith. Then his strength decreases by the similar amounts at similar intervals. Here the term noone seems to refer to the period extending from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. Some scholars interpret this linking of Gawain's strength to the strength of the sun as suggesting that Gawain was originally a solar deity.
In Malory the first mention of Gawain's waxing and waning strength occurs in his fight against the Irish knight Sir Marhaus: "But sir Gawayne, fro hit was nine of the clok, wexed ever strenger and strenger, for by than hit cam to the howre of noone he had three tymes his myght encresed. And all this aspyed sir Marhaus and had grete wondir how his myght encreced. And so they wounded eyther other passyng sore. So whan hit was past noone, and whan it drew toward evynsonge, sir Gawayns strenght fyebled and woxe passyng faynte, that unnethe he myght dure no lenger, and sir Marhaus was bygger and bygger" (Vinaver, p. 96). Late in Malory's Morte D'Arthur, Lancelot will perceive the variability of Gawain's strength and will use this to his own advantage in his fights against Gawain.
200-01 by I ones oute of my fader house, I will. Gawain here swears an oath that he will not return until he has brought peace between his father (King Lot) and his uncle (King Arthur); later in the PM he makes good on this vow.
206 And than seide Agravain. From the outset Agravain is characterized as a brash and outspoken young man. In this instance, his chiding of Gawain stems from noble instincts, but later on his outspokenness causes trouble. Malory charges Agravain with being "ever opynne-mowthed" (Vinaver, p. 612) and considers him one of the parties most responsible for the downfall of Arthurian society (Vinaver, p. 669).
Summary Based on EETS 21, pp. 184-86.
239-40 Renomee, . . . so that every contrey spake of the Kynge Arthur. The spread of Arthur's fame, and the attraction that Arthur's court held to noble young men everywhere, was first suggested by Geoffrey of Monmouth in The History of the Kings of Britain: "Arthur then began to increase his personal entourage by inviting very distinguished men from far-distant kingdoms to join it. In this way he developed such a code of courtliness in his household that he inspired peoples living far away to imitate him" (Thorpe, p. 222).
Summary Based on EETS 21, pp. 187-88.
Summary Based on EETS 21, pp. 189-91.
[The Young Squires]
Now seith the story that full of sorowe and hevynesse were the barouns of
theire disconfiture and losse, and [thei] riden forth playnynge and regretinge theire
grete damage; ne thei ne ete ne dronke of all that nyght, and no more ne hadde thei
don of all the day before, for the bataile hadde endured all the day. And it was full
colde weder and grete froste, and therfore thei were at more disese for hunger
and for grete colde.
Than thei com to a citee that was cleped Sorhant and was a town of the Kynge
Uriens. And a nevew of the kynges resceyved them with grete joye, and his name
was cleped Bandemagu. Ther thei rested and esed hem in the town as thei that
therto hadde grete nede, for many of hem were hurt and wounded that abode
stille till thei were heled. But thei were not ther thre dayes whan the messagers of
Cornewaile and of Orcanye com to hem and tolde hem the losse and the distruxion
of the sarazins that dide thourgh ther londes and were at a sege before the Castell
Vandeberes, and hadde filde the londe full of here peple, and seide how thei sholde
never be remeved ne driven oute of the londe. And whan the lordes [herde] these
tidynges, ther ne was noon of hem but their fleishe trymbled for this aventure that
was hem befallen, for well thei knewe that thei were distroyed; and than thei
wepte full tenderly.
[Summary. King Brangore summons the rebel leaders to a consultation and tells
them they can expect no help from others in addressing the Saxon invasion. The kings
decide to garrison several of their cities and to defend those strongholds against the
Saxons. One of the strongholds is King Ydiers's city of Nauntes, and a second one is
King Ventres's city of Wydesande. Fols. 58v (line 9)-60r (line 34).]
[Kynge Ventres] hadde a sone be his wyf, a yonge bacheler of sixteen yere of
age, that was of merveilouse grete bewté. And the wif of Kynge Ventres was
suster to Kynge Arthur on his moder side, Ygerne, that was wif to Uterpendragon,
and wif also to Hoel, Duke of Tintagell, that begat Basyne, the wif of Kynge
Ventres. And upon this Basyne begate he his sone that was so gode a knyght and
hardy, as ye shall here herafter, and how he was oon of the two hundred fifty
Knyghtes of the Rounde Table and oon of the moste preysed; and his right name
was Galashyn, the Duke of Clarence, that the Kynge Arthur hym yaf after he
hadde wedded his wif Gonnore.
This Galashene of whom I speke, whan that [he] herde tidinges how the Kynge
Ventres his fader hadde foughten with Kynge Arthur his oncle, and he herde the
grete prowesse and the grete debonertee that was in hym, he com to hys moder
Basyne and seide, "Feire moder, ne were not ye doughter to Duke Hoel of Tintagell
and to the Quene Ygerne that after was wif to Uterpendragon, that begat, as I
herde sey, thys kynge that is cleped be his right name Arthur, that is so noble and
worthi a knyght that eleven princes hath disconfited with so small a peple as he
hadde, as I have herde sey? I pray yow, telle me the trowthe yef ye can how it is,
for I may not trowe that he sholde be of soche herte as is recorded of hym but yef
he were sone unto Uterpendragon, that in hys tyme was oon of the beste knyghtes
of the worlde."
Whan the moder undirstode here sone that so here aresoned, hir yen begonne
to water that the teers wette her chekes and hir chyn; and [she] seide, sighynge
and wepinge as she that was hevy and tender for her brother that hir sone
remembred, "Feire sone," quod she, "knowe this truly that he is youre uncle and
my brother, and cosin to youre fader on the modir side of Uterpendragon, as I
have herde my moder sey many tymes whan she here complayned prively in her
chamber for her sone, that the Kynge Uterpendragon made it to be delyvered to a
cherll as soone as it was borne; and how all the matere hath sethe be discovered
of Antor that hym hath norisshed before the barouns to whom that Merlin tolde
the trouthe; and how that Ulfin dide witnesse this thinge for trewe, that sowele
was trusted of Uterpendragon, and how he ordeyned the mariage of my moder
and the kynge. But the barouns of this londe ne will not knowe hym for her lorde;
and oure Lorde that is so mercyfull hath hym chosen thourgh His high myracle
that He hath shewed many sithes." And than she tolde hym of the ston and of the
swerde and alle the aventure as it was befallen.
And whan Galashene undirstode his moder, he prayed God that thei sholde
never wele spede that hym were ageyns. "And," quod he, "God lete me never dye
till that he hath made me knyght. Ha! Now God yeve me grace to do so moche
that he may me girthe with my swerde; and I shall never departe fro hym while I
may lyve, yef he will me withholde aboute hym." With that he departed from his
moder and yede into a chamber and began to stodye how he myght spede to go to
the Kynge Arthur. Than he bethought hym to sende a messenger to Gaweyn, the
sone of Kynge Loot, his cosin, and sende hym worde that he sholde come to
speke with hym at Newewerke in Brochelonde as pryvely as he myght, and that
he be there the thirde day after Phasche withoute eny faile. Than Galashene com
oute of the chamber and gat hym a messenger and sente to his cosin Gaweyn. But
now resteth the tale of the message of Galashene and speke of the kynges, how
thei departed fro Shorhant and wheder thei wente, and telleth of the aventres that
to hem befillen.
Now seith the boke that after that Kynge Ventres of Garlot was departed fro the
citee of Sorhant and the other barouns also, as ye have herde, that than the Kynge
Loot wente to the citee of Gale with three thousand knyghtes and fightynge men,
of hem that were lefte in the bataile where thei hadde be discounfited. And whan
he com thider the cetizenis made of hym grete joye, for gretly thei were affraied
of the Saisnes that eche day rode and ronne thourgh the contrey and toke prayes
and putte fire in townes and vilages all abowte as thei wente and dide grete dam-
age. And whan the kynge was come thider, he sente and somowned all the peple
that he myght, bothe fer and nygh, of sowdiers; and withinne a monethe he hadde
assembled mo than eight thousand on horse and on fote alle defensable, withoute
hem of the citee, whereof were four thousand for to kepethe citee.
And he kepte right wele the citee and the contré environ that noon that entred
ne myght but litill it mysdo. And ofte tymes he faught with the Saisnes whan that
he herde telle that thei come to forrey; and ther wan the pore bacheleres that ther-
to hadde grete myster. And ther the Kynge Loot ne toke never thinge fro hem that
thei dide wynne, but frely yaf hem all, and therthourgh encresed his grete loos
that the peple hym yaf. And therfore com to hym moo than three thousand men
for the grete bounté that thei herde of hym speke, whiche ne wolde never have
hym seyn but for the high renoun that was of hym spoken, and that he was manly
and wise and full of largesse; and therof shewed wele his sones after hym, but
oon yet more than another, after the gode lynage that thei were come of, and I
shall telle yow how.
This is trouthe that the wife of Kynge Lotte was suster to Kynge Arthur by his
moder side, in the same manere as was the wif of Kynge Ventres. And of the wif
of Kynge Loot com Gawein and Agravayn and Gaheret and Gaheries. These four
were sones to Kynge Loot. And of hir also com Mordred that was the yonghest,
that the Kynge Arthur begat. And I will telle yow in what manere, for so moche is
the storye, the more clere that I make yow to undirstonde in what wise he was
begeten of the kynge, for moche peple it preyse the lesse that knowe not the
Hit befill in the tyme that the barouns of the reame of Logres were assembled at
Cardoell in Walys for to chese a kynge after the deth of Uterpendragon. And the
Kynge Loot brought thider his wif, and so dide many another baroun. Hit fill so
that the Kynge Loot was loigged in a faire halle, he and his meyné. And in the
same loigynge was Antor and his sone Kay and Arthur, in the pryvieste wise that
he myght. And whan the kynge knewe that he was a knyght, he made hym sitte at
his table, and Kay that was a yonge knyght.
And the Kynge Lotte hadde do made a cowche in a chamber where he and his
wif lay. And Antor lay in myddell of the same chamber, and Kay and Arthur hadde
made her bedde atte the chamber dore of Kynge Loot in a corner, like as a squyre
sholde ly. Arthur was a feire yonge squyer, and he toke grete hede of the lady and
of hem that were abouten hire. And he saugh that she was feire and full of grete
bewté, and in his herte he covetted her gretly and loved. But the lady ne knewe it
not, ne toke therof noon heede, for she was of grete bounté and right trewe to hir
Hit fill that the barouns hadde take a counseile for to speke togeder at the Blak
Crosse. And whi it was cleped the Blake Crosse ye shall here herafter, and the
names of the Knyghtes of the Rounde Table, but yet the tyme is not come to speke
therof more. At this crosse the barouns toke a day for to assemble erly on a
morowe. And so it fill that on the nyght before that the Kynge Loot sholde go to
this counseile, and he comaunded that previly his horse were sadeled aboute
mydnyght and his armes were alle redy. And thei dide all his comaundement so
secretly that noon it perceyved, ne not the lady herself. Thus aroos the kynge
aboute mydnyght, that his [wif] it ne wyste ne aperceyved it nought. And he
wente to the parlement to the Blake Crosse, and the lady lefte alone in the chamber
in her bedde.
And Arthur, that of all this toke gode kepe, sawgh well how the kynge was gon.
And he aroos as stilliche as he myght and yede to bedde to the lady, and lay
turnynge and wendynge that noon other thynge durste do, leste the lady sholde
hym aperceyve. And hit fill so that the lady awoke and turned hir toward hym, and
toke hym in her armes as a woman slepynge that wende verely it hadde ben her
lorde. And that nyght was begete Mordred, as ye have herde. And whan he hadde
don his delite with the quene, anoon after she fill on slepe. And Arthur aroos sleyly
that he was not aperceyved till on the morowe, that he hymself it tolde at the
dyner whan he served her at table knelynge.
And so it happed that the lady seide, "Sir squyre, arise up, for longe inough
have ye be knelynge." And he ansuerde softly and seide that he ne myght never
deserve the bountees that she hadde hym don. And she hym asked what bounté it
was that she hadde hym don. And he ansuerde he wolde not in no wise telle it
here, but yef she hym ensured that she sholde hym not discover to no persone, ne
purchase hym no blame ne harme. And she seide that it sholde not hir greve, and
ensured hym with gode will, as she that of this thynge ne toke noon kepe. And
than he tolde hir how he hadde leyn by her that nyght; and than hadde the lady
grete shame and wax all rody, but noon ne knewe the cause. And than the lady
lefte her mete utterly.
And thus lay Arthur by his suster, the wif of Kynge Loot; but never after it fill
her no more. And so the lady undirstode that she was grete by hym; and the childe
that she hadde at that tyme was of hym withoute faile. And whan the childe was
born, and also the tidynges spredde abrode that he was the sone of Uterpendragon,
she loved hym so moche in her herte that no man myght it telle; but she durst
make no semblant for the Kynge Loot hir lorde. And she was sory for the werre
that was betwene hym and the barons of the reame.
Upon a day Gawein com fro huntynge, and [he was] clothed comly in a robe
that was warme as a robe for the wynter, and ledde in honde a leeshe of grehoundes
and ledde also two brace folowinge hym. And it becom hym full wele all thynge
that he dide. And he also was of the feirest makynge that eny man myght be as of
his stature. But the tale ne of hym deviseth no more here saf only of a tecche that
he hadde, that whan he aroos that he hadde the force and myght of the beste
knyght that myght be founde; and whan he com to the houre of pryme he doubled,
and at the houre of tierce also. And whan it come to mydday, he com agein to his
firste strength that he hadde at the houre of tierce; and whan it come to the houre
of noone he doubled, and alle houres of the nyght. And in the morowe he com
agein to his firste force. This was the custome of Gawein.
Whan Gawein entred the halle, as ye herde, his moder lay in a chamber by a
chymney whereynne was a grete fiere, and she was right pensif for her brother
the Kynge Arthur, and for the barouns that were departed fro hym in evyll will,
and of the grete mortalité of peple that was come by the foly of the barouns of the
londe, and also of the Saisnes that were entred into the londe, wherfore thei were
in aventure to be distroide. And ther was she sore dismayed.
And whan the lady saugh Gawein, that was so feire a yonge squyer and moche
of his age, and thought it tyme for hym to be a knyght. And than she began to
wepe, and that hevied moche Gaweine, and [he] asked wherefore that she dide
wepe; and she ansuerde and seide, "Feire sone, that I have grete cause, for I se
yow and youre bretheren that spende youre tyme in foly, that fro hensforth ye
oughten to be knyghtes and bere armes; and ye sholde be at the court of Kynge
Arthur, for he is youre oncle and is the beste knyght of the worlde, as it is seide;
and ye sholde hym serve and purchase the pees betwene hym and youre fader.
For it is grete damage of the evell will betwene hem and the other barouns of the
londe that sholde hym love and serve, but for their pride thei deyne not hym to
knowe for her lorde. And wele it sheweth that it displeseth oure Lorde, for more
have thei loste than wonne in here stryf. And on the tother side, the Saisnes be
entred into the londe that us will distroye but yef God us helpe. And ne we ne shull
no helpe have of hym that sholde hem alle enchace oute of this londe that is the
Kynge Arthur. And therfore ar ye moche to blame and youre bretheren, for now
sholde ye bere armes and seche to acorde of youre oncle and of youre fader by
what wey thei myght be made frendes; and ye do nought elles every day but hunte
after the hare thourgh the feldes and so lese ye youre tyme; and therfore me
semeth ye ought to have blame."
Whan Gawein undirstode his moder he seide, "Moder, sey ye for trouthe that
this Arthur that now is kynge, that he be youre brother and myn oncle?" "Feire
sone," seide she, "ne doute yow nought, for youre oncle is he trewly." And than
she tolde hym, fro the begynynge to the ende, all how it was. And whan Gawein
hadde all undirstonde he seide full debonerly, "Feire moder, ne be not therfore so
pensif, for be the feith that I owe onto yow, I shall never be girde with swerde ne
bere helme on myn hede till that the Kynge Arthur make me knyght, yef in me be
so moche valoure that he will me adubbe; and we will go to courte for to feeche
oure armes and helpe to mayntene his lordship agein alle tho that hym will greve
"Feire sone," than seide the lady, "for me shull ye never be letted, for grete
gladnesse sholde it be to me yef oure Lorde wolde graunte that ye myght do so
moche that youre fader and youre oncle were gode frendes, for than sholde I have
gladnesse at myn herte, and I ought wele above alle other." "Dame," quod Gawein,
"cesseth now at this tyme, for wete it well, by I ones oute of my fader house, I
will never returne ne entre therynne agayn till that my fader and myn oncle be
acorded, though that I sholde do right moche agein my fader will." "Feire sone,"
seide the moder, "God graunte yow grace this to performe."
In the tyme that Gawein and his moder spake thus togeder, com in Agravayn
and Gaheret and Gaheries and com before theire moder, that heilde stille her talkynge
with Gawein. And than seide Agravain to Gawein, "Ye be more to blame than eny
other, for ye be oure eldeste brother, and ye ought to lede us forth, and that we
sholde be knyghtes and serve hym that all the worlde of speketh that aboute hym
repeire. And we ne do but as musardes, and ne awayte nought elles but whan we
shall be take as a bridde in a nette. For the Saisnes be but a journé hens, that all the
contré robbe and distroye. Ne we ne have not peple to chase hem hens but by the
prowesse of the Kynge Arthur. But lete us take oure armes of hym and helpe to
defende his londe agein his enmyes. For that is the beste that I can se, for here ne
may we nought gete. And therfore, better it were for us to do some prowesse in
his servise, yef we myght be of soche valoure, than here to be take to prison as
cowardes and lese oure tyme of oure ages." And whan Gawein undirstode the
speche of his brother, he hadde of hym hertely joye and moche he hym preysed
and ansuerde that so wolde he do. "And therfore, inhaste lete us apareile us, for
we will meve hens withynne fourteen dayes."
And whan the moder saugh that hadde this undertaken, she was full of joye and
thanked God hertely. And to hem she seide, "Dismay yow nought of nothynge,
for I shall ordeyne yow horse and harneys." And therof were thei gladde and
merye. But now here resteth the tale of the moder and of the childeren, and speketh
how the kynges departed fro Sorhant, that be yet sorowfull and wroth for theire
discounfiture and losse, and also for the Saisnes that be entred into her londes and
[Summary. Just as King Ventres and King Lot had done previously, other rebel
kings -- Clarion of Northumberland, the King de Cent Chevaliers, Tradylyvans of
North Wales, and Brangore of South Wales -- return to their chief cities and prepare
them for war with the Saxons. Fols. 63r (line 6)-63v (line 13).]
This Kynge Brangore hadde a gentill lady to his wif that was doughter to Kynge
Adryan, the emperour of Constantynenoble, that was myghty and riche. And he
hadde no mo childeren by his wif but two doughteres, whereof the Kynge Brangore
hadde oon and the tother was in Costantynnoble. In that tyme ther was a riche
lorde and a myghty that was Kynge of Blagne and of Hungré; but he deyde withinne
five yere after he was wedded and lefte a sone, the feirest creature of man that
was formed. And this childe dide wex moche and semly and right wise and hardy.
And at that day that Kynge Brangore was departed fro Sorhant, he was so well
waxen that he was able to be a knyght. And his right name was Segramore. This
Segramore that I of speke dide afterwarde many high prowesse in the reame of
Logres, whereof the tale shall declare yow hereafter, and I shall tell yow how it
Renomee, that thurgh all the worlde renneth, yede so thourgh every londe so
that every contrey spake of the Kynge Arthur and of his grete largesse. And so his
renoun spredde thourgh every contré so that in Costantynnoble it was in every
mannes mouthe, so that Segramore herde therof speke, and was but fifteen yere
of age and was oon of the feirest men of the worlde, and of largestature and beste
shapen of alle membres, and therto hardy and wise. And whan he herde tidynges
of the Kynge Arthur, he desired gretly to se the day and the houre that he myght
be made knyght of hys honde, and seide often to hem that were of his counseile
that whoso myght take ordere of chivalrye moste in evry wise be a gode knyght.
And whan his grauntsire, the Kynge Adrian, that tho was livynge, counseiled hym
to take the ordere of knyghthode, for he was the next heire male to the empere
after his deth. And he hym ansuerde that he wolde never be knyght till that Arthur,
the kynge of Grete Breteyne, hadde made hym a knyght with his owne hondes.
And so hereof spake thei day be day till that the Kynge Adrian appareiled Segramore
and sente hym to the Grete Breteyne richely arayed. But now cesseth of hym to
speke more at this tyme, and turneth to telle how these other kynges departed fro
[Summary. Three more of the rebels -- King Carados, King Aguysans of Scotland,
and Duke Escam -- also return to their chief cities and prepare for the Saxons. Fols.
64r (line 5)-64v (line 4).]
Thus departet the eleven barouns fro Sorhant. And the Kynge Urien leffte in his
citee and sente thourgh every londe and contrey aboute; and sowdiours [cam] so
that he hadde togeder nine thousand, withoute the peple of the citee wherof were
wele six thousand; and the sege was thens but a journé.
And so thei fought togeder many tymes, and loste and wonne as is the fortune
of werre. And thus this stryfe lastid longe tyme, so that the contrey was wasted
and made pore so sore that in five yere therin was nought to gete. And in the
contrey they lived by nought elles saf by that oon myght take of another bytwene
the Cristen men and the Saisnes, but yef eny ship by aventure arived at eny port in
the londe. In this manere were thei sustened that otherwise ne laboured not, but
werred that oon agein that other right harde. And the Saisnes ronne thourgh the
londe of Kynge Arthur and thereinne dide grete damage, for ther was noonthat
hem dide lette, till that by aventure, as God wolde, he sente feire yonge squires
and gentill it to socoure. And I shall telle yow what thei were that so longe kepte
the londes of Kynge Arthur till that he com ageyn oute of the londe of Tamelide,
so that the Saisnes loste more, and the barouns that were his enmyes, than dide
Arthur. And now returneth the tale agein to Galashyn, the sone of Kynge Ventres.
[Summary. Galashin, the son of King Ventres, sends a message to Gawain, urging
Gawain and his brothers to meet him at Newerk. When the cousins are assembled
together, Galashin asks Gawain what he intends to do. Gawain says he will seek the
most worthy knight of the world -- King Arthur -- against whom their fathers and the
other barons are making war "with great wrong." The cousins agree to summon as
many knights and squires as they can find, and to go to Logres and place themselves
at King Arthur's disposal. Fols. 64v (line 34)-65r (line 34).]
Go To The Deeds of the Young Squires