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Sir Amadace


1 Then he told his pack-horse driver what the merchant promised

2 Lines 380–81: Though it were four times as good (as it is), / I guarantee it by Saint John

3 When fools may walk wholly bewildered (homeless)


I have used the following abbreviations in these textual and explanatory notes: A: Advocates Manuscript; B: Christopher Brookhouse, ed., Sir Amadace and The Avowyng of Arthur; IR: Ireland Manuscript; M: Maldwyn Mills, ed., Six Middle English Romances; MED: Middle English Dictionary; OED: Oxford English Dictionary; P: Ad Putter, “Gifts and Commodities”; R: John Robson, ed., Three Early English Metrical Romances; W: Henry Weber, ed., Metrical Romances of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Centuries.

I have based my text on the Ireland Manuscript (c. 1450) following R, B, M. There are some notable differences from the Advocates Manuscript (late fifteenth century), documented by R. W prints A. I have followed B, R in supplying some lines from A.

1 A leaf, containing four stanzas (24 lines), is missing from IR. It is clear, however, that Sir Amadace has put himself in financial jeopardy by excessive spending that is to be understood as generosity rather than profligacy — a common didactic motif. A note has been inserted in IR explaining that a leaf is lost, but I have chosen to begin lineation with fol. 17, following the practice of past editors.

3 be. B: þe; R, M: be.

7 Qu for "wh" or "w" is common throughout. Third-person singular pasts in -it (e.g., kennit, line 18) and -ut (e.g., ordanut, line 50) are also common. For a detailed account of spelling and accidence see B, pp. 11-16.

11 on B: one.

12 Thaghe. IR: Thazghe. M: Thagh.

29-30 Keeping one's debts a secret was a cardinal mercantile rule. See Chaucer's Shipman (VIII[B2]225–34). See also notes to lines 34 and 48..

31 wedsette: to mortgage, to put one's land up as a pledge against debt (OED).

34 Compare Chaucer's Merchant "sownynge alwey th' encrees of his wynnyng" (I[A] 275) and his Shipman, who meticulously keeps his debts a secret, also he might have to flee the country. See note to line 48 below.

40 Sir Amadace's display of generosity creates more an image of affluence than charity as he prepares to go into hiding.

48 Compare Chaucer's Shipman who avows that he would have to pretend to go on "a pilgrimage, or goon out of the weye" (VII[B2] 230-34) if his pryvetee were known.

50, 56 R, B, M inserted the a.

60 P argues that the story of Sir Amadace is designed to “exemplify the wisdom and ultimate profitability of reckless spending” (371), thereby creating an enduring body of indebtedness and gratitude (similar to that of a blood-brother relation­ship) between Sir Amadace and the White Knight/merchant. This celebration of gener­osity is based on the religious belief that one does not own goods, and espouses a gift economy in which “repaying kindness does not cancel gratitude but only engages the giver’s gratitude in return” (P, pp. 374, 394).

81 hur. MS originally reads his, which is deleted and changed to hur.

93 no. B misreads: so.

96 my. B misreads: me.

97 IR: Amace. B notes the mark in IR indicating that the scribe intended to correct the word. I have corrected to Amadace.
squier. B misreads: squir.

121 his. B misreads: is.

129 IR, M: A; I have followed R, B: And.

134 mon. Omitted by B.

143 rowunde: a round minted coin. MED lists this alternative spelling which is consistent with the dialect and orthographical patterns of the poem.

157 The lady's explanation parallels Sir Amadace's situation. Here is the first reference to fole (fool), which will become Amadace's role.

172 telle that he seke lay. B silently "emends" to tell that seke he lay.

204 IR inserts A Fitte at the end of this line and at the end of line 516.

206 he. B misreads: me.

212 I will. IR: will. Acephalous syntax (the dropping of a subject pronoun) commonly occurs in Middle English. R's emendation, followed by B, M, and me.

225 According to P, Sir Amadace does not see his gift to the White Knight/merchant as a loss, but as a “conversion of real capital into ‘gret merit,’ an entitlement to gratitude and future reward that binds one to other bearers of this ‘symbolic capital.’ By refusing to invest in ‘merit,’ the merchant excludes himself from the community of givers, a community whose founding member is of course God himself” (379).

237 R, B, M insert The . . . the.

246 womon. B: woman.

250 thritti powunde. Perhaps a loose analogue to Judas' selling of Jesus for thirty pieces of silver lurks in the background here as Amadace kindly uses the sum to redeem the lady and her knight, rather than betray them, even though it is all that he has. Rather than being like Judas, he's like the widow with her mite, which goes for charity.

260 B (p. 103) explains the ancient tradition, preserved in folklore, of punishing a debtor by refusing burial. The practice had long since disappeared by the time of the poem. This section also begins the "grateful dead" motif, wherein the hero finds and buries a previously unburied corpse. The ghost of the grateful dead person subsequently offers to help the hero on condition of receiving half of whatever reward is ultimately obtained. See G. H. Gerould, The Grateful Dead, Publications of the Folk-Lore Society, 60 (London, 1908). Williams suggests that in this type of story, there are, in fact, two folk motifs operating: the “Grateful Dead” and the “Divided Winnings” (“Sir Amadace,” p. 65). As a literary example of the “Grateful Dead” motif in isolation, Williams offers Cicero’s story of Simonides who, having buried an exposed corpse, is warned in a dream not to set out to sea; those who ignore the warning are drowned. See also the Book of Tobit, the medieval French texts Richard le Biaus and the Lion de Bourges, and the fifteenth-century prose romance of Oliver de Castille et Artus d’Algarbe.

295 Thritty prustus. The singing of a "trental" was deemed the most efficacious of masses for the dead. Compare the boast of the friar in Chaucer's Summoner's Tale (III[D] 1724-28).

373-81 I have followed R, B in supplying lines 344-55 from A. Because M does not, his lineation is twelve lines lower from this point.

411 IR, R, B, M: word. I have emended to world on the grounds that the phrase is so common in this poem and elsewhere as to be almost formulaic.

414 hit. B: his.

429 IR reduplicates in this.

435 no mon. IR: non. R's emendation followed by M and me.

439 B, following IR, has this line between my lines 468 and 469. The shifting of the line to this position not only creates two twelve-line stanzas but also clarifies the sequence in lines 436-41. The scribe may have skipped the line, then incorporated it later where it makes grammatical sense but leaves lines 436-41 somewhat obscure.

441 See note to line 260.

449 tho. Omitted by both R and B; M: the[m].

453 This line is repeated in IR following line 455.

455 R, B insert have. This line is written in the margin and in what appears to be a later hand.

486 loke. B: like.

500 come. M: tome (leisure) without explanation. It is frequently difficult to dis­tinguish “c” from “t” in Middle English manuscripts. MED notes come as an erro­neous variant of tome in MS Fairfax 3 of John Gower, Confessio Amantis, II, 2680.

504 hase. B omits the e here and in line 681.

510 Betwix. B: Bettwix.

561 Certan. R, B, M: Sertan.

569 stedus as opposed to "hors" are "warhorses" or "chargers" (MED).

571 oredrofe. “Overdriven,” referring to violent motions of the sea (MED).

593 yoman. B: yomon. So too in line 698.

594 degre. B: degree.

629 IR, R, B: My nayre; as B notes, this is clearly a false juncture. Such disjunctures are common in Middle English manuscripts. I have corrected to Myn ayre as has M.

637-48 I have followed R, B in supplying lines 575-86 from Sir Amadas (Advocates MS). Because M has not, his lineation is twenty-four lines from this point.

650 lene. B: leue.

685 IR, R, B: my nowun; I have read: myn owun, as has M. Clearly a false juncture.

699 he. B: be.

707 Within the “Grateful Dead” story type, there is no known literary source for the White Knight’s threat to kill the wife and child of Sir Amadace. However, a similar plot climax does appear in the later Olvier et Artus (Williams, “Sir Amadace,” p. 67).

709 spoke. R: speke.

717 IR, R, B: thi none; M: thin one. Correction of another false juncture.

719-20 B concludes line 719 with thu hit spare, taken from the end of line 720. He erroneously omits all schall be / Goddes forbote, Sir, and thus is a line short in this stanza.

759 Sayn Drightine: Holy Lord (from Old English).

786 thay. B: that.

801 bede. IR: be; I have followed R, B, M: bede. The test of obedience to his covenant parallels that of God's testing of Abraham (Genesis 22), where the father will slay his son rather than break his vow to God. Like Isaac, the child is spared when the angel bids "cease" and provides the redemptive substitution of a ram stuck in thorns, which medieval commentaries interpreted as a figuration of Him who died on the Cross. Perhaps this is why the poet sets Amadace's test on the Eve of Christ's nativity.

805 woe. B: toe.

812 by. B: be.

823 toune. B: towne.

845 IR, R, B: of. Although "of" is possible, "or" fits the familiar formula much better. M agrees.














































































































































































Thenne the knyght and the stuard fre,
Thay casten there houe hit best myghte be
Bothe be ferre and nere.
The stuard sayd, "Sir, ye awe wele more
Thenne ye may of your londus rere
In faythe this sevyn yere.
Quoso may best, furste ye mun pray,
Abyde yo till anothir day.
And parte your cowrte in sere;
And putte away full mony of your men;
And hald butte on, quere ye hald ten,
Thaghe thay be nevyr so dere."
Thenne Sir Amadace sayd, "I myghte lung spare
Or all these godus qwitte ware,
And have noghte to spend;
Sithun duell here, quere I was borne,
Bothe in hething and in scorne --
And I am so wele kennit.
And men full fast wold ware me,
That of thayre godus hade bynne so fre,
That I have hade in honde.
Or I schuld hold men in awe or threte,
That thay myghte noghte hor awne gud gete --
Thenne made I a full fowle ende.
"Butte anothir rede I wulle me toe,
Wurche anothir way then soe,
Bettur sayd soro thenne sene.
Butte, gode stuard, as thu art me lefe,
Lette nevyr mon wete my grete mischefe,
Butte hele hit us betwene.
For sevyn yere wedsette my lond
To the godus that I am awand
Be quytte holly bidene.
For oute of the cuntray I wille weynde,
Quil I have gold, silvyr to spende,
And be owte of dette full clene.
"Yette wille I furst, or I fare,
Be wele more riall then I was are,
Therfore ordan thu schall,
For I wulle gif full ryche giftus
Bothe to squiers and to knyghtis;
To pore men dele a dole.
Suche men myghte wete that I were wo,
That full fayn wold hit were such toe,
That myghte notte bete my bale.
So curtase a mon was nevyr non borne
That schuld scape withoute a scorne
Be iche mon had told his tale."

Thanne Sir Amadase, as I yo say,
Hase ordanut him opon a day
Of the cuntray in a stowunde.
Yette he gafe ful riche giftus,
Bothe to squiers and to knyghtis,
Stedus, haukes, and howundes.
Sethun afturward, as I yo say,
Hase ordanut him opon a day,
And furthe thenne conne he founde.
Be that he toke his leve to wynde.
He lafte no more in his cofurs to spende,
But evyn forty powunde.
Thenne Sir Amadace, as I yo say,
Rode furthe opon his way,
Als fast as evyr he myghte.
Throowte a forest, by one cité,
Ther stode a chapell of stone and tre,
And therinne se he a lighte.
Commawundut his knave for to fare,
To wete quat lighte that were thare -
"And tithing bring me ryghte."
The knave did as his maister him bade,
Butte suche a stinke in the chapell he hade,
That dwelle ther he ne myghte.
He stopput his nase with his hude;
Nerre the chapell dur he yode,
Anturs for to lere.
And as he loket in atte the glasse,
To wete quat mervail that ther wasse,
So see he stonde a bere.
Candils ther were brennyng toe,
A woman sittyng, and no moe.
Lord! carefull wasse hur chere.
Tithinges there conne he non frayn,
Butte to his lord he wente agayn,
Told him quat he see thare.
And sayd, "Sir, atte yondur chapell have I bene,
A selcothe sighte ther have I sene,
My herte is hevy as lede.
Ther stondus a bere and canduls toe;
Ther sittus a woman, and no moe.
Lord! carefull is hur rede.
Suche a stinke as I had thare,
Sertis thenne had I nevyr are
Noquere in so stid.
For this palfray that I on ryde,
Ther myghte I no lengur abide;
I traue I have keghte my dede.
Thenne Sir Amadace commawundut his squier to fare,
To witte quat woman that there ware,
"And tithinges bring thu me."
As he loket in atte the walle,
As the knave sayd, he fund withalle,
Him thoghte hit grete peté.
Butte in his nace smote such a smell,
That there myghte he no lengur duelle,
But sone agayn gose he.
He sayd, "Gud Lord, nowe with your leve,
I pray yo take hit noghte on greve,
For ye may notte wete for me."
He sayd, "Sir, ther stondus a bere, and candils toe,
A woman sittyng, and no moe.
Lord! carefull is hur chere.
Sore ho sikes and hondus wringus,
And evyr ho crius on hevyn kynges,
How lung ho schall be thare.
Ho says, Dere God, quat may that be,
The grete soro that ho opon him se,
Stingcand opon his bere,
Ho says, ho will notte leve him allone
Till ho fall dede downe to the stone,
For his life was hur full dere.
Thenne Sir Amadace smote his palfray with his spur,
And rode unto the chapell dur;
And hastele doune he lighte.
As his menne sayd, so con him thinke
That he nevyr are hade such a stynke,
And inne thenne wente that knyghte.
He sayd, "Dame, God rest with the,"
Ho sayd, "Sir, welcum most ye be."
And salit him anon ryghte.
He sayd, "Dame, quy sittus thu here
Kepand this dede cors opon this bere,
Thus onyli upon a nyghte?"
Ho sayd, "Sir, nedelonges most I sitte him by,
Hifath, ther will him non mon butte I,
For he wasse my wedutte fere."
Thenne Sir Amadace sayd, "Me likes full ill,
Ye ar bothe in plyit to spille,
He lise so lung on bere.
Quat a mon in his lyve wasse he?"
"Sir, a marchand of this cité,
Hade riche rentus to rere.
And eviryche yere thre hundrythe powndee
Of redy monay and of rowunde,
And for dette yette lise he here."
Thenne Sir Amadace sayd, "For the Rode,
On quat maner spendutte he his gud
That thusgate is away?"
"Sir, on gentilmen and officers,
On grete lordus, that was his perus,
Wold giffe hom giftus gay.
Riche festus wold he make,
And pore men, for Goddus sake,
He fed hom evyriche day.
Quil he hade any gud to take,
He wernut no mon, for Goddus sake,
That wolnotte onus say nay.
"Yette he didde as a fole.
He cladde mo men agaynus a yole
Thenne did a nobull knyghte:
For his mete he wold not spare;
Burdes in the halle were nevyr bare,
With clothes richeli dighte.
Giffe I sayd he did noghte wele,
He sayd, God send hit everyche dele,
And sette my wurdus atte lighte.
Bi thenne he toke so mycul opon his name,
That I dar notte telle yo, lord, for schame
The godus now that he aghte.
"And thenne come dethe, wo hym be,
And partutt my lord and me,
Lafte me in all the care.
Quen my neghteburs herd telle that he seke lay,
Thay come to me, as thay best may,
Thair gud aschet thai thare.
All that evyr was his and myne,
Hors and naute, shepe and squwyne,
Away thay drafe and bare.
My dowary to my lyve I sold,
And all the peneys to hom told.
Lord! Yette aghte he wele mare.
"Quen I hade quytte all that I myghte gete,
Yette aghte he thritté powunde bi grete,
Holly till a stydde;
Till a marchand of this cité,
Was fer oute in anothir cuntré,
Come home quen he was dede.
And quenne he herd telle of my febull fare,
He come to me as breme as bare,
This corse the erthe forbede,
And sayd, howundus schuld his bodi to draw,
Then on the fild his bonus tognaue.
Thus carefull is my rede.
"And this sixtene weke I have setyn here,
Kepand this dede cors opon this bere,
With candils brennand bryghte.
And so schall I evyrmore do,
Till dethe cum and take me to,
Bi Mary, most of myghte!"
Thenne Sir Amadace franut hur the marchandes name
That hade done hur all that schame.
Ho told him anon ryghte.
He sayd, "God that is bote of all bale,
Dame, cumford the, and so He schale;
And, Dame, have thu gud nyghte."
A Fitte
Thenne Sir Amadace on his palfray lepe;
Unnethe he myghte forgoe to wepe,
For his dedus him sore forthoghte;
Sayd, "Yondur mon that lise yondur chapell withinne,
He myghte full wele be of my kynne,
For ryghte so have I wroghte."
Thenne he told his sometour quat the marchand heght, 1
And sayd, "I will sowpe with him tonyghte,
Be God that me dere boghte!
Go, loke thu dighte oure soper syne,
Gode ryall metis and fyne,
And spicis thenne spare thu noghte."
And sone quen the sometour herd,
To the marchandus howse he ferd,
And ordanut for that knyghte.
Thenne Sir Amadace come riding thoe,
But in his hert was him full woe,
And hasteli dowun he lighte.
Sithun intylle a chambur the knyghte yede,
And kest opon him othir wede,
With torches brennyng bryghte.
He cummawundutte his squier for to goe,
To pray the marchand and his wife allsoe
To soupe with him that nyghte.
Thenne the squier weyndut upon his way,
And to the marchand conne he say;
His ernde told he thenne.
He squere, "Be Jhesu, Mare sone,
That Lordus will hit schall be done,
Of cumford was that man.
Thenne thayre soper was nere dighte;
Burdes were hovyn hee on lighte;
The marchand the dees began.
Sir Amadace sate, and made gud chere,
Butte on the dede cors that lay on bere
Ful mycull his thoghte was on.
Sir Amadace sayd, "Tonyghte as I come bi the strete,
I see a sighte I thenke on yete,
That sittus me nowe full sore.
In a chapell beside a way
A dede cors opon a bere lay,
A womon all mysfare."
"Ye," the marchand sayd "God gif him a sore grace,
And all suche waisters as he wasse,
For he sittus me nowe sare;
For he lise there with my thritti powunde
Of redy monay and of rowunde,
Of hitte gete I nevyr more."
Thenne Sir Amadace sayd, "Take the till a bettur rede,
Thenke that Gode forgave His dede.
Grete merit thu may have.
Thenke how God ordant for the
Bettur grace then evyr had He.
Lette the cors go inne his grave."
Thenne he squere, "Be Jhesu, Mare sun,
That body schall nevyr in the erthe come
My silvyr tille that I have;
Till ho be ded as wele as he,
That howundus schall, that I may se,
On filde thayre bonus tognaue."
Quen Sir Amadace herd that he hade squorne,
He cald his stuard him beforne,
Of kyndenesse that knyghte con kithe,
And bede, "Go foche me thritti powunde
Of redy monay and of rowunde,
Hastely and belyve."
The stuard thoghte hit was agaynus skille,
Butte he most nede do his maistur wille -
Now listun and ye may lithe.
Ther Sir Amadace payd him thritti powund of monay fyne.
And thenne Sir Amadace asket to wyne,
And prayd the marchand be blythe.
Then Sir Amadace asket, "Awe he the any mare?"
"Nay, Sir," he sayd, "wele most ye fare.
For thus muche he me aghte."
Thenne Sir Amadace sayd, "As furthe as ten pounde will take
I schall lette do for his sake,
Querthroghe he have his righte.
I schall for him gere rede and singe,
Bringe his bodi to Cristun berunge,
That schall thu see wythe sighte.
Go pray all the religius of this cité
Tomorne that thay wold dyne with me,
And loke thayre mete be dyghte."
Howe erly quen day con spring,
Then holli all the bellus con ring
That in the cité was.
Religius men evrichon
Toward this dede cors are thay gone
With mony a riche burias.
Thritty prustus that day con sing,
And thenne Sir Amadace offurt a ring
Atte evyriche mas.
Quen the servise was all done,
He prayd hom to ete with him atte none,
Holli more and lasse.
Thenne the marchand wente tille one pillere;
Mony a mon droghe him nere
To wete quat he wold say.
He sayd, "Sirs, there hase byn here
A ded cors opon a bere -
Ye wotte querfore hit lay.
And hase comun a full riall knyghte,
Of all the godes the cors me heghte
Hase made me redi pay.
Unto his cofurs he hase sente,
And gevyn ten powunde to his termente,
Wythe riche ringus today.
"Hit is on his nome that I say,
He prays yo holly to mete today,
All that ther bene here."
Thay did as the marchand bade;
Mete and drinke ynughe thay hade,
With licius drinke and clere.
And Sir Amadace wold noghte sitte downe,
Butte to serve the pore folke he was full bowne,
For thay lay his hert nere.
And quen thay hade etun withinne that halle,
Thenne Sir Amadace toke leve atte all,
Unsemand with full glad chere.
Quen Sir Amadace hade etun,
To sadull his horse was noghte forgetun,
Thay broghte hym his palfray.
Thenne his sometour mon before was dyghte,
Ther as that lord schuld leng all nyghte
And hade nothing to pay.
Quat wundur were hit thaghe him were wo
Quen all his godus were spendutte him fro,
The sothe gif I schuld say?
Thenne Sir Amadace kidde he was gentilman bornne,
He come the grattust maystur beforne,
Tok leve, and wente his way.
Quen he was gone on this kin wise,
Thenne iche mon sayd thayre devise,
Quen he wasse passutte the gate.
Sum sayd, "This gud full lighteli he wan,
That thusgate spendutte hit on this man,
So lightely lete hit scape."
Sum sayd, "In gud tyme were he borne
That hade a peny him biforne,"
That knew full litull his state.
Lo, how thay demun the gentill knyghte,
Quen he hade spendut all that he myghte.
Butte the trauthe full litull thay wote.
Quen he come sex mile the cité fro,
A crosse partut the way atoe.
Thenne speke Sir Amadace:
To his stuard he sayd full rathe,
His sometour and his palfray mon bothe,
And all ther evyr was,
Sayd, "Gode sirs, take noghte on greve,
For ye most noue take your leve,
For youreselvun knauyn the cace;
For I may lede no mon in londe,
Butte I hade gold and silvyr to spend,
Nevyr no quere in no place."
Now the hardust hertut men that there ware,
For to wepe thai myght notte spare
Quen thay herd him say so.
He sayd, "Gode sirs, have ye no care,
For ye mone have maysturs evyrqware,
As wele wurthi ye ar soe.
Yette God may me sende of his sele,
That I may kevyr of this full wele,
And cum owte of this wo.
A mery mon yette may ye se me,
And be full dere welcum to me,
Bothe ye and mony moe."
Sir Amadas seyd in that stonde:
"Tho warst hors is worthe ten pownde
Of hom all that here gon.
Sqwyar, yomon, and knave,
Ylke mon his owne schall have
That he syttes apon.
Sadyll, brydyll, and oder geyre,
Fowre so gud thoffe hit were,
I woch hit save bi Sen Jon. 2
God mey make yo full gud men.
Chryst of hevon y yo beken!"
Thei weped and partyd ylke on.
Quen all his men was partutte him fro,
The knyghte lafte still in all the woe,
Bi himselvun allone.
Throghe the forest his way lay righte;
Of his palfray doune he lighte,
Mournand and made grete mone.
Quen he thoghte on his londus brode,
His castels hee, his townus made,
That were away evyrichon,
That he had sette, and layd to wedde,
And was owte of the cuntray for povrté fledde.
Thenne the knyghte wexe will of wone.
Thenne bespeke Sir Amadace,
"A mon that litul gode hase,
Men sittus ryghte noghte him bye;
For I hade thre hundrythe powunde of rente,
I spendut two in that entente.
Of such forloke was I.
Evyr quyll I suche housold hold,
For a grete lord was I tellut,
Much holdun uppe thareby.
Nowe may wise men sitte atte home,
Quen folus may walke full wille of wone, 3
And, Christ wotte, so may hi."
He sayd, "Jhesu, as Thu deet on the Rode,
And for me sched Thi precius blode,
And all this world Thu wanne;
Thu lette me nevyr come in that syghte,
Ther I have bene knauen for a knyghte,
Butte if I may avoue hit thanne.
And gif me grace to somun all tho
That wilsumly are wente me fro,
And all that me gode ons hase done;
Or ellus, Lord, I aske The rede,
Hastely that I were dede,
Lord, wele were me thanne.
"For all for wonting of my witte,
Fowle of the lond am I putte,
Of my frindes I have made foes;
For kyndenes of my gud wille,
I am in poynte myselfe to spille."
Thus flote Syr Amadace.
He sayd, "Jhesu, as Thu deut on tre,
Summe of Thi sokur and Thu me,
Spedely in this place,
For summe of Thi sokur and Thu me send,
And yette I schuld ful gladely spende
On all that mestur hase."
Now thro the forest as he ferd,
He wende that no mon hade him herd,
For he seghe no mon in sighte.
So come a mon ryding him bye,
And speke on him fulle hastely,
Therof he was afryghte.
Milke quyte was his stede,
And so was all his othir wede -
Hade contiens of a knyghte.
Now thoghe Sir Amadace wasse in mournyng broghte,
His curtasé forgete he noghte,
He saylut him anon ryghte.
Quod the quite knyghte, "Quat mon is this,
That all this mowrnyng makes thus
With so simpull chere?"
Thenne Syr Amadace sayd, "Nay!"
The quite knyghte bede tho, "Do way,
For that quile have I bene here.
Thowe schild noghte mowrne no suche wise,
For God may bothe mon falle and rise,
For His helpe is evyrmore nere.
For gud His butte a lante lone,
Sumtyme men have hit, sumtyme none;
Thu hast full mony a pere.
"Now thenke on Him, that deut on Rode.
That for us sched His precius blode,
For the and monkynd all.
For a mon that gevees him to god thewis,
Authir to gentilmen or to schrewis,
On summe side wille hit fall.
A mon that hase all way bynne kynde,
Sum curtas mon yette may he fynde,
That mekille may stonde in stalle;
Repente the noghte that thu hase done,
For He that schope bothe sunne and mone,
Full wele may pay for alle."
Quod the quite knyghte, "Wold thu luffe him avre all thing
That wold the owte of thi mournyng bringe,
And kevyr the owte of kare?
For here beside duellus a riall king,
And hase a doghtur fayre and yinge,
He luffis nothing mare.
And thu art one of the semelist knyghte
That evyr yette I see with syghte,
That any armes bare.
That mun no mon hur wedde ne weld,
Butte he that first is inne the fild,
And best thenne justus thare.
"And thu schalt cum thedur als gay
Als any erliche mon may,
Of thi sute schall be non;
Thu schall have for thi giftus gevand,
Grete lordus to thi honde,
And loke thu spare righte none.
Thu say the menne that come with the,
That thay were drounet on the see,
With wild waturs slone.
Loke that thu be large of feyce,
Tille thu have wonon gode congrece,
And I schall pay ichone."
He sayd, "That thu be fre of wage,
And I schall pay for thi costage,
Ten thowsand gif thu ladde.
Ther schall thu wynne full mekille honowre,
Fild and frithe, towne and towre,
That lady schall thu wedde.
And sithun I schall come agayne to the,
Qwen thu hase come thi frindus to see,
In stid quere thu art stadde.
Butte a forwart make I with the or that thu goe,
That evyn to part betwene us toe
The godus thu hase wonun and spedde."
Thenne bespeke Sir Amadace,
"And thu have myghte thrughe Goddus grace
So to cumford to me,
Thu schalt fynde me true and lele
And evyn, lord, for to dele
Betwix the and me."
"Fare wele," he sayd, "Sir Amadace!
And thu schall wurche thrughe Goddus grace,
And hit schall be with the."
Sir Amadace sayd, "Have gode day,
And thu schall fynde me, and I may,
Als true as any mon may be."
A Fitte
Now als Sir Amadace welke bi the se sonde,
The broken schippus he ther fonde —
Hit were mervayl to say.
He fond wrekun amung the stones
Knyghtes in menevere for the nones,
Stedes quite and gray,
With all kynne maner of richas
That any mon myghte devise
Castun uppe with waturs lay;
Kistes and cofurs bothe ther stode,
Was fulle of gold precius and gode,
No mon bare noghte away.
Thenne Sir Amadace he him cladde,
And that was in a gold webbe,
A bettur myghte none be.
And the stede that he on rode,
Wasse the best that evyr mon hade
In justing for to see.
Ther he wanne full mecul honoure,
Fild and frithe, toune and towre,
Castell and riche cité.
Aure that gud he hovet full ryghte.
That see the king and his doghtur bryghte,
The justing furthe schild be.
The kinge sayd to his doghtur bryghte,
"Lo, yond hoves a riall knyghte!"
A messyngere he ches,
His aune squier, and knyghtes thre,
And bede, "Go loke quat yone may be,
And telle me quo hit is.
And his gud hitte schall be tente
Holly to his cummawundemente,
Certan withoutun lesse.
Go we to his comyng all togethir,
And say that he is welcum hethir,
And he be comun o pese."
As the messingerus welke bi the see sonde,
Thay toke Sir Amadace bi the quite honde,
And tithinges conne him fraynne:
And sayd, "Oure lord, the king, hase send us hethir
To wete youre comyng all togethir,
And ye wold us sayn.
He says your gud hitte schall be tente,
Holly atte youre commawundemente,
Certan is noghte to layne.
Quatsever ye wille with the kinges men do,
Yo thar butte commawunde hom therto,
And have servandis full bayne."
And Sir Amadace sayd, "I wasse a prince of mekil pride,
And here I hade thoghte to ryde,
Forsothe atte this journay.
I was vetaylet with wyne and flowre,
Hors, stedus, and armoure,
Knyghtus of gode aray.
Stithe stormes me oredrofe,
Mi nobull schippe hit all torofe,
Tho sothe youreselvun may say.
To spend I have enughe plenté,
Butte all the men that come with me,
Forsothe thai bynne away."
Then Sir Amadace, that wasse so stithe on stede,
To the castell gates thay conne him lede,
And told the king all the cace.
The king sayd, "Thu art welcum here,
I rede the be full gud chere,
Thonke Jhesu of His grace.
Seche a storme as thu was inne,
That thu myghte any socur wynne,
A full fayre happe hit wase.
I see nevyr man that sete in sete,
So muche of my lufue myghte gete
As thu thiselvun hase."
Thenne the king for Sir Amadace sake
A riall cri thenne gerutte he make
Throoute in that cité.
To all that ther wold servyse have,
Knyghte, squiere, yoman and knave,
Iche mon in thayre degre,
That wold duelle with Sir Amadace,
Hade lost his men in a cace,
And drownet hom on the se.
He wold gif hom toe so muche, or ellus more,
As any lord wold evyr or quare,
And thay wold with him be.
Quen gentilmen herd that cry,
Thay come to him full hastely,
With him for to be.
Be then the justing wasse alle cryed,
There was no lord ther besyde
Had halfe as mony men os he.
Ther he wanne so mycull honoure,
Fild and frithe, towne and toure,
Castell and riche cité;
A hundrithe sedis he wan and moe,
And gave the king the ton halve of thoe,
Butte ther othir til his felo keput he.
Quen the justing was all done,
To unarme hom thay wente anone,
Hastely and belyve,
Then sayd the king anon ryghte,
And bede, "Gromersy, gentull knyghte!"
Ofte and fele sithe.
Then the kingus doghtur that wasse gente,
Unlasutte the knyghte, to mete thay wente,
All were thay gladde and blithe.
Quen aythir of othir hade a sighte,
Suche a lufue betuene hom lighte,
That partut nevyr thayre lyve.
Quen thay hade etun, I understonde,
The king toke Sir Amadace bi the quite honde,
And to him conne he say:
"Sir," he sayd, "withoutun lesse,
I have a doghtur that myn ayre ho isse.
And ho be to yaure pay,
And ye be a mon that will wedde a wife,
I vouche hur safe, by my life,
On yo that fayre may.
Here a gifte schall I yo gife,
Halfe my kyndome quilles I life
Take all aftur my daye."
"Gramarcy," seyd Sir Amadas,
And thonkyd tho kyng of that grace,
Of his gyfftes gudde.
Sone after, as y yow sey,
To the kyrke yode thei
To wedde that frely fode.
Ther was gold gyffon in that stonde,
And plenty of sylver, many a ponde,
Be the way as thei yode.
And after in hall thei satte all,
Tho lordes and tho lades small
That comon wer of gentyll kyn.
Thus is Sir Amadace kevyrt of his wo,
That God lene grace, that we were so!
A riall fest gerut he make.
Ther weddut he that lady brighte,
The maungery last a faurtenyghte,
With schaftes for to schake.
Othir halfe yere thay lifd in gomun,
A fayre knave child hade thay somun,
Grete myrthes con thay make.
Listuns now, lordinges, of anters grete,
Quyll on a day before the mete
This felau come to the gate.
He come in als gay gere,
Ryghte as he an angell were,
Cladde he was in quite.
Unto the porter speke he thoe,
Sayd, "To thi lord myn ernde thu go,
Hasteli and alstite.
And if he frayne oghte aftur me,
For quethun I come, or quat cuntré,
Say him my sute is quite.
And say we have togethir bene,
I hope full wele he have me sene,
He wille hitte nevyr denyte."
Thenne the porter wente into the halle,
Alsone his lord he metes withalle,
He sailles him as he conne:
Sayd, "Lord, here is comun the fayrist knyghte
That evyr yette I see with syghte,
Sethen I was market mon.
Milke quite is his stede,
And so is all his other wede,
That he hase opon.
He says ye have togethir bene,
I hope full well ye have him sene,
Butte with him is comun no mon."
"Is he comun," he sayd, "myn owun true fere?
To me is he bothe lefe and dere,
So aght him wele to be.
Butte, all my men, I yo commawunde,
To serve him wele to fote and honde,
Ryghte as ye wold do me."
Then Sir Amadace agaynus him wente,
And allso did that ladi gente,
That was so bryghte of ble.
And did wele that hur aghte to do;
All that hur lord lufd wurschipput ho;
All suche wemen wele myghte be.
Quo schuld his stede to stabulle have?
Knyghte, squier, yoman ne knave,
Nauthir with him he broghte.
Thenne Sir Amadace wold have takyun his stede,
And to the halle himselvun lede,
Butte, so wold he noghte.
He sayd, "Sertan, the sothe to telle,
I will nauthir ete, drinke, no duelle,
Be God, that me dere boghte.
Butte take and dele hit evun in toe,
Gif me my parte, and lette me goe,
Gif I be wurthi oghte."
Thenne spoke Sir Amadace so fre,
"For Goddus luffe, lette suche wurdus be!
Thay grevun my herte full sore.
For we myghte noghte this faurtenyghte
Owre rich londus dele and dighte,
Thay liun so wide quare.
Butte lette us leng together here,
Righte as we brethir were,
As all thin one hit ware.
And othir gates noghte part will wee,
Butte atte thi will, sir, all schall bee;
Goddes forbote, Sir, thou hit spare!"
He sayd, "Broke wele thi londus brode,
Thi castels hee, thi townus made,
Of hom kepe I righte none;
Allso thi wuddus, thi waturs clere,
Thi frithis, thi forestus, fer and nere,
Thi ringus with riche stone,
Allso thi silvyr, thi gold rede,
For hit may stonde me in no stidde,
I squere, bi Sayn John!
But, be my faythe, wothoutun stryve,
Half thi child, and halfe thi wyve,
And thay schall with me gone."
"Alas!" sayd Sir Amadace than,
"That evyr I this woman wan,
Or any wordes gode.
For His life, that deet on tre,
Quatsever ye will, do with me,
For Him that deet on Rode.
Ye, take all that evyr I have
Wythe thi, that ye hur life save."
Thenne the knyghte wele undurstode,
And squere, "Be God, that me dere boghte,
Othir of thi thinge then kepe I noghte,
Off all thi wordes gode!
Butte thenke on thi covenand that thu made
In the wode, quen thu mestur hade,
How fayre thu hettus me thare!"
Sir Amadace sayd, "I wotte, hit was soe,
But my lady for to sloe,
Me thinke grete synne hit ware."
Then the lady undurstode anon,
The wurd that was betwene hom,
And grevyt hur nevyr the more.
Then ladi sayd, "For His luffe thet deut on tre,
Loke youre covandus holdun be,
Goddes forbotte ye me spare!"
Thenne bespeke that ladi brighte,
Sayd, "Ye schall him hold that ye have highte,
Be God, and Sayn Drightine!
For His lufe that deet on tre,
Loke yaure covandus holdun be,
Yore forward was full fyne.
Sithun Crist will that hit be so,
Take and parte me evun in toe,
Thu wan me and I am thine.
Goddus fobotte that ye hade wyvut,
That I schuld yo a lure makette,
Yore wurschip in londe to tyne!"
Still ho stode, withoutun lette,
Nawthir changet chere, ne grette,
That lady myld and dere.
Bede, "Foche me my yung sun me beforne,
For he was of my bodi borne,
And lay my herte full nere."
"Now," quod the quite knyghte thare,
"Quethur of hom luffus thu mare?"
He sayd, "My wife, so dere!"
"Sithun thu luffus hur the more,
Thu schalt parte hur evyn before,
Hur quite sidus in sere."
Thenne quen Sir Amadace see
That no bettur hitte myghte bee,
He ferd as ho were wode.
Thenne all the mene in that halle,
Doune on squonyng ther con thay falle,
Before thayre lord thay stode.
The burd was broghte that schuld hur on dele;
Ho kissute hur lord sithis fele,
And sithun therto ho yode.
Ho layd hur downe mekely enughe,
A cloth then aure hur enyn thay droghe;
That lady was myld of mode.
Thenne the quite knyghte, "I will do the no unskill,
Thu schalt dele hit atte thi wille,
The godus that here now is."
Thenne speke Sir Amadace so fre,
Sayd, "Atte your wille, lord, all schall be,
And so I hope hit is."
Then Sir Amadace a squrd uppehente,
To strike the ladi was his entente,
And thenne the quite knyghte bede "Sese!"
He toke uppe the ladi, and the litull knave,
And to Sir Amadace ther he hom gave,
And sayd, "Now is tyme of pees!"
He sayd, "I con notte wite the gif thu were woe,
Suche a ladi for to slo,
Thi wurschip thus wold save.
Yette I was largely as gladde,
Quen thu gafe all that evyr thu hade,
My bones for to grave.
In a chapell quere I lay to howundus mete,
Thu payut furst thritty powund by grete,
Sethun all that thu myghtus have.
Ther I besoghte God schuld kevyr the of thi care,
That for me hade made the so bare,
Mi wurschip in lond to save."
"Fare wele now," he sayd, "mynne awne true fere!
For my lenging is no lengur her,
With tunge sum I the telle.
Butte loke thu lufe this lady as thi lyve,
That thus mekely, withouten stryve,
Thi forwardus wold fulfille."
Thenne he wente oute of that toune,
He glode away as dew in towne,
And thay abode ther stille.
Thay knelutte downe opon thayre kne,
And thonket God and Mary fre,
And so thay hade gud skille.
Thenne Sir Amadace and his wive,
With joy and blis thay ladde thayre live,
Unto thayre ending daye.
Ther is ladis now in lond full foe
That wold have servut hor lord soe,
Butte sum wold have sayd nay.
Botte quoso serves God truly,
And His modur, Mary fre,
This dar I savely say:
Gif hom sumtyme like full ille,
Yette God will graunte hom all hor wille,
Tille hevyn the redy waye.
Then Sir Amadace send his messingerus,
All the londus ferre and nere,
Unto his awne cuntré.
Till all that evyr his lond withheld,
Frithe or forest, towne or filde,
With tresur owte boghte he.
His stuard and othir, that with him were,
He send aftur hom, as ye may here,
And gafe hom gold and fee.
And thay ther with him for to leng,
Evyrmore till thayre lyvus ende,
With myrthe and solempnité.
Thenne sone aftur the kinge deet, atte Goddus wille,
And thay abode thare stille,
As ye schall undurstond.
Thenne was he lord of toure and towne,
And all thay comun to his somoune,
All the grete lordus of the londe.
Thenne Sir Amadace, as I yo say,
Was crownette kinge opon a day,
Wyth gold so clure schinand.
Jhesu Criste in Trinité,
Blesse and glade this cumpany,
And ore us halde His hande!
Finis de Sir Amadace
steward noble; (see note)
calculated; how
by far and near; (see note)
steward; owe much more
Than; lands collect
seven years
Whoever best; must ask; (see note)
Endure you
divide your court in parts
keep but one, where you kept; (see note)
Though; never; (see note)

long economize
Before all this money were paid
Afterwards dwell; where
very quickly would be wary of me
goods; generous
had in hand
dread; threat
their own goods
completely disgraceful

counsel; will; take
Work; than so
Better said sorrow than seen
to me dear
know; distress; (see note)
hold (keep it a secret)
seven; put as a pledge; (see note)
Until the goods; owing
paid back wholly at once
go; (see note)

first, before I travel
royal; before
decree you
will give; gifts; (see note)
give alms
know; in difficulty (woe)
would very much like; so happened
help my trouble
courteous; never none born
If each man had his story told; (see note)

prepared; (see note)
To leave; moment
Horses, hawks; hounds
forth; he set out
leave to travel
left; coffers
only; pounds; (see note)

As; ever
Beyond; city
stood; wood
Commanded; young servant; go
find out what
news; directly
young servant

stopped; nose; hood
Nearer; door; made his way
Adventures; learn
looked in at the window
find out what marvel
stood a bier
burning two
sorrowful was her expression; (see note)
News; he did not try to ask


heavy as lead
stands a bier; two
sits; more
sorrowful is her countenance

Certainly; before
Nowhere; place; (see note)
horse (for riding)
longer remain
believe; incurred my death; (see note)

commanded; go; (see note)
find out what
young man; found withal
But; nose struck

nothing learn

stands a bier; two
sorrowful; expression
Sorely she sighs; hands wrings
always she cries
long she
She; what
sorrow; she
She; not leave
(to) her; very dear

struck; horse; his; (see note)
hastily; alit
man; it seemed to him

greeted; directly; (see note)
why; sit
Watching ever; corpse

necessarily must
In faith; no one; (see note)
wedded companion

danger of destruction
lies; long; bier
What; life
rents; collect
every; hundred pounds
round (i.e., coins); (see note)
debt; lies

By the Cross
In what; spent; substance

lords; peers
them gifts

them every
While; possessions
would not once say no

behaved; fool; (see note)
clothed more; Christmas season
Boards (tables)

dismissed my words lightly

goods; owed


When; neighbors; (see note)

goods asked for

Horses; cattle; sheep; swine
drove; bore
pennies; them counted out
owed; more

When; paid back
owed; on demand
Wholly at a time

when; poor condition
as ferociously as a bear
corpse; forbade
hounds should; tear apart
field; bones gnaw on
sorrowful; countenance

Watching over; dead corpse; bier

asked her; merchant's

She; directly
help; trouble
comfort you
(see note)

Scarcely he can; (see note)
deeds; regretted
man; lies

just so; wrought

eat; (see note)
By; dearly bought (redeemed)
prepare; then
Good royal meats

soon when; pack-horse driver
merchant's; went
at that time

hastily down he dismounted
Then into; went
put on; clothes
burning; (see note)


swore By Jesus, Mary's son
Lord's; it
supper; almost prepared
Boards; placed high
merchant; high table; (see note)



come to grief; (see note)

wasters (spendthrifts)
lies; thirty pounds; (see note)
round (i.e., coins)

better advice


(see note)
silver until
Until she
field their bones gnaw

When; sworn
did show
bade; fetch; thirty pounds
Of cash (spendable money); round (i.e., coins)
hastily; quickly
contrary to reason

merchant; happy

asked; Owed

far; accomplish

Whereby; rites
arrange readings and singing
Christian burial


And see their food be prepared

when; began
bells; began

many a spendid blossom
Thirty priests; began; (see note)
every Mass
prayed them to eat; at once

merchant; to; pillar
drew near him
know what

corpse; bier
know; why
has come; royal
goods; corpse owed me
his coffers
given; interment
costly rings

at his behest
wholly; dinner

delicious; sparkling

very ready

when; eaten
leave of all

When; eaten
saddle; forgotten

pack-horse driver; prepared
As if; stay

What wonder; though
When; goods; spent
truth if
went to the greatest lord there
Took leave

kind of way
When; passed
wealth; lightly; acquired
thus spent

penny (bit of money)
Who; situation
When; spent
truth; knew

cross parted; in two

pack-horse driver; groom

be not sad
now; leave
yourselves know; case


hardest hearted

will have masters
As well worthy as you are


time; (see note)
them; go
Squire, yeoman; young man
Each man

other equipment

heaven; bid
wept; parted each one

By himself alone
Mourning; moan
lands broad
high; well-constructed

set, and put in mortgage
out; poverty
grew uncertain of expectation

wealth has

spent; for that purpose
Always while
Much held up (admired)

knows; they

died on the Cross
won (redeemed); (see note)

Where; known
Until I may declare it; (see note)
summon; those
wilfully; gone from me
once have done me good
else; help

deficiency; wit
Disgraced in the land I am set

at the point of being destroyed
drifted (in mind)
died on the tree (cross)
Some; succor
Quickly; (see note)
some; succor if

need have

made his way
thought; heard
saw; (see note)

white; (see note)
bearing; (see note)
courtesy forgot
saluted; directly

Said; white; What

white; commanded then "Stop"; (see note)

bring down and raise up
(see note)
wealth is but a loaned gift
(see note)
many an equal

think; died on Cross

devotes himself to good habits
Either; evil persons
In some respect
courteous man
greatly; be of help
what you have done

love; over
retrieve; out; sorrow
nearly dwells; royal
loves; more

may; hold

there as
As; earthly
your class
gifts given
lords; at hand
(see note)

drowned; sea
waters slain
generous of rewards
group of attendants
each one

generous; payment
great honor
Field; woods; town; tower

When; your friends; (see note)
In place where; set
covenant; before
evenly to divide; two
goods; won; obtained; (see note)

evenly divide; deal
(see note)

work well


walked by the sea sand
ceremonial trim; at that time
Horses white
Chests; coffers


woven cloth

won; great
Field; wood; town; tower

Above; lingered
saw; lovely

lingers; royal
commanded; what over there
welfare; attended to
Wholly; command

If; come in peace

messengers walked; seashore
asked him about himself

know of
If; tell
attended to
Wholly; command
conceal; (see note)
command them
servants; accomodating


(see note)

Strong; overthrew; (see note)
tore apart
truth; see

are away (lost)

case (situation)


sat in seat
praise; get

royal; caused

yeoman; (see note)
Each man; (see note)
drowned them
them; else



won; great
Field and forest

hundred districts; won
one half of those
for his partner (i.e., the white knight); kept


Many thanks
many times
Took the armor off; dinner
When either


my heir she is; (see note)
If she; pleasure (reward)

fair maiden


(see note)

church went
noble young warrior
given; at that time

young gentlemen
noble kin

grant; (see note)
royal; caused
feasting; fortnight
spears; shake
boy; together
While; dinner

such; apparel

whence; what
suit; white

expect; seen me

As soon as
approaches; can


my own; companion; (see note)
beloved and dear

lovely; face
what she ought
loved she worshipped
Such all women well might be


None of these; (see note)

Certain; truth
neither; remain
By; dearly bought (redeemed)
But; divide; two
(see note)
If I be worthy of anything

(see note)
love; let; words
divide; prepare
lie; broadly here and there
Just as if we were brothers
thine (your) own; (see note)
(see note)
refrain from using it


your woods
woods; forests far and near

without strife
Divide; divide


died on tree (cross)
died on Cross

If only; you her

swore; dearly bought (redeemed)

when; need

promise; them
love; died on tree (cross)
See that covenant be held (kept)

Holy Lord; (see note)
love; died on tree (cross)
covenant be held (kept)
agreement; proper


forbid; wived
temptation (bait)

Neither changed expression, nor wept

Commanded, "Fetch

Which; them; love; more

divide her evenly
white; apart


behaved; mad

(see note)
board; divide
She kissed; times many
afterwards; she went
over her eyes
calm of spirit

white; wrong

sword took up

white; bade; Stop; (see note)


blame you if; distressed; (see note)

where; as hounds' food
paid; in full; (see note)


own; friend
dwelling; longer here

without strife
(see note)

thanked; gracious



If them
them; their

far and near

Woods; field; (see note)
He repaid his debts with money

them; riches

joy; proper ceremony



brilliantly shining
make happy


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