Back to top

The Avowyng of Arthur


1 Lines 243-44: No matter how fierce he (the boar) might be, / The bold hunter waits him out

2 Lines 981-82: With good will, keep them firmly under supervision, / Meek and mild at home (at their meals)

3 Therefore, as far as jealousy is concerned, be assured

4 Lines 1054-55: By no means were we able to fulfill / Our need for meat and drink

5 Lines 1059-60: And [I] replied in a stern manner, / 'I will not, by the Cross!'


Abbreviations: Ir = Ireland MS; R = Robson's edition; FH = French and Hale's edition; B = Brookhouse's edition; D = Dahood's edition. See Select Bibliography for these editions.

1 He that made us on the mulde. This first line of Avowyng virtually repeats the final line of the poem (That made us on the mulde), linking its beginning to its ending and emphasizing the symmetries of structure. Such echoic repetition occurs as well in Awntyrs (see lines 1 and 714-15 and notes), Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Patience.

2 fair. FH: fare.

13 wice. R, B: wite.

22 Kyndenesse and. Ir: Kyndenesse of; I emend for sense.

24 wayt men and wise. D emends to waythmen (i.e., "hunters") wise.

25 thay. Ir: tha; FH, B emend to thay; D retains Ir's reading.

29 Carlele. Many of the Arthurian verse romances, and especially those involving Gawain, name Carlisle as a habitual northern court for the Knights of the Round Table. The mention of Inglewood Forest (line 65) and Gawain's vow to keep watch at the Tarn Wathelene (line 132) further localize the action in Cumberland. Ragnelle, Carlisle, Awntyrs, Greene Knight, as well as the ballad versions of the first two, all mention Carlisle as the seat of Arthur's court, as do Malory, Lancelot of the Laik, and the two poems on Arthur's death, the Stanzaic Morte Arthur and the Alliterative Morte Arthure.

40 bandus. D emends to boundus for sake of rhyme.

43 moue. R, FH, B: mone. The letter formation makes either "u" or "n" plausible; I follow D's reading.

46 offellus. Ir: of fellus; D reads the latter as one word, and so makes sense of the line.

48 frith. R, B read frithe. R and B frequently read final scribal stroke as "e"; I have usually indicated such readings only where at least one other edition agrees.

54 he. B prints be without explanation.

61 luffe. D emends to lusse in this line, and to tusse and busse in lines 62 and 63. While his emendations are ingenious and to a large degree persuasive, they are not necessary. The manuscript readings make more than minimal sense, and the position of the three words as rhymes gives their forms additional authority.

74 Bowdewynne of Bretan. I assume that the popular romances mean this character to be identical with the "Byschope Bawdewyn" who appears in Carlisle, in the same way that Malory seems to understand Sir Baudwen of Bretayne and "the ermyte [hermit], sir Bawdewyn of Bretayne" as the same person. See line 914 and note below, and Carlisle, line 28 and note.

78 buirnes. The three strokes that make up "ui" can be read as several possible letter combinations; R, B give biurnes here and at 703. The spelling at line 563 (burne) confirms the present reading.

79 alle. B, D read all.

83 hunter. Here and at line 105 the word ending is abbreviated; at line 113 the full form is given as hunter. Though the usual scribal spelling for this termination is -ur (as in undur, sekur, wyntur, and so on), I follow D in expanding the word as hunter.

100 rafte. Ir: raste, so R, B; I follow emendation of FH, which D prints without comment.

101 rennyng. Ir: rengnyng, with a mark under the first g to indicate excision.

110 Butte sette my hed. FH emends to I sette my hed. The hunter uses an emphatic phrase, similar to "I'll stake my neck on it."

118 Myne avow make I. Arthur's vow and the subsequent hunt apparently have no specific sources in other romances, though boar hunts occur in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and other popular narratives.

127 make your avowe. The act of making a public vow (or boast, or "gab"), often in competition with other knights, occurs in twelfth-century chansons de geste such as Le Pelerinage de Charlemagne (perhaps imitated in Cornwall), as well as in a well-known scene in Jacques de Longuyon's Les Voeux du Paön [The Vows of the Peacock], an early fourteenth-century romance. On the connection of vows to chivalric practice and literary portrayals, see Gail Orgelfinger, "The Vows of the Pheasant and Late Chivalric Ritual," pp. 611-43 in The Study of Chivalry, ed. Howell Chickering and Thomas H. Seiler, TEAMS publications (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute, 1988); Orgelfinger provides translations of vows made by actual and fictional knights, as well as a full discussion of their contexts.

131 Tarne Wathelan. The Tarn Wathelene was a lake within Englewood Forest; see line 29 above and note, and Awntyrs, line 2 and note.

132 To wake hit all nyghte. Gawain's vow to watch, or carry out an all-night "wake," at the Tarn implies a willingness to encounter supernatural forces. The ghost of Guenevere's mother rises to meet Gawain and Guenevere from the Tarn in Awntyrs. Gawain meets strange foes at water crossings in other romances, such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Chrétien's Yvain (and in the Middle English version, Ywain and Gawain).

133 ff. Kay's windy recklessness, and his seemingly inevitable humiliation, are a stock motif in popular Arthurian romances; in the present volume, this pattern occurs in Carlisle, Carle, Gologras, Turke, and Marriage.

135 Quoso. Ir, D: Quose. I emend the form since it is inconsistent with scribal spelling, though it is at times difficult to distinguish scribal e from o; compare note at line 160.

137 ff. Baldwin's vows, offered merely to close off the exchange, have a proverbial ring, and recall a number of literary and folk traditions; D (p. 33) connects them specifically to the cycle of the Three Wise Counsels, a widespread motif of three oaths or admonitions.

143 Ne. R, FH, B read Ir as Ne; D gives Ore without comment.

149 bore. FH: bare.

150 wythoutun any. Ir: wyth any; FH, B, D all emend for sense. I follow D's scribal spelling.

151 fore. D emends to fare.

156 Sum that. FH emends to Quer that.

160 The Ir: Tho; so R, B; FH emends for sense. D reads apparent o here and elsewhere as e.

165 hold. D, arguing that scribal e and o are difficult to distinguish from one another, reads held, which fits the rhyme slightly better.

168 spillutte hom on gode spede. Ir: spillutte on hom gode spede. I emend the word order on the basis of sense and syntax since spill almost never occurs as a verbal phrase with a preposition, and on (or in) (good) speed is a common phrase (see OED, speed sb. 7a).

193 spanos. D: spanes.

196 sekir. FH reads seker.

204 he myghte evyr hit fele. D, following suggestion of FH, emends to he evyr hit feld, for the sake of rhyme and meter.

206 He sturd. I understand the subject here to be Arthur, caught in his saddle as his horse falls to the ground. It would be possible, however, to take He as referring to the mount, with the implication that the horse never returned from the hunt.

207 Jhesu. Here and at line 1145 D reads Iesu.

212 ware. D emends to were.
218 Squithe. D reads Squith.

227 victoré. R, B read vittore.

229 wroth. B: wrote.

231 Medieval religious exposition and popular narrative both connect the devil (and the eternal fires of hell) with kitchens and cooking.

243 nevyr. B: hevyr.

250 hade. Ir: hade, though unclear (so R, FH); B: made; D: had (without comment).

254 ff. Arthur's eagerness to brittun him corresponds to the "assay" or breaking of the deer, described in detail in Ragnelle (lines 46 ff., and line 48 and note), Carlisle (line 31 and note), and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (lines 1325 ff.). The ritual of butchering is not simply a matter of technical knowledge, but a display of the rule-bound nature of the hunt that makes it a hallmark of aristocratic identity; Arthur's performance here, within the precincts of the royal forests, is an exemplary demonstration of his kingly demeanor.

258 Colurt. B: Tholurt. The precise meaning of this verb is not clear, though it would appear to describe some feature of the ritual butchering - perhaps the removal of the head, or the carving of the shoulders; the word occurs again (colurt) at line 482.

263 thonge. Ir: yonge; so R, FH, B, D. D's long discussion of the crux reaches no conclusion, and I emend (according to suggestion in FH) to thonge as offering the best sense.

266 hur. R, B read her.

267 Sayd. FH reads Says.

273 ff. This stanza clearly lacks one quatrain, with the consequence that the Avowyng's perfectly symmetrical division into two parts (lines 1-572, and lines 573-1048) is off by four lines. Burrow and Johnson have drawn attention to this feature of the poem's structural meaning.

275 for. Ir: fro; I follow emendation of FH.

279 birde. FH: brede.

280 Ho. R, FH, B read Ho; D reads He and emends to Ho.

286 all. R, FH read alle.

295 biurde. D: buirde, but scribal spelling at lines 458, 463 (byurde) makes biurde preferable here (so R, FH, B) and in other occurrences at lines 508, 734, 987, 998, and 1141.

297 skille. B, D: skill. Here and elsewhere D reads the characteristic final flourish by the scribe as without significance, and so prints skill; the flourish here differs very little from other cases - e.g., tille (line 285) and its rhymes, or Quille (line 286) - and so I follow earlier editors in retaining final e in some cases where D has rejected it. Compare also lines 966, 967, where omission of final e seems scribal.

298 atte thi wille. Scribal letter forms and strokes are especially hard to distinguish in the final phrase; R: at thi wille; FH: atte thi wille; B: at the will; D: atte thi will.

300 that. Ir: the; so R, B, D. FH emends to that.

305 tother. FH reads tothur.

307 ff. Sir Menealfe of the Mountayn / My gode fadur highte. No other character, knightly or otherwise, named Menealfe occurs in medieval Arthurian literature. D notes the possible components (man + elf), and this resonant hybrid connects Menealfe with other Arthurian opponents, like Sir Gromer Somer Jour in Ragnelle and Turke, who seem to have preternatural or folk antecedents. D also points out that the encounter at the Tarn or lake resembles Celtic ford combats, though these proliferate in chivalric romance, as when Gawain faces strange opponents at almost every water crossing in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: "At uche warthe other water ther the wyghe passed, / He fonde a foo hym byfore, bot ferly it were" (lines 715-16: At each ford or stream where he passed, it was a wonder if he did not face a foe in front of him). See also note on line 132 above. The syntax and word formation leave the meaning of line 308 unclear: it can mean "Menealfe my godfather named [me]" (as D interprets the line), or "Menealfe my good father was named," implying an hereditary title of sorts and an identical name for the present speaker (as understood here).

310 Ledelle. D identifies this with Liddel Strength (or Liddel Mote), a fortification about ten miles north of Carlisle, on the Liddel River, at the border of Scotland and England.

311 I felle. Ir: he felle, corrected from hur selle; R, FH, D, give the former, B the latter. I emend to I to maintain the first-person character of the statement and the continuity of the speech (which D repunctuates).

313 ff. Menealfe's "talk," which leads to fighting and bloodshed, is itself another clear instance of the knightly speech acts that are at the center of Avowyng. Menealfe's words deliberately offended the honor of the woman's kin, leading to combat and the "capture" of the woman.

319 wurch. R, B: wurche.

333 wonun. So Ir, followed by R, B, D; FH: wonnen.

335 of his othir. Ir: of othir; I follow emendation suggested by FH.

349 Torne. D: Terne, for the sake of rhyme and phonology.

350 thorne. D reads therne.

351 yorne. D reads yerne.

352 there. D emends to thare.

355 lawes. This word has presented problems to readers, since its conventional meaning does not seem appropriate here. The form does not invite emendation because of its position in the rhyme. FH suggests the meaning "surety," or it might be possible to construe it as a reference to Gawain's reputation as "fyne fader of nurture" (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, line 919), the father or source of the laws of courtesy. D's solution is to see lawes as a plural of laa (line 405).

378 The tother. Ir: To tother, so R, FH, B; I follow D's emendation, reflecting scribal phrasing at lines 517 and 799.

380 hit cheve. Ir: hit chevis, so R, FH, B; I follow D in emending for rhyme.

381 kithun. Ir: kithum; so R, B, D. FH reads kithiun. I emend to normalized form, as in line 417.

382 aythir. B: authir.

385 thay. Ir: tha, so R, D; FH, B emend.

390 Squithe. D reads Squith.

394 raunnsun. R, B, D read the ambiguous set of minims as rauunsun; FH gives raunnsum. I offer what seems the more likely scribal spelling.

417 kithun. Ir: kithum; I emend as in line 381.

       thayre. Ir: thay, so R; FH, B, D emend.

419 togedur. So R, B, D; FH adds final e which is not legible.

421 ther. Ir: that, so R, B; FH, D emend.

422 from. R, B read fro.

425 ff. Kay's taunting of Menealfe here, earlier at lines 393 ff., and later at lines 429 ff. and 445 ff., constitutes a vivid if ungracious example of the linkage between knightly honor and speech acts. Kay "talkes . . . him tille" with "wurdes kene" (lines 448, 453) in order to assert his superiority over the fallen knight, if only through Gawain's agency. Gawain's own reserve and his implicit rebuke of Kay (lines 433 ff. and 449 ff.) demonstrate his own understated courtesy. See lines 313 ff. and note.

432 for tente. B glosses as "intent," which seems not at all to fit the context. D reads the two words as one, fortente, and glosses as "utterly lost." I understand tente as from the same root (meaning "lost"), but as past participle used as adjective; see OED, tine v.2, and tint

442 harmes. FH reads hapnes (i.e., "chances").

472 Hit. Ir: His; so R, FH, B, D. I emend for the sake of sense and idiom.

477 Next to this line at the right margin the scribe has written Primus Passus, and then left a gap of two lines to indicate a break. A similar rubric occurs at line 765 (see note). These markers divide Avowyng into sections of 476, 288, and 384 lines, perhaps indicating convenient performance sessions. They do not, however, correspond to the striking structural divisions of the poem, in particular to the decisive break at the precise mid-point (line 573). See introduction and lines 273 ff. and note.

481 funde. So Ir, R, B, D; FH emends to fande for rhyme.

482 hande. Ir: hunde, so R, B; FH, D emend.

489 Kay the venesun. Ir: Kay to the venesun, with to marked for excision.

491 ff. The conjunction here of the birde and the brede that To Carlele thay bringe as trophies suggests clearly the status of this nameless woman as a marker of chivalric honor among famous men. Menealfe first told Kay how he had "wan" her (line 316), provoking Kay to try to win her for himself. After ransoming Kay, Gawain gladly agrees to a second course "For hur for to fighte" (line 416); when he wins, he consigns the woman's fate to the judgment of Queen Guenevere (lines 454 ff.), though she remains in Menealfe's custody. As the prize of Kay's and Gawain's forest adventures, she is bracketed here with the dead meat of the King's hunt. Though noble and a "fayre may" (line 446), she stands as a direct counterpart to the laundress exchanged among the five hundred soldiers in Baldwin's barracks story (lines 909 ff.).

499 anturis. The scribe's letter combinations are sometimes ambiguous, especially -rus and -ris (e.g., berus, line 529); here, however, the compression of the writing seems to indicate anturis, though FH gives anturus.

503 wonun. FH: wonnen.

511 wyth a mylde chere. B: wyth mylde chere, omitting the article.

516 thou me sayn. D emends to thou mon sayn (i.e., "you must say"), for the sake of sense.

529 berus. FH reads beris.

530 ladise. B: ladies.

537 ff. Menealfe's submission to the judgment of Queen Guenevere recalls the situation of the knight-rapist of Chaucer's Wife of Bath's Tale (a version of the Ragnelle story), whose fate is determined by Arthur's Queen and her ladies.

542 werre. B: were.

567 The. FH reads Tho.

571 priveabull. The scribe abbreviates the prefix, and the indistinct scribal spelling has produced a variety of editorial readings. R: preuabulle; D: preueabull; FH: priueabull; B: preuabull. I follow FH in expanding according to the scribal spelling at line 19.

573 ar. FH reads are.

573 ff. The first test of Baldwin's vows, the ambush devised by Kay, parallels episodes in Malory and other popular romances.

584 How best myghte be. Just what Arthur wishes for here is unclear: how he might best find out the meaning of Baldwin's oath, or what plan would be most satisfactory, or how things might be arranged for the best in general, are all plausible readings for the line.

589 comande. R, B read couande.

591 no wrunge. D emends to no schande (i.e., "shame") to preserve the rhyme.

599 fele. I take this as a form of fellen, "to overcome or kill," as in line 311, felle, rather than as a form of fele, "to feel or perceive." The constraints of the rhyme help to account for the unusual spelling, and what amounts to a double negative in none . . . but complicates the lines' meaning. The import is, "Any one of you, no one excepted, he may overcome, whom he happens to light upon."

610 gowuns. R, B: gownus.

610 ff. The decision by Kay and his five accomplices to wear Gay gowuns of grene in setting up the ambush of Baldwin suggests that they intend to disguise themselves; their further attempt to cover themselves with capes, as uncowthe men, confirms this. The choice of green costumes may correspond to the conventional garb of highwaymen and forest outlaws like Robin Hood, who are said to dress in green. In any case, the unchivalrous assault in uneven numbers, the attempt to hide (line 621), and the assumption of an ignoble identity (uncowthe men) make clear that this is not, like the combats between Kay and Menealfe and Gawain and Menealfe, a knightly encounter; see also line 643 and note.

622 se. R, FH, B: so; D reads se (FH's suggested emendation).

623 Come. B: Thome, mistaking (as at line 258) the scribe's initial C.

632 adrede. Ir: dredus, so R, FH, B. D emends to drede; I follow FH's suggested emendation.

643 herdmen hinde. FH glosses as "gentle retainers"; B glosses neither word; D's separate glosses give "valiant knights." This seems not a compliment, but fighting words on Baldwin's part as he prepares to fight six antagonists; as an insult, it strips these disguised knights who far outnumber him of any claim to noble status, and deprives them of any possible honor in the combat that ensues. Baldwin's affront is an instance of the specialized insult to honor that precipitates and defines chivalric conflict; Sir Menealfe refers to this earlier (line 313 f.): "So I talket hom tille / That muche blode conne I spille." MED, hine n., gives only one instance of the spelling hind (in a Chaucer text); by the sixteenth century this was the common spelling, and the contemptuous phrase hired hines, often in association with herdis or herdsmen, was common in Middle English.

659 folde. Ir: foldes. I follow D in emending to folde for the sake of rhyme.

668 In hie in. B: In his in.

671 Bawdewin. Ir: Bawewin; R, B: Bawdewin without note; FH, D emend to Bawdewin.

687 Als squithur. D emends to Als squith as for the sake of grammatical convention.

691 before none. Here and at lines 719 and 1061, I take none to mean not "noon," but "none," one of the seven canonical hours (or prescribed times of daily prayer), often used colloquially to designate a time of day. None was the ninth hour (counting from matins at 6 a.m.), or 3 p.m., so that before none would indicate early afternoon rather than late morning.

701 ff. The test of Baldwin's largesse resembles the spectacle of public courtesy portrayed in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Carlisle, and the two episodes of Gologras, though these other romances make the event as much a test of the guest's courtesy as of the host's.

703 buirne. R, B: biurne.

710 cummawunde. D reads commawunde.

712 there. D emends to thare for the sake of rhyme.

715 For thi wareson. FH glosses as "on your eternal welfare"; Arthur's injunction here seems to be much more limited, referring to his own favor.

765 The scribe again indicates a division in the narrative; "fitte" occurs in popular narratives as the equivalent of "passus" (see line 477 and note). It marks a division or apportioning of the story, though whether it signals a less decisive turn than "passus" (as D remarks, line 476 and note) seems unclear.

777 on him logh. In a chivalric shame culture, any public gesture constitutes socially meaningful behavior. To laugh aloud might therefore either be an act of gracious inclusiveness (as in the recurrent laughter of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight), or of scornful exclusion. That Baldwin laughs on him - privately - removes his act from the public forum of chivalric honor; this stands in contrast, for example, to the spectacle of the speech act Arthur has just performed, "wyth a blythe chere" and "opon highte."

781 ff. The far-fetched prank that Arthur devises to test Baldwin's private courtesy appears to be an inversion of the bed trick. Rather than secretly introducing a substitute for the anticipated lover on the wedding night (as when Isolde induces Brangane to take her place in bed with King Mark), Arthur's trick consists in an overt supplanting of the husband in the marital act. Though the retainer has spent the entire night in Baldwin's wife's bed, rendering her technically unfaithful, there are no sexual relations. The situation resembles the test imposed by the Carle of Carlisle, who puts Gawain in bed with his own wife (Carlisle, lines 445 ff.), and to a lesser extent Lady Bertilak's "capture" of Gawain in bed in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which takes place while her lord (like Baldwin) is off on a hunt.

787 best. D reads beste.

808 litill rechs. FH reads litille reche.

818 ful. B: full.

821 Undo. Ir: Unto; emended as in the present text by all editors.

827 ff. This statement by Baldwin's wife combines her wish and determination; reversing the lines, she says in effect, "In faith, if I have any sway in the matter, tonight you should not be (any) more near to me (than you are right now)."

829 dur. FH reads dore.

830 B misnumbers line 831, so that from here to end his numeration is off by one line; references to B in these notes are to actual (not misnumbered) lines.

837 Sayd. D reads Sayde.

856 dede. B: ded.

876 And buckes. FH: And x buckes (ten bucks), indicating in a note that the Roman numeral is uncertain.

879 sende. Ir: sonde, so R, FH, B. D claims this is an ambiguous letter form, and reads as sende. I emend for sense.

       aftur. R, B: after.

895 Baldwin's remark implies that he sees here no obligation to redress an insult to his honor. Arthur's elaborately staged "infidelity" - in which the wife literally spends the night in bed with another man - attempts to compromise Baldwin's manly honor as a husband. Baldwin rejects the public character of the act - in which his wife's conduct would be an extension of his own social identity - insisting instead that it is a private matter, where she acts as a free agent on her own behalf. This seeming rejection of the values associated with a chivalric honor culture turns out not to be an assertion of women's autonomy, but (in the brutally misogynistic anecdote that follows) an assertion of women's ungovernable treachery.

900 I. Ir: Y. I have similarly normalized the first-person singular pronoun at line 992.

903 And ich syn schall be sene. I take this to be a statement of anti-feminist domestic prudence on Baldwin's part, not a moralizing claim for eternal justice (as FH, D).

909 sitte. D emends to sette on phonological grounds.

909 ff. Versions of Baldwin's anecdote of the murderous laundresses occur in a fabliau, and in John of Garland's Parisiana poetria (ed. Traugott Lawler [New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1974]). John (c. 1195 - c. 1258) was born in England and taught at Paris and Toulouse; the Poetria apparently dates from between 1220 and 1235. John provides a twelve-line summary of the story in prose, and then uses this plot to compose what he designates a representative instance of tragedy in verse, running one hundred twenty-six lines in hexameters (Lawler, pp. 136-43, with facing translation and notes).

914 Costantyne. There are two notable Constantines in Arthurian legend: one is Arthur's grandfather, the other the son of Sir Cador. I assume Baldwin's remark does not confuse Constantine with Arthur's father, but simply means "a generation or two ago." In Malory, before leaving for the campaign against Lucius, Arthur appoints as his two regents "Sir Baudwen of Bretayne, an auncient and an honorable knyght" and "Sir Cadore," father of "Sir Constantyne that aftir was kynge, aftir Arthurs dayes" (Works, p. 195). This link between Baldwin and Constantine's father in one version of Arthurian chronicle may account for the association between Baldwin and the other Constantine (Arthur's grandfather) mentioned here. Carlisle also mentions a "Syr Costantyn" among its roster of Arthurian knights (line 44 and note).

922 leding. See OED, leading sb.1, 2, for the technical sense of this word as "command" in a martial context.

943 sayd. FH reads says.

944 oure. D reads our.

951 uch. R, FH, B: uche.

956 Ho. D reads He and emends to Ho, the reading of R, FH, B.

965 that. Ir: ther, so R; B: the; FH, D emend to that.

966 fall. R, FH read falle.

967 all. R, FH read alle.

971 ich. R, FH, B read iche.

976 ho. D emends to tha to preserve consistency of number.

980 lende. Ir: lenge; so R, FH, B. I follow D's emendation, for the sake of rhyme.

982 atte hor mete. R, B read atte her mete.

983 And thryvandly. Ir: Thryvandly. I follow FH in adding the conjunction to preserve continuity. See note on line 984.

984 Joy. Ir: And joy. I follow FH in removing and to beginning of previous line. See note on line 983.

985 jelius. FH: jeluis.

996 hur. FH reads hire.

998 bryghte. D prints brighte without comment.

999 fur. FH reads far.

1003 The double negative seems here to underscore that the nameless knight was neither in proximity to the wife's naked body, nor anywhere near any particular part (naked syde) of her body.

1007 thinges. FH reads thingus.

1009 thou. B: u, apparently missing the initial letters.

1010 Ne. FH reads No.

1011 evyr. FH, B indicate that the first two letters are indecipherable (as they are on microfilm), and emend; D states that the letter impressions are visible on the parchment, and gives this as his reading.

1013 ff. This moralizing story on the fate of the timid apparently has no specific source.

1019 feloys. D reads feloys; R, FH, B read foloys and emend.

1040 Throgh. R, FH, B read Throghe; I follow D in not reading final e.

1051 D punctuates to make this line part of Arthur's speech. My punctuation makes it the beginning of Baldwin's reply to the king.

1051 ff. The episode of the duped emissary has many parallels; D (p. 33) points out examples from classical history and poetry, and from medieval chronicles and tales.

1057 come in a. in appears inserted above line in Ir; R, B: come a.

1077 for on day. B reads for one day.

1079 messyngere. FH: messungere.

1081 mete. Ir, FH: me; R, B, D emend for sense to mete. D offers a phonological justification for the seeming off-rhyme.

1090 nyf red. FH emends to ner red (i.e., "nor red"), a more common form of the phrase.

1098 Castell. R, FH: Castelle; though again the scribe's final flourish is ambiguous, I follow the reading of B and D.

1099 mury. R, B: mirry.

1102 hethin. R, B: hethinne; FH reads hethinn. I follow D's reading.

1105 calle. D reads call without comment.

1106 Sethin. Here, and in the following line, editors differ in their reading of sethin and sythin as in hethin (line 1102).

all. R, FH read alle.

1107 befall. R, FH read befalle.

1110 to a syghte. FH, B, D take this phrase to mean "in plain view"; I take it to mean "on a site." Lydgate uses a similar spelling; see OED site sb.2, 1.a.

1113 Mete laynes mony lakke. A proverbial line (noted also by D); see B. J. and J. W. Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases from English Writings Mainly Before 1500 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1968), M472.

1126 all. R, FH read alle.

1128 con square. Ir: con squere, so R, FH, B. I follow D in emending to square for the sake of rhyme, though not in dropping con.

1131 Tabull. R, FH read Tabulle.

1133 all. R, FH read alle.

1134 myrthe. D: myrth, without comment.

1137 Sayde. FH: Sayd.

1139 muche. D: much, without comment.

1143 holdin. Editors differ in their readings here; see lines 1102, 1106 and notes, as well as scribal and editorial confusion at lines 333, 381, 417, and so on.

1146 all. R reads alle.

1147 all. R, FH read alle.

1148 This final line substantively repeats the first line of Avowyng, giving the poem a circular structure; see line 1 and note.






































































































































































































































He that made us on the mulde,
And fair fourmet the folde,
Atte His will, as He wold,
   The see and the sande,
Giffe hom joy that will here
Of dughti men and of dere,
Of haldurs that before us were,
   That lifd in this londe.
One was Arther the Kinge,
Wythowtun any letting;
Wyth him was mony lordinge
   Hardi of honde.
Wice and war ofte thay were,
Bold undur banere,
And wighte weppuns wold were,
   And stifly wold stond.

This is no fantum ne no fabull;
Ye wote wele of the Rowun Tabull,
Of prest men and priveabull,
   Was holdun in prise:
Chevetan of chivalry,
Kyndenesse and curtesy,
Hunting full warly,
   As wayt men and wise.
To the forest thay fare
To hunte atte buk and atte bare,
To the herte and to the hare,
   That bredus in the rise.
The King atte Carlele he lay;
The hunter cummys on a day -
Sayd, "Sir, ther walkes in my way
   A well grim gryse.
"He is a balefull bare -
Seche on segh I nevyr are:
He hase wroghte me mycull care
   And hurte of my howundes,
Slayn hom downe slely
Wyth feghting full furcely.
Wasse ther none so hardi
   Durste bide in his bandus.
On him spild I my spere
And mycull of my nothir gere.
Ther moue no dintus him dere,
   Ne wurche him no wowundes.
He is masly made -
All offellus that he bade.
Ther is no bulle so brade
   That in frith foundes.

"He is hegher thenne a horse,
That uncumly corse;
In fayth, him faylis no force
   Quen that he schalle feghte!
And therto, blake as a bere,
Feye folk will he fere:
Ther may no dyntus him dere,
   Ne him to dethe dighte.
Quen he quettus his tusshes,
Thenne he betus on the busshes:
All he rives and he russhes,
   That the rote is unryghte.
He hase a laythelych luffe:
Quen he castus uppe his stuffe,
Quo durst abide him a buffe,
   Iwisse he were wighte."

He sais, "In Ingulwode is hee."
The tother biddus, "Lette him bee.
We schall that Satnace see,
   Giffe that he be thare."
The King callut on knyghtis thre:
Himselvun wold the fuyrthe be.
He sayd, "There schalle no mo mené
   Wynde to the bore."
Bothe Kay and Sir Gauan
And Bowdewynne of Bretan,
The hunter and the howundus squayn
   Hase yarket hom yare.
The Kinge hase armut him in hie,
And tho thre buirnes hym bie;
Now ar thay fawre alle redie,
   And furthe conne thay fare.

Unto the forest thay weynde
That was hardy and heynde.
The hunter atte the northe ende
   His bugull con he blaw,
Uncoupult kenettis as he couthe;
Witturly thay soghte the southe -
Raches wyth opon mouthe
   Rennyng on a raw
Funde fute of the bore,
Faste folutte to him thore.
Quen that he herd, he hade care;
   To the denne conne he draw:
He sloghe hom downe slely
Wyth feghting full fuyrsly;
But witte ye, sirs, witturly,
   He stode butte litull awe.

Thay held him fast in his hold;
He brittunt bercelettus bold,
Bothe the yunge and the old,
   And rafte hom the rest.
The raches comun rennyng him by,
And bayet him full boldely,
Butte ther was non so hardy
   Durste on the fynde fast.
Thenne the hunter sayd, "Lo, him thare!
Yaw thar, such him no mare!
Now may ye sone to him fare;
   Lette see quo dose beste.
Yaw thar, such him nevyr more!
Butte sette my hed opon a store
Butte giffe he flaey yo all fawre,
   That griselich geste!"

Thenne the hunter turnes home agayn.
The King callut on Sir Gauan,
On Bawdewin of Bretan,
   And on kene Kay.
He sayd, "Sirs, in your cumpany,
Myne avow make I:
Were he nevyr so hardy,
   Yone Satenas to say -
To brittun him and downe bringe,
Wythoute any helpinge,
And I may have my levynge
   Hen till tomorne atte day!
And now, sirs, I cummaunde yo
To do as I have done nowe:
Ichone make your avowe."
   Gladdely grawuntutte thay.

Then unsquarut Gauan
And sayd godely agayn,
"I avowe, to Tarne Wathelan,
   To wake hit all nyghte."
"And I avow," sayd Kaye,
"To ride this forest or daye,
Quoso wernes me the waye,
   Hym to dethe dighte."
Quod Baudewyn, "To stynte owre strife,
I avow bi my life
Nevyr to be jelus of my wife,
   Ne of no birde bryghte;
Nere werne no mon my mete
Quen I gode may gete;
Ne drede my dethe for no threte
   Nauthir of king ner knyghte."   
Butte now thay have thayre vowes made,
Thay buskutte hom and furth rade
To hold that thay heghte hade,
   Ichone sere way.
The King turnus to the bore;
Gauan, wythoutun any more,
To the tarne con he fore,
   To wake hit to day.
Thenne Kay, as I conne roune,
He rode the forest uppe and downe.
Boudewynne turnes to toune
   Sum that his gate lay,
And sethun to bed bownus he;
Butte carpe we now of ther othir thre,
How thay prevyd hor wedde-fee,
   The sothe for to say.

Furst, to carpe of oure Kinge,
Hit is a kyndelich thinge -
Atte his begynnyng,
   Howe he dedde his dede.
Till his houndus con he hold;
The bore, wyth his brode schilde,
Folut hom fast in the filde
   And spillutte hom on gode spede.
Then the Kinge con crye,
And carputte of venerie
To make his howundus hardi -
   Hovut on a stede.
Als sone as he come thare,
Agaynus him rebowndet the bare:
He se nevyr no syghte are
   So sore gerutte him to drede.

He hade drede and doute
Of him that was stirrun and stowte;
He began to romy and rowte,
   And gapes and gones.
Men myghte noghte his cowch kenne
For howundes and for slayn men
That he hade draun to his denne
   And brittunt all to bonus.
Thenne his tusshes con he quette,
Opon the Kinge for to sette;
He liftis uppe, wythoutun lette,
   Stokkes and stonis.
Wyth wrathe he begynnus to wrote:
He ruskes uppe mony a rote
Wyth tusshes of thre fote,
   So grisly he gronus.

Thenne the Kinge spanos his spere
Opon that bore for to bere;
Ther may no dyntus him dere,
   So sekir was his schilde.
The grete schafte that was longe
All to spildurs hit spronge;
The gode stede that was stronge
   Was fallun in the filde.
As the bore had mente,
He gave the King such a dinte,
Or he myghte his bridull hente,
   That he myghte evyr hit fele.
His stede was stonet starke ded:
He sturd nevyr owte of that sted.
To Jhesu a bone he bede,
   Fro wothes hym weylde.

Thenne the King in his sadul sete,
And wightely wan on his fete.
He prays to Sayn Margarete
   Fro wathes him ware;
Did as a dughty knyghte -
Brayd oute a brand bryghte
And heve his schild opon highte,
   For spild was his spere.
Sethun he buskette him yare,
Squithe, wythoutun any mare,
Agaynus the fynde for to fare
   That hedoes was of hiere.
So thay cowunturt in the fild:
For all the weppuns that he myghte weld,
The bore brittunt his schild
   On brest he conne bere.

There downe knelus he
And prayus till Him that was so fre:
"Send me the victoré!
   This Satanas me sekes."
All wroth wex that sqwyne,
Blu, and brayd uppe his bryne;
As kylne other kechine,
   Thus rudely he rekes.
The Kynge myghte him noghte see,
Butte lenyt hym doune bi a tree,
So nyghe discumford was hee
   For smelle other smekis.
And as he neghet bi a noke,
The King sturenly him stroke,
That both his brees con blake;
   His maistry he mekes.

Thus his maistry mekes he
Wyth dyntus that werun dughté.
Were he nevyr so hardé,1
   Thus bidus that brothe.
The Kinge, wyth a nobull brande,
He mette the bore comande:
On his squrd, till his hande,
   He rennes full rathe.
He bare him inne atte the throte:
He hade no myrth of that mote -
He began to dotur and dote
   Os he hade keghet scathe.
Wyth sit siles he adowne.
To brittun him the King was bowne,
And sundurt in that sesun
   His brode schildus bothe.

The King couthe of venery:
Colurt him full kyndely.
The hed of that hardy
   He sette on a stake.
Sethun brittuns he the best
As venesun in forest;
Bothe the thonge and lees
   He hongus on a noke.
There downe knelys hee
That loves hur that is free;
Sayd, "This socur thou hase send me
   For thi Sune sake!"
If he were in a dale depe,
He hade no knyghte him to kepe.
Forwerré, slidus he on slepe:
   No lengur myghte he wake.

The King hase fillut his avowe.
Of Kay carpe we nowe -
How that he come for his prowe
   Ye schall here more.
Als he rode in the nyghte
In the forest he mette a knyghte
Ledand a birde bryghte;
   Ho wepputte wundur sore.
Ho sayd, "Sayn Maré myghte me spede
And save me my madunhede,
And giffe the knyghte for his dede
   Bothe soro and care!"

Thus ho talkes him tille
Quille ho hade sayd all hur wille;
And Kay held him full stille,
   And in the holte hoves.
He prekut oute prestely
And aurehiet him radly,
And on the knyghte conne cry,
   And pertely him reproves,
And sayd, "Recraiand knyghte,
Here I profur the to fighte
Be chesun of that biurde brighte!
   I bede the my glovus."
The tother unsquarut him wyth skille
And sayd, "I am redy atte thi wille
That forward to fulfille
   In alle that me behovus."

"Now, quethen art thou?" quod Kay,
"Or quethur is thou on way?
Thi righte name thou me say!
   Quere wan thou that wighte?"
The tother unsquarut him agayn:
"Mi righte name is noghte to layn:
Sir Menealfe of the Mountayn
   My gode fadur highte.
And this Lady sum I the telle:
I fochet hur atte Ledelle,
Ther hur frindus con I felle
   As foes in a fighte.
So I talket hom tille
That muche blode conne I spille,
And all agaynus thayre awne wille
   There wan I this wighte."

Quod Kay, "The batell I take
Be chesun of the birdus sake,
And I schalle wurch the wrake" -
   And sqwithely con squere.
Thenne thay rode togedur ryghte
As frekes redy to fighte
Be chesun of that birde bryghte,
   Gay in hor gere.
Menealfe was the more myghty:
He stroke Kay stifly -
Witte ye, sirs, witturly -
   Wyth a scharpe spere.
All toschildurt his schilde,
And aure his sadull gerut him to held,
And felle him flatte in the filde,
   And toke him uppeon werre.

Thus hase he wonun Kay on werre,
And all tospild is his spere,
And mekill of his othir gere
   Is holden to the pees.
Thenne unsquarut Kay agayn
And sayd, "Sir, atte Tarne Wathelan
Bidus me Sir Gauan,
   Is derwurthe on dese;
Wold ye thethur be bowne
Or ye turnut to the towne,
He wold pay my rawunsone
   Wythowtyn delees."
He sayd, "Sir Kay, thi lyfe I the heghte
For a cowrce of that knyghte!"
Yette Menealfe, or the mydnyghte,
   Him ruet all his rees.

Thus thay turnut to the Torne
Wyth the thrivand thorne.
Kay callut on Gauan yorne;
   Asshes, "Quo is there?"
He sayd, "I, Kay, that thou knawes
That owte of tyme bostus and blawus;
Butte thou me lese wyth thi lawes,
   I lif nevyr more.
For as I rode in the nyghte,
In the forest I mette a knyghte
Ledand a birde bryghte;
   Ho wepput wundur sore.
There togedur faghte we
Be chesun of that Lady free;
On werre thus hase he wonun me,
   Gif that me lothe ware.

"This knyghte that is of renowun
Hase takyn me to presowun,
And thou mun pay my rawunsun,
   Gawan, wyth thi leve."
Then unsquarutte Gauan
And sayd godely agayn,
"I wille, wundur fayne:
   Quatt schall I geve?"
"Quen thou art armut in thi gere,
Take thi schild and thi spere
And ride to him a course on werre;
   Hit schall the noghte greve."
Gauan asshes, "Is hit soe?" -
The tother knyght grauntus, "Yoe";
He sayd, "Then togedur schull we goe
   Howsumevyr hit cheve!"

And these knyghtus kithun hor crafte,
And aythir gripus a schafte
Was als rude as a rafte;
   So runnun thay togedur.
So somun conne thay hie
That nauthir scaput forbye;
Gif Menealfe was the more myghtie,
   Yette dyntus gerut him to dedur:
He stroke him sadde and sore.
Squithe squonut he thore;
The blonke him aboute bore,
   Wiste he nevyr quedur.
Quod Kay, "Thou hase that thou hase soghte!
Mi raunnsun is all redy boghte;
Gif thou were ded, I ne roghte!
   Forthi come I hedur."

Thus Kay scornus the knyghte,
And Gauan rydus to him ryghte.
In his sadul sette him on highte,
   Speke gif he may.
Of his helme con he draw,
Lete the wynde on him blaw;
He speke wyth a vois law -
   "Delyveryt hase thou Kay.
Wyth thi laa hase made him leyce,
Butte him is lothe to be in pece.
And thou was aye curtase
   And prins of ich play.
Wold thou here a stowunde bide,
A nother course wold I ride;
This that hoves by my side,
   In wedde I wold hur lay."

Thenne unsquarut Gauan,
Sayd godely agayn,
"I am wundur fayn
   For hur for to fighte."
These knyghtus kithun thayre gere
And aythir gripus a spere;
Runnun togedur on werre
   Os hardy and wighte.
So somen ther thay yode
That Gauan bare him from his stede,
That both his brees con blede
   On growunde qwen he lighte.
Thenne Kay con on him calle
And sayd, "Sir, thou hade a falle,
And thi wench lost wythalle,
   Mi trauthe I the plighte!"

Quod Kay, "Thi leve hase thou loste
For all thi brag or thi boste;
If thou have oghte on hur coste,
   I telle hit for tente."
Thenne speke Gauan to Kay,
"A mons happe is notte ay;
Is none so sekur of asay
   Butte he may harmes hente."
Gauan rydus to him ryghte
And toke uppe the tother knyghte
That was dilfully dyghte
   And stonet in that stynte.
Kay wurdus tenut him mare
Thenne all the harmes that he hente thare;
He sayd, "And we allone ware,
   This stryf schuld I stynte."

"Ye, hardely," quod Kay;
"Butte thou hast lost thi fayre may
And thi liffe, I dar lay."
   Thus talkes he him tille.
And Gauan sayd, "God forbede,
For he is dughti in dede."
Prayes the knyghte gud spede
   To take hit to none ille
If Kay speke wurdes kene.
"Take thou this damesell schene;
Lede hur to Gaynour the Quene,
   This forward to fulfille;
And say that Gawan, hur knyghte,
Sende hur this byurde brighte;
And rawunsun the anon righte
   Atte hur awne wille."

Therto grawuntus the knyghte
And truly his trauthe plighte,
Inne saveward that byurde bryghte
   To Carlele to bringe.
And as thay hovet and abode,
He squere on the squrd brode.
Be he his othe hade made,
   Thenne waknut the King.
Thenne the day beganne to daw;
The Kinge his bugull con blaw;
His knyghtus couth hitte welle knaw,
   Hit was a sekur thinge.
Sethun thay busket hom yare,
Sqwith, wythowtun any mare,
To wete the Kingus welefare,
   Wythowtun letting.


To the forest thay take the way -
Bothe Gawan and Kay,
Menealfe, and the fare may
   Comun to the Kinge.
The bore brittunt thay funde,
Was colurt of the Kingus hande;
If he wore lord of that londe,
   He hade no horsing.
Downe thay take that birde bryghte,
Sette hur one, behinde the knyghte;
Hur horse for the King was dyghte,
   Wythoutun letting;
Gave Kay the venesun to lede,
And hiet hamward, gode spede;
Bothe the birde and the brede
   To Carlele thay bringe.

Now as thay rode atte the way,
The Kynge himselvun con say
Bothe to Gauan and to Kay,
   "Quere wan ye this wighte?"
Thenne Kay to the King spake;
He sayd, "Sir, in the forest as I con wake
Atte the anturis hoke,
   Ther mette me this knyghte.
Ther togedur faghte we
Be chesun of this Lady fre;
On werre hase he thus wonun me,
   Wyth mayn and wyth myghte.
And Gawan hase my rawunsun made
For a course that he rode
And felle him in the fild brode;
   He wanne this biurde bryghte.

"He toke him there to presunnere" -
Then loghe that damesell dere
And lovet wyth a mylde chere
   God and Sir Gawan.
Thenne sayd the King opon highte,
All sqwithe to the knyghte,
"Quat is thi rawunsun, opon ryghte?
   The soth thou me sayn."
The tothir unsquarut him wyth skille,
"I conne notte say the thertille:
Hit is atte the Quene wille;
   Qwi schuld I layne?
Bothe my dethe and my lyfe
Is inne the wille of thi wife,
Quethur ho wulle stynte me of my strife
   Or putte me to payne."

"Grete God," quod the King,
"Gif Gawan gode endinge,
For he is sekur in alle kynne thinge,
   To cowuntur wyth a knyghte!
Of all playus he berus the prise,
Loos of ther ladise.
Menealfe, and thou be wise,
   Hold that thou beheghte,
And I schall helpe that I maye,"
The King himselvun con saye.
To Carlele thay take the waye,
   And inne the courte is lighte.
He toke this damesell gente;
Before the Quene is he wente,
And sayd, "Medame, I am hedur sente
   Fro Gawan, your knyghte."

He sayd, "Medame, Gawan, your knyghte,
On werre hase wonun me tonyghte,
Be chesun of this birde brighte;
   Mi pride conne he spille,
And gerut me squere squyftely
To bringe the this Lady
And my nowne body,
   To do hit in thi wille.
And I have done as he me bade."
Now quod the Quene, "And I am glad.
Sethun thou art in my wille stade,
   To spare or to spille,
I giffe the to my Lord the Kinge -
For he hase mestur of such a thinge,
Of knyghtus in a cowunturinge -
   This forward to fullfille."

Now the Quene sayd, "God almyghte,
Save me Gawan, my knyghte,
That thus for wemen con fighte -
   Fro wothus him were!"
Gawan sayd, "Medame, as God me spede,
He is dughti of dede,
A blithe burne on a stede,
   And grayth in his gere."
Thenne thay fochet furth a boke,
All thayre laes for to loke;
The Kinge sone his othe toke
   And squithely gerut him squere;
And sekirly, wythouten fabull,
Thus dwellus he atte the Rowun Tabull,
As prest knyghte and priveabull,
   Wyth schild and wyth spere.

Nowe gode frindus ar thay.
Then carpus Sir Kay -
To the King con he say:
   "Sire, a mervaell thinke me
Of Bowdewyns avouyng,
Yusturevyn in the evnyng,
Wythowtun any lettyng,
   Wele more thenne we thre."
Quod the King, "Sothe to sayn,
I kepe no lengur for to layn:
I wold wete wundur fayn
   How best myghte be."
Quod Kay, "And ye wold gif me leve,
And sithun take hit o no greve,
Now schuld I propurly preve,
   As evyr myghte I thee!"

"Yisse," quod the King, "on that comande,
That o payn on life and on londe
That ye do him no wrunge,
   Butte save wele my knyghte.
As men monly him mete,
And sithun forsette him the strete:
Ye fynde him noghte on his fete!
   Be warre, for he is wyghte.
For he is horsutte full wele
And clene clad in stele;
Is none of yo but that he mun fele
   That he may on lyghte.
Ye wynnun him noghte owte of his way,"
The King himselvun con say;
"Him is lefe, I dar lay,
   To hald that he heghte."

Thenne sex ar atte on assente,
Hase armut hom and furthe wente,
Brayd owte aure a bente
   Bawdewyn to mete,
Wyth scharpe weppun and schene,
Gay gowuns of grene
To hold thayre armur clene,
   And were hitte fro the wete.
Thre was sette on ich side
To werne him the wayus wide -
Quere the knyghte schuld furth ride,
   Forsette hym the strete.
Wyth copus covert thay hom thenne,
Ryghte as thay hade bene uncowthe men,
For that thay wold noghte be kennet -
   Evyn downe to thayre fete.

Now as thay hovut and thay hyild,
Thay se a schene undur schild
Come prekand fast aure the filde
   On a fayre stede;
Wele armut, and dyghte
As freke redy to fyghte,
Toward Carlele ryghte
   He hies gode spede.
He see ther sixe in his way;
Thenne to thaymselvun con thay say,
"Now he is ferd, I dar lay,
   And of his lyfe adrede."
Then Kay crius opon heghte,
All squyth to the knyghte:
"Othir flee or fighte:
   The tone behovus the nede!"

Thenne thay kest thayre copus hom fro.
Sir Bawdewyn se that hit wasse so,
And sayd, "And ye were als mony mo,
   Ye gerutte me notte to flee.
I have my ways for to weynde
For to speke wyth a frynde;
As ye ar herdmen hinde -
   Ye marre notte me!"
Thenne the sex sembult hom in fere
And squere by Him that boghte us dere,
"Thou passus nevyr away here
   Butte gif thou dede be!"
"Yisse, hardely," quod Kay,
"He may take anothir way -
And ther schall no mon do nere say
   That schall greve the!"

"Gode the foryilde," quod the knyghte,
"For I am in my wais righte;
Yisturevyn I the King highte
   To cumme to my mete.
I warne yo, frekes, be ye bold,
My ryghte ways wille I holde!"
A spere in fewtre he folde,
   A gode and a grete.
Kay stode nexte him in his way:
He jopput him aure on his play;
That hevy horse on him lay -
   He squonet in that squete.
He rode to there othir fyve:
Thayre schene schildus con he rive,
And faure felle he belyve,
   In hie in that hete.

Hardely wythouten delay,
The sex to hom hase takyn uppe Kay;
And thenne Sir Bawdewin con say,
   "Will ye any more?"
The tother unsquarutte him thertille,
Sayd, "Thou may weynd quere thou wille,
For thou hase done us noghte butte skille,
   Gif we be wowundut sore."
He brayd aure to the Kinge,
Wythowtun any letting;
He asshed if he hade herd any tithing
   In thayre holtus hore.
The knyghte stedit and stode;
Sayd, "Sir, as I come thro yondur wode,
I herd ne se butte gode
   Quere I schuld furthe fare."

Thanne was the Kinge amervaylet thare
That he wold telle him no more.
Als squithur thay ar yare,
   To Masse ar thay wente.
By the Masse wasse done,
Kay come home sone,
Told the King before none,
   "We ar all schente
Of Sir Baudewyn, your knyghte:
He is nobull in the fighte,
Bold, hardy, and wighte
   To bide on a bente.
Fle wille he nevyr more:
Him is much levyr dee thore.
I may banne hur that him bore,
   Suche harmes have I hente!"

Noue the King sayd, "Fle he ne can,
Ne werne his mete to no man;
Gife any buirne schuld him ban,
   A mervail hit ware."
Thenne the King cald his mynstrelle
And told him holly his wille:
Bede him layne atte hit were stille,
   That he schuld furth fare
To Baudewins of Bretan:
"I cummawunde the, or thou cum agayne,
Faurty days, o payne,
   Loke that thou duelle there,
And wete me prevely to say
If any mon go meteles away;
For thi wareson for ay,
   Do thou me nevyr more."

Then the mynstrell weyndus on his way
Als fast as he may.
Be none of the thryd day,
   He funde thaym atte the mete,
The Lady and hur mené
And gestus grete plenté.
Butte porter none funde he
   To werne him the gate;
Butte rayket into the halle
Emunge the grete and the smalle,
And loket aboute him aure alle.
   He herd of no threte,
Butte riall servys and fyne:
In bollus birlutte thay the wyne,
And cocus in the kechine
   Squytheli con squete.

Then the Ladi conne he loute,
And the biurdes all aboute;
Both wythinne and wythoute,
   No faute he ther fonde.
Knygte, squyer, yoman, ne knave,
Hom lacket noghte that thay schuld have;
Thay nedut notte aftur hit to crave:
   Hit come to hor honde.
Thenne he wente to the dece,
Before the pruddust in prece.
That Lady was curtase,
   And bede him stille stonde.
He sayd he was knoun and couthe,
And was comun fro bi southe,
And ho had myrth of his mouthe,
   To here his tithand.

A sennyght duellut he thare.
Ther was no spense for to spare:
Burdes thay were nevyr bare,
   Butte evyr covurt clene.
Bothe knyghte and squiere,
Mynstrelle and messyngere,
Pilgreme and palmere
   Was welcum, I wene.
Ther was plenty of fode:
Pore men hade thayre gode,
Mete and drinke or thay yode,
   To wete wythoutyn wene.
The lord lenge wold noghte,
Butte come home qwen him gode thoghte,
And both he hase wyth him broghte
   The Kinge and the Quene.


Now ther come fro the kechine
Riall service and fine;
Ther was no wonting of wine
   To lasse ne to mare.
Thay hade atte thayre sopere
Riche metes and dere.
The King, wyth a blythe chere,
   Bade hom sle care.
Than sayd the Kinge opon highte,
All sqwithe to the knyghte:
"Such a service on a nyghte
   Se I nevyr are."
Thenne Bawdewyn smylit and on him logh;
Sayd, "Sir, God hase a gud plughe!
He may send us all enughe:
   Qwy schuld we spare?"

"Now I cummawunde the," quod the King,
"Tomorne in the mornyng
That thou weynde on huntyng,
   To wynne us the dere.
Fare furthe to the fenne;
Take wyth the howundus and men,
For thou conne hom best kenne:
   Thou knoes best here.
For all day tomorne will I bide,
And no forthir will I ride,
Butte wyth the ladés of pride
   To make me gud chere."
To bed bownut thay that nyghte,
And atte the morun, atte days lighte,
Thay blew hornys opon highte
   And ferd furthe in fere.

Thenne the Kynge cald his huntere,
And sayd, "Felaw, come here!"
The tother, wyth a blithe chere,
   Knelet on his kne:
Dowun to the Kinge con he lowte.
"I commawunde the to be all nyghte oute;
Bawdewyn, that is sturun and stowte,
   Wyth the schall he be.
Erly in the dawyng
Loke that ye come fro huntyng;
If ye no venesun bring,
   Full litill rechs me."
The tother unsquarut him thertille,
Sayd, "Sir, that is atte your aune wille:
That hald I resun and skille,
   As evyr myghte I the."

And atte evyn the King con him dyghte
And callut to him a knyghte;
And to the chambur full ryghte
   He hiees gode waye
Qwere the Lady of the howse
And maydyns ful beuteowse
Were, curtase and curiowse,
   Forsothe in bed lay.
The Kyng bede, "Undo!"
The Lady asshes, "Querto?"
He sayd, "I am comun here, loe,
   In derne for to play."
Ho sayd, "Have ye notte your aune Quene here,
And I my lord to my fere?
Tonyghte more neghe ye me nere,
   In fayth, gif I may!"

"Undo the dur," quod the Kinge,
"For bi Him that made all thinge,
Thou schall have no harmynge
   Butte in thi none wille."
Uppe rose a damesell squete,
In the Kinge that ho lete.
He sette him downe on hur beddus fete,
   And talkes so hur tille,
Sayd, "Medame, my knyghte
Mun lye wyth the all nyghte
Til tomorne atte days lighte -
   Take hit on non ille.
For als evyr myghte I the,
Thou schall harmeles be:
We do hit for a wedde fee,
   The stryve for to stylle."

Thenne the Kyng sayd to his knyghte,
"Sone that thou were undyghte,
And in yondur bedde ryghte!
   Hie the gud spede!"
The knyghte did as he him bade,
And qwenne ho se him unclad,
Then the Lady wex drede,
   Worlyke in wede.
He sayd, "Lye downe prevely hur by,
Butte neghe noghte thou that Lady;
For and thou do, thou schall dey
   For thi derfe dede;
Ne noghte so hardy thou stur,
Ne onus turne the to hur."
The tother sayd, "Nay, sur!"
   For him hade he drede.

Thenne the Kyng asshet a chekkere,
And cald a damesel dere;
Downe thay sette hom in fere
   Opon the bedsyde.
Torches was ther mony lighte,
And laumpus brennyng full bryghte;
Butte notte so hardy was that knyghte
   His hede onus to hide.
Butte fro thay began to play
Quyle on the morun that hit was day,
Evyr he lokette as he lay,
   Baudewynne to byde.
And erly in the dawyng
Come thay home from huntyng,
And hertis conne thay home bring,
   And buckes of pride.

Thay toke this venesun fyne
And hade hit to kechine;
The Kinge sende aftur Bawdewine,
   And bede him cum see.
To the chaumbur he takes the way:
He fyndus the King atte his play;
A knyghte in his bedde lay
   Wyth his Lady.
Thenne sayd the King opon highte,
"Tonyghte myssutte I my knyghte,
And hithir folut I him ryghte.
   Here funden is hee;
And here I held hom bothe stille
For to do hom in thi wille.
And gif thou take hit now till ille,
   No selcouthe thinge me!"

Then the King asshed, "Art thou wroth?"
"Nay, Sir," he sayd, "wythouten othe,
Ne wille the Lady no lothe.
   I telle yo as quy -
For hitte was atte hur awen wille:
Els thurt no mon comun hur tille.
And gif I take hitte thenne to ille,
   Muche maugreve have I.
For mony wyntur togedur we have bene,
And yette ho dyd me nevyr no tene:
And ich syn schall be sene
   And sette full sorely."
The King sayd, "And I hade thoghte
Quy that thou wrathis the noghte,
And fyndus him in bed broghte
   By thi Laydy."

Quod Bawdewyn, "And ye will sitte,
I schall do yo wele to witte."
"Yisse!" quod the King, "I the hete,
   And thou will noghte layne."
"Hit befelle in your fadur tyme,
That was the Kyng of Costantyne,
Purvayed a grete oste and a fyne
   And wente into Spayne.
We werrut on a sawdan
And all his londus we wan,
And himselvun, or we blan.
   Then were we full fayn.
I wos so lufd wyth the King,
He gaf me to my leding -
Lordus atte my bidding
   Was buxum and bayne.

"He gafe me a castell to gete,
Wyth all the lordschippus grete.
I hade men atte my mete,
   Fyve hundryth and mo,
And no wemen butte thre,
That owre servandis schild be.
One was bryghtur of ble
   Then ther othir toe.
Toe were atte one assente:
The thrid felow have thay hente;
Unto a well ar thay wente,
   And says hur allso:
'Sithin all the loce in the lise,
Thou schall tyne thine aprise.'
And wurchun as the unwise,
   And tite conne hur sloe.

"And for tho werkes were we wo,
Gart threte tho othir for to slo.
Thenne sayd the tone of tho,
   'Lette us have oure life,
And we schall atte your bidding be
As mycull as we all thre;
Is none of yaw in preveté
   Schall have wontyng of wyfe.'
Thay held us wele that thay heghte,
And dighte us on the daylighte,
And thayre body uch nyghte,
   Wythoutun any stryve.
The tone was more lovely
That the tother hade envy:
Hur throte in sundur prevely
   Ho cutte hitte wyth a knyfe.

"Muche besenes hade we
How that best myghte be;
Thay asshed cowuncell atte me
   To do hur to dede.
And I unsquarut and sayd, 'Nay!
Loke furst qwatt hurselvun will say,
Quether ho may serve us all to pay;
   That is a bettur rede.'
Ther ho hette us in that halle
To do all that a woman schild fall,
Wele for to serve us all
   That stode in that stede.
Ho held us wele that ho heghte,
And dighte us on the daylighte,
And hur body ich nyghte
   Intill oure bed beed.

"And bi this tale I understode,
Wemen that is of mylde mode
And syne giffes hom to gode,
   Mecull may ho mende;
And tho that giffus hom to the ille,
And sithin thayre folis will fullfill,
I telle yo wele, be propur skille,
   No luffe will inne hom lende.
Wyth gode wille grathely hom gete,2
Meke and mylde atte hor mete,
And thryvandly, wythoutun threte,
   Joy atte iche ende.
Forthi jelius schall I never be
For no sighte that I see,
Ne no biurdes brighte of ble;
   Ich ertheli thinke hase ende."

The King sayd, "Thou says wele.
Sir," he sayd, "as have I sele,
I will thou wote hit iche dele.
   Therfore come I,
Thi Lady gret me to squere squyftelé,
Or I myghte gete entré,
That ho schuld harmeles be,
   And all hur cumpany.
Then gerut I my knyghte
To go in bed wyth the biurde bryghte,
On the fur syde of the lighte,
   And lay hur dowun by.
I sette me doune hom besyde,
Here the for to abide;
He neghit nevyr no naked syde
   Of thi Lady.

"Forthi, of jelusnes, be thou bold,3
Thine avow may thou hold.
Butte of tho othir thinges that thou me told
   I wold wete more:
Quy thou dredus notte thi dede
Ne non that bitus on thi brede?
As evyr brok I my hede,
   Thi yatis are evyr yare!"
Quod Bawdewyn, "I schall yo telle:
Atte the same castell
Quere this antur befelle,
   Besegitte we ware.
On a day we usshet oute
And toke presonerus stoute;
The tone of owre feloys hade doute,
   And durst notte furthe fare.

"The caytef crope into a tunne
That was sette therowte in the sunne.
And there come fliand a gunne,
   And lemet as the levyn,
Lyghte opon hitte, atte the last,
That was fastnut so fast;
All in sundur hit brast,
   In six or in sevyn.
And there hit sluye him als -
And his hert was so fals!
Sone the hed fro the hals,
   Hit lyputt full evyn.
And we come fro the feghting
Sowunde, wythoutun hurting,
And then we lovyd the King
   That heghhest was in hevyn.

"Then owre feloys con say,
'Schall no mon dee or his day,
Butte he cast himselfe away
   Throgh wontyng of witte.'
And there myne avow made I -
So dyd all that cumpany -
For dede nevyr to be drery:
   Welcum is hit -
Hit is a kyndely thing."
"Thou says soth," quod the King,
"Butte of thi thryd avowyng
   Telle me quych is hit,
Quy thi mete thou will notte warne
To no levand barne?"
"Ther is no man that may hit tharne -
   Lord, ye schall wele wete.

"For the sege aboute us lay stille;
We hade notte all atte oure wille4
Mete and drinke us to fille:
   Us wontutte the fode.
So come in a messyngere,
Bade, 'Yild uppe all that is here!'
And speke wyth a sturun schere5
   'I nyll, by the Rode!'
I gerutte him bide to none,
Callud the stuard sone,
Told him all as he schuld done,
   As counsell is gud;
Gerutte trumpe on the wall,
And coverd burdes in the hall;
And I myself emunge hom all
   As a king stode.

"I gerut hom wasshe; to mete wente.
Aftur the stuard then I sente:
I bede that he schuld take entente
   That all schuld well fare -
Bede bringe bred plenté,
And wine in bollus of tre,
That no wontyng schuld be
   To lasse ne to mare.
We hade no mete butte for on day -
Hit come in a nobull aray.
The messyngere lokit ay
   And se hom sle care.
He toke his leve atte mete.
We gerutte him drinke atte the gate,
And gafe him giftus grete,
   And furthe con he fare.

"But quen the messyngere was gone,
These officers ichone
To me made thay grete mone,
   And drerely con say -
Sayd, 'In this howse is no bred,
No quyte wine nyf red;
Yo behoves yild uppe this stid
   And for oure lyvys pray.'
Yette God helpus ay his man!
The messyngere come agayn than
Wythoute to the chevytan,
   And sone conne he say:
'Thoghe ye sege this sevyn yere,
Castell gete ye none here,
For thay make als mury chere
   Als hit were Yole Day!'

"Then the messyngere con say,
'I rede yo, hie yo hethin away,
For in your oste is no play,
   Butte hongur and thurst.'
Thenne the king con his knyghtis calle.
Sethin to cowunsell wente thay all -
'Sythin no bettur may befall,
   This hald I the best.'
Evyn atte the mydnyghte,
Hor lordis sembelet to a syghte,
That were hardy and wighte:
   Thay remuyt of hor rest.
Mete laynes mony lakke:
And there mete hor sege brake,
And gerut hom to giffe us the bake;
   To preke thay were full preste.

"And then we lokit were thay lay
And see oure enmeys away.
And then oure felawis con say,
   The lasse and the mare,
'He that gode may gete
And wernys men of his mete,
Gud Gode that is grete
   Gif him sory care!
For the mete of the messyngere,
Hit mendutte all oure chere."'
Then sayd the King, that thay myghte here,
   And sqwythely con square,
"In the conne we fynde no fabull;
Thine avowes arne profetabull."
And thus recordus the Rownde Tabull,
   The lasse and the more.

Thenne the Kinge and his knyghtis all,
Thay madun myrthe in that halle.
And then the Lady conne thay calle,
   The fayrist to fold;
Sayde Bawdewyn, "And thou be wise,
Take thou this Lady of price -
For muche love in hur lyce -
   To thine hert hold.
Ho is a biurde full bryghte,
And therto semely to thy sighte.
And thou hase holdin all that thou highte,
   As a knighte schulde!"
Now Jhesu Lord, Hevyn Kynge,
He graunt us all His blessynge,
And gife us all gode endinge,
   That made us on the mulde.

earth; (see note)
shaped the firmament; (see note)

Give them; hear
doughty; fierce


Wise; wary; (see note)

powerful weapons did bear

You know well
ready; worthy
high esteem
(see note)
hardy; (see note)
go; (see note)
buck; boar
breeds; woods
Carlisle; stopped; (see note)
comes one day

very formidable boar
frightening boar
Such a one saw; before
caused; great

them; cunningly
fighting; fiercely

Dared linger; vicinity; (see note)
much of my other equipment
may; blows; wound; (see note)
Nor cause
He destroys all that he has encountered; (see note)
wood moves about; (see note)

ugly creature
he lacks
In addition; bear
Faint; scare off; (see note)
blows him harm
When he whets; tusks

tears; breaks
root; disturbed
hateful force; (see note)
Who dares endure from him attack
Indeed; strong

Inglewood Forest
other commands
Fiendish creature

(see note)
Readied themselves quickly
armed himself in haste
those three knights [are] by him; (see note)
four; (see note)
did they go

Who were; gracious
(see note)
bugle did
[And] released dogs; knew how
Without fail they headed
Dogs [yelping]
in a pack
Discovered the track
Quickly were on to him there
When; took fright
his den did
struck them down cunningly
fighting; fiercely
understand; clearly
felt; fear

cornered; lair
slashed hounds

stripped them of comfort; (see note)
dogs came running up to him; (see note)
brought him to bay

Dared; fiend attack
Beware of him there
You; seek
at once; go
who performs
You; seek
set my head; stake; (see note)
If he doesn't flay; four
grisly ghost

called; Gawain


(see note)

Fiend to assay
[I vow] to butcher him and bring him down

If; keep my life
From now until tomorrow morning

Each one; (see note)

in return
at; (see note)
watch over it; (see note)
(see note)
[throughout]; before
[And] whoever denies; (see note)
To fight him to the death
make end to; contest; (see note)

attractive woman
Nor to deny; person; food
When; goods; possess
fear; threat; (see note)
Neither; nor
now that
made themselves ready
Each in a different
boar; (see note)
without further ado; (see note)
lake did he go; (see note)
watch; until
may relate

As his way (home) lay; (see note)
then; goes
speak; those other three
truth; (see note)


To; did take his course; (see note)
protective skin
Followed them; field
injured them quickly; (see note)

called out as a hunter
[He] remained on horseback

Against; charged
saw; before
caused; be afraid

[the boar]; fierce; strong
roar; growl
opens his mouth; bares teeth
lair see clearly
Because of

ripped; bones
tusks; whet
tosses aside; pause
fury; root
rips; root
tusks; three feet

grasps; (see note)
to encounter
strokes; wound
strong; protective skin; (see note)
Just as; meant
Before; get hold
forever feel it; (see note)
stunned stone dead
[The King] stirred; saddle; (see note)
favor; prayed; (see note)
From sorrows; protect

straightened himself
agilely gained

From harm to protect him; (see note)
Drew; sword
raised; on high
Then he readied himself quickly
Right away; more [delay]; (see note)
fiend; go
hideous; pelt (hair)
Despite; wield
tore apart
[Which] over his breast; did

God; gracious
(see note)
furious became; swine; (see note)
Snorted; raised; eyebrows
furnace (kiln) or kitchen; (see note)
foully he reeks (smells)
could [the boar]
leaned himself over by
nearly undone was [the King]
or fumes
[the boar] came near to an oak
brows did darken
prowess [the king] shows

blows; doughty
(see note)

met; straight on (coming)
Against his sword; up to
drove [the sword] in
[The boar]; encounter; (see note)
dodder; stagger
Since (as); caught great harm
pain sinks
butcher; eager; (see note)
divided (sundered); moment
shoulder quarters

was expert in hunting lore
[He] collared; properly; (see note)
bold beast

Then cuts up; beast
slain deer
strips and slices; (see note)
hangs on an oak

[the Virgin Mary]; gracious; (see note)
help; (see note)
Not only was he; valley desolate
Completely worn out; slides

fulfilled; (see note)
fared with regard to his prowess; (see note)

As; through

Leading a beautiful woman; (see note)
She wept; sorrowfully; (see note)
She; May Saint Mary help me
for me
grant; deed

she speaks; to
Until; desire; (see note)
wood lingers
galloped; rapidly
overtook; quickly
did call
openly upbraids him
By reason; lovely woman; (see note)
offer; gloves (throw down the gauntlet)
other answered; in proper form; (see note)
(see note)
is proper for me; (see note)

from where
proper; tell
Where captured; person
in turn; (see note)
to be concealed
(see note)
father was named
(of) this Lady something; you
captured; (see note)
Where; friends; did; defeat; (see note)

In such ways I talked to them (egged them on); (see note)

won; person

By reason; woman's
do you harm; (see note)
on the spot did swear his word
bold men

Radiant in her gown

struck; fiercely
Understand; clearly

[Menealfe] splintered [Kay's]
over; caused; fall
captured; by laws of war

(see note)
much; equipment; (see note)
lost because of the defeat

most worthy on dais (among other knights)
thither be bound
Before; go

promise you
tilt (course) with
But; before
regretted; haste

traveled; Tarn (lake); (see note)
burgeoning thorn tree; (see note)
eagerly; (see note)
[Gawain] asks, "Who; (see note)
at the wrong times boasts and brags
Unless; release; courtesy; (see note)
I am dead

Leading a beautiful woman
For the sake of
In combat; captured
Though [to] me hateful it were

as prisoner
by your leave
agreeably in return
most gladly
What; do (to proceed)
When; armed; gear

with him; joust
you not at all hurt
asks, "Is that right?"
(see note)
Whatever happens; (see note)

demonstrate their [knightly] prowess; (see note)
each one; (see note)
large as a beam
So (fiercely) did they charge together; (see note)
neither escaped at all
blows caused; dodder
[Gawain] struck; grievously
Quickly he passed out there; (see note)
horse; carried
Knew; in what direction
You got what you asked for
completely paid; (see note)
If you [Menealfe]; wouldn't care
This is what I came for

rides; directly
[Gawain] straightened him upright
So that he might speak
swordplay; free
Although to him it is hateful; peace
were unfailingly courteous
chief in each combat
[If]; short time wait
This [woman] who remains
As pledge; offer

agreeably in turn

readied; (see note)

(see note)
As; powerful
[violently] together; went; (see note)
thrust; (see note)
brows did bleed
when he landed
(see note)

[you have] lost in addition
My trowth I pledge to you


consider; as lost; (see note)

good fortune; everlasting
sure of mettle

sorrowfully dealt with
stunned at that break (in combat)
words grieved him more
Than; mischance; received; (see note)
spleen; stop

life; wager

[He]; with good wishes
without offense
beautiful woman
yourself forthwith
(Guenevere's) own

troth pledges
As safeguard

stood; waited
swore; sword
Just at the moment
could it easily recognize
a sure thing; (see note)
Then; hastened quickly
Immediately; more [time]

[End of] First Part; (see note)

fair woman
butchered; (see note)
carved by; (see note)
Even though he were
lovely woman
her upon [horseback]
made ready
meat to take charge of; (see note)
hastened homeward, happily
woman; meat; (see note)


Where won; person

marvelous oak; (see note)

In just combat; defeated; (see note)



as prisoner
praised; (see note)

What; lawfully
truth; to me; (see note)
tell you about that

Why; lie

Whether she; make an end
set me some penalty

Give; happy
trustworthy; kinds of
enter combat
encounters; takes; honor; (see note)
Praise; these; (see note)
what; have promised
insofar as

[the company] arrived
[Menealfe]; noble; (see note)


defeated; (see note)
For the sake of
did; undo
caused; swear swiftly
my own

Since; placed
save; dispose of
sovereignty over

for me
Who; women does
From harm protect him

warrior on horseback
laws (customs); review
administered; (see note)
right away caused him to swear
surely, without lie

ready; worthy; (see note)

friends; (see note)

wonder it seems to me
Without lie

allow [it]; to [be] concealed
know gladly
[The nature of the oath] as fully as possible; (see note)
If you; give; permission
after; not in insult
positively show

provision; (see note)
on pain of
(see note)

As knights manly (chivalrously); accost
then bar the road
feet (i.e., he will mount and challenge)
you [excepted]; (may not) overcome; (see note)
Whom; light upon
drive him not from his course

To him it is precious; bet
hold to what he promised

six are together in one compact
armed themselves
Set out over a field
robes; (see note)
To keep; unstained
protect it; wet (weather)
Three; each
To deny [Baldwin]; roads

capes they covered themselves
unknown (of no renown)

lingered; hid [themselves]
bright [knight] armed; (see note)
galloping; over; (see note)

hastens with
saw those six
frightened; bet
for; worries; (see note)
Right away
One of these you must needs do

threw; capes from them
it was (as Kay said)
as many more [again]
would not have caused me
boorish shepherds; (see note)
may not harm me
gathered themselves together
passes; through
Except if
Yes, indeed
And in that case; nor

reward you; [Baldwin]
for dinner
you, fighters, even if you are

its socket (for jousting); places; (see note)

toppled; over with his thrust
swooned; struggle
handsome; did he shred
four overcame; quickly
In haste; heat (mêlée); (see note)

With scarcely any pause
six to themselves
(see note)
Do you want any more
other (sixth) answered
go where
shown toward us; except mastery
[Baldwin] hastened over
[The king] asked; news
woods bare
[neither] heard nor saw
go forth


As soon as; ready; (see note)
did they go
By [the time]

in early afternoon; (see note)
done in

deal with on the battlefield

To him; preferable to die there
curse her

Now; Flee; (see note)
deny; food
If; fighter; curse; (see note)
it were

completely his wish
Bid him dissemble so that it were secret

Baldwin's [manor]
command; before; return; (see note)
Forty; upon penalty
See; (see note)
inform; secretly
without food
To ensure your well-being always; (see note)
for me nothing more [than this]

none (about 3 p.m.)
at table
guests in great number
turn him away
he proceeded
overall (all around)
royal service
bowls poured
Readily did sweat

did he bow to

To them [there] lacked
to make request
to their hand [unbidden]
most noble in the group

renowned and celebrated
the south
she; joy

A week stayed
Boards (tables)
covered completely [with food]


goods for themselves
went off again
To understand; doubt
[Baldwin] linger [at Arthur's court]
when [to] him good [it] seemed

Segment [i.e., end of second section]

kitchen; (see note)
lower; greater [in rank]

glad look
them slay anxiety
Right away
on a single night
   Saw; before
laughed to himself; (see note)
plow [i.e., God provides well]


command; (see note)

take for us
Go directly; wilderness

can best appraise them; (see note)
know; (in your own home)

noble ladies

went off

out loud
went; together


That one; good will
did; bow
out (on the hunt)
bold and hardy
At daybreak

does it trouble me; (see note)
answered; in return
as you wish
proper and right

did make himself ready

hastens along
(see note)
[who] courteous and attentive

Open the door; (see note)
asks, "For whom?"

In secret to make love
She; own
as my mate
nearer to me you should not be; (see note)

door; (see note)
(see note)

But [all will be] at your own will
So that she might let in the King

in this way to her
(see note)
Must lie with you

in no bad way
thrive (i.e., on my life)
contest; put an end to

[I command] immediately; undressed

Hasten with all speed

when she saw

Excellent among women (lit., "in clothes")
close by her
touch not
if; die
grievous; (see note)
Nor be so bold that you become aroused
Nor once make advances

Of him; awe

called for a chessboard

themselves together


once to get under the bedclothes
from the time
Until; when it was daylight
watched out

outstanding; (see note)

had it brought
(see note)

playing chess

trailed; directly
in their places
with them according to
if; badly (i.e., as an insult)
wonder [it would seem to]

asked; angry

wish; any injury; (see note)
the reason why
by her own
Otherwise no man would dare; to her

dishonor incur; (see note)

she; injury
For each offense must be examined; (see note)
established; solemnly
Yet; curiosity
[To know] why you are not angry

If; tarry; (see note)
make you understand fully
promise you
If; dissemble
time of your fathers (ancestors)
by the name of; (see note)
Assembled; army

made war; sultan
before we left off
honored by
a command; (see note)
ready and eager

attached rights of lordship
in my household

handsomer in looks
those; two
Two were of a single will
third companion; seized
did they go
as follows
praise in you lies
lose your renown
[they] acted foolishly
quickly did her slay

because of those acts; aggrieved
[And] made a threat; to put to death
the one; (see note)
(see note)
be at your pleasure
As much; [were before]
None of you in the privacy of your bed
sexual deprivation
carried out for us; promised
[gave] each; (see note)
The one
So that
asunder in secret
She; it; (see note)

Many pains
be resolved
asked advice
To put her to death
what she herself
Whether she; with satisfaction
promised; (see note)
be proper to; (see note)
(see note)
She performed for us; promised
each night; (see note)
[she] offered

pleasant disposition
then occupy themselves with
Much; she improve; (see note)
those; occupy themselves
then; faults; carry out
with full assurance
linger; (see note)

(see note)
happily; without distress; (see note)
[There will be] joy at all events; (see note)
Therefore jealous; (see note)

Nor for no woman with good looks
Each; thing

good luck
I wish you to understand each detail
Then, [when] I came
implored; swear immediately
(see note)
woman; (see note)
(i.e., a distance from her); (see note)
beside her
you to await
got near; (see note)

(see note)
Why; fear; death; (see note)
Nor none who eat; (see note)
As ever I keep my head (i.e., on my life); (see note)
Your gates; ready [for guests]
(see note)

Where this adventure
One day; issued

one; companions became fearful; (see note)

coward crept; barrel
flying a missile
gleamed; lightning
[And] landed on it
closed up

killed; as well

Immediately; neck
jumped right off


companions did
die before
Except; throw
lack; (see note)

death; anxious

   It; natural

how is it
Why; food; deny
living person
lose (miss the point); (see note)

siege; remained yet

For us food was lacking
(see note)
[And] commanded, "Yield

had him wait till afternoon
[I]; steward immediately
that he should do

[I] staged a fanfare
had tables set
among them

had them wash up; to the meal [we] went

commanded; care
eat well
roast meat
food; one; (see note)
came (was served)
was ever watchful; (see note)
saw them put care aside
at (after) the meal; (see note)
insisted he

did; go

each one
gloomily did

white; nor; (see note)
You must yield; castle
returned then
Outside to his captain
immediately did
lay siege
(see note)
as merry festivity; (see note)
As if; Yule

advise; hasten you from here; (see note)
your own army; abundance

did; (see note)
Then; (see note)
[He said] Since nothing better may come; (see note)
This [course]
Their; assembled at a place; (see note)
Who; powerful
moved from their resting place
Food covers over many a lack; (see note)
broke down their siege
caused them to turn their backs on us
To gallop off; eager

where they had been


who goods may possess

made better; outlook; (see note)

vehemently did swear; (see note)
In you do we; falsehood
well taken
bears witness; (see note)

(see note)
(see note)
[The King] said [to]; If; (see note)
lies; (see note)
bind [her]
She; woman; handsome

carried out; promised; (see note)

[May] He; (see note)
(see note)
earth; (see note)

Go To The Awntyrs off Arthur

Return To The Table of Contents