Sir Eglamour of Artois
SIR EGLAMOUR OF ARTOIS: FOOTNOTES
2 For always he made them remain (i.e., killed them)
3 There might no man remain on horseback through his attack
4 He bore on his arms a ship of gold (Thornton MS has this phrasing)
5 He (Degrebelle) said, "No, by Mary! I am ready to fight in battle"
SIR EGLAMOUR OF ARTOIS: NOTES19, 20, 28 The characters' names, like those in similar romances, are a kind of pseudo- French. Prynsamour (prince love) and Eglamour are compounds with amour, the latter perhaps arrived at by conflating something like OF egaré, "lost one," as in the names Egaré and Degaré (found in Emaré and Degaré respectively). Cristabelle suggests "clear or bright beauty" and Degrebelle, "lost beauty." See Ramsey (“Chivalric Romances,” p. 166) for an allegorical interpretation of these names.
31–36 The manuscripts exhibit a good bit of variation in the characters mentioned in this passage. In the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century versions, line 31 refers to Cristabelle, line 32 to the earl. This sets up the incest theme, as do similar alterations in lines 40 and 47.
54 Richardson suggests that the sense of this line is "you meet a lot of people" (Sir Eglamour, p. 99). That is, because the squire travels widely and comes in contact with a lot of people he would have many opportunities to divulge Eglamour's counsel were he not charged with secrecy.
64–84 This awareness of the potential for Eglamour to advance his position within society by marrying an heiress, Cristabelle, is reflective of what Riddy calls a “crisis in male succession” (Middle English Romance, p. 245) at the time of the poem’s composition. According to Charbonneau, the Black Death heightened an already high rate of failure of inheritance through a direct male line “so that less than half of landowners had sons to inherit” between the late 1370s and early 1380s (“Trangressive Fathers,” p. 247). Conditions were, therefore, favorable for succession through the female line that, in turn, resulted in an increasing number of opportunities for men of lesser social status to advance themselves through marriage. The potential for incest and the earl’s desire to block Eglamour’s more appropriate suit of marriage to his daughter further threaten the already fragile sociopolitical family unit.
66 A proverbial expression (also see lines 70-71). "For much would have more." The sense seems to be "People who are wealthy (have much land or property) want more." Richardson says the phrase refers to the Earl or the wealthy suitors of Cristabelle (Sir Eglamour, p. 100), but it seems just as likely that the squire could be referring to Cristabelle herself, who might reject the suit of a knight of little land like Eglamour.
70 The Cambridge text omits 70-72, perhaps because the proverb was unfamiliar, or too homely. It substitutes three rather padded lines in which Eglamour addresses his squire:
"Dere frende Y prey the that thou me beheteand then goes on to create a name (for the squire?) - Syr umbe than thenke on thys thyng - out of the unfamiliar verb form umbythynk found in Lincoln.
That thou wylt that lady in this maner grete
What some evyr happe to be hur answere,"
81 lufe. The Cotton MS reading lyfe makes little sense in this context (Cristabelle would not marry Eglamour if he were an old man). It may be a scribe’s attempt to make sense of a flawed exemplar. The Egerton MS reads lyuf, an odd form, perhaps a corruption (Sir Eglamour, ed. Richardson, p. 100). The Thornton MS reads lufe and the Cambridge MS love, so I have emended to this more appropriate reading “Cristabelle would only marry him if their love were well-established.”
106-07 Manuscript variations in these lines suggest rather different conceptions of marital bliss. The Thornton MS reads, And rejoyse hir all my lyfe; the Cambridge MS reads, And sethen reches in my lyfe.
138 At this point, the Thornton and Egerton manuscripts include the lines
For na man ne wald scho spareThus the squire serves (briefly) as a mediator between the lady and the knight, making their exchange less abrupt and more courteous. The omission of these lines explains such awkward features as why Cristabelle identifies Eglamour to himself in line 140 of the Cotton MS. In the Thornton and Egerton MSS, it is the Squire who responds to Cristabelle in line 143 saying his master is bowndyn for the luf of the.
Till his chambir for to fare,
Whare that he gan lende.
The sqwyere sayd, "Maystir, ma gud chere:
Here commes the erls doghetir dere.
Cryste len that ye part frende."
148 unto. Cotton MS: utto. Richardson's emendation.
158 In the Thornton MS, Cristabelle tells Eglamour to find out from her father what his will is.
162 In the Thornton MS, the word fude (human being, creature) appears at the end of the line, giving the reading "I will fail you for no one." This seems more chivalric than Cotton's reading.
170 In the later Middle Ages particularly, when there were many more marriageable women than men, the awarding of dowries to women of lesser means was regarded as an especially charitable act.
172 her. Cotton MS: he. Richardson's emendation.
189 Thornton includes three lines which establish the time and place of the hunt:
Appon the morne when it was daye226 Cypress trees, associated with death, were often planted in graveyards.
Sir Eglamour tase the waye
Till a revere full ryght
251 Cristabelle's gifts to Eglamour before his departure are conventional chivalric endowments. The hounds and the sword are necessary for those quintessential knightly activities, hunting and fighting. These are not specifically magical gifts, though the sword found by St. Paul in the Greek sea certainly has an aura. The sword from the sea is a traditional motif, compare Arthur and Lancelot's gifts from the Lady of the Lake.
288 The exact meaning of this line is not clear, and the manuscripts are not in agreement. Richardson prefers the reading, “And roused himself with a rush,” based on translations of the same formula in Sir Tristrem. Schleich takes Thornton repid (Cotton repys) to be a form of the verb rape (“grasp”), rather than rouse. Cook takes rese to be an idiosyncratic scribal spelling of the noun rest; this is the way the Cambridge scribe rendered it, though it may be a form of OE raes (“course,” as in millrace). The translation given here follows the sense of Thornton in using the preposition of rather than on. Thus, “The barking of the hounds grabbed him from (deprived him of) his rest” (Sir Eglamour, ed. Richardson, p. 104).
300 Eglamour is honoring hunting law and protocol by blowing his horn to announce a legally taken prey. The prise is the "hunting call blown when game is taken" (MED).
344 This is the first of three fitt divisions marking Eglamour's feats. The others occur at lines 622 and 880. Richardson (Sir Eglamour, p. 106) suggests that these were in the original (now lost) version of Eglamour. Though regarded by some as clumsy intrusions in the middle of scenes, this one does mark the turning point between Eglamour's report of his victory and the earl's announcement of the next task.
349 Sidon, on the Mediterranean in what is now Lebanon, was important in the Crusades.
408 Many romances refer to a "book of Rome" as their source, but there is little evidence to suggest that this is anything more than a common formula. The title of the famous story collection, Gesta Romanorum, may have suggested or been suggested by this conventional attribution.
414 Thornton reads, I drede full lange we duelle; i.e., "I fear we stay too long" ("we will not find him in time to help him").
417 swerd. Cotton MS: swere.
425-29 Azure (blue) and sable (black) are heraldic colors, though Eglamour's device is not particularly authentic. The word sperys in the phrase sperys of sabull may be a corruption of sporys (spurs). The Thornton MS has bagges of sabyll. Richardson notes that Cook suggests that the bagges are badges which knights affixed to their pennons (Sir Eglamour, p. 108). Such decorations are more fittingly described by heraldic colors than the spears or spurs.
460 Here Thornton includes the lines:
"Ya, so helpe me God!" the knyght says,463 Eglamour here gives a nickname, "Adventurous." This kind of disguise is common among knights on quests; and Sir Degrevant uses a similar name. In some romances such sobriquets are part of a theme of character development and self-discovery.
"I hafe foghetyn foure dayes
And never a fote I flede."
"Sir Knyght," the kyng says,"I pray the
All nyght that thou wold duelle wyth mee,
And riste the in a bed."
496 Here Thornton includes the lines:
The kyng said, "So God me save,594–97 This offer of kingship through marriage to his daughter establishes the king of Sidone as the earl of Artas’ foil given his willingness to reward heroic behavior properly. As Charbonneau notes, “The villainous father of Cristabelle eventually flees to a tower — a phallic structure symbolizing his virility perhaps — but in its isolation and prison-like qualities, it becomes a symbol of his impotence as a man and ruler. . . . Appropriately, he falls backwards to his death — his desires were after all regressive as he symbolically proves himself incapable of moving forward in accepting his daughter’s suitor and planning for appropriate succession and transfer of power” (“Transgressive Fathers,” p. 258).
Of the bare what thou will have,
Thou hast it boghte full dere."
605 The horse and ring are magic gifts which insure his life, though we do not see him use them. Such magical gifts are the stuff of folktale. See note, line 251.
615 Here Thornton includes three lines:
Trewly and so God me save,624 red. The implication seems to be that the narrator is reciting from a written text. See note to line 344.
Kynge ne duke nane for to have,
Thofe thay be comly clede.
628 Thornton reads: Alle bot the erle were full fayne. This gives more and earlier indication of the earl's treachery.
632 Thornton reads: Till his chambir scho mad hir yare. The chamber, a private place, was the conventional setting for such meetings between lovers. The hall (line 637), by contrast, is a public place and the domain of the Earl. In line 697, Cotton also lacks the reference to chamber contained in Thornton.
638 Thornton reads: The erle for to tene. This is more negative than Cotton, which emphasizes Eglamour's good intentions and, by implication, the earl's evil ones.
652 Lines 652-54 have no counterpart in Thornton, though they appear in other manuscripts. In Cambridge the order is reversed, which gives a better reading. The first line is proverbial.
669 This betrothal, the consummation that follows, and Eglamour's gift of a ring constituted a valid marriage, according to canon law. Such unions were considered clandestine and punishable by penance, but they were not invalid.
673 Twenty is a mistake for twelve. See line 656.
676 Sche. Cotton MS: sch. Richardson's emendation.
694 The Cambridge manuscript inserts these lines:
Syr that was nevyr my purpos705 That the departing knight worries that he might be leaving his girlfriend pregnant, even though they are informally married, is most unusual in medieval romances.
For to leve oon soche a trase [undertaking]
Be nyght nor be day
Wyth the grace of God almyght
Wyth the worme yyt schall y fyyght
Thowe he be nevyr so wylde.
706 The Thornton manuscript includes a redundant transition not found in Cotton:
And, als the buke of Rome says,725 The Thornton text has Eglamour cut off the dragon's tail, and it makes better sense in line 727 for the dragon to strike Eglamour with the stump of his tail than the stump of his tongue, as in Cotton. Taking the dragon's tongue for a trophy is, however, a traditional feature appearing in the Tristran story and elsewhere.
To grete Rome he tase the wayes
To seke that worme so wylde.
The knyght wendis on his waye -
Herkyns, now; I sall yow saye -
To seke that dragone bolde.
754 The Thornton manuscript includes six lines.
The emperour wyth hym tuke hym hameOctavian was a conventional name for a Roman emperor, so this is not a reference to the character in the Middle English romance Octavian.
Octoveane was his name,
A lord of gret honour.
Bot alle that ever saw his hede
Thay sayd that he was bot dede,
This knight Sir Eglamour.
760 The two stanzas describing the dragon are not present in the Thornton text. Elements of description are conventional: the stench, the similes - hard as balayne, green as glas, red as fire; the forty-foot length (though this seems short beside the fifty-foot measurement of the giant Marrass in line 330).
772 St. Lawrence was well known in England. Tradition had it that he was buried outside Rome, so the reference to his church would have seemed appropriate to medieval audiences. See Sir Eglamour, ed. Richardson, p. 117.
785–89 This willingness to kill not only his own daughter but also her child and his only male heir further exemplifies the extent to which the earl’s trangressive desires threaten to destroy the social order he is supposed to uphold (Charbonneau, “Transgressive Fathers,” p. 257).
788 Without baptism, the soul could not ascend to heaven.
790 The Thornton version includes three lines:
Scho wappid hym in a mantill of skarelett redeThis is the first reference to Degrebelle's mantle, a token which later identifies him to his mother.
"My dere child, dighte es oure dede.
Thi fadir seese us na mare."
795 The Cambridge text inserts six lines here:
Hur chaumburwomen that be hur con stonde808 The Thornton manuscript includes the conventional transition formula:
They weptyn faste and wrang ther hande
They had full mekyll care
When they wyste that sche schoulde forthe passe
Then they cryed and seyde "Allas.
Now are we lafte full bare."
Now leve this knyght, Sir Eglamour,829-31 The three lines describing the griffin attack are not in the Thornton version, where the infant is merely dropped. This detail accords with the Cotton text's attention to fabulous creatures elsewhere; it also heightens Degrebelle's plight. Richardson thinks it impedes the narrative (Sir Eglamour, p. 118).
And speke we of this lady whytt als flour,
So wilsome wayes scho yode.
837 Thornton has an additional line, The childe was large of lym and lythe.
842 Degrebell. The name means "lost beautiful one" (see note to line 19), an apt description of his situation.
852 Long sides are not appropriate for an infant, but they are conventional in descriptions of noble personages. Richardson (Sir Eglamour, p. 118) suggests that his is a mistake for her, referring to the nurse, though all the manuscripts have his.
855 The number iiii appears here in the margin and space between the lines in the margin of the manuscript, indicating a division in the text - the fourth fitt (see note to lines 880-82 below).
874 Lines 874-76 and 877-79 are reversed in the other manuscripts, which makes more sense as the squire strikes the ship to determine if anyone is aboard before the lady speaks.
880-82 These lines are not in Thornton, and they make for a long stanza. They set off the last section of the narrative, but Richardson suggests they are in the wrong place, since the Cotton manuscript shows the number iiii beside line 855, a more suitable place for such a division (Sir Eglamour, p. 119). There is also a mark beside line 880.
917 Cristabelle's retelling winks at the truth, omitting all reference to her angry father and relationship to her sqwyer.
976 Gentyllmen. Cotton MS: entyllman. Richardson's emendation.
985 Here Thornton includes the lines:
Alle that were sembled, ylke one,Cambridge begins, And he that was the porest of them all, reverses Thornton's 986-87, and includes the following lines:
He gaf tham for to lyfe appone
For Cristabelle saule to mone.
Yn the halle that he there hadd.This material, omitted by the Cotton scribe, provides important details: that Eglamour is able to provide livings for his knights, as a lord should, and that their function is a pious one. One half-expects them to accompany him to the Holy Land, but there is no further reference to them. By remaining in Artois, they could assert Eglamour's claim to that land pending his return. Eglamour has clearly assumed power in Artois when he stands in the hall to formally dub his knights. Richardson notes that Eglamour follows standard procedures for making knights (Sir Eglamour, p. 120).
V and thretty knyghtys he madd
Be that odur day abowte none
And he that was the porest of them all
He gaf for Crystabellys soule
Londys to leve upon.
997-1000 These lines are not in the Thornton text.
1012 kyng. Cotton MS: knyg. Richardson's emendation.
1023 Wynns hyre with stryfe is a formulaic expression in which strife has a narrow, idiomatic meaning, indicating specifically a combat in which a bride is to be won.
1037 Thornton reads: That thare come the kyng of Iraelle / Wyth a full riche nave, which follows from the preceding description of the voyage. Five lines later, Thornton includes lines similar to those found at 1036-37 in Cotton. This variation seems to be due to the proximity of similar lines: the Cotton text conflates them, omiting intervening material.
1044 Here Cambridge inserts:
And yf they come on gode array [order]1045 Topcastles were platforms with battlements at the tops of ship's masts from which missiles could be fired (OED).
To ther mete y schall them pray
As mote y thryve or the.
1060 Hys. In Thornton the pronoun is Hir, which points to the incest theme and makes better sense. Hys may refer to the king of Israel who speaks next.
1063 It is a bit unorthodox for Degrebelle's guardian to ask Cristabelle herself if she will marry. In Thornton, the king of Israel asks hir eme, that is, her uncle the king of Egypt, if he is willing for Cristabelle to marry.
1070 In aristocratic households waytes functioned as watchmen as well as musicians who played horns of various types at ceremonies and to announce meals. Their name seems to be derived from wayt, a kind of pipe. See Rastall, “Minstrels of English Royal Households,” p. 5.
1079 Deus pacis were the first words of the blessing for dinner on days which were not fast days (Sir Eglamour, ed. Richardson, p. 122).
1085-87 Here Thornton includes the lines:
The kyng of Egippe gun hym hyCotton lines 1084-86 appear later in Thornton, after what is line 1092 in Cotton. Thornton's arrangement is more coherent: The king of Egypt first rides into the field to meet Degrebelle. The men ask who he is, the heralds tell them, then blow the trumpets to announce the tournament. The teams then ride together and finally the king and Degrebelle confront one another.
Into a faire felde, wittirly
Wyth many a doghety knyghte.
1122 Thornton includes the lines:
In a skarelett mantill was he wondenThis formulaic description appears several times in the romance (see Cotton line 833), though more often in Thornton than Cotton.
And with a gold girdill bownden
That full richely was wroghte.
1142 Thornton reads: Whilke of myn erles scho will have. This is more specific, but less courtly than Cotton. Degrebelle rejects his step-father's plan simply to give Cristabelle to one of his men; she must be won in combat as he has won her.
1157 dyscrye. Cotton MS: decrye. Richardson's emendation.
1163 Thornton reads New; Cambridge reads Now soche armes beryth he. Cotton's No makes little sense, as a description of the arms follows, and they are different from the ones he wore when fighting with the boar (line 428).
1168 Thornton reads: In the see so grym and balde.
1170 Thornton reads: And evir in poynte to dy, which is more appropriate than the Cotton reading.
1172 sales. Cotton MS: fales.
1186 Here Thornton includes the lines:
Hawrauds of armes bygan to crye1195 Here Thornton includes the lines:
Grete lordis full rathely
Into a felde so brade.
His fadir hovede and byhelde1201 Thornton reads: "Sir," he said than, "So mot I the." Cotton's Hys owen is more ironic in pointing out their relationship.
How he fellid in the felde
The knyghtis all bydene.
His sonne hym sawe and rade hym till;
Said, "Sir, why hovys thou sa stille
Amange thir knyghtis kene?"
1214 sement. Richardson suggests that this is a mistake for semblee, meaning assembly or meeting (Sir Eglamour, p. 125). Thornton has auntirs.
1222-27 The Thornton text reverses the order of the two units of this stanza.
1231 The Thornton version is different and includes the lines:
Say forthe whils he was thare,1234-37 In Thornton, it is the lady who goes to disarm the knight:
That will juste or turnay any mare -
He wold be auntirous, by the rode!
His sone said, "Ne ware his swerd so brighte,
Alle the day myght I wyth hym fyght,
Thofe he were werse than wode."
To unarme hym the lady gase;Cotton line 1236 is a tag line inserted for rhyme.
A surcott vuerte [green] the knyght tase.
To mete than gan thay wende.
1246-60 The Thornton text's version of the reunion scene is different, probably original.
Knawlege of hym gun scho taa,Cotton and Cambridge show the influences of another variant of the reunion episode where father and son are reunited when the son kneels to serve his father in the hall. Perhaps this shows the influence of Emaré, which makes its only appearance in the Cambridge manuscript.
"Swete sir, how felle it swa
That thay were broghte to grownde?"
"Dameselle, I was in a ferre contre,
Hir fadir dide tham to the see
Wyth the wawes to confounde."
In swounynge than felle that lady free,
"Welcome, Sir Eglamour, to me;
Dere hase thou boghte me are."
Grete lordis than told scho sone
How that scho to the se was done.
Thay wepede, both lesse and mare.
"In the wawes grete and gray
A gryffon bare my childe awaye."
Gentillmen than syghede sare.
1276-84 The Thornton manuscript includes a different, longer narration of the return home:
Sir Eglamour prayed the kynges three1291-1312 The wedding episode is narrated differently in Thornton where it is a bit shorter. Cotton stresses minstrels and gifts, adds a bishop to perform the ceremony and a tournament to celebrate it. Thornton repeats the investiture scene from lines 1270-71. Forty- and fourteen-day feasts are conventional.
In Artasse at his weddynge to be,
His lykynge for to have.
Thay graunted hym bathe mare and lesse,
The gret lordis that thare was,
Thare Jhesu Crist tham save!
Kynges and dukis, I undirstande,
And gret lordis of othir lande,
Thaire stremours made thay full rathe.
Trompis in topcastells thay rase,
Alle maner of men to schippe gase;
A comly wynd tham drave.
Thorow the myght of God this fayre nave
Alle in lykynge passed the see,
In Artasse up thay raffe.
The erle in his castelle stode;
Gentillmen sone to lande yode
Knyghtis to horse gan dryve.
And thus in Artasse are thay lent,1306 come. Cotton MS: cone.
Eftir the emperour thay sent
To that mangery so free
And in alle the lande garte thay crye
Wha that wolde com to that mangerye
Dere welcome solde thay be.
Sir Eglamour to the kirk gun ga,
Sir Degrebelle and Organata,
The ladys bryghte of blee.
The kyng of Iraelle sayd, "I yow gyffe
Halfe my kyngdome whils I lyffe -
Brouke alle wele aftir me."
With myrthe that mangery was made,
Fowrtty dayes it habade
Amange thase lordis hende.
1321 Explicit. Cambridge adds: Here endyth Syr Egyllamowre of Artas and begynneth Syr Tryamowre.
Jhesu Crist, of heven Kyng,
Graunt us all good endyng
And beld us in Hys bowre;
And gef hem joye that love to here
Of eldres that before us were
And lyved in grett antowre.
I woll you tell of a knyght
That was both hardy and wyght,
And stronge in ylke a stowre;
Of dedys of armys that he myght here
He wan degré with jurnay clere,1
And in felde the floure.
In Artas he was geten and born,
And all his eldres hym beforn.
Lestenyth, I wyll yow say.
To dede of armys he ys went,
Wyth the Erle of Artas is he lent
For deernes, nyght and day.
Syr Prynsamour the erle hyght,
Syr Eglamour men call the knyght
That dughty was evyr and ay.
And this erle hadde hym in wold;
To dedes of armes he was bold
For to no man seyde he nay.
The Erle had nevyr child but on,
That was a dowghtir, white as fom,
Hys ryche eyr schulde be.
The maydens name was Cristabell,
A feyrer thing of flesch ne fell
Was none in Cristyanté.
Syr Eglamour so hym bare
In all the worlde he loved no mare
Then that lady bryghth of blee;
Certeynly, both day and nyght,
So dyd sche that nobyll knyght,
Hit was the more pyté!
The knyght was both bold and stronge
Therfor the lady loved hym longe.
Lestenyth, I wyll you tell.
Syr Eglamour, he gart crye
Of dedys of armes, wyttyrly,
For love of Crystabell.
Ther com lordes of fer lond
To aske her, I undyrstond,
With fers folke and fell.
What manere man her wold have,
So sore buffettys he hem gave
For ever he gart them to dwelle.2
Tyl hit befell upon a day,
The knyght to his sqwyer gan say
In chambur ther he gan reste,
"Belamy, and thou kowdest leyne,
A counsell I wold to the sayne -
Thou walkest both est and west."
"Yys, sir," he seyd, "per ma fay,
What so evur ye to me say
I schall hit nevur out kast."
"The Erles doughtur, so God me save,
The love of her but I hit have
My lyf may not long last."
The sqwyere seyde, "So mote I the,
Ye have tolde me your pryvyté;
I schall you gyf answere.
Ye ar a knyght of lytyll lond,
Take not to evyll, I undirstond,
For mykyll wolde have more.
Yif I went to that lady and told her so,
Perauntur on skorn take hit wold scho
And lyghtly lett me fare.
Syr, a mon that hewyth ovyr hye
Lyghtly the chyppus fallen in his eye,
Thus happis hyt ofte aywhare.
"Syr, bethynke the of thys thynge,
Ther wowes here emperour and kynge
And dukes that ar bolde,
Erles, barouns and knyghtis also,
Yytt wyll sche none of all tho
But evur in goodnes her holde.
Sche wold never a kyng forsake
And a sympull knyght take,
Butt yif your lufe wer olde.
I swere be God, heven kynge,
Wyste her fadyr of sych a thyng
Full dere hytt scholde be solde!"
The knyght answered with wordes mylde,
"My sqwyer, sethen thou was a chylde
Thow hast ben lened with me:
In dede of armes, in many a stowre,
Wher saw thou evur my dyshonowre?
Sey on, so God save the!"
"Nay, syr, be Jhesu bryghth!
Ye ar on of the noblest knyghth
That ys knowen in Cristyanté.
In dede of armes, be God on lyve,
Ye ar counted worth othur fyve."
"Gramarcy, syr," seyde he.
The knyghth sykud and seyd, "Alas!"
Mornyng tyll his bed he gas
That rychely was wroght.
Both his handys he cast up sone,
To Jhesu Crist he made his bone,
To that Lord that us bowght.
"The Erles dowghtur, that swete thyng,
She myght be myn at myn endyng,
On her ys all my thoght.
That I myght wedde her to my wyfe
And sythen kepe her all my lyfe;
Owt of care then were I browght."
Uppon the morn the maydyn small
Sche ete befor hyr fadyr in hall
Among her berdes bryghth.
All gentyllmen sembled butt he;
The lady seyde, "For Goddes pyté,
Wher ys Syr Eglamour, my knyghth?"
Hys sqwyer answered with sympull chere,
"He ys seke and deed full nere;
He prayes yow of a syght.
He ys kest into such care
Butt ye hym help he wyll mysfare,
He lyves not tyll nyghth."
The Erle to his dowghtyr spake,
"Damysell," he sayde, "for Goddis sake
Herken what I schall yow say;
Aftyr mete do as the hende,
To his chambur that ye wende.
He hath served us many a day,
Full trewly in hys entent;
In justyng and in turnament
He seyde us nevyr nay.
In dede of armes, wher he myght here,
He wynnes the gre with jurnay clere,
My worschyp evyr and ay."
Aftyr mete the lady gent
Dose her fadyr commawndement:
She takes leve to wende.
To the chawmbur gan sche go,
And with here toke maydens two
Ther as the knyght gon lende.
Then seyde that lady, whyte as flowr,
"How fares my knyth, Sir Eglamour,
That dowghty ys aywhare?"
"Damesell, as ye may se,
Thus am I cast for love of the,
In angur and in care."
The damesell seyd, "So mote I the,
And ye have any care for me
My herte ys wondur sore."
"And I myght turne unto lyve,
I wolde wedde you to my wyfe,
Yyf that your wyll hyt wore."
The lady swere, "Be Crystus myght,
For thou art a nobyll knyghte
And comen of gentyll blode,
And evur trewe undur thy schylde
Thou wynnes the gre in every fylde,
Worschypfully, be the Rode.
I wyll avyse me of this yytt,
And at my fadyr wyll I wytt
Yyf that his wyll be good.
As I am lady feyr and gent,
When my fadyr and I ar at assent
I feyle you for no good!"
The knyght kepeth no more blys
When he hadde gette sent of this,
Butt makes full good chere.
He bad hys sqwyer for to gan
And two hundur pownde for to tan,
To geve hyr maydens clere.
"Damysels," he sayde, "so God me save,
This to your mariage schall ye have
For ye be gyntyll and dere."
She takes her leve at the knyght
And thonkes hym anon ryght,
And seyde, "Farewell, my fere!"
Crystabell has taken the way
To hir fadir chambur, as it lay,
That made was of ston.
He sayd, "Welcom dowghtur, as white as flour,
How fares thy knyght, Sir Eglamour?"
She answered hym anon,
"Grete othes he me sware
That he ys coverd of mykyl car,
And good comfort to hym tane.
He tolde me and my maydens hend
That to-morn he wolde wende
Wyth his hawkes ylkane."
The Erle sayde, "So mote Y the,
I schall ryde to se hem fle
For comfort of the knyght!"
The Erl buskys and made hym yare
To ryde forth to se the fare,
And beholde that semyly syght.
Tyll a wrathe fyll betwen hem two,
Ore hyt nyghed the nyght thoo,
Yyf ye wyll lysten and lere.
As they rode homward by the way
The knyght to the Erle gan say,
"Good lord, wyll ye me here?"
"Ye," he sayde, "so mote Y the,
What so ever thou seyst to me
Hyt ys me lefe and dere;
For on of the best knyghtes art thou
That in my londe lyveth now
Owther fer or nere."
"Good lord, for charyté,
Cristabell, your dowghtyr fre,
When shall she have a fere?"
The Erle sayd, "So God me save,
I knowe non that hyr schall have,
Sche ys so bryght of ble!"
The knyght gan the Erle pray,
"Lord, I have served the many a day:
Wouche ye her save on me."
"Ye, syr," he sayde, "be Cristys payne,
Yyf thou hir wynne as I schall sayne
Wyth dedes of armes thre,
Browke thou well my dowghtyr dere,
And all Artas, both ferre and nere,
I holde therto," seyde he.
The knyght sware, "So mote I the,
At my jurnay wolde I be,
Yyf I wyste evere where!"
The Erle sayde, "Her by weste
Ther wones a gyaunt in the forest,
Syche on thou sawe nevyr ere.
Cypré treys growe ther fayre and longe,
Grete hertys walken hem amonge,
The fayrest that on fote may fare.
Wend thedur and fett me on away
And then dar I savely say
That thou haste ben thare."
"Be Jhesu!" sware the knyght than,
"Yyf he be a Cristen man
I schall hym nevyr forsake.
Holde wele my lady and my lond."
"Yys," sayd the Erle, "lo, her my hond."
Hys trowthe to hym he strake.
Aftyr mete, as I you telle,
He toke lefe at Cristabell,
And thus then seyde he,
"Damysell, now as a man
For thy love have I tan
Dedes of armes thre."
"Syr," she sayde, "make yow gladde.
For hardure jurnay nevur ye hadde,
Be God, in no countré.
Or thy jurnay shall all passe
For my lofe thou may say 'Alas!'
And I well more for the.
Sir knyght, to huntyng when thou fondis
I shall gefe the two grehondys;
As I am trewe gentyll woman and fre.
Ther was nevyr best that on fote ran
Butt they woll full sone hym tan,
So swyfte bothe they be.
"Also a good swerde I schall geve the,
Sent Pole fond it in the Grekes see,
Of egge syche knowe I none.
Ther was never helme made of stele
And thou have happe to hit hym wele
Butt hyt woll thorowgh gone."
He sayde, "God yelde you, lady gent."
He toke his leve and forth he went;
His weys has he tane.
A brode gate he helde faste
Tyll ho come to the foreste,
Suche on sawe he nevyr nane.
Cypré treys were growen owte;
The wode was walled all abowte,
Well corven of ryall stone.
Forth he wente, I undurstonde,
To a brode gate ther he fonde
And in ther ys he gone.
He blewe hys horn in that tyde;
Hertys rose on yche a syde;
A nobyll dere he chose.
Hys hondes began for to bay,
That herde the gyaunt ther he lay
And repys hym on a rese.
"Me thynkes howndes that I here,
Some thefe ys come to stele my dere -
Hym were well bettyr sese.
Be hem that me gette and borne,
In wers tyme blewe he never horne,
Nor derrere bowghth he flesch!"
Arrok the gyaunt has tane the wey
To his forest gate as hyt lay;
Hys bakke he sette thertylle.
Be that Sir Eglamour had done the dede,
A gret hert sleyn and tane the hede,
The prise he blewe full schyrlle.
He come ther the gyaunt was
And sayde, "Good sir, lett me pas,
Yyf hit be your wylle."
"Nay, thef! traytour! thou art tane!
My chef hert thou hast sclayne;
That schalt thou lyke full ylle."
The gyaunt to the knyght ys gon
With a clubbe of yren in his honde tan,
Full mykyll and unryde.
Grete strokes to hym he gafe;
Into the erthe flewe his staffe
Too fote on ylke a syde.
"Thefe, traytour! What doos thou here
In my forest to stele my dere?
Thefe, her schalt thou abyde!"
Syr Eglamour his swerde out drowgh
And to the gyaunt he gafe a swogh,
And blynded hym in that tyde.
All yyf the lordan had lost his syght
Thus he fyghtys with the knyght
All the day full yare,
Tyll on that othur day at prime
Syr Eglamour waytes his tyme
And to the erthe hym bare.
He thonkis Crist that all schall welde;
At the grownd downe he hym helde.
The thefe began to rare.
Sith he meted hym, as I you say,
On the grownde as he lay
Fyfty fote and mare.
He thonked God and his knyfe
That he beraft the gyant his lyfe,
And loved ay Goddis lore.
Syr Eglamour ys gon hys way
With the gyantes hed, as I you say,
To a castell made of stone.
All the countré come hym agayn,
Siche an hed, as they seyn,
They sawe nevur non.
Before the Erle he hit bare:
"Lo, lorde, I have ben thare!"
That bere they wyttenes ylkane.
Make we mery, so have we blysse.
For thys ys the fyrst fytte, I wys,
Of Sir Eglamour that he has tane.
"What," seyd the Erl, "and this poynt be don?
Thow getys anothur jurnay sone:
Buske the forth to fare!
In Sydon, that ryche countré,
Ther dar no man abyde ne be
For dredyng of a bare:
Best and man, all sleys he
That he may with ye se,
And wondes them wondur sore.
His tusschus passen a yerd longe:
The flesch that they fasten amonge
Hyt coveres nevyr more."
The nobyll knyght, he seyd not nay.
Upon the morn, when yt was day,
Hys lefe then takes he.
Forth he wente, I undyrestonde,
A fortnyght jurnay on the londe
And als mykyll be the see,
Tyll agayn an evyn tyde
In a forest ther he gan ryde
As the bore was wont to be.
Tokenyng of hym sone he fond:
Sleyn men on ylke a hond,
That grymly it was to se.
Sir Eglamour rest hym undur an ake
Tyll on the morn that he gan wake,
The sonne rose and schone.
Aftyr into the forest he drowgh,
Of the see he herde a swowgh
And thydur the knyght ys gon.
Bryght helmes fond he strowed wyde where
That men of armes had leved there;
The wykked bore had hem sleyn.
Tyll a clyf of stone then rydes he
And seys the bore com fro the see;
Hys morn drynke has tane.
The bor saw hym ther he stode
And whetted his tuskys as he were wode,
And to hym come on syde.
Sir Eglamour wendis well to do,
With a spere he rydys hym to
Als fast as he myght ryde.
Yyf that he rode nevyr so faste
Hys good spere asownder brast;
The hed wolde not in hym hyde.
The bore come to hym with a schowe:
Hys good stede undur hym he slowe,
And afote the knyght moste abyde.
Tyll a bownke he sette his syde
At a full hye roche that tyde,
And behylde the swyn thare.
Hys nobyll swerde he drowgh out syne
And fyghtes with the wylde swyne
Thre dayes and mare.
Tyll on the fowrth day abowt none
He thowght hys lyfe was nere done
For fyghtyng with the bore.
The knyghte can no bettur rede;
He stroke at the swynes hede,
Hys tuskes then brake he thore.
He thankys Cryst that ylke stounde
He has geve the bore dedde wounde,
The boke of Rome thus gan telle.
The kyng of Sydon on huntyng is gon
With men of armes many on;
The bore then herde he yelle.
He comaunded a sqwyer for to fare:
"Sum man ys fyghtyng with the bare
I trow full well he dwelle."
A sqwyer rydes to a clyfe of stone
And sygh a knyght lyyng hym on
With swerd scharpe and felle.
The sqwyer hoves and beholdes them two;
Agayn to the kyng then wold he go
And seyde, "Lorde, the bore ys sleyn!"
"Seynt Mari!" seyd the kyng, "Hou may that be?"
"Yys, syr, a knyght on hym I se,
Be God, he has ben hys bane.
He beris of gold a well fayr syght:
A stede of asar, and a knyght
All armed for to gon.
The crest on his hed hit ys
A lady of golde in hyr ryches;
Hys sperys of sabull ylkon."
The kyng swore, "So mot I the!
Tho gentyll armes wyll I se."
And thethur he takes the way.
Be that hadde Syr Eglamour
Ovyrcomyn that styf stowre,
And ovyrtwart the bore he lay.
The kyng sayde, "God reste with the."
"Lord, wellcome," he seyde, "mote ye be.
Of thees I yow pray.
I have so fowghtyn with this bore
That, be my feyth, I may no more;
This ys the fowrthe day."
The kyng swore, "Be Cristis myghte,
Here schall no man with the fyght.
Grett synne it were the to tene;
Thou hast sleyn this wylde bare
That has ben ferre and wyde whare,
And mony mannys bone has he bene.
Worshypfully with thy schylde
Thou hast sleyn hym in the felde -
That we have alle sene.
I have wist, sythen I was mon of aray,
That he hath sleyn syxté on a day,
Well armed men and clene."
Ryche metys forth they browghte,
The Raynysh wyn forgat they noght,
Whyte clothes sone were spradde.
The kyng sware, "So mote I the,
I schall dyne for love of the;
Thow hast be strongly stadde."
Aftyr mete, as I you say,
The kyng con the knyght pray
Of what lond he was.
He sayde, "My name ys Antorus,
I dwelle with Syr Prins Amorus
The Erle of Artas."
Knyghtes nere the kyng drowgh:
"Thys ys he that Arrok slowgh,
The gyaunt brodyr Marras."
The kyng prayes the knyght so fre
Thoo dayes with hym to be
Or that he dede ferrere pas.
"Ther ys a gyaunt here besyde;
My dowghtyr that ys so mykyll of pride
He wolde have here me fro,
And I dar no where ryde out
Butt men of armes be me abowt;
Selden have I don so.
This wylde bore that thou hast slyen here
He has ben fedde this fyftene yere
Crysten men to slo.
Now ys he gon, with care inowgh,
To bery hys brodyr that thou slowgh;
That evyrmore be hym woo."
To byrten the bore they went tyte;
Ther was no knyfe in hym wold byte
So hard of hyde was he.
"Sir Antours," seyde the kyng, "thou hym slowgh;
I trow thy knyfe be good inowgh
Yyf thy wyll be."
The knyghte is to the bore gon
And cleves hym be the rygge bon,
Grett joye hyt was to se.
"Lord," seyd the knyght, "I gart hym falle:
Gyfe me the hed and take the alle,
Ye wotte yt ys my fee."
Aftyr cartus have they sent,
Agayn the none hom they went,
The cyté was them full nere.
All the comenté was full fayn
That the wykkyd bore was sleyn;
They made full good chere.
The qwene seyd, "God schild us fro shame.
When Marras the gyaunt cometh han
Newe tydynd gete we here."
Syr Eglamour, the nobyll knyght,
Was set with the kyngus dowghtyr ryght,
For that he schulde be blythe.
The maydens name was Organate,
Sche prays the knyght good chere to make
And hym besekys fast mony a sythe.
Aftyr mete sche gon hym telle
How a gyaunt wolde them qwelle,
And he begynus to lythe.
"Damysell," he seyde, "so mote I the,
Yyf he come whylys I her be
I schall hym swythe."
Ageyn the evyn the kyng gart dyght
A bath for the gentyll knyght
Of erbys that were goode;
And all the nyght therinne he lay
Tyll on the morn that hyt was day,
That men to matens yode.
Be that the kyng had herd his masse
The fowle gyaunt comen wasse
And cryed as he were wode.
"Syr kyng," he sayd, "send out to me
Organate, thy dowghtyr fre,
Or I schall spylle thy blode!"
Syr Eglamour, the nobyll knyght,
Armes hym anon ryght
And to the walles wendes he;
The bores hed he dyde forth bere
And sette hit upon a spere,
That Marras myght hyt se.
The gyaunt loked upon the hed:
"Allas, my bore, art thou ded?
My trust was mykyll in the.
Be the lawe that I lefe inne,
My lytyll spotted hogelynne,
Dere bowght thy lyfe schall be!"
The gyaunt on the walles dong;
At ylke a stroke the fyre out sprong
For nothyng wold he spare.
Into the cyté he cast a crye,
"Theves, traytours, ye shall abye
For sleyng of my bare.
The ston wallis I woll down dynge,
And with my hondis I wyll you hynge
Or that I fro you fare!"
Thorowgh the grace of God, or hyt were nyght,
The gyant had his fyll of fyght
And sum dele mare.
"Syr Awntours," seyd the kyng then,
"I rede we armes all men
Yondyr fend wyll felly fyght."
Tho swere he, "Be the Rode,
I schall asaye hym were he wode.
Full mykyll ys God of myght."
Syr Eglamour was noght abasth:
The help of God was all his trast,
And on his swerde so bryght.
He rydes a cours to sey his stede;
He toke hys helme and forth he yede.
Alle they prayde for that knyghte.
Syr Eglamour the felde has tane:
The gyaunt hym sey and thedur ys gane
And seyde, "Art thou comen, my fere?
I trow thou helped my bore was sleyn:
Thow schalt abye or thou fare hen,
And that ryght dere!"
Syr Eglamour wendes well to tho:
Wyth a spere he rydes hym to
As man of armes clere.
The gyaunt made hym bowne:
Hors and man he smote downe
The knyght was dede full nere.
The knyght sawe no bettyr rede
When hys nobyll stede was dede
But on fote to he ys gon.
Forth to hym he gan go,
Hys ryghte arme he stroke hym fro
Faste by the schulder bon.
All if the lordan had lost hys hand,
All day stondes he fast fyghtand
Tyll the sonne to reste was gon;
Then was he so wery he myght no more,
The blode ran so faste hym fro
That lyf dayes had he non.
All that in the cyté ware,
When they herde the thefe rare,
For joye the bellys gon rynge.
Edmund was the kynges name
"Syr Aunterus," he seyd, "be Seynt Jame,
Here shalt thou be kynge!
Tomorn schall I crowne the,
And thou schalt wedde my dowghtyr fre
With a full ryche ryng."
He answered with wordys mylde,
"God gyfe the joye of thy chylde
For here may I not lyng."
"Syr knyght, for thy dowghty dede
I schall the gyfe a nobyll stede,
Als reed as any ron.
In justenyng ne in turnament
Thow schalt suffre no dethes dent
Why thou fyghtys hym on."
Then seyde Organate, the swete thyng,
"I schal you gyfe a good gold ryng
Wyth a full ryche ston;
Whethur ye be on watyr or on lond,
And this rynge be on your hond,
Ther schall no dede you sclon."
He seyd, "God yelde you, lady clere!"
"Ye, syr, I schall abyde you fyftene yere,
Tyll ye wyll me wedde."
The knyght seyde, "Per ma fay,
Be fyftene yere I schall you say
How that I have spedde."
The knyght takes hys lefe to fare,
With the gyaunt hed and the bare,
The wey our Lord hym lede.
This ys the secund fytte of this:
Makes mery, so have Y blys!
For thus ferre have I red.
Or that fyftene wekys wer comen to ende
In the lond of Artas he gon lende,
Ther the Erle was.
All the comynté wer full fayn
That he in qwarte was comen agayn,
And all that he fonde in that place.
Cristabell herd of his comynge home:
Agayn the knyght sche ys gon:
"Syr," sche sayde, "how have ye fare?"
"Damysell," he sayd, "well, and traveled sare
To bryng us both out of care."
Ther he kyssed the lady full yare.
Now into the halle ys he wente
The Erle to good entent,
To the he des alle bedene.
The hedes two the knyght down leyde:
"Lo, lord," the knyght seyde,
"In Sydon have I bene."
Therfor was the Erle full woo,
And sayde, "Ther may no devell the slo,
Be Mary, so I wene!
Thow art abowte, I undirstande,
To wynne all Artas of my honde
And my dowghtyr schene!"
The knyght seyde, "So mote I the,
Not but I wordy be.
Help God, that ys best."
"On schall come and pay for all,"
The Erle seyd. "So hit schall befall,
Yyf thou be nevyr so prest."
The knyght prayes the Erle so fre
"Twelfe wykes that thou graunt me,
My bones for to reste."
And for the prayng of gentyllmen
Twelfe wykes he graunt hym then -
No lenger wolde he hym frist.
Aftyr sowper, as I you tell,
He wendys to chaumbyr with Cristabell,
Ther were lampus brennyng bryght.
The lady was not to hyde,
Sche sette hym on here ryght syde
And seyde, "Wellcome, syr knyght!"
"Damysell," he seyde, "so have I spedde,
With the grace of God I shall you wedde."
Thereto here trowthes they plyght.
So gracyus he con here tell
A poynt of armes that hym befell
And there he dwelled all nyght.
So be twenty wykys were come and gon,
Cristabell, as whyte as fom,
All fallen was here hewe.
Sche prayes here gentyllwymmen so fre
That they wolde leyne here privyté,
And to here for to be trewe.
The Erle brennes as fyre in care;
"Have don, sir knyght, and make the yare
Thy jurnay comes all newe!"
When Cristabell herd therof sey
Sche mornys therfore nyght and day,
That all wyttes may rewe.
"Syr, at gret Rome, as I the tell,
Ther lyves a dragon, fers and fell,
Herken what I schall the say.
That fend is of so grett renown
Ther dar no man neygh the town
Be seven myle of way.
Arme the, sir knyght, thedur to wende:
Loke thou sle hym with thy honde
Or els say me nay!"
He sayde, "I have don poyntes two,
With the grace of God I schall do mo
Or els ende for ay."
Aftyr mete, as I you telle,
He toke hys lefe at Crystabell,
Als feyre as flour in felde.
"Damysell," he seyd, "ther is a poynt undon:
I wyll wend, and com agayn full son
Wyth the help of Mary mylde.
A good ryng I schall gyfe the:
Kepe hyt well, my lady fre,
Yyf God send the a chylde."
Forth he wente, as I you say:
To grete Rome he takes the way
To seke that worme so bolde.
Tokenyng of hym sone he fonde:
Sleyn men on ylke a honde,
Be hunders he them tolde.
Yyf he wer never so nobyll a knyght,
Of the worme when he had a syght
Hys herte began to colde.
Hyt was no wondur thogh he were wroth:
He stroke his stede and hymself both
That to the ground they wolde.
The knyght arose and his scheld up sett,
This wykked worme on hym bett
Byttur dyntes and felle.
He kest out mony fyre brondes thore,
Evyr nere the nyght the more,
As hyt walled owt of helle.
Syr Eglamour, forsoth I sey,
Half hys tonge he stroke away;
The fend began to yelle.
With the stump that hym was leved
He stroke the knyght on the hed
A depe wonde and a felle.
The knyght seyde, "Now am I schent!"
Nere the wykked worme he went,
Hys hed he stroke away.
And then so nere hym ys he gon
He cleves hym by the rygge bon.
The felde he wan that day.
The Emperour stode in a towre,
And sygh the fyght of Sir Eglamour,
And to hys men he gan say,
"Gart crye in Rome, 'The dragon ys sleyn!'
Tha has a knyght don with all his mayn
Wurthely, per ma fay!"
In grett Rome he gart crye
Ilke an ofycer in his baylye,
"The worme has evyll endyng!"
The Emperour has taken the way
To the knyght, ther he lay
Besyde that dredfull thyng.
And all that myght ryde or gon
To Sir Eglamour hyed they thon;
With blys they gon hym hom bryng.
They are so fayn the worme ys sleyn
With processyon they come hym agayn;
Radly the bellys they rynge.
The Emperour has a dowghtur bryght:
Sche has unduretane the knyght -
Hyre name was Dyamuntowre.
There sche saves hym fro the deed,
With here handys sche helys hys heed
A twelfmonyth in hyr bowre.
Thys ryche Emperour of Rome
Sent aftyr the dragone
That in the feld was deed.
Hys sydys hard as balayne was,
Hys wynges were grene as any glas,
Hys hed as fyre was reed.
When they sawe the hydowes best
Mony awey then ronne fest
And from hym fled full sone.
They metyd hym, forty fote and mo,
The Emperour commanded they schuld hym do;
Hys wyll most nede be done.
To Seynt Lawrans kyrke they hym bare
And ther schall he lye evurmare
To the day of dome.
When the remeved that fowle thyng
Mony men fell in swonyng
For stynke that from hym come.
Letters come to Artas
That the dragon of Rome dede was;
A knyght has hym slon.
So long at lechecraft gon he dwelle,
A knave chyld has Crystabelle,
As whyte as whalys bon.
The Erle gaf to God a vowe:
"Dowghtyr, into the see schalt thowe
In a schyp alone,
And that bastard that ys the dere
Cristundam schall non have here!"
Hyr maydens wepte ylkon.
Yf sche were nevur so fayr ne whyte,
Yt was the schip all redy made tyte
That sche schulde in fare.
Sche lokes on hir child with here ye,
"My sone," sche seyde, "we most nede dye!"
Sche hadde full mykyll care.
The lady that was in care clad,
To the schyp they her lad,
Sche and hyr frely fode.
Hyr chambir wymmen in swonyng gan fall
And so dyde hyr fryndes all
That wolde hyr any good.
Sche seyde, "Fadyr, I you pray
That a prest myght me a gospell say
For fendes in the flode."
Sche prayde here gentyllwymmen fre,
"Grete well my lord, when ye hym se."
They wepped as they were wode.
The lady syked with herte sare,
The wynd rose and to a roche here bare
And thereon gon sche lende.
Sche was full fayn, I undurstonde,
Sche wend hyt had be byggyd londe
And there up gan sche wende.
Nothyng ellys sygh sche dere
Butt see fowles that wylde were
That fast flew here hende.
A grype come in all hyr care,
The yong chyld away he bare
To a countré unkende.
Then the lady sayde, "Allas
That evyr I born was!
My chylde ys tane me fro!"
In the lond of Israell gon he lyght;
That wroghte the lade both day and nyght
Sorow and mykyll wo.
The kyng of Israell an huntyng went;
He sygh where the grype was lent
And thedur rode with othur mo.
He strok on the chylde with his byll;
The chyld scryked that greved hym yll -
He rose and lefte hym so.
A skwyere to the chyld gon passe,
In a skarlet mantell wonden he was
With a full ryche pane,
In that skarlet mantell wounden,
With a gyrdyll of golde fast bounden.
Hys yen were clere as cristall stane.
All they swere be the Rode
The child was comen of gentyll blode,
Where evur he was tane.
For that he fro the grype fell
They named hym Degrebell,
That wylsome was of wane.
The kyng leves huntyng that tyde,
Home with the chyld gon he ryde,
That from the grype was hent.
"Dame," he seyde unto the qwene,
"Mykyll of solas have I sene -
Thys chyld God has me sent."
Thereof sche was both glad and blyth
And sent aftur a nurce full swyth.
Hys sydus were long and gent.
Leve ye the chyld with mykyll honour
And speke we of his modur whyte as flour,
What weys our Lord here lent.
All nyght on the roche sche lay,
A wynd rose agayn the day
And fro the lond here dryves.
Sche had nothere mast ne rothere
Butt ylke storme strengere then odur
Strongly with her stryves.
As the boke of Rome sayes,
Sche was meteles syx dayes:
Hyr herte for care hyt clevys.
Butt the sixte day or none
God sent here socoure sone:
In Egypte up sche ryves.
The kyng of Egypt stod in a toure
And sygh the lady whyte as floure,
Was wroken on the sonde.
He commaundyd a sqwyere to go and se
And loke what in the schyp may be;
The wynd has dryven hit to londe.
For feyntenes sche spake no worde;
The lady lyfte up hyr hode
And made sygnes with here hond.
To the schyp sche come full tyte,
And on the syde gan he smyte:
The lady gan up stonde.
Makes mery, for yt ys beste!
For this ys the laste geste
That I now take in honde.
He wyste never what sche ment;
Agayn to the kyng ys he went
And kneled on hys knee.
"Lord, in the yondur schip nothyng ys
But a woman in lykenes
That rose and loked on me.
A fayrer thyng sawe I never non,
Nothere of flesch, blode ne bon,
But hyt were Mary fre.
Sche makes me synes with her hond
As sche were of another lond
Beyonde the Grekus see."
"Be Jhesu!" sayde the gentyll kyng,
"I wyll se that swete thyng."
And thethureward he gose.
Into the schip he goth anone
And bad here speke in Goddys nome.
Agayn the kyng sche rose:
The damysell that was so mylde
Had so greet for here chylde
That sche was waxen hose.
To a chaumbur they here ledde,
Good mete they here bede;
With good wyll sche with hem gose.
Aftyr mete then freynes the kyng,
"When art thou, my swete thyng?
For thou art bryght of ble."
Sche sayde, "I was born in Artas,
Syr Prynsamour my fadyr was,
The lord of that countré.
Sythen it befell, on a day,
I and my madyns went to play
Be a syde of the see.
The wedyr was lythe and a bote ther stode;
I and my sqwyer therin yode -
Uncristen man was he!
"On lond I leved my maydenes alle,
My sqwyer on slepe gon falle,
A mantyll over hym I drewe.
A wynd rose and tyll a roche us bare,
A fowle come to my sqwyere thare
And swyftly away hym threwe."
The kyng sayde, "Make good chere,
Thow art my brodyr dowghtyr dere!"
For joye of hym sche lowgh.
Leve this lady whyte as floure
And speke we more of Sir Eglamour:
Now comes to hym care inowgh.
When Sir Eglamour was hole and sownd
And well covered of hys wond
He buskes and makes hym yare.
He thankes the Emperour of thys,
Hys dowghtyr that was the Emperysse
And all that he fond thare.
Crystabell was in hys thowght;
The dragones hed forgat he noght -
On a spere he hyt bare.
Be that seven wykes were come to ende
In the lond of Artas gon he lende,
To hym come letters of care.
The countré herde, I undyrstand,
That Sir Eglamour was comand
With the dragons hed.
A sqwyer went agayn hym sone,
"Lo, lord, what the Erle has done:
Fayre Crystabell ys ded!
A knave chyld had sche with hyre borne,
Thay have both here lyves lorne -
He was both whyte and rede.
He has don in the see them two
And with the wynd lett hem go."
The knyght swoned in that stede.
"Lord!" seyde the knyght so fre,
"Where evyr the gentyllwymmen be
That in chambur with here was?"
The sqwyer answered hym full sone,
"Lord, in the see when sche was done;
Ylkon ther way gon passe."
Into the halle gan they fare
Among the grete lordes that there ware
Before the Erle of Artas.
"Have here this dragons hed.
All ys myn that here ys leved -
Thow syttys in my plas!"
A gret rewthe yt was to here
How he called aftur Cristabell his fere
And sayde, "Art thou in the see?
God that dyede on the Crosse
On thy sowle have mercy
And on thy yong sone so fre."
The Erle was ferd of Sir Eglamour:
He rose up and toke a towre,
That evyrmore woo hym be.
"Gentyllmen, so God you save,
All that odure of knyght woll have
Ryse up and take at me!"
Gentyllmen come hym tyll;
They were fayn to do his wyll -
He gaf them orders sone,
And in the halle when he was stad
Fyve and thretty knytes he mad
Be that othur day at none.
And sythen, I understond,
He takes the wey to the Holy Lond
Ther God on Cros was don.
Syr Eglamour, as ye may here,
Dwelled in the Holy Lond fiftene yere
The heden men among.
Full dowghtyly he hym bare
There ony dedes of armes ware
Agayn them that lyved wrong.
Be that the fiftene yere were come and gon,
The chyld that the grype had tane
Was both stren and stronge.
In justenyng nore in tornament
Ther myght no man sytte his dent 3
Butt he cast hem to the ground.
Syr Degrebell was wyse and wyghte;
The kyng of Israell made hym knyght
And prynce with hys honde.
Lestenes lordynges, both lefe and dere,
What armes the chyld bare ye schal here
And ye wyll undyrstond.
He bare in armere a grype of golde
Rychely betyn in the molde.
In hys clothys wavond
A knave chyld in a mantyll wondyn
And with a goldyn gyrdull bowndyn,
As he was browght to the lond.
The kyng of Israell was old;
To Degrebell hys sone he told,
"I wold thou haddest a wyfe;
For I trow thou art me dere.
When I am dede thou getys no pere,
In rychesse thou art so ryfe."
A messyngere stode by the kyng:
"In Egypt wones a swete thyng,
The fayrest that ever bare lyfe.
The kyng hath hys othe sworne
Ther schall no man hyre have that ys born
Butt he wynns hyre with stryfe!"
He sware then, "And sche bo good
Therfore I woll not let, Be the Rode.
Han don and buske the swythe!"
He commanded a messynger to gon
To byd hys knyghtys everylke on
That they be there belyve.
They busked hem with ryall fare;
Armoure to schip they bare
And passed the watyr blythe.
Be thre wykes were come to ende
ln the lond of Egypt con they lende
Therefore for to kythe.
A messyngere went before to tell,
"Here comes the kyng of Israell
With a fayre semble!
The prins ys comme, with many a knyght,
For to wynne your dowghtyr bryght,
Yyf your wyll be."
He sayde, "Be God, I trowe I schall
Fynd redy justyng for them all.
Dere wellcome schall they be."
Trumpes in topcastels rose,
The ryche kyng to londe gose,
His knyghtus were clad in pall.
The chyld that was of fiftene yere,
He gose among hem as ye may here:
A fote above hem all.
The kyng of Egypt agayn hem gose,
The kyng be the hond he tase
And ledde hym to the halle.
"I pray you swythe, yf that ye myghte,
Of your dowghtyr to have a syghte,
Als whyte as bon of whall."
Tyll a chambur they have here browght,
With mannes hond as sche were wroght
Or corven on a tre.
Hys sone stode styll and hyre behelde,
"Well were hym that the myght welde!"
To hymself sayde he.
The kyng of Israell asked that lady fre
Yyf sche myght passe the Greces see
Hys sones wyfe to be.
Sche seyde, "Ye, yf that he may
Sytte for me a stroke or tway,
Thy askyng graunt I the."
Grete lordes were at on assent;
Waytes blewe; up to mete they went
With a full ryall chere.
Two kynges the dese bygan,
Syr Degrebell and Crystabell than,
Yyf they were sybbe full nere.
Knyghtes wente to sette, iwys,
Ilke a sqwyere in hys offys
To serve hys lorde there.
Aftyr mete then weschen they;
"Deus pacis" clerkes gon sey
That all men myght hyt here.
On the morn the day sprong,
Gentyll to there armour throng,
Syr Degrebell was dyght.
And trumpes in the feld rose,
Ilke a lorde tyll othyr gose -
Hyt was a semyly syght.
Grete lordes made this cry,
"What manere of man, sykurly,
That berys a grype full bryghte?"
Herodes of armes gon them telle,
"That ys the pryns of Israell,
Be well ware for he ys wyghte."
The kyng of Egypte tase a schafte,
That sawe the chylde and anothur rawght,
Yyf he were nevere so kene.
Agayn the kyng the chylde gon fare,
Hors and man adown he bare
Strongly on that grene.
The kyng seyde, "So God me save,
Thow art best worthy here to have!"
Thus seyde they all bydene.
Lordes then justed they,
Sqwyeres on that othure day,
Dowghty men and kene.
Two kynges that were of myght
Toke Crystabell that was so bryght,
To the kyrke they here lede.
Thus gracyously he hase sped
Hys owen modyr hase he wed,
As I herde a clerke rede.
Hys armes they bare hym beforn -
Sche thynkes how hyre chyld away was born,
Therfore sorow sche hade.
Sche grette therfore and sorow gan make
And all was for hyr sones sake;
A grett swonyng sche made.
"What now," sayde he, "my lady clere,
Why makes thou so sympull chere?
Me thynkes thou art not glade."
"Lorde, in thyn armes a fowle I se
That sumtyme raft a chyld fro me
A knyght dere hym bowghte."
The kyng swere, "Be Crystus myght!
In my forest gon he lyght;
A grype to londe hym browghte."
He commanded a sqwyere that was hende
Aftur the cofure for to wende
Thereinne hyt was ledde.
I wote he toke hem out full rathe
And a goldyn gyrdull bathe
Full rychely were they redde.
The lady seyde, "Full wo ys me!
They were fro me rafte in the see."
O swonynge down sche brayde.
"How longe sythen?" The kyng gon sey.
"Fyftene yere," sche sayde, "per ma fay!"
They graunted alle to that sche sayde.
"Lo, sone, all that we done hade:
A sybbe maryage han we made
In spryngyng of the mone.
I rede we loke, so God me save,
The gre in feld ho so may have,
And in haste that hyt be done."
"Ye, fadur, I holde your counceyll good,
So do I my modyr, by the Rode.
I wedded hyre byfore the none.
Ther schall no man have here, be Seynt Mary,
Butt he wynne here als dowghtyly
As myself have done!"
Grete lordes ylkon tyll othur gon sey,
"For hyr love we wyll turnay
With swerd scharp on end.
He that wynnes this lady clere
He schall wedde hyre tyll hys fere,
There hym loves best to lende."
Herodes of armes forth they went
To dyscrye thys turnament
In all londys hende.
Syr Eglamour was homwarde bowne
And herd of that dede of grete renowne,
And thythure gan he wende.
For Crystabell was don in the see
No armes bare he.
Lystyn and I wyll you say sykurly.
He bare a schyp in armes of gold 4
And a lady drownyng as sche schold,
A chyld lyand hyr by.
The chyld was butt a nyght old.
Hys mast was of sylvyre and gold
In every poynte to the ye.
Of reed gold was hys fane,
Hys sales and hys ropes ylkane
Was purtred varely.
Gentyllmen that herd that cry
Thethur went they ryally,
They that dowghty ware.
The kyng of Sydon come full sone
With many a knyght, full hard bone,
That ryche colours bare.
Renges they made in the felde
That grete lordes myghte them welde:
Full faste they turneyd thare.
Syr Eglamour, yf he come last,
Yyt he was not away to cast -
The knyght was cladde in care.
Crystabell that lady small,
Sche was browght to the wall
There the crye was made.
The chyld that was of fiftene yere eld,
He was aunterus in the feld.
In that stowre he rade.
When Degrebell began to smyte,
From his handis they went ful tyte:
Wold non hys dynt abyde.
He sees a knyght hovande full stylle,
Syr Degrebell rydes hym tylle
And sayde, "Wylt thou not ryde?"
He seyde, "Hit ys for werynesse,
For I am come out of hethennesse -
Grete syn it were me to tene."
Hys owen sayde, "So mote I the,
Then shuld thou not han armed the!
More worschyp had hyt bene."
The knyght smylyd and on hym lowgh,
"Hase thou not turneyd yyt inowgh
Butt thou of more me pray?"
He sayd, "No, Mari! I am aunterus in stowre5
For a lady, as whyte as flowre,
To wynne here yyf I may."
"Be Jhesu!" swere the knyght than,
"I schall asaye yyf I can
Ony thyng turnay.
Be God, som tyme have I sene,
In all so hard sement have I bene
And wan full wele away."
Grete lordes with wepens long,
Gentyllmen her horses sprong,
Dowghty men everylke on.
Syr Eglamour has turned the flatt:
He gafe his sone syche a patt -
To the erthe ys he gon.
All they sware, "Upon the molde,
He that berys a schyp of golde
Has wonne here full gayne."
The lady sayde, "Full wo ys me.
My sone ys deed, be Cristus pyté!
Yondure knyght has hym slayne."
Herodes of armes cryed then
Yf ther were any gentyllmen
To make his body goode.
Grete lordes sayd now,
"Best wordy art thow
To welde yond frely fode."
To unarme hym the knyght gose
Kyrtels and surcotis and other close
That dowghty were in dede.
Two kynges the dese began,
Syr Eglamour and Crystabell than.
Jhesu us all spede!
Sche asked be what cheson he bore
A schyp of gold, maste and ore
Fro the see drowned was done.
The knyght sone gon answere,
"Thay made the endyng ryght there,
My lemman and my yonge sone."
The lady letted for no schane,
"Gode syr, wat ys your name?
Telles me in thys stownde!"
"Men called me ther I borne was
Syr Eglamour of Artas,
Tho of a worme had a wonde."
There was mony a robe of palle,
Then servyd the chyld in the halle
Of the fyrst messe that day.
Pryvyly sche to hym spake,
"This ys thy fadyr that the gate!"
Therewith say I not nay.
A grete joye hyt was to se
When he kneled on hys knee;
There was a hert full sore.
Hyt is soth sayd, be God of heven,
"Mony meten at unsett steven,"
And so befell hyt thore.
The kyng of Israell gon hym telle
How he fond Syr Degrebell;
Knytes lystend thanne.
Syr Eglamour kneled on hys kne,
"And, lord, Gode yelde hyt the;
Ye have made hym a manne."
The kyng sayde, "I schall hym geve
Half my londes whyle I leve,
My sone as whyte as swanne."
The kyng of Sydon sayd also,
"And my dowghtyr Organate to -
Me mynnes his fadure hyr wan."
Syr Eglamour prayd the lordys all
Hom into Artas hym wend withall
And at hys bredale to be.
They graunted that there were alle,
They busked them with ryall
Fare and sythen passed the see.
Shyppus ley wroken on the sond,
Ilkon toke othur be the hond,
Knaves there hors gon dryve.
This olde erld, Sir Prynsamoure,
Fell down bakward of a towre
And brake hys nekke belyve.
A messengere come before to tell
What kyns aunterus the Erle befell.
Wyth God may no man stryfe!
All nyght there they lay
Tyll on the morn that hyt was day
To wedde that lady bryght.
There was mony a lord of pride,
Kyngus led hyre on every side.
Hyt was a semmyly syght!
Sythen a byschop gan hem wedde;
They thanked God they had so spedde,
And Mary mykyll of myght.
Sythe to wedde gon they go,
Syr Degrebell and Organato,
He was a full fayr knyght.
There was drowen in that stownd
The mowntans of a thowzand pownd,
Gete hyt wo so myght.
Mynstrelles come fro fere lond,
Thay hadde ryche gyftes, I unthurstond,
In hert they were lyght.
Sythen to the castell gon they wende
To holde the brydale to the ende,
Hyt lasted a fowrtenyght.
When the brydale was all don
Ilke a lorde toke his lefe full son,
Thedur there they schuld lend all nyght.
Mynstralles that were ther in that stownd
Ther gyftus were worth an hondred pownd,
The boldere myght they spende.
In Rome this gest cronyclyd ys,
Jhesu brynge us to hys blys
That nevyr schall have ende!
Explicit Eglamour of Artas
give them; hear
Artois does he reside
was called; (see note)
bore himself; (see note)
did she [love]
ask for her (hand)
Friend, if you could keep a secret
You travel widely; (see note)
by my faith
So may I prosper
Don't take it ill
much; (see note)
Perhaps she would take it scornfully
treat me lightly
high; (see note)
virtue held herself
life (love); (see note)
by the living God
Mourning to; goes
sick; nearly dead
Unless; do poorly
To where; did dwell; (see note)
So may I prosper
If; return; (see note)
from; know; (see note)
fail; advantage; (see note)
understood the meaning
recovered from his great woe
taken to himself
tomorrow; set out
may I prosper
Before the night came nigh then
to me dear; precious
Vouchsafe her to me
Here to the west
Cypress trees; (see note)
Go thither; fetch
give you; greyhounds; (see note)
edge; no other
the [good] fortune
pierce (go through)
aroused him from his rest; (see note)
It were better for him to cease
them who; begot
dearer bought; meat
next; about 6:00 a.m.
country folk; [to] him
episode truly; (see note)
Prepare yourself quickly
at evening time
on all sides
sea; rushing sound
penetrate its hide
dangerous; (see note)
bears (a shield) of gold a very fair sight
steed; azure; (see note)
spears; sable (black)
may I prosper
fight with you
to anger you
since I was a man of knightly arms
Adventurous; (see note)
The brother of the giant Marras
brake (cut up); quickly
all the rest
For carts; (see note)
had made ready
By [the time]
By; law (religion); believe in
believe; to slay
atone before; hence
course of action
death blow; (see note)
By my faith
populace; (see note)
Towards; (see note)
high dais all together
devil slay you
Not unless I am worthy
their; (see note)
graciously he began to tell her
by [the time that]; (see note)
keep her secrets
burns like a fire with anxiety
tell me no
feats; (see note)
(once) for all
By hundreds; counted
He (the dragon); his (Eglamour's)
Bitter blows; fierce
Always more as night neared
its tongue; (see note)
undertaken (the care of)
church; (see note)
He stayed so long being healed
Baptism; (see note)
did her friends
Who wished her
Against fiends; sea
sighed; (see note)
fast flew [from] her quickly
saw; griffin landed
eyes; (see note)
sides; (see note)
the other (i.e., the previous one)
sixth; before noon
last [part of the] poem
They invited her to a good dinner
went; (see note)
take (it) from
then; (see note)
on his coat of arms; griffin
combat; (see note)
If she be
make yourself ready quickly
By [the time that]
Their expedition to make known
trumpets; (see note)
As if she were wrought by man's hand
carved from a tree
Watchmen; (see note)
sat at the head of the table
God's peace; (see note)
takes a lance
As he was ever so bold
That once took from me a child
That a knight had dearly paid for; (see note)
Look, son, at all that we have done
advise; look (find)
victory in tournament who; (see note)
(i.e., not blunted)
as his mate
Where he likes best to live
recount; (see note)
New; (see note)
Wherever the eye might see; (see note)
sails; (see note)
of very hard bones
Yet he was not turned away
standing; (see note)
own (son); (see note)
tourney at all (ironic understatement)
contest; (see note)
And escaped harm completely
flat edge of his sword
ground; (see note)
To take up the challenge
govern; young man
kirtles; surcoats; clothes
Was drowned in the sea
stopped; shame; (see note)
Many meet through unexpected events
readied themselves; royal
Each one (lord) took the other by the hand
kinds of adventures
minstrels; (see note)
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