Bevis of Hampton
BEVIS OF HAMPTON: FOOTNOTES1 Lines 23-24: It would have been better had he forsaken her than lose all his land
2 Lines 41-42: The king did not wish him to take her away, for anything alive
3 Lines 59-60: All day he would rather be in church / Than in my bower
4 Lines 184-86: "Yes," she said, "from a wild boar I think, if memory serves me right, remedy [will come] for all of the fever"
5 Lines 341-42: I do not care what kind of death he dies, / As long as he is cold
6 Lines 400-02: Unless you go hence very quickly, / You shall rue it [as] many times / [As] you come there
7 The wicked ones who betrayed him were lying
8 That he almost lost his countenance (identifying features) there
9 You blame him (the horse), who has no control [over the situation]
10 "I will," he said, "no matter who does not want me to"
This edition follows the text of the Auchinleck MS (A), fols. 176-201. We have followed Kölbing's edition and used E (Duke of Sutherland, now Egerton 2862) to account for the leaf that is missing in A, for the lines in our edition numbered 2289-2464. Kölbing's emendations to the MS are listed in the notes, both where we have accepted his reading and where we have preferred to follow the MS or made other choices. We should also point out that standard paleographic abbreviations in the MS are presented as emendations in the Kölbing edition, emendations he prints in italics in the text of his edition. In citing his edition in our notes, we have not maintained this distinction.
1 The incipit bears an illustration of a knight standing in full armor holding a lance. Perhaps this is an indication of a wealthy patronage and the making of this collection in a London bookshop. See Laura Hibbard Loomis, "The Auchinleck Manuscript and a Possible London Bookshop of 1330-1340," PMLA 57 (1942), 595-609.
11 schire. In the Middle Ages a shire was a province or subdivision of a county. Many cities in England retain suffixes that indicate a seat of government. A modern ana-logue for shire would be county.
15 As the notes to the other romances have reminded us, in Middle English, double and even triple negatives add emphasis. Unlike in modern English a double negative does not constitute an affirmative.
25 An elde a wif he tok an honde. A: An elde wif. Kö's emendation recognizes the youth of the bride. It is the bridegroom who is overly mature.
34-42 That the emperor of Germany is a former lover as indicated here sets up the unhappy marital relation. The bride, who is never identified except as Bevis' mother, is dissatisfied because her choice of husband has been thwarted by her father's uni-lateral decision.
62 fight. MS hard to read here.
91 ferste dai. A: ferþe. Kö's emendation is in agreement with E, S, N, and C readings as well as medieval celebrations of May Day, a day dedicated to love.
133 ferste day. A: ferþe. Kö's emendation is consistent with the emendation in line 91. S, N, and C: first.
143 And thou schelt after her wedde to spouse. A: þow schelt after wedde to spouse. Kö emends by adding her as object of the completed quest. Though the lady's desire is known, the emphasis on marriage as a reward is significant.
148 Gladder icham. A: Glad. E and N: I am gladder. The emendation is Kö's based on E and N readings.
173 levedi was right wel apaid. A: levidi ri¥ t wel apaid. Kö adds the intransitive verb, based on its presence in C.
190 tresoun mest. Treason in the Middle Ages connotes treachery or betrayal of someone to whom one owes loyalty. Treason is thus not only a personal transgression, but a political transgression as well.
203 The earl wears less armor than he would if he knew he were facing a combat situation.
245 The exaggerated number of knights is a convention of medieval romance. Often the hero performs superhuman deeds in battle killing hundreds and thousands of opponents single-handedly. See line 4532 for the extreme instance.
292 The messenger speaks the words he is told to speak, conveying the message verbatim. Messengers play an important role in medieval romance; they not only convey dialogue, but act as narrative links. Oftentimes the messenger takes the brunt of the recipient's anger. Bevis himself will play the role of messenger later in the poem.
302 Vile houre. Bevis calls his mother a "vile whore" and wishes her to be drawn to death. Drawing or dragging, usually accompanied by quartering, entailed tying each limb to a separate rope then pulling the body in opposing directions by four horses, literally tearing the victim's body into four pieces. The punishment was usually reserved for felons of the worst sort.
307 thee faire ble. The scribe regularly spells the pronoun the. On the assumption that the pronoun was pronounced with a long ', we have transcribed the pronoun the as thee. Although the poet generally uses thee in objective (dative and accusative) situations, possessive and nominative usages are likewise commonplace. For other possessive placements, see, for example, lines 310, 374, 482, 540, 557, 564, 605, 896, 918, 922, 925, 1097, 1107, 1109, 1132, 1196, 1317, 1474, 1736, 2188, 2202, 3164, 3169, 3211, 3628, 3633, 3656, 3738, 3837, 4087, 4428; for nominative use, see lines 531, 1043, 1082, 1103, 1233, 1422, 1843, 2121, 2124, 2188, 2203, 3657, 3658, 4227; and for dative of agency, which we translate with an "it is" syntax, see lines 1007, 2210; or as a reflexive pronoun, see lines 1006, 1733, 3015, 4374, 4426, and 4427. He also uses me in all three functions. E.g., see lines 671 and 1043.
310 alle wif. Bevis imagines his mother a madame in a brothel.
315 And be of elde. A: ben of elde. E and N: be of. C: come to. Kö clarifies the line.
320 That child she smot with hire honde. One of many scenes of domestic violence. Not recognized by medieval law, violence among family members was considered a private matter with parents having customary rights to corporal punishment of their children.
322 The child fel doun and that was scathe. A: Þe child fel doun and þat scaþe. Kö adds an intransitive verb.
323 meister. Although Saber is Bevis' uncle he is also his guardian, mentor, or, perhaps, teacher, which is a common gloss on ME maister. See also lines 487 ff. where Bevis comes to his "teacher's" defense. Saber's name may have significance (from OE sigebush, meaning "victory fortress"); Saber is the faithful keeper of the estate and the faith, throughout Bevis' prolonged absence, and ultimately becomes earl of Hampshire. He is not to be confused with the bishop of Cologne, Saber Florentine, who appears in lines 2926 ff.
325 The knight was trewe and of kinde. Kö adds the possessive pronoun his before kinde to confer a "nature" upon the knight. The emendation is unnecessary.
347 Like the huntsman in Snow White and various other folk narratives, Saber circumvents the commands of a wicked mother by slaying an animal.
395-99 The role of the porter is often stressful in medieval literature since it is he who decides who is worthy of entrance into the city or castle.
398 Scherewe. From this term derives "shrew." In the Middle Ages the term connoted "rascal," "rogue," "wicked person," "evil-doer," and "unruly or ill-disciplined child." It could also refer to an overbearing woman.
415-20 Bevis' novel means of entry defies protocol.
443 a smot him with. A: a smot him him wiþ. This duplication of words is a typical scribal redundancy in A.
454 Wo hem was for the childes sake. The knights sympathize with Bevis and let him go. Perhaps, they are also afraid of him.
496 painim londe. The term could mean anyplace outside of Christian Europe. Painim could refer to any group of people not practicing Christianity.
497 Bevis' mother is participating in an activity that goes well beyond fostering and is reminiscent of the actions of Joseph's brothers when they sell him into slavery in Genesis. Or perhaps Orestes, when Clytemnestra puts him away. Like Orestes, Bevis will return seeking vengeance for the murder of his father. Fortunately for him the mother dies on her own so that he is not compelled to exact justice for her treason. But he does take care of her lover, his stepfather.
499 mor and lesse. A: mor & lesse. Kö: mor or lesse. We have retained the MS reading as a commonplace idiom implying "all."
510 be him mild. A: be us mild. E: him. Kö capitalizes Him, as if to ask Christ's mercy for Bevis rather than for "us," as in A.
515 The trip is given short shrift. In the course of two lines, they have sailed out of England and arrived in the Middle East. The land, as indicated in other MSS, is called Ermony, which usually refers to Armenia.
520-22 The contrast between snow and blood as well as the attention to the shoes on Josian's feet recall fairy tale motifs such as those of Cinderella, Snow White, and Rose Red. The allusion would not be farfetched since fairy tales and folk tales, then as now, were present in virtually every culture in the world. Both genres are integrally related to medieval romance.
531 Mahoun was a common name for Mohammed in Middle English. In the standard Middle English treatment of the Islamic people (most often called Saracens in Middle English), he is treated as one of many "pagan" gods, rather than as the historical prophet of the one God, whose Arabic name is Allah.
548 Wikked beth fele wimmen to fonde. Proverbial, though not cited in Whiting or Tilley. The sense is "Many women prove to be wicked."
558 Apolyn is another of the "pagan" gods of the Saracens according to medieval understanding. This treatment of Islam is commonplace in English romances, especially the English Charlemagne romances. See Alan Lupack, ed., Three Middle English Charlemagne Romances (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 1990).
594 I not never, what. A: I no never. C: never not.
599 The Saracen finds Bevis' ignorance laughable because even he knows the significance of the day.
688 Thai were aferde, hii wer nigh wode. A: Þai were hii wer ni¥ wode. Aferde is omitted in A. Kölbing emends on the basis of other MSS' readings.
690 losengers. According to the MED this term has a range of meaning including: "one who curries favor," "a flatterer," "liar," "backbiter," "calumniator," "hypocrite," "traitorous counselor," "rascal," "coward."
707 Lemman. A term of endearment usually reserved for one's beloved. Bevis' response to Josian's declaration suggests an epiphany born of love.
844 seith the bok. The poet uses a convention of medieval romance to lend authority to his narrative. Often the "book" is French. Here it may be more than convention since this poem has a French source.
860 maught. Though the usual sense is "might" or "strength," when used to describe a weapon the sense may be "power," "craftsmanship," or "virtue."
861 The naming of a sword is commonplace in medieval romance and epic: Arthur's Excalibur, Gawain's Galantyne, Beowulf's Hrunting, Roland's Durandal, Oliver's Glorious, and Siegfried's Griel are a few.
885 So tho is a lite stounde. Kö: And tho, on the basis of E.
897 Josian's equation of love-longing as captivation is a feature of medieval ideas of courtly love. Love captures its victim with a hook or arrow and causes pain and suffering. As Andreas Capellanus explains in the Art of Courtly Love: "love is like an inborn suffering."
899 Thus that maide made. A: Þus that maide maide her mon. Kö transforms a noun to a verb for the sake of clarity.
904 Bevis' decision to take the decapitated head of the boar to the king rather than to Josian (see line 832) is no doubt related to the attack of the envious steward. He needs to prove his deed, i.e., the slaying of the beast. The steward's plan to steal the boar's head away from Bevis in order to claim his own prowess is thwarted when Bevis, in the process of defending himself, kills the steward and his accomplices. He then has an opportunity to bring the head of the steward to the king but decides against it. He has already been charged with treason once. Should the king misconstrue Bevis' story, he could face another charge of treason. Josian, who witnesses the whole scene, discloses Bevis' act later as an endorsement of his candidacy for knighthood.
924 Brademond threatens to deflower Josian and pass her on to a member of the lower classes, a serious threat indeed, given the value placed upon female virginity and social ranking in the Middle Ages.
931 And tolde hem how Brademond him asailed hadde. A: And Brademond him asailed hadde. Because A omits the first clause in the line, Kö emends following E and N: And tolde hem how.
945 to the teth. A: to the deþ. To be "armed to the teeth" is a familiar aphorism. See also lines 3644 and 4485. To be "armed to the death" makes little sense.
993 ferste scheld trome. trome (from OE truma) is a rank of warriors, a body of armed men; the ferste scheld is the vanguard, the first ward. Bevis leads his choice retainers into battle, a gesture to which the enemy instantly responds. In E the equivalent gesture is contained in the line Beues gan than his horne blowe, to which the enemy responds.
1010 wod. We have borrowed the anachronistic gloss "berserk" from Scott's nineteenth- century usage (OED) to describe the "wodness" of medieval battle frenzy. Scott's neologism provides a useful modern term for which there is no better equivalent.
1016 sonne set in the west. A: sonne set ri¥ t. E and N: sonne in the west. Kö's emendation which completes the rhyme and mends the breech in material.
1041 "Merci!" queth Bradmond, "ich me yelde. A: Merci! queþ, ich me yelde. Kö confers the speech upon Brademond, which clarifies the textual confusion.
1049 St. Martin, probably of Tours (316-97), was a soldier who later became a monk and bishop in Gaul. While Martin was still a soldier, he came upon a naked beggar near Amiens in Northern France and cut his cloak in half to give the poor man something to wear. Later Martin dreamed that Christ himself was the beggar. Martin's life and frequent miracles were popular legend in the Middle Ages. His feast day, 8 November, became known in England as Martinmas. See David Hugh Farmer, Oxford Dictionary of Saints (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982), pp. 265-66.
1051 Al that ich do, it is his dede. A: Al þat ich do, it is dede. Kö: it is his dede. The emendation is based on E and N.
1054 Thow schelt werre. E, N, and C add a negative adjective, i.e., never to warre, which is consistent with the oath Bevis demands from Brademond.
1066 Mani dai a maked him feste. E and N: a wykked fest. Kö retains A. The implication is that had Bevis known what Brademond would do to him he would/should have killed him rather than show mercy.
1098 "For Gode," queth Beves, "that ich do nelle! A: For gode, queth, þat ich do nelle! Here Kö confers speech upon Bevis. Also see line 1110.
1108 Than al the gold. EN: good.
1110 "For Gode," queth Beves. A: For gode, queþ he. Kö's emendation confers Bevis with direct address as in line 1098.
1132 daunger. This term is often related to the practices of courtly love, wherein a would-be lover could act in an aloof and distant manner. According to the MED it could also mean "domination, power, control, or possession" and "threaten to cause difficulty or damage" as Josian seems to here, at least in Bevis' perception of her declamation of love.
1166 Aboute hire nede. This is a very short line, lengthened in C: Of þat y went about your nede.
1168 So te misain. A: So te misin. Kö: So te misain a. Kö silently emends A here. But his reading improves the line.
1192 wimmannes bolt is sone schote. Proverbial; not in Tilley or Whiting. The proverb implies lack of discretion, sone suggesting "haste" or "carelessness." Compare Malory's The Great Tournament, where the huntress shoots anone and misses the hind but hits Lancelot's buttocks.
1210 Hit were gode, sire. A: Hit gode, sire, þat he were slain. Kö: It were gode, sire. Kö emends on the strength of N and C.
1239 Al in solas and in delit. A: Al in solas in delit. Kö: Al in solas and in delit on the basis of C.
1288 That Sire Beves gan of-see. A: Beves gan of. Kö's emendation.
1289 St. Julian is the patron saint of hospitality.
1331 He ne wolde love me non other. A: He ne wolde me non oþer. Kö adds "love" to the line.
1344 A cleimede his eritage. To claim a heritage is to assert a legal right to something, to demand title to something.
1380 Tervagaunt (usually Termagant) is another member of the Saracen pantheon.
1398 kende. We have glossed the term as "gentle," which seems to be closest to the primary sense of the term in this unctuous usage; "noble," "lordly," "spirited," "courageous," "brave," "dutiful," or "loyal" might do as well. See MED kinde (adj.) 4 and 5.
1412-18 Though a scoundrel, Brademond has some sense of honor; since Bevis once defeated him but did not kill him, Brademond will imprison Bevis rather than execute him. Had Bevis not previously shown his prowess, Brademond says that he would have executed him before sundown.
1422 under the fet. The point is that Bevis will no longer eat from a table. His prison is a pit twenty fathoms deep. Food and drink are dropped to him. That the stench would be suffocating is no harder to imagine than it would be to endure. Entrance and egress is by rope, which later proves to be his salvation. See lines 1537 ff.
1424 A quarter was an actual unit of measurement for grain. According to the OED it was equal to eight bushels of wheat.
1448 What dai awai whanne a wolde wende. A: What dai whanne. Kö adds awai.
1468 That I lovede ase min hertte blode. Josian's expression of love is intensified by the anatomical reference.
1469-72 Magic rings are commonplace in romance traditions. Lunette gives one to Yvain in Chrétien de Troyes' Yvain: The Knight with the Lion to protect him from harm. Rings are also used as means of identification or for signifying a courtly relation. Lapidary was a subject of great interest in the Middle Ages and gemstones often had symbolic meaning as proof of their power.
1483 Of that feste. A: If þat feste. Kö: Of þat feste. In the MS, the "I" is one of the large decorated initials.
1487 Men graithede cartes and somers. A: Men graicede cartes and somers. Kö: graiþede.
1571 His browe stank. Apparently the wound on his forehead putrifies before forming the scar.
1584 The suffering servant motif seems to be operating here. Exegetical tradition holds Christ to be the prototype. Bevis' descent and eventual ascent may mark him as a Christ figure or at the very least a mythic hero in Northrop Frye's sense of the term. See The Secular Scripture.
1612 With a strok me doth adoun falle. A: Wiþ a strok me adoun falle. Kö's emendation is based on E and N.
1614 ther-of may ben awreke. A: þer of ben me awreke. Kö's emendation is based on C.
1630 by the rop. A: be rop. Kö's emendation based on N.
1733 fox welp. An insult equivalent to heathen hound.
1756 undertide. A: undetide. Kö's emendation. The time designated by this term is noon, thought to be a particularly significant moment during the day, i.e., the time at which demons could tempt vulnerable humans. See John Block Friedman, "Eurydice, Heurodis, and the Noon-day Demon," Speculum 41 (1996), 22-29.
1799 ase wel alse man. Kö adds the wel.
1800 In this somewhat convoluted comparison, a contrast is made between the innocence of fish, who as creatures lacking reason are not able to sin, and the perfidy of Saracens, who are thought by implication to be guilty of the death of Christ.
1872 Bevis is making a grim and ironic joke about the tonsure, the "close shave" that identified medieval clerics.
1951-53 The sense is "if King Brademond and all his offspring were right there."
2058-66 The beggar's or pilgrim's disguise is a popular practice in medieval romance as well as epic poems such as Homer's Odyssey. An effective strategy for entering a hostile city, it suggests the "invisibility" of those members of society at the bottom of the social ladder.
2128 quene to eche palmare. A: quene to palmare. Kö adds eche to maintain the meter as well as to indicate direct, individual contact since the noun is singular.
2161 made miche pride. A: made made miche pride. Kö deletes the redundant verb.
2164-66 Perhaps the sense is that "it is many a man's bane to be laughed at today before the steed is caught," that is, many will try and fail (before Bevis comes along).
2203-06 The sense here is that if in England anyone can testify that Josian is married, she will return to her homeland with nothing but the smock on her back. She is suggesting that the marriage is unconsummated, which would render the relation invalid.
2210 do be rede. Kö emends to do be me rede on the authority of E and N. In so doing he clarifies Bonefas' directive, i.e., to take his advice on an escape strategy, though emendation may not be necessary.
2217 chevalrie. The term might be glossed as "chivalry," but in the sense of "horsemanship" rather than "courtesy," which subsequently displaces the earlier meaning.
2286 that we wer thore. A: þat were þore. Kö's emendation; the first-person plural pronoun clarifies the line.
2289 Cité of Diablent. From here to line 2464 the narrative is missing in A. We follow Kö's usage and use E for the intervening lines. The E scribe has a propensity for capitalization which has been emended here according to modern usage.
2352 Ascopart. Giants enjoy a long and varied history in Scripture and medieval romance. They are depicted usually as villains, apostates, arrogant, threatening monsters, and descendants of Cain (e.g., Nimrod, Goliath, Grendel, and the giants of Rabelais). There is at least one exception to the negative portrayal of giants through the ages: St. Christopher, a benevolent giant, is said to have carried the Christ child across a treacherous river. In Bevis, Ascopard is remarkable in that he falls in between.
2379 The lions seem to be in a rampant position similar to how they would appear in heraldry.
2390-94 A commonplace of medieval lore was that virginity could confer invulnerability. Also, the taming of wild beasts occurs through their recognition of the virgin queen. Only a female virgin could lure the wild unicorn into her presence. In iconography the unicorn lies blissfully with its head in the virgin's lap.
2485 And be the right leg she him grep. A: he him grep. Kö restores gender to the lion grabbing Bevis by the right leg.
2503 upon a mule. Where this mule comes from is not explained. It simply appears when needed as the knight and his lady set out. Given the recent fact of Josian's conversion, the trope perhaps suggests female virtue. Compare Gower's Constance in Confessio Amantis as she rides out to meet her father "Upon a Mule whyt amblaunt" (II.1506) and Una's mount as she sets out with Redcrosse Knight in the Faerie Queene, I.i.29 Or it may simply be an appropriate mount for a royal woman as in King Alexander, where Cleopatra "rod on a mule white so milk" (line 1031). Religious connotations are also possible as seen in Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem; riding on an ass rather than a warhorse denotes him as the Prince of Peace, not a conquering military hero. The Virgin Mary is also depicted in iconography riding an ass toward Jerusalem to give birth, then later during the flight into Egypt. The "wild ass" was associated with Ishmael and became a symbol of conversion.
2569-70 come withouten ensoine / To the haven of Coloine. Compare Richard the Lion Hearted, ed. Brunner (1913): Fforþ þey wenten wiþuten ensoyne / To þe cyte off Coloyne, as cited by MED ensoine (n.). That MS dates from c. 1475. Not many words rhyme with ensoine (or Coloine), which may be a factor. See also lines 2657-58 and 2891-92, where the words are rhymed.
2585 Who is this with the grete visage. The bishop is referring to Ascopard.
2601 dragoun. The dragon ("drake" or serpent) is one of the most vivid beasts created by the medieval European imagination. As serpent it represents the archetype of temptation in the Garden of Eden. In its more imaginative manifestations it becomes the beast of Revelation, a symbol of pure evil, who opposes the archangel Michael and his angelic forces. Its presence in medieval romance usually points to the hero's extraordinary prowess.
2603-07 Wade, Lancelot, and Guy of Warwick are great heroes in the romance tradition. By comparing Bevis' exploits to theirs, the author is authenticating Bevis' credentials as a hero of the first rank, and is also exemplifying the fact that the romance is a self-conscious genre, with individual romances constantly referring to characters and incidents in other romances and to their own sources. Notice, for example, the number of times in Bevis that we are given lines such as "as the book saith," or "as the French book saith." Such lines also remind us that medieval writers held written authority in high esteem. A reference to an earlier book is not simply a footnote, but a validation from an "auctor." (This Latin word means both author and authority at the same time.)
2611 Apulia is in Southern Italy, as is Calabria. One of the distinguishing features of Bevis is a kind of geographical sweep. Italy here joins with Germany, the near east, and many parts of England as part of that sweep.
2637 Toke here flight. A: To here fli¥ t. Kö restores the appropriate verb.
2640 Tuscany is in north-central Italy. It is the region of such cities as Florence, Siena, and Pisa.
2665 The cholle is that part of a dragon's anatomy which extends from the chin to the throat and from ear to ear.
2673 wintonne. A wine tun is a wine barrel.
2693 Thanne a herde. Bevis' vision comes in two phases: first a vision of one wounded by a mad king who is saved by a virgin; and second of one swollen with venom from a dragon. Both visions pertain to his own precarious situation.
2698 me never non. A: me never mo. Kö's emendation which improves the sense and rhyme.
2747 There are many saints named John. Perhaps the invocation is to John of Patmos, who, in the Middle Ages, is often credited with the writing of the Book of Revelation. The apocalyptic, cosmic battle depicted there features a fierce, seven-headed dragon.
2749 Beves answerde. A: Beves answede. Kö clarifies the action.
2762 anan. A: anan. More usually anon, this may be scribal error. Kö retains the variance, nonetheless, and so have we.
2802 Bevis' taking of refuge in the healing well as he fights the dragon is echoed in Redcrosse Knight's retreat to the well of virginal virtue after the first and second days of fighting in Spenser's Faerie Queene. Note Bevis' second venture in the well in lines 2850 ff. It is not mere coincidence that in line 2817 Bevis calls upon St. George for strength. See note to line 2817.
2815 of is helm a drank thore. The line is perhaps echoed in Chaucer's Tale of Sir Thopas (CT VII.15), though there the parallel is attributed to "sire Percyvell."
2817 St. George is the martyr and patron of England. The story of George and the dragon was immensely popular, disseminated through the twelfth-century Golden Legend of Jacobus de Voragine which was then translated by William Caxton in the fifteenth century. But, according to the Oxford Dictionary of Saints, the story was known in England as early as the seventh century. Edmund Spenser's portrayal of Redcrosse Knight in the Fairie Queene reiterates St. George's status as patron saint of England.
2838-39 The story of Jesus' raising of Lazarus from the dead is told in the Gospel according to John, ch. 11. Because it was considered one of Jesus' definitive miracles, it is often used when asking God's help in extremely precarious, not to say seemingly hopeless, situations.
2848 bacinet. A basinet is a supplementary cap worn under the helmet.
2852 dai other night. A: dai the ni¥ t.
2879 See note to line 2665.
2882 yenede swithe wide. Because of its armor plate the only way that Bevis can get to the dragon's heart is through its throat; thus the dragon's wide-mouthed gasp proves fatal to the beast.
2897 And asked that. A: And asked at. Kö replaces the thorn.
2967 Ac ever, an erneste and a rage. Perhaps this suggests that he was not only serious, but angry as well.
2976 mesage for to don anon. A: message for don anon. Kö adds to don anon on the basis of M.
2985-06 Note the irony of giving Bevis a version of his own history.
3105-08 The sense of this passage seems to be that because the emperor has sex with his wife too frequently, his aim has been affected. Distorted vision, thought to be an effect of sexual excess, is also used as a metaphor by some medieval writers.
3180 Here soper was ther redi dight. A: Here soper wer redi di
t. Kö restores the meter on the evidence of E and N.
3187 ff. It was not unusual for witnesses to observe a newly married couple in bed in order to validate the marriage. The issue of whether consent or sexual intercourse were necessary for a valid marriage was vexed in the Middle Ages. David Herlihy writes: "The most common opinion was that consent alone was sufficient, but some experts continued to affirm that physical union perfected the marriage and rendered it binding" (Medieval Households [Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985], p. 80).
3217 Kö provides the following explanation of "rail-tree": "On bed curtains, see Our English Home, p. 101: 'Bed-curtains hung upon rails of 'tre' or metal were in use [at this time] . . ." (p. 323).
3244 That al wide opun it wonde. A: upon. Kö: opun on the basis of N.
3248 A caudle is a drink, often taken for medicinal purposes, consisting of thin gruel, wine, and spices.
3289 In hire smok. A: In hire hire smok. Kö eliminates the redundant pronoun.
3340 Ich wende he hadde ben anhonge. A: Ich wende hadde ben anhonge. Kö adds he for the sake of clarity.
3352 Mani hondes maketh light werk. Whiting cites Bevis (c. 1300) as the earliest recorded instance of this proverb.
3356 A pitched battle is a particular strategy in medieval warfare.
3362 Hit scholde some of hem rewe sore. A: some of rewe sore. Kö adds hem to restore the meter.
3391 that other ladde. A: þat oþe ladde.
3392 As Kö notes, the King of Scotland dies later at the hands of Ascopard. According to the French text, Saber murders the Scottish king.
3453 Ful of pich and of bremston. A: Ful of bich. Kö emends the pitch based on the other MSS.
3511 Whitsunday is the English name for Pentecost, the Christian feast, coming fifty days after Easter, which celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles and is considered the "birthday" of the Christian church. It is described in Acts of the Apostles, ch. 2.
3513-42 Horse races for the accumulation of wealth are not often found in medieval romance. But they were common in practice. See, for example, The Voyage of Ohtere, where the one with the swiiftest horse gets the most. Here the race functions as a demonstration of Arondel's "horsepower."
3590 Ascopard's betrayal is ostensibly caused by Bevis' fall into poverty, but is just as likely a jealous response. The proclivities of fairweather friends appear in other Middle English romances. See, for instance, Sir Cleges in Middle English Breton Lays, ed. Anne Laskaya and Eve Salisbury (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publi-cations, 1995). Nonetheless, Ascopard does have trouble maintaining credibility, despite his good deeds.
3622 swerdes a logge pighte. A: swerdes logge pi
te. Kö's emendation based on other MSS.
3629 God forbede. A: For for bed. Kö restores the deity based on E, N, C, and M: God for-bede.
3630-31 Childbirth was strictly the provenance of women in the Middle Ages. Josian's rejection of male interference reflects that custom. Also, the birth of twins is notable since medieval folklore sometimes held that multiple births were the consequence of many fathers rather than one. Often, because of the social stigma the birth of twins accrued, one twin could be subject to death or exile. See Lay le Freine, for instance.
3634 Josian is invoking the Virgin's help in childbirth.
3640-50 The abduction of the heroine is particularly violent. Other abductions such as that of Guenevere have not been depicted as brutally as this scene. Adding to the brutality is the fact of Josian's recent parturition and the abandonment of her twins.
3714 "Heathen" seems to be a curious way to describe the children. As we find out a few lines later (line 3734), however, it refers to the fact that they have not yet been baptized, a condition that is swiftly remedied.
3749 A mark was an accounting measure (not an actual coin) used in medieval England, equal to thirteen shillings fourpence.
3772 Though it is not clear whether Aumbeforce is a real or an imagined place from the text, A. C. Baugh points out that in the Anglo-Norman original Aumberforce is the city of Seville (p. 21).
3775 St. Thomas of India is actually one of the twelve original apostles, most famous as "doubting Thomas," because of the story in John's Gospel (ch. 20) in which he refuses to believe the resurrection of Christ until he can put his fingers in Christ's wounds. According to ancient tradition he brought the gospel to India, where he was martyred.
3776 Terri's answer to Bevis is a way of saying that they have never been cowards, that is, they have never been afraid to fight face to face.
3785 The Spanish city of Toledo was famous for the manufacture of steel and weapons. The form of the word is French, indicating the influence of the Anglo-Norman version of Bevis.
3844 St. James and St. Giles are both important pilgrimage saints. James, one of the twelve original apostles, was thought to have preached in Spain. Santiago de Compostela, in northwestern Spain, where his body was thought to be found, was one of the most important pilgrimage centers of the Middle Ages, the most important in western Europe. Giles, a hermit from either the sixth or eighth century, is the patron saint of cripples and beggars. His shrine - Saint-Gilles, in Provence - was also an important pilgrimage center in the Middle Ages.
3859 This probably refers to the entire eastern Mediterranean, rather than to anything more specific.
3871 ase he yede aboute. A: ase yhe yede aboute. Kö's emendation clarifies gender.
3910 Josian's entrepreneurial activity, i.e., "as a minstrel," recalls an episode in the romance of Apollonius of Tyre in which Apollonius' abducted daughter escapes service in a foreign brothel by thwarting the desire of those seeking her services by her rhetoric. Once out, she takes up harp playing and pedagogy to support herself.
3960 pleide at the talvas. A talevas is a round shield, or buckler. To play at the talevas is an idiom for fencing. See MED talevard.
3978 mautalent. A: mauntalent, with the n by abbreviation. MED ignores the n but cites the passage as an "erroneous" spelling of the term.
3990 This refers to a king's ransom. By comparison Chaucer was ransomed for £16 when he was captured by the French during the Hundred Years War. This was considered a significant amount of money in the fourteenth century.
4028 Er than he Saber eft ise. A: Er than he Beves eft ise. Kö restores Saber to his role.
4034 And broughte hit to Mombraunt be southe. A: And brou¥t it Mombraunt. Kö's preposition restores clarity and meter.
4037 That Beves scholde abegge sore. A: abegged sore. Kö maintains a sensible verb tense: abegge sore.
4040 tan. A northern form of taken, the sense being to "turn attention to" (MED taken 23a); "to embrace," "consider," "pick up," "proceed," "perceive a course," "assent," "apply ourselves," or "follow counsel," "take up the thread," or "deliberate."
4054 The purse and staff here signify that Saber is going in the guise of a pilgrim.
4082 Josian stod in a toret. A: Josian stond.
4088 Jesu Crist him yilde is mede. A: him yilde him his mede.
4091 he is in point to spille. A: he is point to spille. Kö's emendation.
4168 As the notes to the earlier romances indicate, time was usually measured according to the monastic offices or prayer services. Prime is the first of the monastic offices, which takes place at 6 a.m. Prime can thus refer specifically to 6 a.m. or to the time between 6 and 9 a.m. Undern refers to the time between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., or sometimes noon to 3 p.m..
4185 The sense of this is that Bevis' prayers have tamed the valor of Yvor.
4266 "For God," queth Saber, "that is nought feir." A: For god, queþ, that is nought feir. Other MSS assign the quotation to Saber.
4272 is owene sone Terry. That is to say, we are back talking about Saber's own son, not Bevis' sons, who are mentioned in the previous verse.
4437 See note for line 4168.
4453 Tidinge com to Potenhithe. A: Tidynge to potenhiþe. Kö's emendation.
4469 The Harrowing of Hell is the medieval English term for Christ's descent into hell after His death to defeat the powers of evil. This is also one of the most widely depicted scenes in medieval literature, art, and drama, often vividly presenting Christ opening the jaws of hell-mouth and leading the Old Testament patriarchs and prophets to salvation. See, for example, William Langland's Piers Plowman B.XVIII.270 ff. (Skeat 1.538-40) for a powerful Middle English version of this event.
4490 This seems to be an especially roundabout way of saying that they killed them.
4522 ff. That he ne lai ded upon the grounde. / And whan Beves segh that sighte, / In hertte he was glad and lighte. The order here is difficult and convoluted. Perhaps it goes something like this: "So that he might get there [without delay], he did not dare ask for a doctor to heal his wound so that he should not lie dead on the ground." The final line here starts to move off on a tangent.
4534 ledene halle. Kö capitalizes Ledene. MED does cite Ledynhall as a specific place name, noting that the place was also called Laurence Hall.
4608 Sein Lauarauns. Saint Lawrence died as a deacon and martyr in Rome in 258 A.D. He is usually depicted with a gridiron, on which he was reputed to have been executed by roasting. Relics of St. Lawrence were sent from Rome to King Oswin of Northumbria in the seventh century.
Lordinges, herkneth to me tale!
Is merier than the nightingale,
That I schel singe;
Of a knight ich wile yow roune,
Beves a highte of Hamtoune,
Ich wile yow tellen al togadre
Of that knight and of is fadre,
Of Hamtoun he was sire
And of al that ilche schire,
Lordinges, this, of whan I telle,
Never man of flesch ne felle
Nas so strong.
And so he was in ech strive.
And ever he levede withouten wive,
Al to late and long.
Whan he was fallen in to elde,
That he ne mighte himself welde,
He wolde a wif take;
Sone thar after, ich understonde,
Him hadde be lever than al this londe
Hadde he hire forsake. 1
An elde a wif he tok an honde,
The kinges doughter of Scotlonde,
So faire and bright.
Allas, that he hire ever ches!
For hire love his lif a les
With mechel unright.
This maide ichave of ytold,
Faire maide she was and bold
And fre yboren;
Of Almayne that emperur
Hire hadde loved paramur
Wel thar beforen.
Ofte to hire fader a sente
And he him selve theder wente
For hire sake;
Ofte gernede hire to wive;
The king for no thing alive
Nolde hire him take. 2
Sithe a yaf hire to sire Gii,
A stalword erl and hardi
Man, whan he falleth in to elde.
Feble a wexeth and unbelde
Thourgh right resoun.
So longe thai yede togedres to bedde,
A knave child betwene hem thai hedde,
Beves a het.
Faire child he was and bolde,
He nas boute seve winter olde,
Whan his fader was ded.
The levedi hire misbethoughte
And meche aghen the right she wroughte
In hire tour:
"Me lord is olde and may nought werche,
Al dai him is lever at cherche,
Than in me bour. 3
Hadde ich itaken a yong knight,
That ner nought brused in werre and fight,
Also he is,
A wolde me loven dai and night,
Cleppen and kissen with al is might
And make me blis.
I nel hit lete for no thinge,
That ich nel him to dethe bringe
With sum braide!"
Anon right that levedi fer
To consaile clepede hir masager
And to him saide:
"Maseger, do me surté,
That thow nelt nought discure me
To no wight!
And yif thow wilt, that it so be,
I schel thee yeve gold and fe
And make the knight."
Thanne answerde the masager -
False a was, that pautener,
And wel prut -
"Dame, boute ich do thee nede,
Ich graunte, thow me forbede
The londe thourgh out."
The levedi thanne was wel fain:
"Go," she seide, "in to Almaine
Out of me bour!
Maseger, be yep and snel,
And on min helf thow grete wel
And bid, in the ferste dai,
That cometh in the moneth of May,
For love of me,
That he be to fighte prest
With is ferde in hare forest
Beside the se.
Me lord ich wile theder sende
For his love, for to schende
And for to sle;
Bid him, that hit be nought beleved,
That he ne smite of his heved
And sende hit me!
And whan he haveth so ydo,
Me love he schel underfo,
Thanne seide that masager:
"Madame, ich wile sone be ther!
Now have gode dai!"
Now that masager him goth.
That ilche lord him worthe wroth,
That him wroughte!
To schip that masager him wode.
Allas! The wind was al to gode,
That him over broughte.
Tho he com in to Almayne,
Thar a mette with a swain
And grette him wel.
"Felawe," a seide, "par amur:
Whar mai ich finde th'emperur?
Thow me tel!"
"Ich wile thee telle anon right:
At Rifoun a lai tonight,
Be me swere!"
The masager him thankede anon
And thederwardes he gan gon
Th'empereur thar a fonde;
Adoun a knevlede on the grounde,
Ase hit was right,
And seide: "The levedi of South Hamtone
Thee grette wel be Godes sone,
That is so bright,
And bad thee, in the ferste day
That cometh in the moneth o May,
How so hit be,
That ye be to fighte prest
With your ferde in hare forest
Beside the se.
Hire lord she wile theder sende
For the love, for to schende,
With lite meini;
Thar aboute thow schost be fouse,
And thow schelt after her wedde to spouse,
To thin amy."
"Sai," a seide, "Icham at hire heste:
Yif me lif hit wile leste,
Hit schel be do!
Gladder icham for that sawe,
Than be fouel, whan hit ginneth dawe,
And sai hire so!
And for thow woldes hire erande bede,
An hors icharged with golde rede
Ich schel thee yeve,
And withinne this fourtene night
Me self schel dobbe thee to knight,
Yif that ich live."
The mesager him thankede yerne;
Hom ayen he gan him terne
The levedi a fond in hire bour,
And he hire clepede doceamur
And gan to roun:
"Dame," a seide, "I thee tel:
That emperur thee grette wel
With love mest:
Glad he is for that tiding,
A wile be prest at that fighting
In that forest.
Yif thow ert glad the lord to sle,
Gladder a is for love of thee
The mesager hath thus isaid,
The levedi was right wel apaid
And maked hire blithe.
In Mai, in the formeste dai,
The levedi in hire bedde lai,
Ase hit wer nede;
Hire lord she clepede out of halle
And seide, that evel was on hire falle,
She wende be ded.
That erl for hire hath sorwe ikaught
And askede, yif she disired aught,
That mighte hire frevre.
"Ye," she seide, "of a wilde bor
I wene, me mineth, boute for
Al of the fevre!" 4
"Madame," a seide, "for love myn,
Whar mai ich finde that wilde swin?
I wolde, thow it hadde!"
And she answerde with tresoun mest,
Be the se in hare forest,
Thar a bradde.
That erl swor, be Godes grace,
In that forest he wolde chace,
That bor to take;
And she answerde with tresoun than;
"Blessed be thow of alle man
For mine sake!"
That erl is hors began to stride,
His scheld he heng upon is side,
Gert with swerd;
Moste non armur on him come,
Himself was boute the ferthe some
Toward that ferd.
Allas, that he nadde be war
Of is fomen, that weren thar,
Him forte schende:
With tresoun worth he ther islawe
And ibrought of is lif-dawe,
Er he hom wende!
Whan he com in to the forest,
Th'emperur a fond al prest;
A prikede out before is ost,
For pride and for make bost,
And gan to crie:
"Aghilt thee, treitour! thow olde dote!
Thow shelt ben hanged be the throte,
Thin heved thow schelt lese;
The sone schel anhanged be
And the wif, that is so fre,
To me lemman I chese!"
Th'erl answerde at that sawe:
"Me thenketh, thow seist ayen the lawe,
So God me amende!
Me wif and child, that was so fre,
Yif thow thenkest beneme hem me,
Ich schel hem defende!"
Tho prikede is stede Sire Gii,
A stalword man and hardi,
While he was sounde;
Th'emperur he smot with is spere,
Out of is sadel he gan him bere
And threw him to grounde.
"Treitour," a seide, "thow ert to bolde!
Wenestow, thegh ich bo olde,
To ben afered?
That thow havest no right to me wif,
I schel thee kithe be me lif!"
And drough is swerd.
That erl held is swerd adrawe,
Th'emperur with he hadde slawe,
Nadde be sokour:
Thar come knightes mani and fale,
Wel ten thosent told be tale,
Tho Sire Gii him gan defende,
Thre hondred hevedes of a slende
With is brond;
Hadde he ben armed wel, ywis,
Al the meistré hadde ben his,
Thre men were slawe, that he ther hadde,
That he with him out ladde
And moste nede;
To have merci, that was is hope;
Th'emperur after him is lope
Upon a stede.
Th'erl knewlede to th'emperur,
Merci a bad him and sokour
And is lif:
"Merci, sire, ase thow art fre,
Al that ichave, I graunte thee,
Boute me wif!
For thine men, that ichave slawe,
Have her me swerd idrawe
And al me fe:
Boute me yonge sone Bef
And me wif, that is me lef,
That let thow me!"
"For Gode," queth he, "that ich do nelle!"
Th'emperur to him gan telle,
And was agreved,
Anon right is swerd out drough
And the gode knight a slough
And nam is heved.
A knight a tok the heved an honde:
"Have," a seide, "ber this sonde
Me leve swet!"
The knight to Hamtoun tho gan gon,
The levedi thar a fond anon
And gan hire grete:
"Dame," a seide, "to me atende:
Th'emperur me hider sende
With is pray!"
And she seide: "Blessed mot he be!
To wif a schel wedde me
To morwe in the dai.
Sai him, me swete wight,
That he come yet to night
In to me bour!"
The mesager is wei hath holde,
Al a seide, ase she him tolde,
Now scholle we of him mone,
Of Beves, that was Guis sone,
How wo him was:
Yerne a wep, is hondes wrong,
For his fader a seide among:
He cleped is moder and seide is sawe:
"Vile houre! Thee worst to-drawe
And al to-twight!
Me thenketh, ich were ther-of ful fawe,
For thow havest me fader slawe
With mechel unright!
Allas, moder, thee faire ble!
Evel becometh thee, houre to be,
To holde bordel,
And alle wif houren for thee sake,
The devel of helle ich hii betake,
Flesch and fel!
Ac o thing, moder, I schel thee swere:
Yif ich ever armes bere
And be of elde,
Al that hath me fader islawe
And ibrought of is lif dawe,
Ich shel hem yilden!"
The moder hire hath understonde,
That child she smot with hire honde
Under is ere.
The child fel doun and that was scathe,
His meister tok him wel rathe,
That highte Saber.
The knight was trewe and of kinde,
Strenger man ne scholde men finde
To ride ne go.
A was ibrought in tene and wrake
Ofte for that childes sake
Ase wel ase tho.
That childe he nam up be the arm,
Wel wo him was for that harm,
That he thar hadde.
Toward is kourt he him kende;
The levedi after Saber sende
And to him radde.
"Saber," she seide, "thow ert me lef,
Let sle me yonge sone Bef,
That is so bold!
Let him anhange swithe highe,
I ne reche, what deth he dighe,
Sithe he be cold!" 5
Saber stod stille and was ful wo;
Natheles a seide, a wolde do
After hire sawe;
The child with him hom he nam,
A swin he tok, whan he hom cam,
And dede hit of dawe.
The childes clothes, that were gode,
Al a bisprengde with that blode
In many stede,
Ase yif the child were to-hewe,
A thoughte to his moder hem schewe,
And so a dede.
At the laste him gan adrede,
He let clothen in pouer wede
That hende wight,
And seide: "Sone, thow most kepe
Upon the felde mine schepe
This fourte night!
And whan the feste is come to th'ende,
In to another londe I schel thee sende
Fer be southe,
To a riche erl, that schel thee gie
And teche thee of corteisie
In the youthe.
And whan thow ert of swich elde,
That thow might the self wilde,
And ert of age,
Thanne scheltow come in te Ingelonde,
With werre winne in to thin honde
I schel thee helpe with alle me might,
With dent of swerd to gete thee right,
Be thow of elde!"
The child him thankede and sore wep,
And forth a wente with the schep
Upon the velde.
Beves was herde upon the doun
He lokede homward to the toun,
That scholde ben his;
He beheld toward the tour,
Trompes he herde and tabour
And meche blis.
"Lord," a seide, "on me thow mone!
Ne was ich ones an erles sone
And now am herde?
Mighte ich with that emperur speke,
Wel ich wolde me fader awreke
For al is ferde!"
He nemeth is bat and forth a goth,
Swithe sori and wel wroth,
Toward the tour;
"Porter!" a sede, "Let me in reke!
A lite thing ich ave to speke
"Go hom, truant!" the porter sede,
"Scherewe houre sone, I thee rede,
Fro the gate:
Boute thow go hennes also swithe,
Hit schel thee rewe fele sithe,
Thow come ther-ate! 6
Sixte the scherewe, "Ho be itte,
A loketh, as a wolde smite
With is bat:
Speke he ought meche more,
I schel him smite swithe sore
Upon is hat."
"For Gode," queth Beves, "natheles,
An houre sone for soth ich wes,
Wel ich it wot!
I nam no truant, be Godes grace!"
With that a lefte up is mace
Anon fot hot.
Beves withoute the gate stod.
And smot the porter on the hod,
That he gan falle;
His heved he gan al to cleve
And forth a wente with that leve
In to the halle.
Al aboute he gan beholde,
To th'emperur he spak wordes bolde
With meche grame:
"Sire," a sede, "what dostow here?
Whi colles thow aboute the swire
That ilche dame?
Me moder is that thow havest an honde:
What dostow her upon me londe
Tak me me moder and mi fe,
Boute thow the rather hennes te,
I schel thee greve!
Nastow, sire, me fader slawe?
Thow schelt ben hanged and to-drawe,
Be Godes wille!
Aris! Fle hennes, I thee rede!"
Th'emperur to him sede:
"Foul, be stille!"
Beves was nigh wod for grame,
For a clepede him "foul" be name,
And to him a wond;
For al that weren in the place,
Thries a smot him with is mace
And with is honde.
Thries a smot him on the kroun;
That emperur fel swowe adoun,
Thar a sat.
The levedi, is moder, gan to grede:
"Nemeth that treitour!" she sede,
"Anon with that!"
Tho dorste Beves no leng abide;
The knightes up in ech a side,
More and lasse,
Wo hem was for the childes sake,
Boute non of hem nolde him take
Hii lete him pase.
Beves goth faste ase he mai,
His meister a mette in the wai,
That highte Saber,
And he him askede with blithe mod:
"Beves!" a seide, "for the Rode,
What dostow her?"
"I schel thee telle al togadre:
Beten ichave me stifadre
With me mace;
Thries I smot him in the heved,
Al for ded ich him leved
In the place!"
"Beves," queth Saber, "thow ert to blame:
The levedi wile now do me schame
For thine sake!
Boute thow be me consaile do,
Thow might now sone bringe us bo
In meche wrake!"
Saber Beves to his hous ladde,
Meche of that levedi him dradde.
The levedi out of the tour cam,
To Saber the wei she nam.
"Saber," she seide, "whar is Bef,
That wike treitour, that fule thef?"
"Dame," a seide, "ich dede him of dawe
Be thee red and be thee sawe:
This beth his clothe, thow her sixt."
The levedi seide: "Saber thow lixt!
Boute thow me to him take,
Thow schelt abegge for is sake."
Beves herde his meister threte;
To hire a spak with hertte grete
And seide: "Lo, me her be name!
Do me meister for me no schame!
Yif thow me sext, lo, whar ich am here!"
His moder tok him be the ere;
Fain she wolde a were of live.
Foure knightes she clepede blive:
"Wendeth," she seide, "to the stronde:
Yif ye seth schipes of painim londe,
Selleth to hem this ilche hyne,
That ye for no gode ne fine,
Whather ye have for him mor and lesse,
Selleth him right in to hethenesse!"
Forth the knightes gonne te,
Til that hii come to the se,
Schipes hii fonde ther stonde
Of hethenesse and of fele londe;
The child hii chepeden to sale,
Marchaundes thai fonde ferli fale
And solde that child for mechel aughte
And to the Sarasins him betaughte.
Forth thai wente with that child,
Crist of hevene be him mild!
The childes hertte was wel colde,
For that he was so fer isolde;
Natheles, though him thoughte eile,
Toward painim a moste saile.
Whan hii rivede out of that strond,
The king highte Ermin of that londe;
His wif was ded, that highte Morage,
A doughter a hadde of yong age,
Josiane that maide het,
Hire schon wer gold upon hire fet;
So faire she was and bright of mod,
Ase snow upon the rede blod -
Wharto scholde that may discrive?
Men wiste no fairer thing alive,
So hende ne wel itaught;
Boute of Cristene lawe she kouthe naught.
The marchauns wente an highing
And presente Beves to Ermyn King.
The king thar of was glad and blithe
And thankede hem mani a sithe:
"Mahoun!" a seide, "thee might be proute,
And this child wolde to thee aloute;
Yif a wolde a Sarasin be,
Yit ich wolde hope, a scholde the!
Be Mahoun, that sit an high,
A fairer child never I ne sigh,
Neither a lingthe ne on brade,
Ne non, so faire limes hade!
Child," a seide, "whar wer thee bore?
What is thee name? telle me fore!
Yif ich it wiste, hit were me lef."
"For Gode," a seide, "ich hatte Bef;
Iborne ich was in Ingelonde,
At Hamtoun, be the se stronde.
Me fader was erl thar a while,
Me moder him let sle with gile,
And me she solde in to hethenlonde;
Wikked beth fele wimmen to fonde!
Ac, sire, yif it ever so betide,
That ich mowe an horse ride
And armes bere and scheft tobreke,
Me fader deth ich schel wel wreke!"
The kinges hertte wex wel cold,
Whan Beves hadde thus itolde,
And seide: "I nave non eir after me dai,
Boute Josian, this faire mai;
And thow wile thee god forsake
And to Apolyn, me lord, take,
Hire I schel thee yeve to wive
And al me lond after me live!"
"For Gode!" queth Beves, "that I nolde
For al the selver ne al the golde,
That is under hevene light,
Ne for thee doughter, that is so bright.
I nolde forsake in none manere
Jesu, that boughte me so dere.
Al mote thai be doum and deve,
That on the false godes beleve!"
The king him lovede wel the more,
For him ne stod of no man sore,
And seide: "Beves, while thow ert swain,
Thow schelt be me chaumberlain,
And thow schelt, whan thow ert dobbed knight,
Me baner bere in to everi fight!"
Beves answerde al with skil:
"What ye me hoten, don ich wil!"
Beves was ther yer and other,
The king him lovede also is brother,
And the maide that was so sligh.
So dede everi man that him sigh.
Be that he was fiftene yer olde,
Knight ne swain thar nas so bolde,
That him dorste ayenes ride
Ne with wrethe him abide.
His ferste bataile, for soth te say
A dede a Cristes messe day;
Ase Beves scholde to water ride
And fiftene Sarasins be is side,
And Beves rod on Arondel,
That was a stede gode and lel.
A Sarasin began to say
And askede him, what het that day.
Beves seide: "For soth ywis,
I not never, what dai it is,
For I nas boute seve winter old,
Fro Cristendome ich was isold;
Tharfore I ne can telle nought thee,
What dai that hit mighte be."
The Sarasin beheld and lough.
"This dai," a saide, "I knowe wel inough.
This is the ferste dai of Youl,
Thee God was boren withouten doul;
For thi men maken ther mor blisse
Than men do her in hethenesse.
Anoure thee God, so I schel myn,
Bothe Mahoun and Apolyn!"
Beves to that Sarasin said:
"Of Cristendom yit ichave abraid,
Ichave seie on this dai right
Armed mani a gentil knight,
Torneande right in the feld
With helmes bright and mani scheld;
And were ich alse stith in plas,
Ase ever Gii, me fader was,
Ich wolde for me Lordes love,
That sit high in hevene above,
Fighte with yow everichon,
Er than ich wolde hennes gon!"
The Sarasin seide to his felawes:
"Lo, brethern, hire ye nought this sawes,
How the yonge Cristene hounde,
A saith, a wolde us fellen te grounde.
Wile we aboute him gon
And fonde that treitour slon?"
Al aboute thai gonne thringe,
And hard on him thai gonne dinge
And yaf him wondes mani on
Thourgh the flesch in to the bon,
Depe wondes and sore,
That he mighte sofre namore;
Tho his bodi began to smerte,
He gan plokken up is hertte,
Ase tid to a Sarasin a wond
And breide a swerd out of is honde,
And fifti Sarasins, in that stonde
Thar with a yaf hem dedli wonde,
And sum he strok of the swire,
That the heved flegh in to the rivere,
And sum he clef evene asonder;
Here hors is fet thai laine under;
Ne was ther non, that mighte ascape,
So Beues slough hem in a rape.
The stedes hom to stable ran
Withoute kenning of eni man.
Beves hom began to ride,
His wondes bledde be ech side;
The stede he graithed up anon,
In to his chaumber he gan gon
And leide him deueling on the grounde,
To kolen his hertte in that stounde.
Tiding com to King Ermyn
That Beves hadde mad is men tyn;
The king swor and seide is sawe.
For thi a scholde ben to-drawe.
Up stod that maide Josian,
And to hire fader she seide than:
"Sire, ich wot wel in me thought,
That thine men ne slough he nought,
Be Mahoun ne be Tervagaunt,
Boute hit were himself defendaunt!
Ac, fader," she saide, "be me red,
Er thow do Beves to ded,
Ich praie, sire, for love o me,
Do bringe that child before thee!
Whan the child, that is so bold,
His owene tale hath itolde,
And thow wite the soth, aplight,
Who hath the wrong, who hath right,
Yef him his dom, that he schel have,
Whather thow wilt him slen or save!"
King Ermyn seide: "Me doughter fre,
Ase thow havest seid, so it schel be!"
Josiane tho anon rightes
Clepede to hire twei knightes:
"To Beves now wende ye
And prai him, that he come to me:
Er me fader arise fro his des;
Ful wel ich schel maken is pes!"
Forth the knightes gonne gon,
To Beves chaumber thai come anon
And praide, ase he was gentil man,
Come speke with Josian.
Beves stoutliche in that stounde
Haf up is heved fro the grounde;
With stepe eighen and rowe bren
So lotheliche he gan on hem sen,
The twei knightes, thar thai stode,
Thai were aferde, hii wer nigh wode.
A seide: "Yif ye ner masegers,
Ich wolde yow sle, losengers!
I nele rise o fot fro the grounde,
For speke with an hethene hounde:
She is an honde, also be ye,
Out of me chaumber swithe ye fle!"
The knightes wenten out in rape,
Thai were fain so to ascape.
To Josian thai wente as tit
And seide: "Of him is gret despit:
Sertes, a clepede thee hethene hound
Thries in a lite stounde
We nolde for al Ermonie
Eft sones se him with our eie!"
"Hardeliche," she seide, "cometh with me,
And ich wile your waraunt be!"
Forth thai wente al isame,
To Beves chaumber that he came.
"Lemman," she seide, "gent and fre,
For Godes love, spek with me!"
She keste him bothe moth and chin
And yaf him confort gode afin,
So him solaste that mai,
That al is care wente awai,
And seide: "Lemman, thin ore!
Icham iwonded swithe sore!"
"Lemman," she seide, "with gode entent
Ichave brought an oyniment,
For make thee bothe hol and fere;
Wende we to me fader dere!"
Forth thai wenten an highing
Til Ermyn, the riche king,
And Beves tolde unto him than,
How that stour ended and gan,
And schewed on him in that stounde
Fourti grete, grisli wounde.
Thanne seide King Ermin the hore:
"I nolde, Beves, that thow ded wore
For al the londes, that ichave;
Ich praie, doughter, that thow him save
And prove to hele, ase thow can,
The wondes of that doughti man!"
In to chaumber she gan him take
And riche bathes she let him make,
That withinne a lite stonde
He was bothe hol and sonde.
Thanne was he ase fresch to fight,
So was the faukoun to the flight.
His other prowesse who wile lere,
Hende, herkneth, and ye mai here!
A wilde bor thar was aboute,
Ech man of him hadde gret doute.
Man and houndes, that he tok,
With his toskes he al toschok.
Thei him hontede knightes tene,
Tharof ne yef he nought a bene,
At is mouth fif toskes stoden out,
Everich was fif enches about,
His sides wer hard and strong,
His brostles were gret and long,
Himself was fel and kouthe fighte,
No man sle him ne mighte.
Beves lay in is bedde a night
And thoughte, a wolde kethen is might
Upon that swin himself one,
That no man scholde with him gone.
A morwe, whan hit was dai cler,
Ariseth knight and squier;
Beves let sadlen is ronsi,
That bor a thoughte to honti,
A gerte him with a gode brond
And tok a spere in is hond,
A scheld a heng upon is side,
Toward the wode he gan ride.
Josian, that maide, him beheld,
Al hire love to him she feld;
To hire self she seide, ther she stod:
"Ne kepte I never more gode
Ne namore of al this worldes blisse,
Thanne Beves with love o time te kisse;
In gode time were boren,
That Beves hadde to lemman koren!"
Tho Beves in to the wode cam,
His scheld aboute is nekke a nam
And tide his hors to an hei thorn
And blew a blast with is horn;
Thre motes a blew al arowe,
That the bor him scholde knowe.
Tho he com to the bor is den,
A segh ther bones of dede men,
The bor hadde slawe in the wode,
Ieten here flesch and dronke her blode.
"Aris!" queth Beves, "corsede gast,
And yem me bataile wel in hast!"
Sone so the bor him sigh,
A rerde is brosteles wel an high
And starede on Beves with eien holwe,
Also a wolde him have aswolwe;
And for the bor yenede so wide,
A spere Beves let to him glide;
On the scholder he smot the bor,
His spere barst to pises thore
The bor stod stille ayen the dent,
His hyde was harde ase eni flent.
Now al to-borste is Beves spere,
A drough his swerd, himself to were,
And faught ayen the bor so grim,
A smot the bor and he to him.
Thus the bataile gan leste long
Til the time of evesong,
That Beves was so weri of foughte,
That of is lif he ne roughte,
And tho the bor was also,
Awai fro Beves he gan go,
Wile Beves made is praier
To God and Mari, is moder dere,
Whather scholde other slen.
With that com the bor ayen
And bente is brostles up, saunfaile,
Ayen Beves to yeve bataile;
Out at is mouth in aither side
The foim ful ferli gan out glide;
And Beves in that ilche veneu,
Thourgh Godes grace and is vertu
With swerd out a slinte
Twei toskes at the ferste dent;
A spanne of the groin beforn
With is swerd he hath of schoren.
Tho the bor so loude cride,
Out of the forest wide and side,
To the castel thar that lai Ermin,
Men herde the noise of the swin;
And, alse he made that lotheli cri,
His swerd Beves hasteli
In at the mouth gan threste tho
And karf his hertte evene ato
The swerd a breide ayen fot hot
And the bor is heved of smot,
And on a tronsoun of is spere
That heved a stikede for to bere,
Thanne a sette horn to mouthe
And blew the pris ase wel kouthe,
So glad he was for is honting.
That heved a thoughte Josian bring:
And er he com to that maide fre,
Him com strokes so gret plenté,
That fain he was to weren is hed
And save himself fro the ded.
A stiward was with King Ermin,
That hadde tight to sle that swin;
To Beves a bar gret envie,
For that he hadde the meistrie;
He dede arme his knightes stoute,
Four and twenti in a route,
And ten forsters also he tok
And wente to wode, seith the bok.
Thar-of ne wiste Beves nought.
Helpe him God, that alle thing wrought!
In is wei he rit pas for pas.
Herkneth now a ferli cas:
A wende pasi in grith and pes,
The stiward cride: "Leith on and sles!"
Beves seigh that hii to him ferde,
A wolde drawe to is swerde:
Thanne had he leved it thor,
Thar he hadde slawe the bor.
He nadde nothing, himself to were,
Boute a tronsoun of a spere.
Tho was Beves sore desmeid,
The heved fro the tronsoun a braid,
And with the bor is heved a faught
And wan a swerd of miche maught,
That Morgelai was cleped, aplight.
Beter swerd bar never knight.
Tho Beves hadde that swerd an hond,
Among the hethene knightes a wond,
And sum upon the helm a hitte,
In to the sadel he hem slitte,
And sum knight Beves so ofraughte,
The heved of at the ferste draughte,
So harde he gan to lein aboute
Among the hethene knightes stoute,
That non ne pasede hom, aplight;
So thourgh the grace of God almight
The kinges stiward a hitte so,
That is bodi a clef ato.
The dede kors a pulte adoun
And lep himself in to the arsoun.
That strok him thoughte wel iset
For he was horsed meche bet.
He thoughte make pes doun rightes
Of the forsters ase of the knightes;
To hem faste he gan ride;
Thai gonne schete be ech a side,
So mani arwes to him thai sende,
Unnethe a mighte himself defende,
So tho is a lite stounde
The ten forsters wer feld te grounde,
And hew hem alle to pices smale:
So hit is fonde in Frensche tale.
Josian lai in a castel
And segh that sconfit everich del.
"O Mahoun," she seide, "oure drighte,
What Beves is man of meche mighte!
Al this world yif ich it hedde,
Ich him yeve me to wedde;
Boute he me love, icham ded.
Swete Mahoun, what is thee red?
Lovelonging me hath becought,
Thar-of wot Beves right nought,"
Thus that maide made hire mon,
Thar she stod in the tour al on,
And Beves thar the folk beleved
And wente hom with the heved;
That heved of that wilde swin
He presente to King Ermin.
The king thar-of was glad and blithe
And thankede him ful mani a sithe,
Ac he ne wiste ther of nowight,
How is stiward to dethe was dight.
Thre yer after that bataile,
That Beves the bor gan asaile,
A king ther com in to Ermonie
And thoughte winne with meistrie
Josiane, that maide bright,
That lovede Beves with al hire might.
Brademond cride, ase he wer wod,
To King Ermin, thar a stod:
"King," a seide swithe blive,
"Yem me thee doughter to wive!
Yif thow me wernest, withouten faile,
I schel winne hire in plein bataile,
On fele half I schel thee anughe,
And al thee londe I schel destruye
And thee sle, so mai betide,
And lay hire a night be me side,
And after I wile thee doughter yeve
To a weine-pain, that is fordrive!"
Ermin answerde blive on highe:
"Be Mahoun, sire, thow schelt lighe!"
Adoun of his tour a went
And after al is knightes a sent
And tolde hem how Brademond him asailed hadde,
And askede hem alle, what hii radde.
A word thanne spak that maiden bright:
"Be Mahoun, sire! wer Beves a knight,
A wolde defende thee wel inough.
Me self I segh, whar he slough
Your owene stiward, him beset,
Al one in the wode with him a met,
At wode he hadde his swerd beleved,
Thar he smot of the bores heved;
He nadde nothing, himself to were,
Boute a tronsoun of is spere,
And your stiward gret peple hadde,
Four and twenti knightes a ladde,
Al y-armed to the teth,
And everi hadde swore is deth,
And ten forsters of the forest
With him a broughte ase prest,
That thoughte him have slawe thore
And take the heved of the bore,
And yeve the stiward the renoun.
Tho Beves segh that foule tresoun,
A leide on with the bor is heved,
Til that hii were adoun iweved,
And of the stiward a wan that day
His gode swerd Morgelay.
The ten forsters also a slough
And hom a pasede wel inough,
That he of hem hadde no lothe."
King Ermyn thanne swor is othe,
That he scholde be maked knight,
His baner to bere in that fight.
He clepede Beves at that sake
And seide: "Knight ich wile thee make.
Thow schelt bere in to bataile
Me baner, Brademond to asaile!"
Beves answerde with blithe mod:
"Blethelich," a seide, "be the Rod!"
King Ermin tho anon righte
Dobbede Beves unto knighte
And yaf him a scheld gode and sur
With thre eglen of asur,
The champe of gold ful wel idight
With fif lables of selver bright;
Sithe a gerte him with Morgelay,
A gonfanoun wel stout and gay
Josian him broughte for to bere.
Sent of the scheld, I yow swere!
Beves dede on is actoun,
Hit was worth mani a toun;
An hauberk him broughte that mai,
So seiden alle that hit isai:
Hit was wel iwrought and faire,
Non egge tol mighte it nought paire.
After that she yaf him a stede,
That swithe gode was at nede,
For hit was swift and ernede wel.
Me clepede hit Arondel.
Beves in the sadel lep,
His ost him folwede al to hep
With baner bright and scheldes schene,
Thretti thosent and fiftene,
The ferste scheld trome Beves nam.
Brademond aghenes him cam;
His baner bar the King Redefoun,
That levede on Sire Mahoun.
Row he was also a schep,
Beves of him nam gode kep.
He smot Arondel with spures of golde;
Thanne thoughte that hors, that he scholde,
Aghen Redefoun Beves gan ride
And smot him thourgh out bothe side,
Hauberk ne scheld ne actoun
Ne vailede him nought worth a botoun,
That he ne fel ded to the grounde.
"Reste thee," queth Beves, "hethen hounde!
Thee hadde beter atom than here!"
"Lay on faste!" a bad his fere.
Tho laide thai on with eger mod
And slowe Sarsins, as hii wer wod,
And Sire Beves, the Cristene knight
Slough ase mani in that fight
With Morgelay himself alone,
Ase thai deden everichone.
And ever hii were to fighte prest
Til that the sonne set in the west.
Beves and is ost withinne a stounde
Sexti thosent thai felde to grounde,
That were out of Dameske isent,
That never on homward ne went;
Tho Brademond segh is folk islayn,
A flegh awei with mighte and mayn.
Ase he com ride be a cost,
Twei knightes a fond of Beves ost;
Of his stede he gan doun lighte
And bond hem bothe anon righte,
And thoughte hem lede to his prisoun
And have for hem gret raunsoun.
Ase he trosede hem on is stede,
Beves of hem nam gode hede,
And hasteliche in that tide
After Brademond he gan ride
And seide: "Brademond, olde wreche,
Ertow come Josiane to feche?
Erst thow schelt pase thourgh min hond
And thourgh Morgelay, me gode brond!"
Withouten eni wordes mo
Beves Brademond hitte so
Upon is helm in that stounde,
That a felde him flat to grounde.
"Merci!" queth Bradmond, "ich me yelde,
Recreaunt to thee, in this felde,
So harde thee smitest upon me kroun,
Ich do me all in the bandoun,
Sexti cites with castel tour
Thin owen, Beves, to thin onour,
With that thow lete me ascape!"
Beves answerde tho in rape:
"Nay!" a seide, "be sein Martyn!
Icham iswore to King Ermin.
Al that ich do, it is his dede;
Tharfore, sire, so God me spede,
Thow schelt swere upon the lay,
Thow schelt werre on him night ne day,
And omage eche yer him yelde
And al the londe of him helde!"
Brademond answerde anon righte:
"Tharto me treuthe I thee plighte,
That I ne schel never don him dere
Ne aghen thee, Beves, armes bere!"
And whan he hadde swore so,
Beves let King Brademond go.
Allas, that he nadde him slawe
And ibrought of is life dawe!
For sithe for al is faire beheste
Mani dai a maked him feste,
In is prisoun a lai seve yere,
Ase ye may now forthward here.
Beves rod hom and gan to singe
And seide to Ermin the Kinge:
"Sire! Brademond, King of Sarasine,
A is become one of thine;
The man a is to thin heste,
While his lif wile leste,
Londes and ledes, al that he walt,
A saith, sire, of thee hem halt!"
Thanne was King Ermin at that sithe
In is hertte swithe blithe;
A clepede is doughter and saide:
"Josian, the faire maide,
Unarme Beves, he wer at mete,
And serve thee self him ther-ate!"
Tho nolde that maide never blinne,
Til she com to hire inne,
Thar she lai hire selve anight:
Thar she sette that gentil knight,
Hire self yaf him water to hond
And sette before him al is sonde.
Tho Beves hadde wel i-ete
And on the maidenes bed isete,
That mai, that was so bright of hiwe,
Thoughte she wolde hire consaile schewe,
And seide: "Beves, lemman, thin ore!
Ichave loved thee ful yore,
Sikerli can I no rede,
Boute thow me love, icham dede,
And boute thow with me do thee wille."
"For Gode," queth Beves, "that ich do nelle!
Her is," a seide, "min unliche,
Brademond King, that is so riche,
In al this world nis ther man,
Prinse ne king ne soudan,
That thee to wive have nolde,
And he the hadde ones beholde!"
"Merci," she seide, "yet with than
Ichavede thee lever to me lemman,
Thee bodi in thee scherte naked,
Than al the gold, that Crist hath maked,
And thow wost with me do thee wille!"
"For Gode," queth Beves, "that I do nelle!"
Sche fel adoun and wep right sore:
"Thow seidest soth her before:
In al this world nis ther man,
Prinse ne king ne soudan,
That me to wive have nolde,
And he me hadde ones beholde,
And thow, cherl, me havest forsake;
Mahoun thee yeve tene and wrake!
Beter become the iliche
For to fowen an olde diche
Thanne for to be dobbed knight,
Te gon among maidenes bright.
To other contré thow might fare:
Mahoun thee yeve tene and care!"
"Damesele," a seide, "thow seist unright;
Me fader was bothe erl and knight.
How mighte ich thanne ben a cherl,
Whan me fader was knight and erl?
To other contré ich wile te:
Scheltow me namore ise!
Thow yeve me an hors: lo it her!
I nel namore of thee daunger!"
Forth him wente Sire Bevoun
And tok is in in that toun,
Sore aneighed and aschamed,
For she hadde him so gramed.
Tho Beves was to toun igo,
Tho began that maidenes wo;
Thanne was hire wo with alle,
Hire thoughte, the tour wolde on hir falle.
She clepede hire chaumberlein Bonefas
And tolde to him al hire cas
And bad him to Beves wende:
"And sai him, ich wile amende
Al togedre of word and dede,
Of that ichave him misede!"
Forth wente Bonefas in that stounde
And Beves in is chaumber a founde
And seide, she him theder sende,
And that she wolde alle amende
Al togedres to is wille,
Bothe loude and eke stille.
Thanne answerde Beves the fer:
"Sai, thow might nought speden her!
Ac for thow bringest fro hire mesage,
I schel thee yeve to the wage
A mantel whit so melk:
The broider is of Tuli selk,
Beten abouten with rede golde,
The king to were, thegh a scholde!"
Bonefas him thankede yerne,
Hom aghen he gan terne;
A fond that maide in sorwe and care
And tolde hire his answare,
That he ne mighte nought spede
Aboute hire nede,
And seide: "Thow haddest unright,
So te misain a noble knight!"
"Who yaf thee this ilche wede?
"Beves, that hendi knight!" a sede.
"Allas!" she seide, "Ich was to blame,
Whan ich seide him swiche schame,
For hit nas never a cherles dede,
To yeve a maseger swiche a wede!
Whan he nel nought to me come,
The wei to his chaumber I wil neme,
And, what ever of me befalle,
Ich wile wende in to is halle!"
Beves herde that maide ther-oute.
Ase yif aslep, he gan to route.
"Awake, lemman!" she seide, "Awake!
Icham icome, me pes to make.
Lemman, for the corteisie,
Spek with me a word or tweie!"
"Damesele," queth Beves thanne,
"Let me ligge and go the wei henne!
Icham weri of-foughte sore,
Ich faught for thee, I nel namore."
"Merci," she seide, "lemman, thin ore!"
She fel adoun and wep wel sore:
"Men saith," she seide, "in olde riote,
That wimmannes bolt is sone schote.
Forghem me, that ichave misede,
And ich wile right now to mede
Min false godes al forsake
And Cristendom for thee love take!"
"In that maner," queth the knight,
"I graunte thee, me swete wight!"
And kiste hire at that cordement.
Tharfore he was negh after schent.
The twei knightes, that he unbond,
That were in Brademondes hond,
He made that on is chaumberlain.
Him hadde be beter, he hadde hem slein!
Thei wente to the king and swor othe:
"No wonder, sire, thegh ye be wrothe,
No wonder, thegh ye ben agreved,
Whan Beves, scherewe misbeleved,
The doughter he hath now forlain.
Hit were gode, sire, that he wer slain!"
Hii lowe, the scherewes, that him gan wreie. 7
In helle mote thai hongen beie!
He dede nothing, boute ones hire kiste,
Nought elles bi hem men ne wiste.
Tharfore hit is soth isaide
And in me rime right wel ilaid.
Delivre a thef fro the galwe,
He thee hateth after be alle halwe!
"Allas!" queth Ermin, the King,
"Wel sore me reweth that tiding!
Sethe he com me ferst to,
So meche he hath for me ido,
I ne mighte for al peynim londe,
That men dede him eni schonde!
Ac fain ich wolde awreke be,
Boute I ne mighte hit nought ise."
Thanne bespak a Sarasin -
Have he Cristes kurs and myn -
"Sire, she scholle for is sake
A letter swithe anon do make
To Brademond, the stronge king,
And do him theder the letter bringe;
And in the letter thee schelt saie,
That he hath Josian forlaie!"
Whan the letter was come to th'ende,
After Beves the king let sende
And seide: "Beves, thow most hanne
To Brademond, thin owene manne:
Al in solas and in delit
Thow most him bere this ilche scriit!
Ac yif yow schelt me letter bere,
Upon the lai thow schelt me swere,
That thow me schelt with no man mele,
To schewe the prente of me sele!"
"I wile," queth Beves ase snel,
"The leter bere treuliche and wel;
Have ich Arondel, me stede,
Ich wile fare in to that thede,
And Morgelai, me gode bronde,
Ich wile wende in to that londe!
King Ermin seide in is sawe,
That ner no mesager is lawe,
To ride upon an hevi stede,
That swiftli scholde don is nede.
"Ac nim a lighter hakenai
And lef her the swerd Morgelai,
And thow schelt come to Brademonde
Sone withinne a lite stounde!"
Beves an hakenai bestrit
And in his wei forth a rit
And bereth with him is owene deth,
Boute God him helpe, that alle thing seth!
Terne we aghen, thar we wer er,
And speke we of is em Saber!
After that Beves was thus sold,
For him is hertte was ever cold.
A clepede to him his sone Terri
And bad him wenden and aspie
In to everi londe fer and ner,
Whider him ladde the maroner,
And seide: "Sone, thow ert min owen,
Wel thow canst the lord knowen!
Ich hote thee, sone, in alle manere,
That thow him seche this seve yer.
Ich wile feche him, mowe thow him fynde,
Though he be biyende Inde!"
Terri, is sone, is forth ifare,
Beves a soughte everiwhare;
In al hethenes nas toun non,
That Cristene man mighte ther in gon,
That he ne hath Beves in isought,
Ac he ne kouthe finde him nought.
So hit be fel upon a cas,
That Terri com beside Damas;
And ase he com forth be that stede,
A sat and dinede in a wede
Under a faire medle tre,
That Sire Beves gan of-see.
"Sire," queth Terri, "for Sein Juline!
Is it thee wille, come nere and dine!"
Beves was of-hongred sore
And kouthe him gret thank therfore,
For twei dawes he hadde ride
Fastande in that ilche wede.
The palmer nas nought withouten store,
Inough a leide him before,
Bred and flesc out of is male
And of his flaketes win and ale
Whan Beves hadde eten gret foisoun
Terri askede at Sire Bevoun,
Yif a herde telle yong or olde
Of a child, that theder was solde.
His name was ihote Bevoun
Ibore a was at South-Hamtoun.
Beves beheld Terri and lough,
And seide, a knew that child wel inough:
"Hit is nought," a seide, "gon longe,
I segh the Sarsins that child anhonge!"
Terri fel ther doun and swough,
His her, his clothes he al to-drough.
Whan he awok and speke mighte,
Sore a wep and sore sighte
And seide: "Allas, that he was boren!
Is me lord Beves forloren!"
Beves tok him up at that cas
And gan him for to solas:
"Wend hom," a seide, "to thee contré!
Sai the frendes so ichave thee.
Though thow him seche thes seve yer,
Thow worst that child never the ner!"
Terri on Beves beheld
And segh the boiste with a scheld.
"Me thenketh, thow ert a masager,
That in this londe walkes her;
Icham a clerk and to scole yede:
Sire, let me the letter rede,
For thow might have gret doute,
Thin owene deth to bere aboute!"
Beves seide, ich understonde:
"He, that me tok this letter an honde,
He ne wolde love me non other,
Than ich were is owene brother."
Beves him thankede and thus hii delde.
Terri wente hom and telde
His fader Saber in the Ilde of Wight,
How him tolde a gentil knight,
That Sarsins hadde Beves forfare
And hangede him, while he was thare.
Saber wep and made drem.
For he was the childes em,
And ech yer on a dai certaine
Upon th'emperur of Almaine
With a wel gret baronage
A cleimede his eritage.
Let we now ben is em Saber
And speke of Beves, the maseger!
Forth him wente Sire Bevoun
Til a com to Dames toun;
Aboute the time of middai
Out of a mameri a sai
Sarasins come gret foisoun,
That hadde anoured here Mahoun,
Beves of is palfrei alighte
And ran to her mameri ful righte
And slough here prest, that ther was in,
And threw here godes in the fen
And lough hem alle ther to scorn.
On ascapede and at-orn
In at the castel ghete,
As the king sat at the mete.
"Sire," seide this man at the frome,
"Her is icome a corsede gome,
That throweth our godes in the fen
And sleth al oure men;
Unnethe I scapede among that thring,
For to bringe thee tiding!"
Brademond quakede at the bord
And seide: "That is Beves, me lord!"
Beves wente in at the castel ghate,
His hors he lefte ther-ate
And wente forth in to the halle
And grete hem in this maner alle:
"God, that made this world al ronde,
Thee save, Sire King Brademond,
And ek alle thine fere,
That I se now here,
And yif that ilche blessing
Liketh thee right nothing,
Mahoun, that is god thin,
Tervagaunt and Apolin,
Thee blessi and dighte
Be alle here mighte!
Lo her, the King Ermin
The sente this letter in parchemin,
And ase the letter thee telleth to,
A bad, thow scholdest swithe do!"
Beves kneueled and nolde nought stonde
And yaf up is deth with is owene honde.
Brademond quakede al for drede,
He undede the letter and gan to rede
And fond iwriten in that felle,
How that he scholde Beves aquelle.
Thanne seide Brademond to twenti king,
That were that dai at is gistning,
A spak with tresoun and with gile:
"Ariseth up," he sede "a while,
Everich of yow fro the bord,
And wolcometh your kende lord!"
Alle hii gonnen up right stonde,
And Brademond tok Beves be the honde
And held him faste at that sake,
That he ne scholde is swerd out take,
And cride, alse he hadde be wod,
To hem alle, aboute him stod:
"Ase ye me loven at this stounde,
Bringeth this man swithe to grounde!"
So faste hii gonne aboute him scheve,
Ase don ben aboute the heve.
So withinne a lite stounde
Beves was ibrought to grounde.
Brademond seide him anon right:
"Yif thow me naddest wonne with fight,
I nolde for nothing hit beleve,
That thow schost be hanged er eve.
Ac ase evel thee schel betide,
In me prisoun thow schelt abide
Under th'erthe twenti teise,
Thar thow schelt have meche miseise.
Ne scheltow have, til thow be ded,
Boute ech a dai quarter of a lof bred;
Yif thow wilt drinke, thegh it be nought swet,
Thee schelt hit take under the fet!"
A dede Beves binde to a ston gret,
That wegh seve quarters of whet,
And het him caste in to prisoun,
That twenti teise was dep adoun.
At the prisoun dore Beves fond
A tronsoun, that he tok in is hond.
Tharwith a thoughte were him there
Fram wormes, that in prisoun were.
Now is Beves at this petes grounde.
God bringe him up hol and sonde!
Now speke we of Josian, the maide,
That com to hire fader and seide:
"Sire," she seide, "whar Beves be,
That me mighte him nought fern ise?"
"Doughter," a seide, "a is ifare
In to his londe and woneth thare,
In to is owene eritage,
And hath a wif of gret parage,
The kinges doughter of Ingelonde,
Ase men doth me to understonde."
Thanne was that maide wo ynough,
In hire chaumber hire her she drogh
And wep and seide ever mo,
That sum tresoun thar was ydo.
"That me ne telde ord and ende,
What dai awai whanne a wolde wende."
Of Mombraunt the King Yvor,
A riche king of gret tresore,
Whan he owhar to werre wolde,
Fiftene kinges him sewe scholde:
Comen a is Josian to wedde;
Aghen hire fader so a spedde,
That he hire grauntede to is wive
And al is londe after is live.
Tho Josian wiste, she scholde be quen,
Hit was nought be hire wille; I wen
Hire were lever have had lasse
And have be Beves is contasse.
Natheles, now it is so,
Hire fader wil she moste do,
Ac ever she seide: "Bevoun,
Hende knight of South Hamtoun,
Naddestow me never forsake,
Yif sum tresoun hit nadde make:
Ac for the love, that was so gode,
That I lovede ase min hertte blode,
Ichave," she seide, "a ring on,
That of swiche vertu is the ston:
While ichave on that ilche ring,
To me schel no man have welling,
And Beves!" she seide, "be God above,
I schel it weren for thee love!"
Whan hit to that time spedde,
That Yvor scholde that maide wedde,
He let sende withouten ensoine
After the Soudan of Babiloine
And after the fiftene kinge,
That him scholde omage bringe,
And bad hem come lest and meste,
To onoure that meri feste.
Of that feste nel ich namor telle,
For to highe with our spelle.
Whan al the feste to-yede,
Ech knight wente to is stede,
Men graithede cartes and somers,
Knightes to horse and squiers,
And Josian with meche care
Theder was brought in hire chare.
King Ermin nom Arondel
And let him sadlen faire and wel,
A wente to Beves chaumber, ther he lay,
And nom his swerd Morgelay;
With Arondel agan it lede
To King Yvor, and thus a sede:
"Sone," a sede, "have this stede,
The beste fole, that man mai fede,
And this swerd of stel broun,
That was Beves of Hamtoun.
A nolde hit yeve, wer it in is honde,
Nought for al painim londe!"
"Ne ich," queth the King Yvor,
"For al the gold ne the tresor,
That thow might in the cité belouke!"
"Sone," queth Ermin, "wel mot thee it brouke!"
Yver gan homward te ride
And dede lede Arondel be is side.
Whan he com withoute Mombraunt,
A swor is oth be Tervagaunt,
That he wolde in to his cité ride
Upon Arondel before is bride.
Arondel thar he bestrit;
That hors wel sone underyit,
That Beves nas nought upon is rigge
The king wel sore scholde hit abegge.
He ran over dich and thorn,
Thourgh wode and thourgh thekke korn;
For no water ne for no londe,
Nowhar nolde that stede astonde;
At the laste a threw Yvor doun
And al to-brak the kinges kroun,
That al is kingdom wel unnethe
Arerede him ther fro the dethe;
And er hii mighte that hors winne,
Thai laughte him with queinte ginne.
A wonderthing now ye may here.
After al that seve yere
To rakenteis a stod iteide,
Nas mete ne drinke before him leid,
Hey ne oten ne water clere,
Boute be a kord of a solere.
No man dorste come him hende,
Thar that hors stod in bende.
Now is Josian a quene;
Beves in prisoun hath gret tene.
The romounce telleth, ther a set,
Til the her on is heved grew to is fet;
Snakes and euetes and oades fale,
How mani, can I nought telle in tale,
That in the prisoun were with him,
That provede ever with her venim
To sle Beves, that gentil knight,
Oc, thourgh the grace of God Almight,
With the tronsoun, that he to prisoun tok,
A slough hem alle, so saith the bok.
A fleande nadder was in an hole,
For elde blak ase eni cole;
Unto Beves she gan flinge
And in the forehed thoughte him stinge.
Beves was redi with is tronsoun
And smot hire, that she fel adoun.
Upon aghen the nadder rowe
And breide awei his right browe;
Tho was Beves sore agreved
And smot the nadder on the heved;
So harde dent he hire yaf,
The brein clevede on is staf.
Doun fel the nadder, withouten faile,
And smot so Beves with the taile,
That negh a les ther contenaunse, 8
Almest is lif was in balaunse.
Whan he awakede of that swough,
The tronsoun eft to him a drough
And bet hire al to pises smale,
As hit is fonde in Frensche tale.
Tho he hadde slawe the foule fendes,
Be that hadde Beves lein in bendes
Seve yer in peines grete,
Lite idronke and lasse iete;
His browe stank for defaut of yeme,
That it set after ase a seme,
Wharthourgh that maide ne kneu him nought,
Whan hii were eft togedre brought.
On a dai, ase he was mad and feint,
To Jesu Crist he made is pleint
And to his moder, seinte Marie,
Reuliche he gan to hem crie:
"Lord," a seide, "Hevene King,
Schepere of erthe and alle thing:
What have ich so meche misgilt,
That thow sext and tholen wilt,
That Thee wetherwines and Thee fo
Schel Thee servaunt do this wo?
Ich bedde Thee, Lord, for Thee pité,
That Thow have merci on me
And yeve grace, hennes to gange
Or sone be drawen other anhange!
Me roughte never, what deth to me come,
With that ich were hennes nome!
The gailers, that him scholde yeme,
Whan hii herde him thus reme,
"Thef! cherl!" seide that on tho:
"Now beth thee lif dawes ydo,
For king ne kaiser ne for no sore
Ne scheltow leve no lenger more."
Anon rightes with that word
A laumpe he let doun be a cord,
A swerd a tok be his side,
And be the cord he gan doun glide
And smot him with that other hond,
And Beves to the grounde a wond.
"Allas," queth Beves, "that ilche stounde!
Wo is the man, that lith ybounde
Medel bothe fet and honde!
Tho ich com ferst in to this londe,
Hadde ich had me swerd Morgelay
And Arondel, me gode palfray,
For Dames, nadde be tresoun,
I nolde have yeve a botoun,
And now the meste wreche of alle
With a strok me doth adoun falle,
Bidde ich never with Jesu speke,
Boute ich ther-of may ben awreke!"
A smot the gailer with is fest,
That is nekke him to-berst.
His felawe above gan to crie:
"Highe hider, felawe," queth Beves, "highe!"
"Yif thow most have help," a sede,
"Ich come to thee with a gode spede!"
"Yis!" queth Beves, al for gile,
And knette the rop thar while
Ase high ase a mighte reche.
Tho queth Beves with reuful speche:
"For the love of Sein Mahoun,
Be the rop glid blive adoun
And help, that this thef wer ded!"
Whan he hadde thus ised,
That other gailer no leng abod,
Boute by the rop adoun he glod.
Whan the rop failede in is hond,
Beves held up that gode bronde
And felde to gronde that sori wight,
Thourghout is bodi that swerd he pight.
Now er thai ded, the geilers tweie,
And Beves lith to the rakenteie,
His lif him thoughte al to long,
Thre daies after he ne et ne drong,
Tofore that, for soth to sai
A was woned, ech other dai
Of berelof to have a quarter
To his mete and to his diner;
And, for is meisters wer bothe ded,
Thre daies after he ne et no bred.
To Jesu Crist he bed a bone,
And He him grauntede wel sone;
So yerne he gan to Jesu speke,
That his vetres gonne breke
And of his medel the grete ston.
Jesu Crist he thankede anon;
A wente quik out of prisoun
Be the rop the gailer com adoun,
And wente in to the castel right,
Ac it was aboute the midnight;
He lokede aboute fer and ner,
No man wakande ne segh he ther;
He beheld forther a lite
To a chaunber under a garite,
Thar-inne he segh torges ilight;
Beves wente theder ful right;
Twelf knightes a fond ther aslepe,
That hadde the castel for to kepe;
The chaumber dore a fond unsteke,
And priveliche he gan in reke
And armede him in yrene wede,
The beste, that he fond at nede,
And gerte him with a gode bronde
And tok a gode spere in is honde;
A scheld aboute is nekke he cast
And wente out of the chaumber in hast.
Forther a herde in a stable
Pages fele, withoute fable,
Ase thai sete in here raging;
In at the dore Beves gan spring,
And for thai scholde him nought wrain,
Under his hond he made him plai.
And whan the Sarasins wer islawe,
The beste stede he let forth drawe
And sadelede hit and wel adight.
And wente him forth anon right
And gan to crie with loude steven
And the porter he gan nevenen:
"Awake!" a seide, "proude felawe,
Thow were worthi ben hanged and drawe!
Highe, the gates wer unsteke,
Beves is out of prisoun reke,
And icham sent now for is sake,
The treitour yif ich mighte of-take!"
The porter was al bewaped:
"Allas!" queth he, "is Beves ascaped?"
Up he caste the gates wide,
And Beves bi him gan out ride
And tok is wei ful hastelie
Toward the londe of Ermonie.
He nadde ride in is wei
Boute seve mile of that contrei,
He wex asleped wondersore,
He mighte ride no forthermore;
He reinede his hors to a chesteine
And felle aslepe upon the pleine;
And alse a slep, in is swevene
Him thoughte, Brademond and kinges seven
Stod over him with swerdes drawe,
Al slepande him wolde han slawe.
Of that sweven he was of-drad;
He lep to hors ase he wer mad,
Towarde Damas agein, aplight!
Now reste we her a lite wight,
And speke we scholle of Brademond.
Amorwe, whan he it hadde ifonde,
That Beves was ascaped so,
In is hertte him was ful wo.
That time be comin acent
Thar was comin parlement,
Erles, barouns, lasse and more,
And fiftene kinges were samned thore.
To hem Brademond tolde thare,
That Beves was fro him ifare,
And bad help with might and main,
For to feche Beves again.
A king thar was swithe fer,
His nam was hote Grander.
An hors he hadde of gret pris,
That was icleped Trinchefis:
For him a yaf selver wight,
Er he that hors have might.
He armede him in yrene wede,
Seve knightes he gan with him lede
And prikede forth on Trenchefis
And wende wenne meche pris;
And Beves sone he gan se,
Ase he rod toward the cité.
"Ayilt thee," a seide, "thow fox welp,
Thee god schel thee nothing help,
For her thourgh min hondes one,
For sothe, thow schelt thee lif forgon!"
"So helpe me God!" queth Beves tho,
"Hit were no meistri, me to slo,
For this is the ferthe dai agon,
Mete ne drinke ne bot i non:
Ac natheles, God it wot,
Yif ich alle nedes mot,
Yit ich wile asaie,
A lite box thee to paie!"
King Grander was of herte grim
And rod to Beves and he to him;
And ase thei bothe togedre mete,
With here launces thei gonne mete,
That hit gonnen al to-drive
And teborsten on pises five.
Here swerdes drowe knightes stoute
And fighteth faste, it is no doute;
The medwe squaughte of her dentes,
The fur flegh out, so spark o flintes;
Thus thai leide on in bothe side
Betwene midmorwe and undertide.
King Grander was agremed strong,
That Sire Beves him stod so long,
And with is swerd a hitte is scheld,
A quarter fel in to the feld,
Hauberk, plate and aktoun,
In to Beves forther arsoun
Half a fot he karf doun right.
Tho Beves segh that strok of might,
A seide: "That dent was wel iset,
Fasten I wile another bet!"
With that word Beves smot doun
Grander is scheld with is fachoun,
And is left honde be the wrest,
Hit flegh awei thourgh help of Crist.
Tho Grander hadde his scheld ilore,
He faught ase he wer wode therfore;
A yaf Beves strokes that tide,
Non ne moste other abide.
Beves ther-of was agreved
And smot of King Grander is heved,
The dede kors in that throwe
Fel out over the sadel bowe.
Tho King Grander was islawe,
The seve knightes of hethen lawe
Beves slough that ilche stounde,
So hit is in Frensch yfounde.
For nought Beves nolde belave,
The beter hors a wolde have;
Beves Trenchefis bestrit,
And in is weie forth a rit,
And Brademond with al is ost
Com after with meche bost;
So longe hii han Beves drive,
That hii come to the clive,
Ther the wilde se was.
Harkneth now a wondercas!
In to the se a moste, iwis,
Other fighte aghenes al hethenes.
To Jesu Crist he bad a bone,
And He him grauntede wel sone:
"Lord," a sede, "hevene king,
Schepere of erthe and alle thing,
Thow madest fisch ase wel alse man,
That nothing of senne ne can,
Ne nought of fisches kenne
Never yet ne dede senne,
Of this hethene hounde,
That beste Thee and bounde
And bete Thee body to the dethe,
Tharfore ich may alse ethe
To water fle in this stede,
To fisch, that never senne dede,
Than her daien in londe
In al this Sarasines honde!'
Beves smot is hors, that it lep
In to the se, that was wel dep.
Whan he in to the se cam,
Over the se, I wot, a swam;
In a dai and in a night
A bar over that gentil knight.
Whan he com of that wilde brok,
His gode stede him resede and schok,
And Beves, for honger in that stounde
The hors threw him doun to the grounde.
"Allas!" queth Beves, whan he doun cam,
"Whilom ichadde an erldam
And an hors gode and snel,
That men clepede Arondel;
Now ich wolde yeve hit kof
For a schiver of a lof!"
A restede him ther a lite tide,
His gode stede he gan bestride
And rod over dale and doun,
Til he com to a gret toun;
The levedi thar-of over the castel lai,
And Beves hire sone of-say
And wende ben al out of care
And thoughte wel to spede thare.
Beves to the castel gate rit
And spak to hire, above him sit:
"Dame," a seide, "that sit above,
For that ilche lordes love,
On wham thin herte is on iset:
Yeve me today a meles met!"
The levedi answerde him tho:
"Boute thow fro the gate go,
Thee wer beter elleswhar than her;
Go, or the tit an evel diner!
Me lord," she seide, "is a geaunt
And leveth on Mahoun and Tervagaunt
And felleth Cristene men to grounde,
For he hateth hem ase hounde!"
"Be God!" queth Beves, "I swere an othe:
Be him lef and be him lothe,
Her ich wile have the mete
With love or eighe, whather I mai gete!"
The levedi swithe wroth with alle
Wente hire forth in to the halle
And tolde hire lord anon fore,
How a man hadde iswore,
That he nolde fro the ghete,
Er he hadde ther the mete.
The geaunt was wonderstrong,
Rome thretti fote long;
He tok a levour in is hond,
And forth to the gate he wond.
Of Beves he nam gode hede,
Ful wel a knew Beves is stede:
"Thow ert nome thef, ywis:
Whar stele thow stede Trenchefis,
That thow ridest upon here?
Hit was me brotheres Grandere!"
"Grander," queth Beves, "I yaf hod
And made him a kroune brod;
Tho he was next under me fest,
Wel I wot, ich made him prest,
And high dekne ich wile make thee,
Er ich ever fro thee te!"
Thanne seide the geaunt: "Meister sire,
Slough thow me brother Grandere,
For al this castel ful of golde
A live lete thee ich nolde!"
"Ne ich thee," queth Beves, "I trowe!"
Thus beginneth grim to growe.
The geaunt, that ich spak of er,
The staf, that he to fighte ber,
Was twenti fote in lengthe be tale,
Tharto gret and nothing smale:
To Sire Beves a smot therwith
A sterne strok withouten grith,
Ac a failede of his divis
And in the heved smot Trenchefis,
That ded to grounde fel the stede.
"O," queth Beves, "so God me spede,
Thow havest don gret vileinie,
Whan thow sparde me bodi
And for me gilt min hors aqueld,
Thow witest him, that mai nought weld. 9
Be God, I swere thee an oth:
Thow schelt nought, whan we tegoth,
Laughande me wende fram,
Now thow havest mad me gram!"
Beves is swerd anon up swapte,
He and the geaunt togedre rapte
And delde strokes mani and fale:
The nombre can I nought telle in tale.
The geaunt up is clobbe haf
And smot to Beves with is staf,
That his scheld flegh from him thore
Thre akres brede and sumdel more.
Tho was Beves in strong erur
And karf ato the grete levour
And on the geauntes brest a wonde,
That negh a felde him to the grounde.
The geaunt thoughte this bataile hard,
Anon he drough to him a dart,
Thourgh Beves scholder he hit schet,
The blod ran doun to Beves fet,
Tho Beves segh is owene blod,
Out of is wit he wex negh wod,
Unto the geaunt ful swithe he ran
And kedde that he was doughti man,
And smot ato his nekke bon:
The geaunt fel to grounde anon.
Beves wente in at castel gate,
The levedi a mette ther-ate.
"Dame!" a seide, "go, yeve me mete,
That ever have thow Cristes hete!"
The levedi, sore adrad with alle,
Ladde Beves in to the halle,
And of everiche sonde,
That him com to honde,
A dede hire ete al ther ferst,
That she ne dede him no berst,
And drinke ferst of the win,
That no poisoun was ther-in.
Whan Beves hadde ete inough,
A keverchef to him a drough
In that ilche stounde,
To stope mide is wonde.
"Dame, dame," Beves sede,
"Let sadele me a gode stede,
For hennes ich wile ride,
I nel lo lenger her abide!"
The levedi seide, she wolde fawe;
A gode stede she let forth drawe
And sadeled hit and wel adight,
And Beves, that hendi knight,
Into the sadel a lippte,
That no stirop he ne drippte.
Forth him wente Sire Bevoun,
Til he com withoute the toun
In to a grene mede.
"Now, loverd Crist," a sede,
"Yeve it, Brademond the king,
He and al is ofspring,
Wer right her upon this grene:
Now ich wolde of me tene
Swithe wel ben awreke,
Scholde he never go ne speke:
Now min honger is me aset,
Ne liste me never fighten bet!"
Forth a wente be the strem,
Til a come to Jurisalem;
To the patriark a wente cof,
And al his lif he him schrof
And tolde him how hit was bego,
Of is wele and of is wo.
The patriark hadde reuthe
Of him and ek of is treuthe
And forbed him upon his lif,
That he never toke wif,
Boute she were clene maide.
"Nai, for sothe!" Sire Beves saide.
On a dai aghenes the eve
Of the patriarke he tok is leve;
Erliche amorwe, whan it was dai,
Forth a wente in is wai;
And also a rod himself alone:
"Lord," a thoughte, "whar mai I gone?
Whar ich in to Ingelonde fare?
Nai," a thoughte, "what sholde I thare,
Boute yif ichadde ost to gader,
For to sle me stifader?"
He thoughte, that he wolde an hie
In to the londe of Ermonie,
To Ermonie, that was is bane,
To his lemman Josiane.
And also a wente theder right,
A mette with a gentil knight,
That in the londe of Ermonie
Hadde bore him gode companie;
Thai kiste hem anon with that
And ather askede of otheres stat.
Thanne seide Beves and lough:
"Ich ave fare hard inough,
Sofred bothe honger and chele
And other peines mani and fele
Thourgh King Ermines gile:
Yet ich thenke to yelde is while,
For he me sente to Brademond,
To have slawe me that stonde:
God be thanked, a dede nought so,
Ac in is prisoun with meche wo
Ichave leie this seven yare,
Ac now icham from him ifare
Thourgh Godes grace and min engyn,
Ac al ich wite it King Ermyn,
And, ne wer is doughter Josiane,
Sertes, ich wolde ben is bane!"
"Josiane," queth the knight, "is a wif
Aghen hire wille with meche strif.
Seve yer hit is gon and more,
That the riche King Yvore
To Mombraunt hath hire wedde
Bothe to bord and to bedde,
And hath the swerd Morgelai
And Arondel, the gode palfrai:
Ac sithe the time, that I was bore,
Swiche game hadde ich never before,
Ase ich hadde that ilche tide,
Whan I segh King Yvor ride
Toward Mombraunt on Arondel;
The hors was nought ipaied wel:
He arnede awai with the king
Thourgh felde and wode, withouten lesing,
And in a mure don him cast,
Almest he hadde deied in hast.
Ac er hii wonne the stede,
Ropes in the contré thai leide;
Ac never sithe, withoute fable,
Ne com the stede out of the stable,
So sore he was aneied that tide;
Sithe dorste no man on him ride!"
For this tiding Beves was blithe,
His joie kouthe he no man kithe.
"Wer Josiane," a thoughte, "ase lele,
Alse is me stede Arondel,
Yet scholde ich come out of wo!"
And at the knight he askede tho:
"Whiderwardes is Mombraunt?"
"Sere," a sede, "be Tervagaunt,
Thow might nought thus wende forth,
Thow most terne al aghen north!"
Beves ternede his stede
And rod north, Gode spede;
Ever a was pasaunt,
Til a com to Mombraunt.
Mombraunt is a riche cité;
In al the londe of Sarsine
Nis ther non therto iliche
Ne be fele parti so riche.
And whan that hende knight Bevoun
Come withouten the toun,
Tharwith a palmer he mette,
And swithe faire he him grette:
"Palmer," a sede, "whar is the king?"
"Sire," a seide, "an honting
With kinges fiftene."
"And whar," a seide, "is the quene?"
"Sire," a seide, "in hire bour."
"Palmer," a seide, "paramour,
Yem me thine wede
For min and for me stede!"
"God yeve it," queth the palmare,
"We hadde drive that chefare!"
Beves of is palfrei alighte
And schrede the palmer as a knighte
And yaf him is hors, that he rod in,
For is bordon and is sklavin.
The palmer rod forth ase a king,
And Beves went alse a bretheling.
Whan he com to the castel gate,
Anon he fond thar-ate
Mani palmer thar stonde
Of fele kene londe,
And he askede hem in that stede,
What hii alle thar dede.
Thanne seide on, that thar stod:
"We beth icome to have gode,
And so thow ert also!"
"Who," queth Beves, "schel it us do?"
"The quene, God hire schilde fro care!
Meche she loveth palmare;
Al that she mai finden here,
Everiche dai in the yere,
Faire she wile hem fede
And yeve hem riche wede
For a knightes love, Bevoun,
That was iboren at Southamtoun;
To a riche man she wolde him bringe,
That kouthe telle of him tiding!"
"Whanne," queth Beves, "schel this be don?"
A seide: "Betwene middai and noun."
Beves, hit ful wel he sai,
Hit nas boute yong dai;
A thoughte that he wolde er than
Wende aboute the barbican,
For to loke and for to se,
How it mighte best be,
Yif he the castel wolde breke,
Whar a mighte best in reke;
And also a com be a touret,
That was in the castel iset,
A herde wepe and crie;
Thederward he gan him hie.
"O allas," she seide, "Bevoun,
Hende knight of Southhamtoun,
Now ichave bide that day,
That to the treste I ne may:
That ilche God, that thow of speke,
He is fals and thow ert eke!"
In al the sevene yer eche dai
Josiane, that faire mai,
Was woned swich del to make,
Al for Sire Beves sake.
The levedi gan to the gate te,
The palmeres thar to se;
And Beves, after anon
To the gate he gan gon.
The palmers gonne al in threste,
Beves abod and was the laste;
And whan the maide segh him thar,
Of Beves she nas nothing war;
"Thee semest," queth she, "man of anour,
Thow schelt this dai be priour
And beginne oure deis:
Thee semest hende and corteis."
Mete and drinke thai hadde afyn,
Bothe piment and plenté a wyn,
Swithe wel thai hadde ifare;
Thanne seide the quene to eche palmare:
"Herde ever eni of yow telle
In eni lede or eni spelle,
Or in feld other in toun,
Of a knight, Beves of Hamtoun?"
"Nai!" queth al that thar ware.
"What thow?" she seide, "niwe palmare?"
Thanne seide Beves and lough:
"That knight ich knowe wel inough!
Atom," a seide, "in is contré
Icham an erl and also is he;
At Rome he made me a spel
Of an hors, men clepede Arondel:
Wide whar ichave iwent
And me warisoun ispent
I sought hit bothe fer and ner,
Men telleth me, that it is her;
Yif ever lovedestow wel that knight,
Let me of that hors have a sight!"
What helpeth hit, to make fable?
She ladde Beves to the stable:
Josian beheld him before,
She segh his browe to-tore;
After Bonefas she gan grede,
At stable dore to him she sede;
"Be the moder, that me hath bore,
Ner this mannes browe to-tore,
Me wolde thenke be his fasoun,
That hit were Beves of Hamtoun!"
Whan that hors herde nevene
His kende lordes stevene,
His rakenteis he al terof
And wente in to the kourt wel kof
And neide and made miche pride
With gret joie be ech a side.
"Allas!" tho queth Josiane,
"Wel mani a man is bane
To dai he worth ilaught,
Er than this stede ben icaught!"
Thanne seide Beves and lough:
"Ich can take hit wel inough:
Wolde ye," a sede, "yeve me leve,
Hit ne scholde no man greve!'
"Take hit thanne," she sede,
"And in to stable thow it lede
And teie it thar it stod,
And thow schelt have mede gode!"
Beves to the hors tegh;
Tho the hors him knew and segh.
He ne wawede no fot,
Til Beves hadde the stirop;
Beves in to the sadel him threw,
Tharbi that maide him wel knew.
Anon seide Josian with than:
"O Beves, gode lemman,
Let me with thee reke
In that maner, we han ispeke,
And thenk, thow me to wive tok,
Whan ich me false godes forsok:
Now thow hast thin hors Arondel,
Thee swerd ich thee fette schel,
And let me wende with thee sithe
Hom in to thin owene kithe!"
Queth Beves: "Be Godes name,
Ichave for thee sofred meche schame,
Lain in prisoun swithe strong:
Yif ich thee lovede, hit were wrong!
The patriark me het upon me lif,
That I ne tok never wif,
Boute she were maide clene;
And thow havest seve year ben a quene,
And everi night a king be thee:
How mightow thanne maide be?"
"Merci," she seide, "lemman fre,
Led me hom to thee contré,
And boute thee finde me maide wimman,
Be that eni man saie can,
Send me aghen to me fon
Al naked in me smok alon!"
Beves seide: "So I schel,
In that forward I graunte wel!"
Bonefas to Sire Beves sede:
"Sire, thee is beter do be rede!
The king cometh sone fro honting
And with him mani a riche king,
Fiftene told al in tale,
Dukes and erles mani and fale.
Whan hii fonde us alle agon,
Thai wolde after us everichon
With wondergret chevalrie,
And do us schame and vileinie;
Ac formeste, sire, withouten fable,
Led Arondel in to the stable,
And ate the gate thow him abide,
Til the king cometh bi the ride;
A wile thee asken at the frome,
Whider thow schelt and whannes thow come;
Sai, that thow havest wide iwent,
And thow come be Dabilent,
That is hennes four jurné:
Sai, men wile ther the king sle,
Boute him come help of sum other;
And King Yvor is his brother,
And whan he hereth that tiding,
Theder a wile an highing
With al is power and is ost:
Thanne mai we with lite bost
Forth in oure wei go!"
Beves seide: "It schel be so!"
And Arondel to stable lad,
Ase Bonefas him bad;
And to the gate Beves yode
With other beggers, that ther stode,
And pyk and skrippe be is side,
In a sklavin row and wide;
His berd was yelw, to is brest wax
And to his gerdel heng is fax.
Al thai seide, that hii ne sighe
So faire palmer never with eighe,
Ne com ther non in that contré:
Thus wondred on him that him gan se;
And so stod Beves in that thring,
Til noun belle began to ring.
Fram honting com the King Yvore,
And fiftene kinges him before,
Dukes and erles, barouns how fale
I can nought telle the righte tale.
Mervaile thai hadde of Beves alle.
Yvor gan Beves to him calle
And seide: "Palmer, thow comst fro ferre:
Whar is pes and whar is werre?
Trewe tales thow canst me sain."
Thanne answerde Beves again:
"Sire, ich come fro Jurisalem
Fro Nazareth and fro Bedlem,
Emauns castel and Synaie;
Ynde, Erop, and Asie,
Egippte, Grese, and Babiloine,
Tars, Sesile and Sesaoine,
In Fris, in Sodeine and in Tire,
In Aufrik and in mani empire,
Ac al is pes thar ichave went,
Save in the lond of Dabilent.
In pes mai no man come thare,
Thar is werre, sorwe and care.
Thre kinges and dukes five
His chevalrie adoun ginneth drive,
And meche other peple ischent,
Cites itake and tounes ibrent;
Him to a castel thai han idrive,
That stant be the se upon a clive,
And al the ost lith him aboute,
Be this to daie a is in doute,"
King Yvor seide: "Allas, allas,
Lordinges, this is a sori cas!
That is me brother, ye witen wel,
That lith beseged in that castel:
To hors and armes, lasse and more,
In haste swithe, that we wer thore!"
Thai armede hem anon bedene,
Yvor and his kinges fiftene,
And to the Cité of Diablent
Alle samen forth they went.
But an old king, that hight Garcy,
At home he lefte to kepe the lady.
Thoo seid Beves: "Make yow yare,
Yif that ye wille with me fare!"
Sir Bonefas answered thoo:
"Yif ye wil by my consaile do:
Here is an olde king Garcy,
That muche can of nygremancy;
He may see in his goldryng,
What any man dooth in alle thing.
I know an erbe in the forest.
Now wille I sende therafter prest
And let brochen Reynessh wyne
And do that yerbe anoon therynne,
And what he be, that ther-of doth drynke,
He shal lerne for to wynke
And slepe anon after ryght
Al a day and al a nyght."
Sir Bonefas dide al this thing;
They resen up in the dawnyng;
Inowgh they toke what they wolde,
Both of silver and of golde,
And other tresoure they toke also,
And in hur way they gunne goo.
And when they were went away,
Garcy awaked a morow day
And had wonder swith stronge,
That he hadde slept so longe.
His ryng he gan to him tee,
For to loke and for to see;
And in his ryng say he thare,
The queene awey with the palmer was fare.
To his men he grad ryght:
"As armes, lordinges, for to fyght!"
And tolde his folke, verament,
How the queene was awey went.
They armed hem in ryche wede
And every knyght lep on his stede,
And after went al that route
And besette hem al aboute.
Thenne seide Beves to Bonefas:
"Kepe wel Josian at this cas,
And I wil wynde to bataile,
Garcy and his ost assaile.
I wil fonde, what I do may,
I have rested me moony a day.
Fyght, I will now my fylle
And hem overcom by Goddes wille!"
Tho Bonefas to him saide:
"Sir, yow is better do by my reed:
Ye shal be in the lasse dout,
For I know the contré al about;
I can bryng yow in to a cave,
There a sheparde with a stave,
Theyghe men hadden his deth sworn,
He myght him kepe wel therforn!"
Into the cave he hath hem brought;
Garcy, the Kyng, hem couth fynde nought,
Therfore him was swith woo;
He and his ost bethought hem thoo,
Hoom agheyn for to wende
And sende Ascopart hem to shende.
In the cave they were al nyght
Withoute mete or drynke, aplyght.
Twoo dayes it was goon,
That mete ne drynke had they noon.
Josian was afyngered soore
And told anoon Beves therfore.
Beves seid, "How darst thou of me meete crave?
Wel thou wotest, that noon I have."
Josian answered sone anoon
And bade Sir Beves to wood goon:
I have herde of savagenes,
Whenne yonge men were in wyldernes,
That they toke hert and hinde
And other bestes, that they myght fynde;
They slowen hem and soden hem in her hide;
Thus doon men that in wood abyde.
Sir, thou myghtest bestes lyghtly take,
For sause good I wyl thee make!"
Beves seide to Bonefas than:
"I pray thee kepe wel Josian,
The while I wynde into the forest,
For to take sum wylde beest!"
Forth went Beves in that forest,
Beestes to sheete he was ful prest.
Als sone as he was forth yfare,
Two lyouns ther com yn thare,
Grennand and rampand with her feet.
Sir Bonefas then als skeet
His hors to him thoo he drowgh
And armyd him wel ynowgh
And yave the lyouns bataile to fyght;
Al to lytel was his myght.
The twoo lyouns sone had sloon
That oon his hors, that other the man.
Josian into the cave gan shete,
And the twoo lyouns at hur feete,
Grennand on hur with muche grame,
But they ne myght do hur no shame,
For the kind of lyouns, ywis,
A kynges doughter, that maide is,
Kinges doughter, quene and maide both,
The lyouns myght do hur noo wroth.
Beves com sone fro huntyng
With three hertes, without lesyng,
And fonde an hors gnawe to the boon,
And Josian awey was goon.
He sowned soone for sorow and thought,
Fro cave to cave he her sought,
To wete how that cas myght be,
And in a cave he gan to see,
Where Josain sate in grete doute
And twoo lions hur about.
Too Sir Beves gan she speke:
"Sir, thyn help, me to awreke
Of these two liouns, that thy chamberleyn,
Ryght now han him slayn!"
She seide, she wolde that oon hoolde,
While that he that other quelde.
Aboute the nekke she hent that oon,
And Beves bade let him goon,
And seide: "Dame, forsoth, ywys,
I myght yelp of lytel prys,
There I had a lyon quelde,
The while a woman another helde!
Thow shalt never umbraide me,
When thou comest hoom to my contré:
But thou let hem goo both twoo,
Have good day, fro thee I goo!"
She let hem skip up and doun,
And Beves assailed the lyoun.
Strenger bataile ne strenger fyght
Herde ye never of no knyght
Byfore this in romaunce telle,
Than Beves had of beestes felle.
Al that herkeneth word and ende,
To hevyn mot her sowles wende!
That oon was a lionesse,
That Sir Bevis dide grete distresse;
At the first begynnyng
To Beves hondes she gan spryng
And al to peces rent hem there,
Or Beves myght ther-of be werre.
That other lyon, that Josian gan holde,
To fight with Beves was ful bold;
He ran to him with grete randon
And with his pawes he rent adoun
His armour almost to ground,
And in his thyghe a wel grete wound.
Tho was Beves in hert grame,
For the lioun had do him shame;
As he were wood, he gan to fyght;
The lionesse seyghe that sight
And raught to Beves, without faile,
Both at oones they gan him assaile.
Thoo was Beves, in strong tempestes,
So strong and egre were these beestes,
That nyghe they hadde him there queld;
Unnethe he kept him with his shelde.
With Morgelay, that wel wold byte,
To the lioun he gan smyte;
His ryght foot he shore asonder,
Sir Beves shilde the Lyoun ranne under
And with his teeth with sory happe
He kitte a pece of his lappe,
And Beves that ilke stounde
For anguysse fel to the grounde,
And hastely Beves than up stert,
For he was grevyd in his hert;
He kyd wel tho, he was agrevyd,
And clef a twoo the lyon is hevyd,
And to his hert the poynt thrast;
Thus the lioun died at the last.
Stoutliche the liounesse than
Asailede Beves, that doughti man,
And with hire mouth is scheld tok
So sterneliche, saith the bok,
That doun it fel of is left hond.
Tho Josian gan understonde,
That hire lord scholde ben slawe;
Helpe him she wolde fawe.
Anon she hente that lioun:
Beves bad hire go sitte adoun,
And swor be God in Trinité,
Boute she lete that lioun be,
A wolde hire sle in that destresse
Ase fain ase the liounesse.
Tho she ne moste him nought helpe fighte,
His scheld she broughte him anon righte
And yede hire sitte adoun, saun faile,
And let him worthe in that bataile.
The liounesse was stout and sterne,
Aghen to Beves she gan erne
And be the right leg she him grep,
Ase the wolf doth the schep,
That negh she braide out is sparlire;
Tho was Beves in gret yre,
And in that ilche selve veneu
Thourgh Godes grace and is vertu
The liounesse so harde he smot
With Morgelai, that biter bot
Evene upon the regge an high,
That Morgelai in therthe fligh.
Tho was Josian ful fain,
Tho that hii were bothe slain,
And Beves was glad and blithe,
His joie ne kouthe he no man kithe,
And ofte he thankede the king in glori
Of his grace and is viktori;
Ac wo him was for Bonefas,
And tho he segh, non other it nas,
A sette Josian upon a mule
And ride forth a lite while,
And metten with a geaunt
With a lotheliche semlaunt.
He was wonderliche strong,
Rome thretti fote long;
His berd was bothe gret and rowe;
A space of fot betwene is browe;
His clob was, to yeve a strok,
A lite bodi of an ok.
Beves hadde of him wonder gret
And askede him, what a het,
And yef men of his contré
Were ase meche ase was he.
"Me name," a sede, "is Ascopard:
Garci me sente hiderward,
For to bringe this quene aghen
And thee, Beves, her of-slen.
Icham Garci is chaumpioun
And was idrive out of me toun;
Al for that ich was so lite,
Everi man me wolde smite;
Ich was so lite and so merugh,
Everi man me clepede dwerugh,
And now icham in this londe,
Iwoxe mor, ich understonde,
And strengere than other tene,
And that schel on us be sene;
I schel thee sle her, yif I mai!"
"Thourgh Godes help," queth Beves, "nai!"
Beves prikede Arondel a side,
Aghen Ascopard he gan ride
And smot him on the scholder an high,
That his spere al to-fligh,
And Ascopard with a retret
Smot after Beves a dent gret,
And with is o fot a slintte
And fel with is owene dentte.
Beves of is palfrai alighte
And drough his swerd anon righte
And wolde have smiten of is heved;
Josian besoughte him, it were beleved:
"Sire," she seide, "so God thee save,
Let him liven and ben our knave!"
"Dame, a wile us betrai!"
"Sire, ich wil ben is bourgh, nai!"
Thar a dede Beves omage
And becom is owene page.
Forth thai wenten alle thre,
Til that hii come to the se;
A dromond hii fonde ther stonde,
That wolde in to hethene londe,
With Sarasines stout and fer,
Boute thai nadde no maroner.
Tho hii sighe Ascopard come,
Hii thoughten wel, alle and some,
He wolde hem surliche hem lede,
For he was maroner god at nede.
Whan he in to the schipe cam,
His gode bat an honde he nam,
A drof hem out and dede hem harm,
Arondel a bar to schip in is arm,
And after in a lite while
Josian and hire mule,
And drowen up saile al so snel
And sailede forth faire and wel,
That hii come withouten ensoine
To the haven of Coloine.
Whan he to londe kem,
Men tolde, the bischop was is em,
A noble man wis afin
And highte Saber Florentin.
Beves grete him at that cas
And tolde him what he was.
The beschop was glad afin
And seide: "Wolkome, leve cosin!
Gladder I nas, sethe ich was bore,
Ich wende, thow haddest be forlore.
Who is this levedi schene?"
"Sire, of hethenesse a quene,
And she wile, for me sake,
Cristendome at thee take."
"Who is this with the grete visage?"
"Sire," a sede, "hit is me page
And wile ben icristnede also,
And ich bidde, that ye hit do!"
The nexste dai after than
The beschop cristnede Josian.
For Ascopard was mad a kove;
Whan the beschop him scholde in schove,
A lep anon upon the benche
And seide: "Prest, wiltow me drenche?
The devel yeve thee helle pine,
Icham to meche te be cristine!"
After Josian is cristing
Beves dede a gret fighting,
Swich bataile dede never non
Cristene man of flesch ne bon,
Of a dragoun ther be side,
That Beves slough ther in that tide,
Save Sire Launcelet de Lake,
He faught with a fur drake
And Wade dede also,
And never knightes boute thai to,
And Gy a Warwik, ich understonde,
Slough a dragoun in NorthHomberlonde.
How that ilche dragoun com ther,
Ich wile yow telle, in what maner.
Thar was a king in Poyle land
And another in Calabre, ich understonde;
This twe kinge foughte ifere
More than foure and twenti yere,
That hii never pes nolde,
Naither for selver ne for golde,
And al the contré, saundoute,
Thai distruede hit al aboute;
Thai hadde mani mannes kours,
Wharthourgh hii ferden wel the wors;
Tharfore hii deide in dedli sinne
And helle pine thai gan hem winne.
After in a lite while
Thai become dragouns vile,
And so thai foughte dragouns ifere
Mor than foure and thretti yere.
An ermite was in that londe,
That was feld of Godes sonde;
To Jesu Crist a bed a bone,
That he dilivre the dragouns sone
Out of that ilche stede,
That hii namore harm ne dede.
And Jesu Crist, that sit in hevene,
Wel herde that ermites stevene
And grauntede him is praiere.
Anon the dragouns bothe ifere
Toke here flight and flowe awai,
Thar never eft man hem ne sai.
That on flegh anon with than,
Til a com to Toscan.
That other dragoun is flight nome
To Seinte Peter is brige of Rome;
Thar he schel leggen ay,
Til hit come Domes Dai.
And everi seve yer ones,
Whan the dragoun moweth is bones,
Than cometh a roke and a stink
Out of the water under the brink,
That men ther-of taketh the fevere,
That never after mai he kevere;
And who that nel nought leve me,
Wite at pilgrimes that ther hath be,
For thai can telle yow, iwis,
Of that dragoun how it is.
That other thanne flegh an highe
Thourgh Toskan and Lombardie,
Thourgh Province, withouten ensoine,
Into the londe of Coloyne;
Thar the dragoun gan arive
At Coloyne under a clive.
His eren were rowe and ek long,
His frount before hard and strong;
Eighte toskes at is mouth stod out,
The leste was seventene ench about,
The her, the cholle under the chin,
He was bothe leith and grim;
A was imaned ase a stede;
The heved a bar with meche pride,
Betwene the scholder and the taile
Foure and twenti fot, saunfaile.
His taile was of gret stringethe,
Sextene fot a was a lingthe;
His bodi ase a wintonne.
Whan hit schon the brighte sonne,
His wingges schon so the glas.
His sides wer hard ase eni bras.
His brest was hard ase eni ston;
A foulere thing nas never non.
Ye, that wile a stounde dwelle,
Of his stringethe I mai yow telle.
Beves yede to bedde a night
With torges and with candel light.
Whan he was in bedde ibrought,
On Jesu Crist was al is thought.
Him thoughte, a king, that was wod,
Hadde wonded him ther a stod;
He hadde wonded him biter and sore,
A wende a mighte leve namore,
And yet him thoughte a virgine
Him broughte out of al is pine.
Whan he of is slep abraid,
Of is swevene he was afraid.
Thanne a herde a reuli cri,
And besoughte Jesu merci:
"For the venim is on me throwe,
Her I legge al to-blowe,
And roteth me flesch fro the bon,
Bote ne tit me never non!"
And in is cri a seide: "Allas,
That ever yet I maked was!"
Anon whan hit was dai light,
Beves awakede and askede right,
What al that cri mighte ben.
His men him answerde aghen
And seide, that he was a knight,
In bataile he was holden wight;
Alse a wente him to plaie
Aboute her in this contrai,
In this contré aviroun
A mette with a vile dragoun,
And venim he hath on him throwe:
Thar a lith al to-blowe!
"Lord Crist," queth Beves tho,
"Mai eni man the dragoun slo!"
His men answerde, withouten lesing:
"Thar nis neither emperur ne king,
That come thar the dragoun wore,
An hondred thosend men and more,
That he nolde slen hem everichon,
Ne scholde hii never thannes gon."
"Ascopard," a seide, "whar ertow?"
"Icham her; what wilte now?"
"Wile we to the dragoun gon?
Thourgh Godes help we scholle him slo!"
"Ya, sire, so mot I the,
Bletheliche wile I wende with thee!"
Beves armede him ful wel,
Bothe in yrene and in stel,
And gerte him with a gode bronde
And tok a spere in is honde.
Out ate gate he gan ride,
And Ascopard be his side.
Alse hii wente in here pleghing,
Hii speke of mani selkouth thing.
That dragoun lai in is den
And segh come the twei men;
A made a cri and a wonder,
Ase hit were a dent of thonder.
Ascopard was adrad so sore,
Forther dorste he go namore;
A seide to Beves, that was is fere:
"A wonderthing ye mai here!"
Beves saide: "Have thow no doute,
The dragoun lith her aboute;
Hadde we the dragoun wonne,
We hadde the feireste pris under sonne!"
Ascopard swor, be Sein Jon,
A fot ne dorste he forther gon.
Beves answerde and seide tho;
"Ascopard, whi seistow so?
Whi schelt thow afered be
Of thing that thow might nought sen?"
A swor, alse he moste then,
He nolde him neither hire ne sen:
"Icham weri, ich mot have reste:
Go now forth and do the beste!"
Thanne seide Beves this wordes fre:
"Schame hit is, to terne aghe.
A smot his stede be the side,
Aghen the dragoun he gan ride,
The dragoun segh, that he cam
Yenande aghenes him anan,
Yenande and gapande on him so,
Ase he wolde him swolwe tho.
Whan Beves segh that ilche sight,
The dragoun of so meche might,
Hadde therthe opnede anon,
For drede a wolde ther in han gon;
A spere he let to him glide
And smot the dragoun on the side;
The spere sterte aghen anon,
So the hail upon the ston,
And to-barst on pices five.
His swerd he drough alse blive;
Tho thai foughte, alse I yow sai,
Til it was high noun of the dai.
The dragoun was atened stronge,
That o man him scholde stonde so longe;
The dragoun harde him gan asaile
And smot his hors with the taile
Right amideward the hed,
That he fel to grounde ded.
Now is Beves to grounde brought,
Helpe him God, that alle thing wrought!
Beves was hardi and of gode hert,
Aghen the dragoun anon a stert
And harde him a gan asaile,
And he aghen with strong bataile;
So betwene hem leste that fight
Til it was the therke night.
Beves hadde thanne swich thrast,
Him thoughte his herte to-brast;
Thanne segh he a water him beside,
So hit mighte wel betide,
Fain a wolde theder flen,
He ne dorste fro the dragoun ten;
The dragoun asailede him fot hot,
With is taile on his scheld a smot,
That hit clevede hevene ato,
His left scholder dede also.
Beves was hardi and of gode hert,
Into the welle anon a stert.
Lordinges, herkneth to me now:
The welle was of swich vertu:
A virgine wonede in that londe,
Hadde bathede in, ich understonde;
That water was so holi,
That the dragoun, sikerli,
Ne dorste neghe the welle aboute
Be fourti fote, saundoute.
Whan Beves parsevede this,
Wel glad a was in hertte, iwis;
A dede of is helm of stel
And colede him ther in fraiche wel,
And of is helm a drank thore
A large galon other more.
A nemenede Sein Gorge, our levedi knight,
And sete on his helm, that was bright;
And Beves with eger mode
Out of the welle sone a yode;
The dragoun harde him asaile gan,
He him defendeth ase a man.
So betwene hem leste the fight,
Til hit sprong the dai light,
Whan Beves mighte aboute sen,
Blithe he gan thanne ben;
Beves on the dragoun hew,
The dragoun on him venim threw;
Al ferde Beves bodi there
A foule mesel alse yif a were;
Thar the venim on him felle,
His flesch gan ranclen and tebelle,
Thar the venim was icast,
His armes gan al to-brast;
Al to-brosten is ventaile,
And of his hauberk a thosend maile.
Thanne Beves, sone an highe
Wel loude he gan to Jesu criye:
"Lord, that rerede the Lazaroun,
Dilivre me fro this fend dragoun!"
Tho he segh his hauberk toren,
"Lord!" a seide, "That I was boren!"
That seide Beves, thar a stod,
And leide on, ase he wer wod;
The dragoun harde him gan asaile
And smot on the helm with is taile,
That his helm clevede ato,
And his bacinet dede also.
Tweies a ros and tweis a fel,
The thredde tim overthrew in the wel;
Thar-inne a lai up right;
A neste, whather hit was dai other night.
Whan overgon was his smerte
And rekevred was of is hertte,
Beves sette him up anon;
The venim was awei igon;
He was ase hol a man
Ase he was whan he theder cam.
On is knes he gan to falle,
To Jesu Crist he gan to calle:
"Help," a seide, "Godes sone,
That this dragoun wer overcome!
Boute ich mowe the dragoun slon
Er than ich hennes gon,
Schel hit never aslawe be
For no man in Cristenté!"
To God he made his praiere
And to Marie, his moder dere;
That herde the dragoun, ther a stod,
And flegh awei, ase he wer wod.
Beves ran after, withouten faile,
And the dragoun he gan asaile;
With is swerd, that he out braide,
On the dragoun wel hard a laide,
And so harde a hew him than,
A karf ato his heved pan,
And hondred dentes a smot that stonde,
Er he mighte kerven a wonder,
A hitte him so on the cholle
And karf ato the throte bolle.
The dragoun lai on is side,
On him a yenede swithe wide.
Beves thanne with strokes smerte
Smot the dragoun to the herte,
An hondred dentes a smot in on,
Er the heved wolde fro the bodi gon,
And the gode knight Bevoun
The tonge karf of the dragoun;
Upon the tronsoun of is spere
The tonge a stikede for to bere.
A wented tho withouten ensoine
Toward the toun of Coloine.
Thanne herde he belles ringe,
Prestes, clerkes loude singe;
A man ther he hath imet,
And swithe faire he hath him gret,
And asked that ilche man tho,
Whi thai ronge and songe so.
"Sire," a seide, "withouten faile,
Beves is ded in bataile;
Tharfore, for sothe I saie thee:
Hit is Beves dirige!"
"Nai," queth Beves, "be Sein Martin!"
And wente to Bischop Florentin.
Tho the bischop hadde of him a sight,
A thankede Jesu ful of might
And broughte Beves in to the toun
With a faire prosesioun;
Thanne al the folk that thar was,
Thankede Jesu of that gras.
On a dai Sire Beves sede:
"Leve em, what is to rede
Of me stifader Devoun
That holdeth me londes at Hamtoun?"
The beschop seide anon right:
"Kosin, Saber, thin em, is in Wight,
And everi yer on a dai certaine
Upon th'emperur of Almaine
He ginneth gret bataile take,
Beves, al for thine sake;
He weneth wel, that thow be ded;
Tharfore, kosin, be me red,
An hondred men ich yeve thee wighte,
Aghen th'emperur to fighte,
Stalworde men and fer,
And thow schelt wende te Saber:
Sai, ich grette him wel ilome!
Yif ye han nede, sendeth to me,
Ich wile yow helpe with al me might,
Aghen th'emperur to fight.
While thow dost this ilche tourne,
The levedi schel with me sojurne,
And the page Ascopard
Schel hire bothe wite and ward."
Forth wente Beves with than
To his lemman Josian:
"Lemman," a seide, "ich wile go
And avenge me of me fo,
Yif ich mighte with eni ginne
Me kende eritage to winne!"
"Swete lemman," Josian sede,
"Who schel me thanne wisse and rede?"
Beves sede "Lemman min,
Min em, the Bischop Florentin,
And Ascopard, me gode page,
Schel thee warde fro damage."
"Ye, have ich Ascopard," she sede,
Of no man ne stant me drede;
Ich take thee God and seinte Marie:
Sone so thow might, to me thow highe!"
Beves wente forth anon
With is men everichon,
That the bischop him hadde yeve.
So longe thai hadde here wei idrive,
That hii come upon a done,
A mile out of South Hamtone.
"Lordinges," to his men a sede,
"Ye scholle do be mine rede!
Have ich eni so hardi on,
That dorre to Hamtoun gon,
To th'emperur of Almaine,
And sai: her cometh a vintaine,
Al prest an hondred knighte
That fore his love wilen fighte
Both with spere and with launce,
Al fresch icome out of Fraunce!
Ac ever, an erneste and a rage,
Ever speketh Frensche laungage,
And sai, ich hatte Gerard,
And fighte ich wile be forward,
And of the meistri icham sure,
Yif he wile yilde min hure?"
Forth ther com on redi reke,
That renabliche kouthe Frensch speke;
"Sire," a seide, "ich wile gon,
The mesage for to don anon!"
Forth a wente to the castel gate
The porter a mette ther-ate,
To th'emperur he hath him lad,
Al a seide, ase Beves him bad.
Th'emperur and Beves sete ifere
That ilche night at the sopere;
Th'emperur askede him, what a het;
"Gerard!" a seide alse sket
"Gerard!" a seide, "for soth iwis,
This levedi hadde her er this
An erl to lord, er ich hire wedde,
A sone betwene hem to thai hadde,
A proud wreche and a ying,
And for sothe a lite gadling;
So was is fader of proud mode,
Icomen of sum lether blode;
His sone, that was a proud garsoun,
Men him clepede Bevoun;
Sone he was of age,
A solde me his eritage
And spente his panes in scham and schonde,
And sithe flegh out of Ingelonde.
Now hath he her an em in Wight,
Sire Saber, a wel strong knight,
And cometh with gret barnage
And cleimeth his eritage,
And ofte me doth her gret gile,
And thow might yilden is while,
Him to sle with swerd in felde,
Wel ich wolde thin here yelde!"
"Sire," queth Beves anon right,
"Ichave knightes of meche might,
That beth unarmed her of wede,
For we ne mighte non out lede
Over the se withouten aneighe;
Tharfore, sire, swithe an highe
Let arme me knightes echon,
And yef hem gode hors forth enon,
An hondred men sent thow thee self,
Ase mani ichave be min helf,
Dight me the schip and thin men bothe,
And I schel swere thee an othe,
That I schel yeve swiche asaut
On that ilche Sabaaut,
That withinne a lite while
Thow schelt here of a queinte gile!"
Al thus th'emperur hath him dight
Bothe hors, armes, and knight,
Tharto schipes with gode vitaile;
Forth thai wente and drowe saile.
In the schipe the knightes seten, ywis,
On of here, another of his.
Whan thai come amidde the forde,
Ech threw is felawe over the bord;
Of th'emperures knightes everichon
Withinne bord ne levede non.
Saber hem ful wel ysay,
Ase he upon his toure lay,
Mani baner he segh arered.
Tho was Saber sumdel afered,
That th'emperur with is ost come,
Biker he made wel ylome.
Beves wiste wel and sede,
That Saber him wolde drede;
Upon the higheste mast is top there
He let sette up a stremere
Of his fader armure,
Saber the rather to make sure,
For mani a time thar beforen
He hadde hit in to bataile boren.
Tho the schip to londe drough,
Saber hit knew wel inough
And thoughte and gan to understonde,
That Beves was come inte Ingelonde.
"Lord," a sede, "hered Thow be,
That ich mai me kende lord se:
That he wer ded, ich was ofdrad,
Meche sorwe ichave for him had."
A wente with is knightes blive,
Thar the schipes scholde arive;
Either other gan to kisse,
And made meche joie and blisse,
And Beves tolde him in a while,
He hadde do th'emperur a gile.
Tho seide Beves with than:
"Have ich eni so hardi man,
That dorre to Hamtoun gon
Over the water sone anon,
And sai th'emperur anon right,
That I nam no Frensche knight,
Ne that I ne hatte nought Gerard,
That made with him the forward,
And sai him, ich hatte Bevoun,
And cleymeth the seinori of Hamtoun,
And that is wif is me dame,
That schel hem bothe terne to grame;
Now of hem bothe togadre
I schel fonde wreke me fadre?"
Up thar sterte an hardi on:
"Sire," a seide, "ich wile gon,
The mesage fordoth hem bothe,
And maken hem sori and wrothe."
Forth a wente ase hot
Over the water in a bot,
Forth a wente also whate
In at the castel gate;
At the soper alse a set,
Th'emperur he gan thus gret:
"Sire emperur, I thee bringe
A swithe sertaine tiding:
Wel the grete that ilche knight,
That sopede with thee yerstene night;
A saith a hatte nought Gerard,
That made with thee the forward;
A saith, that he hatte Bevoun
And cleymeth the seinori of Hamtoun,
And is icome with thee to speke,
Of his fader deth to ben awreke,
Thee te sle with schame and schonde
And for to winne is owene londe."
Th'emperur herde of him that word,
His sone stod before the bord;
He thoughte with is longe knif
Bereve that mesageres lif;
A threw is knif and kouthe nought redi
And smot his sone thourgh the bodi.
The mesager spak a gainli word
Before th'emperur is bord:
"Thow gropedest the wif anight to lowe,
Thow might nought sen aright to throwe;
Thow havest so swonke on hire to night,
Thow havest negh forlore the sight:
Her thow havest lither haunsel,
A worse thee betide schel!"
And smot is hors with the spore
And arnde out at halle dore;
Wel and faire he hath him dight
And com aghen to Beves in Wight
And tolde a slough is sone for grame;
Beves lough and hadde gode game.
Lete we with Sire Beves thanne
And speke of Josiane,
That in Coloine was with Beves em,
Til that he aghen theder kem.
In that londe that ilche while
Thar wonede an erl, that highte Mile:
To Josian he hadde his love cast
And gan hire to wowen fast,
Faire a spak to terne hire thought,
And she seide a was aboute nought.
That erl was wroth in is manere,
For Josian him nolde here,
And spak to hire with loude gret:
"For wham," a seide, "scholde ich it lete,
Boute ich mai have of thee me wille?
Ich wile," a seide, "who that nille!" 10
She seide: "While ichave Ascopard,
Of thee nam ich nothing afard,
For thee wrethe ne for thin ost,
Ne for thee ne for thine bost!"
And tho thoughte that Erl Mile
To do Josian a gile:
A leter he let for to write,
In this maner he dede adite,
That Ascopard come scholde
To Beves, thar the letter him tolde,
In to a castel in an yle,
The brede of the water thre mile;
To Ascopard thai come snel;
Thai seide, Beves him grette wel
And besoughte, for is love
In haste a scholde to him come.
Forth wente Ascopard ase hot
Over the water in a bot;
Whan he was over the water come,
Hii unlek the ghate at the frome;
And whan he was comen withinne,
Thai sperede him faste with ginne.
Aghen to Josiane Miles gan terne:
"For wham," a seide, "schel ich it werne?"
She thoughte for to kepe hire, aplight,
She sente a masager to Wight,
To Beves, be letter and tolde fore
Al togedre lasse and more.
Miles wolde have is wille
And she bed him holde stille:
"Nought, thegh I scholde lese me lif,
Boute ich were thee weddede wif;
Yif eni man me scholde wedde,
Thanne mot ich go with him to bedde.
I trow, he is nought now here,
That schel be me weddefere!"
"I schel thee wedde aghenes thee wille,
Tomorwe I schel hit fulfille!"
And kiste hire anon right
And sente after baroun and knight
And bed hem come leste and meste,
To anoure that meri feste.
The night is gon, that dai comen is,
The spusaile don hit is
With merthe in that toun
And joie of erl and baroun.
And whan hit drough toward the night,
Here soper was ther redi dight,
And thegh thai richelich weren ifed,
That erl wolde ben abed.
Josian he het lede to bour,
To have hire under covertour;
Upon hire bedde ther she sat,
That erl com to hire with that,
With knightes gret compainie
With pyment and with spisorie,
With al the gamen that hii hedde,
For to make hire dronke a bedde;
Ac al another was hire thought,
Ne gamnede hire that gle right nought.
"Sire," she seide to that erl sone,
"Ich bidde thow graunte me a bone,
And boute thow graunte me this one,
I ne schel thee never bedde none.
Ich bidde thee at the ferste frome,
That man ne wimman her in come;
Belok hem thar-oute for love o me,
That no man se our privité!
Wimmen beth schamfast in dede
And namliche maidenes," sche sede.
That erl seide a wolde faine.
A drof out bothe knight and swaine,
Levedies, maidenes, and grome,
That non ne moste ther-in come,
And schette the dore with the keie.
Litel a wende have be so veie.
Josian he com aghen to:
"Lemman," a seide, "ichave ido,
Thee bone ichave do with lawe,
Me schon I mot me self of drawe,
As I never yet ne dede."
Adoun a set him in that stede;
Thanne was before his bed itight,
Ase fele han of this gentil knight,
A covertine on raile tre,
For no man scholde on bed ise.
Josian bethoughte on highing,
On a towaile she made knotte riding,
Aboute his nekke she hit threw
And on the raile tre she drew;
Be the nekke she hath him up tight
And let him so ride al the night.
Josian lai in hire bed.
No wonder, though she wer adred.
Dai is come in alle wise,
A morwe the barouns gonne arise
Sum to honten and sum to cherche,
And werkmen gonne for to werche.
The sonne schon, hit drough to under,
The barouns thar-of hadde wonder;
That th'erl lai so longe a bed,
Gret wonder thar-of he hedde.
Queth sum: "Let him lie stille!
Of Josian he hath al is wille."
Middai com, hit drough te noune,
The barouns speke ther eft soune:
Queth the boldeste: "How mai this be?
Wende ich wile up and ise!"
That baroun dorste wel speke,
To the chaumber he gan reke
And smot the dore with is honde,
That al wide opun it wonde.
"Awake," a seide, "Sire Erl Mile,
Thow havest sleped so longe while,
Thin heved oweth to ake wel:
Dame, let make him a caudel!"
"Nai," queth Josian at that sake,
"Never eft ne schel his heved ake!
Ichave so tyled him for that sore,
Schel hit never eft ake more,
Yerstendai he me wedded with wrong
And tonight ichave him honge.
Doth be me al youre wille,
Schel he never eft wimman spille!"
Al hii made meche sorwe;
Anon rightes in that morwe
Sum hire demte thanne
In a tonne for to branne.
Withoute the toun hii pighte a stake,
Thar the fur was imake,
The tonne thai hadde ther iset,
Thai fette wode and elet.
Ascopard withinne the castel lay,
The tonne and al the folk he say;
Ful wel him thoughte that while,
That him trokede a gret gile,
For he was in the castel beloke,
The castel wal he hath tobroken;
He was maroner wel gode,
A stertte in to the salte flode,
A fischer he segh fot hot,
Ever a swam toward the bot.
The fischer wende, sum fend it were,
Out of is bot he flegh for fere.
Ascopard hente the bot an honde
And rew himself to the londe,
Toward the fur faste a schok,
Beves com and him oftok:
"Treitour," a seide, "whar hastow be?
This dai thow havest betraied me!"
"Nai, sire!" Ascopard seide,
And tolde, Miles him hadde betraide.
Toward the fur thai wente blive:
The prest, that hire scholde schrive,
Godes blessing mote he fonge,
For that he held Josiane so longe!
In hire smok she stod naked,
Thar the fur was imaked;
Ase men scholde hire forbrenne,
Beves on Arondel com renne
With is swerd Morgelay;
Ascopard com be another way,
And slowen in that ilche stounde
Al that hii aboute the fur founde,
And that he hadde for is while,
That proude erl, Sire Mile.
A sette Josian on is palfrai,
And wente forth in here wai;
Thai wente to schip anon righte
And sailede forth in to Wighte.
Wel was Saber paid with than
Of Ascopard and of Josian.
Beves and Saber sente here sonde
Wide in to fele londe,
And hii sente an hie
After gret chevalrie,
Of al the londe the stringeste knighte,
That hii owhar finde mighte.
That emperur negh daide,
His wif confortede him and saide:
"Sire," she seide, "doute yow nought!
Of gode consaile icham bethought:
Ye scholle sende, for sertaine,
After your ost in to Almaine,
And whan your ost is come togadre,
Send to the King of Scotlonde, me fadre;
He wile come to thee an highe
With wondergret chevalrie,
That thow derst have no sore
Of that thef, Saber the hore,
Ne of Beves, that is me lothe:
Yit ye schollen hem hangen bothe!"
Tho the letters were yare,
The masegers wer forth ifare.
In Mai, whan lef and gras ginth springe,
And the foules merie to singe,
The King of Scotlonde com to fighte
With thretti thosend of hardi knighte
Of Almaine, is owene barouny,
With wonder-gret chevalry.
"Lordinges," a seide, "ye witeth alle,"
Whan hii were before him in the halle,
"That ofte this thef, Saber the hore,
Me hath aneied swithe sore.
Now is him come help to fighte,
Beves of Hamtoun, an hardi knighte,
To Sarasins was solde gon longe;
Ich wende he hadde ben anhonge.
He me threteth for to slen
And for to winne is londe aghen;
With him he hath a geaunt brought:
Erthliche man semeth he nought,
Ne no man of flesch ne felle,
Boute a fend stolen out of helle;
Ascopart men clepeth him ther oute,
Of him ichave swithe gret doute.
Ac, lordinges," a seide, "arme ye wel,
We scholle besege hem in here castel;
The Ascopard be strong and sterk,
Mani hondes maketh light werk!"
Forth thai wenten ase snel,
Til thai come to the castel
Thar Saber and Beves weren inne.
Thai pighte pavilouns and bente ginne.
Saber stod on is tour an high,
Al that grete ost a sigh;
Gret wonder ther of he hade,
The holi crois before him he made
And swor be his berde hore,
Hit scholde some of hem rewe sore.
Saber doun of his tour went,
After al is knightes a sent:
"Has armes, lordinges!" he gan segge,
"Th'emperur ther oute us wile belegge.
Make we thre vintaine,
That be gode and certaine!
The ferste ich wile me self out lede,
And thow that other, Beves!" a sede,
"And Ascopard the thredde schel have
With is gode, grete stave.
Be we thre upon the grene,
Wel ich wot and nought ne wene:
Mani man is thar oute kete,
This dai schel is lif forlete!"
Saber is horn began to blowe,
That his ost him scholde knowe.
"Lordinges," a seide, "ne doute yow nought,
Ye scholle this dai be holde so dought,
That hem were beter at Rome,
Thanne hii hadde hider icome."
Tho th'emperur herde in castel blowe,
Tharbi he gan to knowe,
That hii armede hem in the castel;
His knightes he het ase snel:
"Has armes, lordinges, to bataile!
Out hii cometh, us to asaile."
Twei ostes thai gonne make,
He of Scotlonde hath on itake,
Th'emperur that other ladde:
His deth that dai ther he hadde.
Out of the castel cam before
Saber with is berde hore,
And in is compainie
Thre hondred knightes hardie.
Sire Morice of Mounclere
His stede smot aghenes Sabere;
His spere was sumdel kene,
And Saber rod him aghene:
Though is spere wer scharp igrounde,
Saber slough him in that stounde.
Out on Arondel tho com Bevoun
And mette with is stifader Devoun,
And with a dent of gret fors
A bar him doun of his hors;
With Morgelay, that wolde wel bite,
He hadde ment is heved of smite;
His ost cam riding him to,
Wel ten thosend other mo;
So stronge were tho hii come.
Th'emperur Beves hii benome
And broughte him an horse tho;
Tharfore was Beves swithe wo.
Thar com in the thredde part
With is batte Ascopard;
Ever alse he com than,
A felde bothe hors and man.
Tharwith was Beves wel apaide,
A clepede Ascopard and to him saide:
"Ascopard, tak right gode hede:
Th'emperur rit on a whit stede;
Thin hure I schel thee yilde wel,
With that thow bringe him to me castel!"
"Sire," a seide, "I schel for sothe
In to the castel bringe him to thee!"
Ascopard leide on wel inough,
Bothe man and hors he slough;
Thar nas non armur in that londe,
That mighte the geauntes strok astonde.
The King of Scotlonde, with is bat
A yaf him swiche a sori flat
Upon the helm in that stounde,
That man and hors fel ded to grounde.
Thanne anon, withoute sojur,
A wente to that emperur,
And hasteliche with might and main
A hente the hors be the rain;
Wolde he, nolde he, faire and wel
He bar hors and man to the castel.
Of al that other, siker aplighte,
That were ensemled in that fighte,
Of Scotlonde and of Almaine,
Beves and Saber with might and maine
With deth is dentes gonne doun drive,
That thar ne scapede non alive.
And thus Sire Beves wan the pris
And vengede him of is enemis,
And to the castel thai wente isame
With gret solas, gle and game,
And that his stifader wer ded,
Ase tit he let felle a led
Ful of pich and of bremston,
And hot led let falle ther-on;
Whan hit alther swither seth,
Th'emperur thar in a deth,
Thar a lay atenende.
Wende his saule, whider it wende!
His moder over the castel lai,
Hire lord sethen in the pich she sai;
So swithe wo hire was for sore,
She fel and brak hire nekke therfore.
Alse glad he was of hire,
Of his damme, ase of is stipsire,
And seide: "Damme, forgheve me this gilt,
I ne yaf thee nother dent ne pilt!"
Thanne al the lordes of Hamteschire
Made Beves lord and sire
And dede him feuté and omage,
Ase hit was lawe and right usage.
Tho was Beves glad and blithe
And thankede God ful mani a sithe,
That he was wreke wel inough
Of him, that his father slough.
Wel hasteliche she let sende
To Coloine after the bischop hende,
And spusede Beves and Josiane.
Of no joie nas ther wane;
Though ich discrive nought the bredale,
Ye mai wel wite, hit was riale,
That ther was in alle wise
Mete and drinke and riche servise.
Now hath Beves al is stat;
Tweie children on hir he begat
In the formeste yere,
Whiles that hii were ifere.
And Saber him redde thar
Wende to the King Edgar;
Tho with inne a lite stounde
The king a fond at Lounde.
Beves a knes doun him set,
The king hendeliche a gret;
The king askede him, what he were
And what nedes a wolde there.
Thanne answerde Bevoun:
"Ichatte Beves of Hamtoun;
Me fader was ther th'erl Gii;
Th'emperur for is levedi
Out of Almaine com and him slough;
Ichave wreke him wel inough;
Ich bidde before your barnage,
That ye me graunte min eritage!"
"Bletheliche," a seide, "sone min,
Ich graunte thee, be Sein Martin!"
His marchal he gan beholde:
"Fet me," a seide, "me yerde of golde!
Gii, is fader, was me marchal,
Also Bevis, is sone, schal."
His yerd he gan him ther take:
So thai atonede withoute sake.
In somer aboute Whitsontide
Whan knightes mest an horse ride,
A gret kours thar was do grede,
For to saien here alther stede,
Whiche were swift and strong.
The kours was seve mile long;
Who that come ferst theder, han scholde
A thosand pound of rede golde.
Tharwith was Beves paied wel:
Meche a treste to Arondel.
A morwe, whan hit was dai cler,
Ariseth bothe knight and squier
And lete sadlen here fole.
Twei knightes hadde the kours istole,
That hii were to mile before,
Er eni man hit wiste ybore.
Whan Beves wiste this, fot hot
Arondel with is spures a smot
And is bridel faste a schok;
A mide the kours he hem oftok.
"Arondel," queth Beves tho,
"For me love go bet, go,
And I schel do faire and wel
For thee love reren a castel!"
Whan Arondel herde what he spak,
Before the twei knightes he rak,
That he com rather to the tresore,
Than hii be half and more.
Beves of his palfrai alighte
And tok the tresore anon righte:
With that and with mor catel
He made the castel of Arondel.
Meche men preisede is stede tho,
For he hadde so wel igo;
The prince bad, a scholde it him yeve;
"Nay," queth Beves, "so mot I leve,
Though thow wost me take an honde
Al the hors of Ingelonde!"
Sithe that he him yeve nele,
A thoughte, that he it wolde stele.
Hit is lawe of kinges alle,
At mete were croune in halle,
And thanne everiche marchal
His yerde an honde bere schal.
While Beves was in that ofice,
The kinges sone, that was so nice,
What helpeth for to make fable?
A yede to Beves stable
And yede Arondel to nighe,
And also a wolde him untighe,
And tho Arondel, fot hot,
With his hint fot he him smot
And todaschte al is brain.
Thus was the kinges sone slain.
Men made del and gret weping
For sorwe of that ilche thing;
The king swor, for that wronge
That Beves scholde ben anhonge
And to-drawe with wilde fole.
The barnage it nolde nought thole
And seide, hii mighte do him no wors,
Boute lete hongen is hors;
Hii mighte don him namore,
For he servede tho the king before.
"Nai," queth Beves, "for no catele
Nel ich lese min hors Arondele,
Ac min hors for to were
Ingelonde ich wile forswere;
Min eir ich wile make her
This gode knight, min em Saber."
In that maner hii wer at one,
And Beves is to Hamtoun gone;
A tolde Josian and Ascopard fore
Al togedre, lasse and more.
Beves lep on is rounci
And made is swein Terri,
That Saber is sone is;
And whan Ascopard wiste this,
Whiche wei hii wolde take,
Aghen to Mombraunt he gan schake,
To betraie Beves, as ye mai se,
For he was falle in poverté,
For, whan a man is in poverté falle,
He hath fewe frendes with alle.
To him seide King Yvore:
"Treitour, whar hastow be thus yore?"
"Sire," a seide, "have sought the quene,
And have had for hire miche tene!
Sire," a seide, "certeine for sothe,
Yet ich kouthe bringe hire to thee!"
"Ich wile thee yeve a kingdom right,
Bring yow me that levedi bright!"
Queth Ascopart: "Therto I graunt,
Be Mahoun and be Tervagaunt,
So that ichave fourti knightes,
Stout in armes and strong in fightes;
For Beves is ful sterne and stoute,
Of him ichave swithe gret doute;
He overcom me ones in bataile:
Me behoveth help, him to asaile."
King Yvor grauntede anon rightes;
He let him chese fourti knightes
And armede hem him in yrene wede,
And forth with Ascopard thai yede.
Now lete we be this Ascopard
And speke of Beves, that rit forthward
In is wei til Ermonie
Thourgh Fraunce and thourgh Normondie;
And Josiane, Crist here be milde!
In a wode was bestonde of childe
Beves and Terri doun lighte
And with here swerdes a logge pighte;
Thai broughte Josiane ther inne,
For hii ne kouthe no beter ginne.
Bevis is servise gan hire bede,
To helpe hire at that nede.
"For Godes love," she saide, "nai,
Leve sire, thow go thee wai,
God forbede for is pité,
That no wimman is privité
To no man thourgh me be kouthe.
Goth and wendeth hennes nouthe,
Thow and thee swain Terry,
And let me worthe and Oure Levedy!"
Forth thai wente bothe ifere,
For hii ne mighte hire paines here.
Allas, that ilche cherre;
Hii wente from hire alto ferre!
Alse hii wer out of the weie,
She hadde knave children tweie.
Also she dilivered was,
Thar com Ascopard goande a pas
And fourti Sarasins, the Frensch seth,
Al iarmede to the teth.
For al hire sorwe and hire wo
Thai made hire with hem te go,
And gret scorning of hire thai maked
And bete hire with swerdes naked.
Wo was the levedi in that stounde,
That was so beten and ibounde;
And in here wei ase thai gonne wende,
She seide: "Ascopard, freli frende,
For bounté, ich dede thee while
And savede thee fro perile,
Tho Beves thee wolde han slawe
And ibrought of thee lif dawe,
Ich was the bourgh, thee schost be trewe.
Thar fore I praie, on me thee rewe
And yeve me space a lite wight,
For wende out of this folkes sight,
To do me nedes in privité,
For kende hit is, wimman te be
Schamfaste and ful of corteisie,
And hate dedes of fileinie."
Ascopard answerde hire tho:
"Whider thow wilt, dame, thow schelt go,
So ichave of thee a sight!"
Thanne Josiane, anon right
Out of the way she gan terne,
As she wolde do hire dedes derne.
While she was in Ermonie,
Bothe fysik and sirgirie
She hadde lerned of meisters grete
Of Boloyne the gras and of Tulete,
That she knew erbes mani and fale,
To make bothe boute and bale.
On she tok up of the grounde,
That was an erbe of meche mounde,
To make a man in semlaunt there,
A foule mesel alse if a were.
Whan she hadde ete that erbe, anon
To the Sarasines she gan gon,
And wente hem forth withoute targing
Toward Yvore, the riche king.
Thai nadde ride in here way
Boute fif mile of that contray,
She was in semlaunt and in ble
A foule mesel on to se.
Tho she was brought to King Yvore,
To Ascopard a seide thore:
"Who is this wimman, thow hast me brought?"
"What," a seide, "knowest hire nought?
She is Josiane, the Quene.
Ichave had for hire meche tene."
Thanne seide Yvor: "I praie Mahoun
Tharfore yeve thee is malisoun,
Swiche a levedi me to bringe,
So foule of sight in alle thinge!
Led hire awai, God yeve yow schame,
Thee and hire, bothe isame!"
A castel hadde King Yvor
Fro his paleise fif mile and mor;
Theder Yvor bad hire lede
And finde hire that hire wer nede.
Tho Ascopard withouten dwelling
In to that castel gan hire bring,
In wildernesse upon a plaine,
And half a yer a was hire wardaine.
Now lete we be of this levedi
And speke of Beves and of Terri.
Beves, aghen is wei he nam,
In to the logge that he cam;
Fond he ther nother yong ne elder,
Boute twei hethene knave childer,
Swithe faire children with alle,
Alse hii were fro the moder falle.
Beves fel thar doun and swough;
Terri wep and him up drough,
And koursede biter that while
Ascopard is tresoun and is gile.
Thei kottede here forers of ermin,
The yonge children wonde ther in.
Thar nolde hii no long abide,
Thei lope to horse and gonne ride;
In the wode a forster thai mette
And swithe faire thai him grette:
"God the blesse, sire!" Beves sede,
"Sighe the eni levedi her forth lede
Owhar be this ilche way?"
"Sire, for Gode" a seide, "nay!"
"What dones man ertow, bacheler?"
"Sire," a seide, "a forster!"
"Forster, so Crist thee be milde,
Wiltow lete cristen this hethen childe?
Right, lo, now hit was ibore
And yong hit hath is moder forlore.
Wilt thow kep it for to min," a sede,
"And I schel quite wel thee mede?"
The forster him grauntede ther,
To kepe hit al the seven yer.
"Sire, what schel it hote yet?"
"Gii," a sede, "ase me fader het.
Right sone so he is of elde,
Tech him bere spere and schelde!"
That child the forster he betok
And forth in is wei a schok.
Another man a mette there,
That seide, a was a fischere;
Ten mark Beves him betok,
And that other child to lok,
And he himself, at the cherche stile
He let nevene the child Mile.
Thar nolden lengere abide,
Thai lope to hors and gonne ride
Over dale and over doun,
Til thai come to a gret toun,
And at a faire in thai lighte,
And riche soper thai gonne hem dighte.
Beves at a wendowe lokede out
And segh the strete ful aboute
Of stedes wrien and armes bright.
A wonder him thoughte, what it be might;
At here ostesse he askede there,
What al the stoute stedes were.
"Sire, a seide, "veraiment,
Thai ben come for a tornement,
That is cride for a maide faire,
A kinges doughter and is air.
Who that thar be beste knight
And stireth him stoutliche in that fight,
He schel have that maide fre
And Aumbeforce, the faire contré."
Thanne seide Beves unto Terry:
"Wile we tornaie for that levedy?"
"Ye, sire," a sede, "be Sein Thomas of Ynde!
Whan were we wonded be byhinde?
We scholle lete for non nede,
That we ne scholle manliche forth us bede!"
A morwe the lauerkes songe,
Whan that the lighte day was spronge,
Beves and Terry gonne arise
And greithede hem in faire queintise.
Here armes were riale of sight,
With thre eglen of asur bright;
The chaumpe of gold ful farie Tolede,
Portraid al with rosen rede.
And Terri, Saberes sone of Wight,
In riche armes also was dight.
Ase thai com ride thourgh the toun,
Erles, barouns of renoun
Hadde wonder of here armes slie,
In that londe never swich thai sie.
The trompes gonne here bemes blowe;
The knightes riden out in a rowe,
And tho the tornement began,
Thar was samned mani a man,
The tornement to beholde,
To se the knightes stout and bolde.
Thai leide on ase hii were wode
With swerdes and with maces gode;
Thar nolde no man other knowe,
Thar men mighte se in lite throwe
Knightes out of sadel iboren,
Stedes wonne and stedes loren.
The kinges sone of Asie
Thoughte wenne the meistrie.
Out of the renge he com ride,
And Beves nolde no leng abide;
He rod to him with gret randoun,
And with Morgelai, is fauchoun,
The prince a felde in the feld;
He was boren hom upon is scheld.
And also Beves adoun bar
A noble duk, that was thar.
In Aumbeforce cleped a wes
Balam of Nuby, withouten les;
Taile over top he made him stoupe
And felde him over is horses croupe,
And seven erles he gan doun thrawe,
Sum iwonded and sum yslawe.
Saber is sone, that highte Terry,
Kedde that he was knight hardy;
He leide on, alse he wolde awede,
And wan his lord mani gode stede.
Alle tho that hii mighte hitte,
No man mighte here strokes sitte.
So Beves demeinede him that dai,
The maide hit in the tour say.
Hire hertte gan to him acorde,
That she wolde have him to lorde,
Other with love other with strif;
And ever a seide, he hath a wif,
And seide, she was stolen him fro.
Thanne saide the maide: "Now it is so,
Thow schelt al this seven yere
Be me lord in clene manere,
And yif thee wif cometh thee aghen,
Terry, the swein, me lord schel ben!"
Beves seide: "So I schel;
In that forward I graunte wel!"
Saber at Hamtoun lai in is bed,
Him thoughte, Beves a wonde hed;
A way he was, him thoughte that while,
Toward Sein Jemes and Sein Gile.
Whan he awok, he was afraid,
To his wif is swevene a said.
"Sire," she seide, "thow havest wrong,
That thow dwellest her so long.
Alse ich am wimman ibore,
Wif or child he hath forlore.
Thourgh Ascopard he hath that gile."
Twelf knightes Saber let atile
In palmer is wedes everichon,
And armede hem right wel anon;
Here bordones were imaked wel
With longe pikes of wel gode stel,
And whan thai were so idight,
To schip thai wente anon right
And pasede over the Grikische se;
Gode winde and weder hadden he.
Whan thai come to the londe,
Faste thai gonne fraine and fonde,
In what londe were the quene,
And men tolde hem al bedene,
How the geaunt Ascopard
In a castel hire hadde to ward,
In wildernesse al be selve.
Tho Saber and is feren twelve,
Thourgh help of God that ilche stounde
Sone thai han the castel founde.
The castel ase he yede aboute,
For to divise the toures stoute,
Josian lay in a tour an high,
Saber and felawes she sigh,
And to him she gan to crie:
"Help, Saber, for love of Marie!"
Tho Ascopard herde that stevene,
How she gan Saber to nevene,
He wente him out with hertte wroth
And be Mahoun a swor his oth,
To dethe a scholde Saber dighte.
His sclavin ech palmer of twighte,
Tho schon here armur wel clere;
Tho Saber and his felawes ifere
Aboute Ascopard thai thringe,
And harde on him thai gonne dinge
And hew him alle to pices smale
And broughte Josian out of bale;
And hasteliche tho, veraiment,
Josian with an oiniment
Hire coulur, that was lothli of sight,
She made bothe cler and bright.
Tho Saber, that was wis of dede,
Josian, hire dighte in palmers wede,
And forth thai wente hasteli,
To seche Beves and sire Terri.
Seve yer togedres thai him sought,
Er than hii him finde moughte.
In grete Grese, so saith the bok,
Saber gret sikenesse tok,
That other half yer in none wise
Ne mighte he out of is bed arise,
And tresor he nadde namore,
Than half a mark of olde store.
While Josian was in Ermonie,
She hadde lerned of minstralcie,
Upon a fithele for to play
Staumpes, notes, garibles gay;
Tho she kouthe no beter red,
Boute in to the bourgh anon she yed
And boughte a fithele, so saith the tale,
For fourti panes of one menestrale;
And alle the while that Saber lay,
Josian everiche a day
Yede aboute the cité withinne,
Here sostenaunse for to winne.
Thus Josian was in swiche destresse,
While Saber lai in is siknesse.
At that other half yer is ende
Swiche grace God him gan sende
And heled him of his maladie,
And forth thai wente hastelie,
Beves and Terry for to seche,
Wheder that God hem wolde teche.
So thourgh a toun thai com thringe,
Thar Beves was in also a kinge;
A broughte Josian at here inne
And wente te toun, here mete to winne.
Whan he com to the castel gate,
Terry, is sone, a mette ther-ate,
That was stiward of al that londe,
And Saber gan to understonde,
That hit was is sone Terry,
And bad him for love of Our Levedy
And for the love of the gode Rode
Yeve him sumwhat of hire gode.
Terry beheld Saber ful blive
And seide: "Palmer, so mot I thrive,
Thow schelt have mete riche
For love of me fader, th'ert iliche!"
"So seide thee moder, sone, that I was!"
And Terry him in armes las,
And gonne cleppen and to kisse
And made meche joie and blisse.
Saber Josian wel faire gan dighte
And broughte hire to the castel righte
And tok hire Sire Beves to honde,
Ne cam him never lever sonde.
"Louerd Crist," queth Josian tho,
"Swithe wel is me bego,
That ichave me lord ifonde.
Hadde ich me children hol and sonde!"
That hii were ded, wel she wende.
Beves after hem let sende;
Than com the fischer and the forster
And broughte the children of fair cher.
Thanne weddede Terry
Of that londe the riche levedy;
And after mete thar it was,
The children pleide at the talvas,
And to the justes thai gonne ride;
Thar was joie be everi side.
Thanne Sire Beves and Sere Terry
Wente hem in til Ermonie,
And Josiane and Sire Sabere,
And Miles and Gii bothe ifere.
With that was come King Yvore,
To yeve bataile Ermyn the hore;
Ipight he hadde is pavilioun,
To besege him in that toun.
With that com Beves in that tide
With gret folk be that other side.
Tho was Ermin afered sore,
For tresoun he hadde don him before.
Aghen Beves anon a yede
And merci cride of his misdede,
And Sire Beves tho, veraiment,
Foryaf him alle is mautalent
And seide a wolde anon righte
Aghen Yvor take the fighte.
Out of the cité Beves rod,
And al is ost, withouten abod,
And slowe doun rightes mani and fale,
Sixti thosand told in tale;
And Beves threw Yvor adoun
And sente him Ermin to prisoun.
He gan him take be the honde;
The King Ermin gan understonde,
That he ne schel nought scape awai,
Withoute gret raunsoun for to pai.
Tho swor Yvor to King Ermin
Be Mahoun and be Apolyn,
That gret raunsoun paie he wolde,
Sixti pound of rede golde,
Foure hondred beddes of selk echon,
Quiltes of gold thar upon,
Four hondred copes of gold fyn
And ase fele of maslin.
"Ye," seide Beves, "asend it me,
And wend hom to the contré!"
A masager a sente with main
To Tabefor, his chaumberlain,
And he him sente that raunsoun.
Thus com Yvor out of prisoun.
Now let we be of King Yvore
And speke we of Ermin the hore,
That in is bedde sike lay.
So hit befel upon a day,
Er he out of this world went,
After Beves children a sent.
He clepede to him Sire Gii
And with is croune gan him crouny
And yaf him alle is kenedom.
Sone thar after hit becom,
That a daide at the ende,
To hevene mote his saule wende!
Thanne Sire Beves and Sire Gii,
Al the lond of Ermony
Hii made Cristen with dent of swerd,
Yong and elde, lewed and lered.
So hit befel upon an eve,
Saber of Beves tok leve,
Hom te wende to his contré,
His wif, his children for to se.
Ne stente never Sire Saber,
Til that he in Ingelonde were;
Wel sore aneighed schel Beves be,
Er than he Saber eft ise!
The King Yvor hadde a thef.
God him yeve evel pref,
For that he kouthe so wel stele!
He stel Beves Arondele
With his charmes, that he kouthe,
And broughte hit to Mombraunt be southe
And presentede the King Yvore.
The King be Mahoun hath swore
That Beves scholde abegge sore
The raunsoun, that he hadde before.
Now Sire Beves let we gan
And to Sire Saber wile we tan.
Saber at Hamtoun in bedde lay;
Him thoughte that he Beves say
In bataile wo begon
And al to-heve, flesch and bon.
Tho he abraide out of is swevene,
To his wif a tolde hit ful evene
Al togedres how him met.
"O sire," she seide withouten let,
"Be the swevene ful wel I wat,
That Beves is in semple stat;
He hath forloren Arondel,
And that I wet finliche wel."
Saber was wo for that sake;
Eft scrippe and bordoun he gan take
And tok leve of his wif
And to Beves a wente belif.
Beves was glad, that he was come,
And tolde, his hors was him benome:
"A roboun hit stal ful yore
And hath yeve hit to King Yvore."
"That," Saber seide, "athenketh me,
Boute yif ich mighte winne it aye!"
Aghen to Mombraunt wente Saber
Thar men watrede the deistrer;
Thar he stod and abod,
A proud Sarasin ther-on rod;
"Mahoun thee save!" seide Saber,
"Fro whanne kometh this fair deistrer?
Hit haveth brestes thikke and proute.
Which is the kroupe terne aboute?"
Aboute he ternde the deistrer;
Up behinde lep Saber
And smot the Sarasin ded adoun
With the pik of his bordoun.
To the King Ivor he gan grede:
"Lo, Arondel ich a wei lede.
Ye him stele with envie
And ich him feche before your eie!"
The King Ivor was swithe wo
And after Saber thai gonne go;
Thre thosend hath Saber beset;
Josian stod in a toret;
Al this folk she segh ful wel
And Saber com ride on Arondel;
Out of the tour she wente adoun
And seide: "Beves of Hamtoun,
Her cometh Saber upon thee stede.
Jesu Crist him yilde is mede!
Ac he is beset al aboute
With wonderliche grete route;
Al most he is in point to spille!"
"Has armes!" Beves cride schille.
Ferst smot out the yonge King Gii
And Miles with gret chevalry;
Thai come to Saber at that stour
And broughte Saber gode sokour
And leide on with alle here might
And slowe Sarasines adoun right.
Of al that sewede him so yerne,
To Mombraunt gonne never on terne,
That thai ner ded upon the grene,
Everi moder sone, I wene;
And thus Saber in this wise
Wan Arondel with is queintise.
Now mowe ye here forthormore
Ful strong bataile of King Yvore;
Ac er than we beginne fighte,
Ful us the koppe anon righte!
The King Yvore him ros amorwe,
In his hertte was meche sorwe.
He let of sende an highing
Thretti amirales and ten king.
Thai armede hem in yrene wede,
To Ermonie he gan hem lede.
Hii pighte paviliouns and bente ginne,
For to besege hem ther inne,
And Yvore clepede at that cas
Morable and Sire Judos.
"Redeth me," a seide, "aright,
Yif ich mai understonde this fight
Aghen Beves of Hamtoun,
That is so stout a baroun!"
"We redeth meintene your parti!"
He lep to hors and gan to crie:
"Sire Beves of Hamtoun," a sede,
"Thou havest thar-inne gret ferede,
And ich her oute mani stout knight,
Ichave brought with me to fight,
And yif we bataile schel abide,
Gret slaughter worth in either side.
Wiltow graunte be then helve,
That ich and thow mote fighte us selve?
Yif thow slest me in bataile,
Al min onour, withouten faile,
Ich thee graunte thourgh and thourgh,
Bothe in cité and in bourgh!"
Here gloven thai gonne up holde
In that forward, that Yvor tolde,
And armede hem in armes brighte
And lopen to horse anon righte
In an yle under that cité,
Thar that scholde the bataile be.
Over that water thai gonne ride,
To hire godes that bede in either side;
Beves bad help to Marie sone
And King Yvor to Sein Mahoune;
Ase Beves bad helpe to Marie,
To Tervagaunt Yvor gan crie,
That he scholde helpe him in that fight,
Also he was king of meche might.
With that hii ride togedres bothe,
Ase men, that were in hertte wrothe,
So harde thai gonne togedres mete
And with here launces gonne grete,
That thourgh the scheldes the speres yode;
At the breinies the dent withstode.
So harde thai threste togedre tho,
That here gerthes borste ato,
And felle to grounde bothe tho,
A fote nedes thai moste go.
Out of here sadles thai gonne springe
And with fauchouns to gedere flinge;
Aither on other strokes set,
Of helm and scheld and bacinet
The fure brast out so brond ibrent,
So fel and eger was either dent.
Thus togederes thai gonne dinge
Fram prime til underne gan to ringe.
Alle that sighen hem with sight,
Seide never in none fight
So stronge bataile sighe er than
Of Sarasin ne of Cristene man.
At high midday the King Yvore,
To Beves he smot a dent ful sore,
That sercle of gold and is crestel
Fer in to the mede fel.
Doun of the helm the swerd gan glace
And karf right doun before is face,
Doun right the viser with is swerd
And half the her upon is berd.
Ac thourgh the help of Godes grace
His flesch nothing atamed nas.
Tho cride the Sarasins al at ones:
"This Beves with his grete bones
Ful sone worth imaked tame!"
Tho wex Beves in gret grame
And thoughte wel with Morgelay
Yelden his strok, yif that he may.
To King Yvor he gan areche
Anon withoute more speche
Upon the scholder in that tide,
That half a fot hit gan in glide.
For smertte Yvor in that stounde
Fel a knes unto the grounde,
Ac up he sterte in haste than
And in wrathe to Beves ran
And thoughte han Beves aqueld;
And Beves keppte him with is scheld,
And Yvore with the strok of yre
Made fle in to the rivere
A large quarter of his scheld,
That never nas atamed in feld.
Or Ivor mighte his hond withdrawe,
Beves, the knight of Cristene lawe,
With Morgelay a smot him tho,
That his scheld he clef ato,
And his left hond, be the wrest
Hit flegh awei thourgh help of Crist.
Whan Ivor hadde his hond lore,
He faught, ase he wer wod therfore,
And hew to Beves in that tide,
No strok ne moste other abide.
Tho Beves segh is strokes large,
He kepte his strokes with is targe;
Tho Beves to Ivor gan flinge
And thourgh the might of hevene king
His right arm and is scholder bon
He made fle to gronde anon.
With that strok Yvor the Mombraunt
Cride: "Merci, Tervagaunt,
Mahoun, Govin, and Gibiter,
Reseve now me saule her,
For wel ich wot, ich am dede!"
Tho Beves herde him so grede,
He seide: "Yvor, let be that cri
And clepe to God and to Mari,
And let thee cristen, er thee deie,
Or thow schelt go the worsse weie
And withouten ende dwelle
In the stronge peine of helle!"
"Nay," queth Yvor, "so mot I then,
Cristene wile ich never ben,
For min is wel the beter lawe!"
Tho Beves herde that ilche sawe,
A felde him doun, withouten faile,
And unlacede his ventaile,
And tok him be the heved anon
And strok hit fro the scholder bon,
And on his spere he hit pighte.
And tho the Cristen sighe that sighte,
Thai thankede God in alle wise,
That Beves hadde wonne the prise.
Thanne al the Sarasins lasse and more,
That was ycome with King Yvore,
Thai sighe her lordes heved arered,
Sore thai weren alle afered;
Toward Mombraunt thei wolde fain,
Ac Saber made hem terne again,
And Sire Beves and Sire Terry,
And Sire Miles and Sire Gii
Slough hem doun rightes thore,
That ther ne scapede lasse ne more.
Tho crounede thai Beves king in that lond,
That King Yvore held in hond,
And Josiane bright and schene,
Now is she ther twies quene.
On a dai thai wente a rivere;
Thar com ride a masagere,
And ever he askede fer and ner
After the hende knight Saber.
Anon Saber gan forth springe:
"Masager," a sede, "what tiding?"
"Sire," a sede, "the King Edgare
Thee driveth to meche te bismare,
Desereteth Robaunt, thin eyr!"
"For God," queth Saber, "that is nought feir!"
And Sire Saber in haste tho
Tok leve of Beves, hom to go;
And Sire Beves corteis and hende,
A seide a wolde with him wende,
And Sire Miles and Sire Gii,
And is owene sone Terry.
Now wendeth Beves in te Ingelonde
With is knightes fel to fonde,
And Terry with is knightes fale,
Sexty thosend told in tale.
Thai lende over the se belive,
At Southhamtoun thai gonne up rive.
Hervebourgh, Saber is wif,
And Robaund anon ase blif
Aghen Saber come tho;
Queth Saber: "How this is igo?"
And thai him tolde at the frome,
That Edgar hadde here londes benome.
Thanne seide Beves: "So mot I the,
Thar of ich wile awreke be!"
Anon the knight, Sire Bevoun,
His ost he let at Hamtoun,
And toward Londen a wente swithe;
His quene a let at Potenhithe;
He tok with him sex knightes
And wente forth anon rightes,
And in is wei forth a yode
And pasede over Temse flode.
To Westmenster whan he com than,
A fond the king and mani man,
And on is knes he him set,
The king wel hendeliche a gret
And bad before his barnage,
That he him graunte is eritage.
"Bletheliche," a seide, "sone min,
I graunte thee, be Seinte Martin!"
And alle the barouns, that ther were,
On Beves made glade chere,
Boute the stiward of the halle;
He was the worste frend of alle.
The king wolde have yeve him grith,
The stiward seide nay ther with,
And seide: "This forbanniiste man
Is come to the land aghan,
And hath thin owene sone slawe.
He hath ydon aghenes the lawe,
And yif a mot forther gon,
A wile us slen everichon!"
Beves that herde, a was wroth,
And lep to hors, withouten oth,
And rod to Londen, that cité,
With sex knightes in meiné.
Whan that he to Londen cam,
In Tour strete is in he nam
And to the mete he gan gon,
And is knightes everichon.
Let we now Beves be,
And of all the stiward telle we,
That hateth Beves, also is fo.
Sexty knightes he tok and mo,
In to Londene sone he cam,
And into Chepe the wei he nam
And dede make ther a cri
Among the peple hasteli,
And seide: "Lordinges, veraiment,
Hureth the kinges comaundement.
Sertes, hit is befalle so,
In your cité he hath a fo,
Beves, that slough the kinges sone;
That tresoun ye oughte to mone.
I comaunde, for the kinges sake,
Swithe anon that he be take!"
Whan the peple herde that cri,
Thai gonne hem arme hasteli,
And hii that hadde armur non,
Thai toke staves and gonne gon;
Thai schette anon everi gate
With the barres, thai founde ther-ate;
And sum thai wente to the wal
With bowes and with springal;
Everi lane and everi strete
Was do drawe with chaines grete,
That, yif Beves wolde awei flen,
The chaines scholde holde him aghen.
Boute her of Beves weste nought.
Help him God, that alle thing wrought!
Beves at the mete sat,
He beheld and underyat
Al is fon, that were ther oute;
He was afered of that route.
He askede at the tavarnere,
That armede folk, what it were.
And he answerde him at that sake:
"Thai ben ycome thee to take!"
Whan Beves herde him speke so,
To a chaumber he gan go,
That he hadde seghe armur inne;
In haste the dore he gan up winne
And armede ther anon rightes
Bothe he and is sex knightes,
And gerte him with a gode brond
And tok a spere in is honde,
Aboute his nekke a doble scheld.
He was a knight stout and belde.
On Arondel a lep that tide,
In to the strete he gan ride.
Thanne seide the stiward to Sire Bef:
"Ayilt thee, treitour, thow foule thef!
Thow havest the kinges sone islawe,
Thow schelt ben hanged and to-drawe!"
Beves seide: "Be Sein Jon,
Treitour was I never non.
That I schel kethe hastely,
Er than ich wende, sikerly!"
A spere Beves let to him glide
And smot him under the right side;
Thourgh is bodi wente the dent,
Ded a fel on the paviment.
A sede anon after that dint:
"Treitour! now is the lif itint.
Thus men schel teche file glotouns,
That wile misaie gode barouns!"
The folk com with grete route,
Besette Beves al aboute;
Beves and is sex knightes
Defendede hem with al her mightes,
So that in a lite stounde
Five hondred thai broughte te gronde.
Beves prikede forth to Chepe,
The folk him folwede al to hepe;
Thourgh Godes lane he wolde han flowe,
Ac sone within a lite throwe
He was beset in bothe side,
That fle ne mighte he nought that tide.
Tho com ther fotmen mani and fale
With grete clobbes and with smale!
Aboute Beves thai gonne thringe
And hard on him thai gonne dinge.
Al Beves knightes, in that stounde
Thar hii were feld to grounde
And al to-hewe flesch and bon.
Tho was Beves wobegon,
For he was on and hii were ded;
For sorwe kouthe he no red;
That lane was so narw ywrought,
That he mighte defende him nought,
He ne Arondel, is stede,
Ne mighte him terne for non nede.
To Jesu he made his praiere
And to Marie, is moder dere,
That he moste pase with is lif,
To sen is children and is wif.
Out of the lane a wolde ten,
The chynes held him faste aghen.
With is swerd he smot the chayne,
That hit fel a peces twayne,
And forth a wente in to Chepe;
The folk him folwede al to hepe,
And al thai setten up a cry:
"Ayilt thee, Beves, hastely,
Ayilt thee, Beves, sone anon,
And elles thow schelt thee lif forgon!"
Beves seide: "Ich yelde me
To God, that sit in Trinité!
To non other man I nel me yelde,
While that ich mai me wepne welde!"
Now beginneth the grete bataile
Of Sire Beves, withouten faile,
That he dede ayenes that cité.
Ye that wile here, herkneth to me!
This was aboute the under tide,
The cri aros be ech a side
Bothe of lane and of strete;
Aboute him com peple grete,
Al newe and fresch, with him to fight,
Ac Beves stered him ase gode knight,
So that in a lite thrawe
Fif thosend thar was islawe
Of the strengeste, that ther wore,
That him hadde yeve dentes sore;
Ac ever his stede Arondel
Faste faught with hertte lel,
That fourty fote behinde and forn
The folk he hath to grounde iborn.
Thus that fight leste longe
Til the time of evesonge.
Tidinge com to Potenhithe,
To Josian also swithe,
That Beves in Londen was islawe
And ibrought of his lif dawe.
Josian thanne fel aswowe,
Gii and Miles hire up drowe
And confortede that levedi bright
Hendeliche with alle her might,
And askede hire, what hire were;
And she tolde hem anon there,
How Beves was in Londen slayn
And his knightes with gret payn:
"Now kethe ye ben noble knightes,
And wreketh your fader with your mightes!"
Sire Gii and Miles seide than
To here moder Josian:
"Dame, be Him that herwede helle,
We scholle his deth wel dere selle!"
Than Sire Miles and Sire Gii
Gonne hem arme hasteli
And on here knes set hem doun
And bad her moder benesoun.
Sire Gii lep on a rabit,
That was meche and nothing lite,
And tok a spere in is hond,
Out at the halle dore a wond
Toward the cité of Londen toun,
And Sire Miles with gret randoun
Lep upon a dromedary,
To prike wolde he nought spary,
Whan thai come to Londen gate,
Mani man thai fonde ther-ate,
Wel iarmed to the teth,
So the Frensche bok us seth,
Aghen the children thei yeve bataile,
And hii aghen, withouten faile,
And made of hem so clene werk,
That thai never spek with prest ne clerk;
And afterward, ase ye mai hure,
Londegate thai sette a fure.
Whan thai come, withouten faile,
Tho began a gret bataile
Betwene Bowe and Londen ston,
That time stod us never on.
Thar was a Lombard in the toun,
That was scherewed and feloun;
He armede him in yrene wede
And lep upon a sterne stede
And rod forth with gret randoun
And thoughte have slawe Sire Bevoun.
With an uge masnel
Beves a hite on the helm of stel,
That Beves of Hamtoun, veraiment,
Was astoned of the dent;
What for care and for howe,
He lenede to his sadelbowe.
Thanne com priken is sone Gii,
To helpe his fader, hastely;
With a swerd drawe in is hond
To that Lombard sone a wond
And smot him so upon the croun,
That man and hors he clevede doun;
The poynt fel on the paviment,
The fur sprong out after the dent.
Thanne com ride is brother Mile
Among the peple in that while;
Al tho, that a mighte reche,
Ne dorste he never aske leche,
For to hele ther is wonde,
That he ne lai ded upon the grounde.
And whan Beves segh that sighte,
In hertte he was glad and lighte
And thankede Jesu, our saviour,
That hadde sent him so gode sokour,
And egerliche, withouten faile,
The grete peple he gan asaile.
So meche folk was slawe and ded,
That al Temse was blod red;
The nombre was, veraiment,
To and thretti thosent.
And also sone as hit was night,
To the ledene halle thai wente right;
A fette Josian with faire meiné
To Londen, to that riche cité,
And held a feste fourtene night
To al that ever come, aplight!
Tiding com to King Edgar,
That Beves hadde his men forfare;
For is borgeis in is cité
He made del and gret pité
And seide: "Ichave leved me lif
Longe withouten werre and strif,
And now icham so falle in elde,
That I ne may min armes welde.
Twei sones Beves hath with him brought,
Tharfore hit is in me thought,
Miles, his sone, me doughter take,
In this maner is pes to make."
Thai grauntede al with gode entent,
And King Edgar Beves of-sent,
And Sire Saber and Sire Gii,
And Sire Miles and Sire Terry,
And King Edgar Miles gan calle
Before his barouns in the halle
And yaf him is doughter be the honde,
And after is day al Ingelonde,
And pes and love was maked thare
Betwene Beves and King Edgare.
The maide and Miles wer spused same
In the toun of Notinghame.
Ye witeth wel, though I ne telle yow,
The feste was riale inow,
As scholde be at swiche a spusing
And at the kinges couroning;
The feste leste fourtene night
To al that ever come, aplight!
And at the fourtene night is ende,
Beves tok leve, hom to wende,
At King Edgar and at Sabere,
And Miles, is sone, a lefte here
And kiste and yaf him is blessing,
And wente to Mombraunt, ther he was king;
And his erldom in Hamteschire
A yaf to his em Sabere
And schipede at Hamtoun hastely,
And with him wente his sone Gii,
And Terry with is barnage.
The wind blew hardde with gret rage
And drof hem in to Ermonie,
Thar belefte his sone Gii
With his barouns gode and hende;
And Terry to Aumberthe gan wende,
And Beves wente withoute dwelling
In to Mombraunt, thar he was king;
With him wente Josian, is quene,
And levede withoute treie and tene
Twenti yer, so saith the bok.
Thanne swiche siknesse the levedi tok,
Out of this world she moste wende;
Gii, hire sone, she gan ofsende,
And Terry, the riche king,
For to ben at here parting.
And whan thai were alle thare,
To his stable Beves gan fare;
Arondel a fond thar ded,
That ever hadde be gode at nede;
Tharfore him was swithe wo,
In to his chaumber he gan go
And segh Josian drawe to dede.
Him was wo a moste nede,
And er her body began to colde,
In is armes he gan hire folde,
And thar hii deide bothe ifere.
Here sone ne wolde in non manere,
That hii in erthe beried were.
Of Sein Lauarauns he let arere
A faire chapel of marbel fin,
That was ikast with queint engin;
Of gold he made an high cornere
And leide them thar in bothe ifere.
An hous he made of riligioun,
For to singe for Sire Bevoun
And ek for Josian the fre:
God on here saules have pité!
And also for Arondel,
Yif men for eni hors bidde schel,
Thus endeth Beves of Hamtoun.
God yeve us alle Is benesoun!
I will sing to you
he [is] called
same shire; (see note)
Was not; (see note)
elderly man; (see note)
Germany; (see note)
as a mistress
Then he gave
Feeble he grew; unbold
he was called
not quite seven
lady; had evil thoughts
was not; (see note)
will not allow it
Soon; lady fierce
counsel called; messenger
Messenger, promise me
unless I do your bidding
imagine you would forbid me
his retinue; our
cut off; head
same; became angry
if you please
by my oath
Greets you; by God's son
With few followers
as; (see note)
he said; command
If my life will last
It shall be done
advice; (see note)
Than birds; it begins to dawn
tell her so
laden with red gold
dub you knight
he found; chamber
began to talk secretly
greets you well
He will be ready for
you are happy
Happier he is
content; (see note)
As though it were a necessity
She thought [she would] be dead
if; desired anything
might comfort her
treason; (see note)
among a group of four; (see note)
had not been wary
To kill him
from his life
he found all ready
spurred; his host
Surrender; traitor; fool
I choose for my lover
The earl; speech
to take them from me
spurred his horse
Do you think since I am old
To be afraid
would have slain
Had there not been help
thousand tolled by tally; (see note)
heads he struck off
well-armed; I imagine
and needed the most
I have slain
will not do
took his head
[To] my sweet love
he found soon
listen to me
sent me hither
held his way; (see note)
All he said
Earnestly he wept, he wrung his hands
whore; You should be drawn; (see note)
I would be very glad
slain my father
complexion; (see note)
Evil becomes you, whore
manage [a] brothel
all women whore (i.e., work for you); (see note)
I would deliver them
age; (see note)
pity; (see note)
mentor; quickly; (see note)
Who was called
by nature; (see note)
He (Saber); harm; injury
showed the way
he took home
swine; (see note)
to be afraid
fortnight (two weeks)
teach you courtesy
such [an] age
return to England
[Until] you are of age
thanked him; wept
much bliss (celebration)
once; earl's son
Despite his retinue
picked up; club
Deeply sorry; angry
little; have; (see note)
Wicked whore's; command; (see note)
Said; evil man; How
If he says anything much more
A whore's son
outside; stood; (see note)
are you doing
Take [from] me my; property
Unless; sooner go
make trouble for you
Have you not; slain
Three times; club; (see note)
in a swoon
But none of them would take him
teacher he met
are you doing here
will; shame (harm)
he was very afraid
she made her way
wicked; foul thief
By your advice; by your command
as you can see
teacher (mentor); threatened
Lo, I am here, by name
Do not shame my teacher on my behalf
call for me; here I am
Eagerly she wished he were dead
ships; heathen land; (see note)
Sell to them; very boy; (see note)
began to go
found standing there
they offered to sell
Merchants; very many
a good price
far away sold
sailed forth; (see note)
shoes; feet; (see note)
To what should she be compared
gentle nor well brought up
Except; knew nothing
Mohammed; proud; (see note)
If; incline to
If only [he] would be a Saracen
As; he should prosper
where were you born
It would please me if I knew it
I was born; England
many; prove to be; (see note)
have no heir
If you forsake your god
give [her] to you to marry
when I die
endured no other man's sorrow
My banner bear
command; I will do
a year and a second (two years)
By the time
ride against him (challenge)
anger tolerate him
He did on Christmas
do not know; (see note)
cannot tell you
looked at him; laughed; (see note)
partake in greater joy
helmets; many [a] shield
as strong; [my] place
Listen; these boasts
He; defeat us
try; to slay
pluck up his courage
Quickly; he turned
them deadly wounds
some; severed; neck
Their horses' feet; they lay
There were none
put into the stable
That he should
Unless he were defending himself
Before you put; death
make your way
bright; hairy brows
loathly; looked to them
afraid; confused; (see note)
were not messengers
cowards; (see note)
one foot from
heathen as you are
Get out quickly
Certainly, he called you heathen hound
Three times; short time
Sweetheart (see note)
gave solace; maiden
I am wounded very
To make you whole; sound
Let us go
do not wish
bring to health
in a short time
whole and sound
tusks; shook to pieces
hunted [the boar]; ten
gave he not a bean (did not care)
Each; inches wide
fierce; knew how to
dreamed; he would prove his
In the morning
armed himself; sword
as she stood there
notes; in a row
Then; boar's den
Eaten their; drunk their blood
give; right now
As soon as; saw
stared at; hungry eyes
As if; swallowed
Two tusks; stroke
hand's breadth of the snout
carved; exactly in two
brandished again quickly
the book says; (see note)
who created all things
rides step for step
Listen; marvelous event
He (Bevis) went walking in peace; security
Attack; strike down
left it there
boar's head he
great power; (see note)
was called, indeed; (see note)
a certain; reached
he cleft in two
corpse; pulled down
wanted to make a certain peace
if I had it
would wed him
captivated; (see note)
lament (moan); (see note)
But he did not learn from anyone
was done to death
many sides; provoke
carter; worn out
who set upon him
Where; boar's head
[Bevis] should be dubbed
Then he armed himself
put on his jacket
Men called it
host; in a group
first shield retinue; took; (see note)
Who believed in
took good care
he ordered his companions
Then; eager mood (enthusiastically)
slew; as if they; berserk; (see note)
did everyone [else]
Are you; fetch
I acknowledge myself; (see note)
relinquish; your power
Your own; honor
Providing that; escape
then in haste
for him; (see note)
war; [neither] day nor night; (see note)
Neither against you
For later despite all his fair promise
feast; (see note)
As long as he lives
He says; holds them for you
servings [of various dishes]
my dear; if you please
Truly I know no counsel
unless you do your will with me
nothing of the kind; (see note)
There; unlike me
would not wish to have
you have once beheld
I would rather have you as my lover
will not do; (see note)
That would not have me as wife
the likes [of you]
you say wrong
[bring] it here
will not [endure]; of your threats; (see note)
mis-said (spoken falsely)
white as milk
silk from Toulouse
wear, as he should
speak evil of; (see note)
very same garment
lie; go away
I am weary
if you please
woman's arrow; shot; (see note)
as a reward
It would have been better
that you are angry
kiss her once
Nothing else about him; knew
my rhyme; placed
by all saints
See to it; come to me first
May he have; curse
heavy steed (warhorse)
a little while
has gone away
all pagan lands
dined; in armor
Saint Julian; (see note)
If you would like
Garbed; same clothes
Bread; meat; bag
not; long ago
fell down; swooned
Tell your friends what I have told you
saw; letter case; seal
went to school
claimed; heritage; (see note)
Let us now leave
mosque; he saw
[in] great abundance
escaped; ran fast
trembled with fear; table
Termagant; (see note)
gentle; (see note)
for that purpose
as if he were mad
As bees do around the hive
If you had not beaten me in a fight; (see note)
loaf of bread
wheat; (see note)
to protect himself
where is Bevis
see for a long time
hair she tore out
did not tell me beginning
anywhere to make war
Towards; he hastened
she would be queen
not her will; believe
She would rather; lower station
Her father's will
You would never have
as my heart's blood; (see note)
I have; (see note)
rapidly came closer
should bring homage
I will not tell anymore; (see note)
prepared; packhorses; (see note)
best horse; feed
He (Bevis) would not give it
caught; cunning ruse
Hay; oats; clear
Except; cord from a balcony
No one dared approach
hair; grew to his feet
lizards; many toads
attempted; their venom
again; adder rose
brain stuck to his
out of; swoon
beat; small pieces
Little; less [he] ate
lack; care; (see note)
done so wrong
see; will allow
drawn or hanged
I do not care
your life's days are done
very time of suffering
Middle (waist); feet
Damascus; had it not been for
give a button (would not care)
avenged; (see note)
By; glide quickly
slid; (see note)
are they dead
lies in chains
ate nor drank
accustomed; every other day
For food; dinner
prayed a prayer
Twelve; found there
did indeed go in
iron clothes (chain mail)
girt himself; sword
Make haste; open
got very sleepy
tied; chestnut tree
by common assent
weight in silver
went forth [to] win much honor
Surrender; (see note)
have I had neither
blow to please (pay) you
meadow torn [by] their strokes
fire flies; from flint
morning; noon; (see note)
armor; quilted jacket
I will do you one better
cut off; his head
corpse at that moment
would not remain
he must [go], certainly
asked a favor
know nothing of sin; (see note)
That bested you
on this horse
raised himself [out of the water]
because of hunger; time
Once I had; earldom
lowland and upland
soon saw her
lovable or loathsome
would not go from the gate
In length thirty feet
Where did you steal
gave [a] cap
priest; (see note)
I will not let you live
Nor I you
by measure (tally)
But he failed; device (he missed)
Laughing get away from me
cut in two; club (lever)
became nearly mad
give me food
To stop up his wound
Grant that; (see note)
his weal (success); woe (failure)
Unless; an army assembled
each asked about the other's situation
yield; well (a good idea)
credit it all
were it not for his
God [let him] prosper
he; moving on
none like it
for love's sake; (see note)
pilgrim's staff; coat
as a wretched person
many diverse [kinds of] lands
Walk (turn); tower
lived to see
wont such mourning
all pushed forward
preside at the feast
So well; partaken
who were there
Were not; man's brow all torn
chains; rent asunder
neighed; (see note)
doomed; (see note)
unless; virgin; (see note)
follow [my] advice; (see note)
horsemanship; (see note)
Who are you
staff and purse by
pilgrim's cloak rough and unfitted
yellow; [down] to his breast
give accurate account
India; Europe; Asia
Tarsus; Sicily; Saxony
Friesland; Sidon; Tyre
Immediately; there; (see note)
broach (a cask) of Rhenish
could not find them
destroy; (see note)
food [ask for]
Gnashing; standing (as lions rampant); (see note)
understand what happened
listen carefully to the end
may their souls go
Scarcely he protected himself
split the lion's head in two
would slay her
As gladly as
gripped; (see note)
almost; tore out his calf
When they (the lions)
small trunk; oak
he was called
here to slay
stronger; ten others
spurred Arondel's flanks
one foot he slipped
cut off his head
he will betray us
he (Ascopard) did; homage
But they (Saracens); mariner
them (the Saracens)
without delay; (see note)
Be christened by you
too large; christened
except those two
Apulia; (see note)
together (i.e., each other)
as dragons together
Who had received; mercy
he requested; favor
flew; (see note)
Tuscany; (see note)
took his flight
Saint Peter's bridge
will not believe
Ask; have been there
forehead (whole face)
hair; throat; (see note)
it was in length
wine tun; (see note)
When the bright sun shone
[If] you will stay awhile
A vision came to him; mad
He thought he might not remain
it seemed to him
mournful; (see note)
Nor do I have any remedy at all; (see note)
ever I was born
he lies; swollen
where the dragon was
where are you
here; do you want
may I prosper
armed himself; sword
Saint; (see note)
must get away
Roaring against him rapidly; (see note)
fiercely assailed him
in the middle of
even in two
dared not come near
He took off his helmet
from; (see note)
called on; Saint George; (see note)
eager spirit (inspiration)
All became (fared)
from his [chain mail] a thousand links
where he stood
helmet; in two
basinet; (see note)
Twice he rose
he lay face up
He did not know; (see note)
cut in two; head pan (skull)
throat; (see note)
throat-ball (Adam's apple)
gaped very; (see note)
Dear uncle; news
I give you manfully
My natural heritage
no man; I dread
put you [in the hands of]; holy Mary
As soon as you can; return
take my counsel
anyone so hardy
victory I am confident
If; pay my hire
one man readily
he was called
As soon as
money in shame; disgrace
stay for a while
on my behalf
hear; cunning trick
Fight; many times
carried it into battle
Each began to kiss the other
I am not named Gerard
his wife is my mother
try to avenge
as he sat
he was not called
[the emperor's] son
the emperor's table
groped your wife too lowly at night; (see note)
almost lost your sight
Here; a poor gift
he slew [the emperor's] son in anger
change her mind
i.e., "Nothing doing"
Since; would not listen to him
should I stop it
locked him securely; trap
protect herself, indeed
[Isle of] Wight
ordered them; lowest and highest
Their; arrayed; (see note)
commanded [that she be] led to bower
spiced wine; spices
amused; gaiety not at all
[neither] man nor; here
Little he thought; doomed
Your boon; in good faith
shoes; take off
As many [servants] have done
cover; rail-tree; (see note)
a riding knot (noose)
In the morning
I will go up and see
fortified drink; (see note)
In a barrel; burn
Outside; set up
gathered wood and fuel
tricked him; deceit
fisherman; at once
thought; some fiend
have you been
killed; very place
found around; fire
loathful to me
leaf; begin to
sold long ago
wish; (see note)
hands; (see note)
pitched pavilions; field machinery (see note)
regret; (see note)
To arms; say
know; doubt not
To arms; battle
his gray beard
meant; his head off
They took the emperor away from Bevis
He struck down
giant's stroke withstand
Like it or not
no one escaped
satisfaction; joy; mirth
to make certain his stepfather was dead
At once; lead kettle
pitch; brimstone; (see note)
all at once seethed
at his ending
very woeful; shock
broke her neck
blow nor knock
shire of Hampton
describe not the wedding
courteously he greets
I am called
for his lady
were reconciled; strife
Pentecost; (see note)
course; prepared; (see note)
test all the steeds
stolen (sneaked onto)
Before any man knew it was done
Even if; let me
Since; not give it to him
staff; should bear
i.e., as marshal
Why tell a lie
got too close to
hasten; (see note)
where have you been
because of her; distress
suddenly in labor
hut constructed; (see note)
they knew of no better plan
offered her his service
return hence now
let me and Our Lady be; (see note)
So they would not hear her pains
[for] that decorous behavior
too far away
gave birth to twin boys; (see note)
As long as
So that; secret
physic; surgery (medicine)
grass (herbs); Toledo
good; bad (medicines; poisons)
seem to resemble
had not ridden
give you his curse
what she needed
took his way
heathen; (see note)
As when they were born
raised himself up
cursed bitterly at that moment
cut; furs; ermine
Did you see
manner of man are you
Christ be gentle [with] you
Will you; baptize
on my behalf
Guy; is named
gave; (see note)
had named; Miles
had prepared for them
tourney; for the sake of
field; [made in] Toledo; (see note)
Hoped to win
did throw down
Saint James; Saint Giles; (see note)
Greek sea; (see note)
ask and inquire
pilgrim's coat; took off
Dances; notes; flourishes
went; (see note)
pence from a minstral
each and every
[whom] you are like
a more lovely sound
Would that I; sound
fenced; (see note)
Because of the
ill will; (see note)
he would right away
army (host); delay
as many; brass
with his crown crowned him
knew how; to steal
pay for; (see note)
turn; (see note)
He dreamed; saw
started up; dream
intuit pretty well
purse; staff; (see note)
robber; stole a while ago
turret; (see note)
reward; (see note)
die; (see note)
To arms; shrilly
They set up; field artillery
embraced in his arms
on your part
coat of mail; blow
fire erupted as if a torch burned
six in the morning till noon; (see note)
circle; his crest
[will] become tamed; (see note)
warded him off with his shield
warded off; shield
let yourself be baptized before you die
came; in haste
Gladly; my son
Tower his lodging
as his enemy
About this; knew not
armed himself; sword
Dead he fell
as a mob
space of time
not defend himself
Nor had he; his
chains; held him back
in a mob
noon; (see note)
given painful blows
Putney; (see note)
by; harrowed hell; (see note)
not a single one withstood us
quickly he proceeded
ask for a doctor
hall [with the] lead roof; (see note)
grief (dole, mourning)
feast; royal enough
Saint Lawrence; raise up; (see note)
cast; noble art
house of religion (church or monastery)
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