The alliterative Morte Arthure
Lines 3591 through 3779
Nowe bownes the bolde kynge with his [supplied by ed.] beste knyghtes,
Gers trome and trusse and trynes forth aftyre;
Turnys thorowe Tuskayne, taries bot littill,
Lyghte noghte in Lumbarddye bot when þe lyghte failede;
Merkes ouer the mowntaynes full mervaylous wayes,
Ayres thurghe Almaygne evyne at the gayneste,
Ferkes evyne into Flawndresche with hys ferse knyghttes.
Within fyftene dayes his flete es assemblede,
And thane he schoupe hym to chippe and schownes no lengere,
Scherys with a charpe wynde ouer þe schyre waters.
By þe roche with ropes he rydes on ankkere,
Thare the false men fletyde and one flode lengede, Page 138
With chefe chaynes of chare chokkode togedyrs,
Charggede evyn chekeful of cheualrous knyghtes,
And in þe hynter one heghte helmes and crestes;
Hatches with haythen men hillyd ware tharevndyre,
Prowdliche purtrayede with payntede clothys,
Iche a pece by pece prykkyde tyll oþer—
Dubbyde with dagswaynnes dowblede they seme;
And thus þe derfe Danamarkes had dyghte all theyre chippys,
That no dynte of no darte dere them ne schoulde.
Than the Roye and þe renkes of the Rownde Table
All ryally in rede arrayes his chippis;
That daye ducheryes he delte and doubbyde knyghttes,
Dresses dromowndes and dragges and drawen vpe stonys;
The toppe-castells he stuffede with toyelys, as hym lykyde.
Bendys bowes of vys brothly þareaftyre;
Tolowris tentyly takell they ryghtten,
Brasen hedys full brode buskede one flones,
Graythes for garnysons gomes arrayes;
Gryme gaddes of stele, ghywes of iryn,
Stiȝttelys steryn one steryne with styffe men of armes;
Mony lufliche launce appon lofte stondys,
Ledys one leburde, lordys and oþer,
Pyghte payvese one porte, payntede scheldes,
One hyndire hurdace one highte helmede knyghtez.
Thus they scheften fore schotys one thas schire strandys,
Ilke schalke in his schrowde—full scheen ware þeire wedys.
The bolde kynge es in a barge and abowtte rowes,
All bare-heuvede for besye with beueryn lokkes,
And a beryn with his bronde and ane helme betyn,
Mengede with a mawntelet of maylis of siluer,
Compaste with a coronall and couerde full riche;
Kayris to yche a cogge to comfurthe his knyghttes:
To Clegys and Cleremownde he cryes one lowde,
"O Gawayne, O Galyran, thies gud mens bodyes."
To Loth and to Lyonell full louefly he melys,
And to Sir Lawncelot de Lake lordiche wordys:
"Lat vs couere þe kythe—the coste es owre ownn— Page 139
And gere them brotheliche blenke, all ȝone blod-hondes,
Bryttyn them within bourde and brynne them þareaftyre;
Hewe down hertly ȝone heythen tykes!
Thay are harlotes halfe, I hette ȝow myn honnde!"
Than he coueres his cogge and caches one ankere,
Kaughte his comliche helme with þe clere maylis,
Buskes baners one brode, betyn of gowles,
With corowns of clere golde, clenliche arraiede;
Bot þare was chosen in þe chefe a chalke-whitte Mayden,
And a Childe in hir arme, þat Chefe es of Hevyne;
Withowtten changyng in chace, thies ware þe cheefe armes
Of Arthure þe auenaunt, qwhylls he in erthe lengede.
Thane the marynerse mellys and maysters of chippis;
Merily iche a mate menys till oþer:
Of theire termys they talke, how þay ware tydd,
Towyn trvssell one trete, trvssen vpe sailes,
Bet bonettez one brede, bettrede hatches,
Brawndeste brown stele, braggede in trompes,
Standis styffe one the stamyn, steris one aftyre,
Strekyn ouer þe streme thare stryvynge begynnes.
Fro þe wagande wynde owte of þe weste rysses,
Brethly bessomes with byrre in beryns sailles;
With hir bryngges one burde burliche cogges,
Qwhylls þe bilyge and þe beme brestys in sondyre;
So stowttly þe forsterne one þe stam hyttis,
Þat stokkes of þe stere-burde strykkys in peces.
Be than cogge appon cogge, krayers and oþer,
Castys crepers one crosse als to þe crafte langes.
Thane was hede-rapys hewen þat helde vpe þe mastes;
Thare was conteke full kene and crachynge of chippys:
Grett cogges of kampe crasseches in sondyre;
Mony kaban clevede, cabills destroyede.
Knyghtes and kene men killide the braynes;
Kidd castells were corven with all theire kene wapen,
Castells full comliche þat coloured ware faire.
Vptyhes eghelyng þay ochen þareaftyre:
With þe swynge of þe swerde sweys þe mastys, Page 140
Ovyrefallys in þe firste frekis and othire;
Frekke in þe forchipe fey es byleuefede.
Than brothely they bekyre with boustouse tacle;
Bruschese boldlye on burde brynyede knyghtes,
Owt of botes one burd was buskede with stonys,
Bett down of þe beste, brystis the hetches;
Som gomys thourghegyrde with gaddys of yryn:
Gomys gayliche clede englaymes wapen.
Archers of Inglande full egerly schottes,
Hittis thourghe þe harde stele full hertly dynttis.
Sone hotchen in holle the heþene knyghtes—
Hurte thourghe þe harde stele, hele they neuer.
Than they fall to þe fyghte, foynes with sperys,
All the frekkeste one frownte þat to þe fyghte langes;
And ilkon frechely fraystez theire strenghes,
Were to fyghte in þe flete with theire fell wapyn.
Thus they dalte þat daye, thire dubbide knyghtes,
Till all þe Danes ware dede and in þe depe throwen.
Than Bretons brothely with brondis they hewen,
Lepys in vpone lofte lordeliche berynes;
When ledys of owt-londys leppyn in waters,
All oure lordes one lowde laughen at ones.
Be thane speris whare sprongen, spalddyd chippys,
Spanyolis spedily sprentyde ouer burdez;
All þe kene men of kampe, knyghtes and oþer,
Killyd are colde dede and castyn ouer burdez.
Theire swyers sweyftly has þe swete leuyde;
Heþen heuande on hatche in þer hawe ryses,
Synkande in þe salte see seuen hundrethe at ones.
Thane Sir Gawayne the gude, he has þe gree wonnen,
And all þe cogges grete he gafe to his knyghtes,
Sir Geryn and Sir Grisswolde and othir gret lordes,
Garte Galuth, a gud gome, girde of þaire hedys.
Thus of þe false flete appon þe flode happenede,
And thus þeis feryne folke fey are beleuede.
Ȝitt es þe traytoure one londe with tryede knyghttes,
And all trompede they trippe one trappede stedys, Page 141
Schewes them vndir schilde one þe schire bankkes—
He ne schownttes for no schame but schewes full heghe.
Sir Arthure and Gawayne avyede them bothen,
To sexty thosandez of men þat in theire syghte houede.
Be this the folke was fellyde, thane was þe flode passede;
Thane was it slyke a slowde in slakkes full hugge,
That let þe Kyng for to lande in the lawe watyre;
Forthy he lengede on laye for lesyng of horsys,
To loke of his legemen and of his lele knyghtes,
Ȝif any ware lamede or loste, life ȝife they scholde.
Than Sir Gawayn þe gude a galaye he takys,
And glides vp at a gole with gud men of armes;
When he growndide, for grefe he gyrdis in þe watere,
That to þe girdyll he gos in all his gylte wedys;
Schottis vpe appon þe sonde in syghte of þe lordes,
Sengly with hys soppe—my sorowe es the more.
With baners of his bagys, beste of his armes,
He braydes vp on the banke in his bryghte wedys;
He byddys his baneoure," Buske þow belyfe
To ȝone brode batayle that one ȝone banke houes,
And I ensure ȝow sothe I sall ȝowe sewe aftyre.
Loke ȝe blenke for no bronde, ne for no bryghte wapyn,
Bot beris down of þe beste and bryng them o dawe;
Bees noghte abayste of theire boste, abyde on þe erthe.
Ȝe haue my baneres borne in batailles full hugge;
We sall fell ȝone false, þe Fende hafe theire saules!
Fightes faste with þe frape, þe felde sall be owres;
May I þat traytoure ouertake, torfere hym tyddes,
That this treson has tymbyrde to my trewe lorde.
Of siche a engendure full littyll joye happyns,
And þat sall in this journée be juggede full euen."
Now they seke ouer þe sonde þis soppe at þe gayneste,
Sembles one þe sowdeours and settys theire dyntys:
Thourghe þe scheldys so schene schalkes þey towche,
With schaftes scheueride schorte of þas schene launces;
Derfe dynttys they dalte with daggande sperys.
One þe danke of þe dewe many dede lyggys: Page 142
Dukes and duszeperis and dubbide knyghttys;
The doughttyeste of Danemarke vndone are for euer.
Thus thas renkes in rewthe rittis theire brenyes,
And rechis of þe richeste vnreken dynttis;
Thare they thronge in the thikke and thristis to þe erthe
Of the thraeste men thre hundrethe at ones.
Bot Sir Gawayne for grefe myghte noghte agayne-stande,
Vmbegrippys a spere and to a gome rynnys,
Þat bare of gowles full gaye with gowtes of syluere;
He gyrdes hym in at þe gorge with his grym launce,
Þat þe grownden glayfe graythes in sondyre;
With þat boystous brayde he bownes hym to dye—
Þe Kyng of Gutlande it was, a gude man of armes.
Thayre avawwarde than all voydes þareaftyre,
Alls venqueste verrayely with valyant beryns.
Metis with medilwarde, that Modrede ledys;
Oure men merkes them to, as them myshappenede.
For hade Sir Gawayne hade grace to halde þe grene hill,
He had wirchipe, iwys, wonnen for euer.
Bot þan Sir Gawayne, iwysse, he waytes hym wele
To wreke hym on this werlaughe þat þis werre mouede;
And merkes to Sir Modrede amonge all his beryns,
With the Mownttagus and oþer gret lordys.
Þan Sir Gawayne was greuede and with a gret wyll
Fewters a faire spere and freschely askryes:
"Fals fosterde foode, the Fende haue thy bonys!
Fy one the, felone, and thy false werkys!
Thow sall be dede and vndon for thy derfe dedys,
Or I sall dy this daye, ȝif destanye worthe!"