Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
J.R.R. Tolkien and E.V. Gordon

Passus IV

NOW neȝez þe Nw Ȝere, and þe nyȝt passez,
Þe day dryuez to þe derk, as Dryȝtyn biddez;
Bot wylde wederez of þe worlde wakned þeroute,
Clowdes kesten kenly þe colde to þe erþe,
Wyth nyȝe innoghe of þe norþe, þe naked to tene;
Þe snawe snitered ful snart, þat snayped þe wylde;
Þe werbelande wynde wapped fro þe hyȝe,
And drof vche dale ful of dryftes ful grete.
Þe leude lystened ful wel þat leȝ in his bedde,
Þaȝ he lowkez his liddez, ful lyttel he slepes;
Bi vch kok þat crue he knwe wel þe steuen. [folio 118r]
Deliuerly he dressed vp, er þe day sprenged,
For þere watz lyȝt of a laumpe þat lemed in his chambre;
He called to his chamberlayn, þat cofly hym swared,
And bede hym bryng hym his bruny and his blonk sadel; Page  56
Þat oþer ferkez hym vp and fechez hym his wedez,
And grayþez me Sir Gawayn vpon a grett wyse.
Fyrst he clad hym in his cloþez þe colde for to were,
And syþen his oþer harnays, þat holdely watz keped,
Boþe his paunce and his platez, piked ful clene,
Þe ryngez rokked of þe roust of his riche bruny;
And al watz fresch as vpon fyrst, and he watz fayn þenne
to þonk;
He hade vpon vche pece,
Wypped ful wel and wlonk;
Þe gayest into Grece,
Þe burne bede bryng his blonk.
Whyle þe wlonkest wedes he warp on hymseluen--
His cote wyth þe conysaunce of þe clere werkez
Ennurned vpon veluet, vertuus stonez
Aboute beten and bounden, enbrauded semez,
And fayre furred withinne wyth fayre pelures--
Ȝet laft he not þe lace, þe ladiez gifte,
Þat forgat not Gawayn for gode of hymseluen.
Bi he hade belted þe bronde vpon his balȝe haunchez,
Þenn dressed he his drurye double hym aboute,
Swyþe sweþled vmbe his swange swetely þat knyȝt
Þe gordel of þe grene silke, þat gay wel bisemed,
Vpon þat ryol red cloþe þat ryche watz to schewe.
Bot wered not þis ilk wyȝe for wele þis gordel,
For pryde of þe pendauntez, þaȝ polyst þay were,
And þaȝ þe glyterande golde glent vpon endez,
Bot for to sauen hymself, when suffer hym byhoued,
To byde bale withoute dabate of bronde hym to were
oþer knyffe.
Bi þat þe bolde mon boun
Wynnez þeroute bilyue,
Alle þe meyny of renoun
He þonkkez ofte ful ryue. [folio 118v]
Thenne watz Gryngolet grayþe, þat gret watz and huge,
And hade ben soiourned sauerly and in a siker wyse,
Hym lyst prik for poynt, þat proude hors þenne. Page  57
Þe wyȝe wynnez hym to and wytez on his lyre,
And sayde soberly hymself and by his soth swerez:
'Here is a meyny in þis mote þat on menske þenkkez,
Þe mon hem maynteines, ioy mot þay haue;
Þe leue lady on lyue luf hir bityde;
Ȝif þay for charyté cherysen a gest,
And halden honour in her honde, þe haþel hem ȝelde
Þat haldez þe heuen vpon hyȝe, and also yow alle!
And ȝif I myȝt lyf vpon londe lede any quyle,
I schuld rech yow sum rewarde redyly, if I myȝt.'
Þenn steppez he into stirop and strydez alofte;
His schalk schewed hym his schelde, on schulder he hit laȝt,
Gordez to Gryngolet with his gilt helez,
And he startez on þe ston, stod he no lenger
to praunce.
His haþel on hors watz þenne,
Þat bere his spere and launce.
'Þis kastel to Kryst I kenne':
He gef hit ay god chaunce.
The brygge watz brayde doun, and þe brode ȝatez
Vnbarred and born open vpon boþe halue.
Þe burne blessed hym bilyue, and þe bredez passed--
Prayses þe porter bifore þe prynce kneled,
Gef hym God and goud day, þat Gawayn he saue--
And went on his way with his wyȝe one,
Þat schulde teche hym to tourne to þat tene place
Þer þe ruful race he schulde resayue.
Þay boȝen bi bonkkez þer boȝez ar bare,
Þay clomben bi clyffez þer clengez þe colde.
Þe heuen watz vphalt, bot vgly þer-vnder;
Mist muged on þe mor, malt on þe mountez,
Vch hille hade a hatte, a myst-hakel huge.
Brokez byled and breke bi bonkkez aboute,
Schyre schaterande on schorez, þer þay doun schowued. [folio 119r]
Wela wylle watz þe way þer þay bi wod schulden,
Til hit watz sone sesoun þat þe sunne ryses
þat tyde.
Þay were on a hille ful hyȝe,
Þe quyte snaw lay bisyde; Page  58
Þe burne þat rod hym by
Bede his mayster abide.
'For I haf wonnen yow hider, wyȝe, at þis tyme,
And now nar ȝe not fer fro þat note place
Þat ȝe han spied and spuryed so specially after;
Bot I schal say yow for soþe, syþen I yow knowe,
And ȝe ar a lede vpon lyue þat I wel louy,
Wolde ȝe worch bi my wytte, ȝe worþed þe better.
Þe place þat ȝe prece to ful perelous is halden;
Þer wonez a wyȝe in þat waste, þe worst vpon erþe,
For he is stiffe and sturne, and to strike louies,
And more he is þen any mon vpon myddelerde,
And his body bigger þen þe best fowre
Þat ar in Arþurez hous, Hestor, oþer oþer.
He cheuez þat chaunce at þe chapel grene,
Þer passes non bi þat place so proude in his armes
Þat he ne dyngez hym to deþe with dynt of his honde;
For he is a mon methles, and mercy non vses,
For be hit chorle oþer chaplayn þat bi þe chapel rydes,
Monk oþer masseprest, oþer any mon elles,
Hym þynk as queme hym to quelle as quyk go hymseluen.
Forþy I say þe, as soþe as ȝe in sadel sitte,
Com ȝe þere, ȝe be kylled, may þe knyȝt rede,
Trawe ȝe me þat trwely, þaȝ ȝe had twenty lyues
to spende.
He hatz wonyd here ful ȝore,
On bent much baret bende,
Aȝayn his dyntez sore
Ȝe may not yow defende.
'Forþy, goude Sir Gawayn, let þe gome one,
And gotz away sum oþer gate, vpon Goddez halue!
Cayrez bi sum oþer kyth, þer Kryst mot yow spede,
And I schal hyȝ me hom aȝayn, and hete yow fyrre [folio 119v]
Þat I schal swere bi God and alle his gode halȝez,
As help me God and þe halydam, and oþez innoghe,
Þat I schal lelly yow layne, and lance neuer tale
Þat euer ȝe fondet to fle for freke þat I wyst.' Page  59
'Grant merci', quoþ Gawayn, and gruchyng he sayde:
'Wel worth þe, wyȝe, þat woldez my gode,
And þat lelly me layne I leue wel þou woldez.
Bot helde þou hit neuer so holde, and I here passed,
Founded for ferde for to fle, in fourme þat þou tellez,
I were a knyȝt kowarde, I myȝt not be excused.
Bot I wyl to þe chapel, for chaunce þat may falle,
And talk wyth þat ilk tulk þe tale þat me lyste,
Worþe hit wele oþer wo, as þe wyrde lykez
hit hafe.
Þaȝe he be a sturn knape
To stiȝtel, and stad with staue,
Ful wel con Dryȝtyn schape
His seruauntez for to saue.'
'Mary!' quoþ þat oþer mon, 'now þou so much spellez,
Þat þou wylt þyn awen nye nyme to þyseluen,
And þe lyst lese þy lyf, þe lette I ne kepe.
Haf here þi helme on þy hede, þi spere in þi honde,
And ryde me doun þis ilk rake bi ȝon rokke syde,
Til þou be broȝt to þe boþem of þe brem valay;
Þenne loke a littel on þe launde, on þi lyfte honde,
And þou schal se in þat slade þe self chapel,
And þe borelych burne on bent þat hit kepez.
Now farez wel, on Godez half, Gawayn þe noble!
For alle þe golde vpon grounde I nolde go wyth þe,
Ne bere þe felaȝschip þurȝ þis fryth on fote fyrre.'
Bi þat þe wyȝe in þe wod wendez his brydel,
Hit þe hors with þe helez as harde as he myȝt,
Lepez hym ouer þe launde, and leuez þe knyȝt þere
al one.
'Bi Goddez self,' quoþ Gawayn,
'I wyl nauþer grete ne grone;
To Goddez wylle I am ful bayn,
And to hym I haf me tone.' [folio 120r]
Thenne gyrdez he to Gryngolet, and gederez þe rake,
Schowuez in bi a schore at a schaȝe syde,
Ridez þurȝ þe roȝe bonk ryȝt to þe dale; Page  60
And þenne he wayted hym aboute, and wylde hit hym þoȝt,
And seȝe no syngne of resette bisydez nowhere,
Bot hyȝe bonkkez and brent vpon boþe halue,
And ruȝe knokled knarrez with knorned stonez;
Þe skwez of þe scowtes skayned hym þoȝt.
Þenne he houed, and wythhylde his hors at þat tyde,
And ofte chaunged his cher þe chapel to seche:
He seȝ non suche in no syde, and selly hym þoȝt,
Saue, a lyttel on a launde, a lawe as hit were;
A balȝ berȝ bi a bonke þe brymme bysyde,
Bi a forȝ of a flode þat ferked þare;
Þe borne blubred þerinne as hit boyled hade.
Þe knyȝt kachez his caple, and com to þe lawe,
Liȝtez doun luflyly, and at a lynde tachez
Þe rayne and his riche with a roȝe braunche.
Þenne he boȝez to þe berȝe, aboute hit he walkez,
Debatande with hymself quat hit be myȝt.
Hit hade a hole on þe ende and on ayþer syde,
And ouergrowen with gresse in glodes aywhere,
And al watz holȝ inwith, nobot an olde caue,
Or a creuisse of an olde cragge, he couþe hit noȝt deme
with spelle.
'We! Lorde,' quoþ þe gentyle knyȝt,
'Wheþer þis be þe grene chapelle?
Here myȝt aboute mydnyȝt
Þe dele his matynnes telle!
'Now iwysse,' quoþ Wowayn, 'wysty is here;
Þis oritore is vgly, with erbez ouergrowen;
Wel bisemez þe wyȝe wruxled in grene
Dele here his deuocioun on þe deuelez wyse.
Now I fele hit is þe fende, in my fyue wyttez,
Þat hatz stoken me þis steuen to strye me here.
Þis is a chapel of meschaunce, þat chekke hit bytyde!
Hit is þe corsedest kyrk þat euer I com inne!' [folio 120v]
With heȝe helme on his hede, his launce in his honde,
He romez vp to þe roffe of þe roȝ wonez. Page  61
Þene herde he of þat hyȝe hil, in a harde roche
Biȝonde þe broke, in a bonk, a wonder breme noyse,
Quat! hit clatered in þe clyff, as hit cleue schulde,
As one vpon a gryndelston hade grounden a syþe.
What! hit wharred and whette, as water at a mulne;
What! hit rusched and ronge, rawþe to here.
Þenne 'Bi Godde,' quoþ Gawayn, 'þat gere, as I trowe,
Is ryched at þe reuerence me, renk, to mete
bi rote.
Let God worche! "We loo"--
Hit helppez me not a mote.
My lif þaȝ I forgoo,
Drede dotz me no lote.'
Thenne þe knyȝt con calle ful hyȝe:
'Who stiȝtlez in þis sted me steuen to holde?
For now is gode Gawayn goande ryȝt here.
If any wyȝe oȝt wyl, wynne hider fast,
Oþer now oþer neuer, his nedez to spede.'
'Abyde', quoþ on on þe bonke abouen ouer his hede,
'And þou schal haf al in hast þat I þe hyȝt ones.'
Ȝet he rusched on þat rurde rapely a þrowe.
And wyth quettyng awharf, er he wolde lyȝt;
And syþen he keuerez bi a cragge, and comez of a hole,
Whyrlande out of a wro wyth a felle weppen,
A denez ax nwe dyȝt, þe dynt with to ȝelde,
With a borelych bytte bende by þe halme,
Fyled in a fylor, fowre fote large--
Hit watz no lasse bi þat lace þat lemed ful bryȝt--
And þe gome in þe grene gered as fyrst,
Boþe þe lyre and þe leggez, lokkez and berde,
Saue þat fayre on his fote he foundez on þe erþe,
Sette þe stele to þe stone, and stalked bysyde.
When he wan to þe watter, þer he wade nolde,
He hypped ouer on hys ax, and orpedly strydez,
Bremly broþe on a bent þat brode watz aboute,
on snawe. [folio 121r]
Sir Gawayn þe knyȝt con mete,
He ne lutte hym noþyng lowe; Page  62
Þat oþer sayde, 'Now, sir swete,
Of steuen mon may þe trowe.'
'Gawayn,' quoþ þat grene gome, 'God þe mot loke!
Iwysse þou art welcom, wyȝe, to my place,
And þou hatz tymed þi trauayl as truee mon schulde,
And þou knowez þe couenauntez kest vus bytwene:
At þis tyme twelmonyth þou toke þat þe falled,
And I schulde at þis Nwe Ȝere ȝeply þe quyte.
And we ar in þis valay verayly oure one;
Here ar no renkes vs to rydde, rele as vus likez.
Haf þy helme of þy hede, and haf here þy pay.
Busk no more debate þen I þe bede þenne
When þou wypped of my hede at a wap one.'
'Nay, bi God,' quoþ Gawayn, 'þat me gost lante,
I schal gruch þe no grwe for grem þat fallez.
Bot styȝtel þe vpon on strok, and I schal stonde stylle
And warp þe no wernyng to worch as þe lykez,
He lened with þe nek, and lutte,
And schewed þat schyre al bare,
And lette as he noȝt dutte;
For drede he wolde not dare.
THEN þe gome in þe grene grayþed hym swyþe,
Gederez vp hys grymme tole Gawayn to smyte;
With alle þe bur in his body he ber hit on lofte,
Munt as maȝtyly as marre hym he wolde;
Hade hit dryuen adoun as dreȝ as he atled,
Þer hade ben ded of his dynt þat doȝty watz euer.
Bot Gawayn on þat giserne glyfte hym bysyde,
As hit com glydande adoun on glode hym to schende,
And schranke a lytel with þe schulderes for þe scharp yrne.
Þat oþer schalk wyth a schunt þe schene wythhaldez,
And þenne repreued he þe prynce with mony prowde wordez:
'Þou art not Gawayn,' quoþ þe gome, 'þat is so goud halden,
Þat neuer arȝed for no here by hylle ne be vale, [folio 121v]
And now þou fles for ferde er þou fele harmez!
Such cowardise of þat knyȝt cowþe I neuer here. Page  63
Nawþer fyked I ne flaȝe, freke, quen þou myntest,
Ne kest no kauelacion in kyngez hous Arthor.
My hede flaȝ to my fote, and ȝet flaȝ I neuer;
And þou, er any harme hent, arȝez in hert;
Wherfore þe better burne me burde be called
Quoþ Gawayn, 'I schunt onez,
And so wyl I no more;
Bot þaȝ my hede falle on þe stonez,
I con not hit restore.
'Bot busk, burne, bi þi fayth, and bryng me to þe poynt.
Dele to me my destiné, and do hit out of honde,
For I schal stonde þe a strok, and start no more
Til þyn ax haue me hitte: haf here my trawþe.'
'Haf at þe þenne!' quoþ þat oþer, and heuez hit alofte,
And waytez as wroþely as he wode were.
He myntez at hym maȝtyly, bot not þe mon rynez,
Withhelde heterly his honde, er hit hurt myȝt.
Gawayn grayþely hit bydez, and glent with no membre,
Bot stode stylle as þe ston, oþer a stubbe auþer
Þat raþeled is in roché grounde with rotez a hundreth.
Þen muryly efte con he mele, þe mon in þe grene:
'So, now þou hatz þi hert holle, hitte me bihous.
Halde þe now þe hyȝe hode þat Arþur þe raȝt,
And kepe þy kanel at þis kest, ȝif hit keuer may.'
Gawayn ful gryndelly with greme þenne sayde:
'Wy! þresch on, þou þro mon, þou þretez to longe;
I hope þat þi hert arȝe wyth þyn awen seluen.'
'For soþe,' quoþ þat oþer freke, 'so felly þou spekez,
I wyl no lenger on lyte lette þin ernde
riȝt nowe.'
Þenne tas he hym stryþe to stryke,
And frounsez boþe lyppe and browe;
No meruayle þaȝ hym myslyke
Þat hoped of no rescowe.
He lyftes lyȝtly his lome, and let hit doun fayre [folio 122r]
With þe barbe of þe bitte bi þe bare nek; Page  64
Þaȝ he homered heterly, hurt hym no more
Bot snyrt hym on þat on syde, þat seuered þe hyde.
Þe scharp schrank to þe flesche þurȝ þe schyre grece,
Þat þe schene blod ouer his schulderes schot to þe erþe;
And quen þe burne seȝ þe blode blenk on þe snawe,
He sprit forth spenne-fote more þen a spere lenþe,
Hent heterly his helme, and on his hed cast,
Schot with his schulderez his fayre schelde vnder,
Braydez out a bryȝt sworde, and bremely he spekez--
Neuer syn þat he watz burne borne of his moder
Watz he neuer in þis worlde wyȝe half so blyþe--
'Blynne, burne, of þy bur, bede me no mo!
I haf a stroke in þis sted withoute stryf hent,
And if þow rechez me any mo, I redyly schal quyte,
And ȝelde ȝederly aȝayn--and þerto ȝe tryst--
and foo.
Bot on stroke here me fallez--
Þe couenaunt schop ryȝt so,
Fermed in Arþurez hallez--
And þerfore, hende, now hoo!'
The haþel heldet hym fro, and on his ax rested,
Sette þe schaft vpon schore, and to þe scharp lened,
And loked to þe leude þat on þe launde ȝede,
How þat doȝty, dredles, deruely þer stondez
Armed, ful aȝlez: in hert hit hym lykez.
Þenn he melez muryly wyth a much steuen,
And wyth a rynkande rurde he to þe renk sayde:
'Bolde burne, on þis bent be not so gryndel.
No mon here vnmanerly þe mysboden habbez,
Ne kyd bot as couenaunde at kyngez kort schaped.
I hyȝt þe a strok and þou hit hatz, halde þe wel payed;
I relece þe of þe remnaunt of ryȝtes alle oþer.
Iif I deliuer had bene, a boffet paraunter
I couþe wroþeloker haf waret, to þe haf wroȝt anger.
Fyrst I mansed þe muryly with a mynt one,
And roue þe wyth no rof-sore, with ryȝt I þe profered [folio 122v] Page  65
For þe forwarde þat we fest in þe fyrst nyȝt,
And þou trystyly þe trawþe and trwly me haldez,
Al þe gayne þow me gef, as god mon schulde.
Þat oþer munt for þe morne, mon, I þe profered,
Þou kyssedes my clere wyf--þe cossez me raȝtez.
For boþe two here I þe bede bot two bare myntes
boute scaþe.
Trwe mon trwe restore,
Þenne þar mon drede no waþe.
At þe þrid þou fayled þore,
And þerfor þat tappe ta þe.
'For hit is my wede þat þou werez, þat ilke wouen girdel,
Myn owen wyf hit þe weued, I wot wel for soþe.
Now know I wel þy cosses, and þy costes als,
And þe wowyng of my wyf: I wroȝt hit myseluen.
I sende hir to asay þe, and sothly me þynkkez
On þe fautlest freke þat euer on fote ȝede;
As perle bi þe quite pese is of prys more,
So is Gawayn, in god fayth, bi oþer gay knyȝtez.
Bot here yow lakked a lyttel, sir, and lewté yow wonted;
Bot þat watz for no wylyde werke, ne wowyng nauþer,
Bot for ȝe lufed your lyf; þe lasse I yow blame.'
Þat oþer stif mon in study stod a gret whyle,
So agreued for greme he gryed withinne;
Alle þe blode of his brest blende in his face,
Þat al he schrank for schome þat þe schalk talked.
Þe forme worde vpon folde þat þe freke meled:
'Corsed worth cowarddyse and couetyse boþe!
In yow is vylany and vyse þat vertue disstryez.'
Þenne he kaȝt to þe knot, and þe kest lawsez,
Brayde broþely þe belt to þe burne seluen:
'Lo! þer þe falssyng, foule mot hit falle!
For care of þy knokke cowardyse me taȝt
To acorde me with couetyse, my kynde to forsake,
Þat is larges and lewté þat longez to knyȝtez.
Now am I fawty and falce, and ferde haf ben euer
Of trecherye and vntrawþe: boþe bityde sorȝe
and care! [folio 123r] Page  66
I biknowe yow, knyȝt, here stylle,
Al fawty is my fare;
Letez me ouertake your wylle
And efte I schal be ware.'
Thenn loȝe þat oþer leude and luflyly sayde:
'I halde hit hardily hole, þe harme þat I hade.
Þou art confessed so clene, beknowen of þy mysses,
And hatz þe penaunce apert of þe poynt of myn egge,
I halde þe polysed of þat plyȝt, and pured as clene
As þou hadez neuer forfeted syþen þou watz fyrst borne;
And I gif þe, sir, þe gurdel þat is golde-hemmed,
For hit is grene as my goune. Sir Gawayn, ȝe maye
Þenk vpon þis ilke þrepe, þer þou forth þryngez
Among prynces of prys, and þis a pure token
Of þe chaunce of þe grene chapel at cheualrous knyȝtez.
And ȝe schal in þis Nwe Ȝer aȝayn to my wonez,
And we schyn reuel þe remnaunt of þis ryche fest
ful bene.'
Þer laþed hym fast þe lorde
And sayde: 'With my wyf, I wene,
We schal yow wel acorde,
Þat watz your enmy kene.'
'Nay, for soþe,' quoþ þe segge, and sesed hys helme,
And hatz hit of hendely, and þe haþel þonkkez,
'I haf soiorned sadly; sele yow bytyde,
And he ȝelde hit yow ȝare þat ȝarkkez al menskes!
And comaundez me to þat cortays, your comlych fere,
Boþe þat on and þat oþer, myn honoured ladyez,
Þat þus hor knyȝt wyth hor kest han koyntly bigyled.
Bot hit is no ferly þaȝ a fole madde,
And þurȝ wyles of wymmen be wonen to sorȝe,
For so watz Adam in erde with one bygyled,
And Salamon with fele sere, and Samson eftsonez--
Dalyda dalt hym hys wyrde--and Dauyth þerafter
Watz blended with Barsabe, þat much bale þoled.
Now þese were wrathed wyth her wyles, hit were a wynne huge Page  67
To luf hom wel, and leue hem not, a leude þat couþe. [folio 123v]
For þes wer forne þe freest, þat folȝed alle þe sele
Exellently of alle þyse oþer, vnder heuenryche
þat mused;
And alle þay were biwyled
With wymmen þat þay vsed.
Þaȝ I be now bigyled,
Me þink me burde be excused.
'Bot your gordel', quoþ Gawayn, 'God yow forȝelde!
Þat wyl I welde wyth guod wylle, not for þe wynne golde,
Ne þe saynt, ne þe sylk, ne þe syde pendaundes,
For wele ne for worchyp, ne for þe wlonk werkkez,
Bot in syngne of my surfet I schal se hit ofte,
When I ride in renoun, remorde to myseluen
Þe faut and þe fayntyse of þe flesche crabbed,
How tender hit is to entyse teches of fylþe;
And þus, quen pryde schal me pryk for prowes of armes,
Þe loke to þis luf-lace schal leþe my hert.
Bot on I wolde yow pray, displeses yow neuer:
Syn ȝe be lorde of þe ȝonder londe þer I haf lent inne
Wyth yow wyth worschyp--þe wyȝe hit yow ȝelde
Þat vphaldez þe heuen and on hyȝ sittez--
How norne ȝe yowre ryȝt nome, and þenne no more?'
'Þat schal I telle þe trwly,' quoþ þat oþer þenne,
'Bertilak de Hautdesert I hat in þis londe.
Þurȝ myȝt of Morgne la Faye, þat in my hous lenges,
And koyntyse of clergye, bi craftes wel lerned,
Þe maystrés of Merlyn mony hatz taken--
For ho hatz dalt drwry ful dere sumtyme
With þat conable klerk, þat knowes alle your knyȝtez
at hame;
Morgne þe goddes
Þerfore hit is hir name:
Weldez non so hyȝe hawtesse
Þat ho ne con make ful tame--
'Ho wayned me vpon þis wyse to your wynne halle
For to assay þe surquidré, ȝif hit soth were Page  68
Þat rennes of þe grete renoun of þe Rounde Table;
Ho wayned me þis wonder your wyttez to reue, [folio 124r]
For to haf greued Gaynour and gart hir to dyȝe
With glopnyng of þat ilke gome þat gostlych speked
With his hede in his honde bifore þe hyȝe table.
Þat is ho þat is at home, þe auncian lady;
Ho is euen þyn aunt, Arþurez half-suster,
Þe duches doȝter of Tyntagelle, þat dere Vter after
Hade Arþur vpon, þat aþel is nowþe.
Þerfore I eþe þe, haþel, to com to þyn aunt,
Make myry in my hous; my meny þe louies,
And I wol þe as wel, wyȝe, bi my faythe,
As any gome vnder God for þy grete trauþe.'
And he nikked hym naye, he nolde bi no wayes.
Þay acolen and kyssen and kennen ayþer oþer
To þe prynce of paradise, and parten ryȝt þere
on coolde;
Gawayn on blonk ful bene
To þe knygez burȝ buskez bolde,
And þe knyȝt in þe enker-grene
Whiderwarde-so-euer he wolde.
Wylde wayez in þe worlde Wowen now rydez
On Gryngolet, þat þe grace hade geten of his lyue;
Ofte he herbered in house and ofte al þeroute,
And mony aventure in vale, and venquyst ofte,
Þat I ne tyȝt at þis tyme in tale to remene.
Þe hurt watz hole þat he hade hent in his nek,
And þe blykkande belt he bere þeraboute
Abelef as a bauderyk bounden bi his syde,
Loken vnder his lyfte arme, þe lace, with a knot,
In tokenyng he watz tane in tech of a faute.
And þus he commes to þe court, knyȝt al in sounde.
Þer wakned wele in þat wone when wyst þe grete
Þat gode Gawayn watz commen; gayn hit hym þoȝt.
Þe kyng kyssez þe knyȝt, and þe whene alce,
And syþen mony syker knyȝt þat soȝt hym to haylce,
Of his fare þat hym frayned; and ferlyly he telles, Page  69
Biknowez alle þe costes of care þat he hade,
Þe chaunce of þe chapel, þe chere of þe knyȝt, [folio 124v]
Þe luf of þe ladi, þe lace at þe last.
Þe nirt in þe nek he naked hem schewed
Þat he laȝt for his vnleuté at þe leudes hondes
for blame.
He tened quen he schulde telle,
He groned for gref and grame;
Þe blod in his face con melle,
When he hit schulde schewe, for schame.
'Lo! lorde,' quoþ þe leude, and þe lace hondeled,
'Þis is þe bende of þis blame I bere in my nek,
Þis is þe laþe and þe losse þat I laȝt haue
Of couardise and couetyse þat I haf caȝt þare;
Þis is þe token of vntrawþe þat I am tan inne,
And I mot nedez hit were wyle I may last;
For mon may hyden his harme, bot vnhap ne may hit,
For þer hit onez is tachched twynne wil hit neuer.'
Þe kyng comfortez þe knyȝt, and alle þe court als
Laȝen loude þerat, and luflyly acorden
Þat lordes and ladis þat longed to þe Table,
Vche burne of þe broþerhede, a bauderyk schulde haue,
A bende abelef hym aboute of a bryȝt grene,
And þat, for sake of þat segge, in swete to were.
For þat watz acorded þe renoun of þe Rounde Table,
And he honoured þat hit hade euermore after,
As hit is breued in þe best boke of romaunce.
Þus in Arthurus day þis aunter bitidde,
Þe Brutus bokez þerof beres wyttenesse;
Syphen Brutus, þe bolde burne, boȝed hider fyrst,
After þe segge and þe asaute watz sesed at Troye,
Mony aunterez here-biforne
Haf fallen suche er þis.
Now þat here þe croun of þorne,
He bryng vus to his blysse! AMEN.