This hanselle hatz Arthur of auenturus on fyrst
In ȝonge ȝer, for he ȝerned ȝelpyng to here.
Thaȝ hym wordez were wane when þay to sete wenten,
Now ar þay stoken of sturne werk, stafful her hond.
Gawan watz glad to begynne þose gomnez in halle,
Bot þaȝ þe ende be heuy haf ȝe no wonder;
For þaȝ men ben mery in mynde quen þay han mayn drynk,
A ȝere ȝernes ful ȝerne, and ȝeldez neuer lyke,
Þe forme to þe fynisment foldez ful selden.
Forþi þis ȝol ouerȝede, and þe ȝere after,
And vche sesoun serlepes sued after oþer:
After Crystenmasse com þe crabbed lentoun,
Þat fraystez flesch wyth þe fysche and fode more symple;
Bot þenne þe weder of þe worlde wyth wynter hit þrepez,
Colde clengez adoun, cloudez vplyften,
Schyre schedez þe rayn in schowrez ful warme,
Fallez vpon fayre flat, flowrez þere schewen,
Boþe groundez and þe greuez grene ar her wedez,
Bryddez busken to bylde, and bremlych syngen
For solace of þe softe somer þat sues þerafter
And blossumez bolne to blowe
Bi rawez rych and ronk,
Þen notez noble innoȝe
Ar herde in wod so wlonk.
After þe sesoun of somer wyth þe soft wyndez
Quen Zeferus syflez hymself on sedez and erbez,
Wela wynne is þe wort þat waxes þeroute,
When þe donkande dewe dropez of þe leuez,
To bide a blysful blusch of þe bryȝt sunne.
Bot þen hyȝes heruest, and hardenes hym sone,
Warnez hym for þe wynter to wax ful rype;
He dryues wyth droȝt þe dust for to ryse,
Fro þe face of þe folde to flyȝe ful hyȝe;
Wroþe wynde of þe welkyn wrastelez with þe sunne,
Þe leuez lancen fro þe lynde and lyȝten on þe grounde,
And al grayes þe gres þat grene watz ere;
Þenne al rypez and rotez þat ros vpon fyrst,
And þus ȝirnez þe ȝere in ȝisterdayez mony,
And wynter wyndez aȝayn, as þe worlde askez,
Til Meȝelmas mone
Watȝ cumen wyth wynter wage;
Þen þenkkez Gawan ful sone
Of his anious uyage.
Ȝet quyl Al-hal-day with Arþer he lenges;
And he made a fare on þat fest for þe frekez sake,
With much reuel and ryche of þe Rounde Table.
Knyȝtez ful cortays and comlych ladies
Al for luf of þat lede in longynge þay were,
Bot neuer þe lece ne þe later þay neuened bot merþe:
Mony ioylez for þat ientyle iapez þer maden.
For aftter mete with mournyng he melez to his eme,
And spekez of his passage, and pertly he sayde,
“Now, lege lorde of my lyf, leue I yow ask;
Ȝe knowe þe cost of þis cace, kepe I no more
To telle yow tenez þerof neuer bot trifel;
Bot I am boun to þe bur barely to-morne
To sech þe gome of þe grene, as God wyl me wysse.”
Þenne þe best of þe burȝ boȝed togeder,
Aywan, and Errik, and oþer ful mony,
Sir Doddinaual de Sauage, þe duk of Clarence,
Launcelot, and Lyonel, and Lucan þe gode,
Sir Boos, and Sir Byduer, big men boþe,
And mony oþer menskful, with Mador de la Port.
Alle þis compayny of court com þe kyng nerre
For to counseyl þe knyȝt, with care at her hert.
Þere watz much derue doel driuen in þe sale
Þat so worþé as Wawan schulde wende on þat ernde,
To dryȝe a delful dynt, and dele no more
Þe knyȝt mad ay god chere,
And sayde, “Quat schuld I wonde?
Of destinés derf and dere
What may mon do bot fonde?”
He dowellez þer al þat day, and dressez on þe morn,
Askez erly hys armez, and alle were þay broȝt.
Fyrst a tulé tapit tyȝt ouer þe flet,
And miche watz þe gyld gere þat glent þeralofte;
Þe stif mon steppez þeron, and þe stel hondelez,
Dubbed in a dublet of a dere tars,
And syþen a crafty capados, closed aloft,
Þat wyth a bryȝt blaunner was bounden withinne.
Þenne set þay þe sabatounz vpon þe segge fotez,
His legez lapped in stel with luflych greuez,
With polaynez piched þerto, policed ful clene,
Aboute his knez knaged wyth knotez of golde;
Queme quyssewes þen, þat coyntlych closed
His thik þrawen þyȝez, with þwonges to tachched;
And syþen þe brawden bryné of bryȝt stel ryngez
Vmbeweued þat wyȝ vpon wlonk stuffe,
And wel bornyst brace vpon his boþe armes,
With gode cowters and gay, and glouez of plate,
And alle þe godlych gere þat hym gayn schulde
Wyth ryche cote-armure,
His gold sporez spend with pryde,
Gurde wyth a bront ful sure
With silk sayn vmbe his syde.
When he watz hasped in armes, his harnays watz ryche:
Þe lest lachet ouer loupe lemed of golde.
So harnayst as he watz he herknez his masse,
Offred and honoured at þe heȝe auter.
Syþen he comez to þe kyng and to his cort-ferez,
Lachez lufly his leue at lordez and ladyez;
And þay hym kyst and conueyed, bikende hym to Kryst.
Bi þat watz Gryngolet grayth, and gurde with a sadel
Þat glemed ful gayly with mony golde frenges,
Ayquere naylet ful nwe, for þat note ryched;
Þe brydel barred aboute, with bryȝt golde bounden;
Þe apparayl of þe payttrure and of þe proude skyrtez,
Þe cropore and þe couertor, acorded wyth þe arsounez;
And al watz rayled on red ryche golde naylez,
Þat al glytered and glent as glem of þe sunne.
Þenne hentes he þe helme, and hastily hit kysses,
Þat watz stapled stifly, and stoffed wythinne.
Hit watz hyȝe on his hede, hasped bihynde,
Wyth a lyȝtly vrysoun ouer þe auentayle,
Enbrawden and bounden wyth þe best gemmez
On brode sylkyn borde, and bryddez on semez,
As papiayez paynted peruyng bitwene,
Tortors and trulofez entayled so þyk
As mony burde þeraboute had ben seuen wynter
Þe cercle watz more o prys
Þat vmbeclypped hys croun,
Of diamauntez a deuys
Þat boþe were bryȝt and broun.
THEN þay schewed hym þe schelde, þat was of schyr goulez
Wyth þe pentangel depaynt of pure golde hwez.
He braydez hit by þe bauderyk, aboute þe hals kestes,
Þat bisemed þe segge semlyly fayre.
And quy þe pentangel apendez to þat prynce noble
I am in tent yow to telle, þof tary hyt me schulde:
Hit is a syngne þat Salamon set sumquyle
In bytoknyng of trawþe, bi tytle þat hit habbez,
For hit is a figure þat haldez fyue poyntez,
And vche lyne vmbelappez and loukez in oþer,
And ayquere hit is endelez; and Englych hit callen
Oueral, as I here, þe endeles knot.
Forþy hit acordez to þis knyȝt and to his cler armez,
For ay faythful in fyue and sere fyue syþez
Gawan watz for gode knawen, and as golde pured,
Voyded of vche vylany, wyth vertuez ennourned
Forþy þe pentangel nwe
He ber in schelde and cote,
As tulk of tale most trwe
And gentylest knyȝt of lote.
Fyrst he watz funden fautlez in his fyue wyttez,
And efte fayled neuer þe freke in his fyue fyngres,
And alle his afyaunce vpon folde watz in þe fyue woundez
Þat Cryst kaȝt on þe croys, as þe crede tellez;
And quere-so-euer þys mon in melly watz stad,
His þro þoȝt watz in þat, þurȝ alle oþer þyngez,
Þat alle his forsnes he feng at þe fyue joyez
Þat þe hende heuen-quene had of hir chylde;
At þis cause þe knyȝt comlyche hade
In þe inore half of his schelde hir ymage depaynted,
Þat quen he blusched þerto his belde neuer payred.
Þe fyft fyue þat I finde þat þe frek vsed
Watz fraunchyse and felaȝschyp forbe al þyng,
His clannes and his cortaysye croked were neuer,
And pité, þat passez alle poyntez, þyse pure fyue
Were harder happed on þat haþel þen on any oþer.
Now alle þese fyue syþez, for soþe, were fetled on þis knyȝt,
And vchone halched in oþer, þat non ende hade,
And fyched vpon fyue poyntez, þat fayld neuer,
Ne samned neuer in no syde, ne sundred nouþer,
Withouten ende at any noke I oquere fynde,
Whereeuer þe gomen bygan, or glod to an ende.
Þerfore on his schene schelde schapen watz þe knot
Ryally wyth red golde vpon rede gowlez,
Þat is þe pure pentaungel wyth þe peple called
Now grayþed is Gawan gay,
And laȝt his launce ryȝt þore,
And gef hem alle goud day,
He wende for euermore.
He sperred þe sted with þe spurez and sprong on his way,
So stif þat þe ston-fyr stroke out þerafter.
Al þat seȝ þat semly syked in hert,
And sayde soþly al same segges til oþer,
Carande for þat comly: “Bi Kryst, hit is scaþe
Þat þou, leude, schal be lost, þat art of lyf noble!
To fynde hys fere vpon folde, in fayth, is not eþe.
Warloker to haf wroȝt had more wyt bene,
And haf dyȝt ȝonder dere a duk to haue worþed;
A lowande leder of ledez in londe hym wel semez,
And so had better haf ben þen britned to noȝt,
Hadet wyth an aluisch mon, for angardez pryde.
Who knew euer any kyng such counsel to take
As knyȝtez in cauelaciounz on Crystmasse gomnez!”
Wel much watz þe warme water þat waltered of yȝen,
When þat semly syre soȝt fro þo wonez
He made non abode,
Bot wyȝtly went hys way;
Mony wylsum way he rode,
Þe bok as I herde say.
Now ridez þis renk þurȝ þe ryalme of Logres,
Sir Gauan, on Godez halue, þaȝ hym no gomen þoȝt.
Oft leudlez alone he lengez on nyȝtez
Þer he fonde noȝt hym byfore þe fare þat he lyked.
Hade he no fere bot his fole bi frythez and dounez,
Ne no gome bot God bi gate wyth to karp,
Til þat he neȝed ful neghe into þe Norþe Walez.
Alle þe iles of Anglesay on lyft half he haldez,
And farez ouer þe fordez by þe forlondez,
Ouer at þe Holy Hede, til he hade eft bonk
In þe wyldrenesse of Wyrale; wonde þer bot lyte
Þat auþer God oþer gome wyth goud hert louied.
And ay he frayned, as he ferde, at frekez þat he met,
If þay hade herde any karp of a knyȝt grene,
In any grounde þeraboute, of þe grene chapel;
And al nykked hym wyth nay, þat neuer in her lyue
Þay seȝe neuer no segge þat watz of suche hwez
Þe knyȝt tok gates straunge
In mony a bonk vnbene,
His cher ful oft con chaunge
Þat chapel er he myȝt sene.
Mony klyf he ouerclambe in contrayez straunge,
Fer floten fro his frendez fremedly he rydez.
At vche warþe oþer water þer þe wyȝe passed
He fonde a foo hym byfore, bot ferly hit were,
And þat so foule and so felle þat feȝt hym byhode.
So mony meruayl bi mount þer þe mon fyndez,
Hit were to tore for to telle of þe tenþe dole.
Sumwhyle wyth wormez he werrez, and with wolues als,
Sumwhyle wyth wodwos, þat woned in þe knarrez,
Boþe wyth bullez and berez, and borez oþerquyle,
And etaynez, þat hym anelede of þe heȝe felle;
Nade he ben duȝty and dryȝe, and Dryȝtyn had serued,
Douteles he hade ben ded and dreped ful ofte.
For werre wrathed hym not so much þat wynter nas wors,
When þe colde cler water fro þe cloudez schadde,
And fres er hit falle myȝt to þe fale erþe;
Ner slayn wyth þe slete he sleped in his yrnes
Mo nyȝtez þen innoghe in naked rokkez,
Þer as claterande fro þe crest þe colde borne rennez,
And henged heȝe ouer his hede in hard iisse-ikkles.
Þus in peryl and payne and plytes ful harde
Bi contray cayrez þis knyȝt, tyl Krystmasse euen,
Þe knyȝt wel þat tyde
To Mary made his mone,
Þat ho hym red to ryde
And wysse hym to sum wone.
Bi a mounte on þe morne meryly he rydes
Into a forest ful dep, þat ferly watz wylde,
Hiȝe hillez on vche a halue, and holtwodez vnder
Of hore okez ful hoge a hundreth togeder;
Þe hasel and þe haȝþorne were harled al samen,
With roȝe raged mosse rayled aywhere,
With mony bryddez vnblyþe vpon bare twyges,
Þat pitosly þer piped for pyne of þe colde.
Þe gome vpon Gryngolet glydez hem vnder,
Þurȝ mony misy and myre, mon al hym one,
Carande for his costes, lest he ne keuer schulde
To se þe seruyse of þat syre, þat on þat self nyȝt
Of a burde watz borne oure baret to quelle;
And þerfore sykyng he sayde, “I beseche þe, lorde,
And Mary, þat is myldest moder so dere,
Of sum herber þer heȝly I myȝt here masse,
Ande þy matynez to-morne, mekely I ask,
And þerto prestly I pray my pater and aue
He rode in his prayere,
And cryed for his mysdede,
He sayned hym in syþes sere,
And sayde “Cros Kryst me spede!”
NADE he sayned hymself, segge, bot þrye,
Er he watz war in þe wod of a won in a mote,
Abof a launde, on a lawe, loken vnder boȝez
Of mony borelych bole aboute bi þe diches:
A castel þe comlokest þat euer knyȝt aȝte,
Pyched on a prayere, a park al aboute,
With a pyked palays pyned ful þik,
Þat vmbeteȝe mony tre mo þen two myle.
Þat holde on þat on syde þe haþel auysed,
As hit schemered and schon þurȝ þe schyre okez;
Þenne hatz he hendly of his helme, and heȝly he þonkez
Jesus and sayn Gilyan, þat gentyle ar boþe,
Þat cortaysly had hym kydde, and his cry herkened.
“Now bone hostel,” coþe þe burne, “I beseche yow ȝette!”
Þenne gerdez he to Gryngolet with þe gilt helez,
And he ful chauncely hatz chosen to þe chef gate,
Þat broȝt bremly þe burne to þe bryge ende
Þe bryge watz breme vpbrayde,
Þe ȝatez wer stoken faste,
Þe wallez were wel arayed,
Hit dut no wyndez blaste.
Þe burne bode on blonk, þat on bonk houed
Of þe depe double dich þat drof to þe place;
Þe walle wod in þe water wonderly depe,
Ande eft a ful huge heȝt hit haled vpon lofte
Of harde hewen ston vp to þe tablez,
Enbaned vnder þe abataylment in þe best lawe;
And syþen garytez ful gaye gered bitwene,
Wyth mony luflych loupe þat louked ful clene:
A better barbican þat burne blusched vpon neuer.
And innermore he behelde þat halle ful hyȝe,
Towres telded bytwene, trochet ful þik,
Fayre fylyolez þat fyȝed, and ferlyly long,
With coruon coprounes craftyly sleȝe.
Chalkwhyt chymnees þer ches he innoȝe
Vpon bastel rouez, þat blenked ful quyte;
So mony pynakle payntet watz poudred ayquere,
Among þe castel carnelez clambred so þik,
Þat pared out of papure purely hit semed.
Þe fre freke on þe fole hit fayr innoghe þoȝt,
If he myȝt keuer to com þe cloyster wythinne,
To herber in þat hostel whyl halyday lested,
He calde, and sone þer com
A porter pure plesaunt,
On þe wal his ernd he nome,
And haylsed þe knyȝt erraunt.
“Gode sir,” quoþ Gawan, “woldez þou go myn ernde
To þe heȝ lorde of þis hous, herber to craue?”
“Ȝe, Peter,” quoþ þe porter, “and purely I trowee
Þat ȝe be, wyȝe, welcum to won quyle yow lykez.”
Þen ȝede þe wyȝe ȝerne and com aȝayn swyþe,
And folke frely hym wyth, to fonge þe knyȝt.
Þay let doun þe grete draȝt and derely out ȝeden,
And kneled doun on her knes vpon þe colde erþe
To welcum þis ilk wyȝ as worþy hom þoȝt;
Þay ȝolden hym þe brode ȝate, ȝarked vp wyde,
And he hem raysed rekenly, and rod ouer þe brygge.
Sere seggez hym sesed by sadel, quel he lyȝt,
And syþen stabeled his stede stif men innoȝe.
Knyȝtez and swyerez comen doun þenne
For to bryng þis buurne wyth blys into halle;
Quen he hef vp his helme, þer hiȝed innoghe
For to hent hit at his honde, þe hende to seruen;
His bronde and his blasoun boþe þay token.
Þen haylsed he ful hendly þo haþelez vchone,
And mony proud mon þer presed þat prynce to honour.
Alle hasped in his heȝ wede to halle þay hym wonnen,
Þer fayre fyre vpon flet fersly brenned.
Þenne þe lorde of þe lede loutez fro his chambre
For to mete wyth menske þe mon on þe flor;
He sayde, “Ȝe ar welcum to welde as yow lykez
Þat here is; al is yowre awen, to haue at yowre wylle
“Graunt mercy,” quoþ Gawayn,
“Þer Kryst hit yow forȝelde.”
As frekez þat semed fayn
Ayþer oþer in armez con felde.
Gawayn glyȝt on þe gome þat godly hym gret,
And þuȝt hit a bolde burne þat þe burȝ aȝte,
A hoge haþel for þe nonez, and of hyghe eldee;
Brode, bryȝt, watz his berde, and al beuer-hwed,
Sturne, stif on þe stryþþe on stalworth schonkez,
Felle face as þe fyre, and fre of hys speche;
And wel hym semed, for soþe, as þe segge þuȝt,
To lede a lortschyp in lee of leudez ful gode.
Þe lorde hym charred to a chambre, and chefly cumaundez
To delyuer hym a leude, hym loȝly to serue;
And þere were boun at his bode burnez innoȝe,
Þat broȝt hym to a bryȝt boure, þer beddyng watz noble,
Of cortynes of clene sylk wyth cler golde hemmez,
And couertorez ful curious with comlych panez
Of bryȝt blaunner aboue, enbrawded bisydez,
Rudelez rennande on ropez, red golde ryngez,
Tapitez tyȝt to þe woȝe of tuly and tars,
And vnder fete, on þe flet, of folȝande sute.
Þer he watz dispoyled, wyth spechez of myerþe,
Þe burn of his bruny and of his bryȝt wedez.
Ryche robes ful rad renkkez hym broȝten,
For to charge, and to chaunge, and chose of þe best.
Sone as he on hent, and happed þerinne,
Þat sete on hym semly wyth saylande skyrtez,
Þe ver by his uisage verayly hit semed
Welneȝ to vche haþel, alle on hwes
Lowande and lufly alle his lymmez vnder,
Þat a comloker knyȝt neuer Kryst made
Wheþen in worlde he were,
Hit semed as he moȝt
Be prynce withouten pere
In felde þer felle men foȝt.
A cheyer byfore þe chemné, þer charcole brenned,
Watz grayþed for Sir Gawan grayþely with cloþez,
Whyssynes vpon queldepoyntes þat koynt wer boþe;
And þenne a meré mantyle watz on þat mon cast
Of a broun bleeaunt, enbrauded ful ryche
And fayre furred wythinne with fellez of þe best,
Alle of ermyn in erde, his hode of þe same;
And he sete in þat settel semlych ryche,
And achaufed hym chefly, and þenne his cher mended.
Sone watz telded vp a tabil on trestez ful fayre,
Clad wyth a clene cloþe þat cler quyt schewed,
Sanap, and salure, and syluerin sponez.
Þe wyȝe wesche at his wylle, and went to his mete.
Seggez hym serued semly innoȝe
Wyth sere sewes and sete, sesounde of þe best.
Double-felde, as hit fallez, and fele kyn fischez,
Summe baken in bred, summe brad on þe gledez,
Summe soþen, summe in sewe sauered with spyces,
And ay sawes so sleȝe þat þe segge lyked.
Þe freke calde hit a fest ful frely and ofte
Ful hendely, quen alle þe haþeles rehayted hym at onez,
Þis penaunce now ȝe take,
And eft hit schal amende.”
Þat mon much merþe con make,
For wyn in his hed þat wende.
Þenne watz spyed and spured vpon spare wyse
Bi preué poyntez of þat prynce, put to hymseluen,
Þat he beknew cortaysly of þe court þat he were
Þat aþel Arthure þe hende haldez hym one,
Þat is þe ryche ryal kyng of þe Rounde Table,
And hit watz Wawen hymself þat in þat won syttez,
Comen to þat Krystmasse, as case hym þen lymped.
When þe lorde hade lerned þat he þe leude hade,
Loude laȝed he þerat, so lef hit hym þoȝt,
And alle þe men in þat mote maden much joye
To apere in his presense prestly þat tyme,
Þat alle prys and prowes and pured þewes
Apendes to hys persoun, and praysed is euer;
Byfore alle men vpon molde his mensk is þe most.
Vch segge ful softly sayde to his fere:
“Now schal we semlych se sleȝtez of þewez
And þe teccheles termes of talkyng noble,
Wich spede is in speche vnspurd may we lerne,
Syn we haf fonged þat fyne fader of nurture.
God hatz geuen vus his grace godly for soþe,
Þat such a gest as Gawan grauntez vus to haue,
When burnez blyþe of his burþe schal sitte
In menyng of manerez mere
Þis burne now schal vus bryng,
I hope þat may hym here
Schal lerne of luf-talkyng.”
Bi þat þe diner watz done and þe dere vp
Hit watz neȝ at þe niyȝt neȝed þe tyme.
Chaplaynez to þe chapeles chosen þe gate,
Rungen ful rychely, ryȝt as þay schulden,
To þe hersum euensong of þe hyȝe tyde.
Þe lorde loutes þerto, and þe lady als,
Into a cumly closet coyntly ho entrez.
Gawan glydez ful gay and gos þeder sone;
Þe lorde laches hym by þe lappe and ledez hym to sytte,
And couþly hym knowez and callez hym his nome,
And sayde he watz þe welcomest wyȝe of þe worlde;
And he hym þonkked þroly, and ayþer halched oþer,
And seten soberly samen þe seruise quyle.
Þenne lyst þe lady to loke on þe knyȝt,
Þenne com ho of hir closet with mony cler burdez.
Ho watz þe fayrest in felle, of flesche and of lyre,
And of compas and colour and costes, of alle oþer,
And wener þen Wenore, as þe wyȝe þoȝt.
Ho ches þurȝ þe chaunsel to cheryche þat hende.
An oþer lady hir lad bi þe lyft honde,
Þat watz alder þen ho, an auncian hit semed,
And heȝly honowred with haþelez aboute.
Bot vnlyke on to loke þo ladyes were,
For if þe ȝonge watz ȝep, ȝolȝe watz þat oþer;
Riche red on þat on rayled ayquere,
Rugh ronkled chekez þat oþer on rolled;
Kerchofes of þat on, wyth mony cler perlez,
Hir brest and hir bryȝt þrote bare displayed,
Schon schyrer þen snawe þat schedez on hillez;
Þat oþer wyth a gorger watz gered ouer þe swyre,
Chymbled ouer hir blake chyn with chalkquyte vayles,
Hir frount folden in sylk, enfoubled ayquere,
Toreted and treleted with tryflez aboute,
Þat noȝt watz bare of þat burde bot þe blake broȝes,
Þe tweyne yȝen and þe nase, þe naked lyppez,
And þose were soure to se and sellyly blered;
A mensk lady on molde mon may hir calle,
Hir body watz schort and þik,
Hir buttokez balȝ and brode,
More lykkerwys on to lyk
Watz þat scho hade on lode.
When Gawayn glyȝt on þat gay, þat graciously loked,
Wyth leue laȝt of þe lorde he lent hem aȝaynes;
Þe alder he haylses, heldande ful lowe,
Þe loueloker he lappez a lyttel in armez,
He kysses hir comlyly, and knyȝtly he melez.
Þay kallen hym of aquoyntaunce, and he hit quyk askez
To be her seruaunt sothly, if hemself lyked.
Þay tan hym bytwene hem, wyth talkyng hym leden
To chambre, to chemné, and chefly þay asken
Spycez, þat vnsparely men speded hom to bryng,
And þe wynnelych wyne þerwith vche tyme.
Þe lorde luflych aloft lepez ful ofte,
Mynned merthe to be made vpon mony syþez,
Hent heȝly of his hode, and on a spere henged,
And wayned hom to wynne þe worchip þerof,
Þat most myrþe myȝt meue þat Crystenmas whyle —
“And I schal fonde, bi my fayth, to fylter wyth þe best
Er me wont þe wede, with help of my frendez.”
Þus wyth laȝande lotez þe lorde hit tayt makez,
For to glade Sir Gawayn with gomnez in halle
Til þat hit watz tyme
Þe lord comaundet lyȝt;
Sir Gawen his leue con nyme
And to his bed hym diȝt.
On þe morne, as vch mon mynez þat tyme
Þat Dryȝtyn for oure destyné to deȝe watz borne,
Wele waxez in vche a won in worlde for his sake;
So did hit þere on þat day þurȝ dayntés mony:
Boþe at mes and at mele messes ful quaynt
Derf men vpon dece drest of þe best.
Þe olde auncian wyf heȝest ho syttez,
Þe lorde lufly her by lent, as I trowe;
Gawan and þe gay burde togeder þay seten,
Euen inmyddez, as þe messe metely come,
And syþen þurȝ al þe sale as hem best semed.
Bi vche grome at his degré grayþely watz serued
Þer watz mete, þer watz myrþe, þer watz much ioye,
Þat for to telle þerof hit me tene were,
And to poynte hit ȝet I pyned me parauenture.
Bot ȝet I wot þat Wawen and þe wale burde
Such comfort of her compaynye caȝten togeder
Þurȝ her dere dalyaunce of her derne wordez,
Wyth clene cortays carp closed fro fylþe,
Þat hor play watz passande vche prynce gomen,
Trumpez and nakerys,
Much pypyng þer repayres;
Vche mon tented hys,
And þay two tented þayres.
Much dut watz þer dryuen þat day and þat oþer,
And þe þryd as þro þronge in þerafter;
Þe ioye of sayn Jonez day watz gentyle to here,
And watz þe last of þe layk, leudez þer þoȝten.
Þer wer gestes to go vpon þe gray morne,
Forþy wonderly þay woke, and þe wyn dronken,
Daunsed ful dreȝly wyth dere carolez.
At þe last, when hit watz late, þay lachen her leue,
Vchon to wende on his way þat watz wyȝe stronge.
Gawan gef hym god day, þe godmon hym lachchez,
Ledes hym to his awen chambre, þe chymné bysyde,
And þere he draȝez hym on dryȝe, and derely hym þonkkez
Of þe wynne worschip þat he hym wayued hade,
As to honour his hous on þat hyȝe tyde,
And enbelyse his burȝ with his bele chere:
“Iwysse sir, quyl I leue, me worþez þe better
Þat Gawayn hatz ben my gest at Goddez awen fest.”
“Grant merci, sir,” quoþ Gawayn, “in god fayth hit is yowrez,
Al þe honour is your awen — þe heȝe kyng yow ȝelde!
And I am wyȝe at your wylle to worch youre hest,
As I am halden þerto, in hyȝe and in loȝe,
Þe lorde fast can hym payne
To holde lenger þe knyȝt;
To hym answarez Gawayn
Bi non way þat he myȝt.
Then frayned þe freke ful fayre at himseluen
Quat derue dede had hym dryuen at þat dere tyme
So kenly fro þe kyngez kourt to kayre al his one,
Er þe halidayez holly were halet out of toun.
“For soþe, sir,” quoþ þe segge, “ȝe sayn bot þe trawþe,
A heȝe ernde and a hasty me hade fro þo wonez,
For I am sumned myselfe to sech to a place,
I ne wot in worlde whederwarde to wende hit to fynde.
I nolde bot if I hit negh myȝt on Nw ȝeres morne
For alle þe londe inwyth Logres, so me oure lorde help!
Forþy, sir, þis enquest I require yow here,
Þat ȝe me telle with trawþe if euer ȝe tale herde
Of þe grene chapel, quere hit on grounde stondez,
And of þe knyȝt þat hit kepes, of colour of grene.
Þer watz stabled bi statut a steuen vus bytwene
To mete þat mon at þat mere, ȝif I myȝt last;
And of þat ilk Nw ȝere bot neked now wontez,
And I wolde loke on þat lede, if God me let wolde,
Gladloker, bi Goddez sun, þen any god welde!
Forþi, iwysse, bi ȝowre wylle, wende me bihoues,
Naf I now to busy bot bare þre dayez,
And me als fayn to falle feye as fayly of myyn ernde.”
Þenne laȝande quoþ þe lorde, “Now leng þe byhoues,
For I schal teche yow to þat terme bi þe tymez ende,
Þe grene chapayle vpon grounde greue yow no more;
Bot ȝe schal be in yowre bed, burne, at þyn ese,
Quyle forth dayez, and ferk on þe fyrst of þe ȝere,
And cum to þat merk at mydmorn, to make quat yow likez
Dowellez whyle New ȝeres daye,
And rys, and raykez þenne,
Mon schal yow sette in waye,
Hit is not two myle henne.”
Þenne watz Gawan ful glad, and gomenly he laȝed:
“Now I þonk yow þryuandely þurȝ alle oþer þynge,
Now acheued is my chaunce, I schal at your wylle
Dowelle, and ellez do quat ȝe demen.”
Þenne sesed hym þe syre and set hym bysyde,
Let þe ladiez be fette to lyke hem þe better.
Þer watz seme solace by hemself stille;
Þe lorde let for luf lotez so myry,
As wyȝ þat wolde of his wyte, ne wyst quat he myȝt.
Þenne he carped to þe knyȝt, criande loude,
“Ȝe han demed to do þe dede þat I bidde;
Wyl ȝe halde þis hes here at þys onez?”
“Ȝe, sir, for soþe,” sayd þe segge trwe,
“Whyl I byde in yowre borȝe, be bayn to ȝowre hest.”
“For ȝe haf trauayled,” quoþ þe tulk, “towen fro ferre,
And syþen waked me wyth, ȝe arn not wel waryst
Nauþer of sostnaunce ne of slepe, soþly I knowe;
Ȝe schal lenge in your lofte, and lyȝe in your ese
To-morn quyle þe messequyle, and to mete wende
When ȝe wyl, wyth my wyf, þat wyth yow schal sitte
And comfort yow with compayny, til I to cort torne;
And I schal erly ryse,
On huntyng wyl I wende.”
Gauayn grantez alle þyse,
Hym heldande, as þe hende.
“Ȝet firre,” quoþ þe freke, “a forwarde we make:
Quat-so-euer I wynne in þe wod hit worþez to yourez,
And quat chek so ȝe acheue chaunge me þerforne.
Swete, swap we so, sware with trawþe,
Queþer, leude, so lymp, lere oþer better.”
“Bi God,” quoþ Gawayn þe gode, “I grant þertylle,
And þat yow lyst for to layke, lef hit me þynkes.”
“Who bryngez vus þis beuerage, þis bargayn is maked”:
So sayde þe lorde of þat lede; þay laȝed vchone,
Þay dronken and daylyeden and dalten vntyȝtel,
Þise lordez and ladyez, quyle þat hem lyked;
And syþen with Frenkysch fare and fele fayre lotez
Þay stoden and stemed and stylly speken,
Kysten ful comlyly and kaȝten her leue.
With mony leude ful lyȝt and lemande torches
Vche burne to his bed watz broȝt at þe laste,
To bed ȝet er þay ȝede,
Recorded couenauntez ofte;
Þe olde lorde of þat leude
Cowþe wel halde layk alofte.