Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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[fol. 91r]

[fitt1: stanza 1 (long)]

siþen þe sege and þe assaut watz sesed at troyeþe bor3 brittened and brent to brondez and askezþe tulk þat þe trammes of tresoun þer wro3twatz tried for his tricherie þe trewest on erþehit watz ennias þe athel and his highe kyndeþat siþen depreced prouinces and patrounes bicomewelne3e of al þe wele in þe west ilesfro riche romulus to rome ricchis hym swyþewith gret bobbaunce þat bur3e he biges vpon fyrstand neuenes hit his aune nome as hit now hatticius to tuskan and teldes bigynneslangaberde in lumbardie lyftes vp homesand fer ouer þe french flod felix brutuson mony bonkkes ful brode bretayn he settez[bob]wyth wynne[wheel]where werre and wrake and wonderbi syþez hatz wont þerinneand oft boþe blysse and blunderful skete hatz skyfted synne

[After the siege and the assault of Troy, when the city was burned to ashes, the knight who therein wrought treason was tried for his treachery and was found to be the truest on earth. Aeneas the noble it was, and his high kindred, who vanquished great nations and became the rulers of wellnigh all the western world. Noble Romulus went to Rome with great show of strength, and built that city at the first, and gave it his own name, as it is called to this day. Ticius went into Tuscany and began to set up habitations, and Langobard made his home in Lombardy; whilst Brutus, far over the French sea by many a full broad hill-side, the fair land of Britain

did win, Where war and wrack and wonderOften were seen therein, And oft both bliss and blunderHave come about through sin.]

[stanza 2 (long)]

ande quen þis bretayn watz bigged bi þis burn rychbolde bredden þerinne baret þat lofdenin mony turned tyme tene þat wro3tenmo ferlyes on þis folde han fallen here oftþen in any oþer þat I wot syn þat ilk tymebot of alle þat here bult of bretaygne kyngesay watz arthur þe hendest as I haf herde telle [fol. 91]forþi an aunter in erde I attle to schaweþat a selly in si3t summe men hit holdenand an outtrage awenture of arthurez wonderezif 3e wyl lysten þis laye bot on littel quileI schal telle hit as tit as I in toun herde[bob]with tonge[wheel]as hit is stad and stokenin stori stif and strongewith lel letteres lokenin londe so hatz ben longe

[Now, when Britain was conquered by this noble man, brave warriors were bred and born therein that were fond of striving, so that many times sorrow came thereof. And more wonders have been wrought in this land than in any other I wot of since that time. But of all the British kings, Arthur was the most courteous, as I have heard say. And I propose to tell you a wondrous adventure, as some hold it to be, that happened in Arthur's court; and if ye will listen but a little I will tell it you

with tongue As I have heard it told,In a story brave and strong, In a loyal book of old,In the land it has been long.]

[stanza 3 (long)]

þis kyng lay at camylot vpon kryst massewith mony luflych lorde ledez of þe bestrekenly of þe rounde table alle þo rich breþerwith rych reuel ory3t and rechles merþesþer tournayed tulkes by tymez ful monyjusted ful jolile þise gentyle kni3tessyþen kayred to þe court caroles to makefor þer þe fest watz ilyche ful fiften dayeswith alle þe mete and þe mirþe þat men couþe avysesuch glaumande gle glorious to heredere dyn vpon day daunsyng on ny3tesal watz hap vpon he3e in hallez and chambrezwith lordez and ladies as leuest him þo3twith all þe wele of þe worlde þay woned þer samenþe most kyd kny3tez vnder krystes seluenand þe louelokkest ladies þat euer lif hadenand he þe comlokest kyng þat þe court haldesfor al watz þis fayre folk in her first age[bob]on sille[wheel]þe hapnest vnder heuenkyng hy3est mon of wyllehit werere now gret nye to neuenso hardy a here on hille

[This King Arthur was at Camelot at Christmas with many a lovely lord, and they were all princely brethren of the Round Table, and they made rich revel and mirth, and were free from care. And betimes these gentle knights held full many a tournament, and jousted in jolly fashion, and then returned they to the court to sing the Christmas carols. And the feasting was for fifteen days, and it was with all the meat and mirth that men could devise. And glorious to hear was the noisy glee by day and the dancing by night, and all was joyous in hall and chamber, among the lords and ladies as it pleased them, and they were the most renowned knights under Christ and the loveliest ladies that ever lived, for all these fair folk were in their first age, and great were they

in mirth The gayest in the land,The king was of great worth, I could not name a bandSo hardy upon earth.]

[stanza 4 (long)]

wyle nw 3er watz so 3ep þat hit watz nwe cummenþat day doubble on þe dece watz þe douth seruedfro þe kyng watz cummen with kny3tes into þe halleþe chauntre of þe chapel cheued to an endeloude crye watz þer kest of clerkez and oþer [fol. 92r]nowel nayted onewe neuened ful ofteand syþen riche forth runnen to reche hondeselle3e3ed 3eres3iftes on hi3 3elde hem bi honddebated busyly aboute þo giftesladies la3ed ful loude þo3 þay lost hadenand he þat wan watz not wrothe þat may 3e wel trawealle þis mirþe þay maden to þe mete tymewhen þay had waschen worþyly þay wenten to seteþe best burne ay abof as hit best semedwhene guenore ful gay grayþed in þe myddesdressed on þe dere des dubbed al aboutesmal sendal bisides a selure hir ouerof tryed tolouse and tars tapites innogheþat were enbrawded and beten wyth þe best gemmesþat my3t be preued of prys wyth penyes to bye[bob]in daye[wheel]þe comlokest to discryþer glent with y3en graya semloker þat euer he sy3esoth mo3t no mon say

[And when the New Year was come, on that day the nobles on the daïs were double served, when the king came with his knights into the great hall and the chanting in the chapel was ended. And clerks and others set up a loud cry, and they kept the Feast of Christmas anew, and they gave and received New Year's gifts, and much talking was there about the gifts. And ladies laughed full loudly, though they had lost in the exchange, and he that won was not wrath, as ye will well trow, and they made all this mirth together as was fitting for the season. When they had washed, they worthily went to their seats, each according to his rank, as was seemly. And Queen Guinevere was full gaily attired as she took her seat on the daïs, and on fair silks under a canopy of costly Tarsian tapestry, embroidered with the finest of gems that money could buy on

a day The comeliest lady, I ween,She glanced from eyes that were grey, Her like that he had seenTruly could no man say.]

[stanza 5 (long)]

bot arthure wolde not ete til al were seruedhe watz so joly of his joyfnes and sumquat childgeredhis lif liked hym ly3t he louied þe lasseauþer to lenge lye or to longe sitteso bisied him his 3onge blod and his brayn wyldeand also an oþer maner meued him ekeþat he þur3 nobelay had nomen he wolde neuer etevpon such a dere day er hym deuised wereof sum auenturus þyng an vncouþe taleof sum mayn meruayle þat he my3t traweof of alderes of armes of oþer auenturusoþer sum segg hym biso3t of sum siker kny3tto joyne wyth hym in iustyng in joparde to laylede lif for lyf leue vchon oþeras fortune wolde fulsun hom þe fayrer to haueþis watz kynges countenaunce where he in court wereat vch farand fest among his fre meny[bob][fol. 92]in halle[wheel]þerfore of face so ferehe sti3tlez stif in stalleful 3ep in þat nw 3eremuch mirthe he mas with alle

[But Arthur would not eat until all were served, for he was so jolly, and almost like a child. Little recked he of his life; and so restless was he that he could not sit or recline for long, so active was his young blood and his brain. And there was another strange thing about him because of his noble birth, that he would not eat on these high days until he had heard some eerie tale of marvellous adventures, of his forbears or arms, or else that some knight joined with another in jousting, life for life as hap would have it. This was the custom of the King when he was in court at each feast as it came amongst his noble household

in hall, Therefore so bold of faceHe sat there, strong in stall, In that new year of graceMuch mirth he made with all.]

[stanza 6 (long)]

þus þer stondes in stale þe stif kyng hisseluentalkkande bifore þe hy3e table of trifles ful hendeþere gode gawan watz grayþed gwenore bisydeand agrauayn a la dure mayn on þat oþer syde sittesboþe þe kynges sistersunes and ful siker kni3tesbischop bawdewyn abof biginez þe tableand ywan vryn son ette wit hymseluenþise were di3t on þe des and derworþly seruedand siþen mony siker segge at þe sidbordezþen þe first cors come with crakkyng of trumpeswyth mony baner ful bry3t þat þerbi hengednwe nakryn noyse with þe noble pipeswylde werbles and wy3t wakned loteþat mony hert ful hi3e hef at her towchesdayntes dryuen þerwyth of ful dere metesfoysoun of þe fresche and on so fele dischesþat pine to fynde þe place þe peple bifornefor to sette þe syluen' þat sere sewes halden[bob]on clothe[wheel]iche lede as he loued hymselueþer laght withouten loþeay two had disches tweluegood ber and bry3t wyn boþe

[Thus was the King in the high seat talking before the high table of courteous trifles and good. Sir Gawain was sitting beside Guinevere. Agravayn of the hard hand sat on the other side, and both were sons of the king's sister and very strong and faithful knights. Bishop Bawdewyn was at the head of the table, and Ywain, son of Urien, was eating by himself. And they were all on the daïs, and well were they served, and afterwards many a true man at the sideboards. With the crashing of trumpets came the first course, and with banners and beating of drums and piping loud, so that many a heart heaved full high at the sound, and there were many dear and full dainty meats. And there were so many dishes and such great plenty that it was hard to find room to set before the folk the silver service that held the courses

on cloth, Each man as he loved himselfThere laughed he without loath, Each two had dishes twelve,Good beer and bright wine both.]

[stanza 7 (long)]

now wyl I of hor seruise say yow no morefor vch wy3e may wel wit no wont þat þer werean oþer noyse ful newe ne3ed biliueþat þe lude my3t haf leue liflode to cachfor vneþe watz þe noyce not a whyle sesedand þe fyrst cource in þe court kyndely seruedþer hales in at þe halle dor an aghlich maysteron þe most on þe molde on mesure hyghefro þe swyre to þe swange so sware and so þikand his lyndes and his lymes so longe and so grete[fol. 93r]half etayn in erde I hope þat he werebot mon most I algate mynn hym to beneand þat þe myriest in his muckel þat my3t ridefor of bak and of brest al were his bodi sturnebot his wombe and his wast were worthily smaleand alle his fetures fol3ande in forme þat he hade[bob]ful clene[wheel]for wonder of his hwe men hadeset in his semblaunt senehe ferde as freke were fadeand oueral enker grene

[Now will I tell you no more of the serving, for ye may wot well no want was there. Another and a full new wonder was drawing near. Scarcely had the noise ceased and the first course been served in the court, when there came in at the hall door an ugly fellow and tallest of all men upon earth. From his neck to his loins so square set was he, and so long and stalwart of limb, that I trow he was half a giant. And yet he was a man, and the merriest that might ride. His body in back and breast was strong, his belly and waist were very small, and all his features

full clean. Great wonder of the knightFolk had in hall, I ween, Full fierce he was to sight,And over all bright green.]

[stanza 8 (long)]

ande al grayþed in grene þis gome and his wedesa strayt cote ful stre3t þat stek on his sidesa mere mantile abof mensked with innewith pelure pured apert þe pane ful clenewith blyþe blaunner ful bry3t and his hod boþeþat watz la3t fro his lokkez and layde on his schulderesheme wel haled hose of þat same greneþat spenet on his sparlyr and clene spures vnderof bry3t golde vpon silk bordes barred ful rycheand scholes vnder schankes þere þe schalk ridesand alle his vesture uerayly watz clene verdureboþe þe barres of his belt and oþer blyþe stonesþat were richely rayled in his aray cleneaboutte hymself and his sadel vpon silk werkezþat were to tor for to telle of tryfles þe halueþat were enbrauded abof wyth bryddes and fly3eswith gay gaudi of grene þe golde ay inmyddesþe pendauntes of his payttrure pe proude cropurehis molaynes and alle þe metail anamayld was þenneþe steropes þat he stod on stayned of þe sameand his arsounz al after and his aþel scurtesþat euer glemered and glent al of grene stonesþe fole þat he ferkkes on fyn of þat ilke[bob]sertayn[wheel]a grene hors gret and þikkea stede ful stif to straynein brawden brydel quik[fol. 93]to þe gome he watz ful gayn

[And he was all clad in green garments, and fitting close to his sides was a straight coat with a simple mantle above it and well lined with gay and bright furs, as was also his hood hanging about his locks and round his shoulders; and he had hosen of that same green on his calves, and bright spurs of gold, that hung down his legs upon silk borders, richly striped, where his foot rested in the stirrup. And verily all his vesture was of pure green, both the stripings of his belt, and the stones that shone brightly in his orgeous apparel, upon silk work, on his person and saddle; and it would be too tedious to tell you even the half of such trifles as were thereon embroidered with birds and flies in gaudy greens, and ever gold in the midst. The pendants of the horse's neck-gear, the proud cropper, the ornaments, and all the metal thereof, were enamelled of green; the stirrups that he stood in of the same colour, and his saddle-bow also; and they were all glimmering and shining with green stones; and the foal on which he rode was of that same hue

certain A green horse great and thick,A steed full strong to strain, In broidered bridle thick,To the man he was full gain.]

[stanza 9 (long)]

wel gay watz þis gome gered in greneand þe here of his hed of his hors swetefayre fannand fax vmbefoldes his schulderesa much berd as as a busk ouer his brest hengesþat wyth his hi3lich here þat of his hed recheswatz euesed al vmbetorne abof his elbowesþat half his armes þervnder were halched in þe wyseof a kyngez capados þat closes his swyreþe mane of þat mayn hors much to hit lykewel cresped and cemmed wyth knottes ful monyfolden in wyth fildore aboute þe fayre greneay a herle of þe here anoþer of goldeþe tayl and his toppyng twynnen of a suteand bounden boþe wyth a bande of a bry3t grenedubbed wyth ful dere stonez as þe dok lastedsyþen þrawen wyth a þwong a þwarle knot alofteþer mony bellez ful bry3t of brende golde rungensuch a fole vpon folde ne freke þat hym rydeswatz neuer sene in þat sale wyth sy3t er þat tyme[bob]with y3e[wheel]he loked as layt so ly3tso sayd al þat hym sy3ehit semed as no mon my3tvnder his dynttez dry3e

[Thus gaily was this man dressed out in green, and the hair of the horse's head was of green, and his fair, flowing locks clung about his shoulders; and a great beard like a bush hung over his breast, and with his noble hair was cut evenly all round above his elbows, and the lower part of his sleeves was fastened like a king's mantle. The horse's mane was crisped and gemmed with many a knot, and folded in with gold thread about the fair green with ever a fillet of hair and one of gold, and his tail and head were intertwisted with gold in the same manner, and bound with a band of bright green, and decked with costly stones and tied with a tight knot above; and about them were ringing many full bright bells of burnished gold. Such a horse or his rider were never seen in that hall before or

with eye. 'He looks like flashing light,'Say they that him descry, 'It seemed that no man mightHis dintings e'er defy.']

[stanza 10 (long)]

wheþer hade he no helme ne hawbrgh nauþerne no pysan ne no plate þat pented to armesne no schafte ne no schelde to schwue ne to smytebot in his on honde he hade a holyn bobbeþat is grattest in grene when greuez ar bareand an ax in his oþer a hoge and vnmetea spetos sparþe to expoun in spelle quoso my3tþe hede of an eln3erde þe large lenkþe hadeþe grayn al of grene stele and of golde hewenþe bit burnyst bry3t with a brod eggeas wel schapen to schere as scharp rasoresþe stele of a stif staf þe sturne hit bi grypte [fol. 94r]þat watz wounden wyth yrn to þe wandez endeand al bigrauen with grene in gracios werkesa lace lapped aboute þat louked at þe hedeand so after þe halme halched ful oftewyth tryed tasselez þerto tacched innogheon botounz of þe bry3t grene brayden ful rycheþis haþel heldez hym in and þe halle entresdriuande to þe he3e dece dut he no woþehaylsed he neuer one bot he3e he ouer lokedþe fyrst word þat he warp wher is he saydþe gouernour of þis gyng gladly I woldese þat segg in sy3t and with hymself speke[bob]raysoun[wheel]to kny3tez he kest his y3eand reled hym vp and dounhe stemmed and con studiequo walt þer most renoun

[And he had no helmet nor hauberk, nor was he armour-plated, nor had he spear or shield with which to smite; but in one hand he held a holly branch, that is most green when the groves are all bare, and in the other he held an axe, huge and uncanny, and a sharp weapon was it to describe whoso might wish. And the head thereof measured an ell, and its grain was of green steel and of hewn gold, and the broad edge of it was burnished brightly, and as well shaped for cutting as a razor. And the sturdy knight gripped the steel of the stiff staff that was wound round with iron right along its length, and engraven in green with many noble deeds; and lace lapped it about and was fastened on the head, and looped about the handle full oft with many tassels tied thereto and broidered full richly on buttons of bright green. And the man haled into the hall, and pushed forward to the high daïs, fearful of nothing, and saluted no one, but looked scornfully over them all. The first word that he uttered was 'Where is the chief of this company? Gladly would I see that man in the body, and speak with him seasonably

in town.' The knight cast round his eye,And reeled up and down, He stopped and 'gan to spyWho was of best renown.]

[stanza 11 (long)]

ther watz lokyng on lenþe þe lude to beholdefor vch mon had meruayle quat hit mene my3tþat a haþel and a horse my3t such a hwe lachas growe grene as þe gres and grener hit semedþen grene aumayl on golde lowande bry3teral studied þat þer stod and stalked hym nerrewyth al þe wonder of þe worlde what he worch schuldefor fele sellyez had þay sen bot such neuer areforþi for fantoum and fayry3e þe folk þere hit demedþerfore to answare watz ar3e mony aþel frekeand al stouned at his steuen and stonstil setenin a swoghe sylence þur3 þe sale richeas al were slypped vpon slepe so slaked hor lotez[bob]in hy3e[wheel]I deme hit not al for doutebot sum for cortaysyebot let hym þat al schulde loutecast vnto þat wy3e

[When they all looked at him, and every man marvelled much what it might mean that a man and his horse should be of such a colour of green, green as the grass and greener, as it seemed, than green enamel upon gold shining brightly. All studied him carefully, and came nearer to him, for they had seen many wonders, but nothing like unto this; therefore the folk deemed it to be a phantom or some faery. And many of them were afraid to answer him; astounded at his voice, stone still they sat. And there was a solemn silence through that rich hall, as though they had all fallen asleep

speedily; Not all, I trow, for fearBut some for courtesy: Let him whom all hold dearUnto him make reply.]

[stanza 12 (long)]

þenn arþour bifore þe hi3 dece þat auenture byholdezand rekenly hym reuerenced for rad was he neuerand sayde wy3e welcum iwys to þis place[fol. 94]þe hede of þis ostel arthour I hatli3t luflych adoun and lenge I þe prayeand quat so þy wylle is we schal wyt afternay as help me quoþ þe haþel he þat on hy3e syttesto wone any quyle in þis won hit watz not myn erndebot for þe los of þe lede is lyft vp so hy3eand þy bur3 and þy burnes best ar holdenstifest vnder stel gere on stedes to rydeþe wy3test and þe worþyest of þe worldes kyndepreue for to play wyth in oþer pure laykezand here is kydde cortaysye as I haf herd carpand þat hatz wayned me hider iwyis at þis tyme3e may be seker bi þis braunch þat I bere hereþat I passe as in pes and no ply3t sechefor had I founded in fere in fe3tyng wyseI haue a hauberghe at home and a helme boþea schelde and a scharp spere schinande bry3tande oþer weppenes to welde I wene wel alsbot for I wolde no were my wedez ar softerbot if þou be so bold as alle burnez tellenþou wyl grant me godly þe gomen þat I ask[bob]bi ry3t[wheel]arthour con onswareand sayd sir cortays kny3tif þou craue batayl barehere faylez þou not to fy3t

[When Arthur on the high daïs beheld that adventure, and royally did reverence unto him, for nothing could affright him, and he said, 'Sir, welcome art thou to this hall. I am Arthur, the head of this hostel. Alight from thy horse, and linger with us, I pray thee, and afterwards we will come to know what thy will is.' 'Nay,' quoth that fellow, 'As He that sitteth on high shall help me, it is not mine errand to dwell any while in this place, but I am come because the fame of thy knights is so highly praised, and thy burgesses and thy town are held to be the best in the world, and the strongest riders on horses in steel armour, and the bravest and the worthiest of all mankind, and proof in playing in all joustings; and here, too, courtesy is well known, as I have heard say; and it is for these reasons that I am come hither at this time. Thou mayest rest assured by this holly token I hold in my hand that I am come in peaceful wise, and seek no quarrel; for had I come in company, in fighting wise, I have both a helm and a hauberk at home, and a shield, and a sharp and brightly shining spear, and other weapons I wield there as I ween; but because I wage no warfare, my weeds are of softer sort. But if thou art so bold as all men say, thou wilt grant me in goodly wise the games I ask

by right.' Then Arthur he did swear,And said, 'Sir courteous knight, If thou cravest battle bareThou shalt not fail to fight.']

[stanza 13 (long)]

nay frayst I no fy3t in fayth I þe tellehit arn aboute on þis bench bot berdlez chylderif I were hasped in armes on a he3e stedehere is no mon me to mach for my3tez fo waykeforþy I craue in þis court a crystemas gomenfor hit is 3ol and nwe 3er and here ar 3ep monyif any so hardy in þis hous holdez hymseluenbe so bolde in his blod brayn in hys hedeþat dar stifly strike a strok for an oþerI schal gif hym of my gyft þys giserne rycheþis ax þat is heue innogh to hondele as hym lykes[fol. 95r]and I schal bide þe fyrst bur as bare as I sitteif any freke be so felle to fonde þat I tellelepe ly3tly me to and lach þis weppenI quit clayme hit for euer kepe hit as his auenand I schal stonde hym a strok stif on þis fletellez þou wyl di3t me þe dom to dele hym an oþer[bob]barlay[wheel]and 3et gif hym respitea twelmonyth and a daynow hy3e and let se titedar any herinne o3t say

[Nay, I tell thee in good faith, I seek not to fight, for the men on this bench are but beardless children, and if I were hasped in arms on a high steed there is no man here to match with me. I only crave of this court a Christmas game, as this is the feast of Yule and New Year, and many here are brave. And if any in this house holds himself so hardy and is so boldblooded and so utterly mad that he dare strike one stroke for another in return, I will give to him this costly axe, that is heavy enough, and he shall handle it if he likes, and I will bide the first blow as bare as I sit here. If any fellow here be so brave as to do what I say, let him come forward quickly and take hold of the weapon, and I will quit claim upon it for ever. It shall be his very own. And I will stand strongly on this floor to abide his stroke if thou wilt doom him to receive another stroke in return from me; yet will I grant him

delay. I'll give to him the blow,In a twelvemonth and a day. Now think and let me knowDare any herein aught say.']

[stanza 14 (long)]

if he hem stowned vpon fyrst stiller were þannealle þe heredmen in halle þe hy3 and þe lo3eþe renk on his rounce hym ruched in his sadeland runischly his rede y3en he reled aboutebende his bresed bro3ez blycande grenewayued his berde for to wayte quo so wolde rysewhen non wolde kepe hym with carp he co3ed ful hy3eande rimed hym ful richly and ry3t hym to spekewhat is þis arthures hous quoþ þe haþel þenneþat al þe rous rennes of þur3 ryalmes so monywhere is now your sourquydrye and your conquestesyour gry dellayk and your greme and your grete wordesnow is þe reuel and þe renoun of þe rounde tableouerwalt wyth a worde of on wy3es spechefor al dares for drede withoute dynt schewedwyth þis he la3es so loude þat þe lorde greuedþe blod schot for scham into his schyre face[bob]and lere[wheel]he wex as wroth as wyndeso did alle þat þer wereþe kyng as kene bi kyndeþen stod þat stif mon nere

[Now, if this man astonished them at the first, even still more were they astonished at this word, both high and low. The man rode firm in the saddle, and rolled his red eyes about, and bent his rough, green shining eyebrows, and stroked his beard, waiting for some one to rise. And when no one would answer him, he coughed loudly and scornfully, and said, ' What! is this Arthur's house that all men are talking of? Where are now your pride and your valour, your wrath and fury and great words? for now is the revel and renown of the Round Table overcome by one word, for all of you are terrified though no blow has been struck.' Then he laughed so loudly that King Arthur was grieved thereat, and the blood, for shame, shot upwards into his bright face

so dear. He waxed as wroth as wind,So did all that were there, The king was bravely kind,And stood that strong man near.]

[stanza 15 (long)]

ande sayde haþel by heuen þyn askyng is nysand as þou foly hatz frayst fynde þe behouesI know no gome þat is gast of þy grete wordesgif me now þy geserne vpon godez halueand I schal bayþen þy bone þat þou boden habbes [fol. 95]ly3tly lepez he hym to and la3t at his hondeþen feersly þat oþer freke vpon fote ly3tisnow hatz arthure his axe and þe halme grypezand sturnely sturez hit aboute þat stryke wyth hit þo3tþe stif mon hym bifore stod vpon hy3therre þen ani in þe hous by þe hede and morewyth sturne schere þer he stod he stroked his berdeand wyth a countenaunce dry3e he dro3 doun his coteno more mate ne dismayd for hyns mayn dintezþen any burne vpon bench hade bro3t hym to drynk[bob]of wyne[wheel]gawan þat sate bi þe queneto þe kyng he can enclyneI beseche now with sa3ez seneþis melly mot be myne

[And he said, 'By heaven, fellow, thy asking is strange, and since thou dost seek after foolishness, it behoves thee to find it. I know of no single man among us that is aghast at thy great words. Give me thy axe, for God's sake, and I will grant thee the boon thou cravest.' Arthur leapt forward towards him and caught him by the hand. Then fiercely alighted that other fellow from his horse. Arthur seized the axe, gripping it by the handle, and strongly brandished it about. The strong man stood towering before him, higher than any in the house, by his head and more. Stern of mien, he stood there and stroked his beard, and with face unmoved he drew down his coat, no more dismayed for the dints he was to receive than if any man upon the bench had brought him to drink

of wine. Gawain sat by the queen,To the king he did incline, 'I tell thee truth I ween,This mêlée must be mine.']

[stanza 16 (long)]

wolde 3e worþilych lorde quoþ gawan to þe kyngbid me bo3e fro þis benche and stonde by yow þereþat I wythoute vylanye my3t voyde þis tableand þat my legge lady lyked not illeI wolde com to your counseyl bifore your cort rychefor me þink hit not semly as hit is soþ knawenþer such an askyng is heuened so hy3e in your saleþa3 3e 3ourself be talenttyf to take hit to yourseluenwhil mony so bolde yow aboute vpon bench syttenþat vnder heuen I hope non ha3erer of wyllene better bodyes on bent þer baret is reredI am þe wakkest I wot and of wyt feblestand lest lur of my lyf quo laytes þe soþebot for as much as 3e ar myn em I am only to prayseno bounte bot your blod I in my bode knoweand syþen þis note is so nys þat no3t hit yow fallesand I haue frayned hit at yow fyrst foldez hit to meand if I carp not comlyly let alle þis cort rych[bob]bout blame[wheel]ryche togeder con rounand syþen þay redden alle sameto ryd þe kyng wyth crounand gif gawan þe game

[If thou wilt allow me to come down from this bench and without fault leave this table and stand by thee there, and if my liege lady likes it not ill, I will come to thine aid before all this noble court; for methinks it not seemly that when such a thing as this is asked in this great hall, that thou shouldest deal with it thyself, though thou be eager to do so, when there are so many brave men about thee, on the benches, that, as I hope, under heaven, are not more precious than thou art, nor are they more able-bodied on the field, when there is any fighting. I am the weakest and most feeble of wit; and who seeketh truth knows that the loss of my life would be a small matter. I have no praise except that thou art mine uncle, and no goodness in my body have I except thy blood that flows in my veins. Since this affair is none of thine and I have first made demand for it, it falls to me; and if I acquit not myself comely, let all this noble court

me blame.' The knights whispered that day,And all agreed the same The king must yield the fray,And give Gawain the game.]

[fol. 96r]

[stanza 17 (long)]

þen commaunded þe kyng þe kny3t for to ryseand he ful radly vpros and ruchched hym fayrekneled doun bifore þe kyng and cachez þat weppenand he luflyly hit hym laft and lyfte vp his hondeand gef hym goddez blessyng and gladly hym biddesþat his hert and his honde schulde hardi be boþekepe þe cosyn quoþ þe kyng þat þou on kyrf setteand if þou redez hym ry3t redly I troweþat þou schal byden þe bur þat he schal bede aftergawan gotz to þe gome with giserne in hondeand he baldly hym bydez he bayst neuer þe helderþen carppez to sir gawan þe kny3t in þe grenerefourme we oure forwardes er we fyrre passefyrst I eþe þe haþel how þat þou hattesþat þou me telle truly as I tryst mayin god fayth quoþ þe goode kny3t gawan I hatteþat bede þe þis buffet quat so bifallez afterand at þis tyme twelmonyth take at þe an oþerwyth what weppen fo þou wylt and wyth no wy3 ellez[bob]on lyue[wheel]þat oþer onswarez agaynsir gawan so mot I þryueas I am ferly faynþis dint þat þou schal dryue

[When the king commanded the knight to rise up, which he readily did, and set himself fairly and knelt down again before the king and received from him the weapon, and the king lifted up his hand and gave him God's blessing, and prayed that both his heart and hand might be hardy and strong.' Take care, cousin, that thou set one blow upon him, and if thou doest it well, then shalt thou bide the blow that he shall give thee afterwards.' Gawain went forward to the man with the axe in his hand, and the Green Knight boldly bided his coming and flinched not at all. Then said the Green Knight to Sir Gawain, 'Let us make well our covenant ere we go further. First, I want to know thy name -- tell me truly.' 'In good faith,' said the knight, 'my name is Gawain, and it is Gawain that offers to give thee this blow, whatsoever befall him afterwards; and in a twelvemonth and a day thou shalt take back the blow with any weapon thou likest, if I shall be

alive.' That other answered again,'Gawain, so may I thrive, For I am fiercely fainOf the blow that thou wilt drive.']

[stanza 18 (long)]

bigog quoþ þe grene kny3t sir gawan me lykesþat I schal fange at þy fust þat I haf frayst hereand þou hatz redily rehersed bi resoun ful trweclanly al þe couenaunt þat I þe kynge askedsaf þat þou schal siker me segge bi þi trawþeþat þou schal seche me þiself where so þou hopesI may be funde vpon folde and foch þe such wagesas þou deles me to day bifore þis douþe rychewhere schulde I wale þe quoþ gauan where is þy plateI wot neuer where þou wonyes bi hym þat me wro3tne I know not þe kny3t by cort ne þi namebot teche me truly þerto and telle me how þou hattesand I schal ware alle my wyt to wynne me þeder[fol. 96]and þat I swere þe for soþe and by my seker traweþþat is innogh in nwe 3er hit nedes no morequoþ þe gome in þe grene to gawan þe hende3if I þe telle trwly quen I þe tape haueand þou me smoþely hatz smyten smartly I þe techeof my hous and my home and myn owen nomeþen may þou frayst my fare and forwardez holdeand if I spende no speche þenne spedez þou þe betterfor þou may leng in þy londe and layt no fyrre[bob]bot slokes[wheel]ta now þy grymme tole to þeand let se how þou cnokezgladly sir for soþequoþ gawan his ax he strokes

[When said the Green Knight, 'Well it pleases me that I shall take at thy hand that which I sought in this hall. And thou hast truly rehearsed all the covenant I asked of the king; save that thou shalt pledge me to seek me thyself wheresoever thou dost hope to find me on the earth, and to fetch thee such wages as thou wilt deal me to-day in the presence of this noble company.' 'Oh tell me,' quoth Gawain, 'where must I seek thee? Where is thy place? By Him that made me, I wot not where thou dwellest, nor do I know thee, Sir Knight, nor thy court, nor thy name. But tell me that truly, and what is thy name, and I will use all my wit that I may win thither, and that I swear by my sooth.' ' It will suffice in the new year,' quoth the Green Knight to Gawain the gentle, 'if I tell thee truly when I have received the blow at thy hand. Then it is that I will quickly tell thee of my house, my home, and my name. Then mayest thou ask my faring, and hold the covenant, and if I say nothing at all, then will it speed thee better, for thou mayest linger in thy land and seek to fare no farther in search of such

a sight. Take now the weapon grim,Let us see how thou canst smite. `Gladly,' said he to him;Then stroked the axe that knight.]

[stanza 19 (long)]

þe grene kny3t vpon grounde grayþely hym dressesa littel lut with þe hede þe lere he discouerezhis longe louelych lokkez he layd ouer his crounlet þe naked nec to þe note schewegauan gripped to his ax and gederes hit on hy3tþe kay fot on þe folde he before settelet him doun ly3tly ly3t on þe nakedþat þe scharp of þe schalk schyndered þe bonesand schrank þur3 þe schyire grece and scade hit in twynneþat þe bit of þe broun stel bot on þe groundeþe fayre hede fro þe halce hit to þe erþeþat fele hit foyned wyth her fete þere hit forth roledþe blod brayd fro þe body þat blykked on þe greneand nawþer faltered ne fel þe freke neuer þe helderbot styþly he start forth vpon styf schonkesand ruyschly he ra3t out þere as renkkez stodenla3t to his lufly hed and lyft hit vp soneand syþen bo3ez to his blonk þe brydel he cachchezsteppez into stelbawe and strydez alofteand his hede by þe here in his honde haldezand as sadly þe segge hym in his sadel setteas non vnhap had hym ayled þa3 hedlez ho we[bob]in stedde[wheel]he brayde his bluk aboute[fol. 97r]þat vgly bodi þat bleddemoni on of hym had doutebi þat his resounz were redde

[The Green Knight then prepared himself, bowed down a little, and discovered his face, and his long and lovely locks flowing about his head and he bared his neck for the business in hand. Gawain gripped the axe and held it up aloft. He put his left foot forward, then he let the axe fall lightly down on the naked neck so that it sundered the bones, pierced through the flesh, so that the point of the steel bit into the ground, and the head of the Green Knight fell to the earth. And many kicked it with their feet as it rolled there, and blood rushed forth from the body and shone red on the green garments. Yet not a whit did the Green Knight falter nor fall, but started strongly forward on stiff shanks where the men were standing, and caught hold of his head and lifted it up. Then he went to his horse, seized the bridle, stepped into the saddle, and striding aloft, he held his head by the hair, and as gravely he sat in the saddle as though no evil had befallen him and he were not headless

in that stead. He swayed his trunk about,The ugly body that bled; Many of him had doubtBy the time his reasons were said.]

[stanza 20 (long)]

for þe hede in his honde he haldez vp euentoward þe derrest on þe dece he dressez þe faceand hit lyfte vp þe y3e lyddez and loked ful brodeand meled þus much with his muthe as 3e may now hereloke gawan þou be grayþe to go as þou hettezand layte as lelly til þou me lude fyndeas þou hatz hette in þis halle herande þise kny3testo þe grene chapel þou chose I charge þe to fottesuch a dunt as þou hatz dalt disserued þou habbezto be 3ederly 3olden on nw 3eres mornþe kny3t of þe grene chapel men knowen me monyforþi me for to fynde if þou fraystez faylez þou neuerþerfore com oþer recreaunt be calde þe behoueuswith a runisch rout þe raynez he tornezhalled out at þe hal dor his hed in his handeþat þe fyr of þe flynt fla3e fro fole houesto quat kyth he becom knwe non þereneuer more þen þay wyste from queþen he watz wonnen[bob]what þenne[wheel]þe kyng and gawen þareat þat grene þay la3e and grenne3et breued watz hit ful barea meruayl among þo menne

[He held up the head in his hands, and addressed him to the dearest of those on the bench, to wit, Sir Gawain; and the eyelids were lifted up and looked forth, and the lips moved and said, 'Take heed, Sir Gawain, that thou art ready to go and seek me till thou find me as thou hast promised in this hall with these knights as witnesses. To the green chapel thou shalt come to receive such a blow as thou hast given, on New Year's morning. And many know me as the Knight of the Green Chapel. Fail not, then, to seek me until thou findest me; therefore come thou, or recreant shalt thou be called.' Then roughly he turned his reins, haled out of the hall door, with his head in his hand, and the horse's hoofs struck fire from the flinty stones. No one there knew of what kith or kin he was, or whence he came.

Straightway Of the Green Knight they made light,Yet it was thought that day, A marvel, a wondrous sight,Though, laughing, they were gay.]

[stanza 21 (long)]

þa3 arþer þe hende kyng at hert hade wonderhe let no semblaunt be sene bot sayde ful hy3eto þe comlych quene wyth cortays spechedere dame to day demay yow neuerwel bycommes such craft vpon cristmasselaykyng of enterludez to la3e and to syngamong þise kynde caroles of kny3tez and ladyezneuer þe lece to my mete I may me wel dresfor I haf sen a selly I may not forsakehe glent vpon sir gawen and gaynly he saydenow sir heng vp þyn ax þat hatz innogh hewen[fol. 97]and hit watz don abof þe dece on doser to hengeþer alle men for meruayl my3t on hit lokeand bi trwe tytel þerof to telle þe wonderþenne þay bo3ed to a borde þise burnes togederþe kyng and þe gode kny3t and kene men hem seruedof alle dayntyez double as derrest my3t fallewyth alle maner of mete and mynstralcie boþewyth wele walt þay þat day til worþed an ende[bob]in londe[wheel]now þenk wel sir gawanfor woþe þat þou ne wondeþis auenture for to fraynþat þou hatz tan on honde

[Now, though Arthur the Gentle at this had great wonder, he let no semblance thereof be seen, but spake with gentle speed to the comely Queen Guinevere: 'Dear lady, let not this day's doings dismay thee at all. Such craft well becomes the Feast of Christmas; gamings and interludes and laughing and singing and carollings of knights and ladies. And now can I dress myself for meat, for a wondrous adventure have I seen.' He glanced at Sir Gawain and said, 'Now, sir, hang up thine axe; hewing enough has it done for to-day.' Then they hung it up over the daïs at the back of the high seat, that all men might look upon the marvel of it and truly tell the wonder of it. Then went these two, the king and the good knight, to the table, and brave men served them, double of all dainties, with all manner of meat and minstrelsy. In good weal they passed the day, but it came to an end, and night

was near. 'Now, Sir Gawain, be sure,Turn not away for fear From this grim adventureThat thou hast promised here.']

[fitt2: stanza 22 (long)]

this hanselle hatz arthur of auenturus on fyrstin 3onge 3er for he 3erned 3elpyng to heretha3 hym wordez were wane when þay to sete wentennow ar þay stoken of sturne werk staf ful her hondgawan watz glad to begynne þose gomnez in hallebot þa3 þe ende be heuy haf 3e no wonderfor þa3 men ben mery in mynde quen þay han mayn drynka 3ere 3ernes ful 3erne and 3eldez neuer lykeþe forme to þe fynisment foldez ful seldenforþi þis 3ol ouer3ede and þe 3ere afterand vche sesoun serlepes sued after oþerafter crystenmasse com þe crabbed lentounþat fraystez flesch wyth þe fysche and fode more symplebot þenne þe weder of þe worlde wyth wynter hit þrepezcolde clengez adoun cloudez vplyftenschyre schedez þe rayn in schowrez ful warmefallez vpon fayre flat flowrez þere schewenboþe groundez and þe greuez grene ar her wedezbryddez busken to bylde and bremlych syngenfor solace of þe softe somer þat sues þerafter[bob]bi bonk[wheel]and blossumez bolne to blowebi rawez rych and ronkþen notez noble inno3e[fol. 98r]ar herde in wod so wlonk

[Now, this was the first adventure Arthur had in the year that was young; he yearned for some great show, though no words were spoken as they went to their seats. And, moreover, they had in hand quite enough to do. Sir Gawain was full glad to begin the games in the hall: it is no wonder, though heavy be the ending, and though men be merry-minded when drinking good wine, yet the year runneth rapidly and returneth it never. Full seldom agreeth the end thereof with the beginning. The Yuletide, too quickly it passed and the year that followed it. The seasons succeeded each after the other. After Christmas came the crabbed Lenten season, when the folk eat fish and simple food. Then the weather of the world doth fight with winter. The cold doth vanish and the clouds uplift, and the rain falls upon fair fields in warm showers, and the flowers appear on the ground, and in the woodlands their garments are green. Birds are busy in building their nests, and boldly they sing because of the summer's soft solace that follows thereafter

on bank, And blossoms swell to blowIn rows rich and rank, And bird-notes sweet enowAre heard in woodlands dank.]

[stanza 23 (long)]

after þe sesoun of somer wyth þe soft wyndezquen zeferus syflez hymself on sedez and erbezwela wynne is þe wort þat waxes þeroutewhen þe donkande dewe dropez of þe leuezto bide a blysful blusch of þe bry3t sunnebot þen hy3es heruest and hardenes hym sonewarnez hym for þe wynter to wax ful rypehe dryues wyth dro3t þe dust for to rysefro þe face of þe folde to fly3e ful hy3ewroþe wynde of þe welkyn wrastelez with þe sunneþe leuez lancen fro þe lynde and ly3ten on þe groundeand al grayes þe gres þat grene watz ereþenne al rypez and rotez þat ros vpon fyrstand þus 3irnez þe 3ere in 3isterdayez monyand wynter wyndez a3ayn as þe worlde askez[bob]no sage[wheel]til me3elmas monewatz cumen wyth wynter wageþen þenkkez gawan ful soneof his anious uyage

[After the summer season of soft winds, when zephyrs are sighing over seeds and herbs, and the damp dews are dropping from the green leaves, then are they glad thereat, the living things that grow there waiting for the blissful blushing of the bright sun. Then hastens the harvest and hardens them right soon, and warns them before the coming of winter to wax full ripe. And the dust by the drought is driven about from the face of the fields, and it bloweth full high. And the fierce winds of the welkins wrestle with the sun. And the leaves of the trees fall to the ground, and grey is the grass that was green erewhile. Then all ripens and rots that grew up before. Thus quickly passeth the year in many yesterdays, and winter returneth will ye nill ye.

Surely Till moon of MichaelmasWas won with winter's surety. Then thinks Gawain, alas!Of his sorrowful journey.]

[stanza 24 (long)]

3et quyl alhalday with arþer he lengesand he made a fare on þat fest for þe frekez sakewith much reuel and ryche of þe rounde tablekny3tez ful cortays and comlych ladiesal for luf of þat lede in longynge þay werebot neuer þe lece ne þe later þay neuened bot merþemony ioylez for þat ientyle iapez þer madenfor aftter mete with mournyng he melez to his emeand spekez of his passage and pertly he saydenow lege lorde of my lyf leue I yow ask3e knowe þe cost of þis cace kepe I no moreto telle yow tenez þerof neuer bot trifelbot I am boun to þe bur barely to morneto sech þe gome of þe grene as god wyl me wysseþenne þe best of þe bur3 bo3ed togederaywan and errik and oþer ful mony[fol. 98]sir doddinanal de sauage þe duk of clarencelauncelot and lyonel and lucan þe godesir boos and sir byduer big men boþeand mony oþer menskful with mador de la portalle þis compayny of court com þe kyng nerrefor to counseyl þe kny3t with care at her hertþere watz much derue doel driuen in þe saleþat so worþe as wawan schulde wende on þat erndeto dry3e a delful dynt and dele no more[bob]wyth bronde[wheel]þe kny3t mad ay god chereand sayde quat schuld I wondeof destines derf and derewhat may mon do bot fonde

[Yet did he linger with Arthur until All Hallows Day. And on that festival Arthur made a feast for the sake of Sir Gawain, with much rich revelling of the Round Table. And full comely knights and comely ladies were in great love-longing for Sir Gawain, though they made great mirth withal. And many were jesting who yet were joyless, for that gentle knight. For after meat he sadly turned towards his uncle, and spake of his passing, and straightway he said, 'Now, my Life's Liege Lord, I ask thy leave. Thou knowest the cost of this matter, and careless am I of it, and to tell thee of it matters but a little. To-morrow I am setting out to receive back the blow, and to seek the Green Knight as God shall direct me.' Then the best of all the burgesses banded together; Avwan and Errik and many others: Sir Doddinaual de Sauage, the Duke of Clarence, Launcelot, and Lyonel and Lucan the Good; Sir Bors and Sir Bedivere, great men both of them, and many other mighty lords, with Madoc de la Port. All this company of the court came near the king to counsel the knight; and their hearts were full of care, and great was the grief that grew in the hall that so worthy a man as Gawain should go on that journey a dreadful blow to endure and deal not one in return.

'For why?' The knight made aye good cheer,'Why should I not defy Destinies strong and dear;What can man do but try?']

[stanza 25 (long)]

he dowellez þer al þat day and dressez on þe mornaskez erly hys armez and alle were þay bro3tfyrst a tule tapit ty3t ouer þe fletand miche watz þe gyld gere þat glent þeralofteþe stif mon steppez þeron and þe stel hondelezdubbed in a dublet of a dere tarsand syþen a crafty capados closed aloftþat wyth a bry3t blaunner was bounden withinneþenne set þay þe sabatounz vpon þe segge fotezhis legez lapped in stel with luflych greuezwith polaynez piched þerto policed ful cleneaboute his knez knaged wyth knotez of goldequeme quyssewes þen þat coyntlych closedhis thik þrawen þy3ez with þwonges to tachchedand syþen þe brawden bryne of bry3t stel ryngezvmbeweued þat wy3 vpon wlonk stuffeand wel bornyst brace vpon his boþe armeswith gode cowters and gay and glouez of plateand alle þe godlych gere þat hym gayn schulde[bob]þat tyde[wheel]wyth ryche cote armurehis gold sporez spend with prydegurde wyth a bront ful surewith silk sayn vmbe his syde

[He remained there that day, and dressed in the morning, and asked early for his arms, and they were all brought unto him. And first a carpet of tuly was spread on the floor, and much gold gleamed upon it. The strong man stepped forth and handled the steel, and donned a doublet of very costly Tarsian silk, and then a fair cap closed in above, and with fair fur was it bound inside. Then set they steel shoes upon the man's feet, and his legs they lapped in steel with lovely greaves and knee-pieces fastened thereunto and polished full brightly and fixed about his knees with knots of gold. Fair cuisses also cunningly covered his thighs, that were thick and brawny, and were tied with thongs. And then the woven bryny of bright steel rings enfolded the warrior over the fair stuff, and well burnished braces were upon both his arms, and good and gay elbowpieces and plated gloves, and all the goodly gear that befitted such a knight, for

that tide, With rich coat of armour,Gold spurs he fixed with pride, Girt with a sword full sure,And silk girths round his side.]

[fol. 99r]

[stanza 26 (long)]

when he watz hasped in armes his harnays watz rycheþe lest lachet ouer loupe lemed of goldeso harnayst as he watz he herknez his masseoffred and honoured at þe he3e autersyþen he comez to þe kyng and to his cort ferezlachez lufly his leue at lordez and ladyezand þay hym kyst and conueyed bikende hym to krystbi þat watz gryngolet grayth and gurde with a sadelþat glemed ful gayly with mony golde frengesayquere naylet ful nwe for þat note rychedþe brydel barred aboute with bry3t golde boundenþe apparayl of þe payttrure and of þe proude skyrtezþe cropore and þe couertor acorded wyth þe arsounezand al watz rayled on red ryche golde naylezþat al glytered and glent as glem of þe sunneþenne hentes he þe helme and hastily hit kyssesþat watz stapled stifly and stoffed wythinnehit watz hy3e on his hede hasped bihyndewyth a ly3tly vrysoun ouer þe auentayleenbrawden and bounden wyth þe best gemmezon brode sylkyn borde and bryddez on semezas papiayez paynted peruyng bitwenetortors and trulofez entayled so þykas mony burde þeraboute had ben seuen wynter[bob]in toune[wheel]þe cercle watz more o prysþat vmbeclypped hys crounof diamauntez a deuysþat boþe were bry3t and broun

[As soon as he was fully armed, his trappings were noble, and the very least latchet or loop gleamed of gold. Thus accoutred, he heard Mass sung at the High Altar. Then he came to the king and to his court comrades, and lovingly took leave of lords and ladies, and they kissed him and commended him to Christ. By that time his horse, Gringolet, was geared and girt with a saddle, that gleamed full gaily with many golden fringes everywhere newly nailed and enriched for the business he had in hand. The horse's bridle was striped across and across, and bound with bright gold. The trappings of the horse's neck and of the proud skirts, the crupper and the covering, accorded with the saddle, and were all bordered in rich red gold nails. Then he took hold of the helmet and hastily kissed it, and it was strongly stapled and stuffed within. It was high on his head, and hasped behind with a light kerchief of pleasaunce over the visor, and embroidered and bound with the best of gems on broad silken borders and with birds on the borders, such as painted parrots at their feeding, and with turtles and true-love knots intertwisted thickly, and it was as if many a maiden had been making it seven winters

In the town. The circle was most of priceThat surrounded the crown; Of diamonds a device,And both were bright and brown.]

[stanza 27 (long)]

then þay schewed hym þe schelde þat was of schyr goulezwyth þe pentangel depaynt of pure golde hwezhe braydez hit by þe bauderyk aboute þe hals kestesþat bisemed þe segge semlyly fayreand quy þe pentangel apendez to þat prynce nobleI am in tent yow to telle þof tary hyt me schuldehit is a syngne þat salamon set sumquylein bytoknyng of trawþe bi tytle þat hit habbez[fol. 99]for hit is a figure þat haldez fyue poyntezand vche lyne vmbelappez and loukez in oþerand ayquere hit is emdelez and englych hit callenoueral as I here þe endeles knotforþy hit acordez to þis kny3t and to his cler armezfor ay faythful in fyue and sere fyue syþezgawan watz for gode knawen and as golde puredvoyded of vche vylany wyth verertuez ennourned[bob]in mote[wheel]forþy þe pentangel nwehe ber in schelde and coteas tulk of tale most trweand gentylest kny3t of lote

[Then they showed him the shield of shining gules and the pentangle painted with pure golden hues. He brandished it by the belt, and about his neck he cast it, that he was seemly and fair to look upon. And I am intent to tell you, though I may weary you somewhat, why that pentangle belonged to that noble prince. It is a symbol that Solomon set up some while for betokening of truth, as its name doth show. For it is a figure that hath five points, and each line overlaps, and is locked in the other, and everywhere it is endless, and the English call it, as I hear, the endless knot. Therefore was it befitting this knight and his clean armour. For Sir Gawain was known as a knight both good and true and faithful in five and many times five, and pure as gold, and void of all villany was he, and adorned with virtues

in the mote, For the pentangle newHe bears in shield and coat, And is a knight most trueAnd gentle man, I wot.]

[stanza 28 (long)]

fyrst he watz funden fautlez in his fyue wyttezand efte fayled neuer þe freke in his fyue fyngresand alle his afyaunce vpon folde watz in þe fyue woundezþat cryst ka3t on þe croys as þe crede tellezand quere soeuer þys mon in melly watz stadhis þro þo3t watz in þat þur3 alle oþer þyngezþat alle his forsnes he fong at þe fyue joyezþat þe hende heuen quene had of hir chyldeat þis cause þe kny3t comlyche hadein þe inore half of his schelde hir ymage depayntedþat quen he blusched þerto his belde neuer payredþe fyft fyue þat I finde þat þe frek vsedwatz fraunchyse and fela3schyp forbe al þynghis clannes and his cortaysye croked were neuerand pite þat passez alle poyntez þyse pure fyuewere harder happed on þat haþel þen on any oþernow alle þese fyue syþez for soþe were fetled on þis kny3tand vchone halched in oþer þat non ende hadeand fyched vpon fyue poyntez þat fayld neuerne samned neuer in no syde ne sundred nouþerwithouten ende at any noke I quere fyndewhereeuer þe gomen bygan or glod to an endeþerfore on his schene schelde schapen watz þe knotryally wyth red golde vpon rede gowlez[fol. 100r]þat is þe pure pentaungel wyth þe peple called[bob]with lore[wheel]now grayþed is gawan gayand la3t his launce ry3t þoreand gef hem alle goud dayhe wende for euermore

[And first he was found faultless in his five wits. Then he failed not in his five fingers. And all his trust on earth was in the five wounds suffered by Christ on the cross, as the creeds do tell us, so that when the knight was placed in the mêlée, his thought was ever upon them above all other things. And so it was that all his strength he found in the five joys that the fair Queen of Heaven had in her child. And for this cause it was that the knight had made to be painted her image in comely fashion on the greater half of his shield, so that when he looked upon it his valour never failed him. Now the fifth five that this knight excelled in were frankness and fellowship above all others, his cleanness and courtesy never were crooked, and compassion, that surpasseth all else. These five pure virtues were fixed in this knight more firmly than in any other. And all five times were so joined in him that each one held to the other without any ending and fixed at five points, nor did they ever fail, for they were joined at no point nor sundered were they at all, nor could one find any end thereof at any corner when the games began or were gliding towards an ending. Therefore the knot was shaped on his strong shield, all with red gold upon red gules, called the pure pentangle among the people

of love. Now geared is Gawain gay,He brandished the lance he bore, And bade them all good day,And went forth evermore.]

[stanza 29 (long)]

he sperred þe sted with þe spurez and sprong on his wayso stif þat þe stonfyr stroke out þerafteral þat sey þat semly syked in hertand sayde soþly al same segges til oþercarande for þat comly bi kryst hit is scaþeþat þou leude schal be lost þat art of lyf nobleto fynde hys fere vpon folde in fayth is not eþewarloker to haf wro3t had more wyt beneand haf dy3t 3onder dere a duk to haue worþeda lowande leder of ledez in londe hym wel semezand so had better haf ben þen britned to no3thadet wyth an aluisch mon for angardez prydewho knew euer any kyng such counsel to takeas kny3tez in cauelounz on crystmasse gomnezwel much watz þe warme water þat waltered of y3enwhen þat semly syre so3t fro þo wonez[bob]þad daye[wheel]he made non abodebot wy3tly went hys waymony wylsum way he rodeþe bok as I herde say

[He spurred his steed so strongly, and sprang forward on his way, that the stones struck fire as he rode. And all that saw that gallant knight sighed in their hearts. And each man, caring much for the comely one, said the same words to his neighbour,' By Christ, it is scathe that he should be slain who is so noble of life. In faith it is not easy to find his fellow upon earth. Now, verily, to have wrought would have been wiser, or to have made yonder dear man a duke; a shining leader of men in the land he should be. This would have been better than that he should be broken to nought, and haled by an elvish man in arrogant pride. Whoever knew any king such counsel to take as knights who are cavilling at the Christmas games? 'Many were the warm tears that welled from their eyes when that seemly sire went forth from those dwellings

that day. So he made no abode,But quickly went his way; Many a desert path he rode,As I in book heard say.]

[stanza 30 (long)]

now ridez þis renk þur3 þe ryalme of logressir gauan on godez halue þa3 hym no gomen þo3toft leudlez alone he lengez on ny3tezþer he fonde no3t hym byfore þe fare þat he lykedhade he no fere bot his fole bi frythez and dounezne no gome bot god bi gate wyth to karptil þat he ne3ed ful noghe into þe norþe walezalle þe iles of anglesay on lyft half he haldezand farez ouer þe fordez by þe forlondezouer at þe holy hede til he hade eft bonkin þe wyldrenesse of wyrale wonde þer bot lyte[fol. 100]þat auþer god oþer gome wyth goud hert louiedand ay he frayned as he ferde at frekez þat he metif þay hade herde any karp of a kny3t grenein any grounde þeraboute of þe grene clapeland al nykked hym wyth nay þat neuer in her lyueþay se3e neuer no segge þat watz of suche hwez[bob]of grene[wheel]þe kny3t tok gates straungein mony a bonk vnbenehis cher ful oft con chaungeþat chapel er he my3t sene

[Now passed Sir Gawain on God's behalf through the realms of Logres, though no game he thought it; and often alone he lingered at nighttime when he sought in vain for the way that he longed for. No companion had he save his horse, nor no one but God to whom he might call by the way. And now he was nearing the north parts of Wales, with the Isle of Anglesea on the left. He fared over the fords along by the forelands. At the Holyhead Hill he had the heights behind him in the wilderness of Wirral. Few dwelt there that loved either God or man with a good heart. And ever as he fared he would ask any that he met if they had ever heard speak of the Green Knight in any part thereabouts, or of the Green Chapel. All denied with a nay that ever in their lives they had known such a knight of such a hue

of green. The way of the knight was strange;By many a hillside, I ween, His face gan oft to change,Or ever the chapel was seen.]

[stanza 31 (long)]

mony klyf he ouerclambe in contrayez straungefer floten fro his frendez fremedly he rydezat vche warþe oþer water þer þe wy3e passedhe fonde a foo hym byfore bot ferly hit wereand þat so foule and so felle þat fe3t hym byhodefo mony meruayl bi mount þer þe mon fyndezhit were to tore for to telle of þe tenþe dolesumwhyle wyth wormez he werrez and with wolues alssumwhyle wyth wodwos þat woned in þe knarrezboþe wyth bullez and berez and borez oþerquyleand etaynez þat hym anelede of þe he3e fellenade he ben du3ty and dry3e and dry3tyn had serueddouteles he hade ben ded and dreped ful oftefor werre wrathed hym not so much þat wynter was worswhen þe colde cler water fro þe cloudez schaddenand fres er hit falle my3t to þe fale erþener slayn wyth þe slete he sleped in his yrnesmo ny3tez þen innoghe in naked rokkezþer as claterande fro þe crest þe colde borne rennezand henged he3e ouer his hede in hard ysse ikklesþus in peryl and payne and plytes ful hardebi contray cayrez þis kny3t tyl krystmasse euen[bob]al one[wheel]þe kny3t wel þat tydeto mary made his moneþat ho hym red to ryde[fol. 101r]and wysse hym to sum wone

[He climbed many a cliff in strange countries, far removed from his friends in foreign parts he fared, and at each waterway that he passed over he found a foe before him, and a wonder, I trow, so terrible in appearance that to fight him he was forced; and many a marvel among the mountains he found, that it would be too tedious to tell the tenth part of what he found. He fought with dragons and wolves, and sometimes with madmen that dwelt among the rocks, and at other times with bulls and bears and boars, and with monsters that attacked him from the high mountain; and had he not been stiff and strong and serving the Lord, doubtless he had been done to death ere this. Fighting troubled him not so much, but the wintry weather was worse; when the clouds shed down upon him cold clear water, freezing ere it reached the fallow earth. Almost slain by the cold sleet, he slept in his harness, more nights than enough amidst the naked rocks where the cold burn ran by clattering from the crest, and hanging high above his head in hard icicles. Thus in perils and many a painful plight this knight wended his way until Christmas Eve

arrived. The knight that tide,To Mary he cried, To show him where to rideTill some shelter he spied.]

[stanza 32 (long)]

bi a mounte on þe morne meryly he rydesinto a forest ful dep þat ferly watz wyldehi3e hillez on vche a halue and holtwodez vnderof hore okez ful hoge a hundreth togederþe hasel and þe ha3þorne were harled al samenwith ro3e raged mosse rayled aywherewith mony bryddez vnblyþe vpon bare twygesþat pitosly þer piped for pyne of þe coldeþe gome vpon gryngolet glydez hem vnderþur3 mony misy and myre mon al hym onecarande for his costes lest he ne keuer schuldeto se þe seruy of þat syre þat on þat self ny3tof a burde watz borne oure baret to quelleand þerfore sykyng he sayde I beseche þe lordeand mary þat is myldest moder so dereof sum herber þer he3ly I my3t here masseande þy matynez to morne mekely I askand þerto prestly I pray my pater and aue[bob]and crede[wheel]he rode in his prayereand cryed for his mysdedehe sayned hym in syþes sereand sayde cros kryst me spede

[In the morning he rode merrily by a mountain, through a full deep and wondrous wild forest; high hills were on each side, and woods of huge and hoary oaks, a hundred of them together, beneath him. The hazel and the hawthorn were trailing together with rough, ragged moss spread on all sides. Sorrowful birds sang on the bare twigs and piped piteously through pain of the cold. Upon Gringolet the man glided underneath them, all alone, through mud and mire, careful of his labour, lest he should be too late to see the service of his Lord, who on that night was born of a maiden our strife to be ending. Therefore, sighing, he said, 'I beseech thee, O Lord, and Mary, our dearest and mildest mother, that ye would grant me some place of rest where I might hear the Mass and matins of this moon. Full meekly I ask it, and thereto I will say full soon my pater and ave

and creed.' He rode as he prayed,And cried for misdeed, And sign of Cross made, And said,'Christ's Cross me speed.']

[stanza 33 (long)]

nade he sayned hymself segge bot þryeer he watz war in þe wod of a won in a moteabof a launde on a lawe loken vnder bo3ezof mony borelych bole aboute bi þe dichesa castel þe comlokest þat euer kny3t a3tepyched on a prayere a park al aboutewith a pyked palays pynned ful þikþat vmbete3e mony tre mo þen two myleþat holde on þat on syde þe haþel auysedas hit schemered and schon þur3 þe schyre okezþenne hatz he hendly of his helme and he3ly he þonkezjesus and say gilyan þat gentyle ar boþe[fol. 101]þat cortaysly hade hym kydde and his cry herkenednow bone hostel coþe þe burne I beseche yow 3etteþenne gederez he to gryngolet with þe gilt helezand he ful chauncely hatz chosen to þe chef gateþat bro3t bremly þe burne to þe bryge ende[bob]in haste[wheel]þe bryge watz breme vpbraydeþe 3atez wer stoken fasteþe wallez were wel arayedhit dut no wyndez blaste

[Scarcely had he thrice signed himself with the sign of the Cross, when he was ware of a castle in the wood, on an upland or hill embosomed in the foliage of many a burly monarch of the forest. It was the comeliest castle that ever a knight possessed, in the centre of a meadow, with a park all about it. A palace beautiful, and for more than two miles encircled by trees. The knight caught sight of this palace of refuge on one side, shimmering and shining through the sheeny oaks. He gently doffed his helmet, and gave high thanks to Jesus and St. Gilyan, who had both of them gently and courteously guided his footsteps and hearkened to his crying. 'Now,' quoth the knight, 'grant me good hostel.' When putting his gilt heels to Gringolet, fully by chance he chose the right path, and full soon it brought him to the end of the drawbridge

at last. The bridge was soon upraised,The gates were shut so fast, The walls were well appraised,They feared not the wind's blast.]

[stanza 34 (long)]

þe burne bode on bonk þat on blonk houedof þe depe double dich þat drof to þe placeþe walle wod in þe water wonderly depeande eft a ful huge he3t hit haled vpon lofteof harde hewen ston vp to þe tablezenbaned vnder þe abataylment in þe best laweand syþen garytez ful gaye gered bitwenewyth mony luflych loupe þat louked ful clenea better barbican þat burne blusched vpon neuerand innermore he behelde þat halle ful hy3etowre telded bytwene trochet ful þikfayre fylyolez þat fy3ed and ferlyly longwith coroun coprounes craftyly sle3echalk whyt chymnees þer ches he inno3evpon bastel rouez þat blenked ful quyteso mony pynakle payntet watz poudred ayquereamong þe castel carnelez clambred so þikþat pared out of papure purely hit semedþe fre freke on þe fole hit fayr innghe þo3tif he my3t keuer to com þe cloyster wythinneto herber in þat hostel whyl halyday lested[bob]auinant[wheel]he calde and sone þer coma porter pure plesaunton þe wal his ernd he nomeand haylsed þe kny3t erraunt

[The knight, on horseback, stood still on the side of the deep double ditch that led to the place. The wall of the castle was wondrously deep in the water, and rose up aloft a full great height and was built of hard hewn stone right up to the corbels, which were supported under the battlements in the very best fashion, and with watchtowers full gaily geared between, and with many a clear and lovely loophole; and that knight had never seen a better barbican. He beheld the great and high hall of the castle, and its towers builded between very thick trochets; fair and wondrously big round towers were they, with carved capitals craftily fashioned; and he saw the chalk-white chimneys, not a few, above castellated roofs that shone all white. And so many painted pinnacles were there everywhere, among the castle battlements clustered so thickly, that it seemed as if they had been cut out of paper. The noble man thought it full fair as he rode forward, if by any chance he might come within the castle cloister and harbour in that hostel during that

holy day. Then came when he did call,A porter full gay, And took stand on the wall,And hailed the knight alway.]

[stanza 35 (long)]

gode sir quoþ gawan woldez þou go myn erndeto þe he3 lorde of þis hous herber to craue[fol. 102r]3e peter quoþ þe porter and purely I trowoeþat 3e be wy3e welcum to won quyle yow lykezþen 3ede þe wy3e a3ayn swyþeand folke frely hym wyth to fonge þe kny3tþay let doun þe grete dra3t and derely out 3edenand kneled doun on her knes vpon þe colde erþeto welcum þis ilk wy3 as worþy hom þo3tþay 3olden hym þe brode 3ate 3arked vp wydeand he hem raysed rekenly and rod ouer þe bryggesere seggez hym sesed by sadel quel he ly3tand syþen stabeled his stede stif men inno3ekny3tez and swyerez comen doun þennefor to bryng þis buurne wyth blys into hallequen he hef vp his helme þer hi3ed innoghefor to hent hit at his honde þe hende to seruenhis bronde and his blasoun boþe þay tokenþen haylsed he ful hendly þo haþelez vchoneand mony proud mon þer presed þat prynce to honouralle hasped in his he3 wede to halle þay hym wonnenþer fayre fyre vpon flet fersly brennedþenne þe lorde of þe lede loutez fro his chambrefor to mete wyth menske þe mon on þe florhe sayde 3e are welcum to welde as yow lykezþat here is al is yowre awen to haue at yowre wylle[bob]and welde[wheel]graunt mercy quoþ gawaynþer kryst hit yow for3eldeas frekez þat semed faynayþer oþer in armez con felde

[`Good sir,' quoth Gawain, 'wilt thou go mine errand to the high lord of this place to crave of him for me a place of refuge?' 'By St. Peter,' quoth the porter, 'yea, surely I trow thou shalt be welcome to stay as long as thou likest.' Soon after the porter came again, and with him were noble folk who had come to welcome the knight. They let down the great drawbridge, and joyfully went forth, and knelt down upon the cold earth to do honour to the same knight as it seemed worthy to them. And they swung the broad gate widely on its hinges, and he saluted them royally, and rode in over the bridge. And many a fellow held for him his saddle while he alighted, and full many strong men stabled his steed. Knights and squires then came down that they might bring him with joy into the hall. And when he doffed his helmet others enow hastened to receive it at his hand, and took from him his sword and his shield. Then saluted he full kindly each one of these noblemen, and many a proud man pressed forward to pay honour to that prince. And they led him, all clad as he was in his high weeds, into the hall, where a fair fire burned fiercely upon the hearth. Then the lord of that people came down from his chamber that he might receive honourably the knight in the hall, and he said; 'Thou art welcome to do as it liketh thee. All that thou findest here is thine own to do with it as thou willest and

to possess. 'Great thanks,' quoth Gawain.'May Christ always thee bless.' As fellows that were fain,Each the other gave press.]

[stanza 36 (long)]

gawayn gly3t on þe gome þat godly hym gretand þu3t hit a bolde burne þat þe bur3 a3tea hoge haþel for þe nonez and of hyghe eldeebrode bry3t watz his berde and al beuer hwedsturne stif on þe stryþþe on stalworth schonkezfelle face as þe fyre and fre of hys specheand wel hym semed for soþe as þe segge þu3tto lede a lortschyp in lee of leudez ful gode[fol. 102]þe lorde hym charred to a chambre and clesly cumaundezto delyuer hym a leude hym lo3ly to serueand þere were boun at his bode burnez inno3eþat bro3t hym to a bry3t boure þer beddyng watz nobleof cortynes of clene sylk wyth cler golde hemmezand couertorez ful curious with comlych panezof bry3t blaunmer aboue enbrawded bisydezrudelez rennande on ropez red golde ryngeztapitez ty3t to þe wo3e of tuly and tarsand vnder fete on þe flet of fol3ande suteþer he watz dispoyled wyth spechez of myerþeþe burn of his bruny and of his bry3t wedezryche robes ful rad renkkez hem bro3tenfor to charge and to chaunge and chose of þe bestsone as he on hent and happed þerinneþat sete on hyn semly wyth saylande skyrtezþe ver by his uisage verayly hit semedwelne3 to vche haþel alle on hweslowande and lufly alle his lymmez vnderþat a comloker kny3t neuer kryst made[bob]hem þo3t[wheel]wheþen in worlde he werehit semed as he my3tbe prynce withouten perein felde þer felle men fy3t

[Gawain glanced at the man who thus gave him good greeting, and thought him a mighty man that was master of the castle, a huge fellow for the nonce and of great age. Broad and bright was his beard, and of beaver hue, and strong and stiff was he in his stride and stalwart in shanks, and his face was fierce as fire, and of speech was he free, and well he seemed, forsooth, to our knight to hold landlordship of a free, good people. The lord of the castle led him to a clamber, and speedily commanded that a page should wait upon him loyally. And at his bidding servants enow were at hand, who straightway brought him to a bright room, where the bedding was noble, with curtains of clean silk, with bright gold hems and full curious and comely canopies and embroidered above with bright linen lawns, and the curtains ran on ropes with red gold rings. Tapestries of Tuly and Tars were hanging on the walls, and on the floors carpets of the same patterns. And then with merry speeches they took off his bryny and his gay clothing. And they brought him rich robes full readily, that he might choose the very best. And soon as he took them and was dressed therein, well did they become him. And in his flowing robes the knight seemed verily to each man there to be gay with beautiful colours. And his limbs under them were so lovely and shining that it seemed to them a comelier knight Christ never made

for sight. 'Whence was he on earth?'It seemed as though he might Be prince of peerless worth,In field where fierce men fight!]

[stanza 37 (long)]

a cheyer byfore þe chemne þer charcole brennedwatz grayþed for sir gawan grayþely with cloþezwhyssynes vpon queldepoyntes þa koynt wer boþeand þenne a mere mantyle watz on þat mon castof a broun bleeaunt enbrauded ful rycheand fayre furred wythinne with fellez of þe bestalle of ermyn in erde his hode of þe sameand he sete in þat settel semlych rycheand achaufed hym cefly and þenne his cher mendedsone watz telded vp a tapit on trestez ful fayreclad wyth a clene cloþe þat cler quyt schewedsanap and salure and syluerin sponez[fol. 103r]þe wy3e wesche at his wylle and went to his meteseggez hym serued semly inno3ewyth sere sewes and sete sesounde of þe bestdouble felde as hit fallez and fele kyn fischezsumme baken in bred summe brad on þe gledezsumme soþen summe in sewe sauered with spycesand ay sawes so sle3ez þat þe segge lykedþe freke calde hit a fest ful frely and ofteful hendely quen alle þe haþeles rehayted hym at onez[bob]as hende[wheel]þis penaunce now 3e takeand eft hit schal amendeþat mon much merþe con makefor wyn in his hed þat wende

[A chair richly embroidered, together with quaint cushions and hassocks, was placed for Sir Gawain before the chimney where a fire of charcoal was burning. And then a well-made mantle was cast upon his shoulders, and it was of brown linen and embroidered full richly and fair furred within with the finest of skins and with ermine lining, and the hood also. And thus richly arrayed, he sat in that chair, and as he warmed himself, speedily his good cheer quite returned to him. And then they set up a table on fair trestles, and they covered it with a snow-white cloth and set thereon sanat and salt-cellars and silver spoons. Then the knight gladly washed himself and went to his meat. And serving-men served him in seemly fashion, with several sorts of stews and sweets, with seasonings of the best, double fold, as was fitting, and many kinds of fish, some baked with bread, and some roasted on coals, some sodden, some stewed, and savoured with spices and, withal, with clever speeches that the knight liked well. A full noble feasting the man called it when those Athelings cheered him

as friends. 'This penance now you take,And you shall make amends.' That knight much mirth 'ganFor wine that to head wends.]

[stanza 38 (long)]

þenne watz spyed and spured vpon spare wysebi preue poyntez of þat prynce put to hymseluenþat he beknew cortaysly of þe court þat he wereþat aþel arþure þe hende haldez hym oneþat is þe ryche ryal kyng of þe rounde tableand hit watz Wawen hymself þat in þat won syttezcomen to þat krystmasse as case hym þen lympedwhen þe lorde hade lerned þat he þe leude hadeloude la3ed he þerat so lef hit hym þo3tand alle þe men in þat mote maden much joyeto apere in his presense prestly þat tymeþat alle prys and prowes and pured þewesapendes to hys persoun and praysed is euerbyfore alle men vpon molde his mensk is þe mostvch segge ful softly sayde to his ferenow schal we semlych se sle3tez of þewezand þe teccheles termes of talkyng noblewich spede is in speche vnspurd may we lernesyn we haf fonged þat fyne fader of nurturegod hatz geuen vus his grace godly for soþeþat such a gest as gawan grauntez vus to hauewhen burnez blyþe of his burþe schal sitte[bob]and synge[wheel]in menyng of manerez mere[fol. 103]þis burne now schal vus bryngI hope þat may hym hereschal lerne of luf talkyng

[Then did they, in spare fashion and privately, put questions to that princely man, and he answered them courteously that he was a knight of the court of King Arthur, that rich and royal King of the Round Table, and that to him alone he owed fealty, and that it was Sir Gawain himself sitting there, and that he was come to keep that Christmas with them as it had happened. When the lord of the castle heard that he had him in his power at last, loud laughed he thereat, so fief was it to him, and all the men in that mote made much joy to be in his presence at that very time, since prowess and purest manners were ever to be found in his person, more than in all other men upon earth, and most honourable was he. Each man softly said to his fellow, 'Now shall we, as is fitting, see modes and manners and noble talking without a blemish, and what is fair in speech unsought we shall learn, since we have here this fine father of nurture. God has given us His goodly grace forsooth, in that He granteth us to have so goodly a guest as Sir Gawain, when merry men of his breeding

shall sing. Good manners now, I trow,This knight shall be bringing; Who heareth him enowShall learn of love talking.']

[stanza 39 (long)]

bi þat þe diner watz done and þe dere vphit watz ne3 at þe niy3t ne3ed þe tymeclaplaynez to þe chapeles chosen þe gaterungen ful rychely ry3t as þay schuldento þe hersum euensong of þe hy3e tydeþe lorde loutes þerto and þe lady alsinto a comly closet coyntly ho entrezgawan glydez ful gay and gos þeder soneþe lorde laches hym by þe lappe and ledez hym to sytteand couþly hym knowez and callez hym his nomeand sayde he watz þe welcomest wy3e of þe worldeand he hym þonkked þroly and ayþer halched oþerand seten soberly samen þe seruise quyleþenne lyst þe lady to loke on þe kny3tþenne com ho of hir closet with mony cler burdezho watz þe fayrest in felle of flesche and of lyreand of compas and colour and costes of alle oþerand wener þen wenore as þe wy3e þo3the ches þur3 þe chaunsel to cheryche þat hendean oþer lady hir lad bi þe lyft hondeþat watz alder þen ho an auncian hit semedand he3ly honowred with haþelez aboutebot vnlyke on to loke þo ladyes werefor if þe 3onge watz 3ep 3ol3e watz þat oþerriche red on þat on rayled ayquererugh ronkled chekez þat oþer on rolledkerchofes of þat on wyth mony cler perlezhir brest and hir bry3t þrote bare displayedschon schyrer þen snawe þat scheder on hillezþat oþer wyth a gorger watz gered ouer þe swyrechymbled ouer hir blake chyn with mylk quyte vayleshir frount folden in sylk enfoubled ayqueretoret and treleted with tryflez aboute[fol. 104r]þat no3t watz bare of þat burde bot þe blake bro3esþe tweyne y3en and þe nase þe naked lyppezand þose were soure to se and sellyly blereda mensk lady on molde mon may hir calle[bob]for gode[wheel]hir body watz schort and þikhir buttokez bay and brodemore lykkerwys on to lykwatz þat scho hade on lode

[When dinner was done, this noble man arose, and as night time was nearing, the chaplains were making their way to the chapel. Bells rang richly, as was right, to the proper evensong of that high feast. The lord and his lady also came down to the chapel, and the lady entered quaintly into a comely closet.' Gawain glided in gaily full soon. The lord of the castle caught hold of the hem of his robe, and led him to a seat, and called him by name, and said he was of all men in the world the most welcome, and gave him great thanks, and they embraced each other, and all the time of the service they sat side by side. Then did the lady list to look on the knight. Then came she from her closet with many fair maidens. Now her skin, and eke her flesh and her countenance, were the fairest of all, as she was also in form and colour and in all other virtues, and she was fairer even than Guinevere, as it seemed to Sir Gawain. And as he looked down the chancel upon that sweet lady he saw that another lady led her by the left hand, older than she was, an ancient as it seemed and high in honour, and nobles were about her. Very unlike to look upon were those two ladies, for if the young one was fair, yellow was that other one; rose red was the young one, rose red all over, whilst the other had rough and rolling wrinkled cheeks. The young one had kerchiefs with many fair pearls displayed upon her breast and her bright throat, shining sheenier than snow that falls on the hilltops; the other had a wrap on her neck folded over her black chin in milk-white veils; her forehead was folded in silks, lumped up and adorned with trifling jewels. Nothing was bare of that lady but her black eyebrows, her two eyes, her nose, and naked lips. And a sour sight were they to see, and strangely bleared. Men might say that in her a worshipful ancient lady

was found. Her body was short and thick,Her buttocks broad and round; A comelier one to pickWas the lady she led on ground.]

[stanza 40 (long)]

when gawayn gly3t on þat gay þat graciously lokedwyth leue la3t of þe lorde he went hem a3aynesþe alder he haylses heldande ful loweþe loueloker he lappez a lyttel in armezhe kysses hir comlyly and kny3tly he melezþay kallen hym of aquoyntaunce and he hit quyk askezto be her seruant sothly if hemself lykedþay tan hym bytwene hem wyth talkyng hym ledento chambre to chemne and chefly þay askenspycez þat vnsparely men speded hom to bryngand þe wynnelych wyne þerwith vche tymeþe lorde luflych aloft lepez ful oftemynned merthe to be made vpon mony syþezhent he3ly of his hode and on a spere hengedand wayned hom to wynne þe worchip þerofþat most myrþe my3t meue þat crystenmas whyleand I schal fonde bi my fayth to fylter wyth þe bester me wont þe wedez with help of my frendezþus wyth la3ande lotez þe lorde hit tayt makezfor to glade sir gawayn with gomnez in halle[bob]þat ny3t[wheel]til þat hit watz tymeþe kyng comaundet ly3tsir gawen his leue con nymeand to his bed hym di3t

[Now when Gawain glanced towards that gay lady, who looked so graciously, he took leave of the lord and went towards the ladies. He hailed the ancient one, and inclined himself full humbly. The lovelier of the two he took a little in his arms and kissed her in comely fashion, and addressed her courteously. They returned his greeting, and right soon he asked that he might be her servant. They took him between them, and talking together they led him to his chamber and towards the chimney corner, and they straightway asked for spices, which the pages brought full speedily, and winsome wine they brought with the spices. And the lord of the castle leapt aloft full often, for he intended that they should make mirth. He took off his hood right speedily, and hung it on a spear, and bade them win the worship thereof and so make the most mirth that Christmas tide. 'And I shall try, by my faith, to contend with the best ere I come short of it by help of my friends.' Thus doth that lord make sport with laughing words, that he might gladden Sir Gawain with games in the hall

that night, Till that it was tide,That the king commanded light, Sir Gawain no more doth bide,But for bed him doth dight.]

[stanza 41 (long)]

on þe morne as vch mon mynez þat tymeþat dry3tyn for oure destyne to de3e watz bornewele waxez in vche a won in worlde for his sakeso did hit þere on þat day þur3 dayntes mony[fol. 104]boþe at mes and at mele messes ful quayntderf men vpon dece drest of þe bestþe olde auncian wyf he3est ho syttezþe lorde lufly her by lent as I trowegawan and þe gay burde togeder þay seteneuen inmyddez as þe messe metely comeand syþen þur3 al þe sale as hem best semedbi vche grome at his degre grayþely watz seruedþer watz mete þer watz myrþe þer watz much ioyeþat for to telle þerof hit me tene wereand to poynte hit 3et I pyned me parauenturebot 3et I wot þat wawen and þe wale burdesuch comfort of her compaynye ca3ten togederþur3 her dere dalyaunce of her derne wordezwyth clene cortays carp closed fro fylþeand hor play watz passande vche prynce gomen[bob]in vayres[wheel]trumpez and nakerysmuch pypyng þer repayresvche mon tented hysand þay two tented þayres

[In the morrow morn, when all men call to mind how the Lord was born to die for our destiny, joy waxed everywhere in the world for Christ's dear sake. So was it in that castle. And doughty men on the aïs served many a dainty mess at meal times. And the ancient lady sat in the highest seat on the daïs. And the lovely lord sat by her side, as I trow. Gawain and the gay lady sat together in the midst whilst the messes were served, and throughout all the hall the folk were served, each according to his rank. There was meat and mirth, and so much joy that to tell thereof were much trouble to me, yet peradventure I may take the trouble. For I know that Gawain and the gay lady had great comfort of each other's company for the dear dalliance of their whispered words, and with clean and courteous talk, free from filth. And their playing surpassed of all princes

the game. And trumpets do blare,And much sounding declaim; Each of his own took care,And they two did the same.]

[stanza 42 (long)]

much dut watz þer dryuen þat day and þat oþerand þe þryd as þro þronge in þerafterþe ioye of sayn jonez day watz gentyle to hereand watz þe last of þe layk leudez þer þo3tenþer wer gestes to go vpon þe gray morneforþy wonderly þay woke and þe wyn dronkendaunsed ful dre3ly wyth dere carolezat þe last when hit watz late þay lachen her leuevchon to wende on his way þat watz wy3e strongegawan gef hym god day þe godmon hym lachchezledes hym to his awen chambre þe hymne bysydeand þere he dra3ez hym on dry3e and derely hym þonkkezof þe wynne worschip and he hym wayued hadeas to honour his hous on þat hy3e tydeand enbelyse his bur3 with his bele chereiwysse sir quyl I leue me worþez þe better[fol. 105r]þat gawayn hatz ben my gest at goddez awen festgrant nerci sir quoþ gawayn in god fayth hit is yowrezal þe honour is your awen þe he3e kyng yow 3eldeand I am wy3e at your wylle to worch youre hestas I am halden þerto in hy3e and in lo3e[bob]bi ri3t[wheel]þe lorde fast can hym payneto holde lenger þe kny3tto hym answrez gawaynbi non way þat he my3t

[And there were many blows struck for two days, and the third day came quickly enow. And gentle was the joymaking of St. John's Day, which was to be the last day of the games, the folk were thinking. On the grey morning a tournament was to be held. And, wondering, they awoke and drank wine, and carolling they danced full doughtily. And at length, when it was late in the day, they took their leave, each strong man to wend on his way. Gawain bade them good day, and the good man of the house took him and led him to his own chamber beside the chimney-piece, and drawing him aside, thanked him dearly for the goodly worship he had given unto him in honouring his house as his guest and giving good cheer during the high feast. 'I trow,' said he, 'while I live, well worth will it be that Gawain was my guest at God's own feasting.' 'Grammercy,' said Sir Gawain, 'in good faith thine is the honour, not mine, and may the good God grant it unto thee. I am at thy service to do thy behest as it behoves me in high and low things

by right.' The Lord was then full fainLonger to hold that knight: To him answered Gawain,In no way that he might.]

[stanza 43 (long)]

then frayned þe freke ful fayre at himseluenquat derue dede had hym dryuen at þat dere tymeso kenly fro þe kyngez kourt to kayre al his oneer þe halidayez holly were halet out of tounfor soþe sir quoþ þe segge 3e sayn bot þe trawþea he3e ernde and a hasty me hade fro þo wonezfor I am sumned myselfe to sech to a placeI wot in worlde whederwarde to wende hit to fyndeI nolde bot if I hit negh my3t on nw 3eres mornefor alle þe londe inwyth logres so me oure lorde helpforþy sir þis enquest I require yow hereþat 3e me telle with trawþe if euer 3e tale herdeof þe grene chapel quere hit on grounde stondezand of þe kny3t þat hit kepes of colour of greneþer watz stabled bi statut a steuen vus bytweneto mete þat mon at þat mere 3if I my3t lastand of þat ilk nw 3ere bot neked now wontezand I wolde loke on þat lede if god me let woldegladloker bi goddez sun þen any god weldeforþi iwysse bi 3owre wylle wende me bihouesnaf I now to busy bot bare þre dayezand me als fayn to falle feye as fayly of myyn erndeþenne la3ande quoþ þe lorde now leng þe byhouesfor I schal teche yow to þa terme bi þe tymez endeþe grene chapayle vpon grounde greue yow no morebot 3e schal be in yowre bed burne at þyn esequyle forth dayez and ferk on þe fyrst of þe 3ere[fol. 105]and cum to þat merk at mydmorn to make quat yow likez[bob]in spenne[wheel]dowellez whyle new 3eres dayeand rys and raykez þennemon schal yow sette in wayehit is not two myle henne

[Then sought the lord of the castle to know full surely what doughty deed he had in hand at that dear season of the year, that he came forth so keenly to journey all alone from the court of the great King Arthur before the holly of Christmas was taken down in the city. ' Forsooth,' said the man, 'thou sayest well. A high and hasty errand it was that had me forth from the court. I am summoned forth to seek out a certain place, and I know not whither to wend to find it. And for all the land of Logres, so help me our Lord, I would not fail to find it by New Year's morning. Therefore I make this request of thee here that thou wilt truly tell me if ever thou hast heard tell where standeth the Green Chapel and the Green Knight that doth keep it. By statute there was made a covenant between us that if I might be still in the land of the living, I should meet him on that day at the Green Chapel. And it now wanteth but a little of that New Year, and I would more fain and gladlier look upon that man if God will than possess any good in all the world. By your leave, therefore, it behaves me to wend thither, as I have now for the business but barely three days. As fain would I fall dead as fail of my errand.' Then the lord laughing said, 'It behoves thee rather to linger here. For by the end of the time, I will show thee the way. Grieve thyself no more about the Green Chapel. For at least four days thou shalt be at ease in thy bedchamber. Then on the first of the New Year thou shalt ride forth towards that chapel in the morning and do as thou wilt.

Meanwhile, Rest here till New Year's day,Then rise up without guile, Men shall set thee in the way --It is not hence two mile.']

[stanza 44 (long)]

þenne watz gawan ful glad and gomenly he la3ednow I þonk yow þryuandely þur3 alle oþer þyngenow acheued is my chaunce I schal at your wylledowelle and ellez do quat 3e demenþenne sesed hym þe syre and set hym bysydelet þe ladiez be fette to lyke hem þe betterþer watz seme solace by hemself stilleþe lorde let for luf lotez so myryas wy3 þat wolde of his wyte ne wyst quat he my3tþenne he carped to þe kny3t criande loude3e han demed to do þe dede þat I biddewyl 3e halde þis hes here at þys onez3e sir for soþe sayd þe segge trwewhyl I byde in 3owre bor3e be bayn to 3owe hestfor 3e haf trauayled quoþ þe tulk towen fro ferreand syþen waked me wyth 3e arn not wel warystnauþer of sostnaunce ne of slepe soþly I knowe3e schal lenge in your lofte and ly3e in your eseto morn quyle þe messequyle and to mete wendewhen 3e wyl wyth my wyf þat wyth yow schal sitteand comfort yow with compayny til I to cort torne[bob]3e lende[wheel]and I schal erly ryseon huntyng wyl I wendegauayn grantez alle þysehym heldande as þe hende

[Then was Gawain right glad, and in gamesome mood he laughed and said, 'Now for this above all else I thank thee right heartily. Achieved will be my chance. I will dwell here meanwhile as thou wilt, and do as thou dost deem well.' Then the lord took him and set him at his side, and caused the ladies to be brought, so that they might be better pleased, though they had seemly solace in each other. And for love the lord spake many merry words, as though he scarce knew what he would say. Then he cried aloud and spake to the knight, 'Thou hast promised to do what I shall tell thee. Wilt thou do this behest that I bid thee at this time?' 'Yea sir, forsooth will I,' said the true man. 'While I bide in thy castle I am bound by thy behests.' 'Thou hast come,' quoth the lord, 'from a far country, and hast passed much waiting time with me, and hast gone short of sustenance and of sleep. I know it, forsooth. Thou shalt linger in thy sleeping-chamber at tine ease to-morrow morn, during the time of the Mass; then shalt thou wend to thy meat with my wife, and shalt sit at her side and comfort thee with her company till I return to the courtyard of the castle

at the end. For I shall early riseAnd a-hunting I shall wend.' Gawain takes his advice,Bowing courtly to his friend.]

[stanza 45 (long)]

3et firre quoþ þe freke a forwarde we makequat soeuer I wynne in þe wod hit worþez to yourezand quat chek so 3e acheue chaunge me þerforneswete swap we so sware with trawþequeþer leude so lymp lere oþer betterbi god quoþ gawayn þe gode I grant þertylle[fol. 106r]and þat yow lyst for to layke lef hit me þynkeswho bryngez vus þis beuerage þis bargayn is makedso sayde þe lorde of þat lede þay la3ed vchoneþay dronken and daylyeden and dalten vnty3telþise lordez and ladyez quyle þat hem lykedand syþen with frenkysch fare and fele fayre lotezþay stoden and stemed and stylly spekenkysten ful comlyly and ka3ten her leuewith mony leude ful ly3t and lemande torchesvche burne to his bed watz bro3t at þe laste[bob]ful softe[wheel]to bed 3et er þay 3ederecorded couenauntez ofteþe olde lorde of þat leudecowþe wel halde layk alofte

[`But further,' quoth that lord, 'we will make a covenant that what I win in the woodlands thine it shall be, and whatsoever fortune thou shalt achieve here shall be given by thee to me in exchange for my gift to thee. Swear soothly that we will make this exchange between us, whether hap be loss or gain to us.' 'By God,' quoth Sir Gawain, 'I grant thee thy word, and fief it is to me that thou dost list to make sport.' 'Let some one bring us wine,' said the lord of the castle, 'for now this bargain is made between us'; and they both of them laughed and drank deep, and the lords and the ladies held dalliance together until night came. Then with many strange doings and fair words not a few, they stood still and spake softly, and kissed in comely fashion, and took their leave. And each was brought to his bed attended by many a page and by flaming torches

full soft. To bed, ere they go out,They recorded covenant oft. The old lord of that routCould well hold sport aloft.]

[fitt3: stanza 46 (long)]

ful erly bifore þe day þe folk vprysengestes þat go wolde hor gromez þay caldenand þay busken vp bilyue blonkkez to sadeltyffen he takles trussen her malesrichen hem þe rychest to ryde alle araydelepen vp ly3tly lachen her brydelesvche wy3e on his way þer hym wel lykedþe leue lorde of þe londe watz not þe lastarayed for þe rydyng with renkkez ful monyete a sop hastyly when he hade herde massewith bugle to bent felde he buskez bylyueby þat þat any dayly3t lemed vpon erþehe with his haþeles on hy3e horsses werenþenne þise cacheres þat couþe cowpled hor houndezvnclosed þe kenel dore and calde hem þerouteblwe bygly in buglez þre bare motebraches bayed þerfore and breme noyse makedand þay chastysed and charred on chasyng þat wenta hundreth of hunteres as I haf herde telle[bob]of þe best[wheel]to trystors vewters 3odcouples huntes of kest[fol. 106]þer ros for blastez godegret rurd in þat forest

[Full early before daybreak the folk that would go a-hunting rose up and called their grooms, and stirred them up to saddle the horses, gear up the trappings, and pack the bags, and dress them in noble array for riding. Then they leaped up lightly and seized the bridles, and each went the way he liked best. And the beloved lord of that land was not the last to appear. He was arrayed for riding with many a rider. And having heard the Mass he ate a sop hastily, and full readily he went forth to the bent field with bugle, before any daylight shone on the world. The lord and his nobles were upon high-stepping steeds. Then the cunning huntsmen coupled the hounds, opened the kennel-doors, and called them out, and blew three bold, clear notes on the bugles. At this there was a baying and a very great barking, and the huntsmen turned and whipped up the dogs. A hundred hunters of the best, as I have heard

the word. To the trystings the trackers go,The hounds the hunters stirred; Because of the blasts they blowGreat noise in the forest is heard.]

[stanza 47 (long)]

at þe fyrst quethe of þe quest quaked þe wyldeder drof in þe dale doted for dredehi3ed to þe hy3e bot heterly þay wererestayed with þe stablye þat stoutly ascryedþay let þe herttez haf þe gate with þe hy3e hedesþe breme bukkez also with hor brode paumezfor þe fre lorde hade defende in fermysoun tymeþat þer schulde no mon meue to þe male dereþe hindez were halden in with hay and warþe does dryuen with gret dyn to þe depe sladezþer my3t mon se as þay slypte slentyng of arwesat vche wende vnder wande wapped a floneþat bigly bote on þe broun with ful brode hedezwhat þay brayen and bleden bi bonkkez þay de3enand ay rachches in a res radly hem fol3eshunterez wyth hy3e horne hasted hem afterwyth such a crakkande kry as klyffes haden brustenwhat wylde so atwaped wy3es þat schottenwatz al toraced and rent at þe resaytbi þay were tened at þe hy3e and taysed to þe wattrezþe ledez were so lerned at þe lo3e trysteresand þe grehoundez so grete þat geten hem bylyueand hem tofylched as fast as frekez my3t loke[bob]þer ry3t[wheel]þe lorde for blys abloyful oft con launce and ly3tand drof þat day wyth joythus to þe derk ny3t

[The first cry of the quest the quarry trembled with fear. The deer were driven in the dale, doting for dread. Then they hastened to the high lands, but hotly they were stopped at the trystings, where was great shouting. Harts with their high heads were let pass, and the bold bucks with their broad antlers. For the noble lord had forbidden that in the close season any man should molest the male deer. The hinds, however, were held back with a Hi! and a cry, and the does with great din were harried to the deep valleys, and as they stumbled there was glancing of arrows, so that each that turned under the trees an arrow pierced him like the wind, and they boldly bit into the deer with full broad heads. So with braying and bleeding by the hillsides they died; and ever the hounds readily followed with a rush as the hunters on high horses hustled them forward with crashing cries, as though the very rocks had burst asunder. The deer that escaped the shooting of the shooters were all of them run down and pierced by the men on foot. They were harried at the high places and harassed at the water-ways, for the huntsmen were such old hands at the low trysting-places and the greyhounds so strong that got at them that they seized them as quickly as a man might glance

aside. The glad lord shouts 'abloy!'Full oft 'gan fall and ride, And hunts that day with joyUntil the dark night tide.]

[stanza 48 (long)]

þus laykez þis lorde by lynde wodez euezand gawayn þe god mon in gay bed lygezlurkkez quyl þe dayly3t lemed on þe wowesvnder couertour ful clere cortyned abouteand as in slomeryng he slode sle3ly he herdea littel dyn at his dor and derfly vponand he heuez vp his hed out of þe cloþes [fol. 107r]a corner of þe cortyn he ca3t vp a lytteland waytez warly þiderwarde quat hit be my3thit watz þe ladi loflyest to beholdeþat dro3 þe dor after hir ful dernly and stylleand bo3ed towarde þe bed and þe burne schamedand layde hym doun lystyly and let as he slepteand ho stepped stilly and stel to his beddekest vp þe cortyn and creped withinneand set hir ful softly on þe bed sydeand lenged þere selly longe to loke quen he wakenedþe lede lay lurked a ful longe quylecompast in his concience to quat þat cace my3tmeue oþer amount to meruayle hym þo3tbot 3et he sayde in hymself more semly hit wereto aspye wyth my spelle in space quat ho woldeþen he wakenede and wroth and to hir warde tornedand vnlouked his y3e lyddez and let as hym wonderedand sayned hym as bi his sa3e þe sauer to worthe[bob]with hande[wheel]wyth chynne and cheke ful sweteboþe quit and red in blandeful lufly con ho letewyth lyppez smal la3ande

[Thus did the lord make sport by the borders of the lind wood whilst Gawain the good lay in bed at his ease until daylight fell athwart the walls. As he dozed there under full white canopies curtained about, he suddenly heard a slight noise at the door. He lifted up his head from under the clothes, and caught up a little the cover of the curtain, and looked warily thitherwards if he might find out what it was. And he saw the lady, the loveliest to behold, and she drew the door after her darkly and softly, and came towards the bed. Sir Gawain was covered with shame, and quickly laid himself down and made as though he were sleeping. And stepping softly, she stole to his bedside, cast up the curtain and stepped within it, and sat down on the side of the bed, and lingered there, wondrous long, watching for him to waken. The man lay hiding there a full long time, troubled in his conscience as to the meaning of this, for a marvel it seemed. Yet he said to himself, 'More fitting it would be to speak to her and find out what she would.' Then he started up and turned towards her, and slowly opened his eyelids and looked wonderingly upon her, and crossed himself for greater safety that he might speak

full true. With chin and cheek full sweet,Both white and red of hue, Lovingly 'gan she greet,Her small lips laughing too.]

[stanza 49 (long)]

god moroun sir gawayn sayde þat fayr lady3e ar a sleper vnsly3e þat mon may slyde hidernow ar 3e tan astyt bot true vus may schapeI schal bynde yow in your bedde þat be 3e traystal la3ande þe lady lanced þo bourdezgoud moroun gay quoþ gawayn þe blyþeme schal worþe at þourr wille and þat me wel lykezfor I 3elde me 3ederly and 3e3e after graceand þat is þe best he my dome for me byhouez nedeand þus he bourded a3ayn with mony a blyþe la3terbot wolde 3e lady louely þen leue me granteand deprece your prysoun and pray hym to ryseI wolde bo3e of þis bed and busk me betterI schulde keuer þe more comfort to karp yow wyth[fol. 107]nay for soþe beau sir sayd þat swete3e schal not rise of your bedde I rych yow betterI schal happe yow here þat oþer half alsand syþen karp wyth my kny3t þat I ka3t hauefor I wene wel iwysse sir Wowen 3e areþat alle þe worlde worchipez quere so 3e rideyour honour your hendelayk is hendely praysedwith lordez wyth ladyes with alle þat lyf bereand now 3e ar here iwysse and we bot oure onemy lorde and his ledez ar on lenþe farenoþer burnez in her bedde and my burdez alsþe dor drawen and dit with a derf haspeand syþen I haue in þis hous hym þat al lykezI schal ware my whyle wel quyl hit lastez[bob]with tale[wheel]3e ar welcum to my corsyowre awen won to waleme behouez of fyne forceyour seruaunt be and schale

[`Good morrow, Sir Gawain,' said the lady fair, 'full carelessly thou sleepest that one can thus creep into thy chamber. Now art thou taken unawares, and I shall bind thee in thy bed, of that be thou well assured.' Thus laughingly the lady uttered forth her jestings. 'And,' quoth Sir Gawain, 'Good morrow, gay lady; it will be well pleasing to me to be at thy service, and I yield myself thereto, and desire thy favour as must needs be.' Thus did he dally with her with full glad laughter. 'But wouldst thou, lovely lady, be so good as grant me leave to rise and thus to set free thy captive? for I would fain rise from this bed and put on my robes, so should I talk with thee with greater comfort.' 'Nay, for sooth, good sir,' said that sweet one.' Thou shalt not rise from thy bed. I will give thee better counsel. I will cover thee up in thy bed and hold converse with my knight, whom I have taken prisoner, for I wis that thou art Sir Gawain, whom all the world doth worship wheresoever thou dost ride forth. Thy worth and thy courtesy are praised alike by lords and ladies and by all living. And now thou art here with me alone. My lord and his people are gone far away, and the other men are in bed asleep, and also my maids. The door is fast closed and secured by a strong bolt. So, since I have in this castle the man whom all love, no time will I be losing while it doth last,

In address. Of me have thy will,For thou shalt me possess. Thy servant I am still,As is fitting, I confess.']

[stanza 50 (long)]

in god fayth quoþ gawayn gayn hit me þynkkezþa3 I be not now he þat 3e of spekento reche to such reuerence as 3e reherce hereI am wy3e vnworþy I wot wel myseluenbi god I were glad and yow god þo3tat sa3e oþer at seruyce þat I sette my3tto þe plesaunce of your prys hit were a pure ioyein god fayth sir gawayn quoþ þe gay ladyþe prys and þe prowes þat plesez al oþerif I hit lakked oþer set at ly3t hit were littel dayntebot hit ar ladyes inno3e þat leuer wer nowþehaf þe hende in hor holde as I þe habbe hereto daly with derely your daynte wordezkeuer hem comfort and colen her carezþen much of þe garysoun oþer golde þat þat þay hauenbot I loyue þat ilk lorde þat þe lyfte haldezI haf hit holly in my honde þat al desyres[bob]þur3e grace[wheel]scho made hym so gret chere[fol. 108r]þat watz so fayr of faceþe kny3t with speches skereaswared to vche a cace

[`In good faith,' quoth Gawain, 'I think it would be gain for me were I not he of whom thou speakest, for to attain such worship as thou dost offer me herewith I wot well I am unworthy. By God, I should be glad, if it seemed good unto thee, to do thee service or pleasaunce in word or deed, and a pure joy it would be unto me.' 'By my faith, Sir Gawain,' quoth the gay lady, 'if I held lightly the price and the prowess that pleaseth all others, it would be but a little dainty. There are ladies enow that would be liefer to hold thee happily in their power as I have thee, and in dear dalliance to hear thee speak dainty words and thereby gain comfort and rid them of care, than all the guerdon or gold that they possess. And as I love the Lord who holdeth up heaven aloft, I have in my hands that which all desire

through grace.' She made him so great cheer,That was so fair of face, With speeches pure, that peerAnswered in each case.]

[stanza 51 (long)]

madame quoþ þe myry mon mary yow 3eldefor I haf founden in god fayth yowre fraunchis nobeleand oþer ful much of oþer folk fongen hor dedezbot þe daynte þat þay delen for my disert nysenhit is þe worchyp of yourself þat no3t bot wel connezbi mary quoþ þe menskful me þynk hit an oþerfor were I worth al þe wone of wymmen alyueand al þe wele of þe worlde were in my hondeand I schulde chepen and chose to cheue me a lordefor þe costes þat I haf knowen vpon þe kny3t hereof bewte and debonerte and blyþe semblauntand þat I haf er herkkened and halde hit here trweeþer schulde no freke vpon folde bifore yow be choseniwysse worþy quoþ þe wy3e 3e haf waled wel betterbot I am proude of þe prys þat 3e put on meand soberly your seruaunt my souerayn I holde yowand yowre kny3t I becom and kryst yow for3eldeþus þay meled of muchquat til mydmorn pasteand ay þe lady let lyk a hym loued mychþe freke ferde with defence and feted ful fayreþa3 I were burde bry3test þe burde in mynde hadeþe lasse luf in his lode for lur þat he so3t[bob]boute hone[wheel]þe dunte þat sclulde hym deueand nedez hit most be doneþe lady þenn spek of leuehe granted hir ful sone

[`Madam,' quoth the merry man, ' may Mary bless thee! I have found thee, in good faith, noble and frank. Full many others did me courtesy, and the dainty that they dealt me was foolishness; but thy worship is that of one who knoweth nothing but good.' 'By Mary,' quoth the lady, 'I think otherwise, for were I worth all the wealth of women on earth, and all the wealth of the world were in my hand, were I to bargain and choose and take captive a lord, then no fellow on earth before thee would I choose, because of thy courtesy and beauty and good manners, and thy blitheness of mien, and because of what I have heard from thee and hold for the truth.' 'Well I wot,' quoth Gawain, 'thou hast chosen a better man than I am, yet am I proud of the price thou puttest upon me, and soberly as thy servant I hold thee as my sovereign, and thy knight I become, and may Christ requite thee.' Thus did they talk of many things till the midnoon was past. The lady seemed to be pleased therewith, and to love him. And Sir Gawain bore himself bravely. Yet the knight had in mind that though she were the fairest of ladies, there must be no love-making for him because of the loss that he was seeking

eftsoon. The blow he must abide,And it must needs be done; The lady turned aside;He grants her leave full soon.]

[stanza 52 (long)]

þenne ho gef hym god day and wyth a glent la3edand as ho stod ho stonyed hym wyth ful stor wordeznow he þat spedez vche spech þis disport 3elde yowbot þat 3e be gawan hit gotz in myndequerfore quoþ þe freke and freschly he askezferde lest he hade fayled in fourme of his castesbot þe burde hym blessed and bi þis skyl sayde[fol. 108]so god as gawayn gaynly is haldenand cortaysye is closed so clene in hymseluencouth not ly3tly haf lenged so long wyth a ladybot he had craued a cosse bi his courtaysyebi sum towch of summe tryfle at sum talez endeþen quoþ wowen iwysse worþe as yow lykezI schal kysse at your comaundement as a kny3t fallezand fire lest he displese yow fo plede hit no moreho comes nerre with þat and cachez hym in armezloutez luflych adoun and þe leude kyssezþay comly bykennen to kryst ayþer oþerho dos hir forth at þe dore withouten dyn moreand he ryches hym to ryse and rapes hym soneclepes to his chamberlayn choses his wedebo3ez forth quen he watz boun blyþely to masseand þenne he meued to his mete þat menskly hym kepedand made myry al day til þe mone rysed[bob]with game[wheel]with neuer freke fayrer fongebitwene two so dyngne dameþe alder and þe 3ongemuch solace set þay same

[Then she gave him good-day with a laughing glance, and standing there she caused him to wonder at the strength of her words. 'Now, he that speedeth all speech, yield us this sport, but I have it in my mind that thou art not Sir Gawain.' 'Wherefore?' quoth Sir Gawain, and afresh he asked her questions, fearing lest he had failed in his bearing and manners. But the lady blessed him, and gave her reason. 'Since Gawain is fitly held to be so gallant and courteous, he could not so long have lingered lightly with a lady without craving a kiss for courtesy's sake and some little trifle at the end of his dalliance.' Then said Gawain, 'Let it be as thou dost wish. I will kiss if thou dost command, as befits a knight who fears to displease thee, so let there be an end to thy pleading.' With that she came near to him and caught him in her arms and bent down gracefully and kissed the knight, and they commended each other to Christ. Then she went out at the door without noise. Sir Gawain rose up readily, and making haste, called to his chamberlain and chose his dresses; and as soon as he was dressed went forth gaily to Mass, and then to meat, which had been courteously kept for him, and made merry till the moon rose,

all day. No man did e'er make jestWith ladies so worthy and gay; Much pleasure they confessedThey had of him that day.]

[stanza 53 (long)]

and ay þe lorde of þe londe is lent on his gamnezto hunt in holtez and heþe at hyndez baraynesuch a sowme he þer slowe bi þat þe sunne heldetof dos and of oþer dere to deme were wonderþenne fersly þay flokked in folk at þe lasteand quykly of þe quelled dere a querre þay makedþe best bo3ed þerto with burnez innoghegedered þe grattest of gres þat þer wereand didden hem derely vndo as þe dede askezserched hem at þe asay summe þat þer weretwo fyngeres þay fonde of þe fowlest of allesyþen þay slyt þe slot sesed þe erberschaued wyth a scharp knyf and þe schyre knittensyþen rytte þay þe foure lymmes and rent of þe hydeþen brek þay þe bale þe balez out token[fol. 109r]lystily for laucyng and lere of þe knotþay gryped to þe gargulun and grayþely departedþe wesaunt fro þe wynt hole and walt out þe guttezþen scher þay out þe schulderez with her scharp knyuezhaled hem by a lyttel hole to haue hole sydessiþen britned þay þe brest and brayden hit in twynneand eft at þe gargulun bigynez on þenneryuez hit vp radly ry3t to þe by3tvoydez out þe avanters and verayly þerafteralle þe rymez by þe rybbez radly þay lancefo ryde þay of by resoun bi þe rygge bonezeuenden to þe haunche þat henged alle samenand heuen hit vp al hole and hwen hit of þereand þat þay neme for þe noumbles bi nome as I trowe[bob]bi kynde[wheel]bi þe by3t al of þe þy3esþe lappez þay lance bihyndeto hewe hit in two þay hy3esbi þe bakbon to vnbynde

[And ever the lord of the land was busy with his sporting, hunting in bolt and heath after the barren hinds, and by the setting of the sun there had been such a slaughter of does and of deer as was a wonder to behold. Then at last quickly flocked the folk together and fiercely made a quarry of the dead deer. And the noblest set to work with men enough; and, as is the custom, they cut up the quarry, and some of them burst open the breast, cutting the jointures with a sharp knife. Then they rent the limbs and the hide and took out the bowels, having lustily lanced it, dividing it deftly, and with their sharp knives sheared off the shoulders, haling them out by a little hole that the whole sides might be preserved. Then they broke the breast into two halves, and right quickly cut up the nombles, and it was riven right up to the forks, and they readily lanced all the rib membranes and freed them from the backbone, all evenly to the haunch, and heaved up the part that is called the nombles

by kind. By the fork of the thighs,The laps they lance behind; To hew it in two devise,By the backbone to unbind.]

[stanza 54 (long)]

boþe þe hede and þe hals þay hwen of þenneand syþen sunder þay þe sydez swyft fro þe chyneand þe corbeles fee þay kest in a greueþenn þurled þay ayþer þik side þur3 bi þe rybbeand henged þenne aþer bi ho3ez of þe fourchezvche freke for his fee as fallez for to hauevpon a felle of þe fayre best fede þay þayr houndeswyth þe lyuer and þe ly3tez þe leþer of þe paunchezand bred baþed in blod blende þeramongezbaldely þay blw prys bayed þayr rachchezsyþen fonge þay her flesche folden to homestrakande ful stoutly mony stif motezbi þat þe dayly3t watz done þe douthe watz al woneninto þe comly castel þer þe kny3t bidez[bob]ful stille[wheel]wyth blys and bry3t fyr betteþe lorde is comen þertyllewhen gawayn wyth hym metteþer watz bot wele at wylle

[Then they hacked off both head and neck, and severed deftly the sides from the chine, and flung the fee of the crows into a grove hard by. Then they pierced both sides through at the ribs, and hung them by the houghs of the haunches. And each man took his share that fell to him, and they fed the hounds on the skins, and with the liver and the lights and the leathern paunches, with bread dipped in blood. Boldly they blew the horns, and the hounds bayed. Then having packed up the flesh they went homewards, blowing full strongly many bugle notes, so that by the time daylight had faded, home came the doughty men, to the comely castle where Sir Gawain was biding,

full still. Brightly the fire doth burn.He greeteth with a will The lord at his return;With joy each one did thrill.]

[fol. 109v: stanza 55 (long)]

thenne comaunded þe lorde in þat sale to samen alle þe menyboþe þe ladyes on loghe to ly3t with her burdesbifore alle þe folk on þe flette frekez he beddezverayly his venysoun to fech hym byforneand al godly in gomen gaway he calledtechez hym to þe tayles of ful tayt bestesschewez hym þe schyree grece schorne vpon rybbeshow payez yow þis play haf I prys wonnenhaue I þryuandely þonk þur3 my craft serued3e iwysse quoþ þat oþer wy3e here is wayth fayrestþat I sey þis seuen 3ere in sesoun of wynterand al I gif yow gawayn quoþ þe gome þennefor by acorde of couenaunt 3e craue hit as your awenþis is soth quoþ þe segge I say yow þat ilkeand I haf worthyly þis wonez wythinneiwysse with as god wylle hit worþez to 3ourezhe hasppez his fayre hals his armez wythinneand kysses hym as comlyly as ho couþe awysetas yow þere my cheuicaunce I cheued no moreI wowche hit saf fynly þa3 feler hit werehit is god quoþ þe godmon grant mercy þerforehit may be such hit is þe better and 3e me breue woldewhere 3e wan þis ilk wele bi wytte of horseleunþat watz not forward quoþ he frayst me no morefor 3e haf tan þat yow tydez trawe 3e non oþer[bob]3e mowe[wheel]þay la3ed and made hem blyþewyth lotez þat were to loweto soper þay 3ede asswyþewyth dayntes nwe innowe

[Then the lord of the castle commanded the household to be marshalled, and the ladies to descend with their maidens, and the men in the hall to bring the spoils of the chase and spread them out before them. And Gawain, who was goodly in games, he called and showed him the tails of full fierce beasts, and the shining grease shorn from the ribs. 'How pay you this sporting?' quoth he, 'have I won the prize? Have I deserved hearty thanks because of my craft in hunting?' 'Yea, I trow,' cried Sir Gawain; 'here is the fairest venison I have seen for seven winters.' 'All this I give to thee, Sir Gawain,' quoth that other; 'according to our covenant it is thine own.' 'That is soothly said,' quoth Gawain, 'and that which I have won within this castle, I trow it is thine with my good will.' Then he clasps the fair neck of the lord in his arms and kisses him in comely fashion, 'Take thou thus what I have achieved; there is nothing else, or I would vouchsafe it to thee though it had been much greater.' 'Good it is,' said the good man, 'I say thee grammercy therefore. Now tell me boldly how thou didst win this wealth -- was it by thine own wit?' 'Nay,' quoth Gawain, 'that was not in our covenant; try me no further. I have given thee that which betides thee. Thou shouldst ask no more,

I trow.' They laugh and blithely talkWith words soft and low, Soon to supper they walk,To dainties new enow.]

[stanza 56 (long)]

and syþen by þe chymne in chamber þay setenwy3ez þe walle wyn we3ed to hem oftand efte in her bourdyng þay bayþen in þe mornto fylle þe same forwardez þat þay byfore madenþat chaunce so bytydez hor cheuysaunce to chaungewhat nwez so þay nome at na3t quen þay mettenþay acorded of þe couenauntez byfore þe court alle [fol. 110r]þe beuerage watz bro3t forth in bourde at þat tymeþenne þay louelych le3ten leue at þe lastvche burne to his bedde busked bylyuebi þat þe coke hade crowez and cakled bot þryseþe lorde watz lopen of his bedde þe leudez vchoneso þat þe mete and þe masse watz metely delyueredþe douthe dressed to þe wod er any day sprenged[bob]to chace[wheel]he3 with hunte and hornezþur3 playnez þay passe in spacevncoupled among þo þornezrachez þat ran on race

[After supper they sat in the chimney corner, and oft were borne to them the costliest of wines, and often in their talking they agreed that on the morrow there should be the same covenant between them as before -- that whatever new chances betided them they would exchange them when they met in the evening. And they agreed to the covenant in the presence of all the household. And they drank together, pledging troth with many a good jest, and at the last took leave of each other lovingly. Each knight betook himself to his couch. Before the cackling cock had crowed three times, the lord leapt from his bed, and all the people who would go a-hunting. They went to Mass and then to meat, after which before day had dawned, they tried them to the woodlands

to the chase. With high hunt and hornsThey pass the plain apace, Uncoupled among the thornsThe hounds did race.]

[stanza 57 (long)]

sone þay calle of a quest in a ker sydeþe hunt rehayted þe houndez þat hit fyrst myngedwylde wordez hym warp wyth a wrast noyceþe howndez þat hit herde hastid þider swyþeand fellen as fast to þe fuyt fourty at onesþenne such a glauerande glam of gedered rachchezros þat þe rocherez rungen aboutehunterez hem hardened with horne and wyth mutheþen al in a semble sweyed togederbitwene a flosche in þat fryth and a foo craggein a knot bi a clyffe at þe kerre sydeþer as þe rogh rocher vnrydely watz fallenþay ferden to þe fyndyng and frekez hem afterþay vmbekesten þe knarre and þe knot boþewy3ez whyl þay wysten wel wyt inne hem hit wereþe best þat þer breued watz wyth þe blodhoundezþenne þay beten on þe buskez and bede hym vpryseand he vnsoundyly out so3t seggez ouerþwerton þe sellokest swyn swenged out þerelong sythen for þe sounder þat wi3t for oldefor he watz bor alþer grattestful grymme quen he gronyed þenne greued monyfor þre at þe fyrst þrast he þry3t to þe erþeand sparred forth good sped boute spyt moreþise oþer halowed hyghe ful hy3e and hay hay cryed[fol. 110]haden hornez to mouþe heterly rechatedmony watz þe myry mouthe of men and of houndezþat buskkez after þis bor with bost and wyth noyse[bob]to quelle[wheel]ful oft he bydez þe bayeand maymez þe mute inn mellehe hurtez of þe houndez and þayful 3omerly 3aule and 3elle

[Soon they called a quest by the side of a marsh. The hunters who first found it cheered on the hounds with words, and there was a great hallooing, and the hounds, hearing it, hastened thither quickly, forty of them at once, and fell fast to the scent. Then arose such a roaring of the gathered hounds that the rocks were ringing thereabouts. The hunters harried them with their horns, and all of the hounds swayed together between a pool in the wood, and a cliff, a rugged place it was where the rugged rock had fallen. The hounds went before and the hunters followed after. They surrounded the cliff, and with the bloodhounds marked the beast that was within. Then the hunters beat the bushes and sought to make the prey leap forth. Suddenly and fiercely he rushed athwart the huntsmen -- one of the fiercest of swine. A long time had he dwelt apart from the herd, and he was very old and tough and baleful, and one of the greatest of boars, and whenever he grunted many were fearful, for at the very first thrust he hurled three men to the earth and caused many to fall back without further hurt. And they hallooed full high, with 'Hay! hay!' and hotly blew their horns; and merry were both hounds and hunters who hastened after the boar with boastful noises.

And why? Full oft he bides the bay,The hounds he doth defy, He maims the dogs, and theyFull piteously howl and cry.]

[stanza 58 (long)]

schalkez to schote at hym schowen to þennehaled to hym of her arewez hitten hym oftbot þe poyntez payred at þe pyth þat py3t in his scheldezand þe barbez of his browe bite non woldeþa3 þe schauen schaft schyndered in pecezþe hede hypped a3ayn were so euer hit hittebot quen þe dyntez hym dered of her dry3e strokezþen braynwod for bate on burnez he rasezhurtez hem ful heterly þer he forth hy3ezand mony ar3ed þerat and on lyte dro3enbot þe lorde on a ly3t horce launces hym afteras burne bolde vpon bent his bugle he blowezhe rechated and rode þur3 ronez ful þyksuande þis wylde swyn til þe sunne schaftedþis day wyth þis ilk dede þay dryuen on þis wysewhyle oure luflych lede lys in his beddegawayn grayþely at home in gerez ful ryche[bob]of hewe[wheel]þe lady no3t for3atecom to hym to salueful erly ho watz hym atehis mode for to remwe

[Then the shooters shot their arrows at him, and often they struck him, but their points failed to pierce his hide, and the barbs would not bite his forehead. The shaven arrow-shafts shivered in pieces wheresoever they struck him. But whenever the blows at all pierced his flesh, then, maddened, he burst forth on the hunters and hurt them hotly as he tried. And many grew timid and drew back somewhat. But the lord riding on a light horse often pierced him, as boldly on the bent-field he blew his bugle, and called them back as he rode through the dense thickets, pursuing the boar till the sun shifted westwards. Thus on this day did they drive the boar, while our lovely knight lay on his bed in rich apparel,

all bright. The lady quickly triesTo greet the gentle knight, Full early doth she riseTo change him if she might.]

[stanza 59 (long)]

ho commes to þe cortyn and at þe kny3t totessir wawen her welcumed worþy on fyrstand ho hym 3eldez a3ayn ful 3erne of hir wordezsettez hir sofly by his syde and swyþely ho la3ezand wyth a luflych loke ho layde hym þyse wordezsir 3if 3e be wawen wonder me þynkkezwy3e þat is so wel wrast alway to godand connez not of compaynye þe costez vndertake[fol. 111r]and if mon kennes yow hom to knowe 3e kest hom of your myndeþou hatz for3eten 3ederly þat 3isterday I ta3ttebi alder truest token of talk þat I cowþewhat is þat quoþ þe wyghe iwysse I wot neuerif hit be sothe þat 3e breue þe blame is myn awen3et I kende yow of kyssyng quoþ þe clere þennequere so countenaunce is couþe quikly to claymeþat bicumes vche a kny3t þat cortaysy vsesdo way quoþ þat derf mon my dere þat spechefor þat durst I not do lest I deuayed wereif I were werned I were wrang iwysse 3if I proferedma fay quoþ þe mere wyf 3e may not be werned3e ar stif innoghe to constrayne wyth strenkþe 3if yow lykez3if any were so vilanous þat yow devaye wolde3e be god quoþ gawayn good is your spechebot þrete is vnþryuande in þede þer I lendeand vche gift þat is geuen not with goud wylleI am at your comaundement to kysse quen yow lykez3e may lach quen yow lyst and leue quen yow þynkkez[bob]in space[wheel]þe lady loutez adounand comlyly kysses his facemuch speche þay þer expounof druryes greme and grace

[She came towards the curtain and gazed at the knight, and Sir Gawain welcomed her courteously at first, and the lady talked with him earnestly. Then she sat at his side and laughingly with loving glances she delivered her soul, 'Sir, if thou art Sir Gawain, it is, I think, passing strange that a knight who is so well disposed to gallantry should not be well versed in the customs of good company, for even if thou dost know them, thou dost cast them forth from thy mind and hast right soon forgotten what I taught thee by my talking yesterday.' 'What may that be?' quoth the knight. 'I wot not what thou meanest. If soothly thou speakest, then truly the fault is mine own.' Then said the lady, 'Why, truly. I taught thee of kissing, and that when the face of a lady is known, thou shouldst quickly claim thy meed, and that this is becoming in a knight who uses courtesy.' Then quoth the doughty man, 'Have done, dear lady, for that I durst not do, lest I should be denied, for by thy refusal should I find out my mistake.' 'By my faith,' quoth that fair one, 'thou shalt not be denied, for thou art strong enough to constrain one if thou likest, if any were so vilIanous as to refuse thee.' 'Yea, surely,' quoth Gawain, 'good is thy speech, but to threaten a lady is deemed ungallant in the land where I live, as also are all gifts given without good will. I am at your service to kiss when thou likest. Thou mayest take it or leave it when it pleaseth thee,

in space The lady bendeth low,And comely kisses his face, Much love-talk doth flowOf love's joy and grace.]

[stanza 60 (long)]

I woled wyt at yow wy3e þat worþy þer saydeand yow wrathed not þerwyth what were þe skylleþat so 3ong and so 3epe as 3e at þis tymeso cortayse so kny3tly as 3e ar knowen outeand of alle cheualry to chose þe chef þyng alosedis þe lellayk of luf þe lettrure of armesfor to telle of þis teuelyng of þis trwe kny3tezhit is þe tytelet token and tyxt of her werkkezhow ledes for her lele luf hor lyuez han aunteredendured for her drury dulful stoundezand after wenged with her walour and voyded her careand bro3t blysse into boure with bountees hor awenand 3e ar kny3t comlokest kyd of your elde[fol. 111]your worde and your worchip walkez ayquereand I haf seten by yourself here sere twyes3et herde I neuer of your hed helde no wordezþat euer longed to luf lasse ne moreand 3e þat ar so cortays and coynt of your hetesoghe to a 3onke þynk 3ern to scheweand teche sum tokenez of trweluf crafteswhy ar 3e lewed þat alle þe los weldezoþper elles 3e demen me to dille your dalyaunce to herken[bob]for schame[wheel]I com hider sengel and sitteto lerne at yow sum gamedos techez me of your wyttewhil my lorde is fro hame

[`I would be knowing from thee,' said that dear lady, 'an you were not wroth thereat, how it cometh to pass that thou who art so young and active, so courteous and so knightly as thou art known to be, and so given to chivalry, which is the most praiseworthy of all things, and so well versed in the loyal sport of love and in the science of arms, art yet so slow in lovemaking. For of all the achievements of true knights, this of lovemaking is the chiefest, and for their leaf loves their lives they adventure, and endure doleful dintings, and have avenged them by their valour and delivered them from care, and have brought bliss into many a bower, and many a fine favour have bestowed; and yet thou, who art the comeliest knight of the age, and thy praise is spread abroad everywhere, hast had me sitting by thy side several times, and hast not spoken a single gentle word such as lovers do speak and such as belongeth to love, neither little nor great; and thou who art courteous and quaint in thy promisings oughtest eagerly to teach a young thing some tokens of true love's craft. Why art thou backward who canst boast of praises, unless it is that thou deemest me too dull to hearken to thy dalliance?

For shame Alone I come here and sitTo learn of thee some game; O teach me of thy witWhile my lord is from home.']

[stanza 61 (long)]

in goud fayþe quoþ gawayn god yow for3eldegret is þe gode gle and gomen to me hugeþat so worþy as 3e wolde wynne hidereand pyne yow with so pouer a mon as play wyth your kny3twith anyskynnez countenaunce hit keuerez me esebot to take þe toruayle to myself to trwluf expounand towche þe temez of tyxt and talez of armezto yow þat I wot wel weldez more sly3tof þat art bi þe half or a hundreth of secheas I am oþer euer schal in erde þer I leuehit were a fole felefolde my fre by my trawþeI wolde yowre wylnyng worche at my my3tas I am hy3ly bihalden and euermore wyllebe seruaunt to yourseleun so saue me dry3tynþus hym frayned þat fre and fondet hym oftefor to haf wonnen hym to wo3e what so scho þo3t ellezbot he defended hym so fayr þat no faut semedne non euel on nawþer halue nawþer þay wysten[bob]bot blysse[wheel]þay la3ed and layked longeat þe last scho con hym kyssehir leue fayre con scho fongeand went hir waye iwysse

[`In good faith,' quoth Sir Gawain, 'God give you good, great is this good glee of tine, and easeful is it to me that so worthy a lady as thou art shouldst come hither to me and trouble thyself about so poor a man, and play in anysuch fashion; but it would be, as I think, a manifold folly for me to take the trouble to expound true love, and tales of arms, to one who, as I wot well, hath more sleight in that art than a hundred men such as I am, or ever shall be, as long as I live upon earth. As far as I am able I would work thy will, as I am beholden to do, and I would evermore be thy servant as save me the good Lord.' Thus did she tempt him often to wrong-doing according to her evil thought, but so well did he defend himself that of no fault seemed he guilty, nor was there evil wrought by either of them,

but bliss. They laughed and played that day,At last she gave him kiss, And then she went her way,And took her leave, I wis.]

[stanza 62 (long)]

then ruþes hym þe renk and ryses to þe masse [fol. 112r]and siþen hor diner watz dy3t and derely seruedþe lede with þe ladyez layked alle daybot þe lorde ouer þe londez launced ful ofteswez his vncely swyn þat swyngez bi þe bonkkezand bote þe best of his brachez þe bakkez in sunderþer he bode in his bay tel bawemen hit brekenand madee hym mawgref his hed for to mwe vtterso felle flonez þer flete when þe folk gederedbot 3et þe styffest to start bi stoundez he madetil at þe last he watz so mat he my3t no more rennebot in þe hast þat he my3t he to a hole wynnezof a rasse bi a rokk þer rennez þe boernehe gete þe bonk at his bak bigynez to scrapeþe froþe femed at his mouth vnfayre bi þe wykezwhettez his whyte tuschez with hym þen irkedalle þe burnez so bolde þat hym by stodento nye hym on ferum bot ne3e hym non durst[bob]for woþe[wheel]he hade hurt so mony byforneþat al þu3t þenne ful loþebe more wyth his tusches torneþat breme watz braynwod bothe

[Then arose the knight, and betook him to Mass, after which breakfast was joyfully served, and Sir Gawain played with the lady all that day. But over the country the lord was riding following the mischievous boar by steep hillsides, and the beast bit the backs of his hounds in two. There he bode at bay till the bowmen broke in upon him and caused him to utter a cry as the arrows fell fleet upon him when the folk gathered about him. But yet he made the stoutest-hearted to start, until at the last he was so weary that he could not run any longer, but as quickly as he could he gained a hole in a hillock near a rock at the side of a brook. He set himself with his back to the hillock and began to scratch, and full loathsome was his foaming at the mouth, and about his white tusks, and all the men who stood by him were a-weary, but at some distance were they, for near him none durst

aspire. He had hurt so many beforeThat no man did desire To be torn by his tusks any more,For his brain was fiercely on fire.]

[stanza 63 (long)]

til þe kny3t com hymself kachande his blonksy3 hym byde at þe bay his burnez bysydehe ly3tes luslych adoun leuez his corsourbraydez out a bry3t bront and bigly forth strydezfoundez fast þur3 forth þer þe felle bydezþe wylde watz war of þe wy3e with weppen in hondehef hy3ly þe here so hetterly he fnastþat fele ferde for þe frekez lest felle hym þe worreþe swyn settez hym out on þe segge euenþat þe burne and þe bor were boþe vpon hepezin þe wy3test of þe water þe worre hade þat oþerfor þe mon merkkez hym wel as þay mette fyrstset sadly þe scharp in þe slot euenhit hym vp to þe hult þat þe hert schynderedand he 3arrande hym 3elde and 3edoun þe water [fol. 112][bob]ful tyt[wheel]a hundreth houndez hym hentþat bremely con hym biteburnez him bro3t to bentand doggez to dethe endite

[Then came the lord of that rout himself and reined up his steed, and saw the boar at bay beside his men. He alighted in graceful fashion, and left his courser in charge, brandished forth a glittering sword and strode along with huge strides, crossed by the fording where the fierce beast was biding, who was ware of the weapon in his hand; then he heaved highly his bristles and so hotly he breathed that many of his men went and stood before their lord, lest a worse fate should befall him. The boar made so great a rush for him that both he and the lord fell in a heap, in a place where the water rushed rapidly; but the boar had the worst of it, for the man marked him well as they met, and set his sword in the pit of the beast's stomach, even up to the hilt, so as to rive his heart; and the boar, snarling, gave up the struggle as he fell down in the water

on his knees. A hundred hounds and moreFiercely did him seize; Men brought him to the shore,And death gave him release.]

[stanza 64 (long)]

there watz blawyng of prys in mony breme hornehe3e halowing on hi3e with haþelez þat my3tbrachetes bayed þat best as bidden þe maysterezof þat chargeaunt chace þat were chef huntesþenne a wy3e þat watz wys vpon wodcraftezto vnlace þis bor lufly bigynnezfyrst he hewes of his hed and on hi3e settezand syþen rendez him al roghe bi þe rygge afterbraydez out þe boweles brennez hom on gledewith bred blent þerwith his braches rewardezsyþen he britnez out þe brawen in bry3t brode cheldezand hatz out þe hastlettez as hi3tly bisemezand 3et hem halchez al hole þe haluez togederand syþen on a stif stange stoutly hem hengesnow with þis ilk swyn þay swengen to homeþe bores hed watz borne bifore þe burnes seluenþat him forferde in þe forþe þur3 forse of his honde[bob]so stronge[wheel]til he sey sir gawaynein halle hym þo3t ful longehe calde and he com gaynhis feez þer for to fonge

[Then furious was the blast blown upon many a horn, and high hallooing on the part of the men, and the hounds bayed the beast as the masters of that dangerous chase did urge them on. Then one who was wise in woodcraft began to unlace this lovely boar. First he hewed off his head and set it on high, then he roughly rent him by the back and tore out his entrails, and burnt them on hot coals, and rewarded his hounds with bread blended therewith; then he cut out the brawn in bright broad shields, and had out the hastlets, the two halves of which, all whole, he hung upon a strong pole. Then they made for home at a swinging pace, with the boar as theirrophy, and the boar's head was borne before the knight who had fared into the ford so valiant

and strong. He saw Sir Gawain in hall,And the time it seemed full long; He came when he did callTo take what to him did belong.]

[stanza 65 (long)]

þe lorde ful lowde with lote and la3ed myrywhen he se3e sir gawayn with solace he spekezþe goude ladyez were geten and gedered þe meynyhe schewez hem þe scheldez and schapes hem þe taleof þe largesse and þe lenþe þe liþernez alseof þe were of þe wylde swyn in wod þer he fledþat oþer kny3t ful comly comended his dedezand praysed hit as gret prys þat he proued hadefor suche a brawne of a best þe bolde burne saydene such sydes of a swyn segh he neuer areþenne hondeled þay þe hoge hed þe hende mon hit praysed [fol. 113r]and let lodly þerat þe lorde for to herenow gawayn quoþ þe godmon þis gomen in your awenbi fyn forwarde and faste faythely 3e knowehit is sothe quoþ þe segge and as siker trwealle my get I schal yow gif agayn bi my trawþehe þe haþel aboute þe halse and hendely hym kyssesand eftersones of þe same he serued hym þerenow ar we euen quoþ þe haþel in þis euentideof alle þe couenauntes þat we knyt syþen I com hider[bob]bi lawe[wheel]þe lorde sayde bi saynt gile3e ar þe best þat I knowe3e ben ryche in a whylesuch chaffer and 3e drowe

[When the lord saw Sir Gawain he greeted him with loud mirth and spake words of solace to him. Then he sent for the ladies and gathered the household; he showed to them the shields of the boar, and told them of his length and breadth and height, and of the boar's fierceness, and of the fight in the wood with the wild boar. Then Sir Gawain full comely commended his deeds, and praised him at great price, and said that never before had he seen such a brawn of a beast nor such sides of a boar. Then the gentle man handled the huge head and praised it. 'Now, Gawain,' quoth this good man, 'this game is tine own, as by our fast and fair covenant it was agreed.' 'True it is,' said that other, 'all that I have gained I will give it to thee by my troth.' Then he caught the lord about the neck and gently kissed him, and eftsoons he kissed him again. 'Now are we quits,' quoth the lord, 'this eventide of all the covenants we made since I came hither.'

' I trow By St. Giles,' said the knight,'Thou art the luckiest I know, Great in gains thou art this night,And a rich man thou dost grow.']

[stanza 66 (long)]

þenne þay teldet tablez trestes aloftekesten cloþen vpon clere ly3t þennewakned bi wo3ez waxen torchesseggez sette and serued in sale al aboutemuch glam and gle glent vp þerinneaboute þe fyre vpon flet and on fele wyseat þe soper and after mony aþel songezas coundutes of krystmasse and carolez newewith al þe manerly merþe þat mon may of telleand euer oure luflych kny3t þe lady bisydesuch semblaunt to þat segge semly ho madewyth stille stollen countenaunce þat stalworth to pleseþat al forwondered watz þe wy3e and wroth with hymseluenbot he nolde not for his nurture nurne hir a3aynezbot dalt with hir al in daynte how se euer þe dede turned[bob]towrast[wheel]quen þay hade play in halleas longe as hor wylle hom lastto chambre he con hym calleand to þe chemne þay past

[Then they set up the tables, and cast cloths upon them, and the serving-men fixed flaming torches on the walls and set out the feast, and there was much mirth and glee in that hall, and many a stalwart man sang merry songs in many a wise during supper and afterwards, such as new carols of Christmas, with all sorts of good-mannered jesting that one may think of. And ever our lovely knight sat by the lady, and in seemly wise she bore herself towards him, and gentle was her bearing, that she might please so stalwart a man, so that he greatly marvelled thereat, and was wroth with himself. Yet would he not, because of his high lineage, make any return thereto, but dealt with her with care, howsoever things went.

At last, When they had played in hallAs long as their strength did last, To chamber he gave them call,And to the fireplace they passed.]

[stanza 67 (long)]

andre þer þay dronken and dalten and demed eft nweto norne on þe same note on nwe 3erez euenbot þe kny3t craued leue to kayre on þe mornfor hit watz ne3 at þe terme þat he to schulde[fol. 113]þe lorde hym letted of þat to lenge hym resteyedand sayde as I am trwe segge I siker my trawþeþou schal cheue to þe grene chapel þy charres to makeleude on nw 3erez ly3t longe bifore prymeforþy þow lye in þy loft and lach þyn eseand I schal hunt in þis holt and halde þe towchezchaunge wyth þe cheuisaunce bi þat I charre hiderfor I haf fraysted þe twys and faythful I fynde þenow þrid tyme þrowe best þenk on þe mornemake we mery quyl we may and mynne vpon joyefor þe lur may mon lach when so mon lykezþis watz grayþely graunted and gawayn is lengedbliþe bro3t watz hym drynk and þay to bedde 3eden[bob]with li3t[wheel]sir gawayn lis and slepesful stille and softe al ni3tþe lorde þat his craftez kepesful erly he watz di3t

[And there they drank each other's health and passed away the time, and the lord proffered to make the same covenant together for New Year's Eve. But the knight craved leave to depart on the morrow. For the time was drawing near when he should go. But the lord hindered him from going, and constrained him to bide a little longer, and said, 'As I am a true man, I give my troth that thou shalt arrive at the Green Chapel on New Year's morn long before prime, that thou mayest perform thine oath. Therefore rest thou in thy bed and take thine ease while I shall hunt in the woods and keep the covenant between us and exchange our gains on my return hither. For I have proved thee twice and found thee faithful, now for the third time let us think on the morrow and make merry while we may, and be mindful of joy, for loss cometh when it will.' Sir Gawain readily consented thereto, and lingered a little longer, and they drank together and went to their rest

with light. Sir Gawain lies and sleepsFull still and soft all night, The lord, that woodcraft keeps,Full early he was dight.]

[stanza 68 (long)]

after messe a morsel he and his men tokenmiray watz þe mornyng his mounture he askesalle þe haþeles þat on horse schulde helden hym afterwere boun busked on hor blonkkez biforere þe halle 3atezferly fayre watz þe folde for þe forst clengedin rede rudede vpon rak rises þe sunneand ful clere costez þe clowdes of þe welkynhunteres vnhardeled bi a holt syderocheres roungen bi rys for rurde of her hornessumme fel in þe fute þer þe fox badetraylez ofte atrayteres bi traunt of her wylesa kenet kyres þerof þe hunt on hym calleshis fela3es fallen hym to þat fnasted ful þikerunnen forth in a rabel in his ry3t fareand he fyskez hem byfore þay founden hym soneand quen þay seghe hym with sy3t þay sued hym fastwre3ande hym ful weterly with a wroth noyseand he trantes and tornayeez þur3 mony tene greuehauilounez and herkenez bi heggez ful ofte[fol. 114r]at þe last bi a littel dich he lepez ouer a spennestelez out ful stilly bi a strothe randewent haf wylt of þe wode with wylez fro þe houndesþenne watz he went er he wyst to to a wale trysterþer þre þro at a þrich þrat hym at ones[bob]al graye[wheel]he blenched a3ayn bilyueand stifly start onstraywith alle þe wo on lyueto þe wod he went away

[After the Mass the lord and his men ate a hasty meal. Merry was the morn. He asked for his horse, and all his company whose duty it was to follow him were ready on their chargers before the hall gates. Wondrous fair was the world, for the hoar frost was on the ground. Ruddy and red the sun rose among the mists, and full clear cast aside the clouds of the welkin. The hunters dispersed themselves by the side of a wood, and the rocks and the trees rang with the noise of the horns. Some of the hunters fell in with the scent where the fox was biding, and oft they tracked and tracked across in wily fashion. One of the hounds took up the cry, and the hunters called him, and the others fell thereto panting hard and close together. They ran forth in a rabble right on his track. The fox ran on in front, and they found him at length and followed hard after him, and savagely they scolded him with an angry noise. He tricked them, and made quick turns in many a rough woodland, and dodged in and out, and sometimes would pause to listen by many a hedgerow. At length he leapt over a quickset hedge by the side of a little ditch, and then stole out stealthily by a rugged path, and tried to escape the hounds. Then, ere he knew it, he came suddenly upon one of the stations, where three hounds fiercely set upon him at once.

All grey He quickly turned again,And strongly sprang astray With all the woe and painTo the wood he turned away.]

[stanza 69 (long)]

thenne watz hit lif vpon list to lyþen þe houndezwhen alle þe mute hade hym met menged togedersuche a sor3e at þat sy3t þay sette on his hedeas alle þe clamberande clyffes hade clatered on hepeshere he watz halawed when haþelez hym mettenloude he watz 3ayned with 3arande specheþer he watz þreted and ofte þef calledand ay þe titleres at his tayl þat tary he ne my3tofte he watz runnen at when he out raykedand ofte reled in a3ayn so reniarde watz wyleand 3e he lad hem bi lagmon þe lorde and his meynyon þis maner bi þe mountes quyle myd ouer vnderwhyle þe hende kny3t at home holsumly slepeswithinne þe comly cortynes on þe colde mornebot þe lady for luf let not to slepene þe purpose to payre þat py3t in hir hertbot ros hir vp radly rayked hir þederin a mery mantyle mete to þe erþeþat watz furred ful fyne with fellez wel puredno hwez goud on hir hede bot þe ha3er stonestrased aboute hir tressour be twenty in clustereshir þryuen face and hir þrote þrowen al nakedhir brest bare bifore and bihinde ekeho comez withinne þe chambre dore and closes hit hir afterwayuez vp a wyndow and on þe wy3e callezand radly þus rehayted hym with hir riche wordes[bob]with chere[wheel]a mon how may þou slepe[fol. 114]þis morning is so clerehe watz in drowping depebot þenne he con hir here

[Then truly it was fine sport to listen to the hounds when, all crowded together, they came upon him, and such curses were flung at him as though the clustering cliffs had clattered down in heaps. And as the huntsmen met him, they hallooed together with loud and snarling words. And they threatened him, and called him a thief, and ever the hounds were at his tail that he might not tarry a moment, and often as he ran on they rushed at him, and often they rolled over and over. So wily was Reynard. And oft he led them astray in this fashion over and under and amidst the mountains, while the gentle knight at home was sleeping within the comely curtains on that cold morning. But the lady could not sleep for love thinking, lest the purpose in her heart so firmly fixed should suffer harm. But she rose up quickly and ran to his chamber, dressed in a merry mantle furred and lined with the purest of skins, with no hues of gold her head adorning, but with precious stones twined about her hair in clusters of twenty. And her face and her throat were all naked, and eke her breast before and behind. She came within the chamber, and closed it after her, flung wide open the window, and called to the knight, and thus greeted him with raillery and rich words, and

with cheer. 'Ah, man, how canst thou sleep?The morning is so clear.' He was in drowsing deep,And yet her words did hear.]

[stanza 70 (long)]

in drez droupyng of dreme draueled þat nobleas mon þat watz in mornyng of mony þro þo3teshow þat destine schulde þay day his wyrdeat þe grene chapel when he þe gome metesand bihoues his buffet abide withoute debate morebot quen þat comly he keured his wyttesswenges out of þe sweuenes and swarez with hastþe lady luflych com la3ande swetefelle ouer his fayre face and fetly hym kyssedhe welcumez hir worþily with a wale cherehe sey hir so glorious and gayly atyredso fautles of hir fetures and of so fyne heweswi3t wallande joye warmed his hertwith smoþe smylyng and smolt þay smeten into merþeþat al watz blis and bonchef þat breke hem bitwene[bob]and wynne[wheel]þay lanced wordes godemuch wele þen watz þerinnegret perile bitwene hem stodnif mare of hir kny3t mynne

[But the knight was sunk in fitful and dreamy slumbers, as if in the grip of sad thinking how that on that very day destiny would dight him his Weird, when he should meet the Green Knight at his chapel and receive from him the blow without further words. But when that comely knight recovered his wits, he swung suddenly out of dreams and answered in haste. The lovely lady came towards him laughing sweetly, and bending over his fair face she kissed him. And he welcomed her worthily, with a pleasant smile. For he saw her so gloriously and gaily attired, so faultless in her features, and of such a fine complexion, that a strong and welling joy warmed his heart. And straight they smote forth mirth and smiles; yet all was pure bliss, and no more than they felt within them

was right. The words they said were good,And their joy was fair and light; Great peril between them stood,But Mary guarded her knight.]

[stanza 71 (long)]

for þat prynce of pris depresed hym so þikkenurned hym so ne3e þe þred þat nede hym bihouedoþer lach þer hir luf oþer lodly refusehe cared for his cortaysye lest craþayn he wereand more for his meschef 3if he schulde make synneand be traytor to þat tolke þat þat telde a3tgod schylde quoþ þe schalk þat schal not befallewith luf la3yng a lyt he layd hym bysydealle þe spechez of specialte þat sprange of her mouthequoþ þat burde to þe burne blame 3e disserue3if 3e luf not þat lyf þat 3e lye nextebifore alle þe wy3ez in þe worlde wounded in hertbot if 3e haf a lemman a leuer þat yow lykez betterand folden fayth to þat fre festned so harde[fol. 115r]þat yow lausen ne lyst and þat I leue nouþeand þat 3e telle me þat now trwly I pray yowfor alle þe lufez vpon lyue layne not þe soþe[bob]for gile[wheel]þe kny3t sayde be sayn jonand smeþely con he smylein fayth I welde ri3t nonne non wil welde þe quile

[For verily the worthy Prince bore himself as a victor, for she proffered herself to him so earnestly that it behoved him either to take her love or to refuse it in uncourteous fashion. He cared much for his courtesy, lest he should prove himself craven-hearted, and yet much more for the mischief that would follow were he to commit sin and betray the lord who was his host in that castle. 'God shield us,' said he, 'this shall not befall us,' and with spare love, laughing, he received all the words of choice that fell from her lips. And the lady said, 'Thou dost deserve great blame if thou lovest me not who am wounded in heart more than all else in the world, but perchance it is because thou hast a mistress that thou lovest better than thou lovest me, and boldest thy troth to her, and wouldst not lose her, as I trow. And now do thou tell me that truly, I pray thee; for the sake of all the true love in the world, hide it not from me

through guile.' The knight said, 'By St. John,'And softly he did smile, `In faith I have not one,Nor none will have the while.']

[stanza 72 (long)]

þat is a worde quoþ þat wy3t þat worst is of allebot I am swared for soþe þat sore me þinkkezkysse me now comly and I schal cach hepenI may bot mourne vpon molde as may þat much louyessykande ho swe3e doun and semly hym kyssedand siþen ho seueres hym fro and says as ho stondesnow dere at þis departyng do me þis esegif me sumquat of þy gifte þi gloue of hit wereþat I may mynne on þe mon my mournyng to lassennow iwysse quoþ þat wy3e I wolde I hade hereþe leuest þing for þy luf þat I in londe weldefor 3e haf deserued for soþe sellyly oftemore rewarde bi resoun þen I reche my3tbot to dele yow for drurye þat dawed bot nekedhit is not your honour to haf at þis tymea gloue for a garysoun of gawaynez giftezand I am here an erande in erdez vncouþeand haue no men wyth no malez with menskful þingezþat mislykez me lade for luf at þis tyneiche tolke mon do as he is tan tas to non ille[bob]ne pine[wheel]nay hende of hy3e honoursquoþ þat lufsum vnder lyneþa3 I hade o3t of yourez3et schulde 3e haue of myne

[`That word,' quoth she, 'is the worst of all. I am answered forsooth, and sore wounded am I. Kiss me now comely, and I will hie me hence. I can only mourn in the world as lovers do.' Then, sighing, she stooped down and said as she stood there, 'Now, dear one, at my passing do me this ease; give me some little token, if it be only thy glove, that I may think on thee and thus lessen my grief.' 'Now I wot,' said the knight, 'I would that I had here the dearest thing I possess in the world, for thou hast, forsooth, deserved wondrous oft and rightly greater reward than I could ever bestow, but to bestow upon you some love-token, that would avail but little. For it would be a stain upon your honour at this time that Gawain should give you a glove as a reward, for I am come hither on the most unheard-of errand upon earth, and have no men or baggage with things of value for every man must bide his fate, whether of sorrow

or gall.' 'Nay, knight of high degree,'Quoth the lady fair and tall, 'Though nought thou givest me,I'd yield to thee my all.']

[stanza 73 (long)]

ho ra3t hym a riche rynk of red golde werkezwyth a starande ston stondande alofteþat bere blusschande bemez as þe bry3t sunnewyt 3e wel hit watz worth wele ful hogebot þe renk hit renayed and redyly he sayde[fol. 115]I wil no giftez for gode my gay at þis tymeI haf none yow to norne ne no3t wyl I takeho bede hit hym ful bysily and he hir bode wernesand swere swyftel his sothe þat he hit sese noldeand ho sore þat he forsoke and sayde þerafterif 3e renay my rynk to ryche for hit semez3e wolde not so hy3ly halden be to meI schal gif yow my girdel þat gaynes yow lasseho la3t a lace ly3tly þat þat leke vmbe hir sydezknit vpon hir kyrtel vnder þe clere mantylegered hit watz with grene sylke and with golde schapedno3t bot arounde brayden beten with fyngrezand þat ho bede to þe burne and blyþely biso3tþa3 hit vnworþi were þat he hit take woldeand he nay þat he nolde neghe in no wysenauþer golde ne garysoun er god hym grace sendeto acheue to þe chaunce þat he hade chosen þereand þerfore I pray yow displese yow no3tand lettez be your bisinesse for I bayþe hit yow neuer[bob]to graunte[wheel]I am derely to yow biholdebicause of your sembelauntand euer in hot and coldeto be your trwe seruaunt

[She gave him a rich ring of red gold, with a glittering stone standing out therefrom, from which shone forth blushing beams as of the bright sun; and surely it was of very great price. But the knight refused it, and readily he said, 'I will take no gift from thee at this time. I have none to offer thee in return, and none will I take.' She pressed it upon him, but he would none of it, and swiftly swore his sooth that he would not take it, and very sorrowful was she, and said, 'If thou refusest my ring because it seems to thee too rich a present, and thou wouldst not be so deeply beholden to me, I will give thee my girdle, for that is of less value.' She caught hold of a circlet of lace that girdled her sides and was fastened to her kirtle under the white mantle, and it was geared with green silk and shapen with gold and all embroidered with finger-work. She offered it to the knight, and blithely she besought him to accept it, though of little worth it were. But he said that he would not take it in no wise, neither gold nor treasure as God sent him grace, that he might achieve the event that he had chosen in coming there. 'And therefore I pray thee, be not displeased, and cease from this business, for I can never consent to thy request, therefore

do not rue; Dear debt to thee is mineAs thy courtesy's due, And ever in fair and fineI am thy servant true.']

[stanza 74 (long)]

now forsake 3e þis silke sayde þe burde þennefor hit is symple in hitself and so hit wel semezlo so hit is littel and lasse hit is worþybot who so knew þe costes þat knit ar þerinnehe wolde hit prayse at more prys parauenturefor quat gome so is gorde with þis grene lacewhile he hit hade hemely halched abouteþer is no haþel vnder heuen tohewe hym þat my3tfor he my3t not be slayn for sly3t vpon erþeþen kest þe kny3t and hit come to his herthit were a juel for þe joparde þat hym iugged werewhen he acheued to þe chapel his chek for to fechmy3 he haf slypped to be vnslayn þe sle3t were noble [fol. 116r]þenne he þulged with hir þrepe and þoled hir to spekeand ho bere on hym þe belt and bede hit hym swyþeand he granted and hym gafe with a goud wylleand biso3t hym for hir sake disceuer hit neuerbot to lelly layne for hir lorde þe leude hym acordezþat neuer wy3e schulde hit wyt iwysse bot þay twayne[bob]for no3te[wheel]he þonkked hir oft ful swyþeful þro with hert and þo3tbi þat on þrynne syþeho hatz kyst þe kny3t so to3t

[`Now dost thou refuse this silk girdle,' said the lady, 'for simple it is in itself and of little worth it seems. But whoso knew the virtues that are knit therein, he would appraise it at greater price, peradventure. For whatsoever man is girded with this green lace while he has it secretly fastened about his body, there is no man under heaven that could hew him asunder. He could not be slain by any sleight or trick in the world.' Then the knight set himself to thinking, and it came into his heart that such a girdle would be a jewel in the jeopardy to which he was pledged in going to the Green Chapel to receive the deadly blow; and if he should slip and be in danger of death it would be a noble sleight of defence. Then he endured her chiding, and let her speak, and she thrust the belt upon him quickly, and he took it from her as she gave it with good will and besought him for her sake never to reveal it, but to loyally hide it from her lord. The knight agreed thereto, and swore that no man should ever know it save they two, as she

did crave. Great thanks he gave that dayWith heart and mind so grave. The third time, as I say,She kissed that knight so brave.]

[stanza 75 (long)]

thenne lachchez ho hir leue and leuez hym þerefor more myrþe of þat mon mo3t ho not getewhen he atz gon sir gawayn gerez hym sonerises and riches hym in araye noblelays vp þe luf lace þe lady hym ra3thid hit ful holdely þer he hit eft fondesyþen cheuely to þe chapel choses he þe wayepreuely aproched to a prest and prayed hym þereþat he wolde lyfte his lyf and lern hym betterhow his sawle schulde be saued when he schuld seye heþenþere he schrof hym schyrly and schewed his mysdedezof þe more and þe mynne and merci besechezand of absolucioun he on þe segge callesand he asoyled hym surely and sette hym so cleneas domezday schulde haf ben di3t on þe mornand syþen he mace hym as mery among þe fre ladyeswith comlych caroles and alle kynnes ioyeas neuer he did bot þat to þe derk ny3t[bob]with blys[wheel]vche mon hade daynte þareof hym and sayde iwysseþus myry he watz neuer aresyn he com hider er þis

[When she took her leave, for there was no more love-play to be gained from the knight. As soon as she had gone, Sir Gawain dressed himself right soon and arrayed himself in noble garments and hid away the love-lace the lady had given him, where he could easily find it at need. Then first he went to the chapel of the castle and found out the priest, and prayed for absolution and that he would show to him a better way to save his soul when he should go thence. Then he made a clean shrift, and confessed his misdeeds both great and small, and sought for mercy. And the priest absolved him and gave him such cleanness as though on the morrow doomsday should dawn. Then he made himself so merry among the noble ladies with comely carols and all kinds of joy as never before or since that day, until the dark night came

with bliss. Each one had dainty moreOf him and said, I wis, That so merry he ne'er was before,Since thither he came, ere this.]

[stanza 76 (long)]

now hym lenge in þat lee þer luf hym bityde3et is þe lorde on þe launde ledande his gomneshe hatz forfaren þis fox þat he fol3ed longeas he sprent ouer a spenne to spye þe schrewe[fol. 116]þer as he herd þe howndes þat hasted hym swyþerenaud com richchande þur3 a ro3e greueand alle þe rabel in a res ry3t at his helezþe wy3e watz war of þe wylde and warly abidesand braydez out þe bry3t bronde and at þe best castezand he schunt for þe scharp and schulde haf arereda rach rapes hym to ry3t er he my3tand ry3t bifore þe hors dete þay fel on hym alleand woried me þis wyly wyth a wroth noyseþe lorde ly3tez bilyue and cachez by sonerased hym ful radly out of þe rach mouþeshaldez he3e ouer his hede halowez fasteand þer bayen hym mony bray houndezhuntes hy3ed hem þeder with hornez ful monyay rechatande ary3t til þay þe renk se3enbi þat watz comen his compeyny noblealle þat euer ber bugle blowed at onesand alle þise oþper halowed þat hade no horneshit watz þe myriest mute þat euer men herdeþe rich rurd þat þer watz raysed for renaude saule[bob]with lote[wheel]hor houndez þay þer rewardeher her hedez þay fawne and froteand syþen þay tan reynardeand tyruen of his cote

[And he lingered there, where love was his portion. And all the time the lord was on the land leading his men, and he had killed the fox that he had followed so long, as he leapt over a hedge to spy upon the shrewd fellow. For there, as he heard the hounds that were hard upon him, Reynard came running through a rough grove, and all the rabble racing at his heels. The lord was ware of the fox, and warily he waited for him, and brandished forth the bright sword, and made a cast at him, whereat he flinched and should have retreated, but a hound rushed at him e'en before he could escape, and right in front of the feet of the horse they all fell upon him and worried the wily fellow to death with a loud noise. The lord alighted quickly, and soon caught hold of him and tore him out of the mouths of the dogs, and held him high above his head, hallooing the while, and many a brave hound bayed at him there. The hunters tried thither, blowing a recheat on their horns till they saw the knight, and by the time that his noble company were come up, all that bore bugles blew at the same time, and those who had no horns raised a great halloo! It was the merriest meet ever heard of, and the greatest noise ever made for the soul of a fox.

With jest The hounds they did reward,Their heads they then caressed, And then they took ReynardAnd straightway him undressed.]

[stanza 77 (long)]

and þenne þay helden to home for hit watz nie3 ny3tstrakande ful stoutly in hor store hornezþe lorde is lyþt at þe laste at hys lef homefyndez fire vpon flet þe freke þer bysidesir gawayn þe gode þat glad watz with alleamong þe ladies for luf he ladde much ioyehe were a bleaunt of blwe þat bradde to þe erþehis surkot semed hym wel þat softe watz forredand his hode of þat ilke henged on his schulderblande al of blaunner were boþe al aboutehe metez me þis godmon inmyddez þe floreand al with gomen he hym gret and goudly he saydeI schal fylle vpon fyrst oure forwardez nouþe[fol. 117r]þat we spedly han spoken þer spared watz no drynkþen acoles he kny3t and kysses hym þryesas sauerly and sadly as he hem sette couþebi kryst quoþ þat oþer kny3t 3e cach much selein cheuisaunce of þis chaffer 3if 3e hade goud chepez3e of þe chepe no charg quoþ chefly þat oþeras is pertly payed þe chepez þat I a3temary quoþ þat oþer mon myn is bihyndefor I haf hunted al þis day and no3t haf I getenbot þis foule fox felle þe fende haf þe godezand þat is ful pore for to pay for suche prys þingesas 3e haf þry3t me here þro suche þre cosses[bob]so gode[wheel]ino3 quoþ sir gawaynI þonk yow bi þe rodeand how þe fox watz slaynhe tolde hym as þay stode

[And forthwith they made for home, blowing full stoutly on their loud horns, for night was drawing near. And at length the lord alighted at his beloved homestead, and found the fire on the floor and the knight beside it. Sir Gawain the good made merry with them all, for among the ladies he had much joy for love. He wore a fine blue linen mantle, that reached down to the ground, and his surcoat suited him well, for it was soft furred, and a hood of that ilk hung on his shoulder, and both were blended with fur. The lord met this good man in the midst of the hall, and greeted him gaily, and the knight spake goodly words: 'I will be the first to fulfil our covenant that we plighted together when the drink was not lacking.' Then he embraced the lord and kissed him three times as gravely and carefully as he could. 'By Christ,' said the lord, 'thou hast had great joy in achieving such treasures, and thy bargain was a good one.' 'Yea then, no matter the bargain,' said that other, 'quickly is given the bargain I drove.' 'Marry,' quoth the lord, 'my prize is coming on after me, for all the day I have been hunting and nought have I gotten but this foul fox; and the devil take him, and indeed it is a poor return to make for such precious gifts as thou hast given me in three such kisses

so good.' `nough,' said Sir Gawain,'I thank thee by the rood,' And how the fox was slainHe told him as they stood.]

[stanza 78 (long)]

with merþe and mynstralsye with metez at hor wylleþay maden as mery as any me mo3tenwith la3yne of ladies with lotez of bordesgawayn and þe godemon so glad were þay boþebot if þe douthe had doted oþer dronken ben oþerboþe þe mon and þe meyny maden mony iapeztil þe sesoun watz se3en þat þay seuer mosteburnez to hor bedde behoued at þe lasteþenne lo3ly his leue at þe lorde fyrstfochchez þis fre mon and fayre he hym þonkkezof such a sellyly soiorne as I haf hade hereyour honour at þis hy3e fest þe hy3e kyng yow 3eldeI 3ef yow me for on of yourez if yowreself lykezfor I mot nedes as 3e wot meue to morneand 3e me take sum tolke to teche as 3e hy3tþe gate to þe grene chapel as god wyl me sufferto dele on nw 3erez day þe dome of my wyrdesin god fayþe quoþ þe godmon wyth a goud wylleal þat euer I yow hy3t halde schal I redeþer asyngnes he a seruaunt to sett hym in þe waye [fol. 117]and coundue hym by þe downez þat he no drechch hadfor to frk þur3 þe fryth and fare at þe gaynest[bob]bi greue[wheel]þe lorde gawayn con þonksuch worchip he wolde hym weueþen at þo ladyez wlonkþe kny3t hatz tan his leue

[When with mirth and minstrelsy, and with meats at their will, they made as merry as any men could, and the ladies laughed merrily, and there were spoken many jesting words. And Gawain and the good man were both of them so glad that they were in danger of losing their heads or of becoming drunken. So great was the revelry in the hall until it was time to separate and retire to their beds. Then most humbly did the knight take leave of the lord, and in fair fashion he thanked him. 'May the High King bless thee for the wondrous sojourn I have had here in thy castle at this high feast. I pray thee to grant me one of thy men if thou wilt to show me, as thou didst promise, the way to the Green Chapel, so God will suffer me to endure on New Year's Day the destiny appointed me.' 'In good faith,' said the lord, 'with a right good will -- that ever I promised thee I will hold to my reed.' Then he assigned him a servant to set him in the way and conduct him by the downs that he might suffer no hurt in going through the forests, and fare forth in gainly fashion,

and live. The lord then thanked Gawain,Such worship he would him give, And of the ladies twainThe knight then took his leave.]

[stanza 79 (long)]

with care and wyth kyssyng he carppez hem tilleand fele þryuande þonkkez he þrat hom to haueand þay 3elden hym a3ay 3eply þat ilkþay bikende hym to kryst with ful colde sykyngezsyþen fro þe meyny he menskly departesvche mon þat he mette he made hem a þonkefor his seruyse and his solace and his sere pyneþat þay wyth busynes had ben aboute hym to serueand vche segge as sore to seuer with hym þereas þay hade wonde worþyly with þat wlonk euerþen with ledes and ly3t he watz ladde to his chambreand blyþely bro3t to his bedde to be at his rest3if he ne slepe soundyly say ne dar Ifor he hade muche on þe morn to mynne 3if he wolde[bob]in þo3t[wheel]let hym ly3e þere stillehe hatz nere þat he so3tand 3e wyl a whyle be stylleI schal telle yow how þay wro3t

[With courteous kisses he took leave of them all and gave them great thanks, and received their thanks in return. Then they entrusted him to Christ, and heaved deep sighs as he passed out from their midst, and each man that he met he gave him thanks for service and solace and the great pains they had taken, especially those who had done him personal service. And each man was sore troubled at parting with him with whom they had dwelt so worthily. Then with flaming torches they led him to his chamber, and blithely brought him to rest in his bed. I dare not say that he slept soundly, for of the morn he had much

of thought. Let him lie there still,He is near that which he sought, An ye will awhile be stillI will tell you how he wrought.]

[fitt4: stanza 80 (long)]

now ne3ez þe nw 3ere and þe ny3t passezþe day dryuez to þe derk as dry3tyn biddezbot wylde wederez of þe worlde wakned þerouteclowdes kesten kenly þe colde to þe erþewyth ny3e innoghe of þe norþe þe naked to teneþe snawe snitered ful snart þat snayped þe wyldeþe werbelande wynde wapped fro þe hy3eand drof vche dale ful of dryftes ful greteþe leude lystened ful wel þat le3 in his beddeþa3 he lowkez his liddez ful lyttel he slepesbi vch kok þat crue he knwe wel þe steuen[fol. 118r]deliuerly he dressed vp er þe day sprengedfor þere watz ly3t of a laupe þat lemed in his chambrehe called to his chamberlayn þat cofly hym swaredand bede hym bryng hym his bruny and his blonk sadelþat oþer ferkez hym vp and fechez hym his wedezand grayþez me sir gawayn vpon a grett wysefyrst he clad hym in his cloþez þe colde for to wereand syþen his oþer harnays þat holdely watz kepedboþe his paunce and his platez piked ful cleneþe ryngez rokked of þe roust of his riche brunyand al watz fresch as vpon fyrst and he watz fayn þenne[bob]to þonk[wheel]he hade vpon vche pecewypped ful wel and wlonkþe gayest into greceþe burne bede bryng his blonk

[Now drew near the New Year as the night waned and the darkness passed away as God doth bid. But wild weather of the world came out of the wakening day, and clouds cast down cold upon the earth, and there was enough of the north in the weather to vex the naked. And snow fell sharply and covered the wilds. The whistling wind rushed down from the heights, and there were great drifts in the dales. And as the knight lay in his bed he listened to the storm, and though he locked his eyelids, full little he slept, and he heard the crwing of each cock in turn. Ere the day dawned he dressed himself by the light of a lamp that gleamed in his chamber. He called to his servant, and quickly he answered him, and he bade him bring in his cuirass and his saddle, and he rose up forthwith and fetched the riding apparel, and prepared Sir Gawain for his journey in great wise. First he clad him in his clothes, that he might ward off the cold, and then in his other harness that had been faithfully guarded. His coats of mail and his armour-plate all shone with burnishing, and the rings of his rich coat of mail were cleansed of all rust, and were all fresh as at first, and he was fain to thank

him there. Of the armour every pieceHe had wiped clean and fair, As no warrior's in Greece.He asked for his steed so rare.]

[stanza 81 (long)]

whyle þe wlonkest wedes he warp on hymseluenhis cote wyth þe conysaunce of þe clere werkezennurned vpon veluet vertuuus stonezaboute beten and bounden enbrauded semezand fayre furred withinne wyth fayre pelures3et laft he not þe lace þe ladiez gifteþat forgat not gawayn for gode of hymseluenbi he hade belted þe bronde vpon his bal3e haunchezþenn dressed he his drurye double hym abouteswyþe sweþled vmbe his swange swetely þat kny3tþe gordel of þe grene silke þat gay wel bisemedvpon þat ryol red cloþe þat ryche watz to schewebot wered not þis ilk wy3e for wele þis gordelfor pryde of þe pendauntez þa3 polyst þay wereand þa3 þe glyterande golde glent vpon endezbot for to sauen hymself when suffer hym byhouedto byde bale withoute dabate of bronde hym to were[bob]oþer knyffe[wheel]bi þat þe bolde mon bounwynnez þeroute bilyuealle þe meyny of renounhe þonkkez ofte ful ryue

[And while he was then being decked out in these rich weeds, his coat with the badge of noble deeds, adorned as it was with stones of virtue up on velvet and bound with embroidered seams and fair furred within with costly furs, yet forgot he not the lace girdle, the lady's gift for his protection. When he had belted his sword upon his smooth haunches he wound the love-token round and round about him, and he quickly folded the gay girdle of green silk about his loins over the rich and royal red cloth. But he wore not this rich girdle for its great price, nor for pride of polished pendants, or because gold glittered and gleamed upon it, but to save himself when it behoved him to suffer and to bide bale without debate and to beware of the sword

or blow. And then the bold knight downFrom that fair castle doth go, All that household of renownHe thanketh them, I trow.]

[fol. 118]

[stanza 82 (long)]

thenne watz gryngolet grayþe þat gret watz and hugeand hade ben soiourned sauerly and in a siker wysehym lyst prik for poynt þat proude hors þenneþe wy3e wynnez hym to and wytez on his lyreand sayde soberly hymself and by his soth swerezhere is a meyny in þis mote þat on menske þenkkezþe mon hem maynteines ioy mot þay haueþe leue lady on lyue luf hir bityde3ef þay for charyte cherysen a gestand halden honour in her honde þe haþel hem 3eldeþat haldez þe heuen vpon hy3e and also yow alleand 3if I my3t lyf vpon londe lede any quyleI schuld rech yow sum rewarde redyly if I my3tþenn steppez he into stirop and strydez aloftehis schalk schewed hym his schelde on schulder he hit la3tgordez to gryngolet with his gilt helezand he startez on þe ston stod he no lenger[bob]to praunce[wheel]his haþel on hors watz þenneþat bere his spere and launceþis kastel to kryst I kennehe gef hit ay god chaunce

[Then his fine and huge horse Gringolet was made ready. He had been well cared for, and was proud and eager for galloping. Sir Gawain went up to him and looked in his face. Then he solemnly addressed the company, and swore, 'Here indeed is a well-mannered and courteous household, and may the lord who maintains them have great joy. And may love betide the dear lady of the house all her life. And when they cherish their guests and do honour to them, may the High Lord that wields heaven on high bless them and you all; and if I live long enough I will grant you some meed for your services.' Then stepped he into the stirrups and mounted his horse, and his servant handed him his shield, which he received on his shoulder, and then goading Gringolet with his golden spurs, he stood there no longer, but struck sparks from the stones, and the horse

did prance. His man on horse was thenThat bore his spear and lance,' This castle to Christ I kenOweth its good chance.']

[stanza 83 (long)]

the brygge watz brayde doun and þe brode 3atezvnbarred and born open vpon boþe halueþe burne blessed hym bilyue and þe bredez passedprayses þe porter bifore þe prynce kneledgef hym god and goud day þat gawayn he saueand went on his way with his wy3e oneþat schulde teche hym to tourne to þat tene placeþer þe ruful race he schulde resayueþay bo3en bi bonkkez þer bo3ez ar bareþay clomben bi clyffez þer clengez þe coldeþe heuen watz vphalt bot vgly þer vndermist muged on þe mor malt on þe mountezvch hille hade a hatte a myst hakel hugebrokez byled and breke bi bonkkez abouteschyre schaterande on schorez þer þay doun schowued [fol. 119r]wela wylle watz þe way þer þay bi wod schuldentil hit watz zone sesoun þat sunne ryses[bob]þat tyde[wheel]þay were on a hille ful hy3eþe quyte snaw lay bisydeþe burne þat rod hym bybede his mayster abide

[When the bridge was let down, and the broad gates were flung open, both halves of them. The knight crossed himself as he passed the threshold, and praised the porter, and knelt before the prince of that castle and bade him good day, and went on his way with his one servant who was to show him the path to that sorrowful place where he was doomed to receive the rueful blow. They took their way by hills where the boughs of the trees were bare, and they climbed up by cliffs where the frost was clinging. The clouds did not fling down the snow, but gloomy was it beneath. The moor was muggy with mist, and the snow melted on the mountains, and each hill had a cap or mantle of fog, and brooks boiled among the rocks, dashing white on the shores as they rushed downwards, and lonesome was the way as they went by the woodlands until the time came for the sun to rise

that tide. They rode o'er a hill full high,The white snow lay beside; The man who rode him byBade his master abide.]

[stanza 84 (long)]

for I haf wonnen yow hider wy3e at þis tymeand now nar 3e not fer fro þat þat note placeþat 3e han spied and spuryed so specially afterbot I schal say yow for soþe syþen I yow knoweand 3e ar a lede vpon lyue þat I wel louywolde 3e worch bi my wytte 3e worþed þe betterþe place þat 3e prece to ful perelous is haldenþer wonez a wy3e in þat waste þe worst vpon erþefor he is stiffe and sturne and to strike louiesand more he is þen any mon vpon myddelerdeand his body bigger þen þe best fowreþat ar in arþurez hous hestor oþer oþerhe cheuez þat chaunce at þe chapel greneþer passes non bi þat place so proude in his armesþat he ne dynnez hym to deþe with dynt of his hondefor he is a mon methles and mercy non vsesfor be hit chorle oþer chaplayn þat bi þe chapel rydesmonk oþer masseprest oþer any mon elleshym þynk as queme hym to quelle as quyk go hymseluenforþy I say þe as soþe as 3e in sadel sittecom 3e þere 3e be kylled may þe kny3t redetrawe 3e me þat trwely þa3 3e had twenty lyues[bob]to spende[wheel]he hatz wonyd here ful 3oreon bent much baret bendea3ayn his dyntez sore3e may not yow defende

[`For hither,' said the man, 'I have brought thee at this time, and now thou art not far from that famous place about which thou hast so specially asked so many questions. But soothly I will tell thee, since I know thee and thou art one among ten thousand, and I love thee well, that wouldst thou take my counsel it would be better for thee; for the place towards which thou dost press forward is held to be full perilous, for there dwells in that waste one of the worst upon earth. And he is strong and stern, and loves to deal great blows, and greater is he than any man in the world, and his body bigger than the best four knights that are in the house of King Arthur, Hector, or any others. And such chance he achieves at the Green Chapel that none passes that place, though he be proud in his armour, but that he deals them a death-blow by a stroke of his hand. For pitiless is he, and shows no mercy. For whosoever rides past the chapel he thinks it as good to kill him as to remain alive himself, be he churl or chaplain, monk or mass-priest. Therefore I say to thee, forsooth, as thou dost sit in the saddle, if thou comest there, thou shalt be killed, believe thou that, forsooth, though thou hadst twenty lives

to spend. He has dwelt here of yore;Do not thither wend, Against his dintings soreThou mayest not thee defend.']

[stanza 85 (long)]

forþy goude sir gawayn let þe gome oneand gotz away sum oþer gate vpon goddez haluecayrez bi sum oþer kyth þer kryst mot yow spedeand I schal hyy me hom a3ayn and hete yow fyrre[fol. 119]þat I schal swere bi god and alle his gode hal3ezas help me god and þe halydam and oþez innogheþat I schal lelly yow layne and lance neuer taleþat euer 3e fondet to fle for freke þat I wystgrant merci quoþ gawayn and gruchyng he saydewel worth þe wy3e þat woldez my godeand þat lelly me layne I leue wel þou woldezbot helde þou hit neuer so holde and I here passedfounded for ferde for to fle in fourme þat þou tellezI were a kny3t kowarde I my3t mot be excusedbot I wyl to þe chapel for chaunce þat may falleand talk wyth þat ilk tulk þe tale þat me lysteworþe hit wele oþer wo as þe wyrde lykez[bob]hit hafe[wheel]þa3e he be a sturn knapeto sti3tel and and stad with staueful wel con dry3tyn schapehis seruauntez for to saue

[For thy welfare, Sir Gawain, let him alone, and gang some other gait, for God's dear sake. Go where Christ may speed thee, and I will hie me home again; and further I promise thee on my oath, by God and all His good saints, as help me, God and Our Lady and others, that I will keep thy secret and say not a word that ever thou didst turn back from thy quest.' 'Grammercy,' quoth Gawain, 'well may it be with thee for that thou desirest my good, and wouldst loyally keep a secret, as I believe thou wouldst verily, but didst thou keep it never so truly, were I to turn away for fear as thou dost bid me, a coward knight I should show myself and without excuse. Nay, but I will to the chapel, come what come may, and deal with that fellow as I list, and as Weird doth like, be it for weal

or woe. Though he be fierce to yield,And deal a deadly blow, My God can full well shieldHis servant from the foe.']

[stanza 86 (long)]

mary quoþ þat oþer mon now þou so much spellezþat þou wylt þyn awen nye nyme to þyseluenand þe lyst lese þy lyf þe lette I ne kepehaf here þi helme on þy hede þi spere in þi hondeand ryde me doun þis ilk rake bi 3on rokke sydetil þou be bro3t to þe boþem of þe brem valayþenne loke a littel on þe launde on þi lyfte hondeand þou schal se in þat slade þe self chapeland þe borelych burne on bent þat hit kepeznow farez wel on godez half gawayn þe noblefor alle þe golde vpon grounde I nolde ge wyth þene bere þe fela3schip þur3 þis fryth on fote fyrrebi þat þe wy3e in þe wod wendez his brydelhit þe hors with þe helez as harde as he my3tlepez hym ouer þe launde and leuez þe kny3t þere[bob]al one[wheel]bi goddez self quoþ gawaynI wyl nauþer grete ne groneto goddez wylle I am ful baynand to hym I haf me tone

[`Marry,' quoth that other, now thou hast said that thou wilt thrust thyself into such danger, and it listeth thee to lose thy life, I will not hinder thee. Set then thy helmet on thy head, and thy spear in thy hand, and ride down the path by the side of yonder rock till thou shalt come to the bottom of the rugged valley; then take a look round on thy left hand and thou shalt see in the valley the very chapel that thou seekest and the burly fellow that keepeth it. Now fare thee well, and God bless thee, Gawain the noble. For all the gold in the world I would not wend with thee nor bear thee company through this valley a single inch farther.' Then the man turned his horse round in the wood, put his spurs to sides as hard as he could, and galloped over the land, leaving the knight

alone. 'By God's self,' quoth Gawain,I will neither weep nor groan; To do His will I am full fain,He will delver me full soon.']

[fol. 120r]

[stanza 87 (long)]

thenne gyrdez he to gryngolet and gederez þe rakeschowuez in bi a schore at a scha3e syderidez þur3 þe ro3e bonk ry3t to þe daleand þenne he wayted hym aboute and wylde hit hym þo3tand se3e no syngne of resette bisydez nowherebot hy3e honkkez and brent vpon boþe halueand ru3e knokled knarrez with knorned stonezþe skwez of þe scowtes skayned hym þo3tþenne he houed and wythhylde his hors at þat tydeand ofte chaunged his cher þe chapel to sechehe sey non suche in no syde and selly hym þo3tsaue a lyttel on a launde a lawe as hit wea bal3 ber3 bi a bonke þe brymme bysydebi a for3 of a flode þat ferked þareþe borne blubred þerinne as hit boyled hadeþe kny3t kachez his caple and com to þe laweli3tez doun luflyly and at a lynde tachezþe rayne and his riche with a ro3e brauncheþenne he bo3ez to þe ber3e aboute hit he walkezdebatande with hymself quat hit be my3thit hade a hole on þe ende and on ayþer sydeand ouergrowen with gresse in glodes aywhereand al watz hol3 inwith nobot an olde caueor a creuisse of an olde cragge he coupe hit no3t deme[bob]with spelle[wheel]we lorde quoþ þe gentyle kny3twheþer þis be þe grene chapelle?he my3t aboute mydny3tþe dele his matynnes telle

[Then spurred he Gringolet, and betook himself along the path by the side of a wood, and rode over a rough hill into the valley. And he lingered there some time, and a wild place he thought it, for he saw no resting-place, but only high hills on both sides, and rough, rugged rocks and huge boulders, and the hill shadows seemed desolating to him. Then he drew up his horse, and it seemed wondrous strange to him that he saw not the Green Chapel on any side. At length a little way off he caught sight of a round hillock by the side of a brook, and there was a ford across the brook, and the water therein bubbled as though it were boiling. The knight caught up the reins and came to the hill, alighted, and tied up the reins to the rugged branch of a tree. Then he went to the hill and walked round about it, debating within himself what place it might be. It had a hole at the end and on either side, and it was overgrown with tufts of grass and was all round and hollow within. He thought it nought but an old cave or a crevice. Within and about it there seemed to be

a spell. 'Ah lord,' quoth the gentle knight,Is this the green chapel? Here truly at midnightMight the devil his matins tell.']

[stanza 88 (long)]

now iwysse quoþ wowayn wysty is hereþis oritore is vgly with erbez ouergrowenwel bisemez þe wy3e wruxled in grenedele here his deuocioun on þe deuelez wysenow I fele hit is þe fende in my fyue wyttezþat hatz stoken me þis steuen to strye me hereþis is a chapel of meschaunce þat chekke hit bytydehit is þe corsedest kyrk þat euer I com inne[fol. 120]with he3e helme on his hede his launce in his hondehe romez vp to þe roffe of þe ro3 wonezþene herde he of þat hy3e hil in a harde rochebi3onde þe broke in a bonk a wonder breme noysequat hit clatered in þe clyff as hit cleue schuldeas one vpon a gryndelston hade grounden a syþewhat hit wharred and whette as water at a mulnewhat hit rusched and ronge rawþe to hereþenne bi godde quoþ gawayn þat here at I troweis ryched at þe reuerence me renk to mete[bob]bi rote[wheel]let god worche we loohit helppez me not a motemy lif þa3 I forgoodrede dotz me no lote

[`Now,' said Sir Gawain, 'this is a desert place, I trow. This oratory is loathsome, overgrown as it is with weeds, and well it befitteth that fellow clad in green, for his devotion to the devil. Now in my five wits I ween it is the very devil himself who has made this tryst with me, that he may destroy me. This is a chapel of ill-luck, and the most accursed kirk that I have ever seen, and may ill luck befall it.' With his helmet high on his head and lance in hand, he wandered up to that rocky dwelling. Then came there from a rock in that high hill beyond the brook a wondrous strange noise, and it clattered among the cliffs as though it would cleave them asunder, as though one were grinding a scythe upon a grindstone, and it made a whirring sound like water in a mill, and rushed and sang out and was terrible to hear. 'By God Himself,' said Gawain, 'that is the noise of armour which is being made ready for that fellow wherewith he may come forth to meet me

by rote. Let God work me woe.It helpeth me not a mote, My life though I forgo,No noise shall make me dote.']

[stanza 89 (long)]

thenne þe kny3t con calle ful hy3ewho sti3tlez in þis sted me steuen to holdefor now is gode gawayn goande ry3t hereif any wy3e o3t wyl wynne hider fastoþer now oþer neuer his nedez to spedeabyde quoþ on on þe bonke abouen ouer his hedeand þou schal haf al in hast þat I þe hy3t ones3et he rusched on þat rurde rapely a þroweand wyth quettyng awharf er he wolde ly3tand syþen he keuerez bi a cragge and comez of a holewhyrlande out of a wro wyth a felle weppena denez ax nwe dy3t þe dynt witho 3eldewith a borelych bytte bende by þe halmefyled in a fylor fowre fote largehit watz no lasse bi þat lace þat lemed ful bry3tand þe gome in þe grene gered as fyrstboþe þe lyre and þe leggez lokkez and berdesaue þat fayre on his fote he foundez on þe erþesette þe stele to þe stone and stalked bysydewhen he wan to þe watter þer he wade noldehe hypped ouer on hys ax and orpedly strydezbremly broþe on a bent þat brode watz aboute[bob]on snawe[fol. 121r][wheel]sir gawayn þe kny3t con metehe ne lutte hym noþyng loweþat oþer sayde now sir sweteof steuen mon may þe trowe

[Then a loud voice the knight 'gan call, 'Who dwells in this place and would hold par1ey with me? For now is good Sir Gawain in the right way at last, and if any man would have aught with him let him come hither quickly; now or never is his chance.' 'Tarry a moment,' quoth a voice on the hill above his head, 'and thou shalt receive all that I promised thee in right good time.' Thereupon he rushed forward at a great speed till he arrived near a crag and came whirling out of a hole in a corner of it with a fell weapon in his hand; and it was a new Danish axe with which to give the blow, with a huge piece of steel bent at the handle, and it was four feet long and filed at the grindstone, and it gleamed full brightly. It was the Green Knight, dressed as at their first meeting, the same in face and legs, looks, and beard, save that he went on foot. When he reached the water he would not wade therein, but hopped over on his axe and strode boldly forward over

the snow. Sir Gawain the knight 'gan meet,To him he bowed not low; The other said, 'Now, my sweet,The tryst thou keepest, I trow?']

[stanza 90 (long)]

gawayn quoþ þat grene gome god þe mot lokeiwysse þou art welcon wy3e to my placeand þou hatz tymed þi trauayl as truee mon schuldeand þou knowez þe couenauntez kest vus bytweneat þis tyme twelmonyth þou toke þat þe falledand I schulde at þis nwe 3ere 3eply þe quyteand we are in þis valay verayly oure onehere ar no renkes vs to rydde rele as vus likezhaf þy þy helme of þy hede and haf here þy paybusk no more debate þen I þe bede þennewhen þou wypped of my hede at a wap onenay bi god quoþ gawayn þat me gost lanteI schal gruch þe no grwe for grem þat fallezbot sty3tel þe vpon on strok and I schal stonde stylleand warp þe no wernyng to worch as þe lykez[bob]nowhare[wheel]he lened with þe nek and lutteand schewed þat schyre al bareand lette as he no3t duttefor drede he wolde not dare

[`Gawain,' quoth the Green Knight, 'may God protect thee. I wis thou art welcome to my place, and thou hast kept thy promise as befitteth a true man. Thou knowest the covenant between us made -- how a twelvemonth ago thou didst take that which befell thee and I was to be quits with thee on this New Year's Day. We are alone verily in this valley; there are no knights here to separate us. Doff thy helmet and take thy pay, and make no more ado than I did when thou didst whip off my head at one blow.' 'Nay, by the most high God,' said Gawain, 'so I have spirit I grudge thee not thy will for any mischief that may befall me; but I stand here for thy stroke, and do not deny thee thy will

anywhere.' Down he bent his head,And showed his neck all bare. There was no sign of dread,Or that he would not dare.]

[stanza 91 (long)]

then þe gome in þe grene grayþed hym swyþegederez vp hys grymme tole gawayn to smytewith alle þe bur in his body he ber hit on loftemunt as ma3tyly as marre hym he woldehade hit dryuen adoun as dre3 as he atledþer hade ben ded of his dynt þat do3ty watz euerbot gawayn on þat giserne glyfte hym bysydeas hit com glydande adoun on glode hym to schendeand schranke a lytel with þe schuldered for þe scharp yrneþat oþer schalk wyth a schunt þe schene wythhaldezand þenne repreued he þe prynce with mony prowde wordezþou art not gawayn quoþ þe gome þat is so goud haldenþat neuer ar3ed for no here by hylle ne be vale[fol. 121]and now þou fles for ferde er þou fele harmezsuch cowardise of þat kny3t cowþe I neuer herenawþer fyked I ne fla3e freke quen þou myntestne kest no kauelacion in kyngez hous arthormy hede fla3 to my fote and 3et fla3 I neuerand þou er any harme hent ar3ez in hertwherfore þe better burne me burde be called[bob]þerfore[wheel]quoþ gawayn I schunt onezand so wyl I no morebot þa3 my hede falle on þe stonezI con not hit restore

[Then the Green Knight get himself ready quickly, and gathered up his grim weapon with which to smite Sir Gawain, and with all the strength of his body he raised it aloft and made a feint of destroying him and drove it downwards as though he were right angry with him, so that the doughty knight would have been killed by that blow. But Gawain started aside a little from the axe as it came gliding downwards to destroy him on that hillside, and shrank a little from that sharp iron with his shoulders. And the other withheld somewhat the shining weapon, and then reproved the princely knight with many a proud word. 'Thou art not Gawain,' said he, 'that is holden to be so brave that never winced a hair by hill or valley, for now thou dost flee for fear, ere thou art hurt at all. Never heard I of such cowardice of that knight, neither did I shrink or flee when thou didst strike me, nor did I cavil at all in King Arthur's house. My head flew down to my foot, yet fled I not, and thou, ere any harm befell thee, waxest timid in heart. The better man of the two it behoves me to be called

therefore. Quoth Gawain, 'I shrank once,But so will I no more, Yet though my head fell on the stonesI cannot it restore.']

[stanza 92 (long)]

bot busk burne bi þi fayth and bryng me to þe poyntdele to me my destine and do hit out of hondefor I schal stonde þe a strok and start no moretil þyn ax haue me hitte haf here my trawþehaf at þe þenne quoþ þat oþer and heuez hit alofteand waytez as wroþely as he wode werehe myntez at hym ma3tyly bot not þe mon rynezwithhelde heterly hs honde er hit hurt my3tgawayn grayþely hit bydez and glent with no membrebot stode stylle as þe ston oþer a stubbe auþerþat raþeled is in roche grounde with rotez a hundrethþen muryly efte con he mele þe mon in þe greneso now þou hatz þi hert holle hitte me bihoushalde þe now þe hy3e hode þat arþur þe ra3tand kepe þy kanel at þis kest 3if hit keuer maygawayn ful gryndelly with greme þenne saydewy þresch on þou þro mon þou þretez to longeI hope þat þi hert ar3e wyth þyn awen seluenfor soþe quoþ þat oþer freke so felly þou spekezI wyl no lenger on lyte lette þin ernde[bob]ri3t nowe[wheel]þenne tas he he hym stryþe to strykeand frounsez boþe lyppe and broweno meruayle þa3 hym myslykeþat hoped of no rescowe

[But hasten thou, and let us come to the point. Deal me my destiny, and do it out of hand, for I will stand thee a stroke, and start aside no more till thine axe hath smitten me: have here my troth.' 'Have at thee then,' quoth that other, and he heaved the axe aloft and looked so angry that he might have been a madman. He struck at him mightily, but withheld his hand suddenly ere it could hurt him. Gawain promptly abided it and shrank in no limb of his body, but stood still as a stone or a tree stock that is rooted in the rocky ground with a hundred roots. Then merrily 'gan he speak, the man in green, 'So now thou hast thy heart whole and while it behoves me to smite. Hold high thy hood that Arthur gave thee, and keep thy neck to thy body lest it get in the way again.' Gawain then answered him full fiercely, and with heart sorrow, 'Strike then, thou bold man; thou dost threaten too long. I hope that thy heart may wax timid.' 'Forsooth,' quoth that other, 'so fiercely thou dost speak, I will no longer hinder thee of thine errand

right now.' Then took he a stride to strike,And wrinkled lips and brow, No marvel it did him mislike,Who hoped for no rescue now.]

[stanza 93 (long)]

he lyftes ly3tly his lome and let hit doun fayre[fol. 122r]with þe barbe of þe bitte bi þe bare nekþa3 he homered heterly hurt hym no morebot snyrt hym on þat on syde þat seuered þe hydeþe scharp schrank to þe flesche þur3 þe schyre greceþat þe schene blod ouer his schulderes schot to þe erþeand quen þe burne sey þe blode blenk on þe snawehe sprit forth spenne fote more þen a spere lenþehent heterly his helme and on his hed castschot with his schulderez his fayre schelde vnderbraydez out a bry3t sworde and bremely he spekezneuer syn þat he watz burne borne of his moderwatz he neuer in þis worlde wy3e half so blyþeblynne burne of þy bur bede me no moI haf a stroke in þis sted withoute stryf hentand if þow rechez me any mo I redyly schal quyteand 3elde 3ederly a3ayn and þerto 3e tryst[bob]and foo[wheel]bot on stroke here me fallezþe couenaunt schop ry3t sofermed in arþurez hallezand þerfore hende now hoo

[He raised lightly his axe and let it fall with the barb on his bare neck; and though he hotly hammered he did not hurt him much, but cut his skin a little. The sharp sword pierced through the flesh, so that the bright blood spurted over his shoulders to the ground; and when he saw the blood on the snow he started forward more than a spear length, hastily seized his helmet and put it on his head, and adjusted his shield; then brandishing forth a glittering sword, he spake fierce words, and never since his mother bare him was he half so merry. 'Cease now from thy strokes. Offer me no more. I have taken a blow in this place without striving; if thou givest me any more I will readily return them, be ye of that well assured,

my foe. But one stroke shall on me fall,The covenant was right so Made by us in Arthur's hall,And therefore, knight, now ho!']

[stanza 94 (long)]

the haþel heldet hym fro and on his ax restedsette þe schaft vpon schore and to þe scharp lenedand loked to þe leude þat on þe launde 3edehow þat do3ty dredles deruely þer stondezarmed ful a3lez in hert hit hym lykezþenn he melez muryly wyth a much steuenand wyth a rykande rurde he to þe renk saydebolde burne on þis bent be not so gryndelno mon here vnmanerly þe mysboden habbene kyd bot as couenaunde at kyngez kort schapedI hy3t þe a strok and þou hit hatz halde þe wel payedI relece þe of þe remnaunt of ry3tes alle oþeriif I deliuer had bene a boffet paraunterI couþe wroþeloker haf waret to þe haf wro3t angerfyrst I mansed þe muryly with a mynt oneand roue þe wyth no rof sore with ry3t I þe profered[fol. 122]for þe forwarde þat we fest in þe fyrst ny3tand þou trystyly þe trawþe and trwly me haldezal þe gayne þow me gef as god mon schuldeþat oþer munt for þe morne mon I þe proferedþou kyssedes my clere wyf þe cossez me ra3tezfor boþe two here I þe bede bot two bare myntes[bob]boute scaþe[wheel]trwe mon trwe restoreþenne þar mon drede no waþeat þe þrid þou fayled þoreand þerfor þat tappe ta þe

[The man held back and rested upon his axe, set the shaft on the ground, and leaned on the point, looked at Sir Gawain, and saw how bravely he stood there, doughty and dreadless and fully armed, and in his heart he was well pleased. Then spake he merrily and loudly, with a rushing sound, and said, 'Bold man, on this hill be not thou so angry, for no man has done thee wrong, unmannerly nor In any wise, except as was agreed in the court of King Arthur. I promised thee a stroke -- thou hast it; hold thyself well payed. I hereby release thee of the remnant and of all other rights. Had I so liked, I could have dealt thee a worse blow; but first I menaced thee in playful wise, and cut thee not at all, though with right I proffered it to thee for the covenant made between us the first night when thou faithfully didst keep thy troth and gavest me all thy gain as a true man should. The second blow I gave thee for the morning when thou didst kiss my beautiful wife, and gavest me the kisses, and for the two kisses I gave thee here but two blows without scathe

or tear. A true man keeps his sooth,And no scathe need he fear, Thou didst flinch at the third, in truth,So that stroke I gave thee here.]

[stanza 95 (long)]

for hit is my wede þat þou werez þat ilke wouen girdelmyn owen wyf hit þe weued I wot wel for soþenow know I wel þy cosses and þy costes alsand þe wowyng of my wyf I wro3t hit myseluenI sende hir to asay þe and sothly me þynkkezon þe fautlest freke þat euer on fote 3edeas perle bi þe quite pese is of prys moreso is gawayn in god fayth bi oþer gay kny3tezbot here yow lakked a lyttel sir and lewte yow wontedbot þat watz for no wylyde werke ne wowyng nauþerbot for 3e lufed your lyf þe lasse I yow blameþat oþper stif mon in study stod a gret whyleso agreued for greme he gryed withinnealle þe blode of his brest blende in his faceþat al he schrank for schome þat þe schalk talkedþe forme worde vpon folde þat þe freke meledcorsed worth cowarddyse and couetyse boþein yow is vylany and vyse þat vertue disstryezþenne he ka3t to þe knot and þe kest lawsezbrayde broþely þe belt to þe burne seluenlo þer þe falssyng foule mot hit fallefor care of þy knokke cowardyse me ta3tto acorde me with couetyse my kynde to forsakeþat is larges and lewte þat longez to kny3teznow am I fawty and falce and ferde haf ben euerof trecherye and vntrawþe boþe bityde sor3e[bob]and care[fol. 123r][wheel]I biknowe yow kny3t here stylleal fawty is my fareletez me ouertake your wylleand efte I schal be ware

[For in truth thou art wearing my weed in that same woven girdle which my wife gave to thee, as I wot well. And I know all about thy kisses and thy virtues also, and it was I myself who brought about the wooing of my wife. I sent her to assail thee, and I found thee to be the most faultless man on earth; as pearl is of more price than white pease, so is Gawain, in good faith, than all other gay knights. But, good sir, in this thou wast lacking a little in loyalty, not in any amorous working or wooing; but that thou didst love thy life the less I blame thee.' Then Sir Gawain stood thoughtful for a long time, and he trembled with rage, and all the blood of his body rushed to his face, and he shrank for shame all the time the Green Knight was talking. And the first words he uttered were, 'A curse on both cowardice and covetousness! In them are both villany and vice, that destroy virtue.' Then he caught hold of the girdle and violently flung it at the knight. 'Lo, there is the false thing, and may evil befall it. For fear of thy stroke cowardice seized me, and for covetousness I was false to my nature, which is loyal and true as befitteth a knight. Now am I faulty and false and fearful. May sorrow betide Treachery and Untruth

and Care. I know thee knight here still.All faulty is my fare, Let me but thwart thy will,And after I will be ware.']

[stanza 96 (long)]

thenn lo3e þat oþer leude and luflyly saydeI halde hit hardilyly hole þe harme þat I hadeþou art confessed so clene beknowen of þy myssesand hatz þe penaunce apert of þe poynt of myn eggeI halde þe polysed of þat ply3t and pured as cleneas þou hadez neuer forfeted syþen þou watz fyrst borneand I gif þe sir þe gurdel þat is golde hemmedfor hit is grene as my goune sir gawayn 3e mayeþenk vpon þis ilke þrepe þer þou forth þryngezamong prynces of prys and þis a pure tokenof þe chaunce of þe grene chapel at cheualrous kny3tezand 3e schal in þis new 3er a3ayn to my wonezand we schyn reuel þe remnaunt of þis ryche fest[bob]ful bene[wheel]þer laþed hym fast þe lordeand sayde With my wyf I wenewe schal yow wel acordeþat watz your enmy kene

[Then the other laughed and said, 'I reck nought of the harm I had of thee, for thou hast made such clean confession of thy misdeeds, and hast done such penance at the point of my sword that I hold thee free from thy fault and as innocent as if thou hadst never forfeited innocence since thou wast born. And here I give to thee again the girdle, that is gold hemmed and green as my gown. And thou shalt think on this chiding when thou goest forth among princes of price, and this shall be a pure token of thy chance at the Green Chapel, to chivalrous knights. Thou shalt come in this New Year and turn again to my dwelling, and we will spend the remnant of this noble feast in revellings as shall

be seen.' Thus invited Sir Gawain the lord,And quoth he 'My lady, I ween, She shall thee well accord,Though she was thine enemy keen.']

[stanza 97 (long)]

nay for soþe quoþ þe segge and sesed hys helmeand hatz hit of hendely and þe haþel þonkkezI haf soiorned sadly sele yow bytydeand he 3elde hit yow 3are þat 3arkkez al menskesand comaundez me to þat cortays your comlych fereboþe þat on and þat oþer myn honoured ladyezþat þus hor kny3t wyth hor kest han koyntly bigyledbot hit is no ferly þa3 a fole maddeand þur3 wyles of wymmen be wonen to sor3efor so watz adam in erde with one bygyledand salamon with fele sere and samson eftsonezdalyda dalt hym hys wyrde and dauyth þerafterwatz blended with barsabe þat much bale þolednow þese were wrathed wyth her wyles hit were a wynne hugeto luf hom wel and leue hem not a leude þat couþe[fol. 123]for þes wer forne þe freest þat fol3ed alle þe seleexellently of alle þyse oþer vnder heuenryche[bob]þat mused[wheel]and alle þay were biwyledwith wyth wymmen þat þay vsedþa3 I be now bigyledme þink me burde be excused

[`Nay, forsooth,' quoth Gawain, and he seized his helmet, gracefully doffed it, and thanked the Green Knight. 'Sadly have I sojourned, and may joy betide thee from Him who hath all men in His keeping. Commend me to that courteous one thy noble lady, and to the ancient dame, my honoured ladies who have so cunningly beguiled me. It is no wonder if a fool go mad in loving, and through the wiles of a woman be brought to sorrow, for so was Adam beguiled by one woman and Solomon by many; and to Samson, Delilah dealt him his weird, and David was beguiled by Barsabe, through whom he suffered great loss. All these were troubled by the wiles of women. Great joy it would be to love them well, and believe them not, if a man could do it. For of those who under heaven

have mused, All of them were beguiledBy women that they used; Though I be now be-wiledI think I am excused.']

[stanza 98 (long)]

bot your gordel quoþ gawayn god yow for3eldeþat wyl I welde wyth guod wylle not for þe wynne goldene þe saynt ne þe sylk ne þe syde pendaundesfor wele ne for worchyp ne for þe wlonk werkkezbot in syngne of my surfet I schal se hit oftewhen I ride in renoun remorde to myseluenþe faut and þe fayntyse of þe flesche crabbedhow tender hit is to entyse teches of fylþeand þus quen pryde schal me pryk for prowes of armesþe loke to þis luf lace schal leþe my hertbot on I wolde yow pray displeses yow neuersyn 3e be lorde of þe 3onder londe þer I haf lent innewyth yow wyth worschyp þe wy3e hit yow 3eldeþat vphaldez þe heuen and on hy3 sittezhow norne 3e yowre ry3t nome and þenne no moreþat schal I telle þe trwly quoþ þat oþer þennebertilak de hautdesert I hat in þis londeþur3 my3t of morgne la faye þat in my house lengesand koyntyse of clergye bi craftes wel lernedþe maystres of merlyn mony ho takenfor ho hatz dalt drwry ful dere sumtymewith þat conable klerk þat knowes alle your kny3tez[bob]at hame[wheel]morgne þe goddesþerfore hit is hir nameweldez non so hy3e hawtesseþat ho ne con make ful tame

[`But for thy girdle;' quoth Gawain, 'God reward thee for it, and I will wield it with good will, not for the gold, nor the samite, nor the silk, nor for its pendants, nor for weal nor worship, nor for its fair workings, but as a sign of my surfeit oft shall I look upon it; and when I ride in renown I shall feel remorse for the fault and cowardice of the crabbed flesh, and how easy it is to be smirched by filth, and thus, when pride shall prick me through prowess of arms, the sight of this lovely lace shall moderate the beating of my heart. But one thing I pray thee, and may it not displease thee, since thou art lord of that land where I have sojourned with thee in worship -- and may the Lord reward thee that sitteth on high and upholds the heavens -- tell me thy name, and no more do I ask thee.' 'That shall I tell thee truly,' quoth that other. 'Bernlak de Haudesert I am called in this land; and through might of Morgan le Fay, who lodges in my house, and the cunning of the clergy, I am well learned in crafts. She was the mistress of Merlin, and many has she taken captive by her wiles. For she has made love for a long time to that famous clerk that knows all your knights

at home. Morgan the goddessTherefore is her name; There is no haughtinessShe cannot make full tame.']

[stanza 99 (long)]

ho wayned me vpon þis wyse to your wynne hallefor to assay þe surquidre 3if hit soth wereþat rennes of þe grete renoun of þe rounde tableho wayned me þis wonder your wyttez to reue[fol. 124r]for to haf greued gaynour and gart hir to dy3ewith gopnyng of þat ilke gomen þat gostlych spekedwith his hede in his honde bifore þe hy3e tableþat is ho þat is at home þe auncian ladyho is euen þyn aunt arþurez half susterþe duches do3ter of tyntagelle þat dere vter afterhade arþur vpon þat aþel is nowþeþerfore I eþe þe haþel to com to þy nauntmake myry in my house my meny þe louiesand I wol þe as wel wy3e bi my faytheas any gome vnder god for þy grete trauþeand he nikked hym naye he nolde bi no wayesþay acolen and kyssen ayþer oþerto þe prynce of paradise and parten ry3t þere[bob]on coolde[wheel]gawayn on blonk ful beneto þe kyngez bur3 buskez boldeand þe kny3t in þe enker grenewhiderwarde so euer he wolde

[`It was she who brought me in this wise to your joyous I hall, to assay the pride thereof if it were truly spoken of, and to put to the test the great renown of the Round Table. She it was who made me do this marvel to put you all out of your wits, in order to vex and pain Guinevere and to cause her death, together with all that ghostly game and the knight with his head in his hand before the high table. It was the work of Morgan, who is that ancient dame thou didst see in my house. And she is thine aunt, and half-sister to Arthur, the daughter of the Duchess of Tintagel, who afterwards married Uther and gave birth to Arthur, who now is king. Therefore I implore thee, come and see thy aunt. Make merry in my house, for my servants all love thee, and I wish thee well, by my faith, as any man under heaven because of thy great truth.' But Sir Gawain denied with a nay, and said he would not in any wise. Then they embraced and kissed and commended each other to the King of Paradise, and they parted right there

on the wold. Gawain mounts horses, I ween,To the king's town hastes him, bold. The knight, in weeds of green,Went o'er the moorland cold.]

[stanza 100 (long)]

wylde wayez in þe worlde wowen now rydezon gryngolet þat þe grace hade geten of his lyueofte he herbered in house and ofte al þerouteand mony aventure in vale and venquyst ofteþat I ne ty3t at þis tyme in tale to remeneþe hurt watz hole þat he hade hent in his nekand þe blykkande belt he bere þerabouteabelef as a bauderyk bounden bi his sydeloken vnder his lyfte arme þe lace with a knotin tokenyng he watz tane in tech of a fauteand þus he commes to þe court kny3t al in soundeþer wakned wele in þat wone when wyst þe greteþat gode gawayn watz commen gayn hit hym þo3tþe kyng kyssez þe kny3t and þe whene alceand syþen mony syker kny3t þat so3t hym to haylceof his fare þat hym frayned and ferlyly he tellesbiknowez alle þe costes of care þat he hadeþe chaunce of þe chapel þe chere of þe kny3t [fol. 124]þe luf of þe ladi þe lace at þe lastþe nirt in þe nek he naked hem schewedþat he la3t for his vnleute at þe leudes hondes[bob]for blame[wheel]he tened quen he schulde tellehe groned for gref and grameþe blod in his face con mellewhen he hit schulde schewe for schame

[Gawain rode over wild ways of the world. Sometimes he found rest in houses, and sometimes in the open air, and had many adventures in the valleys, and oft he overcame, and I will not try to tell it all. The hurt was healed that he had in his neck, and he still carried the glittering belt at his side; under his left arm was the lace, tied with a knot, in token that he was taken in a fault. Thus he came to court, a knight all unhurt. There was joy in that hall when the great ones knew that Sir Gawain was come back, and great gain they thought it. The king kissed the knight, and the queen also, and many a faithful knight sought to embrace him, and they asked him of his faring, and he told them all the wonders thereof and all the labours he had endured, the chance of the chapel, the doings of the Green Knight, the love-making of the lady, and of the lace last of all. Then he showed them the cut in his neck which for his disloyalty he received at the hand of the Green Knight

for blame. He moaned as he did it tell,The blood to his face then came, As he groaned for grief as well,When he showed it to them for shame.]

[stanza 101 (long)]

lo lorde quoþ þe leude and þe lace hondeledþis is þe bende of þis blame I bere my nekþis is þe laþe and þe losse þat I la3t haueof couardise and couetyse þat I haf ca3t þareþis is þe token of vntrawþe þat I am tan inneand I mot nedez hit were wyle I may lastfor non may hyden his harme bot vnhap ne may hitfor þer hit onez is tachched twynne wil hit neuerþe kyng comfortez þe kny3t and alle þe court alsla3en loude þerat and luflyly acordenþat lordes and ladis þat longed to þe tablevche burne of þe broþerhede a bauderyk schulde hauea bende abelef hym aboute of a bry3t greneand þat for sake of þat segge in swete to werefor þat watz acorded þe renoun of þe rounde tableand he honoured þat hit hade euermore afteras hit is breued in þe best boke of romaunceþus in arthurus day þis aunter bitiddeþe brutus bokez þerof beres wyttenessesyþen brutus þe bolde burne bo3ed hider fyrstafter þe segge and þe asaute watz sesed at troye[bob]iwysse[wheel]mony aunterez here bifornehaf fallen suche er þisnow þat here þe croun of þornehe bryng vus to his blysse amen

[`Lo, my lord,' quoth the knight as he handled the lace, 'this is the bond and sign of my shame, this is the loss and the hurt that I have suffered through cowardice and covetousness. It is the token of untruth, and I must needs wear it while life shall last, for none may hide it, for when it is once fixed upon any one never will it pass from him.' The king comforted the knight, as did all the court; and they laughed loudly, and it was agreed that all the lords and ladies of the Round Table, each member of the brotherhood, should have a lace belt, a band of bright green, and wear it for the sake of Sir Gawain as long as they lived. And this was the renown of the Round Table, and he that had it was held in great honour for evermore, as I have seen it written in the best book of romance. Thus in King Arthur's day did this adventure betide. The Brutus books bear witness to it, since the bold Knight Brutus came hither first after the siege and the assault ceased at Troy, as

I wis. Many adventures herebeforeHave befallen such ere this. Now He that thorn-crown for us boreBring us to His bliss. Amen.]

[motto]hony soyt qui mal pence

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