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by Thomas Stearns Eliot (T S) Eliot |


 Thou hast nor youth nor age
But as it were an after dinner sleep
Dreaming of both.

HERE I am, an old man in a dry month,
Being read to by a boy, waiting for rain.
I was neither at the hot gates
Nor fought in the warm rain
Nor knee deep in the salt marsh, heaving a cutlass,
Bitten by flies, fought.
My house is a decayed house,
And the jew squats on the window sill, the owner,
Spawned in some estaminet of Antwerp,
Blistered in Brussels, patched and peeled in London.
The goat coughs at night in the field overhead;
Rocks, moss, stonecrop, iron, merds.
The woman keeps the kitchen, makes tea,
Sneezes at evening, poking the peevish gutter.
I an old man,
A dull head among windy spaces.

Signs are taken for wonders. “We would see a sign!”
The word within a word, unable to speak a word,
Swaddled with darkness. In the juvescence of the year
Came Christ the tiger
In depraved May, dogwood and chestnut, flowering judas,
To be eaten, to be divided, to be drunk
Among whispers; by Mr. Silvero
With caressing hands, at Limoges
Who walked all night in the next room;

By Hakagawa, bowing among the Titians;
By Madame de Tornquist, in the dark room
Shifting the candles; Fräulein von Kulp
Who turned in the hall, one hand on the door. Vacant shuttles
Weave the wind. I have no ghosts,
An old man in a draughty house
Under a windy knob.

After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Think now
History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors
And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions,
Guides us by vanities. Think now
She gives when our attention is distracted
And what she gives, gives with such supple confusions
That the giving famishes the craving. Gives too late
What’s not believed in, or if still believed,
In memory only, reconsidered passion. Gives too soon
Into weak hands, what’s thought can be dispensed with
Till the refusal propagates a fear. Think
Neither fear nor courage saves us. Unnatural vices
Are fathered by our heroism. Virtues
Are forced upon us by our impudent crimes.
These tears are shaken from the wrath-bearing tree.

The tiger springs in the new year. Us he devours. Think at last
We have not reached conclusion, when I
Stiffen in a rented house. Think at last
I have not made this show purposelessly
And it is not by any concitation
Of the backward devils
I would meet you upon this honestly.
I that was near your heart was removed therefrom
To lose beauty in terror, terror in inquisition.
I have lost my passion: why should I need to keep it
Since what is kept must be adulterated?
I have lost my sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch:
How should I use them for your closer contact?
These with a thousand small deliberations
Protract the profit of their chilled delirium,
Excite the membrane, when the sense has cooled,
With pungent sauces, multiply variety
In a wilderness of mirrors. What will the spider do,
Suspend its operations, will the weevil
Delay? De Bailhache, Fresca, Mrs. Cammel, whirled
Beyond the circuit of the shuddering Bear
In fractured atoms. Gull against the wind, in the windy straits
Of Belle Isle, or running on the Horn,
White feathers in the snow, the Gulf claims,
And an old man driven by the Trades
To a sleepy corner.

Tenants of the house,
Thoughts of a dry brain in a dry season.

by Thomas Stearns Eliot (T S) Eliot |



THE WINTER evening settles down
With smell of steaks in passageways.
Six o’clock.
The burnt-out ends of smoky days.
And now a gusty shower wraps
The grimy scraps
Of withered leaves about your feet
And newspapers from vacant lots;
The showers beat
On broken blinds and chimney-pots,
And at the corner of the street
A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps.
And then the lighting of the lamps.


The morning comes to consciousness
Of faint stale smells of beer
From the sawdust-trampled street
With all its muddy feet that press
To early coffee-stands.
With the other masquerades
That time resumes,
One thinks of all the hands
That are raising dingy shades
In a thousand furnished rooms.


You tossed a blanket from the bed,
You lay upon your back, and waited;
You dozed, and watched the night revealing
The thousand sordid images
Of which your soul was constituted;
They flickered against the ceiling.
And when all the world came back
And the light crept up between the shutters
And you heard the sparrows in the gutters,
You had such a vision of the street
As the street hardly understands;
Sitting along the bed’s edge, where
You curled the papers from your hair,
Or clasped the yellow soles of feet
In the palms of both soiled hands.


His soul stretched tight across the skies
That fade behind a city block,
Or trampled by insistent feet
At four and five and six o’clock;
And short square fingers stuffing pipes,
And evening newspapers, and eyes
Assured of certain certainties,
The conscience of a blackened street
Impatient to assume the world.

I am moved by fancies that are curled
Around these images, and cling:
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing.

Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh;
The worlds revolve like ancient women
Gathering fuel in vacant lots.

by Thomas Stearns Eliot (T S) Eliot |

Growltigers Last Stand

 GROWLTIGER was a Bravo Cat, who lived upon a barge;
In fact he was the roughest cat that ever roamed at large.
From Gravesend up to Oxford he pursued his evil aims,
Rejoicing in his title of "The Terror of the Thames."

His manners and appearance did not calculate to please;
His coat was torn and seedy, he was baggy at the knees;
One ear was somewhat missing, no need to tell you why,
And he scowled upon a hostile world from one forbidding eye.

The cottagers of Rotherhithe knew something of his fame,
At Hammersmith and Putney people shuddered at his name.
They would fortify the hen-house, lock up the silly goose,
When the rumour ran along the shore: GROWLTIGER'S ON THE LOOSE!

Woe to the weak canary, that fluttered from its cage;
Woe to the pampered Pekinese, that faced Growltiger's rage.
Woe to the bristly Bandicoot, that lurks on foreign ships,
And woe to any Cat with whom Growltiger came to grips!

But most to Cats of foreign race his hatred had been vowed;
To Cats of foreign name and race no quarter was allowed.
The Persian and the Siamese regarded him with fear--
Because it was a Siamese had mauled his missing ear.

Now on a peaceful summer night, all nature seemed at play,
The tender moon was shining bright, the barge at Molesey lay.
All in the balmy moonlight it lay rocking on the tide--
And Growltiger was disposed to show his sentimental side.

His bucko mate, GRUMBUSKIN, long since had disappeared,
For to the Bell at Hampton he had gone to wet his beard;
And his bosun, TUMBLEBRUTUS, he too had stol'n away-
In the yard behind the Lion he was prowling for his prey.

In the forepeak of the vessel Growltiger sate alone,
Concentrating his attention on the Lady GRIDDLEBONE.
And his raffish crew were sleeping in their barrels and their bunks--
As the Siamese came creeping in their sampans and their junks.

Growltiger had no eye or ear for aught but Griddlebone,
And the Lady seemed enraptured by his manly baritone,
Disposed to relaxation, and awaiting no surprise--
But the moonlight shone reflected from a thousand bright blue eyes.

And closer still and closer the sampans circled round,
And yet from all the enemy there was not heard a sound.
The lovers sang their last duet, in danger of their lives--
For the foe was armed with toasting forks and cruel carving knives.
Then GILBERT gave the signal to his fierce Mongolian horde;
With a frightful burst of fireworks the Chinks they swarmed aboard.
Abandoning their sampans, and their pullaways and junks,
They battened down the hatches on the crew within their bunks.

Then Griddlebone she gave a screech, for she was badly skeered;
I am sorry to admit it, but she quickly disappeared.
She probably escaped with ease, I'm sure she was not drowned--
But a serried ring of flashing steel Growltiger did surround.

The ruthless foe pressed forward, in stubborn rank on rank;
Growltiger to his vast surprise was forced to walk the plank.
He who a hundred victims had driven to that drop,
At the end of all his crimes was forced to go ker-flip, ker-flop.

Oh there was joy in Wapping when the news flew through the land;
At Maidenhead and Henley there was dancing on the strand.
Rats were roasted whole at Brentford, and at Victoria Dock,
And a day of celebration was commanded in Bangkok.

by Thomas Stearns Eliot (T S) Eliot |

Four Quartets 3: The Dry Salvages

 (The Dry Salvages—presumably les trois sauvages—is a small
group of rocks, with a beacon, off the N.E. coast of Cape Ann,
Massachusetts. Salvages is pronounced to rhyme with assuages.
Groaner: a whistling buoy.) 


I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river
Is a strong brown god—sullen, untamed and intractable,
Patient to some degree, at first recognised as a frontier;
Useful, untrustworthy, as a conveyor of commerce;
Then only a problem confronting the builder of bridges.
The problem once solved, the brown god is almost forgotten
By the dwellers in cities—ever, however, implacable.
Keeping his seasons and rages, destroyer, reminder
Of what men choose to forget. Unhonoured, unpropitiated
By worshippers of the machine, but waiting, watching and waiting.
His rhythm was present in the nursery bedroom,
In the rank ailanthus of the April dooryard,
In the smell of grapes on the autumn table,
And the evening circle in the winter gaslight.

 The river is within us, the sea is all about us;
The sea is the land's edge also, the granite
Into which it reaches, the beaches where it tosses
Its hints of earlier and other creation:
The starfish, the horseshoe crab, the whale's backbone;
The pools where it offers to our curiosity
The more delicate algae and the sea anemone.
It tosses up our losses, the torn seine,
The shattered lobsterpot, the broken oar
And the gear of foreign dead men. The sea has many voices,
Many gods and many voices.
 The salt is on the briar rose,
The fog is in the fir trees.
 The sea howl
And the sea yelp, are different voices
Often together heard: the whine in the rigging,
The menace and caress of wave that breaks on water,
The distant rote in the granite teeth,
And the wailing warning from the approaching headland
Are all sea voices, and the heaving groaner
Rounded homewards, and the seagull:
And under the oppression of the silent fog
The tolling bell
Measures time not our time, rung by the unhurried
Ground swell, a time
Older than the time of chronometers, older
Than time counted by anxious worried women
Lying awake, calculating the future,
Trying to unweave, unwind, unravel
And piece together the past and the future,
Between midnight and dawn, when the past is all deception,
The future futureless, before the morning watch
When time stops and time is never ending;
And the ground swell, that is and was from the beginning,
The bell.


Where is there an end of it, the soundless wailing,
The silent withering of autumn flowers
Dropping their petals and remaining motionless;
Where is there and end to the drifting wreckage,
The prayer of the bone on the beach, the unprayable
Prayer at the calamitous annunciation?

There is no end, but addition: the trailing
Consequence of further days and hours,
While emotion takes to itself the emotionless
Years of living among the breakage
Of what was believed in as the most reliable—
And therefore the fittest for renunciation.

There is the final addition, the failing
Pride or resentment at failing powers,
The unattached devotion which might pass for devotionless,
In a drifting boat with a slow leakage,
The silent listening to the undeniable
Clamour of the bell of the last annunciation.

Where is the end of them, the fishermen sailing
Into the wind's tail, where the fog cowers?
We cannot think of a time that is oceanless
Or of an ocean not littered with wastage
Or of a future that is not liable
Like the past, to have no destination.

We have to think of them as forever bailing,
Setting and hauling, while the North East lowers
Over shallow banks unchanging and erosionless
Or drawing their money, drying sails at dockage;
Not as making a trip that will be unpayable
For a haul that will not bear examination.

There is no end of it, the voiceless wailing,
No end to the withering of withered flowers,
To the movement of pain that is painless and motionless,
To the drift of the sea and the drifting wreckage,
The bone's prayer to Death its God. Only the hardly, barely prayable
Prayer of the one Annunciation.

It seems, as one becomes older,
That the past has another pattern, and ceases to be a mere sequence—
Or even development: the latter a partial fallacy
Encouraged by superficial notions of evolution,
Which becomes, in the popular mind, a means of disowning the past.
The moments of happiness—not the sense of well-being,
Fruition, fulfilment, security or affection,
Or even a very good dinner, but the sudden illumination—
We had the experience but missed the meaning,
And approach to the meaning restores the experience
In a different form, beyond any meaning
We can assign to happiness. I have said before
That the past experience revived in the meaning
Is not the experience of one life only
But of many generations—not forgetting
Something that is probably quite ineffable:
The backward look behind the assurance
Of recorded history, the backward half-look
Over the shoulder, towards the primitive terror.
Now, we come to discover that the moments of agony
(Whether, or not, due to misunderstanding,
Having hoped for the wrong things or dreaded the wrong things,
Is not in question) are likewise permanent
With such permanence as time has. We appreciate this better
In the agony of others, nearly experienced,
Involving ourselves, than in our own.
For our own past is covered by the currents of action,
But the torment of others remains an experience
Unqualified, unworn by subsequent attrition.
People change, and smile: but the agony abides.
Time the destroyer is time the preserver,
Like the river with its cargo of dead negroes, cows and chicken coops,
The bitter apple, and the bite in the apple.
And the ragged rock in the restless waters,
Waves wash over it, fogs conceal it;
On a halcyon day it is merely a monument,
In navigable weather it is always a seamark
To lay a course by: but in the sombre season
Or the sudden fury, is what it always was.


I sometimes wonder if that is what Krishna meant—
Among other things—or one way of putting the same thing:
That the future is a faded song, a Royal Rose or a lavender spray
Of wistful regret for those who are not yet here to regret,
Pressed between yellow leaves of a book that has never been opened.
And the way up is the way down, the way forward is the way back.
You cannot face it steadily, but this thing is sure,
That time is no healer: the patient is no longer here.
When the train starts, and the passengers are settled
To fruit, periodicals and business letters
(And those who saw them off have left the platform)
Their faces relax from grief into relief,
To the sleepy rhythm of a hundred hours.
Fare forward, travellers! not escaping from the past
Into different lives, or into any future;
You are not the same people who left that station
Or who will arrive at any terminus,
While the narrowing rails slide together behind you;
And on the deck of the drumming liner
Watching the furrow that widens behind you,
You shall not think 'the past is finished'
Or 'the future is before us'.
At nightfall, in the rigging and the aerial,
Is a voice descanting (though not to the ear,
The murmuring shell of time, and not in any language)
'Fare forward, you who think that you are voyaging;
You are not those who saw the harbour
Receding, or those who will disembark.
Here between the hither and the farther shore
While time is withdrawn, consider the future
And the past with an equal mind.
At the moment which is not of action or inaction
You can receive this: "on whatever sphere of being
The mind of a man may be intent
At the time of death"—that is the one action
(And the time of death is every moment)
Which shall fructify in the lives of others:
And do not think of the fruit of action.
Fare forward.
 O voyagers, O seamen,
You who came to port, and you whose bodies
Will suffer the trial and judgement of the sea,
Or whatever event, this is your real destination.'
So Krishna, as when he admonished Arjuna
On the field of battle.
 Not fare well,
But fare forward, voyagers.


Lady, whose shrine stands on the promontory,
Pray for all those who are in ships, those
Whose business has to do with fish, and
Those concerned with every lawful traffic
And those who conduct them.

 Repeat a prayer also on behalf of
Women who have seen their sons or husbands
Setting forth, and not returning:
Figlia del tuo figlio,
Queen of Heaven.

 Also pray for those who were in ships, and
Ended their voyage on the sand, in the sea's lips
Or in the dark throat which will not reject them
Or wherever cannot reach them the sound of the sea bell's
Perpetual angelus.


To communicate with Mars, converse with spirits,
To report the behaviour of the sea monster,
Describe the horoscope, haruspicate or scry,
Observe disease in signatures, evoke
Biography from the wrinkles of the palm
And tragedy from fingers; release omens
By sortilege, or tea leaves, riddle the inevitable
With playing cards, fiddle with pentagrams
Or barbituric acids, or dissect
The recurrent image into pre-conscious terrors—
To explore the womb, or tomb, or dreams; all these are usual
Pastimes and drugs, and features of the press:
And always will be, some of them especially
When there is distress of nations and perplexity
Whether on the shores of Asia, or in the Edgware Road.
Men's curiosity searches past and future
And clings to that dimension. But to apprehend
The point of intersection of the timeless
With time, is an occupation for the saint—
No occupation either, but something given
And taken, in a lifetime's death in love,
Ardour and selflessness and self-surrender.
For most of us, there is only the unattended
Moment, the moment in and out of time,
The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight,
The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning
Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts. These are only hints and guesses,
Hints followed by guesses; and the rest
Is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action.
The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation.
Here the impossible union
Of spheres of existence is actual,
Here the past and future
Are conquered, and reconciled,
Where action were otherwise movement
Of that which is only moved
And has in it no source of movement—
Driven by dæmonic, chthonic
Powers. And right action is freedom
From past and future also.
For most of us, this is the aim
Never here to be realised;
Who are only undefeated
Because we have gone on trying;
We, content at the last
If our temporal reversion nourish
(Not too far from the yew-tree)
The life of significant soil.

by Thomas Stearns Eliot (T S) Eliot |

Mungojerrie And Rumpelteazer

 Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer were a very notorious couple 
 of cats.
As knockabout clown, quick-change comedians, tight-rope 
 walkers and acrobats
They had extensive reputation. They made their home in 
 Victoria Grove--
That was merely their centre of operation, for they were 
 incurably given to rove.
They were very well know in Cornwall Gardens, in Launceston 
 Place and in Kensington Square--
They had really a little more reputation than a couple of 
 cats can very well bear.

If the area window was found ajar
And the basement looked like a field of war,
If a tile or two came loose on the roof,
Which presently ceased to be waterproof,
If the drawers were pulled out from the bedroom chests,
And you couldn't find one of your winter vests,
Or after supper one of the girls
Suddenly missed her Woolworth pearls:

Then the family would say: "It's that horrible cat!
It was Mungojerrie--or Rumpelteazer!"-- And most of the time 
 they left it at that.

Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer had a very unusual gift of the 
They were highly efficient cat-burglars as well, and 
 remarkably smart at smash-and-grab.
They made their home in Victoria Grove. They had no regular 
They were plausible fellows, and liked to engage a friendly 
 policeman in conversation.

When the family assembled for Sunday dinner,
With their minds made up that they wouldn't get thinner
On Argentine joint, potatoes and greens,
And the cook would appear from behind the scenes
And say in a voice that was broken with sorrow:
"I'm afraid you must wait and have dinner tomorrow!
For the joint has gone from the oven-like that!"
Then the family would say: "It's that horrible cat!
It was Mungojerrie--or Rumpelteazer!"-- And most of the time 
 they left it at that.

Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer had a wonderful way of working 
And some of the time you would say it was luck, and some of 
 the time you would say it was weather.
They would go through the house like a hurricane, and no sober 
 person could take his oath
Was it Mungojerrie--or Rumpelteazer? or could you have sworn 
 that it mightn't be both?

And when you heard a dining-room smash
Or up from the pantry there came a loud crash
Or down from the library came a loud ping
From a vase which was commonly said to be Ming--
Then the family would say: "Now which was which cat?
It was Mungojerrie! AND Rumpelteazer!"-- And there's nothing 
 at all to be done about that!

by Thomas Stearns Eliot (T S) Eliot |

Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat

 There's a whisper down the line at 11.39
When the Night Mail's ready to depart,
Saying "Skimble where is Skimble has he gone to hunt the thimble?
We must find him or the train can't start."
All the guards and all the porters and the stationmaster's daughters
They are searching high and low,
Saying "Skimble where is Skimble for unless he's very nimble
Then the Night Mail just can't go."
At 11.42 then the signal's nearly due
And the passengers are frantic to a man—
Then Skimble will appear and he'll saunter to the rear:
He's been busy in the luggage van!

He gives one flash of his glass-green eyes
And the signal goes "All Clear!"
And we're off at last for the northern part
Of the Northern Hemisphere!

You may say that by and large it is Skimble who's in charge
Of the Sleeping Car Express.
From the driver and the guards to the bagmen playing cards
He will supervise them all, more or less.
Down the corridor he paces and examines all the faces
Of the travellers in the First and the Third;
He establishes control by a regular patrol
And he'd know at once if anything occurred.
He will watch you without winking and he sees what you are thinking
And it's certain that he doesn't approve
Of hilarity and riot, so the folk are very quiet
When Skimble is about and on the move.
You can play no pranks with Skimbleshanks!
He's a Cat that cannot be ignored;
So nothing goes wrong on the Northern Mail
When Skimbleshanks is aboard.

Oh, it's very pleasant when you have found your little den
With your name written up on the door.
And the berth is very neat with a newly folded sheet
And there's not a speck of dust on the floor.
There is every sort of light-you can make it dark or bright;
There's a handle that you turn to make a breeze.
There's a funny little basin you're supposed to wash your face in
And a crank to shut the window if you sneeze.
Then the guard looks in politely and will ask you very brightly
"Do you like your morning tea weak or strong?"
But Skimble's just behind him and was ready to remind him,
For Skimble won't let anything go wrong.
And when you creep into your cosy berth
And pull up the counterpane,
You ought to reflect that it's very nice
To know that you won't be bothered by mice—
You can leave all that to the Railway Cat,
The Cat of the Railway Train!

In the watches of the night he is always fresh and bright;
Every now and then he has a cup of tea
With perhaps a drop of Scotch while he's keeping on the watch,
Only stopping here and there to catch a flea.
You were fast asleep at Crewe and so you never knew
That he was walking up and down the station;
You were sleeping all the while he was busy at Carlisle,
Where he greets the stationmaster with elation.
But you saw him at Dumfries, where he speaks to the police
If there's anything they ought to know about:
When you get to Gallowgate there you do not have to wait—
For Skimbleshanks will help you to get out!
He gives you a wave of his long brown tail
Which says: "I'll see you again!
You'll meet without fail on the Midnight Mail
The Cat of the Railway Train."

by Thomas Stearns Eliot (T S) Eliot |

Four Quartets 2: East Coker


In my beginning is my end. In succession
Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended,
Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place
Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.
Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires,
Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earth
Which is already flesh, fur and faeces,
Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf.
Houses live and die: there is a time for building
And a time for living and for generation
And a time for the wind to break the loosened pane
And to shake the wainscot where the field-mouse trots
And to shake the tattered arras woven with a silent motto.

 In my beginning is my end. Now the light falls
Across the open field, leaving the deep lane
Shuttered with branches, dark in the afternoon,
Where you lean against a bank while a van passes,
And the deep lane insists on the direction
Into the village, in the electric heat
Hypnotised. In a warm haze the sultry light
Is absorbed, not refracted, by grey stone.
The dahlias sleep in the empty silence.
Wait for the early owl.

 In that open field
If you do not come too close, if you do not come too close,
On a summer midnight, you can hear the music
Of the weak pipe and the little drum
And see them dancing around the bonfire
The association of man and woman
In daunsinge, signifying matrimonie—
A dignified and commodiois sacrament.
Two and two, necessarye coniunction,
Holding eche other by the hand or the arm
Whiche betokeneth concorde. Round and round the fire
Leaping through the flames, or joined in circles,
Rustically solemn or in rustic laughter
Lifting heavy feet in clumsy shoes,
Earth feet, loam feet, lifted in country mirth
Mirth of those long since under earth
Nourishing the corn. Keeping time,
Keeping the rhythm in their dancing
As in their living in the living seasons
The time of the seasons and the constellations
The time of milking and the time of harvest
The time of the coupling of man and woman
And that of beasts. Feet rising and falling.
Eating and drinking. Dung and death.

 Dawn points, and another day
Prepares for heat and silence. Out at sea the dawn wind
Wrinkles and slides. I am here
Or there, or elsewhere. In my beginning.


What is the late November doing
With the disturbance of the spring
And creatures of the summer heat,
And snowdrops writhing under feet
And hollyhocks that aim too high
Red into grey and tumble down
Late roses filled with early snow?
Thunder rolled by the rolling stars
Simulates triumphal cars
Deployed in constellated wars
Scorpion fights against the Sun
Until the Sun and Moon go down
Comets weep and Leonids fly
Hunt the heavens and the plains
Whirled in a vortex that shall bring
The world to that destructive fire
Which burns before the ice-cap reigns.

 That was a way of putting it—not very satisfactory:
A periphrastic study in a worn-out poetical fashion,
Leaving one still with the intolerable wrestle
With words and meanings. The poetry does not matter.
It was not (to start again) what one had expected.
What was to be the value of the long looked forward to,
Long hoped for calm, the autumnal serenity
And the wisdom of age? Had they deceived us
Or deceived themselves, the quiet-voiced elders,
Bequeathing us merely a receipt for deceit?
The serenity only a deliberate hebetude,
The wisdom only the knowledge of dead secrets
Useless in the darkness into which they peered
Or from which they turned their eyes. There is, it seems to us,
At best, only a limited value
In the knowledge derived from experience.
The knowledge imposes a pattern, and falsifies,
For the pattern is new in every moment
And every moment is a new and shocking
Valuation of all we have been. We are only undeceived
Of that which, deceiving, could no longer harm.
In the middle, not only in the middle of the way
But all the way, in a dark wood, in a bramble,
On the edge of a grimpen, where is no secure foothold,
And menaced by monsters, fancy lights,
Risking enchantment. Do not let me hear
Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly,
Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession,
Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.

 The houses are all gone under the sea.

 The dancers are all gone under the hill.


O dark dark dark. They all go into the dark,
The vacant interstellar spaces, the vacant into the vacant,
The captains, merchant bankers, eminent men of letters,
The generous patrons of art, the statesmen and the rulers,
Distinguished civil servants, chairmen of many committees,
Industrial lords and petty contractors, all go into the dark,
And dark the Sun and Moon, and the Almanach de Gotha
And the Stock Exchange Gazette, the Directory of Directors,
And cold the sense and lost the motive of action.
And we all go with them, into the silent funeral,
Nobody's funeral, for there is no one to bury.
I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre,
The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed
With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness,
And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama
And the bold imposing façade are all being rolled away—
Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations
And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence
And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen
Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about;
Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious of nothing—
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,
The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy
Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony
Of death and birth.

 You say I am repeating
Something I have said before. I shall say it again.
Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there,
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
 You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
 You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
 You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
 You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.


The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer's art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.

 Our only health is the disease
If we obey the dying nurse
Whose constant care is not to please
But to remind of our, and Adam's curse,
And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.

 The whole earth is our hospital
Endowed by the ruined millionaire,
Wherein, if we do well, we shall
Die of the absolute paternal care
That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.

 The chill ascends from feet to knees,
The fever sings in mental wires.
If to be warmed, then I must freeze
And quake in frigid purgatorial fires
Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.

 The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood—
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.


So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years—
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deux guerres
Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate—but there is no competition—
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

 Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

by Thomas Stearns Eliot (T S) Eliot |

Gus: The Theatre Cat

 Gus is the Cat at the Theatre Door.
His name, as I ought to have told you before,
Is really Asparagus. That's such a fuss
To pronounce, that we usually call him just Gus.
His coat's very shabby, he's thin as a rake,
And he suffers from palsy that makes his paw shake.
Yet he was, in his youth, quite the smartest of Cats--
But no longer a terror to mice and to rats.
For he isn't the Cat that he was in his prime;
Though his name was quite famous, he says, in its time.
And whenever he joins his friends at their club
(Which takes place at the back of the neighbouring pub)
He loves to regale them, if someone else pays,
With anecdotes drawn from his palmiest days.
For he once was a Star of the highest degree--
He has acted with Irving, he's acted with Tree.
And he likes to relate his success on the Halls,
Where the Gallery once gave him seven cat-calls.
But his grandest creation, as he loves to tell,
Was Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell.

"I have played," so he says, "every possible part,
And I used to know seventy speeches by heart.
I'd extemporize back-chat, I knew how to gag,
And I knew how to let the cat out of the bag.
I knew how to act with my back and my tail;
With an hour of rehearsal, I never could fail.
I'd a voice that would soften the hardest of hearts,
Whether I took the lead, or in character parts.
I have sat by the bedside of poor Little Nell;
When the Curfew was rung, then I swung on the bell.
In the Pantomime season I never fell flat,
And I once understudied Dick Whittington's Cat.
But my grandest creation, as history will tell,
Was Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell."

Then, if someone will give him a toothful of gin,
He will tell how he once played a part in East Lynne.
At a Shakespeare performance he once walked on pat,
When some actor suggested the need for a cat.
He once played a Tiger--could do it again--
Which an Indian Colonel purused down a drain.
And he thinks that he still can, much better than most,
Produce blood-curdling noises to bring on the Ghost.
And he once crossed the stage on a telegraph wire,
To rescue a child when a house was on fire.
And he says: "Now then kittens, they do not get trained
As we did in the days when Victoria reigned.
They never get drilled in a regular troupe,
And they think they are smart, just to jump through a hoop."
And he'll say, as he scratches himself with his claws,
"Well, the Theatre's certainly not what it was.
These modern productions are all very well,
But there's nothing to equal, from what I hear tell,
That moment of mystery
When I made history
As Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell."

by Thomas Stearns Eliot (T S) Eliot |

The Old Gumbie Cat

 I have a Gumbie Cat in mind, her name is Jennyanydots;
Her coat is of the tabby kind, with tiger stripes and leopard spots.
All day she sits upon the stair or on the steps or on the mat;
She sits and sits and sits and sits--and that's what makes a Gumbie Cat!

But when the day's hustle and bustle is done,
Then the Gumbie Cat's work is but hardly begun.
And when all the family's in bed and asleep,
She tucks up her skirts to the basement to creep.
She is deeply concerned with the ways of the mice--
Their behaviour's not good and their manners not nice;
So when she has got them lined up on the matting,
She teachs them music, crocheting and tatting.

I have a Gumbie Cat in mind, her name is Jennyanydots;
Her equal would be hard to find, she likes the warm and sunny spots.
All day she sits beside the hearth or on the bed or on my hat:
She sits and sits and sits and sits--and that's what makes a Gumbie Cat!

But when the day's hustle and bustle is done,
Then the Gumbie Cat's work is but hardly begun.
As she finds that the mice will not ever keep quiet,
She is sure it is due to irregular diet;
And believing that nothing is done without trying,
She sets right to work with her baking and frying.
She makes them a mouse--cake of bread and dried peas,
And a beautiful fry of lean bacon and cheese.

I have a Gumbie Cat in mind, her name is Jennyanydots;
The curtain-cord she likes to wind, and tie it into sailor-knots.
She sits upon the window-sill, or anything that's smooth and flat:
She sits and sits and sits and sits--and that's what makes a Gumbie Cat!

But when the day's hustle and bustle is done,
Then the Gumbie Cat's work is but hardly begun.
She thinks that the cockroaches just need employment
To prevent them from idle and wanton destroyment.
So she's formed, from that lot of disorderly louts,
A troop of well-disciplined helpful boy-scouts,
With a purpose in life and a good deed to do--
And she's even created a Beetles' Tattoo.

So for Old Gumbie Cats let us now give three cheers--
On whom well-ordered households depend, it appears.

by Thomas Stearns Eliot (T S) Eliot |

Gawain and the Green Knight

THEN the sege and the assaut watz sesed at Troye,
The borygh brittened and brent to brondeygh and askez,
The tulk that the trammes of tresoun ther wroyght
Watz tried for his tricherie, the trewest on erthe:
Hit watz Ennias the athel, and his highe kynde,
That sithen depreced prouinces, and patrounes bicome
Welneyghe of al the wele in the west iles.
Fro riche Romulus to Rome ricchis hym swythe,
With gret bobbaunce that buryghe he biges vpon fyrst,
And neuenes hit his aune nome, as hit now hat;
Tirius to Tuskan and teldes bigynnes,
Langaberde in Lumbardie lyftes vp homes,
And fer ouer the French flod Felix Brutus
On mony bonkkes ful brode Bretayn he settez
wyth wynne,
Where werre and wrake and wonder
Bi sythez hatz wont therinne,
And oft bothe blysse and blunder
Ful skete hatz skyfted synne.
Ande quen this Bretayn watz bigged bi this burn rych,
Bolde bredden therinne, baret that lofden,
In mony turned tyme tene that wroyghten.
Mo ferlyes on this folde han fallen here oft
Then in any other that I wot, syn that ilk tyme.
Bot of alle that here bult, of Bretaygne kynges,
Ay watz Arthur the hendest, as I haf herde telle.

Forthi an aunter in erde I attle to schawe,
That a selly in siyght summe men hit holden,
And an outtrage awenture of Arthurez wonderez.
If yghe wyl lysten this laye bot on littel quile,
I schal telle hit as-tit, as I in toun herde,
with tonge,
As hit is stad and stoken
In stori stif and stronge,
With lel letteres loken,
In londe so hatz ben longe.
This kyng lay at Camylot vpon Krystmasse
With mony luflych lorde, ledez of the best,
Rekenly of the Rounde Table alle tho rich brether,
With rych reuel oryyght and rechles merthes.
Ther tournayed tulkes by tymez ful mony,
Justed ful jolilŽ thise gentyle kniyghtes,
Sythen kayred to the court caroles to make.
For ther the fest watz ilyche ful fiften dayes,
With alle the mete and the mirthe that men couthe avyse;
Such glaum ande gle glorious to here,
Dere dyn vpon day, daunsyng on nyyghtes,
Al watz hap vpon heyghe in hallez and chambrez
With lordez and ladies, as leuest him thoyght.
With all the wele of the worlde thay woned ther samen,
The most kyd knyyghtez vnder Krystes seluen,
And the louelokkest ladies that euer lif haden,
And he the comlokest kyng that the court haldes;
For al watz this fayre folk in her first age,
on sille,
The hapnest vnder heuen,
Kyng hyyghest mon of wylle;
Hit were now gret nye to neuen
So hardy a here on hille.
Wyle Nw Ygher watz so yghep that hit watz nwe cummen,
That day doubble on the dece watz the douth serued.
Fro the kyng watz cummen with knyyghtes into the halle,

The chauntrŽ of the chapel cheued to an ende,
Loude crye watz ther kest of clerkez and other,
Nowel nayted onewe, neuened ful ofte;
And sythen riche forth runnen to reche hondeselle,
Ygheyghed ygheres-yghiftes on hiygh, yghelde hem bi hond,
Debated busyly aboute tho giftes;
Ladies layghed ful loude, thoygh thay lost haden,
And he that wan watz not wrothe, that may yghe wel trawe.
Alle this mirthe thay maden to the mete tyme;
When thay had waschen worthyly thay wenten to sete,
The best burne ay abof, as hit best semed,
Whene Guenore, ful gay, graythed in the myddes,
Dressed on the dere des, dubbed al aboute,
Smal sendal bisides, a selure hir ouer
Of tryed tolouse, and tars tapites innoghe,
That were enbrawded and beten wyth the best gemmes
That myyght be preued of prys wyth penyes to bye,
in daye.
The comlokest to discrye
Ther glent with yyghen gray,
A semloker that euer he syyghe
Soth moyght no mon say.
Bot Arthure wolde not ete til al were serued,
He watz so joly of his joyfnes, and sumquat childgered:
His lif liked hym lyyght, he louied the lasse
Auther to longe lye or to longe sitte,
So bisied him his yghonge blod and his brayn wylde.
And also an other maner meued him eke
That he thurygh nobelay had nomen, he wolde neuer ete
Vpon such a dere day er hym deuised were
Of sum auenturus thyng an vncouthe tale,
Of sum mayn meruayle, that he myyght trawe,
Of alderes, of armes, of other auenturus,
Other sum segg hym bisoyght of sum siker knyyght
To joyne wyth hym in iustyng, in jopardŽ to lay,
Lede, lif for lyf, leue vchon other,

As fortune wolde fulsun hom, the fayrer to haue.
This watz the kynges countenaunce where he in court were,
At vch farand fest among his fre meny
in halle.
Therfore of face so fere
He stiyghtlez stif in stalle,
Ful yghep in that Nw Yghere
Much mirthe he mas withalle.
Thus ther stondes in stale the stif kyng hisseluen,
Talkkande bifore the hyyghe table of trifles ful hende.
There gode Gawan watz graythed Gwenore bisyde,
And Agrauayn a la dure mayn on that other syde sittes,
Bothe the kynges sistersunes and ful siker kniyghtes;
Bischop Bawdewyn abof biginez the table,
And Ywan, Vryn son, ette with hymseluen.
Thise were diyght on the des and derworthly serued,
And sithen mony siker segge at the sidbordez.
Then the first cors come with crakkyng of trumpes,
Wyth mony baner ful bryyght that therbi henged;
Nwe nakryn noyse with the noble pipes,
Wylde werbles and wyyght wakned lote,
That mony hert ful hiyghe hef at her towches.
DayntŽs dryuen therwyth of ful dere metes,
Foysoun of the fresche, and on so fele disches
That pine to fynde the place the peple biforne
For to sette the sylueren that sere sewes halden
on clothe.
Iche lede as he loued hymselue
Ther laght withouten lothe;
Ay two had disches twelue,
Good ber and bryyght wyn bothe.
Now wyl I of hor seruise say yow no more,
For vch wyyghe may wel wit no wont that ther were.
An other noyse ful newe neyghed biliue,
That the lude myyght haf leue liflode to cach;

For vnethe watz the noyce not a whyle sesed,
And the fyrst cource in the court kyndely serued,
Ther hales in at the halle dor an aghlich mayster,
On the most on the molde on mesure hyghe;
Fro the swyre to the swange so sware and so thik,
And his lyndes and his lymes so longe and so grete,
Half etayn in erde I hope that he were,
Bot mon most I algate mynn hym to bene,
And that the myriest in his muckel that myyght ride;
For of bak and of brest al were his bodi sturne,
Both his wombe and his wast were worthily smale,
And alle his fetures folyghande, in forme that he hade,
ful clene;
For wonder of his hwe men hade,
Set in his semblaunt sene;
He ferde as freke were fade,
And oueral enker-grene.
Ande al graythed in grene this gome and his wedes:
A strayte cote ful streyght, that stek on his sides,
A merŽ mantile abof, mensked withinne
With pelure pured apert, the pane ful clene
With blythe blaunner ful bryyght, and his hod bothe,
That watz layght fro his lokkez and layde on his schulderes;
Heme wel-haled hose of that same,
That spenet on his sparlyr, and clene spures vnder
Of bryyght golde, vpon silk bordes barred ful ryche,
And scholes vnder schankes there the schalk rides;
And alle his vesture uerayly watz clene verdure,
Bothe the barres of his belt and other blythe stones,
That were richely rayled in his aray clene
Aboutte hymself and his sadel, vpon silk werkez.
That were to tor for to telle of tryfles the halue
That were enbrauded abof, wyth bryddes and flyyghes,
With gay gaudi of grene, the golde ay inmyddes.
The pendauntes of his payttrure, the proude cropure,
His molaynes, and alle the metail anamayld was thenne,
The steropes that he stod on stayned of the same,

And his arsounz al after and his athel skyrtes,
That euer glemered and glent al of grene stones;
The fole that he ferkkes on fyn of that ilke,
A grene hors gret and thikke,
A stede ful stif to strayne,
In brawden brydel quik--
To the gome he watz ful gayn.
Wel gay watz this gome gered in grene,
And the here of his hed of his hors swete.
Fayre fannand fax vmbefoldes his schulderes;
A much berd as a busk ouer his brest henges,
That wyth his hiyghlich here that of his hed reches
Watz euesed al vmbetorne abof his elbowes,
That half his armes ther-vnder were halched in the wyse
Of a kyngez capados that closes his swyre;
The mane of that mayn hors much to hit lyke,
Wel cresped and cemmed, wyth knottes ful mony
Folden in wyth fildore aboute the fayre grene,
Ay a herle of the here, an other of golde;
The tayl and his toppyng twynnen of a sute,
And bounden bothe wyth a bande of a bryyght grene,
Dubbed wyth ful dere stonez, as the dok lasted,
Sythen thrawen wyth a thwong a thwarle knot alofte,
Ther mony bellez ful bryyght of brende golde rungen.
Such a fole vpon folde, ne freke that hym rydes,
Watz neuer sene in that sale wyth syyght er that tyme,
with yyghe.
He loked as layt so lyyght,
So sayd al that hym syyghe;
Hit semed as no mon myyght
Vnder his dynttez dryyghe.
Whether hade he no helme ne hawbergh nauther,
Ne no pysan ne no plate that pented to armes,
Ne no schafte ne no schelde to schwue ne to smyte,
Bot in his on honde he hade a holyn bobbe,

That is grattest in grene when greuez ar bare,
And an ax in his other, a hoge and vnmete,
A spetos sparthe to expoun in spelle, quoso myyght.
The lenkthe of an elnygherde the large hede hade,
The grayn al of grene stele and of golde hewen,
The bit burnyst bryyght, with a brod egge
As wel schapen to schere as scharp rasores,
The stele of a stif staf the sturne hit bi grypte,
That watz wounden wyth yrn to the wandez ende,
And al bigrauen with grene in gracios werkes;
A lace lapped aboute, that louked at the hede,
And so after the halme halched ful ofte,
Wyth tryed tasselez therto tacched innoghe
On botounz of the bryyght grene brayden ful ryche.
This hathel heldez hym in and the halle entres,
Driuande to the heyghe dece, dut he no wothe,
Haylsed he neuer one, bot heyghe he ouer loked.
The fyrst word that he warp, "Wher is," he sayd,
"The gouernour of this gyng? Gladly I wolde
Se that segg in syyght, and with hymself speke
To knyyghtez he kest his yyghe,
And reled hym vp and doun;
He stemmed, and con studie
Quo walt ther most renoun.
Ther watz lokyng on lenthe the lude to beholde,
For vch mon had meruayle quat hit mene myyght
That a hathel and a horse myyght such a hwe lach,
As growe grene as the gres and grener hit semed,
Then grene aumayl on golde glowande bryyghter.
Al studied that ther stod, and stalked hym nerre
Wyth al the wonder of the worlde what he worch schulde.
For fele sellyez had thay sen, bot such neuer are;
Forthi for fantoum and fayryyghe the folk there hit demed.
Therfore to answare watz aryghe mony athel freke,
And al stouned at his steuen and stonstil seten
In a swoghe sylence thurygh the sale riche;

As al were slypped vpon slepe so slaked hor lotez
in hyyghe--
I deme hit not al for doute,
Bot sum for cortaysye--
Bot let hym that al schulde loute
Cast vnto that wyyghe.
Thenn Arthour bifore the hiygh dece that auenture byholdez,
And rekenly hym reuerenced, for rad was he neuer,
And sayde, "Wyyghe, welcum iwys to this place,
The hede of this ostel Arthour I hat;
Liyght luflych adoun and lenge, I the praye,
And quat-so thy wylle is we schal wyt after."
"Nay, as help me," quoth the hathel, "he that on hyyghe syttes,
To wone any quyle in this won, hit watz not myn ernde;
Bot for the los of the, lede, is lyft vp so hyyghe,
And thy burygh and thy burnes best ar holden,
Stifest vnder stel-gere on stedes to ryde,
The wyyghtest and the worthyest of the worldes kynde,
Preue for to play wyth in other pure laykez,
And here is kydde cortaysye, as I haf herd carp,
And that hatz wayned me hider, iwyis, at this tyme.
Yghe may be seker bi this braunch that I bere here
That I passe as in pes, and no plyyght seche;
For had I founded in fere in feyghtyng wyse,
I haue a hauberghe at home and a helme bothe,
A schelde and a scharp spere, schinande bryyght,
Ande other weppenes to welde, I wene wel, als;
Bot for I wolde no were, my wedez ar softer.
Bot if thou be so bold as alle burnez tellen,
Thou wyl grant me godly the gomen that I ask
bi ryyght."
Arthour con onsware,
And sayd, "Sir cortays knyyght,
If thou craue batayl bare,
Here faylez thou not to fyyght."
"Nay, frayst I no fyyght, in fayth I the telle,
Hit arn aboute on this bench bot berdlez chylder.
If I were hasped in armes on a heyghe stede,

Here is no mon me to mach, for myyghtez so wayke.
Forthy I craue in this court a Crystemas gomen,
For hit is Yghol and Nwe Ygher, and here ar yghep mony:
If any so hardy in this hous holdez hymseluen,
Be so bolde in his blod, brayn in hys hede,
That dar stifly strike a strok for an other,
I schal gif hym of my gyft thys giserne ryche,
This ax, that is heuŽ innogh, to hondele as hym lykes,
And I schal bide the fyrst bur as bare as I sitte.
If any freke be so felle to fonde that I telle,
Lepe lyyghtly me to, and lach this weppen,
I quit-clayme hit for euer, kepe hit as his auen,
And I schal stonde hym a strok, stif on this flet,
Ellez thou wyl diyght me the dom to dele hym an other
And yghet gif hym respite,
A twelmonyth and a day;
Now hyyghe, and let se tite
Dar any herinne oyght say."
If he hem stowned vpon fyrst, stiller were thanne
Alle the heredmen in halle, the hyygh and the loyghe.
The renk on his rouncŽ hym ruched in his sadel,
And runischly his rede yyghen he reled aboute,
Bende his bresed broyghez, blycande grene,
Wayued his berde for to wayte quo-so wolde ryse.
When non wolde kepe hym with carp he coyghed ful hyyghe,
Ande rimed hym ful richly, and ryyght hym to speke:
"What, is this Arthures hous," quoth the hathel thenne,
"That al the rous rennes of thurygh ryalmes so mony?
Where is now your sourquydrye and your conquestes,
Your gryndellayk and your greme, and your grete wordes?
Now is the reuel and the renoun of the Rounde Table
Ouerwalt wyth a worde of on wyyghes speche,
For al dares for drede withoute dynt schewed!"
Wyth this he layghes so loude that the lorde greued;
The blod schot for scham into his schyre face
and lere;

He wex as wroth as wynde,
So did alle that ther were.
The kyng as kene bi kynde
Then stod that stif mon nere,
Ande sayde, "Hathel, by heuen, thyn askyng is nys,
And as thou foly hatz frayst, fynde the behoues.
I know no gome that is gast of thy grete wordes;
Gif me now thy geserne, vpon Godez halue,
And I schal baythen thy bone that thou boden habbes."
Lyyghtly lepez he hym to, and layght at his honde.
Then feersly that other freke vpon fote lyyghtis.
Now hatz Arthure his axe, and the halme grypez,
And sturnely sturez hit aboute, that stryke wyth hit thoyght.
The stif mon hym bifore stod vpon hyyght,
Herre then ani in the hous by the hede and more.
Wyth sturne schere ther he stod he stroked his berde,
And wyth a countenaunce dryyghe he droygh doun his cote,
No more mate ne dismayd for hys mayn dintez
Then any burne vpon bench hade broyght hym to drynk
of wyne.
Gawan, that sate bi the quene,
To the kyng he can enclyne:
"I beseche now with sayghez sene
This melly mot be myne.
"Wolde yghe, worthilych lorde," quoth Wawan to the kyng,
"Bid me boyghe fro this benche, and stonde by yow there,
That I wythoute vylanye myyght voyde this table,
And that my legge lady lyked not ille,
I wolde com to your counseyl bifore your cort ryche.
For me think hit not semly, as hit is soth knawen,
Ther such an askyng is heuened so hyyghe in your sale,
Thaygh yghe yghourself be talenttyf, to take hit to yourseluen,
Whil mony so bolde yow aboute vpon bench sytten,
That vnder heuen I hope non haygherer of wylle,
Ne better bodyes on bent ther baret is rered.
I am the wakkest, I wot, and of wyt feblest,
And lest lur of my lyf, quo laytes the sothe--

Bot for as much as yghe ar myn em I am only to prayse,
No bountŽ bot your blod I in my bodŽ knowe;
And sythen this note is so nys that noyght hit yow falles,
And I haue frayned hit at yow fyrst, foldez hit to me;
And if I carp not comlyly, let alle this cort rych
bout blame."
Ryche togeder con roun,
And sythen thay redden alle same
To ryd the kyng wyth croun,
And gif Gawan the game.
Then comaunded the kyng the knyyght for to ryse;
And he ful radly vpros, and ruchched hym fayre,
Kneled doun bifore the kyng, and cachez that weppen;
And he luflyly hit hym laft, and lyfte vp his honde,
And gef hym Goddez blessyng, and gladly hym biddes
That his hert and his honde schulde hardi be bothe.
"Kepe the cosyn," quoth the kyng, "that thou on kyrf sette,
And if thou redeygh hym ryyght, redly I trowe
That thou schal byden the bur that he schal bede after."
Gawan gotz to the gome with giserne in honde,
And he baldly hym bydez, he bayst neuer the helder.
Then carppez to Sir Gawan the knyyght in the grene,
"Refourme we oure forwardes, er we fyrre passe.
Fyrst I ethe the, hathel, how that thou hattes
That thou me telle truly, as I tryst may."
"In god fayth," quoth the goode knyyght, "Gawan I hatte,
That bede the this buffet, quat-so bifallez after,
And at this tyme twelmonyth take at the an other
Wyth what weppen so thou wylt, and wyth no wyygh ellez
on lyue."
That other onswarez agayn,
"Sir Gawan, so mot I thryue
As I am ferly fayn
This dint that thou schal dryue.
"Bigog," quoth the grene knyyght, "Sir Gawan, me lykes
That I schal fange at thy fust that I haf frayst here.
And thou hatz redily rehersed, bi resoun ful trwe,

Clanly al the couenaunt that I the kynge asked,
Saf that thou schal siker me, segge, bi thi trawthe,
That thou schal seche me thiself, where-so thou hopes
I may be funde vpon folde, and foch the such wages
As thou deles me to-day bifore this douthe ryche."
"Where schulde I wale the," quoth Gauan, "where is thy place?
I wot neuer where thou wonyes, bi hym that me wroyght,
Ne I know not the, knyyght, by cort ne thi name.
Bot teche me truly therto, and telle me how thou hattes,
And I schal ware alle my wyt to wynne me theder,
And that I swere the for sothe, and by my seker traweth."
"That is innogh in Nwe Ygher, hit nedes no more,"
Quoth the gome in the grene to Gawan the hende;
"Yghif I the telle trwly, quen I the tape haue
And thou me smothely hatz smyten, smartly I the teche
Of my hous and my home and myn owen nome,
Then may thou frayst my fare and forwardez holde;
And if I spende no speche, thenne spedez thou the better,
For thou may leng in thy londe and layt no fyrre--
bot slokes!
Ta now thy grymme tole to the,
And let se how thou cnokez."
"Gladly, sir, for sothe,"
Quoth Gawan; his ax he strokes.
The grene knyyght vpon grounde graythely hym dresses,
A littel lut with the hede, the lere he discouerez,
His longe louelych lokkez he layd ouer his croun,
Let the naked nec to the note schewe.
Gauan gripped to his ax, and gederes hit on hyyght,
The kay fot on the folde he before sette,
Let him doun lyyghtly lyyght on the naked,
That the scharp of the schalk schyndered the bones,
And schrank thurygh the schyire grece, and schade hit in twynne,
That the bit of the broun stel bot on the grounde.
The fayre hede fro the halce hit to the erthe,
That fele hit foyned wyth her fete, there hit forth roled;
The blod brayd fro the body, that blykked on the grene;

And nawther faltered ne fel the freke neuer the helder,
Bot stythly he start forth vpon styf schonkes,
And runyschly he rayght out, there as renkkez stoden,
Layght to his lufly hed, and lyft hit vp sone;
And sythen boyghez to his blonk, the brydel he cachchez,
Steppez into stelbawe and strydez alofte,
And his hede by the here in his honde haldez;
And as sadly the segge hym in his sadel sette
As non vnhap had hym ayled, thaygh hedlez he were
in stedde.
He brayde his bulk aboute,
That vgly bodi that bledde;
Moni on of hym had doute,
Bi that his resounz were redde.
For the hede in his honde he haldez vp euen,
Toward the derrest on the dece he dressez the face,
And hit lyfte vp the yyghe-lyddez and loked ful brode,
And meled thus much with his muthe, as yghe may now here:
"Loke, Gawan, thou be graythe to go as thou hettez,
And layte as lelly til thou me, lude, fynde,
As thou hatz hette in this halle, herande thise knyyghtes;
To the grene chapel thou chose, I charge the, to fotte
Such a dunt as thou hatz dalt--disserued thou habbez
To be yghederly ygholden on Nw Ygheres morn.
The knyyght of the grene chapel men knowen me mony;
Forthi me for to fynde if thou fraystez, faylez thou neuer.
Therfore com, other recreaunt be calde the behoues."
With a runisch rout the raynez he tornez,
Halled out at the hal dor, his hed in his hande,
That the fyr of the flynt flayghe fro fole houes.
To quat kyth he becom knwe non there,
Neuer more then thay wyste from quethen he watz wonnen.
What thenne?
The kyng and Gawen thare
At that grene thay layghe and grenne,
Yghet breued watz hit ful bare
A meruayl among tho menne.

Thaygh Arther the hende kyng at hert hade wonder,
He let no semblaunt be sene, bot sayde ful hyyghe
To the comlych quene wyth cortays speche,
"Dere dame, to-day demay yow neuer;
Wel bycommes such craft vpon Cristmasse,
Laykyng of enterludez, to layghe and to syng,
Among thise kynde caroles of knyyghtez and ladyez.
Neuer the lece to my mete I may me wel dres,
For I haf sen a selly, I may not forsake."
He glent vpon Sir Gawen, and gaynly he sayde,
"Now, sir, heng vp thyn ax, that hatz innogh hewen";
And hit watz don abof the dece on doser to henge,
Ther alle men for meruayl myyght on hit loke,
And bi trwe tytel therof to telle the wonder.
Thenne thay boyghed to a borde thise burnes togeder,
The kyng and the gode knyyght, and kene men hem serued
Of alle dayntyez double, as derrest myyght falle;
Wyth alle maner of mete and mynstralcie bothe,
Wyth wele walt thday, til worthed an ende
in londe.
Now thenk wel, Sir Gawan,
For wothe that thou ne wonde
This auenture for to frayn
That thou hatz tan on honde.


THIS hanselle hatz Arthur of auenturus on fyrst
In yghonge ygher, for he ygherned yghelpyng to here.
Thaygh hym wordez were wane when thay to sete wenten,
Now ar thay stoken of sturne werk, stafful her hond.
Gawan watz glad to begynne those gomnez in halle,
Bot thaygh the ende be heuy haf yghe no wonder;
For thaygh men ben mery in mynde quen thay han mayn drynk,
A yghere yghernes ful ygherne, and ygheldez neuer lyke,
The forme to the fynisment foldez ful selden.
Forthi this Yghol oueryghede, and the yghere after,
And vche sesoun serlepes sued after other:

After Crystenmasse com the crabbed lentoun,
That fraystez flesch wyth the fysche and fode more symple;
Bot thenne the weder of the worlde wyth wynter hit threpez,
Colde clengez adoun, cloudez vplyften,
Schyre schedez the rayn in schowrez ful warme,
Fallez vpon fayre flat, flowrez there schewen,
Bothe groundez and the greuez grene ar her wedez,
Bryddez busken to bylde, and bremlych syngen
For solace of the softe somer that sues therafter
bi bonk;
And blossumez bolne to blowe
Bi rawez rych and ronk,
Then notez noble innoyghe
Ar herde in wod so wlonk.
After the sesoun of somer wyth the soft wyndez
Quen Zeferus syflez hymself on sedez and erbez,
Wela wynne is the wort that waxes theroute,
When the donkande dewe dropez of the leuez,
To bide a blysful blusch of the bryyght sunne.
Bot then hyyghes heruest, and hardenes hym sone,
Warnez hym for the wynter to wax ful rype;
He dryues wyth droyght the dust for to ryse,
Fro the face of the folde to flyyghe ful hyyghe;
Wrothe wynde of the welkyn wrastelez with the sunne,
The leuez lancen fro the lynde and lyyghten on the grounde,
And al grayes the gres that grene watz ere;
Thenne al rypez and rotez that ros vpon fyrst,
And thus yghirnez the yghere in yghisterdayez mony,
And wynter wyndez ayghayn, as the worlde askez,
no fage,
Til Meyghelmas mone
Watygh cumen wyth wynter wage;
Then thenkkez Gawan ful sone
Of his anious uyage.
Yghet quyl Al-hal-day with Arther he lenges;
And he made a fare on that fest for the frekez sake,
With much reuel and ryche of the Rounde Table.

Knyyghtez ful cortays and comlych ladies
Al for luf of that lede in longynge thay were,
Bot neuer the lece ne the later thay neuened bot merthe:
Mony ioylez for that ientyle iapez ther maden.
For aftter mete with mournyng he melez to his eme,
And spekez of his passage, and pertly he sayde,
"Now, lege lorde of my lyf, leue I yow ask;
Yghe knowe the cost of this cace, kepe I no more
To telle yow tenez therof neuer bot trifel;
Bot I am boun to the bur barely to-morne
To sech the gome of the grene, as God wyl me wysse."
Thenne the best of the burygh boyghed togeder,
Aywan, and Errik, and other ful mony,
Sir Doddinaual de Sauage, the duk of Clarence,
Launcelot, and Lyonel, and Lucan the gode,
Sir Boos, and Sir Byduer, big men bothe,
And mony other menskful, with Mador de la Port.
Alle this compayny of court com the kyng nerre
For to counseyl the knyyght, with care at her hert.
There watz much derue doel driuen in the sale
That so worthŽ as Wawan schulde wende on that ernde,
To dryyghe a delful dynt, and dele no more
wyth bronde.
The knyyght mad ay god chere,
And sayde, "Quat schuld I wonde?
Of destinŽs derf and dere
What may mon do bot fonde?"
He dowellez ther al that day, and dressez on the morn,
Askez erly hys armez, and alle were thay broyght.
Fyrst a tulŽ tapit tyyght ouer the flet,
And miche watz the gyld gere that glent theralofte;
The stif mon steppez theron, and the stel hondelez,
Dubbed in a dublet of a dere tars,
And sythen a crafty capados, closed aloft,
That wyth a bryyght blaunner was bounden withinne.
Thenne set thay the sabatounz vpon the segge fotez,
His legez lapped in stel with luflych greuez,
With polaynez piched therto, policed ful clene,
Aboute his knez knaged wyth knotez of golde;

Queme quyssewes then, that coyntlych closed
His thik thrawen thyyghez, with thwonges to tachched;
And sythen the brawden brynŽ of bryyght stel ryngez
Vmbeweued that wyygh vpon wlonk stuffe,
And wel bornyst brace vpon his bothe armes,
With gode cowters and gay, and glouez of plate,
And alle the godlych gere that hym gayn schulde
that tyde;
Wyth ryche cote-armure,
His gold sporez spend with pryde,
Gurde wyth a bront ful sure
With silk sayn vmbe his syde.
When he watz hasped in armes, his harnays watz ryche:
The lest lachet ouer loupe lemed of golde.
So harnayst as he watz he herknez his masse,
Offred and honoured at the heyghe auter.
Sythen he comez to the kyng and to his cort-ferez,
Lachez lufly his leue at lordez and ladyez;
And thay hym kyst and conueyed, bikende hym to Kryst.
Bi that watz Gryngolet grayth, and gurde with a sadel
That glemed ful gayly with mony golde frenges,
Ayquere naylet ful nwe, for that note ryched;
The brydel barred aboute, with bryyght golde bounden;
The apparayl of the payttrure and of the proude skyrtez,
The cropore and the couertor, acorded wyth the arsounez;
And al watz rayled on red ryche golde naylez,
That al glytered and glent as glem of the sunne.
Thenne hentes he the helme, and hastily hit kysses,
That watz stapled stifly, and stoffed wythinne.
Hit watz hyyghe on his hede, hasped bihynde,
Wyth a lyyghtly vrysoun ouer the auentayle,
Enbrawden and bounden wyth the best gemmez
On brode sylkyn borde, and bryddez on semez,
As papiayez paynted peruyng bitwene,
Tortors and trulofez entayled so thyk
As mony burde theraboute had ben seuen wynter
in toune.

The cercle watz more o prys
That vmbeclypped hys croun,
Of diamauntez a deuys
That bothe were bryyght and broun.
THEN thay schewed hym the schelde, that was of schyr goulez
Wyth the pentangel depaynt of pure golde hwez.
He braydez hit by the bauderyk, aboute the hals kestes,
That bisemed the segge semlyly fayre.
And quy the pentangel apendez to that prynce noble
I am in tent yow to telle, thof tary hyt me schulde:
Hit is a syngne that Salamon set sumquyle
In bytoknyng of trawthe, bi tytle that hit habbez,
For hit is a figure that haldez fyue poyntez,
And vche lyne vmbelappez and loukez in other,
And ayquere hit is endelez; and Englych hit callen
Oueral, as I here, the endeles knot.
Forthy hit acordez to this knyyght and to his cler armez,
For ay faythful in fyue and sere fyue sythez
Gawan watz for gode knawen, and as golde pured,
Voyded of vche vylany, wyth vertuez ennourned
in mote;
Forthy the pentangel nwe
He ber in schelde and cote,
As tulk of tale most trwe
And gentylest knyyght of lote.
Fyrst he watz funden fautlez in his fyue wyttez,
And efte fayled neuer the freke in his fyue fyngres,
And alle his afyaunce vpon folde watz in the fyue woundez
That Cryst kayght on the croys, as the crede tellez;
And quere-so-euer thys mon in melly watz stad,
His thro thoyght watz in that, thurygh alle other thyngez,
That alle his forsnes he feng at the fyue joyez
That the hende heuen-quene had of hir chylde;
At this cause the knyyght comlyche hade
In the inore half of his schelde hir ymage depaynted,
That quen he blusched therto his belde neuer payred.

The fyft fyue that I finde that the frek vsed
Watz fraunchyse and felayghschyp forbe al thyng,
His clannes and his cortaysye croked were neuer,
And pitŽ, that passez alle poyntez, thyse pure fyue
Were harder happed on that hathel then on any other.
Now alle these fyue sythez, for sothe, were fetled on this knyyght,
And vchone halched in other, that non ende hade,
And fyched vpon fyue poyntez, that fayld neuer,
Ne samned neuer in no syde, ne sundred nouther,
Withouten ende at any noke I oquere fynde,
Whereeuer the gomen bygan, or glod to an ende.
Therfore on his schene schelde schapen watz the knot
Ryally wyth red golde vpon rede gowlez,
That is the pure pentaungel wyth the peple called
with lore.
Now graythed is Gawan gay,
And layght his launce ryyght thore,
And gef hem alle goud day,
He wende for euermore.
He sperred the sted with the spurez and sprong on his way,
So stif that the ston-fyr stroke out therafter.
Al that seygh that semly syked in hert,
And sayde sothly al same segges til other,
Carande for that comly: "Bi Kryst, hit is scathe
That thou, leude, schal be lost, that art of lyf noble!
To fynde hys fere vpon folde, in fayth, is not ethe.
Warloker to haf wroyght had more wyt bene,
And haf dyyght yghonder dere a duk to haue worthed;
A lowande leder of ledez in londe hym wel semez,
And so had better haf ben then britned to noyght,
Hadet wyth an aluisch mon, for angardez pryde.
Who knew euer any kyng such counsel to take
As knyyghtez in cauelaciounz on Crystmasse gomnez!"
Wel much watz the warme water that waltered of yyghen,
When that semly syre soyght fro tho wonez
thad daye.

He made non abode,
Bot wyyghtly went hys way;
Mony wylsum way he rode,
The bok as I herde say.
Now ridez this renk thurygh the ryalme of Logres,
Sir Gauan, on Godez halue, thaygh hym no gomen thoyght.
Oft leudlez alone he lengez on nyyghtez
Ther he fonde noyght hym byfore the fare that he lyked.
Hade he no fere bot his fole bi frythez and dounez,
Ne no gome bot God bi gate wyth to karp,
Til that he neyghed ful neghe into the Northe Walez.
Alle the iles of Anglesay on lyft half he haldez,
And farez ouer the fordez by the forlondez,
Ouer at the Holy Hede, til he hade eft bonk
In the wyldrenesse of Wyrale; wonde ther bot lyte
That auther God other gome wyth goud hert louied.
And ay he frayned, as he ferde, at frekez that he met,
If thay hade herde any karp of a knyyght grene,
In any grounde theraboute, of the grene chapel;
And al nykked hym wyth nay, that neuer in her lyue
Thay seyghe neuer no segge that watz of suche hwez
of grene.
The knyyght tok gates straunge
In mony a bonk vnbene,
His cher ful oft con chaunge
That chapel er he myyght sene.
Mony klyf he ouerclambe in contrayez straunge,
Fer floten fro his frendez fremedly he rydez.
At vche warthe other water ther the wyyghe passed
He fonde a foo hym byfore, bot ferly hit were,
And that so foule and so felle that feyght hym byhode.
So mony meruayl bi mount ther the mon fyndez,
Hit were to tore for to telle of the tenthe dole.
Sumwhyle wyth wormez he werrez, and with wolues als,
Sumwhyle wyth wodwos, that woned in the knarrez,
Bothe wyth bullez and berez, and borez otherquyle,
And etaynez, that hym anelede of the heyghe felle;

Nade he ben duyghty and dryyghe, and Dryyghtyn had serued,
Douteles he hade ben ded and dreped ful ofte.
For werre wrathed hym not so much that wynter nas wors,
When the colde cler water fro the cloudez schadde,
And fres er hit falle myyght to the fale erthe;
Ner slayn wyth the slete he sleped in his yrnes
Mo nyyghtez then innoghe in naked rokkez,
Ther as claterande fro the crest the colde borne rennez,
And henged heyghe ouer his hede in hard iisse-ikkles.
Thus in peryl and payne and plytes ful harde
Bi contray cayrez this knyyght, tyl Krystmasse euen,
al one;
The knyyght wel that tyde
To Mary made his mone,
That ho hym red to ryde
And wysse hym to sum wone.
Bi a mounte on the morne meryly he rydes
Into a forest ful dep, that ferly watz wylde,
Hiyghe hillez on vche a halue, and holtwodez vnder
Of hore okez ful hoge a hundreth togeder;
The hasel and the hayghthorne were harled al samen,
With royghe raged mosse rayled aywhere,
With mony bryddez vnblythe vpon bare twyges,
That pitosly ther piped for pyne of the colde.
The gome vpon Gryngolet glydez hem vnder,
Thurygh mony misy and myre, mon al hym one,
Carande for his costes, lest he ne keuer schulde
To se the seruyse of that syre, that on that self nyyght
Of a burde watz borne oure baret to quelle;
And therfore sykyng he sayde, "I beseche the, lorde,
And Mary, that is myldest moder so dere,
Of sum herber ther heyghly I myyght here masse,
Ande thy matynez to-morne, mekely I ask,
And therto prestly I pray my pater and aue
and crede."
He rode in his prayere,
And cryed for his mysdede,

He sayned hym in sythes sere,
And sayde "Cros Kryst me spede!"
NADE he sayned hymself, segge, bot thrye,
Er he watz war in the wod of a won in a mote,
Abof a launde, on a lawe, loken vnder boyghez
Of mony borelych bole aboute bi the diches:
A castel the comlokest that euer knyyght ayghte,
Pyched on a prayere, a park al aboute,
With a pyked palays pyned ful thik,
That vmbeteyghe mony tre mo then two myle.
That holde on that on syde the hathel auysed,
As hit schemered and schon thurygh the schyre okez;
Thenne hatz he hendly of his helme, and heyghly he thonkez
Jesus and sayn Gilyan, that gentyle ar bothe,
That cortaysly had hym kydde, and his cry herkened.
"Now bone hostel," cothe the burne, "I beseche yow yghette!"
Thenne gerdez he to Gryngolet with the gilt helez,
And he ful chauncely hatz chosen to the chef gate,
That broyght bremly the burne to the bryge ende
in haste.
The bryge watz breme vpbrayde,
The yghatez wer stoken faste,
The wallez were wel arayed,
Hit dut no wyndez blaste.
The burne bode on blonk, that on bonk houed
Of the depe double dich that drof to the place;
The walle wod in the water wonderly depe,
Ande eft a ful huge heyght hit haled vpon lofte
Of harde hewen ston vp to the tablez,
Enbaned vnder the abataylment in the best lawe;
And sythen garytez ful gaye gered bitwene,
Wyth mony luflych loupe that louked ful clene:
A better barbican that burne blusched vpon neuer.
And innermore he behelde that halle ful hyyghe,
Towres telded bytwene, trochet ful thik,
Fayre fylyolez that fyyghed, and ferlyly long,

With coruon coprounes craftyly sleyghe.
Chalkwhyt chymnees ther ches he innoyghe
Vpon bastel rouez, that blenked ful quyte;
So mony pynakle payntet watz poudred ayquere,
Among the castel carnelez clambred so thik,
That pared out of papure purely hit semed.
The fre freke on the fole hit fayr innoghe thoyght,
If he myyght keuer to com the cloyster wythinne,
To herber in that hostel whyl halyday lested,
He calde, and sone ther com
A porter pure plesaunt,
On the wal his ernd he nome,
And haylsed the knyyght erraunt.
"Gode sir," quoth Gawan, "woldez thou go myn ernde
To the heygh lorde of this hous, herber to craue?"
"Yghe, Peter," quoth the porter, "and purely I trowee
That yghe be, wyyghe, welcum to won quyle yow lykez."
Then yghede the wyyghe ygherne and com ayghayn swythe,
And folke frely hym wyth, to fonge the knyyght.
Thay let doun the grete drayght and derely out ygheden,
And kneled doun on her knes vpon the colde erthe
To welcum this ilk wyygh as worthy hom thoyght;
Thay ygholden hym the brode yghate, ygharked vp wyde,
And he hem raysed rekenly, and rod ouer the brygge.
Sere seggez hym sesed by sadel, quel he lyyght,
And sythen stabeled his stede stif men innoyghe.
Knyyghtez and swyerez comen doun thenne
For to bryng this buurne wyth blys into halle;
Quen he hef vp his helme, ther hiyghed innoghe
For to hent hit at his honde, the hende to seruen;
His bronde and his blasoun bothe thay token.
Then haylsed he ful hendly tho hathelez vchone,
And mony proud mon ther presed that prynce to honour.
Alle hasped in his heygh wede to halle thay hym wonnen,
Ther fayre fyre vpon flet fersly brenned.
Thenne the lorde of the lede loutez fro his chambre

For to mete wyth menske the mon on the flor;
He sayde, "Yghe ar welcum to welde as yow lykez
That here is; al is yowre awen, to haue at yowre wylle
and welde."
"Graunt mercy," quoth Gawayn,
"Ther Kryst hit yow foryghelde."
As frekez that semed fayn
Ayther other in armez con felde.
Gawayn glyyght on the gome that godly hym gret,
And thuyght hit a bolde burne that the burygh ayghte,
A hoge hathel for the nonez, and of hyghe eldee;
Brode, bryyght, watz his berde, and al beuer-hwed,
Sturne, stif on the stryththe on stalworth schonkez,
Felle face as the fyre, and fre of hys speche;
And wel hym semed, for sothe, as the segge thuyght,
To lede a lortschyp in lee of leudez ful gode.
The lorde hym charred to a chambre, and chefly cumaundez
To delyuer hym a leude, hym loyghly to serue;
And there were boun at his bode burnez innoyghe,
That broyght hym to a bryyght boure, ther beddyng watz noble,
Of cortynes of clene sylk wyth cler golde hemmez,
And couertorez ful curious with comlych panez
Of bryyght blaunner aboue, enbrawded bisydez,
Rudelez rennande on ropez, red golde ryngez,
Tapitez tyyght to the woyghe of tuly and tars,
And vnder fete, on the flet, of folyghande sute.
Ther he watz dispoyled, wyth spechez of myerthe,
The burn of his bruny and of his bryyght wedez.
Ryche robes ful rad renkkez hym broyghten,
For to charge, and to chaunge, and chose of the best.
Sone as he on hent, and happed therinne,
That sete on hym semly wyth saylande skyrtez,
The ver by his uisage verayly hit semed
Welneygh to vche hathel, alle on hwes
Lowande and lufly alle his lymmez vnder,
That a comloker knyyght neuer Kryst made
hem thoyght.

Whethen in worlde he were,
Hit semed as he moyght
Be prynce withouten pere
In felde ther felle men foyght.
A cheyer byfore the chemnŽ, ther charcole brenned,
Watz graythed for Sir Gawan graythely with clothez,
Whyssynes vpon queldepoyntes that koynt wer bothe;
And thenne a merŽ mantyle watz on that mon cast
Of a broun bleeaunt, enbrauded ful ryche
And fayre furred wythinne with fellez of the best,
Alle of ermyn in erde, his hode of the same;
And he sete in that settel semlych ryche,
And achaufed hym chefly, and thenne his cher mended.
Sone watz telded vp a tabil on trestez ful fayre,
Clad wyth a clene clothe that cler quyt schewed,
Sanap, and salure, and syluerin sponez.
The wyyghe wesche at his wylle, and went to his mete.
Seggez hym serued semly innoyghe
Wyth sere sewes and sete, sesounde of the best.
Double-felde, as hit fallez, and fele kyn fischez,
Summe baken in bred, summe brad on the gledez,
Summe sothen, summe in sewe sauered with spyces,
And ay sawes so sleyghe that the segge lyked.
The freke calde hit a fest ful frely and ofte
Ful hendely, quen alle the hatheles rehayted hym at onez,
"As hende,
This penaunce now yghe take,
And eft hit schal amende."
That mon much merthe con make,
For wyn in his hed that wende.
Thenne watz spyed and spured vpon spare wyse
Bi preuŽ poyntez of that prynce, put to hymseluen,
That he beknew cortaysly of the court that he were
That athel Arthure the hende haldez hym one,
That is the ryche ryal kyng of the Rounde Table,
And hit watz Wawen hymself that in that won syttez,

Comen to that Krystmasse, as case hym then lymped.
When the lorde hade lerned that he the leude hade,
Loude layghed he therat, so lef hit hym thoyght,
And alle the men in that mote maden much joye
To apere in his presense prestly that tyme,
That alle prys and prowes and pured thewes
Apendes to hys persoun, and praysed is euer;
Byfore alle men vpon molde his mensk is the most.
Vch segge ful softly sayde to his fere:
"Now schal we semlych se sleyghtez of thewez
And the teccheles termes of talkyng noble,
Wich spede is in speche vnspurd may we lerne,
Syn we haf fonged that fyne fader of nurture.
God hatz geuen vus his grace godly for sothe,
That such a gest as Gawan grauntez vus to haue,
When burnez blythe of his burthe schal sitte
and synge.
In menyng of manerez mere
This burne now schal vus bryng,
I hope that may hym here
Schal lerne of luf-talkyng."
Bi that the diner watz done and the dere vp
Hit watz neygh at the niyyght neyghed the tyme.
Chaplaynez to the chapeles chosen the gate,
Rungen ful rychely, ryyght as thay schulden,
To the hersum euensong of the hyyghe tyde.
The lorde loutes therto, and the lady als,
Into a cumly closet coyntly ho entrez.
Gawan glydez ful gay and gos theder sone;
The lorde laches hym by the lappe and ledez hym to sytte,
And couthly hym knowez and callez hym his nome,
And sayde he watz the welcomest wyyghe of the worlde;
And he hym thonkked throly, and ayther halched other,
And seten soberly samen the seruise quyle.
Thenne lyst the lady to loke on the knyyght,
Thenne com ho of hir closet with mony cler burdez.
Ho watz the fayrest in felle, of flesche and of lyre,
And of compas and colour and costes, of alle other,

And wener then Wenore, as the wyyghe thoyght.
Ho ches thurygh the chaunsel to cheryche that hende.
An other lady hir lad bi the lyft honde,
That watz alder then ho, an auncian hit semed,
And heyghly honowred with hathelez aboute.
Bot vnlyke on to loke tho ladyes were,
For if the yghonge watz yghep, ygholyghe watz that other;
Riche red on that on rayled ayquere,
Rugh ronkled chekez that other on rolled;
Kerchofes of that on, wyth mony cler perlez,
Hir brest and hir bryyght throte bare displayed,
Schon schyrer then snawe that schedez on hillez;
That other wyth a gorger watz gered ouer the swyre,
Chymbled ouer hir blake chyn with chalkquyte vayles,
Hir frount folden in sylk, enfoubled ayquere,
Toreted and treleted with tryflez aboute,
That noyght watz bare of that burde bot the blake broyghes,
The tweyne yyghen and the nase, the naked lyppez,
And those were soure to se and sellyly blered;
A mensk lady on molde mon may hir calle,
for Gode!
Hir body watz schort and thik,
Hir buttokez balygh and brode,
More lykkerwys on to lyk
Watz that scho hade on lode.
When Gawayn glyyght on that gay, that graciously loked,
Wyth leue layght of the lorde he lent hem ayghaynes;
The alder he haylses, heldande ful lowe,
The loueloker he lappez a lyttel in armez,
He kysses hir comlyly, and knyyghtly he melez.
Thay kallen hym of aquoyntaunce, and he hit quyk askez
To be her seruaunt sothly, if hemself lyked.
Thay tan hym bytwene hem, wyth talkyng hym leden
To chambre, to chemnŽ, and chefly thay asken
Spycez, that vnsparely men speded hom to bryng,
And the wynnelych wyne therwith vche tyme.
The lorde luflych aloft lepez ful ofte,

Mynned merthe to be made vpon mony sythez,
Hent heyghly of his hode, and on a spere henged,
And wayned hom to wynne the worchip therof,
That most myrthe myyght meue that Crystenmas whyle--
"And I schal fonde, bi my fayth, to fylter wyth the best
Er me wont the wede, with help of my frendez."
Thus wyth layghande lotez the lorde hit tayt makez,
For to glade Sir Gawayn with gomnez in halle
that nyyght,
Til that hit watz tyme
The lord comaundet lyyght;
Sir Gawen his leue con nyme
And to his bed hym diyght.
On the morne, as vch mon mynez that tyme
That Dryyghtyn for oure destynŽ to deyghe watz borne,
Wele waxez in vche a won in worlde for his sake;
So did hit there on that day thurygh dayntŽs mony:
Bothe at mes and at mele messes ful quaynt
Derf men vpon dece drest of the best.
The olde auncian wyf heyghest ho syttez,
The lorde lufly her by lent, as I trowe;
Gawan and the gay burde togeder thay seten,
Euen inmyddez, as the messe metely come,
And sythen thurygh al the sale as hem best semed.
Bi vche grome at his degrŽ graythely watz serued
Ther watz mete, ther watz myrthe, ther watz much ioye,
That for to telle therof hit me tene were,
And to poynte hit yghet I pyned me parauenture.
Bot yghet I wot that Wawen and the wale burde
Such comfort of her compaynye cayghten togeder
Thurygh her dere dalyaunce of her derne wordez,
Wyth clene cortays carp closed fro fylthe,
That hor play watz passande vche prynce gomen,
in vayres.
Trumpez and nakerys,
Much pypyng ther repayres;
Vche mon tented hys,
And thay two tented thayres.

Much dut watz ther dryuen that day and that other,
And the thryd as thro thronge in therafter;
The ioye of sayn Jonez day watz gentyle to here,
And watz the last of the layk, leudez ther thoyghten.
Ther wer gestes to go vpon the gray morne,
Forthy wonderly thay woke, and the wyn dronken,
Daunsed ful dreyghly wyth dere carolez.
At the last, when hit watz late, thay lachen her leue,
Vchon to wende on his way that watz wyyghe stronge.
Gawan gef hym god day, the godmon hym lachchez,
Ledes hym to his awen chambre, the chymnŽ bysyde,
And there he drayghez hym on dryyghe, and derely hym thonkkez
Of the wynne worschip that he hym wayued hade,
As to honour his hous on that hyyghe tyde,
And enbelyse his burygh with his bele chere:
"Iwysse sir, quyl I leue, me worthez the better
That Gawayn hatz ben my gest at Goddez awen fest."
"Grant merci, sir," quoth Gawayn, "in god fayth hit is yowrez,
Al the honour is your awen--the heyghe kyng yow yghelde!
And I am wyyghe at your wylle to worch youre hest,
As I am halden therto, in hyyghe and in loyghe,
bi riyght."
The lorde fast can hym payne
To holde lenger the knyyght;
To hym answarez Gawayn
Bi non way that he myyght.
Then frayned the freke ful fayre at himseluen
Quat derue dede had hym dryuen at that dere tyme
So kenly fro the kyngez kourt to kayre al his one,
Er the halidayez holly were halet out of toun.
"For sothe, sir," quoth the segge, "yghe sayn bot the trawthe,
A heyghe ernde and a hasty me hade fro tho wonez,
For I am sumned myselfe to sech to a place,
I ne wot in worlde whederwarde to wende hit to fynde.
I nolde bot if I hit negh myyght on Nw Ygheres morne
For alle the londe inwyth Logres, so me oure lorde help!
Forthy, sir, this enquest I require yow here,
That yghe me telle with trawthe if euer yghe tale herde

Of the grene chapel, quere hit on grounde stondez,
And of the knyyght that hit kepes, of colour of grene.
Ther watz stabled bi statut a steuen vus bytwene
To mete that mon at that mere, yghif I myyght last;
And of that ilk Nw Yghere bot neked now wontez,
And I wolde loke on that lede, if God me let wolde,
Gladloker, bi Goddez sun, then any god welde!
Forthi, iwysse, bi yghowre wylle, wende me bihoues,
Naf I now to busy bot bare thre dayez,
And me als fayn to falle feye as fayly of myyn ernde."
Thenne layghande quoth the lorde, "Now leng the byhoues,
For I schal teche yow to that terme bi the tymez ende,
The grene chapayle vpon grounde greue yow no more;
Bot yghe schal be in yowre bed, burne, at thyn ese,
Quyle forth dayez, and ferk on the fyrst of the yghere,
And cum to that merk at mydmorn, to make quat yow likez
in spenne.
Dowellez whyle New Ygheres daye,
And rys, and raykez thenne,
Mon schal yow sette in waye,
Hit is not two myle henne."
Thenne watz Gawan ful glad, and gomenly he layghed:
"Now I thonk yow thryuandely thurygh alle other thynge,
Now acheued is my chaunce, I schal at your wylle
Dowelle, and ellez do quat yghe demen."
Thenne sesed hym the syre and set hym bysyde,
Let the ladiez be fette to lyke hem the better.
Ther watz seme solace by hemself stille;
The lorde let for luf lotez so myry,
As wyygh that wolde of his wyte, ne wyst quat he myyght.
Thenne he carped to the knyyght, criande loude,
"Yghe han demed to do the dede that I bidde;
Wyl yghe halde this hes here at thys onez?"
"Yghe, sir, for sothe," sayd the segge trwe,
"Whyl I byde in yowre boryghe, be bayn to yghowre hest."
"For yghe haf trauayled," quoth the tulk, "towen fro ferre,
And sythen waked me wyth, yghe arn not wel waryst
Nauther of sostnaunce ne of slepe, sothly I knowe;

Yghe schal lenge in your lofte, and lyyghe in your ese
To-morn quyle the messequyle, and to mete wende
When yghe wyl, wyth my wyf, that wyth yow schal sitte
And comfort yow with compayny, til I to cort torne;
yghe lende,
And I schal erly ryse,
On huntyng wyl I wende."
Gauayn grantez alle thyse,
Hym heldande, as the hende.
"Yghet firre," quoth the freke, "a forwarde we make:
Quat-so-euer I wynne in the wod hit worthez to yourez,
And quat chek so yghe acheue chaunge me therforne.
Swete, swap we so, sware with trawthe,
Quether, leude, so lymp, lere other better."
"Bi God," quoth Gawayn the gode, "I grant thertylle,
And that yow lyst for to layke, lef hit me thynkes."
"Who bryngez vus this beuerage, this bargayn is maked":
So sayde the lorde of that lede; thay layghed vchone,
Thay dronken and daylyeden and dalten vntyyghtel,
Thise lordez and ladyez, quyle that hem lyked;
And sythen with Frenkysch fare and fele fayre lotez
Thay stoden and stemed and stylly speken,
Kysten ful comlyly and kayghten her leue.
With mony leude ful lyyght and lemande torches
Vche burne to his bed watz broyght at the laste,
ful softe.
To bed yghet er thay yghede,
Recorded couenauntez ofte;
The olde lorde of that leude
Cowthe wel halde layk alofte.


Ful erly bifore the day the folk vprysen,
Gestes that go wolde hor gromez thay calden,
And thay busken vp bilyue blonkkez to sadel,

Tyffen her takles, trussen her males,
Richen hem the rychest, to ryde alle arayde,
Lepen vp lyyghtly, lachen her brydeles,
Vche wyyghe on his way ther hym wel lyked.
The leue lorde of the londe watz not the last
Arayed for the rydyng, with renkkez ful mony;
Ete a sop hastyly, when he hade herde masse,
With bugle to bent-felde he buskez bylyue.
By that any daylyyght lemed vpon erthe
He with his hatheles on hyyghe horsses weren.
Thenne thise cacheres that couthe cowpled hor houndez,
Vnclosed the kenel dore and calde hem theroute,
Blwe bygly in buglez thre bare mote;
Braches bayed therfore and breme noyse maked;
And thay chastysed and charred on chasyng that went,
A hundreth of hunteres, as I haf herde telle,
of the best.
To trystors vewters yghod,
Couples huntes of kest;
Ther ros for blastez gode
Gret rurd in that forest.
At the fyrst quethe of the quest quaked the wylde;
Der drof in the dale, doted for drede,
Hiyghed to the hyyghe, bot heterly thay were
Restayed with the stablye, that stoutly ascryed.
Thay let the herttez haf the gate, with the hyyghe hedes,
The breme bukkez also with hor brode paumez;
For the fre lorde hade defende in fermysoun tyme
That ther schulde no mon meue to the male dere.
The hindez were halden in with hay! and war!
The does dryuen with gret dyn to the depe sladez;
Ther myyght mon se, as thay slypte, slentyng of arwes--
At vche wende vnder wande wapped a flone--
That bigly bote on the broun with ful brode hedez.
What! thay brayen, and bleden, bi bonkkez thay deyghen,
And ay rachches in a res radly hem folyghes,
Hunterez wyth hyyghe horne hasted hem after
Wyth such a crakkande kry as klyffes haden brusten.

What wylde so atwaped wyyghes that schotten
Watz al toraced and rent at the resayt,
Bi thay were tened at the hyyghe and taysed to the wattrez;
The ledez were so lerned at the loyghe trysteres,
And the grehoundez so grete, that geten hem bylyue
And hem tofylched, as fast as frekez myyght loke,
The lorde for blys abloy
Ful oft con launce and lyyght,
And drof that day wyth joy
Thus to the derk nyyght.
Thus laykez this lorde by lynde-wodez euez,
And Gawayn the god mon in gay bed lygez,
Lurkkez quyl the daylyyght lemed on the wowes,
Vnder couertour ful clere, cortyned aboute;
And as in slomeryng he slode, sleyghly he herde
A littel dyn at his dor, and dernly vpon;
And he heuez vp his hed out of the clothes,
A corner of the cortyn he cayght vp a lyttel,
And waytez warly thiderwarde quat hit be myyght.
Hit watz the ladi, loflyest to beholde,
That droygh the dor after hir ful dernly and stylle,
And boyghed towarde the bed; and the burne schamed,
And layde hym doun lystyly, and let as he slepte;
And ho stepped stilly and stel to his bedde,
Kest vp the cortyn and creped withinne,
And set hir ful softly on the bed-syde,
And lenged there selly longe to loke quen he wakened.
The lede lay lurked a ful longe quyle,
Compast in his concience to quat that cace myyght
Meue other amount--to meruayle hym thoyght,
Bot yghet he sayde in hymself, "More semly hit were
To aspye wyth my spelle in space quat ho wolde."
Then he wakenede, and wroth, and to hir warde torned,
And vnlouked his yyghe-lyddez, and let as hym wondered,
And sayned hym, as bi his sayghe the sauer to worthe,
with hande.

Wyth chynne and cheke ful swete,
Bothe quit and red in blande,
Ful lufly con ho lete
Wyth lyppez smal layghande.
"God moroun, Sir Gawayn," sayde that gay lady,
"Yghe ar a sleper vnslyyghe, that mon may slyde hider;
Now ar yghe tan as-tyt! Bot true vus may schape,
I schal bynde yow in your bedde, that be yghe trayst":
Al layghande the lady lanced tho bourdez.
"Goud moroun, gay," quoth Gawayn the blythe,
"Me schal worthe at your wille, and that me wel lykez,
For I yghelde me yghederly, and ygheyghe after grace,
And that is the best, be my dome, for me byhouez nede":
And thus he bourded ayghayn with mony a blythe layghter.
"Bot wolde yghe, lady louely, then leue me grante,
And deprece your prysoun, and pray hym to ryse,
I wolde boyghe of this bed, and busk me better;
I schulde keuer the more comfort to karp yow wyth."
"Nay for sothe, beau sir," sayd that swete,
"Yghe schal not rise of your bedde, I rych yow better,
I schal happe yow here that other half als,
And sythen karp wyth my knyyght that I kayght haue;
For I wene wel, iwysse, Sir Wowen yghe are,
That alle the worlde worchipez quere-so yghe ride;
Your honour, your hendelayk is hendely praysed
With lordez, wyth ladyes, with alle that lyf bere.
And now yghe ar here, iwysse, and we bot oure one;
My lorde and his ledez ar on lenthe faren,
Other burnez in her bedde, and my burdez als,
The dor drawen and dit with a derf haspe;
And sythen I haue in this hous hym that al lykez,
I schal ware my whyle wel, quyl hit lastez,
with tale.
Yghe ar welcum to my cors,
Yowre awen won to wale,
Me behouez of fyne force
Your seruaunt be, and schale."

"In god fayth," quoth Gawayn, "gayn hit me thynkkez,
Thaygh I be not now he that yghe of speken;
To reche to such reuerence as yghe reherce here
I am wyyghe vnworthy, I wot wel myseluen.
Bi God, I were glad, and yow god thoyght,
At sayghe other at seruyce that I sette myyght
To the plesaunce of your prys--hit were a pure ioye."
"In god fayth, Sir Gawayn," quoth the gay lady,
"The prys and the prowes that plesez al other,
If I hit lakked other set at lyyght, hit were littel dayntŽ;
Bot hit ar ladyes innoyghe that leuer wer nowthe
Haf the, hende, in hor holde, as I the habbe here,
To daly with derely your dayntŽ wordez,
Keuer hem comfort and colen her carez,
Then much of the garysoun other golde that thay hauen.
Bot I louue that ilk lorde that the lyfte haldez,
I haf hit holly in my honde that al desyres,
thuryghe grace."
Scho made hym so gret chere,
That watz so fayr of face,
The knyyght with speches skere
Answared to vche a cace.
"Madame," quoth the myry mon, "Mary yow yghelde,
For I haf founden, in god fayth, yowre fraunchis nobele,
And other ful much of other folk fongen bi hor dedez,
Bot the dayntŽ that thay delen, for my disert nys euen,
Hit is the worchyp of yourself, that noyght bot wel connez."
"Bi Mary," quoth the menskful, "me thynk hit an other;
For were I worth al the wone of wymmen alyue,
And al the wele of the worlde were in my honde,
And I schulde chepen and chose to cheue me a lorde,
For the costes that I haf knowen vpon the, knyyght, here,
Of bewtŽ and debonertŽ and blythe semblaunt,
And that I haf er herkkened and halde hit here trwee,
Ther schulde no freke vpon folde bifore yow be chosen."
"Iwysse, worthy," quoth the wyyghe, "yghe haf waled wel better,
Bot I am proude of the prys that yghe put on me,
And, soberly your seruaunt, my souerayn I holde yow,

And yowre knyyght I becom, and Kryst yow foryghelde."
Thus thay meled of muchquat til mydmorn paste,
And ay the lady let lyk as hym loued mych;
The freke ferde with defence, and feted ful fayre--
"Thaygh I were burde bryyghtest," the burde in mynde hade.
The lasse luf in his lode for lur that he soyght
boute hone,
The dunte that schulde hym deue,
And nedez hit most be done.
The lady thenn spek of leue,
He granted hir ful sone.
Thenne ho gef hym god day, and wyth a glent layghed,
And as ho stod, ho stonyed hym wyth ful stor wordez:
"Now he that spedez vche spech this disport yghelde yow!
Bot that yghe be Gawan, hit gotz in mynde."
"Querfore?" quoth the freke, and freschly he askez,
Ferde lest he hade fayled in fourme of his castes;
Bot the burde hym blessed, and "Bi this skyl" sayde:
"So god as Gawayn gaynly is halden,
And cortaysye is closed so clene in hymseluen,
Couth not lyyghtly haf lenged so long wyth a lady,
Bot he had craued a cosse, bi his courtaysye,
Bi sum towch of summe tryfle at sum talez ende."
Then quoth Wowen: "Iwysse, worthe as yow lykez;
I schal kysse at your comaundement, as a knyyght fallez,
And fire, lest he displese yow, so plede hit no more."
Ho comes nerre with that, and cachez hym in armez,
Loutez luflych adoun and the leude kyssez.
Thay comly bykennen to Kryst ayther other;
Ho dos hir forth at the dore withouten dyn more;
And he ryches hym to ryse and rapes hym sone,
Clepes to his chamberlayn, choses his wede,
Boyghez forth, quen he watz boun, blythely to masse;
And thenne he meued to his mete that menskly hym keped,
And made myry al day, til the mone rysed,
with game.
Watz neuer freke fayrer fonge
Bitwene two so dyngne dame,

The alder and the yghonge;
Much solace set thay same.
And ay the lorde of the londe is lent on his gamnez,
To hunt in holtez and hethe at hyndez barayne;
Such a sowme he ther slowe bi that the sunne heldet,
Of dos and of other dere, to deme were wonder.
Thenne fersly thay flokked in folk at the laste,
And quykly of the quelled dere a querrŽ thay maked.
The best boyghed therto with burnez innoghe,
Gedered the grattest of gres that ther were,
And didden hem derely vndo as the dede askez;
Serched hem at the asay summe that ther were,
Two fyngeres thay fonde of the fowlest of alle.
Sythen thay slyt the slot, sesed the erber,
Schaued wyth a scharp knyf, and the schyre knitten;
Sythen rytte thay the foure lymmes, and rent of the hyde,
Then brek thay the balŽ, the bowelez out token
Lystily for laucyng the lere of the knot;
Thay gryped to the gargulun, and graythely departed
The wesaunt fro the wynt-hole, and walt out the guttez;
Then scher thay out the schulderez with her scharp knyuez,
Haled hem by a lyttel hole to haue hole sydes.
Sithen britned thay the brest and brayden hit in twynne,
And eft at the gargulun bigynez on thenne,
Ryuez hit vp radly ryyght to the byyght,
Voydez out the avanters, and verayly therafter
Alle the rymez by the rybbez radly thay lance;
So ryde thay of by resoun bi the rygge bonez,
Euenden to the haunche, that henged alle samen,
And heuen hit vp al hole, and hwen hit of there,
And that thay neme for the noumbles bi nome, as I trowe,
bi kynde;
Bi the byyght al of the thyyghes
The lappez thay lance bihynde;
To hewe hit in two thay hyyghes,
Bi the bakbon to vnbynde.
Bothe the hede and the hals thay hwen of thenne,
And sythen sunder thay the sydez swyft fro the chyne,

And the corbeles fee thay kest in a greue;
Thenn thurled thay ayther thik side thurygh bi the rybbe,
And henged thenne ayther bi hoyghez of the fourchez,
Vche freke for his fee, as fallez for to haue.
Vpon a felle of the fayre best fede thay thayr houndes
Wyth the lyuer and the lyyghtez, the lether of the paunchez,
And bred bathed in blod blende theramongez.
Baldely thay blw prys, bayed thayr rachchez,
Sythen fonge thay her flesche, folden to home,
Strakande ful stoutly mony stif motez.
Bi that the daylyyght watz done the douthe watz al wonen
Into the comly castel, ther the knyyght bidez
ful stille,
Wyth blys and bryyght fyr bette.
The lorde is comen thertylle;
When Gawayn wyth hym mette
Ther watz bot wele at wylle.
Thenne comaunded the lorde in that sale to samen alle the meny,
Bothe the ladyes on loghe to lyyght with her burdes
Bifore alle the folk on the flette, frekez he beddez
Verayly his venysoun to fech hym byforne,
And al godly in gomen Gawayn he called,
Techez hym to the tayles of ful tayt bestes,
Schewez hym the schyree grece schorne vpon rybbes.
"How payez yow this play? Haf I prys wonnen?
Haue I thryuandely thonk thurygh my craft serued?"
"Yghe iwysse," quoth that other wyyghe, "here is wayth fayrest
That I seygh this seuen yghere in sesoun of wynter."
"And al I gif yow, Gawayn," quoth the gome thenne,
"For by acorde of couenaunt yghe craue hit as your awen."
"This is soth," quoth the segge, "I say yow that ilke:
That I haf worthyly wonnen this wonez wythinne,
Iwysse with as god wylle hit worthez to yghourez."
He hasppez his fayre hals his armez wythinne,
And kysses hym as comlyly as he couthe awyse:

"Tas yow there my cheuicaunce, I cheued no more;
I wowche hit saf fynly, thaygh feler hit were."
"Hit is god," quoth the godmon, "grant mercy therfore.
Hit may be such hit is the better, and yghe me breue wolde
Where yghe wan this ilk wele bi wytte of yorseluen."
"That watz not forward," quoth he, "frayst me no more.
For yghe haf tan that yow tydez, trawe non other
yghe mowe."
Thay layghed, and made hem blythe
Wyth lotez that were to lowe;
To soper thay yghede as-swythe,
Wyth dayntŽs nwe innowe.
And sythen by the chymnŽ in chamber thay seten,
Wyyghez the walle wyn weyghed to hem oft,
And efte in her bourdyng thay baythen in the morn
To fylle the same forwardez that thay byfore maden:
Wat chaunce so bytydez hor cheuysaunce to chaunge,
What nwez so thay nome, at nayght quen thay metten.
Thay acorded of the couenauntez byfore the court alle;
The beuerage watz broyght forth in bourde at that tyme,
Thenne thay louelych leyghten leue at the last,
Vche burne to his bedde busked bylyue.
Bi that the coke hade crowen and cakled bot thryse,
The lorde watz lopen of his bedde, the leudez vchone;
So that the mete and the masse watz metely delyuered,
The douthe dressed to the wod, er any day sprenged,
to chace;
Heygh with hunte and hornez
Thurygh playnez thay passe in space,
Vncoupled among tho thornez
Rachez that ran on race.
SONE thay calle of a quest in a ker syde,
The hunt rehayted the houndez that hit fyrst mynged,
Wylde wordez hym warp wyth a wrast noyce;
The howndez that hit herde hastid thider swythe,
And fellen as fast to the fuyt, fourty at ones;

Thenne such a glauer ande glam of gedered rachchez
Ros, that the rocherez rungen aboute;
Hunterez hem hardened with horne and wyth muthe.
Then al in a semblŽ sweyed togeder,
Bitwene a flosche in that fryth and a foo cragge;
In a knot bi a clyffe, at the kerre syde,
Ther as the rogh rocher vnrydely watz fallen,
Thay ferden to the fyndyng, and frekez hem after;
Thay vmbekesten the knarre and the knot bothe,
Wyyghez, whyl thay wysten wel wythinne hem hit were,
The best that ther breued watz wyth the blodhoundez.
Thenne thay beten on the buskez, and bede hym vpryse,
And he vnsoundyly out soyght seggez ouerthwert;
On the sellokest swyn swenged out there,
Long sythen fro the sounder that siyghed for olde,
For he watz breme, bor alther-grattest,
Ful grymme quen he gronyed; thenne greued mony,
For thre at the fyrst thrast he thryyght to the erthe,
And sparred forth good sped boute spyt more.
Thise other halowed hyghe! ful hyyghe, and hay! hay! cryed,
Haden hornez to mouthe, heterly rechated;
Mony watz the myry mouthe of men and of houndez
That buskkez after this bor with bost and wyth noyse
to quelle.
Ful oft he bydez the baye,
And maymez the mute inn melle;
He hurtez of the houndez, and thay
Ful yghomerly yghaule and yghelle.
Schalkez to schote at hym schowen to thenne,
Haled to hym of her arewez, hitten hym oft;
Bot the poyntez payred at the pyth that pyyght in his scheldez,
And the barbez of his browe bite non wolde--
Thaygh the schauen schaft schyndered in pecez,
The hede hypped ayghayn were-so-euer hit hitte.

Bot quen the dyntez hym dered of her dryyghe strokez,
Then, braynwod for bate, on burnez he rasez,
Hurtez hem ful heterly ther he forth hyyghez,
And mony aryghed therat, and on lyte droyghen.
Bot the lorde on a lyyght horce launces hym after,
As burne bolde vpon bent his bugle he blowez,
He rechated, and rode thurygh ronez ful thyk,
Suande this wylde swyn til the sunne schafted.
This day wyth this ilk dede thay dryuen on this wyse,
Whyle oure luflych lede lys in his bedde,
Gawayn graythely at home, in gerez ful ryche
of hewe.
The lady noyght foryghate,
Com to hym to salue;
Ful erly ho watz hym ate
His mode for to remwe.
Ho commes to the cortyn, and at the knyyght totes.
Sir Wawen her welcumed worthy on fyrst,
And ho hym ygheldez ayghayn ful ygherne of hir wordez,
Settez hir softly by his syde, and swythely ho layghez,
And wyth a luflych loke ho layde hym thyse wordez:
"Sir, yghif yghe be Wawen, wonder me thynkkez,
Wyyghe that is so wel wrast alway to god,
And connez not of compaynye the costez vndertake,
And if mon kennes yow hom to knowe, yghe kest hom of your mynde;
Thou hatz forygheten yghederly that yghisterday I tayghtte
Bi alder-truest token of talk that I cowthe."
"What is that?" quoth the wyghe, "Iwysse I wot neuer;
If hit be sothe that yghe breue, the blame is myn awen."
"Yghet I kende yow of kyssyng," quoth the clere thenne,
"Quere-so countenaunce is couthe quikly to clayme;
That bicumes vche a knyyght that cortaysy vses."
"Do way," quoth that derf mon, "my dere, that speche,
For that durst I not do, lest I deuayed were;
If I were werned, I were wrang, iwysse, yghif I profered."
"Ma fay," quoth the merŽ wyf, "yghe may not be werned,

Yghe ar stif innoghe to constrayne wyth strenkthe, yghif yow lykez,
Yghif any were so vilanous that yow devaye wolde."
"Yghe, be God," quoth Gawayn, "good is your speche,
Bot threte is vnthryuande in thede ther I lende,
And vche gift that is geuen not with goud wylle.
I am at your comaundement, to kysse quen yow lykez,
Yghe may lach quen yow lyst, and leue quen yow thynkkez,
in space."
The lady loutez adoun,
And comlyly kysses his face,
Much speche thay ther expoun
Of druryes greme and grace.
"I woled wyt at yow, wyyghe," that worthy ther sayde,
"And yow wrathed not therwyth, what were the skylle
That so yghong and so yghepe as yghe at this tyme,
So cortayse, so knyyghtly, as yghe ar knowen oute--
And of alle cheualry to chose, the chef thyng alosed
Is the lel layk of luf, the lettrure of armes;
For to telle of this teuelyng of this trwe knyyghtez,
Hit is the tytelet token and tyxt of her werkkez,
How ledes for her lele luf hor lyuez han auntered,
Endured for her drury dulful stoundez,
And after wenged with her walour and voyded her care,
And broyght blysse into boure with bountees hor awen--
And yghe ar knyyght comlokest kyd of your elde,
Your worde and your worchip walkez ayquere,
And I haf seten by yourself here sere twyes,
Yghet herde I neuer of your hed helde no wordez
That euer longed to luf, lasse ne more;
And yghe, that ar so cortays and coynt of your hetes,
Oghe to a yghonke thynk yghern to schewe
And teche sum tokenez of trweluf craftes.
Why! ar yghe lewed, that alle the los weldez?
Other elles yghe demen me to dille your dalyaunce to herken?
For schame!
I com hider sengel, and sitte
To lerne at yow sum game;

Dos, techez me of your wytte,
Whil my lorde is fro hame."
"In goud faythe," quoth Gawayn, "God yow foryghelde!
Gret is the gode gle, and gomen to me huge,
That so worthy as yghe wolde wynne hidere,
And pyne yow with so pouer a mon, as play wyth your knyyght
With anyskynnez countenaunce, hit keuerez me ese;
Bot to take the toruayle to myself to trwluf expoun,
And towche the temez of tyxt and talez of armez
To yow that, I wot wel, weldez more slyyght
Of that art, bi the half, or a hundreth of seche
As I am, other euer schal, in erde ther I leue,
Hit were a folŽ felefolde, my fre, by my trawthe.
I wolde yowre wylnyng worche at my myyght,
As I am hyyghly bihalden, and euermore wylle
Be seruaunt to yourseluen, so saue me Dryyghtyn!"
Thus hym frayned that fre, and fondet hym ofte,
For to haf wonnen hym to woyghe, what-so scho thoyght ellez;
Bot he defended hym so fayr that no faut semed,
Ne non euel on nawther halue, nawther thay wysten
bot blysse.
Thay layghed and layked longe;
At the last scho con hym kysse,
Hir leue fayre con scho fonge
And went hir waye, iwysse.
The ruthes hym the renk and ryses to the masse,
And sithen hor diner watz dyyght and derely serued.
The lede with the ladyez layked alle day,
Bot the lorde ouer the londez launced ful ofte,
Swez his vncely swyn, that swyngez bi the bonkkez
And bote the best of his brachez the bakkez in sunder
Ther he bode in his bay, tel bawemen hit breken,
And madee hym mawgref his hed for to mwe vtter,
So felle flonez ther flete when the folk gedered.
Bot yghet the styffest to start bi stoundez he made,
Til at the last he watz so mat he myyght no more renne,
Bot in the hast that he myyght he to a hole wynnez
Of a rasse bi a rokk ther rennez the boerne.

He gete the bonk at his bak, bigynez to scrape,
The frothe femed at his mouth vnfayre bi the wykez,
Whettez his whyte tuschez; with hym then irked
Alle the burnez so bolde that hym by stoden
To nye hym on-ferum, bot neyghe hym non durst
for wothe;
He hade hurt so mony byforne
That al thuyght thenne ful lothe
Be more wyth his tusches torne,
That breme watz and braynwod bothe,
Til the knyyght com hymself, kachande his blonk,
Syygh hym byde at the bay, his burnez bysyde;
He lyyghtes luflych adoun, leuez his corsour,
Braydez out a bryyght bront and bigly forth strydez,
Foundez fast thurygh the forth ther the felle bydez.
The wylde watz war of the wyyghe with weppen in honde,
Hef hyyghly the here, so hetterly he fnast
That fele ferde for the freke, lest felle hym the worre.
The swyn settez hym out on the segge euen,
That the burne and the bor were bothe vpon hepez
In the wyyghtest of the water; the worre hade that other,
For the mon merkkez hym wel, as thay mette fyrst,
Set sadly the scharp in the slot euen,
Hit hym vp to the hult, that the hert schyndered,
And he ygharrande hym yghelde, and yghedoun the water
ful tyt.
A hundreth houndez hym hent,
That bremely con hym bite,
Burnez him broyght to bent,
And doggez to dethe endite.
There watz blawyng of prys in mony breme horne,
Heyghe halowing on hiyghe with hathelez that myyght;
Brachetes bayed that best, as bidden the maysterez
Of that chargeaunt chace that were chef huntes.
Thenne a wyyghe that watz wys vpon wodcraftez
To vnlace this bor lufly bigynnez.
Fyrst he hewes of his hed and on hiyghe settez,

And sythen rendez him al roghe bi the rygge after,
Braydez out the boweles, brennez hom on glede,
With bred blent therwith his braches rewardez.
Sythen he britnez out the brawen in bryyght brode cheldez,
And hatz out the hastlettez, as hiyghtly bisemez;
And yghet hem halchez al hole the haluez togeder,
And sythen on a stif stange stoutly hem henges.
Now with this ilk swyn thay swengen to home;
The bores hed watz borne bifore the burnes seluen
That him forferde in the forthe thurygh forse of his
honde so stronge.
Til he seygh Sir Gawayne
In halle hym poyght ful longe;
He calde, and he com gayn
His feez ther for to fonge.
The lorde ful lowde with lote and layghter myry,
When he seyghe Sir Gawayn, with solace he spekez;
The goude ladyez were geten, and gedered the meyny,
He schewez hem the scheldez, and schapes hem the tale
Of the largesse and the lenthe, the lithernez alse
Of the were of the wylde swyn in wod ther he fled.
That other knyyght ful comly comended his dedez,
And praysed hit as gret prys that he proued hade,
For suche a brawne of a best, the bolde burne sayde,
Ne such sydes of a swyn segh he neuer are.
Thenne hondeled thay the hoge hed, the hende mon hit praysed,
And let lodly therat the lorde for to here.
"Now, Gawayn," quoth the godmon, "this gomen is your awen
Bi fyn forwarde and faste, faythely yghe knowe."
"Hit is sothe," quoth the segge, "and as siker trwe
Alle my get I schal yow gif agayn, bi my trawthe."
He hent the hathel aboute the halse, and hendely hym kysses,
And eftersones of the same he serued hym there.
"Now ar we euen," quoth the hathel, "in this euentide
Of alle the couenauntes that we knyt, sythen I com hider,
bi lawe."
The lorde sayde, "Bi saynt Gile,
Yghe ar the best that I knowe!

Yghe ben ryche in a whyle,
Such chaffer and yghe drowe."
Thenne thay teldet tablez trestes alofte,
Kesten clothen vpon; clere lyyght thenne
Wakned bi woyghez, waxen torches;
Seggez sette and serued in sale al aboute;
Much glam and gle glent vp therinne
Aboute the fyre vpon flet, and on fele wyse
At the soper and after, mony athel songez,
As coundutes of Krystmasse and carolez newe
With al the manerly merthe that mon may of telle,
And euer oure luflych knyyght the lady bisyde.
Such semblaunt to that segge semly ho made
Wyth stille stollen countenaunce, that stalworth to plese,
That al forwondered watz the wyyghe, and wroth with hymseluen,
Bot he nolde not for his nurture nurne hir ayghaynez,
Bot dalt with hir al in dayntŽ, how-se-euer the dede turned
Quen thay hade played in halle
As longe as hor wylle hom last,
To chambre he con hym calle,
And to the chemnŽ thay past.
Andre ther thay dronken, and dalten, and demed eft nwe
To norne on the same note on Nwe Ygherez euen;
Bot the knyyght craued leue to kayre on the morn,
For hit watz neygh at the terme that he to schulde.
The lorde hym letted of that, to lenge hym resteyed,
And sayde, "As I am trwe segge, I siker my trawthe
Thou schal cheue to the grene chapel thy charres to make,
Leude, on Nw Ygherez lyyght, longe bifore pryme.
Forthy thow lye in thy loft and lach thyn ese,
And I schal hunt in this holt, and halde the towchez,
Chaunge wyth the cheuisaunce, bi that I charre hider;
For I haf fraysted the twys, and faythful I fynde the.
Now 'thrid tyme throwe best' thenk on the morne,
Make we mery quyl we may and mynne vpon joye,
For the lur may mon lach when-so mon lykez."
This watz graythely graunted, and Gawayn is lenged,

Blithe broyght watz hym drynk, and thay to bedde ygheden
with liyght.
Sir Gawayn lis and slepes
Ful stille and softe al niyght;
The lorde that his craftez kepes,
Ful erly he watz diyght.
After messe a morsel he and his men token;
Miry watz the mornyng, his mounture he askes.
Alle the hatheles that on horse schulde helden hym after
Were boun busked on hor blonkkez bifore the halle yghatez.
Ferly fayre watz the folde, for the forst clenged;
In rede rudede vpon rak rises the sunne,
And ful clere costez the clowdes of the welkyn.
Hunteres vnhardeled bi a holt syde,
Rocheres roungen bi rys for rurde of her hornes;
Summe fel in the fute ther the fox bade,
Traylez ofte a traueres bi traunt of her wyles;
A kenet kyres therof, the hunt on hym calles;
His felayghes fallen hym to, that fnasted ful thike,
Runnen forth in a rabel in his ryyght fare,
And he fyskez hem byfore; thay founden hym sone,
And quen thay seghe hym with syyght thay sued hym fast,
Wreyghande hym ful weterly with a wroth noyse;
And he trantes and tornayeez thurygh mony tene greue,
Hauilounez, and herkenez bi heggez ful ofte.
At the last bi a littel dich he lepez ouer a spenne,
Stelez out ful stilly bi a strothe rande,
Went haf wylt of the wode with wylez fro the houndes;
Thenne watz he went, er he wyst, to a wale tryster,
Ther thre thro at a thrich thrat hym at ones,
al graye.
He blenched ayghayn bilyue
And stifly start on-stray,
With alle the wo on lyue
To the wod he went away.

Thenne watz hit list vpon lif to lythen the houndez,
When alle the mute hade hym met, menged togeder:
Suche a soryghe at that syyght thay sette on his hede
As alle the clamberande clyffes hade clatered on hepes;
Here he watz halawed, when hathelez hym metten,
Loude he watz yghayned with ygharande speche;
Ther he watz threted and ofte thef called,
And ay the titleres at his tayl, that tary he ne myyght;
Ofte he watz runnen at, when he out rayked,
And ofte reled in ayghayn, so Reniarde watz wylŽ.
And yghe he lad hem bi lagmon, the lorde and his meyny,
On this maner bi the mountes quyle myd-ouer-vnder,
Whyle the hende knyyght at home holsumly slepes
Withinne the comly cortynes, on the colde morne.
Bot the lady for luf let not to slepe,
Ne the purpose to payre that pyyght in hir hert,
Bot ros hir vp radly, rayked hir theder
In a mery mantyle, mete to the erthe,
That watz furred ful fyne with fellez wel pured,
No hwef goud on hir hede bot the haygher stones
Trased aboute hir tressour be twenty in clusteres;
Hir thryuen face and hir throte throwen al naked,
Hir brest bare bifore, and bihinde eke.
Ho comez withinne the chambre dore, and closes hit hir after,
Wayuez vp a wyndow, and on the wyyghe callez,
And radly thus rehayted hym with hir riche wordes,
with chere:
"A! mon, how may thou slepe,
This morning is so clere?"
He watz in drowping depe,
Bot thenne he con hir here.
In dreygh droupyng of dreme draueled that noble,
As mon that watz in mornyng of mony thro thoyghtes,
How that destinŽ schulde that day dele hym his wyrde
At the grene chapel, when he the gome metes,
And bihoues his buffet abide withoute debate more;
Bot quen that comly com he keuered his wyttes,

Swenges out of the sweuenes, and swarez with hast.
The lady luflych com layghande swete,
Felle ouer his fayre face, and fetly hym kyssed;
He welcumez hir worthily with a wale chere.
He seygh hir so glorious and gayly atyred,
So fautles of hir fetures and of so fyne hewes,
Wiyght wallande joye warmed his hert.
With smothe smylyng and smolt thay smeten into merthe,
That al watz blis and bonchef that breke hem bitwene,
and wynne.
Thay lanced wordes gode,
Much wele then watz therinne;
Gret perile bitwene hem stod,
Nif MarŽ of hir knyyght mynne.
For that prynces of pris depresed hym so thikke,
Nurned hym so neyghe the thred, that nede hym bihoued
Other lach ther hir luf, other lodly refuse.
He cared for his cortaysye, lest crathayn he were,
And more for his meschef yghif he schulde make synne,
And be traytor to that tolke that that telde ayght.
"God schylde," quoth the schalk, "that schal not befalle!"
With luf-layghyng a lyt he layd hym bysyde
Alle the spechez of specialtŽ that sprange of her mouthe.
Quoth that burde to the burne, "Blame yghe disserue,
Yghif yghe luf not that lyf that yghe lye nexte,
Bifore alle the wyyghez in the worlde wounded in hert,
Bot if yghe haf a lemman, a leuer, that yow lykez better,
And folden fayth to that fre, festned so harde
That yow lausen ne lyst--and that I leue nouthe;
And that yghe telle me that now trwly I pray yow,
For alle the lufez vpon lyue layne not the sothe
for gile."
The knyyght sayde, "Be sayn Jon,"
And smethely con he smyle,
"In fayth I welde riyght non,
Ne non wil welde the quile."
"That is a worde," quoth that wyyght, "that worst is of alle,

Bot I am swared for sothe, that sore me thinkkez.
Kysse me now comly, and I schal cach hethen,
I may bot mourne vpon molde, as may that much louyes."
Sykande ho sweyghe doun and semly hym kyssed,
And sithen ho seueres hym fro, and says as ho stondes,
"Now, dere, at this departyng do me this ese,
Gif me sumquat of thy gifte, thi gloue if hit were,
That I may mynne on the, mon, my mournyng to lassen."
"Now iwysse," quoth that wyyghe, "I wolde I hade here
The leuest thing for thy luf that I in londe welde,
For yghe haf deserued, for sothe, sellyly ofte
More rewarde bi resoun then I reche myyght;
Bot to dele yow for drurye that dawed bot neked,
Hit is not your honour to haf at this tyme
A gloue for a garysoun of Gawaynez giftez,
And I am here an erande in erdez vncouthe,
And haue no men wyth no malez with menskful thingez;
That mislykez me, ladŽ, for luf at this tyme,
Iche tolke mon do as he is tan, tas to non ille
ne pine."
"Nay, hende of hyyghe honours,"
Quoth that lufsum vnder lyne,
"Thaygh I hade noyght of yourez,
Yghet schulde yghe haue of myne."
Ho rayght hym a riche rynk of red golde werkez,
Wyth a starande ston stondande alofte
That bere blusschande bemez as the bryyght sunne;
Wyt yghe wel, hit watz worth wele ful hoge.
Bot the renk hit renayed, and redyly he sayde,
"I wil no giftez, for Gode, my gay, at this tyme;
I haf none yow to norne, ne noyght wyl I take."
Ho bede hit hym ful bysily, and he hir bode wernes,
And swere swyfte by his sothe that he hit sese nolde,
And ho sorŽ that he forsoke, and sayde therafter,
"If yghe renay my rynk, to ryche for hit semez,
Yghe wolde not so hyyghly halden be to me,
I schal gif yow my girdel, that gaynes yow lasse."

Ho layght a lace lyyghtly that leke vmbe hir sydez,
Knit vpon hir kyrtel vnder the clere mantyle,
Gered hit watz with grene sylke and with golde schaped,
Noyght bot arounde brayden, beten with fyngrez;
And that ho bede to the burne, and blythely bisoyght,
Thaygh hit vnworthi were, that he hit take wolde.
And he nay that he nolde neghe in no wyse
Nauther golde ne garysoun, er God hym grace sende
To acheue to the chaunce that he hade chosen there.
"And therfore, I pray yow, displese yow noyght,
And lettez be your bisinesse, for I baythe hit yow neuer
to graunte;
I am derely to yow biholde
Bicause of your sembelaunt,
And euer in hot and colde
To be your trwe seruaunt."
"Now forsake yghe this silke," sayde the burde thenne,
"For hit is symple in hitself? And so hit wel semez.
Lo! so hit is littel, and lasse hit is worthy;
Bot who-so knew the costes that knit ar therinne,
He wolde hit prayse at more prys, parauenture;
For quat gome so is gorde with this grene lace,
While he hit hade hemely halched aboute,
Ther is no hathel vnder heuen tohewe hym that myyght,
For he myyght not be slayn for slyyght vpon erthe."
Then kest the knyyght, and hit come to his hert
Hit were a juel for the jopardŽ that hym iugged were:
When he acheued to the chapel his chek for to fech,
Myyght he haf slypped to be vnslayn, the sleyght were noble.
Thenne he thulged with hir threpe and tholed hir to speke,
And ho bere on hym the belt and bede hit hym swythe--
And he granted and hym gafe with a goud wylle--
And bisoyght hym, for hir sake, disceuer hit neuer,
Bot to lelly layne fro hir lorde; the leude hym acordez
That neuer wyyghe schulde hit wyt, iwysse, bot thay twayne
for noyghte;
He thonkked hir oft ful swythe,
Ful thro with hert and thoyght.

Bi that on thrynne sythe
Ho hatz kyst the knyyght so toyght.
Thenne lachchez ho hir leue, and leuez hym there,
For more myrthe of that mon moyght ho not gete.
When ho watz gon, Sir Gawayn gerez hym sone,
Rises and riches hym in araye noble,
Lays vp the luf-lace the lady hym rayght,
Hid hit ful holdely, ther he hit eft fonde.
Sythen cheuely to the chapel choses he the waye,
PreuŽly aproched to a prest, and prayed hym there
That he wolde lyste his lyf and lern hym better
How his sawle schulde be saued when he schuld seye hethen.
There he schrof hym schyrly and schewed his mysdedez,
Of the more and the mynne, and merci besechez,
And of absolucioun he on the segge calles;
And he asoyled hym surely and sette hym so clene
As domezday schulde haf ben diyght on the morn.
And sythen he mace hym as mery among the fre ladyes,
With comlych caroles and alle kynnes ioye,
As neuer he did bot that daye, to the derk nyyght,
with blys.
Vche mon hade dayntŽ thare
Of hym, and sayde, "Iwysse,
Thus myry he watz neuer are,
Syn he com hider, er this."
Now hym lenge in that lee, ther luf hym bityde!
Yghet is the lorde on the launde ledande his gomnes.
He hatz forfaren this fox that he folyghed longe;
As he sprent ouer a spenne to spye the schrewe,
Ther as he herd the howndes that hasted hym swythe,
Renaud com richchande thurygh a royghe greue,
And alle the rabel in a res ryyght at his helez.
The wyyghe watz war of the wylde, and warly abides,
And braydez out the bryyght bronde, and at the best castez.
And he schunt for the scharp, and schulde haf arered;
A rach rapes hym to, ryyght er he myyght,
And ryyght bifore the hors fete thay fel on hym alle,

And woried me this wyly wyth a wroth noyse.
The lorde lyyghtez bilyue, and lachez hym sone,
Rased hym ful radly out of the rach mouthes,
Haldez heyghe ouer his hede, halowez faste,
And ther bayen hym mony brath houndez.
Huntes hyyghed hem theder with hornez ful mony,
Ay rechatande aryyght til thay the renk seyghen.
Bi that watz comen his compeyny noble,
Alle that euer ber bugle blowed at ones,
And alle thise other halowed that hade no hornes;
Hit watz the myriest mute that euer men herde,
The rich rurd that ther watz raysed for Renaude saule
with lote.
Hor houndez thay ther rewarde,
Her hedez thay fawne and frote,
And sythen thay tan Reynarde,
And tyruen of his cote.
And thenne thay helden to home, for hit watz nieygh nyyght,
Strakande ful stoutly in hor store hornez.
The lorde is lyyght at the laste at hys lef home,
Fyndez fire vpon flet, the freke ther-byside,
Sir Gawayn the gode, that glad watz withalle,
Among the ladies for luf he ladde much ioye;
He were a bleaunt of blwe that bradde to the erthe,
His surkot semed hym wel that softe watz forred,
And his hode of that ilke henged on his schulder,
Blande al of blaunner were bothe al aboute.
He metez me this godmon inmyddez the flore,
And al with gomen he hym gret, and goudly he sayde,
"I schal fylle vpon fyrst oure forwardez nouthe,
That we spedly han spoken, ther spared watz no drynk."
Then acoles he the knyyght and kysses hym thryes,
As sauerly and sadly as he hem sette couthe.
"Bi Kryst," quoth that other knyyght, "Yghe cach much sele
In cheuisaunce of this chaffer, yghif yghe hade goud chepez."
"Yghe, of the chepe no charg," quoth chefly that other,
"As is pertly payed the chepez that I ayghte."

"Mary," quoth that other mon, "myn is bihynde,
For I haf hunted al this day, and noyght haf I geten
Bot this foule fox felle--the fende haf the godez!--
And that is ful pore for to pay for suche prys thinges
As yghe haf thryyght me here thro, suche thre cosses
so gode."
"Inoygh," quoth Sir Gawayn,
"I thonk yow, bi the rode,"
And how the fox watz slayn
He tolde hym as thay stode.
With merthe and mynstralsye, with metez at hor wylle,
Thay maden as mery as any men moyghten--
With layghyne of ladies, with lotez of bordes
Gawayn and the godemon so glad were thay bothe--
Bot if the douthe had doted, other dronken ben other.
Bothe the mon and the meyny maden mony iapez,
Til the sesoun watz seyghen that thay seuer moste;
Burnez to hor bedde behoued at the laste.
Thenne loyghly his leue at the lorde fyrst
Fochchez this fre mon, and fayre he hym thonkkez:
"Of such a selly soiorne as I haf hade here,
Your honour at this hyyghe fest, the hyyghe kyng yow yghelde!
I yghef yow me for on of yourez, if yowreself lykez,
For I mot nedes, as yghe wot, meue to-morne,
And yghe me take sum tolke to teche, as yghe hyyght,
The gate to the grene chapel, as God wyl me suffer
To dele on Nw Ygherez day the dome of my wyrdes."
"In god faythe," quoth the godmon, "wyth a goud wylle
Al that euer I yow hyyght halde schal I redŽ."
Ther asyngnes he a seruaunt to sett hym in the waye,
And coundue hym by the downez, that he no drechch had,
For to ferk thurygh the fryth and fare at the gaynest
bi greue.
The lorde Gawayn con thonk,
Such worchip he wolde hym weue.
Then at tho ladyez wlonk
The knyyght hatz tan his leue.

With care and wyth kyssyng he carppez hem tille,
And fele thryuande thonkkez he thrat hom to haue,
And thay yghelden hym ayghayn ygheply that ilk;
Thay bikende hym to Kryst with ful colde sykyngez.
Sythen fro the meyny he menskly departes;
Vche mon that he mette, he made hem a thonke
For his seruyse and his solace and his sere pyne,
That thay wyth busynes had ben aboute hym to serue;
And vche segge as sorŽ to seuer with hym there
As thay hade wonde worthyly with that wlonk euer.
Then with ledes and lyyght he watz ladde to his chambre
And blythely broyght to his bedde to be at his rest.
Yghif he ne slepe soundyly say ne dar I,
For he hade muche on the morn to mynne, yghif he wolde,
in thoyght.
Let hym lyyghe there stille,
He hatz nere that he soyght;
And yghe wyl a whyle be stylle
I schal telle yow how thay wroyght.


Now neyghez the Nw Yghere, and the nyyght passez,
The day dryuez to the derk, as Dryyghtyn biddez;
Bot wylde wederez of the worlde wakned theroute,
Clowdes kesten kenly the colde to the erthe,
Wyth nyyghe innoghe of the northe, the naked to tene;
The snawe snitered ful snart, that snayped the wylde;
The werbelande wynde wapped fro the hyyghe,
And drof vche dale ful of dryftes ful grete.
The leude lystened ful wel that leygh in his bedde,
Thaygh he lowkez his liddez, ful lyttel he slepes;
Bi vch kok that crue he knwe wel the steuen.
Deliuerly he dressed vp, er the day sprenged,
For there watz lyyght of a laumpe that lemed in his chambre;
He called to his chamberlayn, that cofly hym swared,
And bede hym bryng hym his bruny and his blonk sadel;

That other ferkez hym vp and fechez hym his wedez,
And graythez me Sir Gawayn vpon a grett wyse.
Fyrst he clad hym in his clothez the colde for to were,
And sythen his other harnays, that holdely watz keped,
Bothe his paunce and his platez, piked ful clene,
The ryngez rokked of the roust of his riche bruny;
And al watz fresch as vpon fyrst, and he watz fayn thenne
to thonk;
He hade vpon vche pece,
Wypped ful wel and wlonk;
The gayest into Grece,
The burne bede bryng his blonk.
Whyle the wlonkest wedes he warp on hymseluen--
His cote wyth the conysaunce of the clere werkez
Ennurned vpon veluet, vertuus stonez
Aboute beten and bounden, enbrauded semez,
And fayre furred withinne wyth fayre pelures--
Yghet laft he not the lace, the ladiez gifte,
That forgat not Gawayn for gode of hymseluen.
Bi he hade belted the bronde vpon his balyghe haunchez,
Thenn dressed he his drurye double hym aboute,
Swythe swethled vmbe his swange swetely that knyyght
The gordel of the grene silke, that gay wel bisemed,
Vpon that ryol red clothe that ryche watz to schewe.
Bot wered not this ilk wyyghe for wele this gordel,
For pryde of the pendauntez, thaygh polyst thay were,
And thaygh the glyterande golde glent vpon endez,
Bot for to sauen hymself, when suffer hym byhoued,
To byde bale withoute dabate of bronde hym to were
other knyffe.
Bi that the bolde mon boun
Wynnez theroute bilyue,
Alle the meyny of renoun
He thonkkez ofte ful ryue.
Thenne watz Gryngolet graythe, that gret watz and huge,
And hade ben soiourned sauerly and in a siker wyse,
Hym lyst prik for poynt, that proude hors thenne.

The wyyghe wynnez hym to and wytez on his lyre,
And sayde soberly hymself and by his soth swerez:
"Here is a meyny in this mote that on menske thenkkez,
The mon hem maynteines, ioy mot thay haue;
The leue lady on lyue luf hir bityde;
Yghif thay for charytŽ cherysen a gest,
And halden honour in her honde, the hathel hem yghelde
That haldez the heuen vpon hyyghe, and also yow alle!
And yghif I myyght lyf vpon londe lede any quyle,
I schuld rech yow sum rewarde redyly, if I myyght."
Thenn steppez he into stirop and strydez alofte;
His schalk schewed hym his schelde, on schulder he hit layght,
Gordez to Gryngolet with his gilt helez,
And he startez on the ston, stod he no lenger
to praunce.
His hathel on hors watz thenne,
That bere his spere and launce.
"This kastel to Kryst I kenne":
He gef hit ay god chaunce.
The brygge watz brayde doun, and the brode yghatez
Vnbarred and born open vpon bothe halue.
The burne blessed hym bilyue, and the bredez passed--
Prayses the porter bifore the prynce kneled,
Gef hym God and goud day, that Gawayn he saue--
And went on his way with his wyyghe one,
That schulde teche hym to tourne to that tene place
Ther the ruful race he schulde resayue.
Thay boyghen bi bonkkez ther boyghez ar bare,
Thay clomben bi clyffez ther clengez the colde.
The heuen watz vphalt, bot vgly ther-vnder;
Mist muged on the mor, malt on the mountez,
Vch hille hade a hatte, a myst-hakel huge.
Brokez byled and breke bi bonkkez aboute,
Schyre schaterande on schorez, ther thay doun schowued.
Wela wylle watz the way ther thay bi wod schulden,
Til hit watz sone sesoun that the sunne ryses
that tyde.
Thay were on a hille ful hyyghe,
The quyte snaw lay bisyde;

The burne that rod hym by
Bede his mayster abide.
"For I haf wonnen yow hider, wyyghe, at this tyme,
And now nar yghe not fer fro that note place
That yghe han spied and spuryed so specially after;
Bot I schal say yow for sothe, sythen I yow knowe,
And yghe ar a lede vpon lyue that I wel louy,
Wolde yghe worch bi my wytte, yghe worthed the better.
The place that yghe prece to ful perelous is halden;
Ther wonez a wyyghe in that waste, the worst vpon erthe,
For he is stiffe and sturne, and to strike louies,
And more he is then any mon vpon myddelerde,
And his body bigger then the best fowre
That ar in Arthurez hous, Hestor, other other.
He cheuez that chaunce at the chapel grene,
Ther passes non bi that place so proude in his armes
That he ne dyngez hym to dethe with dynt of his honde;
For he is a mon methles, and mercy non vses,
For be hit chorle other chaplayn that bi the chapel rydes,
Monk other masseprest, other any mon elles,
Hym thynk as queme hym to quelle as quyk go hymseluen.
Forthy I say the, as sothe as yghe in sadel sitte,
Com yghe there, yghe be kylled, may the knyyght rede,
Trawe yghe me that trwely, thaygh yghe had twenty lyues
to spende.
He hatz wonyd here ful yghore,
On bent much baret bende,
Ayghayn his dyntez sore
Yghe may not yow defende.
"Forthy, goude Sir Gawayn, let the gome one,
And gotz away sum other gate, vpon Goddez halue!
Cayrez bi sum other kyth, ther Kryst mot yow spede,
And I schal hyygh me hom ayghayn, and hete yow fyrre
That I schal swere bi God and alle his gode halyghez,
As help me God and the halydam, and othez innoghe,
That I schal lelly yow layne, and lance neuer tale
That euer yghe fondet to fle for freke that I wyst."

"Grant merci," quoth Gawayn, and gruchyng he sayde:
"Wel worth the, wyyghe, that woldez my gode,
And that lelly me layne I leue wel thou woldez.
Bot helde thou hit neuer so holde, and I here passed,
Founded for ferde for to fle, in fourme that thou tellez,
I were a knyyght kowarde, I myyght not be excused.
Bot I wyl to the chapel, for chaunce that may falle,
And talk wyth that ilk tulk the tale that me lyste,
Worthe hit wele other wo, as the wyrde lykez
hit hafe.
Thayghe he be a sturn knape
To stiyghtel, and stad with staue,
Ful wel con Dryyghtyn schape
His seruauntez for to saue."
"Mary!" quoth that other mon, "now thou so much spellez,
That thou wylt thyn awen nye nyme to thyseluen,
And the lyst lese thy lyf, the lette I ne kepe.
Haf here thi helme on thy hede, thi spere in thi honde,
And ryde me doun this ilk rake bi yghon rokke syde,
Til thou be broyght to the bothem of the brem valay;
Thenne loke a littel on the launde, on thi lyfte honde,
And thou schal se in that slade the self chapel,
And the borelych burne on bent that hit kepez.
Now farez wel, on Godez half, Gawayn the noble!
For alle the golde vpon grounde I nolde go wyth the,
Ne bere the felayghschip thurygh this fryth on fote fyrre."
Bi that the wyyghe in the wod wendez his brydel,
Hit the hors with the helez as harde as he myyght,
Lepez hym ouer the launde, and leuez the knyyght there
al one.
"Bi Goddez self," quoth Gawayn,
"I wyl nauther grete ne grone;
To Goddez wylle I am ful bayn,
And to hym I haf me tone."
Thenne gyrdez he to Gryngolet, and gederez the rake,
Schowuez in bi a schore at a schayghe syde,
Ridez thurygh the royghe bonk ryyght to the dale;

And thenne he wayted hym aboute, and wylde hit hym thoyght,
And seyghe no syngne of resette bisydez nowhere,
Bot hyyghe bonkkez and brent vpon bothe halue,
And ruyghe knokled knarrez with knorned stonez;
The skwez of the scowtes skayned hym thoyght.
Thenne he houed, and wythhylde his hors at that tyde,
And ofte chaunged his cher the chapel to seche:
He seygh non suche in no syde, and selly hym thoyght,
Saue, a lyttel on a launde, a lawe as hit were;
A balygh berygh bi a bonke the brymme bysyde,
Bi a forygh of a flode that ferked thare;
The borne blubred therinne as hit boyled hade.
The knyyght kachez his caple, and com to the lawe,
Liyghtez doun luflyly, and at a lynde tachez
The rayne and his riche with a royghe braunche.
Thenne he boyghez to the beryghe, aboute hit he walkez,
Debatande with hymself quat hit be myyght.
Hit hade a hole on the ende and on ayther syde,
And ouergrowen with gresse in glodes aywhere,
And al watz holygh inwith, nobot an olde caue,
Or a creuisse of an olde cragge, he couthe hit noyght deme
with spelle.
"We! Lorde," quoth the gentyle knyyght,
"Whether this be the grene chapelle?
Here myyght aboute mydnyyght
The dele his matynnes telle!
"Now iwysse," quoth Wowayn, "wysty is here;
This oritore is vgly, with erbez ouergrowen;
Wel bisemez the wyyghe wruxled in grene
Dele here his deuocioun on the deuelez wyse.
Now I fele hit is the fende, in my fyue wyttez,
That hatz stoken me this steuen to strye me here.
This is a chapel of meschaunce, that chekke hit bytyde!
Hit is the corsedest kyrk that euer I com inne!"
With heyghe helme on his hede, his launce in his honde,
He romez vp to the roffe of the roygh wonez.

Thene herde he of that hyyghe hil, in a harde roche
Biyghonde the broke, in a bonk, a wonder breme noyse,
Quat! hit clatered in the clyff, as hit cleue schulde,
As one vpon a gryndelston hade grounden a sythe.
What! hit wharred and whette, as water at a mulne;
What! hit rusched and ronge, rawthe to here.
Thenne "Bi Godde," quoth Gawayn, "that gere, as I trowe,
Is ryched at the reuerence me, renk, to mete
bi rote.
Let God worche! 'We loo'--
Hit helppez me not a mote.
My lif thaygh I forgoo,
Drede dotz me no lote."
Thenne the knyyght con calle ful hyyghe:
"Who stiyghtlez in this sted me steuen to holde?
For now is gode Gawayn goande ryyght here.
If any wyyghe oyght wyl, wynne hider fast,
Other now other neuer, his nedez to spede."
"Abyde," quoth on on the bonke abouen ouer his hede,
"And thou schal haf al in hast that I the hyyght ones."
Yghet he rusched on that rurde rapely a throwe.
And wyth quettyng awharf, er he wolde lyyght;
And sythen he keuerez bi a cragge, and comez of a hole,
Whyrlande out of a wro wyth a felle weppen,
A denez ax nwe dyyght, the dynt with to yghelde,
With a borelych bytte bende by the halme,
Fyled in a fylor, fowre fote large--
Hit watz no lasse bi that lace that lemed ful bryyght--
And the gome in the grene gered as fyrst,
Bothe the lyre and the leggez, lokkez and berde,
Saue that fayre on his fote he foundez on the erthe,
Sette the stele to the stone, and stalked bysyde.
When he wan to the watter, ther he wade nolde,
He hypped ouer on hys ax, and orpedly strydez,
Bremly brothe on a bent that brode watz aboute,
on snawe.
Sir Gawayn the knyyght con mete,
He ne lutte hym nothyng lowe;

That other sayde, "Now, sir swete,
Of steuen mon may the trowe."
"Gawayn," quoth that grene gome, "God the mot loke!
Iwysse thou art welcom, wyyghe, to my place,
And thou hatz tymed thi trauayl as truee mon schulde,
And thou knowez the couenauntez kest vus bytwene:
At this tyme twelmonyth thou toke that the falled,
And I schulde at this Nwe Yghere ygheply the quyte.
And we ar in this valay verayly oure one;
Here ar no renkes vs to rydde, rele as vus likez.
Haf thy helme of thy hede, and haf here thy pay.
Busk no more debate then I the bede thenne
When thou wypped of my hede at a wap one."
"Nay, bi God," quoth Gawayn, "that me gost lante,
I schal gruch the no grwe for grem that fallez.
Bot styyghtel the vpon on strok, and I schal stonde stylle
And warp the no wernyng to worch as the lykez,
He lened with the nek, and lutte,
And schewed that schyre al bare,
And lette as he noyght dutte;
For drede he wolde not dare.
THEN the gome in the grene graythed hym swythe,
Gederez vp hys grymme tole Gawayn to smyte;
With alle the bur in his body he ber hit on lofte,
Munt as mayghtyly as marre hym he wolde;
Hade hit dryuen adoun as dreygh as he atled,
Ther hade ben ded of his dynt that doyghty watz euer.
Bot Gawayn on that giserne glyfte hym bysyde,
As hit com glydande adoun on glode hym to schende,
And schranke a lytel with the schulderes for the scharp yrne.
That other schalk wyth a schunt the schene wythhaldez,
And thenne repreued he the prynce with mony prowde wordez:
"Thou art not Gawayn," quoth the gome, "that is so goud halden,
That neuer aryghed for no here by hylle ne be vale,
And now thou fles for ferde er thou fele harmez!
Such cowardise of that knyyght cowthe I neuer here.

Nawther fyked I ne flayghe, freke, quen thou myntest,
Ne kest no kauelacion in kyngez hous Arthor.
My hede flaygh to my fote, and yghet flaygh I neuer;
And thou, er any harme hent, aryghez in hert;
Wherfore the better burne me burde be called
Quoth Gawayn, "I schunt onez,
And so wyl I no more;
Bot thaygh my hede falle on the stonez,
I con not hit restore.
"Bot busk, burne, bi thi fayth, and bryng me to the poynt.
Dele to me my destinŽ, and do hit out of honde,
For I schal stonde the a strok, and start no more
Til thyn ax haue me hitte: haf here my trawthe."
"Haf at the thenne!" quoth that other, and heuez hit alofte,
And waytez as wrothely as he wode were.
He myntez at hym mayghtyly, bot not the mon rynez,
Withhelde heterly his honde, er hit hurt myyght.
Gawayn graythely hit bydez, and glent with no membre,
Bot stode stylle as the ston, other a stubbe auther
That ratheled is in rochŽ grounde with rotez a hundreth.
Then muryly efte con he mele, the mon in the grene:
"So, now thou hatz thi hert holle, hitte me bihous.
Halde the now the hyyghe hode that Arthur the rayght,
And kepe thy kanel at this kest, yghif hit keuer may."
Gawayn ful gryndelly with greme thenne sayde:
"Wy! thresch on, thou thro mon, thou thretez to longe;
I hope that thi hert aryghe wyth thyn awen seluen."
"For sothe," quoth that other freke, "so felly thou spekez,
I wyl no lenger on lyte lette thin ernde
riyght nowe."
Thenne tas he hym strythe to stryke,
And frounsez bothe lyppe and browe;
No meruayle thaygh hym myslyke
That hoped of no rescowe.
He lyftes lyyghtly his lome, and let hit doun fayre
With the barbe of the bitte bi the bare nek;

Thaygh he homered heterly, hurt hym no more
Bot snyrt hym on that on syde, that seuered the hyde.
The scharp schrank to the flesche thurygh the schyre grece,
That the schene blod ouer his schulderes schot to the erthe;
And quen the burne seygh the blode blenk on the snawe,
He sprit forth spenne-fote more then a spere lenthe,
Hent heterly his helme, and on his hed cast,
Schot with his schulderez his fayre schelde vnder,
Braydez out a bryyght sworde, and bremely he spekez--
Neuer syn that he watz burne borne of his moder
Watz he neuer in this worlde wyyghe half so blythe--
"Blynne, burne, of thy bur, bede me no mo!
I haf a stroke in this sted withoute stryf hent,
And if thow rechez me any mo, I redyly schal quyte,
And yghelde yghederly ayghayn--and therto yghe tryst--
and foo.
Bot on stroke here me fallez--
The couenaunt schop ryyght so,
Fermed in Arthurez hallez--
And therfore, hende, now hoo!"
The hathel heldet hym fro, and on his ax rested,
Sette the schaft vpon schore, and to the scharp lened,
And loked to the leude that on the launde yghede,
How that doyghty, dredles, deruely ther stondez
Armed, ful ayghlez: in hert hit hym lykez.
Thenn he melez muryly wyth a much steuen,
And wyth a rynkande rurde he to the renk sayde:
"Bolde burne, on this bent be not so gryndel.
No mon here vnmanerly the mysboden habbez,
Ne kyd bot as couenaunde at kyngez kort schaped.
I hyyght the a strok and thou hit hatz, halde the wel payed;
I relece the of the remnaunt of ryyghtes alle other.
Iif I deliuer had bene, a boffet paraunter
I couthe wrotheloker haf waret, to the haf wroyght anger.
Fyrst I mansed the muryly with a mynt one,
And roue the wyth no rof-sore, with ryyght I the profered

For the forwarde that we fest in the fyrst nyyght,
And thou trystyly the trawthe and trwly me haldez,
Al the gayne thow me gef, as god mon schulde.
That other munt for the morne, mon, I the profered,
Thou kyssedes my clere wyf--the cossez me rayghtez.
For bothe two here I the bede bot two bare myntes
boute scathe.
Trwe mon trwe restore,
Thenne thar mon drede no wathe.
At the thrid thou fayled thore,
And therfor that tappe ta the.
"For hit is my wede that thou werez, that ilke wouen girdel,
Myn owen wyf hit the weued, I wot wel for sothe.
Now know I wel thy cosses, and thy costes als,
And the wowyng of my wyf: I wroyght hit myseluen.
I sende hir to asay the, and sothly me thynkkez
On the fautlest freke that euer on fote yghede;
As perle bi the quite pese is of prys more,
So is Gawayn, in god fayth, bi other gay knyyghtez.
Bot here yow lakked a lyttel, sir, and lewtŽ yow wonted;
Bot that watz for no wylyde werke, ne wowyng nauther,
Bot for yghe lufed your lyf; the lasse I yow blame."
That other stif mon in study stod a gret whyle,
So agreued for greme he gryed withinne;
Alle the blode of his brest blende in his face,
That al he schrank for schome that the schalk talked.
The forme worde vpon folde that the freke meled:
"Corsed worth cowarddyse and couetyse bothe!
In yow is vylany and vyse that vertue disstryez."
Thenne he kayght to the knot, and the kest lawsez,
Brayde brothely the belt to the burne seluen:
"Lo! ther the falssyng, foule mot hit falle!
For care of thy knokke cowardyse me tayght
To acorde me with couetyse, my kynde to forsake,
That is larges and lewtŽ that longez to knyyghtez.
Now am I fawty and falce, and ferde haf ben euer
Of trecherye and vntrawthe: bothe bityde soryghe
and care!

I biknowe yow, knyyght, here stylle,
Al fawty is my fare;
Letez me ouertake your wylle
And efte I schal be ware."
Thenn loyghe that other leude and luflyly sayde:
"I halde hit hardily hole, the harme that I hade.
Thou art confessed so clene, beknowen of thy mysses,
And hatz the penaunce apert of the poynt of myn egge,
I halde the polysed of that plyyght, and pured as clene
As thou hadez neuer forfeted sythen thou watz fyrst borne;
And I gif the, sir, the gurdel that is golde-hemmed,
For hit is grene as my goune. Sir Gawayn, yghe maye
Thenk vpon this ilke threpe, ther thou forth thryngez
Among prynces of prys, and this a pure token
Of the chaunce of the grene chapel at cheualrous knyyghtez.
And yghe schal in this Nwe Ygher ayghayn to my wonez,
And we schyn reuel the remnaunt of this ryche fest
ful bene."
Ther lathed hym fast the lorde
And sayde: "With my wyf, I wene,
We schal yow wel acorde,
That watz your enmy kene."
"Nay, for sothe," quoth the segge, and sesed hys helme,
And hatz hit of hendely, and the hathel thonkkez,
"I haf soiorned sadly; sele yow bytyde,
And he yghelde hit yow yghare that ygharkkez al menskes!
And comaundez me to that cortays, your comlych fere,
Bothe that on and that other, myn honoured ladyez,
That thus hor knyyght wyth hor kest han koyntly bigyled.
Bot hit is no ferly thaygh a fole madde,
And thurygh wyles of wymmen be wonen to soryghe,
For so watz Adam in erde with one bygyled,
And Salamon with fele sere, and Samson eftsonez--
Dalyda dalt hym hys wyrde--and Dauyth therafter
Watz blended with Barsabe, that much bale tholed.
Now these were wrathed wyth her wyles, hit were a wynne huge

To luf hom wel, and leue hem not, a leude that couthe.
For thes wer forne the freest, that folyghed alle the sele
Exellently of alle thyse other, vnder heuenryche
that mused;
And alle thay were biwyled
With wymmen that thay vsed.
Thaygh I be now bigyled,
Me think me burde be excused.
"Bot your gordel," quoth Gawayn, "God yow foryghelde!
That wyl I welde wyth guod wylle, not for the wynne golde,
Ne the saynt, ne the sylk, ne the syde pendaundes,
For wele ne for worchyp, ne for the wlonk werkkez,
Bot in syngne of my surfet I schal se hit ofte,
When I ride in renoun, remorde to myseluen
The faut and the fayntyse of the flesche crabbed,
How tender hit is to entyse teches of fylthe;
And thus, quen pryde schal me pryk for prowes of armes,
The loke to this luf-lace schal lethe my hert.
Bot on I wolde yow pray, displeses yow neuer:
Syn yghe be lorde of the yghonder londe ther I haf lent inne
Wyth yow wyth worschyp--the wyyghe hit yow yghelde
That vphaldez the heuen and on hyygh sittez--
How norne yghe yowre ryyght nome, and thenne no more?"
"That schal I telle the trwly," quoth that other thenne,
"Bertilak de Hautdesert I hat in this londe.
Thurygh myyght of Morgne la Faye, that in my hous lenges,
And koyntyse of clergye, bi craftes wel lerned,
The maystrŽs of Merlyn mony hatz taken--
For ho hatz dalt drwry ful dere sumtyme
With that conable klerk, that knowes alle your knyyghtez
at hame;
Morgne the goddes
Therfore hit is hir name:
Weldez non so hyyghe hawtesse
That ho ne con make ful tame--
"Ho wayned me vpon this wyse to your wynne halle
For to assay the surquidrŽ, yghif hit soth were

That rennes of the grete renoun of the Rounde Table;
Ho wayned me this wonder your wyttez to reue,
For to haf greued Gaynour and gart hir to dyyghe
With glopnyng of that ilke gome that gostlych speked
With his hede in his honde bifore the hyyghe table.
That is ho that is at home, the auncian lady;
Ho is euen thyn aunt, Arthurez half-suster,
The duches doyghter of Tyntagelle, that dere Vter after
Hade Arthur vpon, that athel is nowthe.
Therfore I ethe the, hathel, to com to thyn aunt,
Make myry in my hous; my meny the louies,
And I wol the as wel, wyyghe, bi my faythe,
As any gome vnder God for thy grete trauthe."
And he nikked hym naye, he nolde bi no wayes.
Thay acolen and kyssen and kennen ayther other
To the prynce of paradise, and parten ryyght there
on coolde;
Gawayn on blonk ful bene
To the knygez burygh buskez bolde,
And the knyyght in the enker-grene
Whiderwarde-so-euer he wolde.
Wylde wayez in the worlde Wowen now rydez
On Gryngolet, that the grace hade geten of his lyue;
Ofte he herbered in house and ofte al theroute,
And mony aventure in vale, and venquyst ofte,
That I ne tyyght at this tyme in tale to remene.
The hurt watz hole that he hade hent in his nek,
And the blykkande belt he bere theraboute
Abelef as a bauderyk bounden bi his syde,
Loken vnder his lyfte arme, the lace, with a knot,
In tokenyng he watz tane in tech of a faute.
And thus he commes to the court, knyyght al in sounde.
Ther wakned wele in that wone when wyst the grete
That gode Gawayn watz commen; gayn hit hym thoyght.
The kyng kyssez the knyyght, and the whene alce,
And sythen mony syker knyyght that soyght hym to haylce,
Of his fare that hym frayned; and ferlyly he telles,

Biknowez alle the costes of care that he hade,
The chaunce of the chapel, the chere of the knyyght,
The luf of the ladi, the lace at the last.
The nirt in the nek he naked hem schewed
That he layght for his vnleutŽ at the leudes hondes
for blame.
He tened quen he schulde telle,
He groned for gref and grame;
The blod in his face con melle,
When he hit schulde schewe, for schame.
"Lo! lorde," quoth the leude, and the lace hondeled,
"This is the bende of this blame I bere in my nek,
This is the lathe and the losse that I layght haue
Of couardise and couetyse that I haf cayght thare;
This is the token of vntrawthe that I am tan inne,
And I mot nedez hit were wyle I may last;
For mon may hyden his harme, bot vnhap ne may hit,
For ther hit onez is tachched twynne wil hit neuer."
The kyng comfortez the knyyght, and alle the court als
Layghen loude therat, and luflyly acorden
That lordes and ladis that longed to the Table,
Vche burne of the brotherhede, a bauderyk schulde haue,
A bende abelef hym aboute of a bryyght grene,
And that, for sake of that segge, in swete to were.
For that watz acorded the renoun of the Rounde Table,
And he honoured that hit hade euermore after,
As hit is breued in the best boke of romaunce.
Thus in Arthurus day this aunter bitidde,
The Brutus bokez therof beres wyttenesse;
Syphen Brutus, the bolde burne, boyghed hider fyrst,
After the segge and the asaute watz sesed at Troye,
Mony aunterez here-biforne
Haf fallen suche er this.
Now that here the croun of thorne,
He bryng vus to his blysse! AMEN.