Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Fitt III


[A] Ful erly bifore þe day þe folk vp-rysen,

Gestes þat go wolde, hor grome3 þay calden,

1128 [B] & þay busken vp bilyue, blonkke3 to sadel,

Tyffen he[r] takles, trussen her males,

Richen hem þe rychest, to ryde alle arayde,

Lepen vp ly3tly, lachen her brydeles,

1132 [C] Vche wy3e on his way, þer hym wel lyked.

[D] Þe leue lorde of þe londe wat3 not þe last,

A-rayed for þe rydyng, with renkke3 ful mony;

[E] Ete a sop hastyly, when he hade herde masse,

1136With bugle to bent felde he buske3 by-lyue;

[F] By þat þat any day-ly3t lemed vpon erþe,

He with his haþeles on hy3e horsses weren.

[G] Þenne þise cacheres þat couþe, cowpled hor hounde3,

1140Vnclosed þe kenel dore, & calde hem þer-oute,

[H] Blwe bygly in bugle3 þre bare mote;

Braches bayed þerfore, & breme noyse maked,

[I] & þay chastysed, & charred, on chasyng þat went;

1144A hundreth of hunteres, as I haf herde telle,

of þe best;

[J]To trystors vewters 3od,

Couples huntes of kest,

1148Þer ros for blaste3 gode, [Fol. 106b.]

[K]Gret rurd in þat forest.

[Sidenote A: Before day-break folks uprise,]

[Sidenote B: saddle their horses, and truss their mails.]

[Sidenote C: Each goes where it pleases him best.]

[Sidenote D: The noble lord of the land arrays himself for riding.]

[Sidenote E: He eats a sop hastily and goes to mass.]

[Sidenote F: Before day-light he and his men are on their horses.]

[Sidenote G: Then the hounds are called out and coupled.]

[Sidenote H: Three short notes are blown by the bugles.]

[Sidenote I: A hundred hunters join in the chase.]

[Sidenote J: To the stations the "fewters" go,]

[Sidenote K: and the dogs are cast off.]


[A] At þe fyrst quethe of þe quest quaked þe wylde;

Der drof in þe dale, doted for drede,

1152Hi3ed to þe hy3e, bot heterly þay were

[B] Restayed with þe stablye, þat stoutly ascryed;

[C] Þay let þe hertte3 haf þe gate, with þe hy3e hedes,

Þe breme bukke3 also, with hor brode paume3;

1156For þe fre lorde hade de-fende in fermysoun tyme,

Þat þer schulde no mon mene[1] to þe male dere.

[D] Þe hinde3 were halden in, with hay & war,

Þe does dryuen with gret dyn to þe depe slade3;

1160Þer my3t mon se, as þay slypte, slentyng of arwes,

[E] At vche [þat] wende vnder wande wapped a flone,

Þat bigly bote on þe broun, with ful brode hede3,

[F] What! þay brayen, & bleden, bi bonkke3 þay de3en.

1164& ay rachches in a res radly hem fol3es,

Huntere3 wyth hy3e horne hasted hem after,

[G] Wyth such a crakkande kry, as klyffes haden brusten;

What wylde so at-waped wy3es þat schotten,

1168Wat3 al to-raced & rent, at þe resayt.

Bi þay were tened at þe hy3e, & taysed to þe wattre3,

Þe lede3 were so lerned at þe lo3e trysteres,

& þe gre-hounde3 so grete, þat geten hem bylyue,

1172& hem to fylched, as fast as freke3 my3t loke,

þer ry3t.

[H]Þe lorde for blys abloy

Ful oft con launce & ly3t,

1176 [I]& drof þat day wyth Ioy

Thus to þe derk ny3t.

[Sidenote A: Roused by the clamour the deer rush to the heights,]

[Sidenote B: but are soon driven back.]

[Sidenote C: The harts and bucks are allowed to pass,]

[Sidenote D: but the hinds and does are driven back to the shades.]

[Sidenote E: As they fly they are shot by the bowmen.]

[Sidenote F: The hounds and the hunters, with a loud cry, follow in


[Sidenote G: Those that escaped the arrows are killed by the hounds.]

[Sidenote H: The lord waxes joyful in the chase,]

[Sidenote I: which lasted till the approach of night.]

[Footnote 1: meue (?).]


[A] Þus layke3 þis lorde by lynde wode3 eue3,

& G. þe god mon, in gay bed lyge3,

1180 [B] Lurkke3 quyl þe day-ly3t lemed on þe wowes,

Vnder couertour ful clere, cortyned aboute;

& as in slomeryng he slode, sle3ly he herde

[C] A littel dyn at his dor, & derfly vpon;

1184& he heue3 vp his hed out of þe cloþes,

A corner of þe cortyn he ca3t vp a lyttel, [Fol. 107.]

& wayte3 warly þider-warde, quat hit be my3t.

[D] Hit wat3 þe ladi, loflyest to be-holde,

1188Þat dro3 þe dor after hir ful dernly[1] & stylle,

[E] & bo3ed to-warde þe bed; & þe burne schamed.

& layde hym doun lystyly, & let as he slepte.

[F] & ho stepped stilly. & stel to his bedde,

1192 [G] Kest vp þe cortyn, & creped with-inne,

& set hir ful softly on þe bed-syde,

& lenged þere selly longe, to loke quen he wakened.

Þe lede lay lurked a ful longe quyle,

1196 [H] Compast in his concience to quat þat cace my3t

Mene oþer amount, to meruayle hym þo3t;

Bot 3et he sayde in hym-self, "more semly hit were

To aspye wyth my spelle [in] space quat ho wolde."

1200 [I] þen he wakenede, & wroth, & to hir warde torned,

[J] & vn-louked his y3e-lydde3, & let as hym wondered,

& sayned hym, as bi his sa3e þe sauer to worthe,

with hande;

1204Wyth chynne & cheke ful swete,

Boþe quit & red in-blande,

Ful lufly con ho lete,

Wyth lyppe3 smal la3ande.

[Sidenote A: All this time Gawayne lies a-bed.]

[Sidenote B: under "coverture full clear".]

[Sidenote C: He hears a noise at his door.]

[Sidenote D: A lady, the loveliest to behold, enters softly.]

[Sidenote E: She approaches the bed.]

[Sidenote F: Gawayne pretends to be asleep.]

[Sidenote G: The lady casts up the curtain and sits on the bedside.]

[Sidenote H: Gawayne has much wonder thereat.]

[Sidenote I: He rouses himself up,]

[Sidenote J: unlocks his eyes, and looks as if he were astonished.]

[Footnote 1: deruly (?).]


1208 [A] "God moroun, sir Gawayn," sayde þat fayr lady,

"3e ar a sleper vn-sly3e, þat mon may slyde hider;

Now ar 3e tan astyt, bot true vus may schape,

[B] I schal bynde yow in your bedde, þat be 3e trayst:"

1212Al la3ande þe lady lanced þo bourde3.

[C] "Goud moroun g[aye],"[1] quod Gawayn þe blyþe,

"Me schal worþe at your wille, & þat me wel lyke3,

For I 3elde me 3ederly, & 3e3e after grace,

1216& þat is þe best, be my dome, for me by-houe3 nede;"

& þus he bourded a-3ayn with mony a blyþe la3ter.

[D] "Bot wolde 3e, lady louely, þen leue me grante,

& de-prece your prysoun, & pray hym to ryse,

1220I wolde bo3e of þis bed, & busk me better,

I schulde keuer þe more comfort to karp yow wyth."

[E] "Nay, for soþe, beau sir," sayd þat swete, [Fol. 107b]

"3e schal not rise of your bedde, I rych yow better,

1224 [F] I schal happe yow here þat oþer half als,

& syþen karp wyth my kny3t þat I ka3t haue;

[G] For I wene wel, Iwysse, sir Wawen 3e are,

Þat alle þe worlde worchipe3, quere-so 3e ride;

1228Your honour, your hendelayk is hendely praysed

[H] With lorde3, wyth ladyes, with alle þat lyf bere.

& now 3e ar here, iwysse, & we bot oure one;

[I] "My lorde & his lede3 ar on lenþe faren,

1232 [J] Oþer burne3 in her bedde, & my burde3 als,

[K] Þe dor drawen, & dit with a derf haspe;

[L] & syþen I haue in þis hous hym þat al lyke3,

I schal ware my whyle wel, quyl hit laste3,

1236 with tale;

[M]3e ar welcum to my cors,

Yowre awen won to wale,

Me be-houe3 of fyne force,

1240 [N]Your seruaunt be & schale."

[Sidenote A: "Good morrow", says the lady, "ye are a careless sleeper to

let one enter thus.]

[Sidenote B: I shall bind you in your bed, of that be ye sure."]

[Sidenote C: "Good morrow," says the knight, "I am well pleased to be at

your service;]

[Sidenote D: but permit me to rise and dress myself."]

[Sidenote E: "Nay, beau sir," said that sweet one,]

[Sidenote F: "I shall hold talk with you here.]

[Sidenote G: I know well that you are Gawayne that all the woild worships.]

[Sidenote H: We are by ourselves;]

[Sidenote I: My lord and his men are far off.]

[Sidenote J: Other men are in their beds, so are my maidens.]

[Sidenote K: The door is safely closed.]

[Sidenote L: Since I have him in house that every one likes, I shall use my

time well while it lasts.]

[Sidenote M: Ye are welcome to my body.]

[Sidenote N: I shall be your servant."]

[Footnote 1: This word is illegible in the MS.]


"In god fayth," quod Gawayn, "gayn hit me þynkke3,

[A] Þa3 I be not now he þat 3e of speken;

To reche to such reuerence as 3e reherce here

1244I am wy3e vn-worþy, I wot wel my-seluen;

Bi God, I were glad, & yow god þo3t,

[B] At sa3e oþer at seruyce þat I sette my3t

To þe plesaunce of your prys, hit were a pure ioye."

1248"In god fayth, sir Gawayn," quod þe gay lady,

"Þe prys & þe prowes þat plese3 al oþer,

If I hit lakked, oþer set at ly3t, hit were littel daynte;

[C] Bot hit ar ladyes in-no3e, þat leuer wer nowþe

1252Haf þe hende in hor holde, as I þe habbe here,

To daly witt derely your daynte worde3,

Keuer hem comfort, & colen her care3,

[D] Þen much of þe garysourn oþer golde þat[1] þay hauen;

1256Bot I louue[2] þat ilk lorde þat þe lyfte halde3,

I haf hit holly in my honde þat al desyres,

þur3e grace."

Scho made hym so gret chere,

1260Þat wat3 so fayr of face,[Fol. 108.]

[E]Þe kny3t with speches skere,

A[n]swared to vche a cace.

[Sidenote A: "I am unworthy," says Sir Gawayne, "to reach to such reverence

as ye rehearse.]

[Sidenote B: I shall be glad, however, to please you by word, or service."]

[Sidenote C: "There are ladies," says his visitor, "who would prefer thy


[Sidenote D: to much of the gold that they possess."]

[Sidenote E: The knight answers the lady's questions.]

[Footnote 1: MS. þat þat.]

[Footnote 2: louie or loune (?).]


[A] "Madame," quod þe myry mon, "Mary yow 3elde,

1264For I haf founden, in god fayth, yowre fraunchis nobele,

& oþer ful much of oþer folk fongen hor dede3;

Bot þe daynte þat þay delen for my disert nysen,

Hit is þe worchyp of your-self, þat no3t hot wel conne3."

1268 [B] "Bi Mary," quod þe menskful, "me þynk hit anoþer;

For were I worth al þe wone of wymmen alyue,

& al þe wele of þe worlde were in my honde,

[C] & I schulde chepen & chose, to cheue me a lorde,

1272For þe costes þat I haf knowen vpun þe kny3t here,

Of bewte, & debonerte, & blyþe semblaunt,

[D] & þat I haf er herkkened, & halde hit here trwee,

Þer schulde no freke vpon folde bifore yow be chosen."

1276"I-wysse, worþy," quod þe wy3e, "3e haf waled wel better,

[E] Bot I am proude of þe prys þat 3e put on me,

& soberly your seruaunt my souerayn I holde yow,

& yowre kny3t I be-com, & Kryst yow for-3elde."

1280Þus þay meled of much-quat, til myd-morn paste,

& ay þe lady let lyk, a[1] hym loued mych;

[F] Þe freke ferde with defence, & feted ful fayre.

Þa3 I were burde bry3test, þe burde in mynde hade,

1284Þe lasse luf in his lode, for lur þat he so3t,

boute hone;

Þe dunte þat schulde[2] hym deue,

& nede3 hit most be done;

1288 [G]Þe lady þenn spek of leue.

He granted hir ful sone.

[Sidenote A: Gawayne tells her that he prefers her conversation before that

of all others.]

[Sidenote B: The lady declares by Mary,]

[Sidenote C: that were she about to choose her a lord,]

[Sidenote D: she would select Gawayne before any man on earth.]

[Sidenote E: Gawayne tells her that he will become her own knight and

faithful servant.]

[Sidenote F: The remembrance of his adventure prevents him from thinking of


[Sidenote G: The lady takes leave of Sir Gawayne.]

[Footnote 1: and (?)]

[Footnote 2: sclulde, in MS.]


[A] Þenne ho gef hym god-day, & wyth a glent la3ed.

& as ho stod, ho stonyed hym wyth ful stor worde3:

1292 [B] "Now he þat spede3 vche spech, þis disport 3elde yow!

Bot þat 3e be Gawan, hit got3 in mynde."

"Quer-fore?" quod þe freke, & freschly he aske3,

Ferde lest he hade fayled in fourme of his castes;

1296Bot þe burde hym blessed, & bi þis skyl sayde,

"So god as Gawayn gaynly is halden, [Fol. 108b.]

& cortaysye is closed so clene in hym-seluen,

[C] Couth not ly3tly haf lenged so long wyth a lady,

1300Bot he had craued a cosse, bi his courtaysye,

Bi sum towch of summe tryfle, at sum tale3 ende."

[D] Þen quod Wowen, "I-wysse, worþe as yow lyke3,

I schal kysse at your comaundement, as a kny3t falle3,

1304& fire[1] lest he displese yow, so[2] plede hit no more."

[E] Ho comes nerre with þat, & cache3 hym in arme3,

Loute3 luflych adoun, & þe leude kysse3;

Þay comly bykennen to Kryst ayþer oþer;

1308Ho dos hir forth at þe dore, with-outen dyn more.

& he ryches hym to ryse, & rapes hym sone,

[F] Clepes to his chamberlayn, choses his wede,

Bo3e3 forth, quen he wat3 boun, blyþely to masse,

1312& þenne he meued to his mete, þat menskly hym keped,

[G] & made myry al day til þe mone rysed,

with game;

With[3] neuer freke fayrer fonge,

1316 [H]Bitwene two so dyngne dame,

Þe alder & þe 3onge,

Much solace set þay same.

[Sidenote A: With a laughing glance, she says,]

[Sidenote B: "I am doubtful whether ye be Gawayne.]

[Sidenote C: Were it he, surely, ere this, he would have craved a kiss."]

[Sidenote D: "I shall kiss," says the knight, "at your commandment."]

[Sidenote E: With that the lady catches him in her arms and kisses him.]

[Sidenote F: Gawayne then rises and goes to mass.]

[Sidenote G: He makes mirth all day till the moon rises,]

[Sidenote H: between the "two dames," the older and the younger.]

[Footnote 1: fere (?).]

[Footnote 2: fo, in MS.]

[Footnote 3: Was (?) Nas (?).]


[A] And ay þe lorde of þe londe is lent on his gamne3,

1320To hunt in holte3 & heþe, at hynde3 barayne,

Such a sowme he þer slowe bi þat þe sunne heldet,

Of dos & of oþer dere, to deme were wonder.

Þenne fersly þay flokked in folk at þe laste,

1324 [B] & quykly of þe quelled dere a querre þay maked;

Þe best bo3ed þerto, with burne3 in-noghe,

[C] Gedered þe grattest of gres þat þer were,

& didden hem derely vndo, as þe dede aske3;

1328 [D] Serched hem at þe asay, summe þat þer were,

Two fyngeres þay fonde of þe fowlest of alle;

[E] Syþen þay slyt þe slot, sesed þe erber,

[F] Schaued wyth a scharp knyf, & þe schyre knitten;

1332Syþen rytte þay þe foure lymmes, & rent of þe hyde,

[G] Þen brek þay þe bale, þe bale3 out token,

[H] Lystily forlancyng, & bere of þe knot;[Fol. 109.]

Þay gryped to þe gargulun, & grayþely departed

1336 [I] Þe wesaunt fro þe wynt-hole, & walt out þe gutte3;

Þen scher þay out þe schuldere3 with her scharp knyue3,

[J] Haled hem by a lyttel hole, to haue hole sydes;

Siþen britned þay þe brest, & brayden hit in twynne,

1340& eft at þe gargulun bigyne3 on þenne,

[K] Ryue3 hit vp radly, ry3t to þe by3t,

Voyde3 out þe a-vanters, & verayly þerafter

Alle þe ryme3 by þe rybbe3 radly þay lance;

1344So ryde þay of by resoun bi þe rygge bone3,

Euenden to þe haunche, þat henged alle samen,

& heuen hit vp al hole, & hwen hit of þere,

& þat þayneme for þe noumbles, bi nome as I trowe,

1348 bi kynde;

[L]Bi þe by3t al of þe þy3es,

Þe lappe3 þay lance bi-hynde,

[M]To hewe hit in two þay hy3es,

1352Bi þe bak-bon to vnbynde.

[Sidenote A: Meanwhile the lord of the land and his men hunt in woods and


[Sidenote B: Quickly of the killed a "quarry" they make.]

[Sidenote C: Then they set about breaking the deer.]

[Sidenote D: They take away the assay or fat,]

[Sidenote E: then they slit the slot and remove the erber.]

[Sidenote F: They afterwards rip the four limbs and rend off the hide.]

[Sidenote G: They next open the belly]

[Sidenote H: and take out the bowels.]

[Sidenote I: They then separate the weasand from the windhole and throw out

the guts.]

[Sidenote J: The shoulders are cut out, and the breast divided into


[Sidenote K: The numbles are next removed.]

[Sidenote L: By the fork of the thighs,]

[Sidenote M: the flaps are hewn in two by the backbone.]


[A] Boþe þe hede & þe hals þay hwen of þenne,

& syþen sunder þay þe syde3 swyft fro þe chyne,

& þe corbeles fee þay kest in a greue;[1]

1356Þenn þurled þay ayþer þik side þur3, bi þe rybbe,

& henged þenne a[y]þer bi ho3es of þe fourche3,

Vche freke for his fee, as falle3 forto haue.

Vpon a felle of þe fayre best, fede þay þayr houndes,

1360 [B] Wyth þe lyuer & þe ly3te3, þe leþer of þe paunche3,

& bred baþed in blod, blende þer amonge3;

Baldely þay blw prys, bayed þayr rachche3,

[C] Syþen fonge þay her flesche folden to home,

1364Strakande ful stoutly mony stif mote3.

Bi þat þe dayly3t wat3 done, þe douthe wat3 al wonen

In-to þe comly castel, þer þe kny3t bide3

ful stille;

1368Wyth blys & bry3t fyr bette,

Þe lord is comen þer-tylle,

[D]When Gawayn wyth hym mette,

Þer wat3 bot wele at wylle.

[Sidenote A: After this the head and neck are cut off, and the sides

severed from the chine.]

[Sidenote B: With the liver, lights and paunches, they feed the hounds.]

[Sidenote C: Then they make for home.]

[Sidenote D: Gawayne goes out to meet his host.]

[Footnote 1: grene (?).]


1372 [A] Thenne comaunded þe lorde in þat sale to samen alle þe meny,[Fol.]

Boþe þe ladyes on loghe to ly3t with her burdes,[109b.]

[B] Bi-fore alle þe folk on þe flette, freke3 he bedde3

Verayly his venysoun to fech hym byforne;

1376 [C] & al godly in gomen Gaway[n] he called,

Teche3 hym to þe tayles of ful tayt bestes,

Schewe3 hym þe schyree grece schorne vpon rybbes.

[D] "How paye3 yow þis play? haf I prys wonnen?

1380Haue I þryuandely þonk þur3 my craft serued?"

"3e I-wysse," quod þat oþer wy3e, "here is wayth fayrest

[E] Þat I se3 þis seuen 3ere in sesoun of wynter."

"& al I gif yow, Gawayn," quod þe gome þenne,

1384"For by a-corde of couenaunt 3e craue hit as your awen."

"Þis is soth," quod þe segge, "I say yow þatilke,

&[1] I haf worthyly þis wone3 wyth-inne,

[F] I-wysse with as god wylle hit worþe3 to 3oure3."

1388He hasppe3 his fayre hals his arme3 wyth-inne,

& kysses hym as comlyly as he[2] couþe awyse:

"Tas yow þere my cheuicaunce, I cheued no more,

I wowche hit saf fynly, þa3 feler hit were."

1392"Hit is god," quod þe god mon, "grant mercy þerfore,

[G] Hit may be such, hit is þe better, &[1] 3e me breue wolde

Where 3e wan þis ilk wele, biwytte of hor[3] seluen?"

[H] "Þat wat3 not forward," quod he, "frayst me no more,

1396For 3e haftan þat yow tyde3, trawe3e non oþer

3e mowe."

Þay la3ed, & made hem blyþe,

[I]Wyth lote3 þat were to lowe,

1400To soper þay 3ede asswyþe,

Wyth dayntes nwe in-nowe.

[Sidenote A: The lord commands all his household to assemble,]

[Sidenote B: and the venison to be brought before him.]

[Sidenote C: He calls Gawayne,]

[Sidenote D: and asks him whether he does not deserve much praise for his

success in the chase.]

[Sidenote E: On the knight expressing himself satisfied, he is told to take

the whole according to a former agreement between them.]

[Sidenote F: Gawayne gives the knight a comely kiss in return.]

[Sidenote G: His host desires to know where he has gotten such weal.]

[Sidenote H: As this does not enter into the covenant, he gets no answer to

his question.]

[Sidenote I: They then proceed to supper, where were dainties new and


[Footnote 1: And = an.]

[Footnote 2: ho, in MS.]

[Footnote 3: your (?).]


[A] And syþen by þe chymne in chamber þay seten.

[B] Wy3e3 þe walle wyn we3ed to hem oft,

1404& efte in her bourdyng þay bayþen in þe morn,

To fylle þe same forwarde3 þat þay by-fore maden,

[C] Þat chaunce so bytyde3 hor cheuysaunce to chaunge,

What nwe3 so þay nome, at na3t quen þay metten

1408Þay acorded of þe couenaunte3 byfore þe court alle;

Þe beuerage wat3 bro3t forth in bourde at þat tyme; [Fol. 110.]

[D] Þenne þay louelych le3ten leue at þe last,

Vche burne to his bedde busked bylyue.

1412 [E] Bi þat þe coke hade crowe3[1] & cakled bot þryse,

Þe lorde wat3 lopen of his bedde, [&] þe leude3 vch one,

So þat þe mete & þe masse wat3 metely delyuered;

Þe douthe dressed to þe wod, er any day sprenged,

1416 to chace;

[F]He3 with hunte & horne3,

Þur3 playne3 þay passe in space,

Vn-coupled among þo þorne3,

1420Rache3 þat ran on race.

[Sidenote A: By the hearth they sit.]

[Sidenote B: Wine is carried round.]

[Sidenote C: Again Sir Gawayne and his host renew their agreement.]

[Sidenote D: Then they take leave of each other and hasten to bed.]

[Sidenote E: Scarce had the cock cackled thrice when the lord was up.]

[Sidenote F: With his hunters and horns they pursue the chase.]

[Footnote 1: crowed (?).]


[A] Sone þay calle of a quest in aker syde,

Þe hunt re-hayted þe hounde3, þat hit fyrst mynged,

[B] Wylde worde3 hym warp wyth a wrast noyce;

1424Þe hownde3 þat hit herde, hastid þider swyþe,

& fellen as fast to þe fuyt, fourty at ones;

Þenne such a glauerande glam of gedered rachche3

Ros, þat þe rochere3 rungen aboute;

1428Huntere3 hem hardened with horne & wyth muthe.

[C] Þen al in a semble sweyed to-geder,

Bitwene a flosche in þat fryth, & a foo cragge;

In a knot, bi a clyffe, at þe kerre syde,

1432Þer as þe rogh rocher vn-rydely wat3 fallen,

[Þay] ferden to þe fyndyng, & freke3 hem after;

[D] Þay vmbe-kesten þe knarre & þe knot boþe.

Wy3e3, whyl þay wysten wel wyt inne hem hit were,

1436Þe best þat þer breued wat3 wyth þe blod hounde3.

[E] Þenne þay beten on þe buske3, & bede hym vp ryse,

& he vnsoundyly out so3t segge3 ouer-þwert,

[F] On þe sellokest swyn swenged out þere,

1440Long sythen for[1] þe sounder þat wi3t for-olde,

For he wat3 b[este &] bor alþer grattest,

[And eue]re quen he gronyed, þenne greued mony,

[G] For [þre a]t þe fyrst þrast he þry3t to þe erþe,

1444& [sped hym] forth good sped, boute spyt more,

[Ande þay] halowed hyghe ful hy3e & hay! hay! cryed

Haden horne3 to mouþe heterly rechated;[Fol. 110b.]

[H] Mony wat3 þe myry mouthe of men & of hounde3,

1448Þat buskke3 after þis bor, with bost & wyth noyse,

To quelle;

Ful oft he byde3 þe baye,

& mayme3 þe mute Inn-melle,

1452 [I]He hurte3 of þe hounde3, & þay

Ful 3omerly 3aule & 3elle.

[Sidenote A: The hunters cheer on the hounds,]

[Sidenote B: which fall to the scent forty at once.]

[Sidenote C: All come together by the side of a cliff.]

[Sidenote D: They look about on all sides,]

[Sidenote E: and beat on the bushes.]

[Sidenote F: Out there rushes a fierce wild boar,]

[Sidenote G: At the first thrust he fells three to the ground.]

[Sidenote H: Full quickly the hunters pursue him.]

[Sidenote I: However, he attacks the hounds, causing them to yowl and


[Footnote 1: fro (?).]


[A] Schalke3 to schote at hym schowen to þenne,

Haled to hym of her arewe3, hitten hym oft;

1456Bot þe poynte3 payred at þe pyth þat py3t in his schelde3,

& þe barbe3 of his browe bite non wolde,

[B] Þa3 þe schauen schaft schyndered in pece3,

Þe hede hypped a3ayn, were-so-euer hit hitte;

1460 [C] Bot quon þe dynte3 hym dered of her dry3e stroke3,

Þen, brayn-wod for bate, on burne3 he rase3,

[D] Hurte3 hem ful heterly þer he forth hy3e3,

& mony ar3ed þerat, & on-lyte dro3en.

1464Bot þe lorde on a ly3t horce launces hym after,

[E] As burne bolde vpon bent his bugle he blowe3,

He rechated, & r[ode][1] þur3 rone3 ful þyk,

Suande þis wy[ld]e swyn til þe sunne schafted.

1468 [F] Þis day wyth þis ilk dede þay dryuen on þis wyse,

Whyle oure luflych lede lys in his bedde,

[G] Gawayn grayþely at home, in gere3 ful ryche

of hewe;

1472Þe lady no3t for3ate,

Com to hym to salue,

Ful erly ho wat3 hym ate,

His mode forto remwe.

[Sidenote A: The bowmen send their arrows after this wild swine,]

[Sidenote B: but they glide off shivered in pieces.]

[Sidenote C: Enraged with the blows,]

[Sidenote D: he attacks the hunters.]

[Sidenote E: The lord of the land blows his bugle,]

[Sidenote F: and pursues the boar.]

[Sidenote G: All this time Gawayne lies a-bed.]

[Footnote 1: The MS. is here almost illegible.]


1476 [A] Ho commes to þe cortyn, & at þe kny3t totes,

Sir Wawen her welcumed worþy on fyrst,

& ho hym 3elde3 a3ayn, ful 3erne of hir worde3,

[B] Sette3 hir sof[t]ly by his syde, & swyþely ho la3e3,

1480& wyth a luflych loke ho layde[1] hym þyse worde3:

"Sir, 3if 3e be Wawen, wonder me þynkke3,

Wy3e þat is so wel wrast alway to god,

& conne3 not of compaynye þe coste3 vnder-take,

1484& if mon kennes yow hom to knowe, 3e kest hom of your mynde;[Fol.]

[C] Þou hat3 for-3eten 3ederly þat 3isterday I ta3tte[111]

alder-truest token of talk þat I cowþe."

"What is þat?" quod þe wyghe, "I-wysse I wot neuer,

1488If hit be sothe þat 3e breue, þe blame is myn awen."

[D] "3et I kende yow of kyssyng," quod þe clere þenne,

"Quere-so countenaunce is couþe, quikly to clayme,

Þat bicumes vche a kny3t, þat cortaysy vses."

1492"Do way," quod þat derf mon, "my dere, þat speche,

[E] For þat durst I not do, lest I denayed were,

If I were werned, I were wrang I-wysse, 3if I profered."

"Ma fay," quod þe mere wyf, "3e may not be werned,

1496 [F] 3e ar stif in-noghe to constrayne wyth strenkþe, 3if yow lyke3,

3if any were so vilanous þat yow denaye[2] wolde."

"3e, be God," quod Gawayn, "good is your speche,

Bot þrete is vn-þryuande in þede þer I lende,

1500 [G] & vche gift þat is geuen not with goud wylle;

I am at your comaundement, to kysse quen yow lyke3,

3e may lach quen yow lyst, & leue quen yow þynkke3,

in space."

1504 [H]Þe lady loute3 a-doun,

& comlyly kysses his face,

Much speche þay þer expoun,

Of druryes greme & grace.

[Sidenote A: The lady of the castle again visits Sir Gawayne.]

[Sidenote B: Softly she sits by his side,]

[Sidenote C: and tells the knight that he has forgotten what she taught him

the day before.]

[Sidenote D: "I taught you of kissing," she says, "that becomes every


[Sidenote E: Gawayne says that he must not take that which is forbidden.]

[Sidenote F: He is told that he is strong enough to enforce it.]

[Sidenote G: The knight replies that every gift is worthless that is not

given willingly.]

[Sidenote H: The lady stoops down and kisses him.]

[Footnote 1: sayde (?).]

[Footnote 2: de vaye, in MS.]


1508 [A] "I woled[1] wyt at yow, wy3e," þat worþy þer sayde,

"& yow wrathed not þer-wyth, what were þe skylle,

Þat so 3ong & so 3epe, as 3e [ar] at þis tyme,

So cortayse, so kny3tyly, as 3e ar knowen oute,

1512 [B] & of alle cheualry to chose, þe chef þyng a-losed,

Is[2] þe lel layk of luf, þe lettrure of armes;

F[or] to telle of þis tenelyng of þis trwe kny3te3,

Hit is þe tytelet, token, & tyxt of her werkke3,

1516How le[des] for her lele luf hor lyue3 han auntered,

Endured for her drury dulful stounde3,

& after wenged with her walour & voyded her care,

[C] & bro3t blysse in-to boure, with bountees hor awen.

1520& 3e ar kny3t com-lokest kyd of your elde,

Your worde & your worchip walke3 ay quere,[Fol. 111b.]

& I haf seten by your-self here sere twyes,

[D] 3et herde I neuer of your hed helde no worde3

1524Þat euer longed to luf, lasse ne more;

[E] & 3e, þat ar so cortays & coynt of your hetes,

Oghe to a 3onke þynk 3ern to schewe,

& teche sum tokene3 of trweluf craftes.

1528Why ar 3e lewed, þat alle þe los welde3,

Oþer elles 3e demen me to dille, your dalyaunce to herken?

for schame!

I com hider sengel, & sitte,

1532To lerne at yow sum game,

[F]Dos, teche3 me of your wytte,

Whil my lorde is fro hame."

[Sidenote A: "I would learn," she says, "why you, who are so young and


[Sidenote B: so skilled in the true sport of love,]

[Sidenote C: and so renowned a knight,]

[Sidenote D: have never talked to me of love.]

[Sidenote E: You ought to show a young thing like me some token of

'true-love's crafts.']

[Sidenote F: So teach me of your 'wit' while my lord is from home."]

[Footnote 1: wolde (?).]

[Footnote 2: In (?).]


[A] "In goud fayþe," quod Gawayn, "God yow for3elde,

1536Gret is þe gode gle, & gomen to me huge,

Þat so worþy as 3e wolde wynne hidere,

& pyne yow with so pouer a mon, as play wyth your kny3t,

With any skynne3 countenaunce, hit keuere3 me ese;

1540 [B] Bot to take þe toruayle[1] to my-self, to trwluf expoun,

& towche þe teme3 of tyxt, & tale3 of arme3,

To yow þat, I wot wel, welde3 more sly3t

Of þat art, bi þe half, or a hundreth of seche

1544As I am, oþer euer schal, in erde þer I leue,

Hit were a fole fele-folde, my fre, by my trawþe.

[C] I wolde yowre wylnyng worche at my my3t,

As I am hy3ly bihalden, & euer-more wylle

1548 [D] Be seruaunt to your-seluen, so saue me dry3tyn!"

Þus hym frayned þat fre, & fondet hym ofte,

Forto haf wonnen hym to wo3e, what-so scho þo3t elle3,

[E] Bot he de fended hym so fayr, þat no faut semed,

1552Ne non euel on nawþer halue, nawþer þay wysten,

bot blysse;

Þay la3ed & layked longe,

At þe last scho con hym kysse,

1556 [F]Hir leue fayre con scho fonge,

& went hir waye Iwysse.

[Sidenote A: "It is a great pleasure to me," says Sir Gawayne, "to hear you


[Sidenote B: but I cannot undertake the task to expound true-love and tales

of arms.]

[Sidenote C: I will, however, act according to your will,]

[Sidenote D: and ever be your servant."]

[Sidenote E: Thus Gawayne defends himself.]

[Sidenote F: The lady having kissed the knight, takes leave of him.]

[Footnote 1: tornayle (?).]


[A] Then ruþes hym þe renk, & ryses to þe masse,

& siþen hor diner wat3 dy3t & derely serued.[Fol. 112.]

1560 [B] Þe lede with þe ladye3 layked alle day,

Bot þe lorde ouer þe londe3 launced ful ofte,

Swe3 his vncely swyn, þat swynge3 bi þe bonkke3,

[C] & bote þe best of his brache3 þe bakke3 in sunder;

1564Þer he bode in his bay, tel[1] bawe-men hit breken,

& made[2] hym, maw-gref his bed, forto mwe vtter;

[D] So felle flone3 per flete, when þe folk gedered;

Bot 3et þe styffest to start bi stounde3 he made,

1568Til at þe last he wat3 so mat, he my3t no more renne,

[E] Bot in þe hast þat he my3t, he to a hole wynne3,

Of a rasse, bi a rokk, þer renne3 þe boerne,

He gete þe bonk at his bak, bigyne3 to scrape,

1572 [F] Þe froþe femed[3] at his mouth vnfayre bi þe wyke3,

Whette3 his whyte tusche3; with hym þen irked

Alle þe burne3 so bolde, þat hym by stoden,

[G] To nye hym on-ferum, bot ne3e hym non durst

1576 for woþe;

He hade hurt so mony byforne,

Þat al þu3t[4] þenne ful loþe,

[H]Be more wyth his tusche3 torne,

1580Þat breme wat3 [&] brayn-wod bothe.

[Sidenote A: Gawayne rises, hears mass, and then dines.]

[Sidenote B: Meanwhile the lord pursues the wild boar,]

[Sidenote C: that bit the backs of his hounds asunder,]

[Sidenote D: and caused the stiffest of the hunters to start.]

[Sidenote E: The boar runs into a hole in a rock by the side of a brook.]

[Sidenote F: The froth foams at his mouth.]

[Sidenote G: None durst approach him,]

[Sidenote H: so many had he torn with his tusks.]

[Footnote 1: til (?).]

[Footnote 2: madee, in MS.]

[Footnote 3: fomed (?).]

[Footnote 4: þo3t (?).]


[A] Til þe kny3t com hym-self, kachande his blonk,

Sy3 hym byde at þe bay, his burne3 bysyde,

[B] He ly3tes luflych[1] adoun, leue3 his corsour,

1584Brayde3 out a bry3t bront, & bigly forth stryde3,

Founde3 fast þur3 þe forth, þer þe felle byde3,

[C] Þe wylde wat3 war of þe wy3e with weppen in honde,

Hef hy3ly þe here, so hetterly he fnast,

1588Þat fele ferde for þe freke3,[2] lest felle hym þe worre;

[D] Þe swyn sette3 hym out on þe segge euen,

Þat þe burne & þe bor were boþe vpon hepe3,

In þe wy3t-est of þe water, þe worre hade þat oþer;

1592 [E] For þe mon merkke3 hym wel, as þay mette fyrst,

Set sadly þe scharp in þe slot euen,

[F] Hit hym vp to þe hult, þat þe hert schyndered,

& he 3arrande hym 3elde, & 3edoun[3] þe water,

1596 ful tyt;

A hundreth hounde3 hym hent, [Fol. 112b.]

[G]Þat bremely con hym bite,

Burne3 him bro3t to bent,

1600& dogge3 to dethe endite.

[Sidenote A: The knight, seeing the boar at bay,]

[Sidenote B: alights from his horse,]

[Sidenote C: and seeks to attack him with his sword.]

[Sidenote D: The "swine sets out" upon the man,]

[Sidenote E: who, aiming well,]

[Sidenote F: wounds him in the pit of the stomach.]

[Sidenote G: The boar is soon bitten to death by a hundred hounds.]

[Footnote 1: MS. luslych.]

[Footnote 2: freke (?).]

[Footnote 3: 3ede doun (?).]


[A] There wat3 blawyng of prys in mony breme home,

He3e halowing on hi3e, with haþele3 þat my3t;

[B] Brachetes bayed þat best, as bidden þe maystere3,

1604Of þat chargeaunt chace þat were chef huntes.

[C] Þenne a wy3e þat wat3 wys vpon wod crafte3,

To vnlace þis bor lufly bigynne3;

[D] Fyrst he hewes of his hed, & on hi3e sette3,

1608& syþen rende3 him al roghe bi þe rygge after,

[E] Brayde3 out þe boweles, brenne3 hom on glede,

With bred blent þer-with his braches rewarde3;

Syþen he britne3 out þe brawen in bry3t brode [s]chelde3,

1612 [F] & hat3 out þe hastlette3, as hi3tly biseme3;

[G] & 3et hem halche3 al hole þe halue3 to-geder,

& syþen on a stif stange stoutly hem henges.

Now with þis ilk swyn þay swengen to home;

1616 [H] Þe bores hed wat3 borne bifore þe burnes seluen,

Þat him for-ferde in þe forþe, þur3 forse of his honde,

so stronge;

Til he se3 sir Gawayne,

1620In halle hym þo3t ful longe,

[I]He calde, & he com gayn,

His fee3 þer for to fonge.

[Sidenote A: Then was there blowing of horns]

[Sidenote B: and baying of hounds.]

[Sidenote C: One wise in woodcraft begins to unlace the boar.]

[Sidenote D: First he hews off the head, then rends him by the back.]

[Sidenote E: He next removes the bowels, broils them on the ashes, and

therewith rewards his hounds.]

[Sidenote F: Then the hastlets are removed.]

[Sidenote G: The two halves are next bound together and hung upon a pole.]

[Sidenote H: The boar's head is borne before the knight, who hastens home.]

[Sidenote I: Gawayne is called to receive the spoil.]


[A] Þe lorde ful lowde with lote, & la3ed myry,

1624When he se3e sir G: with solace he speke3;

Þe goude ladye3 were geten, & gedered þe meyny,

[B] He schewe3 hem þe schelde3, & schapes hem þe tale,

Of þe largesse, & þe lenþe, þe liþerne3 alse,

1628Of þe were of þe wylde swyn, in wod þer he fled.

Þat oþer kny3t ful comly comended his dede3,

& praysed hit as gret prys, þat he proued hade;

[C] For suche a brawne of a best, þe bolde burne sayde,

1632Ne such sydes of a swyn, segh he neuer are.

Þenne hondeled þay þe hoge hed, þe hende mon hit praysed,

& let lodly þerat þe lorde forte here:[Fol. 113.]

[D] "Now Gawayn," quod þe god mon, "þis gomen is your awen,

1636Bi fyn for-warde & faste, faythely 3e knowe."

"Hit is sothe," quod þe segge, "& as siker trwe;

Alle my get I schal yow gif agayn, bi my trawþe."

[E] He [hent] þe haþel aboute þe halse, & hendely hym kysses,

1640& efter-sones of þe same he serued hym þere.

"Now ar we euen," quod þe haþel, "in þis euen-tide,

Of alle þe couenauntes þat we knyt, syþen I com hider,

bi lawe;"

1644 [F]Þe lorde sayde, "bi saynt Gile,

3e ar þe best þat I knowe,

3e ben ryche in a whyle,

Such chaffer & 3e drowe."

[Sidenote A: The lord of the land is well pleased when he sees Sir


[Sidenote B: He shows him the shields of the wild boar, and tells him of

its length and breadth.]

[Sidenote C: Such a "brawn of a beast," Sir Gawayne says, he never has


[Sidenote D: Gawayne takes possession of it according to covenant,]

[Sidenote E: and in return kisses his host,]

[Sidenote F: who declares his guest to be the best he knows.]


1648 [A] Þenne þay teldet table3 [on] trestes alofte,

[B] Kesten cloþe3 vpon, clere ly3t þenne

[C] Wakned bi wo3e3, waxen torches

Segge3 sette, & serued in sale al aboute;

1652 [D] Much glam & gle glent vp þer-inne,

Aboute þe fyre vpon flet, & on fele wyse,

[E] At þe soper & after, mony aþel songe3,

As coundutes of kryst-masse, & carole3 newe,

1656With alle þe manerly merþe þat mon may of telle.

[F] & euer oure luflych kny3t þe lady bi-syde;

Such semblaunt to þat segge semly ho made,

[G] Wyth stille stollen countenaunce, þat stalworth to plese,

1660Þat al for-wondered wat3 þe wy3e, & wroth with hym-seluen,

Bot he nolde not for his nurture nurne hir a-3ayne3,

Bot dalt with hir al in daynte, how-se-euer þe dede turned

to wrast;

1664 [H]Quen þay hade played in halle,

As longe as hor wylle hom last,

[I]To chambre he[1] con hym calle,

& to þe chem-ne þay past.

[Sidenote A: Tables are raised aloft,]

[Sidenote B: cloths cast upon them,]

[Sidenote C: and torches are lighted.]

[Sidenote D: With much mirth and glee,]

[Sidenote E: supper is served in the hall,]

[Sidenote F: and ever our lovely knight by the lady sits,]

[Sidenote G: who does all she can to please her companion.]

[Sidenote H: When they had long played in the hall,]

[Sidenote I: they proceeded "to chamber."]

[Footnote 1: ho (?).]


1668 [A] Ande þer þay dronken, & dalten, & demed eft nwe,

To norne on þe same note, on nwe3ere3 euen;

[B] Bot þe kny3t craued leue, to kayre on þe morn,

For hit wat3 ne3 at þe terme, þat he to[1] schulde.

1672Þe lorde hym letted of þat, to lenge hym resteyed, [Fol. 113b.]

[C] & sayde, "as I am trwe segge, I siker my trawþe,

[D] Þou schal cheue to þe grene chapel, þy charres to make,

Leude, on nw3ere3 ly3t, longe bifore pryme:

1676For-þy þow lye in þy loft, & lach þyn ese,

& I schal hunt in þis holt, & halde þe towche3,

Chaunge wyth þe cheuisaunce, bi þat I charre hider;

For I haf fraysted þe twys, & faythful I fynde þe,

1680Now þrid tyme þrowe best þenk on þe morne,

Make we mery quyl we may, & mynne vpon Ioye,

For þe lur may mon lach, when so mon lyke3."

Þis wat3 grayþely graunted, & Gawayn is lenged,

1684 [E] Bliþe bro3t wat3 hym drynk, & þay to bedde 3eden,

with li3t;

[F]Sir G: lis & slepes,

Ful stille & softe al ni3t;

1688 [G]Þe lorde þat his crafte3 kepes,

Ful erly he wat3 di3t.

[Sidenote A: There they drank and discoursed.]

[Sidenote B: Gawayne begs leave to depart on the morrow.]

[Sidenote C: His host swears to him,]

[Sidenote D: that he shall come to the Green Chapel on New Year's morn long

before prime.]

[Sidenote E: Our knight consents to remain for another night.]

[Sidenote F: Full still and softly he sleeps all night.]

[Sidenote G: Early in the morning the lord is up.]

[Footnote 1: te (?).]


[A] After messe a morsel[1] he & his men token,

Miry wat3 þe mornyng, his mounture he askes;

1692 [B] Alle þe haþeles þat on horse schulde helden hym after,

Were boun busked on hor blonkke3, bi-fore[2] þe halle 3ate3;

[C] Ferly fayre wat3 þe folde, for þe forst clenged,

In rede rudede vpon rak rises þe sunne,

1696 [D] & ful clere coste3[3] þe clowdes of þe welkyn.

Hunteres vnhardeled bi a holt syde,

Rocheres roungen bi rys, for rurde of her hornes;

[E] Summe fel in þe fute, þer þe fox bade,

1700Trayle3 ofte a trayteres[4], bi traunt of her wyles;

A kenet kryes þerof, þe hunt on hym calles,

His fela3es fallen hym to, þat fnasted ful þike,

[F] Runnen forth in a rabel, in his ry3t fare;

1704& he fyske3 hem by-fore, þay founden hym sone,

[G] & quen þay seghe hym with sy3t, þay sued hym fast,

Wre3ande h[ym] ful [w]eterly with a wroth noyse;

[H] & he trantes & tornayee3 þur3 mony tene greue;

1708Hamloune3, & herkene3, bi hegge3 ful ofte;

[I] At þe last bi a littel dich he lepe3 ouer a spenne, [Fol. 114.]

Stele3 out ful stilly bi a strothe rande,

[J] Went haf wylt of þe wode, with wyle3 fro þe houndes,

1712Þenne wat3 he went, er he wyst, to[5] a wale tryster,

[K] Þer þre þro at a þrich þrat hym at ones,

al graye;

[L]He blenched a3ayn bilyue,

1716& stifly start onstray,

With alle þe wo on lyue,

[M]To þe wod he went away.

[Sidenote A: After mass, a morsel he take with his men.]

[Sidenote B: Then were all on their horses before the hall-gates.]

[Sidenote C: It was a clear frosty morning.]

[Sidenote D: The hunters, dispersed by a wood's side,]

[Sidenote E: come upon the track of a fox,]

[Sidenote F: which is followed up by the hounds.]

[Sidenote G: They soon get sight of the game,]

[Sidenote H: and pursue him through many a rough grove.]

[Sidenote I: The fox at last leaps over a spinny,]

[Sidenote J: and by a rugged path seeks to get clear from the hounds.]

[Sidenote K: He comes upon one of the hunting stations, where he is

attacked by the dogs.]

[Sidenote L: However, he slips them,]

[Sidenote M: and makes again for the wood.]

[Footnote 1: MS. nnorsel.]

[Footnote 2: bi-forere, in MS.]

[Footnote 3: caste3 (?).]

[Footnote 4: trayveres (?).]

[Footnote 5: to to, in MS.]


[A] Thenne wat3 hit lif vpon list to lyþen þe hounde3,

1720When alle þe mute hade hym met, menged to-geder,

Suche a sor3e at þat sy3t þay sette on his hede,

As alle þe clamberande clyffes hade clatered on hepes;

[B] Here he wat3 halawed, when haþele3 hym metten,

1724Loude he wat3 3ayned, with 3arande speche;

[C] Þer he wat3 þreted, & ofte þef called,

& ay þe titleres at his tayl, þat tary he ne my3t;

Ofte he wat3 runnen at, when he out rayked,

1728 [D] & ofte reled in a3ayn, so reniarde wat3 wyle.

[E] & 3e he lad hem bi lag, mon, þe lorde & his meyny;

On þis maner bi þe mountes, quyle myd, ouer, vnder,

[F] Whyle þe hende kny3t at home holsumly slepe3,

1732With-inne þe comly cortynes, on þe colde morne.

Bot þe lady for luf let not to slepe,

Ne þe purpose to payre, þat py3t in hir hert,

Bot ros hir vp radly, rayked hir þeder,

1736 [G] In a mery mantyle, mete to þe erþe,

Þat wat3 furred ful fyne with felle3, wel pured,

No hwe3 goud on hir hede, bot þe ha3er stones

Trased aboute hir tressour, be twenty in clusteres;

1740 [H] Hir þryuen face & hir þrote þrowen al naked,

Hir brest bare bifore, & bihinde eke.

[I] Ho come3 with-inne þe chambre dore, & closes hit hir after,

[J] Wayne3[1] vp a wyndow, & on þe wy3e calle3,

1744& radly þus re-hayted hym, with hir riche worde3,

with[2] chere;

[K]"A! mon, how may þou slepe,

[L]Þis morning is so clere?" [Fol. 114b.]

1748He wat3 in drowping depe,

Bot þenne he con hir here.

[Sidenote A: Then was it fine sport to listen to the hounds,]

[Sidenote B: and the hallooing of the hunters.]

[Sidenote C: There the fox was threatened and called a thief.]

[Sidenote D: But Reynard was wily,]

[Sidenote E: and led them astray over mounts.]

[Sidenote F: Meanwhile the knight at home soundly sleeps within his comely


[Sidenote G: The lady of the castle, clothed in a rich mantle,]

[Sidenote H: her throat and bosom all bare,]

[Sidenote I: comes to Gawayne's chamber,]

[Sidenote J: opens a window, and says,]

[Sidenote K: "Ah! man, how canst thou sleep,]

[Sidenote L: this morning is so clear?"]

[Footnote 1: wayue3(?).]

[Footnote 2: bi, a sec. manu.]


[A] In dre3 droupyng of dreme draueled þat noble,

As mon þat wat3 in mornyng of mony þro þo3tes,

1752How þat destine schulde þat day [dy3t] his wyrde,

At þe grene chapel, when he þe gome metes,

& bi-houes his buffet abide, with-oute debate more;

[B] Bot quen þat comly he keuered his wyttes,

1756Swenges out of þe sweuenes, & sware3 with hast.

Þe lady luflych com la3ande swete,

[C] Felle ouer his fayre face, & fetly him kyssed;

He welcume3 hir worþily, with a wale chere;

1760He se3 hir so glorious, & gayly atyred,

So fautles of hir fetures, & of so fyne hewes,

[D] Wi3t wallande Ioye warmed his hert;

With smoþe smylyng & smolt þay smeten in-to merþe,

1764Þat al wat3 blis & bonchef, þat breke hem bi-twene,

& wynne,

Þay lanced wordes gode,

Much wele þen wat3 þer-inne,

1768 [E]Gret perile bi-twene hem stod,

Nif mare of hir kny3t mynne.

[Sidenote A: The knight was then dreaming of his forthcoming adventure at

the Green Chapel.]

[Sidenote B: He awakes and speaks to his fair visitor,]

[Sidenote C: who sweetly kisses him.]

[Sidenote D: Great joy warms the heart of Sir Gawayne,]

[Sidenote E: and "great peril between them stood."]


[A] For þat prynce of pris de-presed hym so þikke.

Nurned hym so ne3e þe þred, þat nede hym bi-houed,

1772Oþer lach þer hir luf, oþer lodly re-fuse;

He cared for his cortaysye, lest craþayn he were,

[B] & more for his meschef, 3if he schulde make synne,

& be traytor to þat tolke, þat þat telde a3t.

1776"God schylde," quod þe schalk, "þat schal not be-falle!"

With luf-la3yng a lyt, he layd hym by-syde

Alle þe speche3 of specialte þat sprange of her mouthe.

Quod þat burde to þe burne, "blame 3e disserue,

17803if 3e luf not þat lyf þat 3e lye nexte,

Bifore alle þe wy3e3 in þe worlde, wounded in hert,

[C] Bot if 3e haf a lemman, a leuer, þat yow lyke3 better,

& folden fayth to þat fre, festned so harde,

1784Þat yow lausen ne lyst, & þat I leue nouþe;[Fol. 115.]

And þat 3e telle me þat, now trwly I pray yow,

For alle þe lufe3 vpon lyue, layne not þe soþe,

for gile."

1788 [D]Þe kny3t sayde, "be sayn Ion,"

& smeþely con he smyle,

"In fayth I welde ri3t non,

Ne non wil welde þe quile."

[Sidenote A: The knight is sorely pressed.]

[Sidenote B: He fears lest he should become a traitor to his host.]

[Sidenote C: The lady inquire whether he has a mistress that he loves

better than her.]

[Sidenote D: Sir Gawayne swears by St. John that he neither has nor desires



1792"Þat is a worde," quod þat wy3t, "þat worst is of alle,

Bot I am swared for soþe, þat sore me þinkke3;

[A] Kysse me now coraly, & I schal cach heþen,

I may bot mourne vpon molde, as may þat much louyes."

1796Sykande ho swe3e doun, & semly hym kyssed,

& siþen ho seueres hym fro, & says as ho stondes,

"Now, dere, at þis de-partyng, do me þis ese,

[B] Gif me sumquat of þy gifte, þi gloue if[1] hit were,

1800 [C] Þat I may mynne on þe mon, my mournyng to lassen."

"Now Iwysse," quod þat wy3e, "I wolde I hade here

Þe leuest þing for þy luf, þat I in londe welde,

[D] For 3e haf deserued, forsoþe, sellyly ofte

1804More rewarde bi resoun, þen I reche my3t,

Bot to dele yow for drurye, þat dawed bot neked;

Hit is not your honour to haf at þis tyme

A gloue for a garysoun, of Gawayne3 gifte3,

1808& I am here [on] an erande in erde3 vncouþe,

[E] & haue no men wyth no male3, with menskful þinge3;

Þat mislyke3 me, lade, for luf at þis tyme,[2]

Iche tolke mon do as he is tan, tas to non ille,

1812 ne pine."

[F]"Nay, hende of hy3e honours,"

Quod þat lufsum vnder lyne,

[G]"Þa3 I hade o3t[3] of youre3,

18163et schulde 3e haue of myne."

[Sidenote A: She then kisses him, sighing for sorrow.]

[Sidenote B: She desires some gift,]

[Sidenote C: by which to remember him.]

[Sidenote D: Gawayne tells her that she is worthy of a better gift than he

can bestow.]

[Sidenote E: He has no men with mails containing precious things.]

[Sidenote F: Then says that lovesome,]

[Sidenote G: "Though I had nought of yours, yet should ye have of mine."]

[Footnote 1: of, in MS.]

[Footnote 2: tyne, in MS.]

[Footnote 3: no3t (?).]


[A] Ho ra3t hym a riche rynk[1] of red golde werke3,

Wyth a starande ston, stondande alofte,

Þat bere blusschande beme3 as þe bry3t sunne;

1820Wyt 3e wel, hit wat3 worth wele ful hoge.

[B] Bot þe renk hit renayed, & redyly he sayde,

"I wil no gifte3 for gode, my gay, at þis tyme; [Fol. 115b.]

[C] I haf none yow to norne, ne no3t wyl I take."

1824Ho bede hit hym ful bysily, & he hir bode wernes,

& swere swyftel[y] his sothe, þat he hit sese nolde;

[D] & ho sore þat he forsoke, & sayde þer-after,

"If 3e renay my rynk, to ryche for hit seme3,

18283e wolde not so hy3ly halden be to me,

I schal gif yow my girdel, þat gaynes yow lasse."

Ho la3t a lace ly3tly, þat[2] leke vmbe hir syde3,

[E] Knit vpon hir kyrtel, vnder þe clere mantyle,

1832Gered hit wat3 with grene sylke, & with golde schaped,

No3t bot arounde brayden, beten with fyngre3;

& þat ho bede to þe burne, & blyþely bi-so3t

[F] Þa3 hit vn-worþi were, þat he hit take wolde.

1836& he nay þat he nolde neghe in no wyse,

[G] Nauþer golde ne garysoun, er God hym grace sende,

To acheue to þe chaunce þat he hade chosen þere.

"& þerfore, I pray yow, displese yow no3t,

1840& lette3 be your bisinesse, for I bayþe hit yow neuer

to graunte;

I am derely to yow biholde,

Bi-cause of your sembelaunt,

1844 [H]& euer in hot & colde

To be your trwe seruaunt.

[Sidenote A: She offers him a gold ring,]

[Sidenote B: but he refuses to accept it,]

[Sidenote C: as he has none to give in return.]

[Sidenote D: Very sorrowful was that fair one on account of his refusal.]

[Sidenote E: She takes off her "girdle,"]

[Sidenote F: and beseeches him to take it.]

[Sidenote G: Gawayne again refuses to accept anything,]

[Sidenote H: but promises, "ever in hot and in cold, to be her true


[Footnote 1: ryng (?).]

[Footnote 2: þat þat, in MS.]


[A] "Now forsake 3e þis silke." sayde þe burde þenne,

"For hit is symple in hit-self. & so hit wel seme3?

1848Lo! so hit is littel, & lasse hit is worþy;

[B] Bot who-so knew þe costes þat knit ar þer-inne,

He wolde hit prayse at more prys, parauenture;

[C] For quat gome so is gorde with þis grene lace,

1852While he hit hade hemely halched aboute,

Þer is no haþel vnder heuen to-hewe hym þat my3t;

[D] For he my3t not he slayn, for sly3t vpon erþe."

Þen kest þe kny3t, & hit come to his hert,

1856 [E] Hit were a Iuel for þe Ioparde, þat hym iugged were,

When he acheued to þe chapel, his chek forto fech;

[F] My3[1] he haf slypped to þe vn-slayn, þe sle3t were noble.

Þenne ho þulged with hir þrepe, & þoled hir to speke,[Fol. 116.]

1860& ho bere on hym þe belt, & bede hit hym swyþe,

[G] & he granted, & [ho] hym gafe with a goud wylle,

& biso3t hym, for hir sake, disceuer hit neuer,

Bot to lelly layne for[2] hir lorde; þe leude hym acorde3.

1864Þat neuer wy3e schulde hit wyt, Iwysse, bot þay twayne,

for no3te;

He þonkked hir oft ful swyþe,

Ful þro with hert & þo3t.

1868 [H]Bi þat on þrynne syþe,

He hat3 kyst þe kny3t so to3t.

[Sidenote A: "Do you refuse it," says the lady, because it is simple?]

[Sidenote B: Whoso knew the virtues that it possesses, would highly prize


[Sidenote C: For he who is girded with this green lace,]

[Sidenote D: cannot be wounded or slain."]

[Sidenote E: The knight thinks of his adventure at the Green Chapel.]

[Sidenote F: The lady presses him to accept the lace.]

[Sidenote G: He consents not only to take the girdle, but to keep the

possession of it a secret.]

[Sidenote H: By that time the lady has kissed him thrice.]

[Footnote 1: my3t (?).]

[Footnote 2: fro (?).]


[A] Thenne lachche3 ho hir leue, & leue3 hym þere,

For more myrþe of þat mon mo3t ho not gete;

1872 [B] When ho[1] wat3 gon, sir G. gere3 hym sone,

Rises, & riches hym in araye noble,

[C] Lays vp þe luf-lace, þe lady hym ra3t,

Hid hit ful holdely, þer he hit eft fonde;

1876Syþen cheuely to þe chapel choses he þe waye,

[D] Preuely aproched to a prest, & prayed hym þere

Þat he wolde lyfte[2] his lyf, & lern hym better,

How his sawle schulde be saued, when he schuld seye heþen.

1880 [E] Þere he schrof hym schyrly, & schewed his mysdede3,

Of þe more & þe mynne, & merci beseche3,

[F] & of absolucioun he on þe segge calles;

& he asoyled hym surely, & sette hym so clene,

1884 [G] As dome3-day schulde haf ben di3t on þe morn.

& syþen he mace hym as mery among þe fre ladyes,

[H] With comlych caroles, & alle kynnes ioye,

As neuer he did bot þat daye, to þe derk ny3t,

1888 with blys;

Vche mon hade daynte þare,

[I]Of hym, & sayde Iwysse,

[J]Þus myry he wat3 neuer are,

1892Syn he com hider, er þis.

[Sidenote A: Then she takes her leave.]

[Sidenote B: Gawayne then dresses himself,]

[Sidenote C: and conceals the love-lace about his person.]

[Sidenote D: He then hies to mass,]

[Sidenote E: and shrives him of his misdeeds.]

[Sidenote F: and prays for absolution.]

[Sidenote G: He returns to the hall, and makes himself so merry among the


[Sidenote H: with comely carols,]

[Sidenote I: that they said,]

[Sidenote J: "Thus merry was he never before since hither he came."]

[Footnote 1: he, in MS.]

[Footnote 2: lyste (?).]


[A] Now hym lenge in þat lee, þer luf hym bi-tyde;

3et is þe lorde on þe launde, ledande his gomnes,

[B] He hat3 forfaren þis fox, þat he fol3ed longe;

1896As he sprent ouer a spenne, to spye þe schrewe,

Þer as he herd þe howndes, þat hasted hym swyþe,[Fol. 116b.]

[C] Renaud com richchande þur3 a ro3e greue,

& alle þe rabel in a res, ry3t at his hele3.

1900 [D] Þe wy3e wat3 war of þe wylde, & warly abides,

& brayde3 out þe bry3t bronde, & at þe best caste3;

& he schunt for þe scharp, & schulde haf arered,

[E] A rach rapes hym to, ry3t er he my3t,

1904& ry3t bifore þe hors fete þay fel on hym alle,

& woried me þis wyly wyth a wroth noyse.

[F] Þe lorde ly3te3 bilyue, & cache3 by[1] sone,

Rased hym ful radly out of þe rach mouþes,

1908Halde3 he3e ouer his hede, halowe3 faste,

& þer bayen hym mony bray[2] hounde3;

[G] Huntes hy3ed hem þeder, with horne3 ful mony,

Ay re-chatande ary3t til þay þe renk se3en;

1912Bi þat wat3 comen his compeyny noble,

Alle þat euer ber bugle blowed at ones,

[H] & alle þise oþer halowed, þat hade no hornes,

Hit wat3 þe myriest mute þat euer men herde,

1916Þe rich rurd þat þer wat3 raysed for renaude saule,

with lote;

[I]Hor hounde3 þay þer rewarde,

Her[3] hede3 þay fawne & frote,

1920 [J]& syþen þay tan reynarde,

& tyrnen of his cote.

[Sidenote A: Gawayne's host is still in the field.]

[Sidenote B: He has destroyed the fox.]

[Sidenote C: He spied Reynard coming through a "rough grove,"]

[Sidenote D: and tried to hit him with his sword.]

[Sidenote E: The fox "shunts," and is seized by one of the dogs.]

[Sidenote F: The lord takes him out of the hound's mouth.]

[Sidenote G: Hunters hasten thither with horns full many.]

[Sidenote H: It was the merriest meet that ever was heard.]

[Sidenote I: The hounds are rewarded,]

[Sidenote J: and then they take Reynard and "turn off his coat."]

[Footnote 1: hym (?).]

[Footnote 2: braþ (?).]

[Footnote 3: Her her, in MS.]


[A] & þenne þay helden to home, for hit wat3 nie3 ny3t,

Strakande ful stoutly in hor store horne3;

1924 [B] Þe lorde is ly3t at þe laste at hys lef home,

Fynde3 fire vpon flet, þe freke þer by-side,

Sir Gawayn þe gode, þat glad wat3 with alle,

[C] Among þe ladies for luf he ladde much ioye,

1928He were a bleaunt of blwe, þat bradde to þe erþe,

His surkot semed hym wel, þat softe wat3 forred,

& his hode of þat ilke henged on his schulder,

[D] Blande al of blaunner were boþe al aboute.

1932He mete3 me þis god mon in mydde3 þe flore,

& al with gomen he hym gret, & goudly he sayde,

"I schal fylle vpon fyrst oure forwarde3 nouþe,

Þat we spedly han spoken, þer spared wat3 no drynk;"[Fol. 117.]

1936 [E] Þen acoles he [þe] kny3t, & kysses hym þryes,

[F] As sauerly & sadly as he hem sette couþe.

[G] "Bi Kryst," quod þat oþer kny3t, "3e cach much sele,

In cheuisaunce of þis chaffer, 3if 3e hade goud chepe3."

1940"3e of þe chepe no charg," quod chefly þat oþer,

"As is pertly payed þe chepe3 þat I a3te."

"Mary," quod þat oþer mon, "myn is bi-hynde,

[H] For I haf hunted al þis day, & no3t haf I geten,

1944 [I] Bot þis foule fox felle, þe fende haf þe gode3,

[J] & þat is ful pore, for to pay for suche prys þinges,

As 3e haf þry3t me here, þro suche þre cosses,

so gode."

1948"I-no3," quod sir Gawayn,

"I þonk yow, bi þe rode;"

[K]& how þe fox wat3 slayn,

He tolde hym, as þay stode.

[Sidenote A: The hunters then hasten home.]

[Sidenote B: The lord at last alights at his dear home,]

[Sidenote C: where he finds Gawayne amusing the ladies.]

[Sidenote D: The knight comes forward and welcomes his host,]

[Sidenote E: and according to covenant kisses him thrice.]

[Sidenote F: (See l. 1868.)]

[Sidenote G: "By Christ," says the other, "ye have had much bliss!"]

[Sidenote H: I have hunted all day and have gotten nothing,]

[Sidenote I: but the skin of this foul fox,]

[Sidenote J: a poor reward for three such kisses."]

[Sidenote K: He then tells him how the fox was slain.]


1952 [A] With merþe & mynstralsye, wyth mete3 at hor wylle,

Þay maden as mery as any men mo3ten,

With la3yng of ladies, with lote3 of bordes;

Gawayn & þe gode mon so glad were þay boþe,

1956Bot if þe douthe had doted, oþer dronken ben oþer,

Boþe þe mon & þe meyny maden mony iape3,

[B] Til þe sesoun wat3 se3en, þat þay seuer moste;

Burne3 to hor bedde be-houed at þe laste.

1960 [C] Þenne lo3ly his leue at þe lorde fyrst

Fochche3 þis fre mon, & fayre he hym þonkke3;

[D] "Of such a sellyly[1] soiorne, as I haf hade here,

Your honour, at þis hy3e fest, þe hy3e kyng yow 3elde!

1964I 3ef yow me for on of youre3, if yowre-self lyke3,

For I mot nedes, as 3e wot, meue to morne;

[E] & 3e me take sum tolke, to teche, as 3e hy3t,

Þe gate to þe grene chapel, as god wyl me suffer

1968To dele, on nw3ere3 day, þe dome of my wyrdes."

"In god fayþe," quod þe god mon. "wyth a goud wylle;

Al þat euer I yow hy3t, halde schal I rede."

[F] Þer asyngnes he a seruaunt, to sett hym in þe waye,

1972& coundue hym by þe downe3, þat he no drechch had, [Fol. 117b.]

For to f[e]rk þur3 þe fryth, & fare at þe gaynest,

bi greue.

Þe lorde Gawayn con þonk,

1976Such worchip he wolde hym weue;

[G]Þen at þo ladye3 wlonk.

Þe kny3t hat3 tan his leue.

[Sidenote A: With much mirth and minstrelsy they made merry,]

[Sidenote B: until the time came for them to part.]

[Sidenote C: Gawayne takes leave of his host.]

[Sidenote D: and thanks him for his happy "sojourn."]

[Sidenote E: He asks for a man to teach him the way to the Green Chapel.]

[Sidenote F: A servant is assigned to him,]

[Sidenote G: and then he takes leave of the ladies,]

[Footnote 1: selly (?).]


[A] With care & wyth kyssyng he carppe3 hem tille,

1980& fele þryuande þonkke3 he þrat hom to haue,

& þay 3elden hym a3ay[n] 3eply þat ilk;

[B] Þay bikende hym to Kryst, with ful colde sykynge3.

[C] Syþen fro þe meyny he menskly de-partes;

1984Vche mon þat he mette, he made hem a þonke,

For his seruyse, & his solace, & his sere pyne,

Þat þay wyth busynes had ben, aboute hym to serue;

& vche segge as sore, to seuer with hym þere,

1988As þay hade wonde worþyly with þat wlonk euer.

[D] Þen with ledes & ly3t he wat3 ladde to his chambre,

& blybely bro3t to his bedde, to be at his rest;

3if he ne slepe soundyly, say ne dar I,

1992 [E] For he hade muche on þe morn to mynne, 3if he wolde,

in þo3t;

[F]Let hym ly3e þere stille,

He hat3[1] nere þat he so3t,

1996 [G]& 3e wyl a whyle be stylle,

I schal telle yow how þay wro3t.

[Sidenote A: kissing them sorrowfully.]

[Sidenote B: They commend him to Christ.]

[Sidenote C: He then departs, thanking each one he meets "for his service

and solace."]

[Sidenote D: He retires to rest but sleeps but little,]

[Sidenote E: for much has he to think of on the morrow.]

[Sidenote F: Let him there lie still.]

[Sidenote G: Be still awhile, and I shall tell how they wrought.]

[Footnote 1: wat3 (?).]