Sir Gawain and the Green Knight


Bot for as much as 3e ar myn em I am only to prayse,No bounté bot your blod I in my bodé knowe;And syþen þis note is so nys þat no3t hit yow falles,And I haue frayned hit at yow fyrst, foldez hit to me;And if I carp not comlyly, let alle þis cort rych bout blame.’ Ryche togeder con roun, And syþen þay redden alle same To ryd þe kyng wyth croun, And gif Gawan þe game.

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Þen comaunded þe kyng þe kny3t for to ryse;And he ful radly vpros, and ruchched hym fayre,Kneled doun bifore þe kyng, and cachez þat weppen;And he luflyly hit hym laft, and lyfte vp his honde,And gef hym Goddez blessyng, and gladly hym biddesÞat his hert and his honde schulde hardi be boþe.’Kepe þe cosyn,’ quoþ þe kyng, ‘þat þou on kyrf sette,And if þou rede3 hym ry3t, redly I troweÞat þou schal byden þe bur þat he schal bede after.’Gawan gotz to þe gome with giserne in honde,And he baldly hym bydez, he bayst neuer þe helder.Þen carppez to Sir Gawan þe kny3t in þe grene,’Refourme we oure forwardes, er we fyrre passe.Fyrst I eþe þe, haþel, how þat þou hattesÞat þou me telle truly, as I tryst may.”In god fayth,’ quoþ þe goode kny3t, ‘Gawan I hatte,Þat bede þe þis buffet, quat-so bifallez after,And at þis tyme twelmonyth take at þe an oþerWyth what weppen so þou wylt, and wyth no wy3 ellez on lyue.’ Þat oþer onswarez agayn, ‘Sir Gawan, so mot I þryue As I am ferly fayn Þis dint þat þou schal dryue.’Bigog,’ quoþ þe grene kny3t, ‘Sir Gawan, me lykesÞat I schal fange at þy fust þat I haf frayst here.And þou hatz redily rehersed, bi resoun ful trwe,

Clanly al þe couenaunt þat I þe kynge asked,Saf þat þou schal siker me, segge, bi þi trawþe,Þat þou schal seche me þiself, where-so þou hopesI may be funde vpon folde, and foch þe such wagesAs þou deles me to-day bifore þis douþe ryche.”Where schulde I wale þe,’ quoþ Gauan, ‘where is þy place?I wot neuer where þou wonyes, bi hym þat me wro3t,Ne I know not þe, kny3t, by cort ne þi name.Bot teche me truly þerto, and telle me how þou hattes,And I schal ware alle my wyt to wynne me þeder,

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And þat I swere þe for soþe, and by my seker traweþ.”Þat is innogh in Nwe 3er, hit nedes no more’,Quoþ þe gome in þe grene to Gawan þe hende;’3if I þe telle trwly, quen I þe tape haueAnd þou me smoþely hatz smyten, smartly I þe techeOf my hous and my home and myn owen nome,Þen may þou frayst my fare and forwardez holde;And if I spende no speche, þenne spedez þou þe better,For þou may leng in þy londe and layt no fyrre — bot slokes! Ta now þy grymme tole to þe, And let se how þou cnokez.’ ‘Gladly, sir, for soþe’, Quoþ Gawan; his ax he strokes.Þe grene kny3t vpon grounde grayþely hym dresses,A littel lut with þe hede, þe lere he discouerez,His longe louelych lokkez he layd ouer his croun,Let þe naked nec to þe note schewe.Gauan gripped to his ax, and gederes hit on hy3t,Þe kay fot on þe folde he before sette,Let him doun ly3tly ly3t on þe naked,Þat þe scharp of þe schalk schyndered þe bones,And schrank þur3 þe schyire grece, and schade hit in twynne,Þat þe bit of þe broun stel bot on þe grounde.Þe fayre hede fro þe halce hit to þe erþe,Þat fele hit foyned wyth her fete, þere hit forth roled;Þe blod brayd fro þe body, þat blykked on þe grene;-13-

And nawþer faltered ne fel þe freke neuer þe helder,Bot styþly he start forth vpon styf schonkes,And runyschly he ra3t out, þere as renkkez stoden,La3t to his lufly hed, and lyft hit vp sone;And syþen bo3ez to his blonk, þe brydel he cachchez,Steppez into stelbawe and strydez alofte,And his hede by þe here in his honde haldez;And as sadly þe segge hym in his sadel setteAs non vnhap had hym ayled, þa3 hedlez he were in stedde. He brayde his bulk aboute,

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Þat vgly bodi þat bledde; Moni on of hym had doute, Bi þat his resounz were redde.For þe hede in his honde he haldez vp euen,Toward þe derrest on þe dece he dressez þe face,And hit lyfte vp þe y3e-lyddez and loked ful brode,And meled þus much with his muthe, as 3e may now here:’Loke, Gawan, þou be grayþe to go as þou hettez,And layte as lelly til þou me, lude, fynde,As þou hatz hette in þis halle, herande þise kny3tes;To þe grene chapel þou chose, I charge þe, to fotteSuch a dunt as þou hatz dalt — disserued þou habbezTo be 3ederly 3olden on Nw 3eres morn.Þe kny3t of þe grene chapel men knowen me mony;Forþi me for to fynde if þou fraystez, faylez þou neuer.Þerfore com, oþer recreaunt be calde þe behoues.’With a runisch rout þe raynez he tornez,Halled out at þe hal dor, his hed in his hande,Þat þe fyr of þe flynt fla3e fro fole houes.To quat kyth he becom knwe non þere,Neuer more þen þay wyste from queþen he watz wonnen. What þenne? Þe kyng and Gawen þare At þat grene þay la3e and grenne, 3et breued watz hit ful bare A meruayl among þo menne.

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