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And thou hast rightly rehearsed, as reason

was truly, Clearly all the covenant that of the king I

asked, Save that thou must assure me, sir, by thy

honour, That thou wilt seek me thyself in what spot


And thou hacz redily rehersed, bi resoun ful

trwe, Clanly' al the covenaunt that I the kynge

asked, Saf that thou schal siker 2 me, segge,a by thi

trawthe, That thou schal seche 4 me thi-self, where-so

thou hopes • I may be funde upon folde,s and foch ? the As thou deles me to day, bifore this douthe 8

ryche.” “Where schulde I wale 4 the?” quoth Gauan,

"Where is thy place? I wot never where thou wonyes,' bi Hym that

me wroght, Ne I know not the, kynght, thy cort, ne thi

such wages



Bot teche me truly ther-to, and telle me howe

thou hattes, 10 And I schal ware 11 alle my wyt to wynne me

theder, 12 And that I swere the for sothe, and by my

seker 13 traweth." “That is innogh in Nwe Yer, hit nedes no

more,” Quoth the gome in the grene to Gawan the

hende,14 'Gif 15 I the telle trwly, quen I the tape16 have, And thou me smothely hacz!? smyten, smartly

I the teche Of my hous, and my home, and myn owen

Thou thinkst to find me, in faith, and fetch

thee such wages As thou dealest me to-day before these

doughty nobles." “In what climes shall I seek thee? In what

country is thy dwelling? Of thy habitation have I ne'er heard, by Him

that wrought me; Nor know I thee, knight, thy court, nor thy name;

400 But direct me to thy dwelling and disclose

how men call thee, And I shall strive with my strength to steer

my steps thither; And that I swear thee surely and by my sacred

honour." “That is enough at New Year; no more is

needful," Quoth the grim man in green to Gawain the

courteous; "If I tell thee truly, when I the tap have taken And thou hast smoothly smitten me, if

smartly I teach thee Of my house and my home and how men call

me, Then mayst thou enquire my country and

hold our covenant. And if I spend then no speech, thou shalt speed the better,

410 For thou mayst stop in this stead and step no


nome, 18

Then may thou frayst my fare,19 and for

wardez 20 holde. And if I spende no speche, thenne spedez thou the better,

410 For thou may leng 21 in thy londe, and layt no fyrre,22

Bot slokes.23

now thy grymme tole 25 to the, And let se how thou chokez."' 26 “Gladly, syr, for sothe," Quoth Gawan; his ax he strokes.

But stay.

Ta 24

Take now thy grim tool duly;
Let's see thee hack away!"
“Yea, sir,” quoth Gawain, “truly;”
His axe he strokes in play.

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on the

His longe lovelych lokkez he layd over his His long lovely locks he lays over backward, croun,

Let the naked neck to the nape glisten. 420 Let the naked nec to the note 1 schewe. 420 Gawain gripped to his axe and gathered it on Gauan gripped to his ax, and gederes hit on high, hyght,

His left foot on the floor he thrusts before The kay 3 fot on the folde 4 he be-fore sette, him, Let hit doun lyghtly lyght on the naked, Let the axe lightly light on the bare neck, That the scharp of the schalk 5 schyndered 6 So that the bright blade all the bones severs the bones

And slices the sinews and slits them asunder, And schrank ? thrugh the schyire grece, and So that the edge of the axe entered the earth. scade 9 hit in twynne,l

The bright head from the body bounded to That the bit of the broun stel bot 11

the floor, grounde.

And many filliped it with their feet as it The fayre hede fro the halce 12 hit 13 to the rolled forward. erthe,

The blood gushed from the body and glistened That fele 14 hit foyned 15 wyth her fete, there 16

on the green; hit forth roled.

But neither faltered nor fell the fearsome The blod brayd 17 fro the body, that blykked 18 stranger,

430 on the grene;

But sturdily strode forth on his stiff shanks, And nawther 19 faltered ne fel the freke 20 And roughly he reached forth among the never-the-helder, 21


ranked courtiers, Bot stythly 22 he start forth upon styf schonkes, 23 Laid hold of his lovely head, and lifted it up And runyschly 24 he raght 25 out, there-as 26 quickly; renkkez 27 stoden,

And then strides to his steed, the bridle he Laght 25 to his lufly 28 hed, and lyft hit up sone:29 seizes, And sythen bowez 30 to his blonk, 31 the brydel Steps into the stirrup and straddles aloft, he cachchez,

His head by the hair in his hand holding; Steppez in to stel-bawe 32 and strydez alofte, And as steadily the stranger settled him in his And his hede by the here in his honde haldez; saddle And as sadly 33 the segge 34 hym in his sadel As if no harm had happened, though he was sette,

headless non unhap had hym ayled, thagh 36

I’ the stead. hedlez nowe,

He turned his steed about,

440 In stedde. 37

That ugly body that bled;
He brayde 38 his blunk 31 aboute, 440

Many had dread and doubt
That ugly bodi that bledde ;

Ere all his words were said.
Moni on of hym had doute, 39
Bi that his resounz were redde. 40

As 35

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“Loke, Gawan, thou be graythe' to go as

thou hettez, ? And layte 3 as lelly 4 til thou me, lude,5

fynde, As thou hacz hette 6 in this halle, herande 7 thise knyghtes.

450 To the grene chapel thou chose, ' I charge the,

to fotte ;) Such a dunt 10 as thou hacz dalt 11 disserved

thou habbez, 12 To be yederly yolden 13 on Nw Yeres morn. The Knyght of the Grene Chapel, men knowen

me mony; 14 For-thi 15 me for to fynde, if thou fraystez,16

faylez thou never; Ther-fore com, other 11 recreaunt be calde the

be-hoves.' With a runisch route 18 the raynez he tornez, Halled 19 out at the hal-dor, his hed in his

hande, That the fyr of the flynt flawe 20 from fole

hoves. 21 To quat kyth he be-com,22 knewe non there, Never more then thay wyste from quethen 23 he wacz wonnen.24

What thenne?
The kyng and Gawen thare,
At that Grene thay lage and grenne,
Yet breved 25 wacz hit ful bare 26
A mervayl among tho 27 menne.

“See, Gawain, that thou be sedulous to seek

as thou saidest, And search assiduously till thou, sir, dost find

me, As thou has promised in this presence before

these proven knights. To the Green Chapel do thou go, I charge

thee truly. Such a dint as thou hast dealt deserved hast thou,

452 To be yarely yielded on New Year's morning. As the Knight of the Green Chapel, I am

known to many; Thou shalt not fail to find me if faithfully

thou triest; Therefore come or coward to be called shall

behoove thee.” With reckless roughness the reins he twitches, Hurls out of the hall-door, his head in his hand, So that fire from the flint flew from his steed's

hoofs. To what region he rode none could say

rightly, Any more than they wist by what way he had come.

What then?
The king and Gawain there
Did laugh at the Knight in Green.
'Twas counted a marvel rare
Such as men had never seen.



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He glent 1 upon Syr Gawen, and gaynly 2 he

sayde, “Now, syr, heng up thyn ax, that hacz innogh

hewen." And hit wacz don 3 abof the dece, on doser 4

to henge, Ther alle men for mervayl myght on hit loke, And bi trwe tytel ther-of 6 to telle the wonder. Thenne thay bowed 6 to a borde,” thise burnes & to-geder,

481 The kyng and the gode knyght; and kene 9

men hem served Of alle dayntyez double, as derrest 10 myght

falle Wyth alle maner of mete and mynstralcie

bothe: Wyth wele walt thay that day, til worthed an

And take it as true witness when they told of the wonder.

480 Then they turned to the table, these two lords

together, The king and the good knight; and gentle

squires served them Of all dainties double that were to them

With all manner of meat and minstrelsy also ;
With all delights did they deal until that day

In land.
Now think well, Sir Gawain,
That thou hast taken in hand
The adventure to maintain,
Whatever may withstand.


ende 11

In londe.
Now thenk wel, Syr Gawan,
For wothe 12 that thou ne wonde 13
This aventure forto frayn 14
That thou hacz tan on honde




PEARL (c. 1350)

(Unknown Author) I

I Perlè plesaunte to prynces paye

A radiant pearl for royal array To clanly clos 17 in golde so clere;

Clean to enclose in gold so clear; Oute of oryent, I hardyly saye,

Out of the Orient, I boldly say, Ne proved I never her precios pere, 18

Found have I never her precious peer, So rounde, so reken in uche araye,19

So pure, so perfect at each assay, So smal, so smothe her sydez were;

So small, so smooth that blissful sphere; Queresoever I jugged gemmez gaye,

Wherever I judged of jewels gay,
I sette hyr sengeley in synglere.20

I set her apart as the prize most dear.
Alas! I leste 21 hyr in on erbere;

Alas! in an arbor I lost her here,
Thurgh gresse to grounde hit fro me Slipping through grass to earth, I wot;

I pine, cut off from the loving cheer
I dewyne, for-dolked of luf-daungere 24

Of my own pearl without a spot.
Of that pryvy perle withouten spot. 1 2


yot; 23

I 2

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Before that spot my hands I spread,
For care full cold that me had caught; 50
In my heart dark sorrow made its bed,
Though reason reconciled my thought.
I prayed for my pearl that thence had sped,
With timid pleas, and fast they fought;
Though the godhead of Christ me comforted,
My wretched will in woe still wrought.

A bed among the flowers I sought;
Such fragrance pierced my brain, I wot,
Me into a sleep of dreams it brought
Of that precious pearl without a spot.



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More mervayle con my dom adaunt;
I segh 265 by-yonde that myry mere
A crystal clyffe ful relusaunt, 28
Mony ryal ray con fro hit rere;

At the fote thereof ther sete a faunt,3
A mayden of menske, 31 ful debonere,
Blysnande whyte wacz hyr bleaunt ; 32
I knew hyr wel, I hade sen hyr ere.

As glysnande golde that

schere 34
So schon that schene anunder schore;
On lenghe 36 I looked to hyr there;
The lenger, I knew hyr more and more. 37

More wonder my judgment stole away;
I saw beyond that river fair
A crystal cliff as clear as day,
Its royal rays gleamed through the air; 160
At its foot there sat a child full gay,
A mannerly maiden, debonair,
All argent white was her array;
I knew her well, I had seen her ere.

As glistening gold, refined and rare,
So sheen she shone upon the shore;
Long while I looked upon her there;
The longer, I knew her more and more.







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The more I frayste 38 hyr fayre face,
Her figure fyn quen I had fonte, 39

170 Suche gladande glory con to me glace 40

I lift up ? prosperity ? does but oppress my heart grievously 4 distress 5 swell and burn the quiet hour 7 float 8

many things

clod 10 earth jewel 12 stretched out 13 that seized upon me 14 a secret sorrow lay in my heart 16 though reason reconciled all difficulties lamented taken away 18 timid reasons

19 fought hard though Christ's nature taught me comfort wrought bed of flowers 23 brains 24 I slided

XV The more I questioned her fair face And came to know her figure bright, 170 Such joy shed over me its grace into a dream

a greater wonder daunted my judgment

pleasant water

28 gleaming many a royal gleam arose from it

grace 32 gleaming white was her attire 33 before 34 that one has refined 35 so shone that beautiful one beneath the cliff 36 a long time 37 the longer I looked the more certainly I knew her tioned 39 when I had examined 40 such delight came to me


30 child



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