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Light luflych adoun, and lenge,? I the

praye, And quat-so thy wylle is, we schal wyt 3

after." “Nay, as help me,” quoth the hathel, “He

ihat on hyghe syttes, To wone

any quyle 5 in this won, hit wacz not myn ernde ; ? Bot for 8 the los 9 of the lede 10 is lyft up so

hvghe. And ihy burgh and thy burnes "I best ar

holden, Stifest under stel-gere stedes to ryde, 260 The wyghtest and the worthyest of the

worldes kynde, Preve! for to play wyth in other pure laykez;15 And here is kydde 16 cortaysye, as I has herd

carp 17 And that hacz wayned 18 me hider, iwyis, at

Alight lovesomely down and linger here, so

please thee, And whatso thy will is we shall wit later." "Nay, so help me,” quoth the horseman, “He

that on high sits, To dwell any while in this dwelling is not my

due errand; But that the praise of thy people is published

so widely, And thy castle and thy comrades choicest

are counted, Stiffest under steel-gear on steeds to counter,

260 The wightest and the worthiest of this world's

kindred, Proven to play with in other pleasant contests; And here is kept courtesy, as I have heard

recounted 'Tis this has drawn me hither, indeed, at this





this tyme.


You may be certain by this bough that I bear

with me

Ye may be seker 19 bi this braunch that I bere

here That I passe as in pes, and no plyght seche.20 For, had I founded 21 in fere, in seghiyng wyse, I have a hauberghe 22 at home and a helme 23

bothe, A schelde, and a scharp spere, schinande

bryght, Ande other weppenes to welde, 24 I wene wel


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That I pass as in peace, and press for no

quarrel. For had I faced you in fear or in fighting hu

mour, I have a hauberk at home and a helmet also, A shield and a sharp spear, shining brighily, And other weapons to wield, I ween

well like-wise. But as I coveted no combat, my clothing is

softer. But if thou be as bold as all barons call thee, Thou wilt grant me graciously the game I shall ask thee,

By right."
Arthur gave answer there
And said, “Sir courteous knight,
If thou crave battle bare,
Here fail'st thou not to fight."

Bot for 8 I wolde no were,20 my

wedez softer. Bot if thou be so bold as alle burnez 11 tellen, Thou wyl grant me godly 28 the gomen I ask,

Bi ryght."
Arthour con onsware
And sayd, “Syr cortays knyght,
If thou crave batayl bare,
Here faylez thou not to lyght.”

29 that


XIII “Nay, frayst 31 I no fyght, in fayth I the telle; Hlit arn 32 aboute on this bench bot berdlez

chylder If I were hasped 33 in armes on a heghe 34

stede, Here is no mon me to mach,35 for myghtez so

wayke.36 1 alight graciously? remain 3 know " dwell 6 while 6 place errand & because ' fame people 11 knights 12 steel-gear, armour stoutest 14 proven

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25 also




16 shown 17 declare 18 has drawn

15 fine sports




For-thy? I crave in this court a Crystemas

gomen, For hit is Yol and Nwe Yer, and here are yep mony;

284 If any so hardy in this hous holdez hym-selven, 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 hevé innogh, to hondele 6 as hym lykes,

289 And I schal bide ? the fyrst bur, as bare as I

sitte. If any freke ' be so felle 10 to fonde 11 that 12

I telle, Lepe 13 lyghtly me to, and lach 14 this weppenI quit-clayme hit for ever, kepe hit as his

Therefore I crave in this court a Christmas

gambol, For it is Yule and New Year, and here are

many young braggarts; If any in this house holds him so hardy, If he be so bold in his blood, hot-brained of

temper That he dare stiffly strike one stroke for an

other, I shall give him of my gift this gisarme

splendid This axe, that is heavy enough to handle

as he pleases; And I shall bide the first blow, as bare as I

sit here. If any man be so mad as to make such a trial Let him leap to me lightly and lay hold of

292 I quit-claim it for ever, keep it as his own And I shall stand him a stroke, stiff on this floor, If thou wilt but grant me the grace to give him another,

In fay;
Yet respite shall there be
A twelvemonth and a day;
Now hasten and let us see
If any here dare aught say." 300



this weapon

And I schal stonde hym a strok, stif on this

flet, 16 Ellez thou wyl dight me the dom 17

to dele hym an other;

Barlay; 18
And yet gif hym respite
A twelmonyth and a day;
Now hyghe,19 and let se rite 20
Dar any her-inne oght say.” 300


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If they were astounded at first, now were

they stiller All the henchmen in hall, the high and

the lowly. The stranger on his steed then settled him in

his saddle And ragingly his red eyes he rolled upon

them; Bent his bushy brows, green and bristling; Waved his beard as he watched whether any

would offer. When none would come at his challenge, he

coughed full loudly And stretched himself starkly and stayed not

in speaking : "What? is this Arthur's house," quoth then

the horseman, “Whereof all the renown runs through realms unnumbered ?


wolde ryse.

When non wolde kepe hym with carp,32 he

coghed ful hyghe 33 Ande rimed hym ful richley 34 and ryght hym 35

to speke: “What, is this Arthures hous," quoth the

hathel 36 thenne, “That al the rous rennes of 37 thurgh ryalmes so mony?


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Where is now your sourquydrye 1 and your

conquestes, Your gryndel-layk, and your greme, and

your grete wordes? Now is the revel and the renoun of the Rounde

Table Over-walt 4 wyth a worde of on wyyes 5

speche; For al dares 6 for drede, withoute dynt ?

schewed !” Wyth this he laghes 8 so loude, that the lorde

greved; The blod schot for scham in-to his schyres face

And lere.10
He wex as wroth as wynde;
So did alle that ther were.

The kyng, as kene bi kynde,11
Then stod that stif mon nere

Where is now your arrogance and all your

conquests, Your fierceness and your fellness and your

fine boasting ? Now is the revel and the renown of the

Round Table Overthrown by a word of one man's speech; For all quail for cowardice, tho' no combat

threatens !” With this he laughed so loud that the lord

was grieved ; The blood shot for shame into his fair cheek

And face.
As wrathful then as wind
Grew all men in that place. 320
The king, as bold by kind,
Neared that stout man apace



Ande sayde, “Hathel, by heven thyn askyng is

nys, 13


at his

upon fote

And as thou foly hacz frayst,14 fynde the be

hoves.15 I know no gome 16 that is gast 17 of thy grete

wordes. Gif me now thy geserne,18 upon Godez halve,19 And I schal baythen thy bone, 20 that thou

boden 14 habbes." Lyghtly lepez he hym to, and laght

honde; Then feersly that other freke 16

lyghtis. Now hacz Arthure his axe, and the halme 22

grypez, , And sturnely sturez 23 hit aboute, that stryke wyth hit thoght.

331 The stif mon hym bifore stod

upon hyght 24 Herre 25 then ani in the hous by the hede and

more; Wyth sturne chere 26 ther he stod, he stroked

his berde, And wyth a countenaunce dryye 27 he drow

doun his cote, No more mate ne dismayd for hys mayn

dintez 29

XV And said, “Horseman, by heaven thy asking

is foolish, And as thou folly hast craved, it behooves that

thou find it. I know no man that is aghast at thy great

boasting. Give me now thy gisarme, in God's name be it, And I will bestow the boon that thou hast

bidden.” Lightly he leaps to him and lays hand on the

weapon; Then fiercely the other man on foot alights

there. Now has Arthur his axe, and by the handle

holds it, And sternly stirs it about, to strike with it thinks he.

331 The stalwart man before him stood at his full

height Higher than any in the house by a head and

more; With stern look there he stood, stroking his

beard, And with countenance calm he drew down his collar,

335 No more moved nor dismayed for the king's

mighty blows





20 grant 24 stood


1 haughtiness ? fierceness grimness overturned one man's wall are frightened ? stroke 8 laughs bright

cheek as one bold by nature nearer 14 asked 15 it behooves thee to find






18 19

in God's name thy boon 21 grasped 22 shaft 23 fiercely moves tall taller 26 fierce look 27 dry, without emotion 28 dispirited

strong blows


13 foolish


Then any burne 1 upon bench hade broght
hym to drynk

Of wyne.
Gawan, that sate bi the quene,
To the kyng he can ? enclyne,

“I be-seche now with sawez sene,
This melly mot be myne.

Than if any baron on the bench had brought
him to drink

Of wine.
Gawain, who sat by the queen,
To the king he did encline,

“Let bounty now be seen,
And let this game be mine!


your hall





XVI “Wolde ye, worthilych 5 lorde,” quoth Gawan.“Would you, most gracious lord,” quoth to the kyng,

Gawain to the king, “Bid me bowe o fro this benche, and stonde by “But bid me leave this bench and bide by yow there,

you there, That I wyth-oute vylanye myght voyde? this So that I without rudeness might rise from table,

this table, And that my legge 8 lady lyked not ille, And that to my liege lady there were lacking I wolde com to your counseyl, bifore your cort no courtesy, ryche;'

I would come to your counsel, before your For me think hit not semly, 10 as hit is soth court splendid; knawen, 11

For methinks it is unseemly, as sage men Ther 12 such an askyng is hevened 13 so hyghe. weigh things, in your sale, 14

When such an asking is honoured so high in Thagh ye your-self be talenttyf 15 to take hit to your-selven,

350 Though you yourself be eager for all underWhil mony so bolde yow aboute upon bench takings

350 sytten,

While about you on bench sit so many bold ones, That under heven, I hope,16 non hagher Than whom under heaven, I think none hardof wylle,

ier are of temper, Ne better bodyes on bent,19 ther 12 baret 20 is Nor better bodies in battle when banners are rered.

lifted. I am the wakkest, 21 I wot, and of wyt feblest, I am the weakest, I wot, and of wit feeblest, And lest lur 22 of my lyf, quo laytes the sot he ; 23 And least the loss of my life, if no lie shall be Bot for as much as ye ar myn em 24 I am spoken; only to prayse

But forasmuch as you are my uncle I am only No bounté 25 bot your blod I in my bodé of merit knowe

No desert 'but your blood I in my body And sythen this note 26 is so nys that noght reckon hit yow falles, 28

And since this affair is so foolish that you it And I have frayned 29 hit at yow fyrst, foldez 30

befits not, hit to me!

And I have sued for it first, let my suit be 31 not comlyly, let alle this cort granted !

And if my conduct is not comely, let all this Bout 33 blame.”


court judge me
Ryche 34 to-geder con roun,

To blame.”
And sythen thay redden alle same, 36

Nobles 'gan whispering;
To ryd the kyng wyth croun,37

Their verdict was the same,
And gif Gawan the game.

To exempt the crownëd king

And give Gawain the game. I than if any man

2 did courteous words 4 this encounter 5 worthy 6move ? leave nay

goodness affair foolish

28 becomes 8 liege o rich (splendid) court fitting 11 is known quested grant 31 if I speak 32 judge 33 without for truth 12 where 13 raised 14 hall 15 desirous 16 think 34 the great ones 35 did whisper 36 and afterwards

in field 20 strife 21 weakest they decided unanimously 37 to set aside the 22 least loss 23 if any one seeks the truth uncle crowned king


And if I carp

rych 32












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XVII Then comaunded the kyng the knyght for to Then kindly the king commanded him to ryse;

rise; And he ful radly: up ros, and ruchched hym And he came forward quickly and curtsied fayre,

duly, Kneled doun bifore the kyng, and cachez 3 Kneels down before the king and catches the that weppen;

weapon; And he luflyly hit hym laft,* and lyfte up his And he releases it lovingly and lifts up his honde,

And gef hym Goddez blessyng, and gladly And gives him God's blessing and gladly bids
hym biddes


370 That his hert and his honde schulde bardi be That his heart and his hand should both be bothe.

hardy. "Kepe the, cosyn," quoth the kyng, "that “Take care, cousin,” said the king, “that thou on kyrf sette,

thou carve him once, And if thou redez 6 hym ryght, redly I trowe And if thou touchest him tidily, truly I trow That thou schal byden the bur ' that he schal That thou canst endure any dint that he will bede 8 after."

deal thee." Gawan gocz

to the gome,10 with giserne 11 in Gawain goes to the green man, with gisarme honde,

in hand; And he baldly hym bydez, 12 he bayst never the And he boldly abides him, abashed was he

helder.13 Then carppez to Syr Gawan the knyght in the Then calls to Sir Gawain the champion in grene :

green : “Refourme we oure forwardes,14 er we fyrre “Let us canvass our compact ere we carry passe.

this further. Fyrst I ethe 16 the, hathel, how that thou First, knight, I must know what thy name is; hattes, 17

That tell thou me truly that I may trust to it.” That thou me telle truly, as I tryst


“In good faith," quoth the good knight, “In god fayth," quoth the goode knyght, “Gawain men call me,

381 “Gawan I hatte,19

381 Who shall bid thee this buffet, whate'er be-, That bede s the this buffet, quat-so bi-fallez falls after, after,

And at this time twelve month take from thee And at this tyme twelmonyth take at the 20 another, another,

With what weapon so thou wilt, and from no
Wyth what weppen so thou wylt, and wyth wight else

On lyve." 22

That other answers again,
That other onswarez agayn,

“Sir Gawain, so may I thrive
Sir Gawan, so mot I thryve,

As I am wondrous fain
As I am ferly fayn,25

'Tis thou this dint shalt drive.'
This dint that thou schal dryve.26





no wy ellez 21





XVIII “Bi Gog,” quoth the grene knyght, “Syr“By God," quoth the Green Knight, “Sir Gawan, me lykes,27 390 Gawain, I like it

390 That I schal fange at thy fust 28 that 29 I haf That I shall have from thy hand what I here frayst here;

sought for; 1 quickly ? stooped courteously 3 seizes left, lieve 19 Gawain is my name 20 from thee 21 no man gave take care, cousin, that thou give one stroke


25 wonderfully glad treatest blow offer goes

26 that thou shalt deliver this blow 27 it pleases 12 awaits 13 he quailed never the more agree- me 28 take from thy fist 29 what 30 asked for ments 15 further 16 ask 17 what is thy name be


else 22

alive 23










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