from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

'In goud fayþe,' quoþ Gawayn, 'God yow for3elde!
Gret is þe gode gle, and gomen to me huge,
Þat so worþy as 3e wolde wynne hidere,
And pyne yow with so pouer a mon, as play wyth your kny3t
With anyskynnez countenaunce, hit keuerez me ese;
Bot to take þe toruayle to myself to trwluf expoun,
And towche þe temez of tyxt and talez of armez
To yow þat, I wot wel, weldez more sly3t
Of þat art, bi þe half, or a hundreth of seche
As I am, oþer euer schal, in erde þer I leue,
Hit were a folé felefolde, my fre, by my trawþe.
I wolde yowre wylnyng worche at my my3t,
As I am hy3ly bihalden, and euermore wylle
Be seruaunt to yourseluen, so saue me Dry3tyn!'
Þus hym frayned þat fre, and fondet hym ofte,
For to haf wonnen hym to wo3e, what-so scho þo3t ellez;
Bot he defended hym so fayr þat no faut semed,
Ne non euel on nawþer halue, nawþer þay wysten
bot blysse.
Þay la3ed and layked longe;
At þe last scho con hym kysse,
Hir leue fayre con scho fonge
And went hir waye, iwysse.

Then ruþes hym þe renk and ryses to þe masse,
And siþen hor diner watz dy3t and derely serued.
Þe lede with þe ladyez layked alle day,
Bot þe lorde ouer þe londez launced ful ofte,
Swez his vncely swyn, þat swyngez bi þe bonkkez
And bote þe best of his brachez þe bakkez in sunder
Þer he bode in his bay, tel bawemen hit breken,
And madee hym mawgref his hed for to mwe vtter,
So felle flonez þer flete when þe folk gedered.
Bot 3et þe styffest to start bi stoundez he made,
Til at þe last he watz so mat he my3t no more renne,
Bot in þe hast þat he my3t he to a hole wynnez
Of a rasse bi a rokk þer rennez þe boerne.
He gete þe bonk at his bak, bigynez to scrape,
Þe froþe femed at his mouth vnfayre bi þe wykez,
Whettez his whyte tuschez; with hym þen irked
Alle þe burnez so bolde þat hym by stoden
To nye hym on-ferum, bot ne3e hym non durst
for woþe;
He hade hurt so mony byforne
Þat al þu3t þenne ful loþe
Be more wyth his tusches torne,
Þat breme watz and braynwod bothe,

Til þe kny3t com hymself, kachande his blonk,
Sy3 hym byde at þe bay, his burnez bysyde;
He ly3tes luflych adoun, leuez his corsour,
Braydez out a bry3t bront and bigly forth strydez,
Foundez fast þur3 þe forth þer þe felle bydez.
Þe wylde watz war of þe wy3e with weppen in honde,
Hef hy3ly þe here, so hetterly he fnast
Þat fele ferde for þe freke, lest felle hym þe worre.
Þe swyn settez hym out on þe segge euen,
Þat þe burne and þe bor were boþe vpon hepez
In þe wy3test of þe water; þe worre hade þat oþer,
For þe mon merkkez hym wel, as þay mette fyrst,
Set sadly þe scharp in þe slot euen,
Hit hym vp to þe hult, þat þe hert schyndered,
And he 3arrande hym 3elde, and 3edoun þe water
ful tyt.
A hundreth houndez hym hent,
Þat bremely con hym bite,
Burnez him bro3t to bent,
And doggez to dethe endite.

There watz blawyng of prys in mony breme horne,
He3e halowing on hi3e with haþelez þat my3t;
Brachetes bayed þat best, as bidden þe maysterez
Of þat chargeaunt chace þat were chef huntes.
Þenne a wy3e þat watz wys vpon wodcraftez
To vnlace þis bor lufly bigynnez.
Fyrst he hewes of his hed and on hi3e settez,
And syþen rendez him al roghe bi þe rygge after,
Braydez out þe boweles, brennez hom on glede,
With bred blent þerwith his braches rewardez.
Syþen he britnez out þe brawen in bry3t brode cheldez,
And hatz out þe hastlettez, as hi3tly bisemez;
And 3et hem halchez al hole þe haluez togeder,
And syþen on a stif stange stoutly hem henges.
Now with þis ilk swyn þay swengen to home;
Þe bores hed watz borne bifore þe burnes seluen
Þat him forferde in þe forþe þur3 forse of his honde
so stronge.
Til he se3 Sir Gawayne
In halle hym po3t ful longe;
He calde, and he com gayn
His feez þer for to fonge.

Go BACK to main page