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For-thy! I crave in this court a Crystemas

gomen, I'or hit is Yol and Nwe Yer, and here are yep 3 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 5

ryche, – This ax, that is hevé innogh, to hondelea as hym lykes,

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

sitte. lf 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

auen 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;

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

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 this weapon

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.”




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XIV If he hem stowned 21 upon fyrst,22 stiller were

thanne Alle the hered-men 23 in halle, the hygh and

the lowe. The renk on his rounce 24 hym ruched 25 in

his sadel And runischly 26 his rede yyen 27 he reled

aboute; Bende his bresed 28 browez, blycande 29 grene: Wayved his berde for to wayte quo-so

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?

310 1 therefore game, amusement 3 bold, ready * mad -pole-axe 6 handle abide, endure 8 blow 9 man 10 fierce 11 try 12 what 13 let him leap 14 seize 15 own 16 floor 17 provided thou wilt give me the right 18 I claim this 19 hasten 20 quickly 21 amazed

XIV 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?

310 22 at first 23 retainers 24 horse 25 settled 26 furiously 27 eyes 28 bristly 29 glittering observe 31 who-so 32 when none would reply 33 coughed aloud 34 and made full preparation 36 got rearly 36 knight 37 of which all the fame goes


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

Over-walt 4 wyth a worde of on wyyes 5

For al dares 6 for drede, withoute dynt ?

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

The blod schot for scham in-to his schyre:

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

The kyng, as kene bi kynde, il
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



upon fote


XV Ande sayde, “Hathel, by heven thyn askyng is And said, "Horseman, by heaven thy asking nys,13

is foolish, And as thou foly hacz frayst,14 fynde the be And as thou folly hast craved, it behooves that hoves.15

thou find it. I know no gome 16 that is gast 17 of thy grete I know no man that is aghast at thy great wordes.

boasting. Gif me now thy geserne,18 upon Godez halve, 19 Give me now thy gisarme, in God's name be it, And I schal baythen thy bone,20 that thou And I will bestow the boon that thou hast boden 14 habbes."

bidden." Lyghtly lepez he hym to, and laght 21 at his Lightly he leaps to him and lays hand on the honde;

weapon; Then feersly that other freke

Then fiercely the other man on foot alights lyghtis.

there. Now hacz Arthure his axe, and the halme 22 Now has Arthur his axe, and by the handle grypez,

holds it, And sturnely sturez 23 hit aboute, that stryke And sternly stirs it about, to strike with it wyth hit thoght.

thinks he.

331 The stif mon hym bifore

The stalwart man before him stood at his full hyght 24

height Herre 25 then ani in the hous by the hede and Higher than any in the house by a head and more;

more; Wyth sturne chere 26 ther he stod, he stroked With stern look there he stood, stroking his his berde,

beard, And wyth a countenaunce dryye 27 he drow And with countenance calm he drew down his doun his cote,


335 No more mate 28 ne dismayd for hys mayn No more moved nor dismayed for the king's dintez 29

mighty blows 1 haughtiness 2 fierceness 3 grimness -overturned 16 man 17 frightened 18 axe 19 in God's name 20 grant s one man's all are frightened stroke laughs thy boon 2 gråsped 22 shaft 23 fiercely moves 24 stood ' bright 10 cheek 11 as one bold by nature 12 nearer tall 25 taller 26 fierce look 27 dry, without emotion 13 foolish 14 asked 15 it behooves thee to find 28 dispirited 29 strong blows

stod upon

Of wyne.

Then any burne 1 upon bench hade broght

hym to drynk

Gawan, that sate bi the quene,
To the kyng he can ’ enclyne,

“I be-seche now with sawez sene,
This melly mot 4 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, 340
“Let bounty now be seen,
And let this game be mine!





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

Gawain to the king, “Bid me bowe 6 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 lady lyked not ille, And that to my liege lady there were lacking I wolde com to your counseyl, bifore your cort no cou esy,

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 your hall 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 17 er 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 sothe ; 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 27 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 And if I carp 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,35

To blame."

361 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. 1 than if any man ? did 3 courteous words * this encounter may 5 worthy move 7 leave 25 goodness 26 affair 27 foolish 28 becomes 29 re$ liegerich (splendid) court 10 fitting 'l is known quested 30 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 17 apter, fitter 18 are 19 in field 20 strife 21 weakest they decided unanimously 37 to set aside the 22 least loss 2 if any one seeks the truth 24 uncle crowned king

rych 32


Then comaunded the kyng the knyght for to

And he ful radly 1 up ros, and ruchched hym

fayre, Kneled doun bifore the kyng, and cachez 3

that weppen; And he luflyly hit hym laft," and lyfte up his

honde, And gef hym Goddez blessyng, and gladly hym biddes

370 That his hert and his honde schulde hardi be

bothe. “Kepe the, cosyn," quoth the kyng, "that

thou on kyrf sette, And if thou redez 6 hym ryght, redly I trowe That thou schal byden the bur' that he schal

bede 8 after." Gawan gocz' to the gome,lo with giserne 11 in

honde, And he baldly hym bydez,12 he bayst never the

helder.13 Then carppez to Syr Gawan the knyght in the

grene: "Refourme we oure forwardes,14 er we fyrre 15

passe. Fyrst I ethe 16 the, hathel, how that thou

hattes,17 That thou me telle truly, as I tryst 18 may." “In god fayth,” quoth the goode knyght,

"Gawan I hatte, That bede 8 the this buffet, quat-so bi-fallez

after, And at this tyme twelmonyth take at the 20

Wyth what weppen so thou wylt, and wyth
no wy ellez

On lyve.” 22
That other onswarez agayn,
“Sir Gawan, so mot 24 I thryve,
As I am ferly fayn,25
This dint that thou schal dryve. 26

Then kindly the king commanded him to

And he came forward quickly and curtsied

duly, Kneels down before the king and catches the

weapon; And he releases it lovingly and lifts up his

hand And gives him God's blessing and gladly bids him

370 That his heart and his hand should both be

hardy. “Take care, cousin,” said the king, “that

thou carve him once,
And if thou touchest him tidily, truly I trow
That thou canst endure any dint that he will

deal thee."
Gawain goes to the green man,

with gisarme
in hand;
And he boldly abides him, abashed was he





Then calls to Sir Gawain the champion in

green: “Let us canvass our compact ere we carry

this further. First, knight, I must know what thy name is; That tell thou me truly that I may trust to it.' "In good faith," quoth the good knight, "Gawain men call me,

381 Who shall bid thee this buffet, whate'er be

falls after, And at this time twelve month take from thee

With what weapon so thou wilt, and from no
wight else

That other answers again,
“Sir Gawain, so may I thrive
As I am wondrous fain
'Tis thou this dint shalt drive.'




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 30 here;

sought for; 1 quickly 2 stooped courteously 3 seizes left, lieve 19 Gawain is my name 20 from thee 21 no man gave 5 take care, cousin, that thou give one stroke else 22 alive 23 answers 24 may wonderfully glad 8 treatest 7 blow 8 offer goes 19 man 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 18 be


11 axe


And thou hacz redily rehersed, bi resoun ful And thou hast rightly rehearsed, as reason trwe,

was truly, Clanly' al the covenaunt that I the kynge Clearly all the covenant that of the king I asked,

asked, Saf that thou schal siker? me, segge, by thi Save that thou must assure me, sir, by thy trawthe,

honour, That thou schal seche 4 me thi-self, where-so That thou wilt seek me thyself in what spot thou hopes

soever I may be funde upon folde, and foch? the Thou thinkst to find me, in faith, and fetch such wages

thee such wages As thou deles me to day, bifore this douthe 8 As thou dealest me to-day before these ryche."

doughty nobles." "Where schulde I wale 4 the?" quoth Gauan, "In what climes shall I seek thee? In what “Where is thy place?

country is thy dwelling? I wot never where thou wonyes,' bi Hym that Of thy habitation have I ne'er heard, by Him me wroght,

that wrought me; Ne I know not the, kynght, thy cort, ne thi Nor know I thee, knight, thy court, nor thy name.


400 Bot teche me truly ther-to, and telle me howe But direct me to thy dwelling and disclose thou hattes, 10


how men call thee, And I schal ware 11 alle my wyt to wynne me And I shall strive with my strength to steer theder, 12

my steps thither; And that I swere the for sothe, and by my And that I swear thee surely and by my sacred seker 13 traweth.”

honour." “That is innogh in Nwe Yer, hit nedes no “That is enough at New Year; no more is more,

needful,” Quoth the gome in the grene to Gawan the Quoth the grim man in green to Gawain the hende, 14

courteous; "Gif 15 I the telle trwly, quen I the tape16 have, “If I tell thee truly, when I the tap have taken And thou me smothely hacz" smyten, smartly And thou hast smoothly smitten me, if I the teche

smartly I teach thee Of my hous, and my home, and myn owen Of my house and my home and how mer, call nome, 18

nie, Then may thou frayst my fare,19 and for Then mayst thou enquire my country and wardez 29 holde.

hold our covenant. And if I spende no speche, thenne spedez And if I spend then no speech, thou shalt speed thou the better, 410 the better,

410 For thou may leng 21 in thy londe, and layt no For thou mayst stop in this stead and step no fyrre,22

Bot slokes.23

But stay.
Ta 24 now thy grymme tole 25 to the,

Take now thy grim tool duly;
And let se how thou chokez.” 26

Let's see thee hack away!”
"Gladly, syr, for sothe,”

"Yea, sir," quoth Gawain, “truly;" Quoth Gawan; his ax he strokes.

His axe he strokes in play.

XIX The grene knyght upon grounde graythely The Green Knight on the ground goodly prehym dresses, 27

pares him; A littel lut 28 with the hede, the lere 29 he Lightly lowers his head and loosens his collar, diskoverez,

tap, stroke 17 hast 18 name 19 ask my state, I entirely 2 promise man 4 seek 5 believest condition 20 the agreements 21 remain 22 seek no 6 earth ' fetch s nobility dwellest 10 what is thy further 23 but cease 24 take 25 instrument 26 knockname 19 use 12 to get there 13 sure 14 courteous 15 if est_27 readily prepares himself 28 bowed 29 cheek



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