Anonymous Olde English

The Avowyng Of Arthur - Poem by Anonymous Olde English

He that made us on the mulde,
And fair fourmet the folde,
Atte His will, as He wold,
The see and the sande,
Giffe hom joy that will here
Of dughti men and of dere,
Of haldurs that before us were,
That lifd in this londe.
One was Arther the Kinge,
Wythowtun any letting;
Wyth him was mony lordinge
Hardi of honde.
Wice and war ofte thay were,
Bold undur banere,
And wighte weppuns wold were,
And stifly wold stond.

This is no fantum ne no fabull;
Ye wote wele of the Rowun Tabull,
Of prest men and priveabull,
Was holdun in prise:
Chevetan of chivalry,
Kyndenesse and curtesy,
Hunting full warly,
As wayt men and wise.
To the forest thay fare
To hunte atte buk and atte bare,
To the herte and to the hare,
That bredus in the rise.
The King atte Carlele he lay;
The hunter cummys on a day -
Sayd, 'Sir, ther walkes in my way
A well grim gryse.
'He is a balefull bare -
Seche on segh I nevyr are:
He hase wroghte me mycull care
And hurte of my howundes,
Slayn hom downe slely
Wyth feghting full furcely.
Wasse ther none so hardi
Durste bide in his bandus.
On him spild I my spere
And mycull of my nothir gere.
Ther moue no dintus him dere,
Ne wurche him no wowundes.
He is masly made -
All offellus that he bade.
Ther is no bulle so brade
That in frith foundes.

'He is hegher thenne a horse,
That uncumly corse;
In fayth, him faylis no force
Quen that he schalle feghte!
And therto, blake as a bere,
Feye folk will he fere:
Ther may no dyntus him dere,
Ne him to dethe dighte.
Quen he quettus his tusshes,
Thenne he betus on the busshes:
All he rives and he russhes,
That the rote is unryghte.
He hase a laythelych luffe:
Quen he castus uppe his stuffe,
Quo durst abide him a buffe,
Iwisse he were wighte.'

He sais, 'In Ingulwode is hee.'
The tother biddus, 'Lette him bee.
We schall that Satnace see,
Giffe that he be thare.'
The King callut on knyghtis thre:
Himselvun wold the fuyrthe be.
He sayd, 'There schalle no mo mené
Wynde to the bore.'
Bothe Kay and Sir Gauan
And Bowdewynne of Bretan,
The hunter and the howundus squayn
Hase yarket hom yare.
The Kinge hase armut him in hie,
And tho thre buirnes hym bie;
Now ar thay fawre alle redie,
And furthe conne thay fare.

Unto the forest thay weynde
That was hardy and heynde.
The hunter atte the northe ende
His bugull con he blaw,
Uncoupult kenettis as he couthe;
Witturly thay soghte the southe -
Raches wyth opon mouthe
Rennyng on a raw
Funde fute of the bore,
Faste folutte to him thore.
Quen that he herd, he hade care;
To the denne conne he draw:
He sloghe hom downe slely
Wyth feghting full fuyrsly;
But witte ye, sirs, witturly,
He stode butte litull awe.

Thay held him fast in his hold;
He brittunt bercelettus bold,
Bothe the yunge and the old,
And rafte hom the rest.
The raches comun rennyng him by,
And bayet him full boldely,
Butte ther was non so hardy
Durste on the fynde fast.
Thenne the hunter sayd, 'Lo, him thare!
Yaw thar, such him no mare!
Now may ye sone to him fare;
Lette see quo dose beste.
Yaw thar, such him nevyr more!
Butte sette my hed opon a store
Butte giffe he flaey yo all fawre,
That griselich geste!'

Thenne the hunter turnes home agayn.
The King callut on Sir Gauan,
On Bawdewin of Bretan,
And on kene Kay.
He sayd, 'Sirs, in your cumpany,
Myne avow make I:
Were he nevyr so hardy,
Yone Satenas to say -
To brittun him and downe bringe,
Wythoute any helpinge,
And I may have my levynge
Hen till tomorne atte day!
And now, sirs, I cummaunde yo
To do as I have done nowe:
Ichone make your avowe.'
Gladdely grawuntutte thay.

Then unsquarut Gauan
And sayd godely agayn,
'I avowe, to Tarne Wathelan,
To wake hit all nyghte.'
'And I avow,' sayd Kaye,
'To ride this forest or daye,
Quoso wernes me the waye,
Hym to dethe dighte.'
Quod Baudewyn, 'To stynte owre strife,
I avow bi my life
Nevyr to be jelus of my wife,
Ne of no birde bryghte;
Nere werne no mon my mete
Quen I gode may gete;
Ne drede my dethe for no threte
Nauthir of king ner knyghte.'
Butte now thay have thayre vowes made,
Thay buskutte hom and furth rade
To hold that thay heghte hade,
Ichone sere way.
The King turnus to the bore;
Gauan, wythoutun any more,
To the tarne con he fore,
To wake hit to day.
Thenne Kay, as I conne roune,
He rode the forest uppe and downe.
Boudewynne turnes to toune
Sum that his gate lay,
And sethun to bed bownus he;
Butte carpe we now of ther othir thre,
How thay prevyd hor wedde-fee,
The sothe for to say.

Furst, to carpe of oure Kinge,
Hit is a kyndelich thinge -
Atte his begynnyng,
Howe he dedde his dede.
Till his houndus con he hold;
The bore, wyth his brode schilde,
Folut hom fast in the filde
And spillutte hom on gode spede.
Then the Kinge con crye,
And carputte of venerie
To make his howundus hardi -
Hovut on a stede.
Als sone as he come thare,
Agaynus him rebowndet the bare:
He se nevyr no syghte are
So sore gerutte him to drede.

He hade drede and doute
Of him that was stirrun and stowte;
He began to romy and rowte,
And gapes and gones.
Men myghte noghte his cowch kenne
For howundes and for slayn men
That he hade draun to his denne
And brittunt all to bonus.
Thenne his tusshes con he quette,
Opon the Kinge for to sette;
He liftis uppe, wythoutun lette,
Stokkes and stonis.
Wyth wrathe he begynnus to wrote:
He ruskes uppe mony a rote
Wyth tusshes of thre fote,
So grisly he gronus.

Thenne the Kinge spanos his spere
Opon that bore for to bere;
Ther may no dyntus him dere,
So sekir was his schilde.
The grete schafte that was longe
All to spildurs hit spronge;
The gode stede that was stronge
Was fallun in the filde.
As the bore had mente,
He gave the King such a dinte,
Or he myghte his bridull hente,
That he myghte evyr hit fele.
His stede was stonet starke ded:
He sturd nevyr owte of that sted.
To Jhesu a bone he bede,
Fro wothes hym weylde.

Thenne the King in his sadul sete,
And wightely wan on his fete.
He prays to Sayn Margarete
Fro wathes him ware;
Did as a dughty knyghte -
Brayd oute a brand bryghte
And heve his schild opon highte,
For spild was his spere.
Sethun he buskette him yare,
Squithe, wythoutun any mare,
Agaynus the fynde for to fare
That hedoes was of hiere.
So thay cowunturt in the fild:
For all the weppuns that he myghte weld,
The bore brittunt his schild
On brest he conne bere.

There downe knelus he
And prayus till Him that was so fre:
'Send me the victoré!
This Satanas me sekes.'
All wroth wex that sqwyne,
Blu, and brayd uppe his bryne;
As kylne other kechine,
Thus rudely he rekes.
The Kynge myghte him noghte see,
Butte lenyt hym doune bi a tree,
So nyghe discumford was hee
For smelle other smekis.
And as he neghet bi a noke,
The King sturenly him stroke,
That both his brees con blake;
His maistry he mekes.

Thus his maistry mekes he
Wyth dyntus that werun dughté.
Were he nevyr so hardé,1
Thus bidus that brothe.
The Kinge, wyth a nobull brande,
He mette the bore comande:
On his squrd, till his hande,
He rennes full rathe.
He bare him inne atte the throte:
He hade no myrth of that mote -
He began to dotur and dote
Os he hade keghet scathe.
Wyth sit siles he adowne.
To brittun him the King was bowne,
And sundurt in that sesun
His brode schildus bothe.

The King couthe of venery:
Colurt him full kyndely.
The hed of that hardy
He sette on a stake.
Sethun brittuns he the best
As venesun in forest;
Bothe the thonge and lees
He hongus on a noke.
There downe knelys hee
That loves hur that is free;
Sayd, 'This socur thou hase send me
For thi Sune sake!'
If he were in a dale depe,
He hade no knyghte him to kepe.
Forwerré, slidus he on slepe:
No lengur myghte he wake.

The King hase fillut his avowe.
Of Kay carpe we nowe -
How that he come for his prowe
Ye schall here more.
Als he rode in the nyghte
In the forest he mette a knyghte
Ledand a birde bryghte;
Ho wepputte wundur sore.
Ho sayd, 'Sayn Maré myghte me spede
And save me my madunhede,
And giffe the knyghte for his dede
Bothe soro and care!'

Thus ho talkes him tille
Quille ho hade sayd all hur wille;
And Kay held him full stille,
And in the holte hoves.
He prekut oute prestely
And aurehiet him radly,
And on the knyghte conne cry,
And pertely him reproves,
And sayd, 'Recraiand knyghte,
Here I profur the to fighte
Be chesun of that biurde brighte!
I bede the my glovus.'
The tother unsquarut him wyth skille
And sayd, 'I am redy atte thi wille
That forward to fulfille
In alle that me behovus.'

'Now, quethen art thou?' quod Kay,
'Or quethur is thou on way?
Thi righte name thou me say!
Quere wan thou that wighte?'
The tother unsquarut him agayn:
'Mi righte name is noghte to layn:
Sir Menealfe of the Mountayn
My gode fadur highte.
And this Lady sum I the telle:
I fochet hur atte Ledelle,
Ther hur frindus con I felle
As foes in a fighte.
So I talket hom tille
That muche blode conne I spille,
And all agaynus thayre awne wille
There wan I this wighte.'

Quod Kay, 'The batell I take
Be chesun of the birdus sake,
And I schalle wurch the wrake' -
And sqwithely con squere.
Thenne thay rode togedur ryghte
As frekes redy to fighte
Be chesun of that birde bryghte,
Gay in hor gere.
Menealfe was the more myghty:
He stroke Kay stifly -
Witte ye, sirs, witturly -
Wyth a scharpe spere.
All toschildurt his schilde,
And aure his sadull gerut him to held,
And felle him flatte in the filde,
And toke him uppeon werre.

Thus hase he wonun Kay on werre,
And all tospild is his spere,
And mekill of his othir gere
Is holden to the pees.
Thenne unsquarut Kay agayn
And sayd, 'Sir, atte Tarne Wathelan
Bidus me Sir Gauan,
Is derwurthe on dese;
Wold ye thethur be bowne
Or ye turnut to the towne,
He wold pay my rawunsone
Wythowtyn delees.'
He sayd, 'Sir Kay, thi lyfe I the heghte
For a cowrce of that knyghte!'
Yette Menealfe, or the mydnyghte,
Him ruet all his rees.

Thus thay turnut to the Torne
Wyth the thrivand thorne.
Kay callut on Gauan yorne;
Asshes, 'Quo is there?'
He sayd, 'I, Kay, that thou knawes
That owte of tyme bostus and blawus;
Butte thou me lese wyth thi lawes,
I lif nevyr more.
For as I rode in the nyghte,
In the forest I mette a knyghte
Ledand a birde bryghte;
Ho wepput wundur sore.
There togedur faghte we
Be chesun of that Lady free;
On werre thus hase he wonun me,
Gif that me lothe ware.

'This knyghte that is of renowun
Hase takyn me to presowun,
And thou mun pay my rawunsun,
Gawan, wyth thi leve.'
Then unsquarutte Gauan
And sayd godely agayn,
'I wille, wundur fayne:
Quatt schall I geve?'
'Quen thou art armut in thi gere,
Take thi schild and thi spere
And ride to him a course on werre;
Hit schall the noghte greve.'
Gauan asshes, 'Is hit soe?' -
The tother knyght grauntus, 'Yoe';
He sayd, 'Then togedur schull we goe
Howsumevyr hit cheve!'

And these knyghtus kithun hor crafte,
And aythir gripus a schafte
Was als rude as a rafte;
So runnun thay togedur.
So somun conne thay hie
That nauthir scaput forbye;
Gif Menealfe was the more myghtie,
Yette dyntus gerut him to dedur:
He stroke him sadde and sore.
Squithe squonut he thore;
The blonke him aboute bore,
Wiste he nevyr quedur.
Quod Kay, 'Thou hase that thou hase soghte!
Mi raunnsun is all redy boghte;
Gif thou were ded, I ne roghte!
Forthi come I hedur.'

Thus Kay scornus the knyghte,
And Gauan rydus to him ryghte.
In his sadul sette him on highte,
Speke gif he may.
Of his helme con he draw,
Lete the wynde on him blaw;
He speke wyth a vois law -
'Delyveryt hase thou Kay.
Wyth thi laa hase made him leyce,
Butte him is lothe to be in pece.
And thou was aye curtase
And prins of ich play.
Wold thou here a stowunde bide,
A nother course wold I ride;
This that hoves by my side,
In wedde I wold hur lay.'

Thenne unsquarut Gauan,
Sayd godely agayn,
'I am wundur fayn
For hur for to fighte.'
These knyghtus kithun thayre gere
And aythir gripus a spere;
Runnun togedur on werre
Os hardy and wighte.
So somen ther thay yode
That Gauan bare him from his stede,
That both his brees con blede
On growunde qwen he lighte.
Thenne Kay con on him calle
And sayd, 'Sir, thou hade a falle,
And thi wench lost wythalle,
Mi trauthe I the plighte!'

Quod Kay, 'Thi leve hase thou loste
For all thi brag or thi boste;
If thou have oghte on hur coste,
I telle hit for tente.'
Thenne speke Gauan to Kay,
'A mons happe is notte ay;
Is none so sekur of asay
Butte he may harmes hente.'
Gauan rydus to him ryghte
And toke uppe the tother knyghte
That was dilfully dyghte
And stonet in that stynte.
Kay wurdus tenut him mare
Thenne all the harmes that he hente thare;
He sayd, 'And we allone ware,
This stryf schuld I stynte.'

'Ye, hardely,' quod Kay;
'Butte thou hast lost thi fayre may
And thi liffe, I dar lay.'
Thus talkes he him tille.
And Gauan sayd, 'God forbede,
For he is dughti in dede.'
Prayes the knyghte gud spede
To take hit to none ille
If Kay speke wurdes kene.
'Take thou this damesell schene;
Lede hur to Gaynour the Quene,
This forward to fulfille;
And say that Gawan, hur knyghte,
Sende hur this byurde brighte;
And rawunsun the anon righte
Atte hur awne wille.'

Therto grawuntus the knyghte
And truly his trauthe plighte,
Inne saveward that byurde bryghte
To Carlele to bringe.
And as thay hovet and abode,
He squere on the squrd brode.
Be he his othe hade made,
Thenne waknut the King.
Thenne the day beganne to daw;
The Kinge his bugull con blaw;
His knyghtus couth hitte welle knaw,
Hit was a sekur thinge.
Sethun thay busket hom yare,
Sqwith, wythowtun any mare,
To wete the Kingus welefare,
Wythowtun letting.


To the forest thay take the way -
Bothe Gawan and Kay,
Menealfe, and the fare may
Comun to the Kinge.
The bore brittunt thay funde,
Was colurt of the Kingus hande;
If he wore lord of that londe,
He hade no horsing.
Downe thay take that birde bryghte,
Sette hur one, behinde the knyghte;
Hur horse for the King was dyghte,
Wythoutun letting;
Gave Kay the venesun to lede,
And hiet hamward, gode spede;
Bothe the birde and the brede
To Carlele thay bringe.

Now as thay rode atte the way,
The Kynge himselvun con say
Bothe to Gauan and to Kay,
'Quere wan ye this wighte?'
Thenne Kay to the King spake;
He sayd, 'Sir, in the forest as I con wake
Atte the anturis hoke,
Ther mette me this knyghte.
Ther togedur faghte we
Be chesun of this Lady fre;
On werre hase he thus wonun me,
Wyth mayn and wyth myghte.
And Gawan hase my rawunsun made
For a course that he rode
And felle him in the fild brode;
He wanne this biurde bryghte.

'He toke him there to presunnere' -
Then loghe that damesell dere
And lovet wyth a mylde chere
God and Sir Gawan.
Thenne sayd the King opon highte,
All sqwithe to the knyghte,
'Quat is thi rawunsun, opon ryghte?
The soth thou me sayn.'
The tothir unsquarut him wyth skille,
'I conne notte say the thertille:
Hit is atte the Quene wille;
Qwi schuld I layne?
Bothe my dethe and my lyfe
Is inne the wille of thi wife,
Quethur ho wulle stynte me of my strife
Or putte me to payne.'

'Grete God,' quod the King,
'Gif Gawan gode endinge,
For he is sekur in alle kynne thinge,
To cowuntur wyth a knyghte!
Of all playus he berus the prise,
Loos of ther ladise.
Menealfe, and thou be wise,
Hold that thou beheghte,
And I schall helpe that I maye,'
The King himselvun con saye.
To Carlele thay take the waye,
And inne the courte is lighte.
He toke this damesell gente;
Before the Quene is he wente,
And sayd, 'Medame, I am hedur sente
Fro Gawan, your knyghte.'

He sayd, 'Medame, Gawan, your knyghte,
On werre hase wonun me tonyghte,
Be chesun of this birde brighte;
Mi pride conne he spille,
And gerut me squere squyftely
To bringe the this Lady
And my nowne body,
To do hit in thi wille.
And I have done as he me bade.'
Now quod the Quene, 'And I am glad.
Sethun thou art in my wille stade,
To spare or to spille,
I giffe the to my Lord the Kinge -
For he hase mestur of such a thinge,
Of knyghtus in a cowunturinge -
This forward to fullfille.'

Now the Quene sayd, 'God almyghte,
Save me Gawan, my knyghte,
That thus for wemen con fighte -
Fro wothus him were!'
Gawan sayd, 'Medame, as God me spede,
He is dughti of dede,
A blithe burne on a stede,
And grayth in his gere.'
Thenne thay fochet furth a boke,
All thayre laes for to loke;
The Kinge sone his othe toke
And squithely gerut him squere;
And sekirly, wythouten fabull,
Thus dwellus he atte the Rowun Tabull,
As prest knyghte and priveabull,
Wyth schild and wyth spere.

Nowe gode frindus ar thay.
Then carpus Sir Kay -
To the King con he say:
'Sire, a mervaell thinke me
Of Bowdewyns avouyng,
Yusturevyn in the evnyng,
Wythowtun any lettyng,
Wele more thenne we thre.'
Quod the King, 'Sothe to sayn,
I kepe no lengur for to layn:
I wold wete wundur fayn
How best myghte be.'
Quod Kay, 'And ye wold gif me leve,
And sithun take hit o no greve,
Now schuld I propurly preve,
As evyr myghte I thee!'

'Yisse,' quod the King, 'on that comande,
That o payn on life and on londe
That ye do him no wrunge,
Butte save wele my knyghte.
As men monly him mete,
And sithun forsette him the strete:
Ye fynde him noghte on his fete!
Be warre, for he is wyghte.
For he is horsutte full wele
And clene clad in stele;
Is none of yo but that he mun fele
That he may on lyghte.
Ye wynnun him noghte owte of his way,'
The King himselvun con say;
'Him is lefe, I dar lay,
To hald that he heghte.'

Thenne sex ar atte on assente,
Hase armut hom and furthe wente,
Brayd owte aure a bente
Bawdewyn to mete,
Wyth scharpe weppun and schene,
Gay gowuns of grene
To hold thayre armur clene,
And were hitte fro the wete.
Thre was sette on ich side
To werne him the wayus wide -
Quere the knyghte schuld furth ride,
Forsette hym the strete.
Wyth copus covert thay hom thenne,
Ryghte as thay hade bene uncowthe men,
For that thay wold noghte be kennet -
Evyn downe to thayre fete.

Now as thay hovut and thay hyild,
Thay se a schene undur schild
Come prekand fast aure the filde
On a fayre stede;
Wele armut, and dyghte
As freke redy to fyghte,
Toward Carlele ryghte
He hies gode spede.
He see ther sixe in his way;
Thenne to thaymselvun con thay say,
'Now he is ferd, I dar lay,
And of his lyfe adrede.'
Then Kay crius opon heghte,
All squyth to the knyghte:
'Othir flee or fighte:
The tone behovus the nede!'

Thenne thay kest thayre copus hom fro.
Sir Bawdewyn se that hit wasse so,
And sayd, 'And ye were als mony mo,
Ye gerutte me notte to flee.
I have my ways for to weynde
For to speke wyth a frynde;
As ye ar herdmen hinde -
Ye marre notte me!'
Thenne the sex sembult hom in fere
And squere by Him that boghte us dere,
'Thou passus nevyr away here
Butte gif thou dede be!'
'Yisse, hardely,' quod Kay,
'He may take anothir way -
And ther schall no mon do nere say
That schall greve the!'

'Gode the foryilde,' quod the knyghte,
'For I am in my wais righte;
Yisturevyn I the King highte
To cumme to my mete.
I warne yo, frekes, be ye bold,
My ryghte ways wille I holde!'
A spere in fewtre he folde,
A gode and a grete.
Kay stode nexte him in his way:
He jopput him aure on his play;
That hevy horse on him lay -
He squonet in that squete.
He rode to there othir fyve:
Thayre schene schildus con he rive,
And faure felle he belyve,
In hie in that hete.

Hardely wythouten delay,
The sex to hom hase takyn uppe Kay;
And thenne Sir Bawdewin con say,
'Will ye any more?'
The tother unsquarutte him thertille,
Sayd, 'Thou may weynd quere thou wille,
For thou hase done us noghte butte skille,
Gif we be wowundut sore.'
He brayd aure to the Kinge,
Wythowtun any letting;
He asshed if he hade herd any tithing
In thayre holtus hore.
The knyghte stedit and stode;
Sayd, 'Sir, as I come thro yondur wode,
I herd ne se butte gode
Quere I schuld furthe fare.'

Thanne was the Kinge amervaylet thare
That he wold telle him no more.
Als squithur thay ar yare,
To Masse ar thay wente.
By the Masse wasse done,
Kay come home sone,
Told the King before none,
'We ar all schente
Of Sir Baudewyn, your knyghte:
He is nobull in the fighte,
Bold, hardy, and wighte
To bide on a bente.
Fle wille he nevyr more:
Him is much levyr dee thore.
I may banne hur that him bore,
Suche harmes have I hente!'

Noue the King sayd, 'Fle he ne can,
Ne werne his mete to no man;
Gife any buirne schuld him ban,
A mervail hit ware.'
Thenne the King cald his mynstrelle
And told him holly his wille:
Bede him layne atte hit were stille,
That he schuld furth fare
To Baudewins of Bretan:
'I cummawunde the, or thou cum agayne,
Faurty days, o payne,
Loke that thou duelle there,
And wete me prevely to say
If any mon go meteles away;
For thi wareson for ay,
Do thou me nevyr more.'

Then the mynstrell weyndus on his way
Als fast as he may.
Be none of the thryd day,
He funde thaym atte the mete,
The Lady and hur mené
And gestus grete plenté.
Butte porter none funde he
To werne him the gate;
Butte rayket into the halle
Emunge the grete and the smalle,
And loket aboute him aure alle.
He herd of no threte,
Butte riall servys and fyne:
In bollus birlutte thay the wyne,
And cocus in the kechine
Squytheli con squete.

Then the Ladi conne he loute,
And the biurdes all aboute;
Both wythinne and wythoute,
No faute he ther fonde.
Knygte, squyer, yoman, ne knave,
Hom lacket noghte that thay schuld have;
Thay nedut notte aftur hit to crave:
Hit come to hor honde.
Thenne he wente to the dece,
Before the pruddust in prece.
That Lady was curtase,
And bede him stille stonde.
He sayd he was knoun and couthe,
And was comun fro bi southe,
And ho had myrth of his mouthe,
To here his tithand.

A sennyght duellut he thare.
Ther was no spense for to spare:
Burdes thay were nevyr bare,
Butte evyr covurt clene.
Bothe knyghte and squiere,
Mynstrelle and messyngere,
Pilgreme and palmere
Was welcum, I wene.
Ther was plenty of fode:
Pore men hade thayre gode,
Mete and drinke or thay yode,
To wete wythoutyn wene.
The lord lenge wold noghte,
Butte come home qwen him gode thoghte,
And both he hase wyth him broghte
The Kinge and the Quene.


Now ther come fro the kechine
Riall service and fine;
Ther was no wonting of wine
To lasse ne to mare.
Thay hade atte thayre sopere
Riche metes and dere.
The King, wyth a blythe chere,
Bade hom sle care.
Than sayd the Kinge opon highte,
All sqwithe to the knyghte:
'Such a service on a nyghte
Se I nevyr are.'
Thenne Bawdewyn smylit and on him logh;
Sayd, 'Sir, God hase a gud plughe!
He may send us all enughe:
Qwy schuld we spare?'

'Now I cummawunde the,' quod the King,
'Tomorne in the mornyng
That thou weynde on huntyng,
To wynne us the dere.
Fare furthe to the fenne;
Take wyth the howundus and men,
For thou conne hom best kenne:
Thou knoes best here.
For all day tomorne will I bide,
And no forthir will I ride,
Butte wyth the ladés of pride
To make me gud chere.'
To bed bownut thay that nyghte,
And atte the morun, atte days lighte,
Thay blew hornys opon highte
And ferd furthe in fere.

Thenne the Kynge cald his huntere,
And sayd, 'Felaw, come here!'
The tother, wyth a blithe chere,
Knelet on his kne:
Dowun to the Kinge con he lowte.
'I commawunde the to be all nyghte oute;
Bawdewyn, that is sturun and stowte,
Wyth the schall he be.
Erly in the dawyng
Loke that ye come fro huntyng;
If ye no venesun bring,
Full litill rechs me.'
The tother unsquarut him thertille,
Sayd, 'Sir, that is atte your aune wille:
That hald I resun and skille,
As evyr myghte I the.'

And atte evyn the King con him dyghte
And callut to him a knyghte;
And to the chambur full ryghte
He hiees gode waye
Qwere the Lady of the howse
And maydyns ful beuteowse
Were, curtase and curiowse,
Forsothe in bed lay.
The Kyng bede, 'Undo!'
The Lady asshes, 'Querto?'
He sayd, 'I am comun here, loe,
In derne for to play.'
Ho sayd, 'Have ye notte your aune Quene here,
And I my lord to my fere?
Tonyghte more neghe ye me nere,
In fayth, gif I may!'

'Undo the dur,' quod the Kinge,
'For bi Him that made all thinge,
Thou schall have no harmynge
Butte in thi none wille.'
Uppe rose a damesell squete,
In the Kinge that ho lete.
He sette him downe on hur beddus fete,
And talkes so hur tille,
Sayd, 'Medame, my knyghte
Mun lye wyth the all nyghte
Til tomorne atte days lighte -
Take hit on non ille.
For als evyr myghte I the,
Thou schall harmeles be:
We do hit for a wedde fee,
The stryve for to stylle.'

Thenne the Kyng sayd to his knyghte,
'Sone that thou were undyghte,
And in yondur bedde ryghte!
Hie the gud spede!'
The knyghte did as he him bade,
And qwenne ho se him unclad,
Then the Lady wex drede,
Worlyke in wede.
He sayd, 'Lye downe prevely hur by,
Butte neghe noghte thou that Lady;
For and thou do, thou schall dey
For thi derfe dede;
Ne noghte so hardy thou stur,
Ne onus turne the to hur.'
The tother sayd, 'Nay, sur!'
For him hade he drede.

Thenne the Kyng asshet a chekkere,
And cald a damesel dere;
Downe thay sette hom in fere
Opon the bedsyde.
Torches was ther mony lighte,
And laumpus brennyng full bryghte;
Butte notte so hardy was that knyghte
His hede onus to hide.
Butte fro thay began to play
Quyle on the morun that hit was day,
Evyr he lokette as he lay,
Baudewynne to byde.
And erly in the dawyng
Come thay home from huntyng,
And hertis conne thay home bring,
And buckes of pride.

Thay toke this venesun fyne
And hade hit to kechine;
The Kinge sende aftur Bawdewine,
And bede him cum see.
To the chaumbur he takes the way:
He fyndus the King atte his play;
A knyghte in his bedde lay
Wyth his Lady.
Thenne sayd the King opon highte,
'Tonyghte myssutte I my knyghte,
And hithir folut I him ryghte.
Here funden is hee;
And here I held hom bothe stille
For to do hom in thi wille.
And gif thou take hit now till ille,
No selcouthe thinge me!'

Then the King asshed, 'Art thou wroth?'
'Nay, Sir,' he sayd, 'wythouten othe,
Ne wille the Lady no lothe.
I telle yo as quy -
For hitte was atte hur awen wille:
Els thurt no mon comun hur tille.
And gif I take hitte thenne to ille,
Muche maugreve have I.
For mony wyntur togedur we have bene,
And yette ho dyd me nevyr no tene:
And ich syn schall be sene
And sette full sorely.'
The King sayd, 'And I hade thoghte
Quy that thou wrathis the noghte,
And fyndus him in bed broghte
By thi Laydy.'

Quod Bawdewyn, 'And ye will sitte,
I schall do yo wele to witte.'
'Yisse!' quod the King, 'I the hete,
And thou will noghte layne.'
'Hit befelle in your fadur tyme,
That was the Kyng of Costantyne,
Purvayed a grete oste and a fyne
And wente into Spayne.
We werrut on a sawdan
And all his londus we wan,
And himselvun, or we blan.
Then were we full fayn.
I wos so lufd wyth the King,
He gaf me to my leding -
Lordus atte my bidding
Was buxum and bayne.

'He gafe me a castell to gete,
Wyth all the lordschippus grete.
I hade men atte my mete,
Fyve hundryth and mo,
And no wemen butte thre,
That owre servandis schild be.
One was bryghtur of ble
Then ther othir toe.
Toe were atte one assente:
The thrid felow have thay hente;
Unto a well ar thay wente,
And says hur allso:
'Sithin all the loce in the lise,
Thou schall tyne thine aprise.'
And wurchun as the unwise,
And tite conne hur sloe.

'And for tho werkes were we wo,
Gart threte tho othir for to slo.
Thenne sayd the tone of tho,
'Lette us have oure life,
And we schall atte your bidding be
As mycull as we all thre;
Is none of yaw in preveté
Schall have wontyng of wyfe.'
Thay held us wele that thay heghte,
And dighte us on the daylighte,
And thayre body uch nyghte,
Wythoutun any stryve.
The tone was more lovely
That the tother hade envy:
Hur throte in sundur prevely
Ho cutte hitte wyth a knyfe.

'Muche besenes hade we
How that best myghte be;
Thay asshed cowuncell atte me
To do hur to dede.
And I unsquarut and sayd, 'Nay!
Loke furst qwatt hurselvun will say,
Quether ho may serve us all to pay;
That is a bettur rede.'
Ther ho hette us in that halle
To do all that a woman schild fall,
Wele for to serve us all
That stode in that stede.
Ho held us wele that ho heghte,
And dighte us on the daylighte,
And hur body ich nyghte
Intill oure bed beed.

'And bi this tale I understode,
Wemen that is of mylde mode
And syne giffes hom to gode,
Mecull may ho mende;
And tho that giffus hom to the ille,
And sithin thayre folis will fullfill,
I telle yo wele, be propur skille,
No luffe will inne hom lende.
Wyth gode wille grathely hom gete,2
Meke and mylde atte hor mete,
And thryvandly, wythoutun threte,
Joy atte iche ende.
Forthi jelius schall I never be
For no sighte that I see,
Ne no biurdes brighte of ble;
Ich ertheli thinke hase ende.'

The King sayd, 'Thou says wele.
Sir,' he sayd, 'as have I sele,
I will thou wote hit iche dele.
Therfore come I,
Thi Lady gret me to squere squyftelé,
Or I myghte gete entré,
That ho schuld harmeles be,
And all hur cumpany.
Then gerut I my knyghte
To go in bed wyth the biurde bryghte,
On the fur syde of the lighte,
And lay hur dowun by.
I sette me doune hom besyde,
Here the for to abide;
He neghit nevyr no naked syde
Of thi Lady.

'Forthi, of jelusnes, be thou bold,3
Thine avow may thou hold.
Butte of tho othir thinges that thou me told
I wold wete more:
Quy thou dredus notte thi dede
Ne non that bitus on thi brede?
As evyr brok I my hede,
Thi yatis are evyr yare!'
Quod Bawdewyn, 'I schall yo telle:
Atte the same castell
Quere this antur befelle,
Besegitte we ware.
On a day we usshet oute
And toke presonerus stoute;
The tone of owre feloys hade doute,
And durst notte furthe fare.

'The caytef crope into a tunne
That was sette therowte in the sunne.
And there come fliand a gunne,
And lemet as the levyn,
Lyghte opon hitte, atte the last,
That was fastnut so fast;
All in sundur hit brast,
In six or in sevyn.
And there hit sluye him als -
And his hert was so fals!
Sone the hed fro the hals,
Hit lyputt full evyn.
And we come fro the feghting
Sowunde, wythoutun hurting,
And then we lovyd the King
That heghhest was in hevyn.

'Then owre feloys con say,
'Schall no mon dee or his day,
Butte he cast himselfe away
Throgh wontyng of witte.'
And there myne avow made I -
So dyd all that cumpany -
For dede nevyr to be drery:
Welcum is hit -
Hit is a kyndely thing.'
'Thou says soth,' quod the King,
'Butte of thi thryd avowyng
Telle me quych is hit,
Quy thi mete thou will notte warne
To no levand barne?'
'Ther is no man that may hit tharne -
Lord, ye schall wele wete.

'For the sege aboute us lay stille;
We hade notte all atte oure wille4
Mete and drinke us to fille:
Us wontutte the fode.
So come in a messyngere,
Bade, 'Yild uppe all that is here!'
And speke wyth a sturun schere5
'I nyll, by the Rode!'
I gerutte him bide to none,
Callud the stuard sone,
Told him all as he schuld done,
As counsell is gud;
Gerutte trumpe on the wall,
And coverd burdes in the hall;
And I myself emunge hom all
As a king stode.

'I gerut hom wasshe; to mete wente.
Aftur the stuard then I sente:
I bede that he schuld take entente
That all schuld well fare -
Bede bringe bred plenté,
And wine in bollus of tre,
That no wontyng schuld be
To lasse ne to mare.
We hade no mete butte for on day -
Hit come in a nobull aray.
The messyngere lokit ay
And se hom sle care.
He toke his leve atte mete.
We gerutte him drinke atte the gate,
And gafe him giftus grete,
And furthe con he fare.

'But quen the messyngere was gone,
These officers ichone
To me made thay grete mone,
And drerely con say -
Sayd, 'In this howse is no bred,
No quyte wine nyf red;
Yo behoves yild uppe this stid
And for oure lyvys pray.'
Yette God helpus ay his man!
The messyngere come agayn than
Wythoute to the chevytan,
And sone conne he say:
'Thoghe ye sege this sevyn yere,
Castell gete ye none here,
For thay make als mury chere
Als hit were Yole Day!'

'Then the messyngere con say,
'I rede yo, hie yo hethin away,
For in your oste is no play,
Butte hongur and thurst.'
Thenne the king con his knyghtis calle.
Sethin to cowunsell wente thay all -
'Sythin no bettur may befall,
This hald I the best.'
Evyn atte the mydnyghte,
Hor lordis sembelet to a syghte,
That were hardy and wighte:
Thay remuyt of hor rest.
Mete laynes mony lakke:
And there mete hor sege brake,
And gerut hom to giffe us the bake;
To preke thay were full preste.

'And then we lokit were thay lay
And see oure enmeys away.
And then oure felawis con say,
The lasse and the mare,
'He that gode may gete
And wernys men of his mete,
Gud Gode that is grete
Gif him sory care!
For the mete of the messyngere,
Hit mendutte all oure chere.''
Then sayd the King, that thay myghte here,
And sqwythely con square,
'In the conne we fynde no fabull;
Thine avowes arne profetabull.'
And thus recordus the Rownde Tabull,
The lasse and the more.

Thenne the Kinge and his knyghtis all,
Thay madun myrthe in that halle.
And then the Lady conne thay calle,
The fayrist to fold;
Sayde Bawdewyn, 'And thou be wise,
Take thou this Lady of price -
For muche love in hur lyce -
To thine hert hold.
Ho is a biurde full bryghte,
And therto semely to thy sighte.
And thou hase holdin all that thou highte,
As a knighte schulde!'
Now Jhesu Lord, Hevyn Kynge,
He graunt us all His blessynge,
And gife us all gode endinge,
That made us on the mulde.


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010

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