« AnteriorContinua »
And by his syde a naked swerd hanging;
And vp he rydeth to the hye bord.
In al the halle ne was ther spoke a word
For merueille of this knyght; him to biholde
Ful bisily ther wayten yonge and olde.
This strange knyght, that cam thus sodeynly,
Al armed saue his heed ful richely,
Salueth king and queen, and lordes alle,
By ordre as they seten in the halle,
With so hy reuerence and obeisance
As wel in speche as in contenance,
That Gawayn with his olde curteisye,
Though he were come ageyn out of Fairye,
Ne coude him nat amende with a word.
And after this, biforn the hye bord,
He with a manly voys seith his message,
After the forme vsed in his langage,
With-outen vice of sillable or of lettre.
And, for his tale sholde seme the bettre,
Accordant to his wordes was his chere,
As techeth art of speche hem that it lere;
Al be it that I can nat soune his style,
Ne can nat clymben ouer so hy a style,
seye I this, as to commune entente,
Thus much amounteth al that euer he mente,
If it so be that I haue it in mynde.
He seyde, the king of Arabie and of Ynde,
My lige lord, on this solempne day
Salueth yow as he best can and may,
And sendeth yow, in honour of your feste,
By me, that am al redy at your heste,
This stede of bras, that esily and wel
Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl, it; E. Hn. Cm. omit it.
Can, in the space of o day naturel,
This is to seyn, in foure and twenty houres,
Wher so yow list, in droughte or elles shoures,
Beren your body in-to euery place
To which your herte wilneth for to pace
With-outen wem of yow, thurgh foul or fair ;
Or, if yow list to fleen as hy in the air
As doth an egle, whan him list to sore,
This same stede shal bere yow euer-more
With-outen harm, til ye be ther yow leste,
Though that ye slepen on his bak or reste;
And turne ayeyn, with wrything of a pin,
He that it wroughte coude ful many a gin;
He wayted many a constellacion
Er he had don this operacion ;
130 And knew ful many a seel and many a bond. This mirour eek, that I haue in myn hond, Hath swich a myght, that men may in it see Whan ther shal fallen any aduersitee Vn-to your regne or to your-self also ;
135 And openly who is your frend or foo. And ouer al this, if any lady bryght Hath set hir herte on any maner wyght, If he be fals, she shal his treson see, His newe loue and al his subtiltee
140 So openly, that ther shal no thing hyde. Wherfor, ageyn this lusty someres tyde, This mirour and this ring, that ye may see, He hath sent to my lady Canacee, Your excellente doughter that is here.
145 The vertu of the ring, if ye wol here, 1 E. whan bat; the rest omit þat. 2 E. Pt. in; the rest on.
3 E. vn-to; Cm. on-to; the rest to.
Is this; that, if hir lust it for to were
Vp-on hir thombe, or in hir purs it bere,
Ther is no foul that fleeth ynder the heuene
That she ne shal wel vnderstonde his steuene,
And knowe his mening openly and pleyn,
And answere him in his langage ageyn.
And euery gras that groweth vp-on rote
She shal eek knowe, and whom it wol do bote,
Al be his woundes neuer so depe and wyde.
This naked swerd, that hangeth by my syde,
Swich vertu hath, that what man so ye smyte,
Thurgh-out his armure it woli kerue and byte,
Were it as thikke as is a branched ook ;
And what man that is wounded with the strook
Shal neuer be hool til that yow
To stroke him with the platte in thilke place
Ther he is hurt : this is as muche to seyn,
Ye mote with the platte swerd ageyn
Stroken him in the wounde, and it wol close;
This is a verray sooth, with-outen glose,
It failleth nat whyl it is in your hold.'
And whan this knyght had thus his tale told,
He rydeth out of halle, and doun he lyghte.
His stede, which that shoon as sonne bryghte,
Stant in the courte, stille as any stoon.
This knyght is to his chambre lad anon,
And is vnarmed and to 6 mete yset.
The presentes ben ful roially yfet,
This is to seyn, the swerd and the mirour,
And born anon in-to the hye tour
1 E. wol hym; the rest omit hym. 2 E. a; Cm. that; the rest the. 3 E. Cm, that; the rest thilke. 4 E. Cm. Strike; the rest Stroke.
5 E. yn-to; the rest to.
With certeine officers ordeyned therfore;
And vn-to Canacee this ring was bore
Solempnely, ther she sit at the table.
But sikerly, with-outen any fable,
The hors of bras, that may nat be remewed,
It stant as it were to the ground yglewed.
Ther may no man out of the place it dryue
For noon engyn of wyndas or polyue;
And cause why, for they can nat the craft.
And therefor in the place they han it last
Til that the knyght hath taught hem the manere
To voyden him, as ye shal after here.
Greet was the pres, that swarmeth to and fro,
To gauren on this hors that standeth so;
190 For it so hy was, and so brood and long, So wel proporcioned for to ben strong, Ryght as it were a stede of Lumbardye ; Ther-with so horsly, and so quik of yë As it a gentil Poileys courser were.
195 For certes, fro his tayl vn-to his ere, Nature ne art ne coude him nat amende In no degree, as al the peple wende. But euermore her moste wonder was, How that it coude gon, and was of bras; It was of? Fairye, as the peple semed. Diuerse folk diuersely they demed; As many heedes, as many wittes ther been. They murmurede as doth a swarm of been, And maden skiles after her fantasyes,
205 Rehersinge of thise olde poetryes, And seyden, it 4 was lyk the Pegasee, 1 E. ne; the rest of.
E. Hn. a; Cm. as; the rest of. 8 E. Cm. al the; the rest omit al. • E. that it; the rest omit that.
The hors that hadde winges for to flee;
Or elles it was the Grekes hors Synon,
That broughte Troye to destruccion,
As men may in thise olde gestes rede.
Myn herte,' quod oon, ‘is euermore in drede;
I trowe som men of armes ben ther-inne,
That shapen hem this citee for to winne.
It were ryght good that al swich thing were knowe.' 215
Another rowned to his felawe lowe,
And seyde, 'he lyeth, it is rather lyk
An apparence ymaad by som magyk,
As Iogelours pleyen at thise festes grete.'
Of sondry doutes thus they langle and trete,
As lewed peple demeth comunly
Of thinges that ben maad more subtilly
Than they can in her lewednes comprehende;
They demen gladly to the badder ende.
And somme of hem wondrede on the mirour, 225
That born was vp in-to the maistertour,
How men myghte in it swiche thinges se.
Another answerde and seyde it myghte wel be
Naturelly, by composicions
Of angles and of slye reflexions,
230 And seyde that in Rome was swich oon. They speken of Alocen and Vitulon, And Aristotle, that writen in her lyues Of queynte mirours and of prospectyues, As knowen they that han her bokes herd.
235 And othere folk han wondred on the swerd That wolde percen thurgh-out euery-thing; And fille in speche of Thelophus the king,
1 Hl. may, which the rest omit.
2 E. hye; Cm. hyghe; the rest maister,