Sir Bevis of Hamptoun
Part 1 of 5
[For words not explained in the margin see the glossary to The Riverside Chaucer]
Note that the division of the poem into five parts is purely editorial, for the reader's convenience.
Lordinges, herkneth to my tale!
Is merier than the nightingale,
That y schal singe;
Of a knight ich wille yow roune,
Beves he highte of Hamtoune,
Ich wille yow tellen al to-gadre
Of that knight and of his fadre,
Of Hamtoun he was sire
And of al that ilche schire,
Lordinges, this, of whan y telle,
Never man of flesch ne felle
Nas so strong,
And so he was in ech strive,
And ever he livede with-outen wive,
Al too late and long.
Whan he was fallen in-to elde,
That he ne mighte him-self welde,
He wolde a wif take;
Sone thar-after, ich understonde,
Him hadde be lever than al this londe,
Hadde he hire for-sake.
On elde a wif he tok an honde,
The kinges doughter of Scotlonde,
So faire and bright.
Allas, that he hire ever ches!
For hire love his lif he les
With mechel unright.
This maide ich'ave of y-told,
Faire maide she was and bold
And fre y-boren;
Of Almayne that emperur
Hire hadde loved paramur
Wel thar be-foren.
Ofte to hire fader he sente
And he him selve thider wente
For hire sake;
Ofte gernede hire to wive:
The king for no thing alive
Nolde hire him take.
Sithe he yaf hire to Sire Guy,
A stalword erl and hardi
Man, whan he falleth in-to elde,
Feble he wexeth and unbelde
Thourgh right resoun.
So longe thai yede to-gedres to bedde,
A knave child be-twene hem thai hedde,
Beves he het.
Faire child he was and bolde,
He nas boute seve winter olde,
Whan his fader was ded.
The levedi hire mis-be-thoughte
And meche ayen the right she wroughte
In hire tour:
"Me lord is olde and may nought werche,
Al dai him is lever at cherche,
Than in my bour.
Hadde ich i-taken a yong knight,
That ner nought brused in werre and fight,
Also he is,
He wolde me loven dai and night,
Cleppen and kissen with al his might
And make me blis.
I nel hit lete for no thinge,
That ich nel him to dethe bringe
With sum braide!'
Anon right that levedi fer
To consaile clepede hir masager
And to him saide:
"Maseger, do me surte,
That thow nelt nought discure me
To no wight!
And yif thow wilt, that it so be,
I schal thee yeve gold and fe
And make thee knight."
Thanne answerde the masager
(False he was, that pautener,
And wel prut!)
"Dame, boute ich do thy nede,
Ich graunte, thow me for-bede
Thy londe thourgh-out."
The levedi thanne was wel fain:
"Go," she seide, "in-to Almaine
Out of my bour!
Maseger, be yep and snel,
And on min half thow grete wel
And bid, in the ferste dai,
That cometh in the moneth of May,
For love of me,
That he be to fighte prest
With his ferde in hare forest
Be-side the se.
My lord ich wille thider sende
For his love, for to schende
And for to sle;
Bid him, that hit be nought be-leved,
That he ne smite off his heved
And sende hit me!
And whan he haveth so y-do,
My love he schal under-fo,
Thanne seide that masager:
"Madame, ich wille sone be ther!
Now have gode dai!"
Now that masager him goth.
That ilche Lord him worthe wroth,
That him wroughte!
To schip that masager him wode:
Allas! The wind was al too gode,
That him over broughte.
Tho he com-in to Almayne,
Thar he mette with a swain
And grette him wel:
"Felawe," he seide, "par amur:
Whar mai ich finde th'emperur?
Thow me tel!"
"Ich wille thee telle anon right:
At Rifoun he lai to-night,
By my swere!'
The masager him thankede anon
And thider-wardes he gan gon
Th'emperur thar he fonde;
Adoun he kneelede on the grounde,
As hit was right,
And seide: "The levedi of South-Hamtone
Thee grette wel by Godes sone,
That is so bright,
And bad thee, in the ferste day,
That cometh in the moneth o May,
How so hit be,
That ye be to fighte prest
With your ferde in hare forest
Be-side the se.
Hire lord she wille thider sende
For thy love, for to schende,
With lite meini;
Thar-aboute thow schost be fouse,
And thow schalt after her wedde to spouse,
To thin amy.'
"Sai," he seide, "ich'am at hire heste:
Yif my lif hit wille leste,
Hit schal be do!
Gladder ich'am for that sawe,
Than the fowel, whan hit ginneth dawe,
And sai hire so!
And for thow woldes hire erande bede,
An hors i-charged with golde rede
Ich schal thee yeve,
And with-inne this fourtene night
My-self schal dobbe thee to knight,
Yif that ich live."
The mesager him thankede yerne;
Hom ayen he gan him terne
The levedi he fond in hire bour,
And he hire clepede doceamur
And gan to roun:
"Dame," he seide, "I thee tel:
That emperur thee grette wel
With love mest:
Glad he is for that tiding,
He wille be prest at that fighting
In that forest.
Yif thow art glad thy lord to sle,
Gladder he is for love of thee
The mesager hath thus i-said,
The levedi was right wel apaid
And maked hire blithe.
In Mai, in the formeste dai,
The levedi in hire bedde lai,
As hit wer nede;
Hire lord she clepede out of halle
And seide, that evel was on hire falle,
She wende be ded.
That erl for hire hath sorwe i-kaught
And askede, yif she disired aught,
That mighte hire frevre.
"Ye," she seide, "of a wilde bor
I wene, me mineth boute for,
Al of the fevre!"
"Madame," he seide, "for love myn,
Whar mai ich finde that wilde swin?
I wolde thow it hadde!"
And she answerde with tresoun mest,
By the se in hare forest,
Thar he bradde.
That erl swor, by Godes grace,
In that forest he wolde chace,
That bor to take;
And she answerde with tresoun than:
"Blessed be thow of alle man
For mine sake!"
That erl his hors be-gan to stride,
His scheld he heng upon his side,
Girt with swerd;
Moste non armur on him come,
Him self was boute the ferthe some
Toward that ferd.
Allas, that he nadde be war
Of his fomen, that weren thar,
Him forto schende:
With tresoun worth he ther i-slawe
And i-brought of his lif-dawe,
Er he hom wende!
Whan he com in-to the forest,
Th'emperur he fond al prest;
He prikede out be-fore his host,
For pride and for make bost,
And gan to crie:
"Ayilt thee, treitour! thow olde dote!
Thow schalt ben hanged by the throte,
Thin heved thow schalt lese;
Thy sone schal an-hanged be
And thy wif, that is so fre,
To my lemman I chese!"
Th'erl answerde at that sawe:
"Me thenketh, thow seist ayen the lawe,
So God me amende!
My wif and child, that was so fre,
Yif thow thenkest be-neme hem me,
Ich schal hem defende!"
Tho prikede his stede sire Guy,
A stalword man and hardi,
While he was sounde;
Th'emperur he smot with his spere,
Out of his sadel he gan him bere
And threw him to grounde.
"Treitour!" he seide, "thow art too bolde!
Wenestow, thegh ich be olde,
To ben afered?
That thow havest no right to my wif,
I schal thee kithe by my lif!"
And drough his swerd.
That erl held his swerd adrawe,
Th'emperur with he hadde slawe,
Nadde be sokour:
Thar come knightes mani and fale,
Wel ten thosent told by tale,
Tho sire Guy him gan defende,
Thre hondred hevedes off he slende
With his brond;
Hadde he ben armed wel, y-wis,
Al the meistre hadde ben his,
Thre men were slawe, that he ther hadde,
That he with him out ladde
And moste nede;
To have merci, that was his hope;
Th'emperur after him is lope
Upon a stede.
Th'erl knewlede to th'emperur,
Merci he bad him and sokour
And his lif:
"Merci, sire, as thow art fre,
Al that ich'ave, I graunte thee,
Boute my wif!
For thine men, that ich'ave slawe,
Have her my swerd i-drawe
And al my fe:
Boute my yonge sone Bef
And my wif, that is me lef,
That let thow me!"
"For Gode," queth he, "that ich do nelle!"
Th'emperur to him gan telle,
And was agreved,
Anon right his swerd out drough
And the gode knight he slough
And nam his heved.
A knight he tok the heved an honde:
"Have," he seide, "ber this sonde
My leve swet!"
The knight to Hamtoun tho gan gon,
The levedi thar he fond anon
And gan hire grete:
"Dame," he seide, "to me atende:
Th'emperur me hider sende
With his prey!"
And she seide: "Blessed mot he be!
To wif he schal wedde me
To-morwe in the dai.
"Sai him, my swete wight,
That he come yet to-night
In-to my bour!"
The mesager his wei hath holde;
Al he seide, as she him tolde,
Now scholle we of him mone,
Of Beves, that was Guys sone,
How wo him was:
Yerne he wep, his hondes wrong,
For his fader he seide among:
He clepede his moder and seide his sawe:
"Vile houre! Thee worst to-drawe
And al to-twight!
Me thenketh, ich were ther-of ful fawe,
For thow havest my fader slawe
With mechel unright!
Allas, moder, thy faire ble!
Evel be-cometh thee, houre to be,
To holde bordel,
And alle wif houren for thy sake,
The devel of helle ich hem be-take,
Flesch and fel!
Ac o thing, moder, I schal thee swere:
Yif ich ever armes bere
And be of elde,
Al that hath my fader i-slawe
And i-brought of his lif dawe,
Ich schal hem yilden!"
The moder hire hath understonde;
That child she smot with hire honde
Under his ere.
The child fel doun, and that was scathe,
His meister tok him wel rathe,
That highte Saber.
The knight was trewe and of his kinde,
Strenger man ne scholde men finde
To ride ne go.
He was i-brought in tene and wrake
Ofte for that childes sake
As wel as tho.
That childe he nam up by the arm,
Wel wo him was for that harm,
That he thar hadde.
Toward his kourt he him kende;
The levedi after Saber sende
And to him radde.
"Saber," she seide, "thow art me lef,
Let sle my yonge sone Bef,
That is so bold!
Let him an-hange swithe highe,
I ne reche what deth he diye,
Siththe he be cold!"
Saber stod stille and was ful wo;
Natheles he seide, he wolde do
After hire sawe;
The child with him hom he nam,
A swin he tok, whan he hom cam,
And dede hit of dawe.
The childes clothes, that were gode,
Al he bi-sprengde with that blode
In mani stede,
As yif the child wer to-hewe
He thoughte to his moder hem schewe,
And so he dede.
At the laste him gan adrede,
He let clothen in pover wede
That hende wight,
And seide: "Sone, thow most kepe
Upon the felde mine schepe
And whan the feste is come to th'ende,
In-to another londe I schal thee sende
Fer by southe,
To a riche erl, that schal thee gie
And teche thee of corteisie
In thy youthe.
And whan thow art of swich elde,
That thow might thy-self welde,
And art of age,
Thanne schaltow come in-to Ingelonde,
With werre winne in-to thin honde
I schal thee helpe with alle my might,
With dint of swerd to gete thee right,
Be thow of elde!"
The child him thankede and sore wep,
And forth he wente with the schep
Upon the felde.
Beves was herde upon the doun,
He lokede homward to the toun,
That scholde ben his;
He be-held to-ward the tour,
Trompes he herde and tabour
And meche blis.
"Lord," he seide, "on me thow mone!
Ne was ich ones an erles sone
And now am herde?
Mighte ich with that emperur speke,
Wel ich wolde my fader awreke
For al his ferde!"
He nemeth his bat and forth he goth,
Swithe sori and wel wroth,
To-ward the tour;
"Porter!" he sede, "let me in reke!
A lite thing ich have to speke
"Go hom, truant!" the porter sede,
"Scherewe houre sone, y thee rede,
Fro the gate:
Boute thow go hennes also swithe,
Hit schal thee rewe fele sithe,
Thow come ther-ate!
Sixte the scherewe, ho be itte,
He loketh, as he wolde smite
With his bat:
Speke he ought meche more,
I schal him smite swithe sore
Upon his hat."
"For Gode," queth Beves, "natheles,
An houre sone for soth ich wes,
Wel ich it wot!
Y nam no truant, by Godes grace!"
With that he lifte up his mace
Beves with-oute the gate stod
And smot the porter on the hod,
That he gan falle;
His heved he gan al to-cleve
And forth he wente with that leve
In-to the halle.
Al aboute he gan be-holde,
To th'emperur he spak wordes bolde
With meche grame:
"Sire," he sede, "what dostow here?
Whi colles thow aboute the swire
That ilche dame?
My moder is that thow havest an honde:
What dostow her upon my londe
Tak my me moder and my fe,
Boute thow thee rather hennes tee,
I schal thee greve!
Nastow, sire, my fader slawe?
Thow schalt ben hanged and to-drawe,
By Godes wille!
Aris! Fle hennes, I thee rede!"
Th'emperur to him sede:
"Fool, be stille!"
Beves was nigh wod for grame,
For he clepede him fool by name,
And to him he wond;
For al that weren in the place,
Thries he smot him with his mace
And with his honde.
Thries he smot him on the croun;
That emperur fel swowe adoun,
Thar he sat.
The levedi, his moder, gan to grede:
"Nemeth that treitour!" she sede,
"Anon with that!"
Tho dorste Beves no leng abide;
The knightes up in ech a side,
More and lasse,
Wo hem was for the childes sake,
Boute non of hem nolde him take,
Thai lete him pase.
Beves goth faste as he mai,
His meister he mette in the wai,
That highte Saber,
And he him askede with blithe mod:
"Beves!" he seide, "for the rode,
What dostow her?"
"I schal thee telle al to-gadre:
Beten ich'ave my stifadre
With my mace;
Thries I smot him in the heved,
Al for ded ich him leved
In the place!"
"Beves!" queth Saber, "thow art to blame:
Thy levedi wille now do me schame
For thine sake!
Boute thow by my consaile do,
Thow might now sone bringe us bo
In meche wrake!"
[From this point the poem is written in couplets;
paragraphing has been supplied.]
Saber Beves to his hous ladde,
Meche of that levedi him dradde.
The levedi out of the tour cam,
To Saber the wei she nam.
"Saber," she seide, "whar is Bef,
That wike treitour, that foule thef?"
"Dame," he seide, "ich dede him of dawe
By thy red and by thy sawe;
This beth his clothe, thow her sixt."
The levedi seide: "Saber, thow lixt!
Boute thow me to him take,
Thow schalt abegge for his sake."
Beves herde his meister threte;
To hire he spak with hertte grete
And seide: "Lo me her by name!
Do me meister for me no schame!
Yif thow me sext, lo, whar ich am here!"
His moder tok him by the ere;
Fain she wolde, he were of live.
Foure knightes she clepede blive:
"Wendeth," she seide, "to the stronde:
Yif ye seth schipes of painim londe,
Selleth to hem this ilche hyne,
That ye for no gode ne fine,
Whather ye have for him mor or lesse,
Selleth him right in-to hethenesse!"
Forth the knightes gonne tee,
Til that thai come to the se,
Schipes thai fonde ther stonde
Of hethenesse and of fele londe;
The child thai chepeden to sale,
Marchaundes thai fonde ferli fale
And solde that child for mechel aughte
And to the Sarasins him be-taughte.
Forth thai wente with that child,
Crist of hevene be him mild!
The childes hertte was wel colde,
For that he was so fer i-solde;
Natheles, though him thoughte eile,
Toward painim he moste saile.
Whan thai rivede out of that strond,
The king highte Ermin of that londe;
His wif was ded, that highte Morage,
A doughter he hadde of yong age,
Josiane that maide het,
Hire schon wer gold upon hire fet;
So faire she was and bright of mod,
As snow upon the rede blod;
Whar-to scholde that may discrive?
Men wiste no fairer thing alive,
So hende ne wel i-taught;
Boute of cristene lawe she kouthe naught.
The marchauns wente an highing
And presente Beves to Ermyn king.
The king thar-of was glad and blithe
And thankede hem mani a sithe:
"Mahoun!" he seide, "thy might be proute,
And this child wolde to thee aloute;
Yif he wolde a Sarasin be,
Yit ich wolde hope, he scholde the!
By Mahoun, that sit an high,
A fairer child never I ne sigh,
Neither a lengthe ne on brade,
Ne non, so faire limes hade!
Child," he seide, "whar wer thee bore?
What is thy name? Telle me fore!
Yif ich it wiste, hit were me lef."
"For Gode," he seide, "ich hatte Bef,
I-boren ich was in Ingelonde,
At Hamtoun, by the se stronde;
My fader was erl thar a while,
My moder him let sle with gile,
And me she solde in-to hethenlonde:
Wikked beth fele wimmen to fonde!
Ac, sire, yif it ever so be-tide,
That ich mowe an horse ride
And armes bere and scheft to-breke,
My fader deth ich schal wel wreke!"
The kinges hertte wex wel cold,
Whan Beves hadde thus i-tolde,
And saide: "I n'ave non eir after my dai,
Boute Josian, this faire mai;
And thow wille thy God for-sake
And to Apolyn, my lord, take,
Hire I schal thee yeve to wive
And al my lond after my live!"
"For Gode!" queth Beves, "that I nolde
For al the silver ne al the golde,
That is under hevene light,
Ne for thy doughter, that is so bright:
I nolde for-sake in none manere
Jesu, that boughte me so dere:
Al mote thai be doum and deve,
That on thy false godes be-leve!"
The king him lovede wel the more,
For him ne stod of noman sore,
And seide: "Beves, while thow art swain,
Thow schalt be my chaumberlain,
And thow schalt, whan thow art dobbed knight,
My baner bere in-to everi fight!"
Beves answerde al with skil:
"What ye me hoten, don ich wil!"
Beves was ther yer and other,
The king him lovede also his brother,
And the maide, that was so sligh:
So dede everi man, that him sigh.
By that he was fiftene yer olde,
Knight ne swain thar nas so bolde,
That him dorste ayenes ride
Ne with wreththe him abide.
His ferste bataile, for soth to say,
He dede a Cristes messe day;
As Beves scholde to water ride
And fiftene Sarasins by his side,
And Beves rod on Arondel,
That was a stede gode and lel:
A Sarasin be-gan to say
And askede him, what het that day.
Beves seide: "For soth y-wis,
I not never, what dai it is,
For I nas boute seve winter old,
Fro Cristendome ich was i-sold;
Thar-fore I ne can telle nought thee,
What dai that hit mighte be."
The Sarasin be-held and lough:
"This dai," he seide, "I knowe wel inough:
This is the ferste dai of Youl,
Thy God was boren with-outen doul;
For-thi men maken ther mor blisse
Than men do her in hethenesse:
Anoure thy God, so I schal myn,
Bothe Mahoun and Apolyn!"
Beves to that Sarasin said:
"Of Cristendom yit ich'ave abraid,
Ich'ave seie on this dai right
Armed mani a gentil knight,
Torneande right in the feld
With helmes bright and mani scheld;
And were ich alse stith in plas,
As ever Guy, my fader, was,
Ich wolde for my Lordes love,
That sit high in hevene above,
Fighte with yow everichon.
Er than ich wolde hennes gon!"
The Sarasin seide to his felawes:
"Lo, brethern, hire ye nought this sawes,
How the yonge cristene hounde,
He saith, he wolde us fellen to grounde:
While we aboute him gon
And fonde that treitour slon?"
Al aboute thai gonne thringe,
And hard on him thai gonne dinge
And yaf him woundes mani on
Thourgh the flesch in-to the bon,
Depe woundes and sore,
That he mighte sofre namore;
Tho his bodi be-gan to smerte,
He gan plokken up his hertte,
As tid to a Sarasin he wond
And breide a swerd out of his honde,
And fifti Sarasins, in that stonde
Thar-with he yaf hem dedli wounde,
And sum he strok off the swire,
That the heved flegh in-to the rivere,
And sum he clef evene asonder;
Here hors his fet thai laine under;
Ne was ther non, that mighte ascape,
So Beves slough hem in a rape:
The stedes hom to stable ran
With-oute kenning of eni man.
Beves hom be-gan to ride,
His woundes bledde by ech side;
The stede he graithed up anon,
In-to his chaumber he gan gon
And leide him develing on the grounde,
To kolen his hertte in that stounde.
Tiding com to king Ermyn,
That Beves hadde mad his men tyn;
The king swor and seide his sawe:
For-thi he scholde ben to-drawe.
Up stod that maide Josian,
And to hire fader she seide than:
"Sire, ich wot wel in my thought,
That thine men ne slough he nought,
By Mahoun ne by Tervagaunt,
Boute hit were him-self defendaunt!
Ac, fader," she seide, "be my red,
Er thow do Beves to ded,
Ich praie, sire, for love of me,
Do bringe that child be-fore thee!
Whan the child, that is so bold,
His owene tale hath i-tolde,
And thow wite the soth, aplight,
Who hath the wrong, who hath right,
Yef him his dom, that he schal have,
Whather thow wilt him slen or save!"
King Ermyn seide: "Me doughter fre,
As thow havest seid, so it schal be!"
Josiane tho anon rightes
Clepede to hire twei knightes:
"To Beves now wende ye
And prai him, that he come to me:
Er my fader arise fro his des;
Ful wel ich schal maken his pes!"
Forth the knightes gonne gon,
To Beves chaumber thai come anon
And praide, as he was gentil man,
Come speke with Josian.
Beves stoutliche in that stounde
Haf up his heved fro the grounde;
With stepe eighen and rowe bren
So lotheliche he gan on hem sen,
The twei knightes, thar thai stode,
Thai were aferde, thai wer nigh wode.
He seide: "Yif ye ner masegers,
Ich wolde yow sle, losengers!
I nele rise o fot fro the grounde,
For speke with an hethene hounde:
She is an hounde, also be ye,
Out of my chaumber swithe ye fle!"
The knightes wenten out in rape,
Thai were fain so to ascape.
To Josian thai wente as tit
And seide: "Of him is gret despit:
Sertes, he clepede thee hethene hound
Thries in a lite stounde:
We nolde for al Ermonie
Eft sones se him with our eie!"
"Hardeliche," she seide, "cometh with me,
And ich wille your waraunt be!"
Forth thai wente al i-same,
To Beves chaumber that he came.
"Lemman," she seide, "gent and fre,
For Godes love, spek with me!"
She keste him bothe mouth and chin
And yaf him confort gode afin,
So him solaste that mai,
That al his care wente awai,
And seide: "Lemman, thin ore!
Ich'am i-wounded swithe sore!"
"Lemman," she seide, "with gode entent
Ich'ave brought an oyniment,
For make thee bothe hol and fere:
Wende we to my fader dere!"
Forth thai wenten an highing
Til Ermyn, the riche king,
And Beves tolde unto him than,
How that stour ended and gan,
And schewed on him in that stounde
Fourti grete, grisli wounde.
Thanne seide king Ermin the hore:
"I nolde, Beves, that thow ded wore
For al thy londes, that Ich'ave;
Ich praie, doughter, that thow him save
And prove to hele, as thow can,
The woundes of that doughti man!"
In-to chaumber she gan him take
And riche bathes she let him make,
That with-inne a lite stonde
He was bothe hol and sonde.
Thanne was he as fresch to fight,
So was the faukoun to the flight.
His other prowesse who wille lere,
Hende herkneth, and ye mai here!
A wilde bor thar was aboute,
Ech man of him hadde gret doute,
Man and houndes, that he tok,
With his toskes he al to-schok.
Thei him hontede knightes tene,
Thar-of ne yef he nought a bene.
At his mouth fif toskes stoden out,
Everich was fif enches about,
His sides wer hard and strong,
His brostles were gret and long,
Him self was fel and kouthe fighte,
No man sle him ne mighte.
Beves lay in his bedde a-night
And thoughte, he wolde kethen his might
Upon that swin him-self one,
That noman scholde with him gone.
A-morwe, whan hit was dai cler,
Ariseth knight and squier;
Beves let sadlen his ronsi,
That bor he thoughte to honti,
He gerte him with he gode brond
And tok a spere in his hond,
A scheld he heng upon his side,
Toward the wode he gan ride.
Josian, that maide, him be-held,
Al hire love to him she feld;
To hire-self she seide, ther she stod:
"Ne kepte y never more gode
Ne namore of al this worldes blisse,
Thanne Beves with love o time to kisse;
In gode time were boren,
That Beves hadde to lemman koren!"
Tho Beves in-to the wode cam,
His scheld aboute his nekke he nam
And tide his hors to an hei thorn
And blew a blast with his horn;
Thre motes he blew al a-rowe,
That the bor him scholde knowe.
Tho he com to the bor his den,
He segh ther bones of dede men,
The bor hadde slawe in the wode,
I-eten here flesch and dronke her blode.
"Aris!" queth Beves, "corsede gast,
And yem me bataile wel in hast!"
Sone so the bor him sigh,
He rerde his brosteles wel an high
And starede on Beves with eien holwe,
Also he wolde him have a-swolwe;
And for the bor yenede so wide,
A spere Beves let to him glide;
On the scholder he smot the bor,
His spere barst to pises thore;
The bor stod stille ayen the dent,
His hyde was harde as eni flent.
Now al to-borste is Beves spere,
He drough his swerd, him-self to were,
And faught ayen the bor so grim,
He smot the bor and he to him.
Thus the bataile gan leste long
Til the time of evesong,
That Beves was so weri of foughte,
That of his lif he ne roughte,
And tho the bor was also,
Awai fro Beves he gan go,
While Beves made his praier
To God and Mari, his moder dere,
Whather scholde other slen:
With that com the bor ayen
And bente his brostles up, saunfaile,
Ayen Beves to yeve bataile;
Out at his mouth in aither side
The fom ful ferli gan out glide;
And Beves in that ilche veneu,
Thourgh Godes grace and his vertu
With his swerd out he slinte
Twei toskes at the ferste dint;
A spanne of the groin be-forn
With his swerd he hath off schoren.
Tho the bor so loude cride,
Out of the forest wide and side,
To the castel thar that lai Ermin,
Men herde the noise of the swin;
And, alse he made that lotheli cri,
His swerd Beves hasteli
In at the mouth gan threste tho
And karf his hertte evene a-two:
The swerd he breide ayen fot-hot
And the bor his heved off smot,
And on a tronsoun of his spere
That heved he stikede for to bere.
Thanne he sette horn to mouthe
And blew the pris as wel kouthe,
So glad he was for his honting.
That heved he thoughte Josian bring:
And er he com to that maide fre,
Him com strokes so gret plente,
That fain he was to weren his hed
And save him-self fro the ded.
A stiward was with king Ermin,
That hadde tight to sle that swin;
To Beves he bar gret envie,
For that he hadde the meistrie;
He dede arme his knightes stoute,
Foure and twenti in a route,
And ten forsters also he tok
And wente to wode, seith the bok.
Thar-of ne wiste Beves nought:
Helpe him God, that alle thing wrought!
In his wei he rit pas for pas.
Herkneth now a ferli cas:
He wende pasi in grith and pes,
The stiward cride: "Leith on and sles!"
Beves segh, that thai to him ferde,
He wolde drawe to his swerde:
Thanne hadde he leved it thor,
Thar he hadde slawe the bor.
He nadde nothing, him-self to were,
Boute a tronsoun of a spere.
Tho was Beves sore desmeid,
The heved fro the tronsoun abraid,
And with the bor his heved he faught
And wan a swerd of miche maught,
That Morgelai was cleped, aplight:
Beter swerd bar never knight.
Tho Beves hadde that swerd an hond,
Among the hethene knightes he wond,
And sum upon the helm he hitte,
In-to the sadel he hem slitte,
And sum knight Beves so ofraughte,
The heved off at the ferste draughte,
So harde he gan to lein aboute
Among the hethene knightes stoute,
That non ne pasede hom, aplight;
So thourgh the grace of God almight
The kinges stiward he hitte so,
That his bodi he clef a-two.
The dede kors he pulte adoun
And lep him-self in-to the arsoun.
That strok him thoughte wel i-set,
For he was horsed meche bet.
He thoughte make pes doun rightes
Of the forsters as of the knightes;
To hem faste he gan ride;
Thai gonne schete by ech a side,
So mani arwes to him thai sende,
Unnethe he mighte him-self defende,
And tho in a lite stounde
The ten forsters wer feld to grounde,
And hew hem alle to pices smale:
So hit is fonde in frensche tale.
he would rather
in his old age
I have told of
would not give him to her
he would rather be at church
will not give it up
That I will
Secretly called her messenger
make me an oath
will not reveal me
if I do not do your command
lady / pleased
active and fast
his army / gray
Unless he smites off his head
May God be angered
When / Germany
By my neck (I swear it)
did go, went
by God's son
army / gray
As your lover
announce her message
found in her chamber
He will be ready
many times over
expected to die
I need nothing else
as a cure for the fever
By the sea
only one of four
had not been wary
To destroy him
Yield / dotard
head / lose
take them from me
prove, make know
If held had not been (there)
heads / struck
will not do
took his head
Have this message borne
To my dear sweet one
whore / will be
pulled to pieces
make whores of
tutor / very quickly
pain and trouble
showed the way
dear to me
have / slain
care not / die
did it from day (killed it)
cut to pieces
takes his crook
Do you see / who it is
I am not
cut to pieces
embracest / neck
Unless you quickly withdraw
Hast thou not
crazy for anger
take / said
on every side
by the Cross
master / threatened
from life (dead)
the pagan lands / must
If / bow
on length / breadth
at the test
I shall give her
May they all be dumb and deaf
attempt to slay that traitor
At once / went
cleaved right in two
Their horses' feet
slew / rush
cool / at that time
called / two
were not mesengers
wil not raise one foot
solaced / maiden
Sweetheart / mercy
whole and sound
would not / were
try to heal
wishes to learn
listen courteously / hear
gave not a bean
I shall never care for
chosen as lover
notes / in a row
As soon as / saw
broke to pieces
against the blow
broken to pieces
Which of the two
wide and far
right in two
drew out again rapidly
signal for the capture
rides pace by pace
thought to pass in peace
cleaved in two
corpse he pulled
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