He restede him ther a lite tide,
His gode stede he gan be-stride
And rod over dale and doun,
Til he com to a gret toun;
The levedi thar-of over the castel lai,
And Beves hire sone of-say
And wende ben al out of care
And thoughte wel to spede thare.
Beves to the castel gate rit
And spak to hire, above him sit:
"Dame," he seide, "that sit above,
For that ilche lordes love,
On wham thin herte is on i-set:
Yeve me to-day a meles met!"
The levedi answerde him tho:
"Boute thow fro the gate go,
Thee wer beter elles-whar than her:
Go, or thee tit an evel diner!
My lord," she seide, "is a geaunt
And leveth on Mahoun and Teruagaunt
And felleth cristene men to grounde,
For he hateth hem as hounde!"
"By God!" queth Beves, "I swere an othe:
Be him lef and be him lothe,
Her ich wille have the mete
With love or eighe, whather I mai gete!"
The levedi swithe wroth with-alle
Wente hire forth in-to the halle
And tolde hire lord anon fore,
How a man hadde i-swore,
That he nolde fro the yete,
Er he hadde ther the mete.
The geaunt was wonder strong,
Rome thretti fote long;
He tok a levour in his hond,
And forth to the gate he wond.
Of Beves he nam gode hede,
Ful wel he knew Beves his stede:
"Thow art nome thef, y-wis:
Whar stele thow stede Trenchefis,
That thow ridest upon here?
Hit was my brotheres Grandere!"
"Grander," queth Beves, "y yaf hod
And made him a kroune brod;
Tho he was next under my fest,
Wel y wot, ich made him prest,
And high dekne ich wille make thee,
Er ich ever fro the te!"
Thanne seide the geaunt: "Meister sire,
Slough thow my brother Grandere,
For al this castel ful of golde
A-live lete thee ich nolde!"
"Ne ich thee," queth Beves, "I trowe!"
Thus beginneth grim to growe.
The geaunt, that ich spak of er,
The staf, that he to fighte ber,
Was twenti fote in lengthe by tale,
Thar-to gret and nothing smale;
To sire Beves he smot ther-with
A sterne strok with-outen grith,
Ac he failede of his divis
And in the heved smot Trenchefis,
That ded to grounde fel the stede.
"O," queth Beves, "so God me spede,
Thow havest don gret vileinie,
Whan thow sparde my bodi
And for my gilt min hors aqueld,
Thow witest him, that mai nought weld.
By God, I swere thee an oth:
Thow schalt nought, whan we to-goth,
Laughande me wende fram,
Now thow havest mad me gram!"
Beves his swerd anon up swapte,
He and the geaunt to-gedre rapte
And delde strokes mani and fale:
The nombre can I nought telle in tale.
The geaunt up his clobbe haf
And smot to Beves with his staf,
That his scheld flegh fram him thore
Thre akres brede and sumdel more.
Tho was Beves in strong erur
And karf a-two the grete levour
And on the geauntes brest a wounde,
That negh he felde him to the grounde.
The geaunt thoughte this bataile hard,
Anon he drough to him a dart,
Thourgh Beves scholder he hit schet,
The blod ran doun to Beves fet.
Tho Beves segh his owene blod,
Out of his wit he wex negh wod,
Unto the geaunt ful swithe he ran
And kedde that he was doughti man,
And smot a-two his nekke bon:
The geaunt fel to grounde anon.
Beves wente in at castel gate,
The levedi he mette ther-ate.
"Dame!" he seide, "go, yeve me mete,
That ever have thow Cristes hete!"
The levedi, sore adrad with-alle,
Ladde Beves in-to the halle,
And of everiche sonde,
That him com to honde,
He dede hire ete al ther ferst,
That she ne dede him no berst,
And drinke ferst of the win,
That no poisoun was ther-in.
Whan Beves had ete inough,
A keverchef to him he drough
In that ilche stounde,
To stope mide his wounde.
"Dame, dame," Beves sede,
"Let sadele me a gode stede,
For hennes ich wille ride,
I nel no lenger her abide!"
The levedi seide, she wolde fawe;
A gode stede she let forth drawe
And sadeled hit and wel adight,
And Beves, that hendi knight,
Into the sadel he lippte,
That no stirop he ne drippte.
Forth him wente sire Bevoun,
Til he com with-oute the toun
In-to a grene mede.
"Now, loverd Crist," he sede,
"Yeve it, Brademond, the king,
He and al his of-spring,
Wer right her upon this grene:
Now ich wolde of my tene
Swithe wel ben awreke,
Scholde he never go ne speke:
Now min honger is me aset,
Ne liste me never fighten bet!"
Forth he wente by the strem,
Til he com to Jurisalem;
To the patriark he wente cof,
And al his lif he him schrof
And tolde him, how hit was be-go,
Of his wele and of his wo.
The patriark hadde reuthe
Of him and ek of his treuthe
And for-bed him upon his lif,
That he never toke wif,
Boute she were clene maide.
"Nai, for sothe!" sire Beves saide.
On a dai ayenes the eve
Of the patriarke he tok his leve;
Erliche amorwe, whan it was dai,
Forth he wente in his wai;
And also he rod him-self alone:
"Lord," he thoughte, "whar mai I gone?
Whar ich in-to Ingelonde fare?
Nai," he thoughte, "what scholde I thare,
Boute yif ichadde host to gader,
For to sle my stifader?"
He thoughte, that he wolde an hie
In-to the londe of Ermonie,
To Ermonie, that was his bane,
To his lemman Josiane.
And also he wente thider right,
He mette with a gentil knight,
That in the londe of Ermonie
Hadde bore him gode companie;
Thai kiste hem anon with that
And ather askede of otheres stat.
Thanne seide Beves and lough:
"Ich'ave fare hard inough,
Sofred bothe honger and chele
And other peines mani and fele
Thourgh king Ermines gile:
Yet ich thenke to yelde his while,
For he me sente to Brademond,
To have slawe me that stonde:
God be thanked, he dede nought so,
Ac in his prisoun with meche wo
Ich'ave leie this seven yare,
Ac now ich'am from him i-fare
Thourgh Godes grace and min engyn,
Ac al ich wite it king Ermyn,
And, ne wer his doughter Josiane,
Sertes, ich wolde ben his bane!"
"Josiane," queth the knight, "is a wif
Ayen hire wille with meche strif.
Seve yer hit is gon and more,
That the riche king Yvore
To Mombraunt hath hire wedde
Bothe to bord and to bedde,
And hath the swerd Morgelai
And Arondel, the gode palfrai:
Ac sithe the time, that I was bore,
Swiche game hadde ich never be-fore,
As ich hadde that ilche tide,
Whan I segh king Yvor ride
To-ward Mombraunt on Arondel;
The hors was nought i-paied wel:
He arnede awai with the king
Thourgh felde and wode, with-outen lesing,
And in a mure don him cast,
Almest he hadde deied in hast.
Ac er thai wonne the stede,
Ropes in the contre thai leide;
Ac never sithe, with-oute fable,
Ne com the stede out of the stable,
So sore he was aneied that tide;
Siththe dorste noman on him ride!"
For this tiding Beves was blithe,
His joie kouthe he noman kithe.
"Wer Josiane," he thoughte, "as lele,
Alse is my stede Arondel,
Yet scholde ich come out of wo!"
And at the knight he askede tho:
"Whider-wardes is Mombraunt?"
"Sere," he sede, "by Teruagaunt,
Thow might nought thus wende forth,
Thow most terne al ayen north!"
Beves ternede his stede
And rod north gode spede;
Ever he was pasaunt,
Til he com to Mombraunt.
Mombraunt is a riche cite,
In al the londe of Sarsine
Nis ther non ther-to iliche
Ne by fele parti so riche.
And whan that hende knight Bevoun
Come with-outen the toun,
Thar-with a palmer he mette,
And swithe faire he him grette:
"Palmer," he sede, "whar is the king?"
"Sire!" he seide, "an honting
With kinges fiftene."
"And whar," he seide, "is the quene?"
"Sire," he seide, "in hire bour."
"Palmer," he seide, "paramour,
Yem me thine wede
For min and for my stede!"
"God yeve it," queth the palmare,
"We hadde drive that chefare!"
Beves of his palfrei alighte
And schrede the palmer as a knighte
And yaf him his hors, that he rod in,
For his bordon and his sklauin.
The palmer rod forth as a king,
And Beves wente alse a brotheling.
Whan he com to the castel gate,
Anon he fond thar-ate
Mani palmer thar stonde
Of fele kene londe,
And he askede hem in that stede,
What thai alle thar dede.
Thanne seide on, that thar stod:
"We beth i-come to have gode,
And so thow art also!"
"Who," queth Beves, "schal it us do?"
"The quene, God hire schilde fro care!
Meche she loveth palmare;
Al that she mai finden here,
Everiche dai in the yere,
Faire she wille hem fede
And yeve hem riche wede
For a knightes love, Bevoun,
That was i-boren at Southhamtoun;
To a riche man she wolde him bringe,
That kouthe telle of him tiding!"
"Whanne," queth Beves, "schal this be don?"
He seide: "Be-twene middai and noon."
Beves, hit ful wel he sai,
Hit nas boute yong dai;
He thoughte, that he wolde er than
Wende aboute the barbican,
For to loke and for to se,
How it mighte best be,
Yif he the castel wolde breke,
Whar he mighte best in reke;
And also he com by a touret,
That was in the castel i-set,
He herde wepe and crie;
Thederward he gan him hie.
"O allas," she seide, "Bevoun,
Hende knight of South-hamtoun,
Now ich'ave bide that day,
That to thee truste I ne may:
That ilche god, that thow of speke,
He is fals and thow art eke!"
In al the sevene yer eche dai
Josiane, that faire mai,
Was woned swich del to make,
Al for sire Beves sake.
The levedi gan to the gate te,
The palmeres thar to se;
And Beves, after anon
To the gate he gan gon.
The palmers gonne al in threste,
Beves abod and was the laste;
And whan the maide segh him thar,
Of Beves she nas nothing war;
"Thou semest," queth she, "man of onour,
Thow schalt this dai be priour
And beginne oure deis:
Thou semest hende and corteis."
Mete and drinke thai hadde afyn,
Bothe piment and plente a wyn,
Swithe wel thai hadde i-fare;
Thanne seide the quene to eche palmare:
"Herde ever eni of yow telle
In eni lede or eni spelle,
Or in feld other in toun,
Of a knight, Beves of Hamtoun?"
"Nai!" queth al that thar ware.
"What thow?" she seide, "newe palmare?"
Thanne seide Beves and lough:
"That knight ich knowe wel inough!
Atom," he seide, "in his contre
Ich'am an erl and also is he;
At Rome he made me a spel
Of an hors, men clepede Arondel:
Wide-whar ich'ave i-went
And my warisoun i-spent,
I sought hit bothe fer and ner,
Men telleth me, that it is her;
Yif ever lovedestow wel that knight,
Let me of that hors have a sight!"
What helpeth hit, to make fable?
She ladde Beves to the stable;
Josian be-held him be-fore,
She segh his browe to-tore;
After Bonefas she gan grede,
At stable dore to him she sede:
"By the moder that me hath bore,
Ner this mannes browe to-tore,
Me wolde thenke by his fasoun,
That hit were Beves of Hamtoun!"
Whan that hors herde nevene
His kende lordes stevene,
His rakenteis he al to-rof
And wente in-to the kourt wel kof
And neide and made miche pride
With gret joie by ech a side.
"Allas!" tho queth Josiane,
"Wel mani a man his bane
To dai he worth i-laught,
Er than this stede ben i-caught!"
Thanne seide Beves and lough:
"Ich can take hit wel inough:
Wolde ye," he sede, "Yeve me leve,
Hit ne scholde noman greve."
"Take hit thanne," she sede,
"And in-to stable thow it lede
And teie it thar it stod,
And thow schalt have mede gode!"
Beves to the hors tegh;
Tho the hors him knew and segh,
Hit ne wawede no fot,
Til Beves hadde the stirop;
Beves in-to the sadel him threw,
Thar-bi that maide him wel knew.
Anon seide Josian with than:
"O Beves, gode lemman,
Let me with thee reke
In that maner, we han i-speke,
And thenk, thow me to wive tok,
Whan ich my false godes for-sok:
Now thow hast thin hors Arondel,
The swerd ich thee fette schal,
And let me wende with thee siththe
Hom in-to thin owene kiththe!"
Queth Beves: "By Godes name,
Ich'ave for thee sofred meche schame,
Lain in prisoun swithe strong:
Yif ich thee lovede, hit were wrong!
The patriark me het upon my lif,
That I ne tok never wif,
Boute she were maide clene;
And thow havest seve yer ben a quene,
And everi night a king by thee:
How mightow thanne maide be?"
"Merci," she seide, "lemman fre,
Led me hom to thy contre,
And boute thee finde me maide wimman,
By that eni man saie can,
Send me ayen to my fon
Al naked in my smok alon!"
Beves seide: "So I schal,
In that for-ward I graunte wel!"
Bonefas to sire Beves sede:
"Sire, thee is beter do by my rede!
The king cometh sone fro honting
And with him mani a riche king,
Fiftene told al in tale,
Dukes and erles mani and fale.
Whan thai fonde us alle agon,
Thai wolde after us everichon
With wonder gret chevalrie,
And do us schame and vileinie;
Ac formeste, sire, with-outen fable,
Led Arondel in-to the stable,
And ate the gate thow him abide,
Til the king cometh bi thee ride;
He wille thee asken at the frome,
Whider thow schalt and whannes thow come;
Sai, that thow havest wide i-went,
And thow come by Dabilent,
That is hennes four jurne;
Sai, men wille ther the king sle,
Boute him come help of sum other;
And king Yvor is his brother,
And whan he hereth that tiding,
Theder a wille an highing
With al his power and his host:
Thanne mai we with lite bost
Forth in oure wei go!"
Beves seide: "It schal be so!"
And Arondel to stable lad,
As Bonefas him bad;
And to the gate Beves yode
With other beggers, that ther stode,
And pyk and skrippe by his side,
In a sklavin row and wide;
His berd was yelw, to his brest wax,
And to his gerdel heng his fax.
Al thai seide, that thai ne sighe
So faire palmer never with eighe,
Ne com ther non in that contre:
Thus wondred on him that him gan se;
And so stod Beves in that thring,
Til noon belle be-gan to ring.
Fram honting com the king Yvore,
And fiftene kinges him before,
Dukes and erles, barouns how fale,
I can nought telle thee righte tale.
Mervaile thai hadde of Beves alle.
Yvor gan Beves to him calle
And seide: "Palmer, thow comst fro ferre:
Whar is pes and whar is werre?
Trewe tales thow canst me sain."
Thanne answerde Beves again:
"Sire, ich come fro Jurisalem
Fro Nazareth and fro Bedlem,
Emauns castel and Synaie;
Ynde, Erop and Asie,
Egippte, Grese and Babiloine,
Tars, Sesile and Sesaoine,
In Fris, in Sodeine and in Tire,
In Aufrik and in mani empire,
Ac al is pes thar ich'ave went,
Save in the lond of Dabilent;
In pes mai noman come thare,
Thar is werre, sorwe and care:
Thre kinges and dukes five
His chevalrie adoun ginneth drive,
And meche other peple i-schent,
Cites i-take and tounes i-brent;
Him to a castel thai han i-drive,
That stant by the se upon a clive,
And al the host lith him about,
By this to-daie he is in doute."
King Yvor seide: "Allas, allas,
Lordinges, this is a sori cas!
That is my brother, ye witen wel,
That lith be-seged in that castel:
To hors and armes, lasse and more,
In haste swithe, that we wer thore!"
Thai armede hem anon bidene,
Yvor and his kinges fiftene,
And to the Cite of Diablent
Alle samen forth they went.
But an old king, that hight Garcy,
At home he lefte to kepe the lady."
Thoo seid Beves: "Make yow yare,
Yif that ye wille with me fare!"
Sir Bonefas answered thoo:
"Yif ye wil by my consaile do:
Here is an olde king Garcy,
That muche can of Nygremancy;
He may see in his gold-ryng,
What any man dooth in alle thing.
I know an erbe in the forest,
Now wille y sende ther after prest
And let brochen reynessh wyne
And do that erbe anoon therynne,
And what he be, that ther-of doth drynke,
He shal lerne for to wynke
And slepe anon after ryght
Al a day and al a nyght."
Sir Bonefas dide al this thing;
They resen up in the dawnyng;
I-nowgh they toke what they wolde,
Both of silver and of golde,
And other tresoure they toke also,
And in hur way they gunne goo.
And when they were went away,
Garcy awaked a-morow day
And had wonder swith stronge,
That he hadde slept so longe.
His ryng he gan to him tee,
For to loke and for to see;
And in his ryng say he thare,
The queene awey with the palmer was fare.
To his men he grad ryght:
"As armes, lordinges, for to fyght!"
And tolde his folke, verament,
How the Queene was a-wey went.
They armed hem in ryche wede
And every knyght lep on his stede,
And after went al that route
And besette hem al aboute.
Thenne seide Beves to Bonefas:
"Kepe wel Josian at this cas,
And y wil wynde to bataile,
Garcy and his host to assaile.
I wil fonde what y do may,
I have rested me mony a day.
Fyght y will now my fylle
And hem overcom by Goddes wille!"
Tho Bonefas to hym saide:
"Sir, yow is better do by my reed:
Ye shal be in the lasse dout,
For y know the contre al about;
I can bryng yow in-to a cave,
There a sheparde with a stave,
Theyghe men hadden his deth sworn,
He myght him kepe wel therforn!"
Into the cave he hath hem brought;
Garcy, the kyng, hem couth fynde nought,
Therfore him was swith woo;
He and his host be-thought hem thoo,
Hoom ayeyn for to wende
And sende Ascopart hem to shende.
In the cave they were al nyght
With-oute mete or drynke, aplyght.
Twoo dayes it was goon,
That mete ne drynke had they noon.
Josian was a-fyngered soore
And told anoon Beves therfore.
Beves seid: "How darst thou of me meete crave?
Wel thou wotest, that noon y have."
Josian answered sone anoon
And bade sir Beves to wood goon:
"I have herde of savageness,
Whenne yonge men were in wylderness,
That they toke hert and hinde
And other bestes, that they myght fynde;
They slowen hem and soden hem in her hide;
Thus doon men, that in wood abyde.
Sir, thou myghtest bestes lyghtly take,
For sauce good y wyl thee make!"
Beves seide to Bonefas than:
"I pray thee kepe wel Josian,
The while y wynde into the forest,
For to take sum wylde beest!"
Forth went Beves in that forest,
Beestes to sheete he was ful prest.
Als sone as he was forth y-fare,
Two lyouns ther com yn thare,
Grennand and rampand with her feet.
Sir Bonefas then als skeet
His hors to him thoo he drowgh
And armyd him wel y-nowgh
And yave the lyouns bataile to fyght;
Al too lytel was his myght.
The twoo lyouns sone had sloon
That oon his hors, that other the man.
Josian into the cave gan shete,
And the twoo lyouns at hur feete,
Grennand on hur with muche grame,
But they ne myght do hur no shame,
For the kind of Lyouns, y-wys,
A kynges doughter, that maide is,
Kinges doughter, quene and maide both,
The lyouns myght do hur noo wroth.
Beves com sone fro huntyng
With three hertes, with-out lesyng,
And fonde an hors gnawe to the boon,
And Josian a-wey was goon.
He sowned soone for sorow and thought,
Fro cave to cave he her sought,
To wete how that cas myght be,
And in a cave he gan to see,
Where Josian sate in grete doute
And twoo lions hur about.
To sir Beves gan she speke:
"Sir, thyn help, me to awreke
Of these two Liouns, that thy chamberleyn,
Ryght now han him slayn!"
She seide, she wolde that oon hoolde,
While that he that other quelde.
A-boute the nekke she hent that oon,
And Beves bade let him goon,
And seide: "Dame, forsoth, y-wys,
I myght yelp of lytel prys,
There y had a lyon quelde,
The while a woman a-nother helde!
Thow shalt never umbraide me,
When thou comest hoom to my contre:
But thou let hem goo both twoo,
Have good day, fro thee y goo!"
She let hem skip up and doun,
And Beves assailed the lyoun.
Strenger bataile ne strenger fyght
Herde ye never of no knyght
Byfore this in romaunce telle,
Than Beves had of beestes felle.
Al that herkeneth word and ende,
To hevyn mot her sowles wende!
That oon was a Lionesse,
That sir Beves dide grete distresse;
At the first begynnyng
To Beves hondes she gan spryng
And al to peces rent hem there,
Er Beves myght ther-of be werre.
That other lyon, that Josian gan holde,
To fight with Beves was ful bold;
He ran to him with grete randon
And with his pawes he rent adoun
His Armour almost to ground,
And in his thyghe a wel grete wound.
Tho was Beves in hert grame,
For the lioun had do him shame;
As he were wood, he gan to fyght;
The lionesse seyghe that sight
And raught to Beves, with-out faile,
Both at oones they gan him assaile.
Thoo was Beves in strong tempestes,
So strong and egre were these beestes,
That nyghe they hadde him there queld;
Unnethe he kept him with his shelde.
With Morgelay, that wel wold byte,
To the lioun he gan smyte;
His ryght foot he shore asonder,
Sir Beves shilde the Lyoun ranne under
And with his teeth with sory happe
He kitte a pece of his lappe,
And Beves that ilke stounde
For anguysse fel to the grounde,
And hastely Beves than up stert,
For he was grevyd in his hert;
He kyd wel tho, he was agrevyd,
And clef a twoo the lyon his hevyd,
And to his hert the poynt thrast;
Thus the lioun died at the last.
Stoutliche the liounesse than
Assailede Beves, that doughti man,
And with hire mouth his scheld tok
So sterneliche, saith the bok,
That doun it fel of his left hond.
Tho Josian gan under-stonde,
That hire lord scholde ben slawe;
Helpe him she wolde fawe.
Anon she hente that lioun:
Beves bad hire go sitte adoun,
And swor by God in trinite,
Boute she lete that lioun be,
He wolde hire sle in that destresse
As fain as the liounesse.
Tho she ne moste him nought helpe fighte,
His scheld she broughte him anon righte
And yede hire sitte adoun, saun faile,
And let him worthe in that bataile.
The liounesse was stout and sterne,
Ayen to Beves she gan erne
And by the right leg she him grep,
As the wolf doth the schep,
That negh she braide out his sparlire;
Tho was Beves in gret yre,
And in that ilche selve veneu
Thourgh Godes grace and his vertu
The liounesse so harde he smot
With Morgelai, that biter bot,
Evene upon the regge an high,
That Morgelai in th'erthe fligh.
Tho was Josian ful fain,
Tho that thai were bothe slain,
And Beves was glad and blithe,
His joie ne kouthe he noman kithe,
And ofte he thankede the king in glori
Of his grace and his viktori;
Ac wo him was for Bonefas,
And tho he segh, non other it nas,
He sette Josian upon a mule
And ride forth a lite while,
And metten with a geaunt
With a lotheliche semlaunt.
He was wonderliche strong,
Rome thretti fote long;
His berd was bothe gret and rowe;
A space of a fot be-twene his browe;
His clob was, to yeve a strok,
A lite bodi of an ok.
Beves hadde of him wonder gret
And askede him, what he het,
And yef men of his contre
Were as meche as was he.
"My name," he sede, "is Ascopard;
Garci me sente hiderward,
For to bringe this quene ayen
And thee, Beves, her of-slen.
Ich'am Garci his chaumpioun
And was i-drive out of my toun;
Al for that ich was so lite,
Everi man me wolde smite;
Ich was so lite and so merugh,
Everi man me clepede dwerugh,
And now ich'am in this londe,
I-woxe mor, ich understonde,
And strengere than other tene,
And that schal on us be sene;
I schal thee sle her, yif I mai!"
"Thourgh Godes help," queth Beves, "nai!"
Beves prikede Arondel a side,
Ayen Ascopard he gan ride
And smot him on the scholder an high,
That his spere al to-fligh,
And Ascopard with a retret
Smot after Beves a dint gret,
And with his o fot he slintte
And fel with his owene dintte.
Beves of his palfrai alighte
And drough his swerd anon righte
And wolde have smiten off his heved;
Josian be-soughte him, it were beleved:
"Sire," she seide, "so God thee save,
Let him liven and ben our knave!"
"Dame, he wille us be-trai!"
"Sire, ich wil ben his bourgh, nai!"
Thar he dede Beves omage
And be-com his owene page.
Forth thai wenten alle thre,
Til that thai come to the se;
A dromond thai fonde ther stonde,
That wolde in-to hethene londe,
With Sarasines stout and fer,
Boute thai nadde no maroner.
Tho thai sighe Ascopard come,
Thai thoughten wel, alle and some,
He wolde hem surliche hem lede,
For he was maroner god at nede.
Whan he in-to the schipe cam,
His gode bat an honde he nam,
He drof hem out and dede hem harm,
Arondel he bar to schip in his arm,
And after in a lite while
Josian and hire mule,
And drowen up saile also snel
And sailede forth faire and wel,
That thai come with-outen ensoine
To the haven of Coloine.
Whan he to londe kem,
Men tolde the bischop was his em,
A noble man wis afin,
And highte Saber Florentin.
Beves grete him at that cas
And tolde him what he was.
The beschop was glad afin
And seide: "Wolkome, leve cosin!
Gladder I nas sethe ich was bore,
Ich wende thow haddest be forlore.
Who is this levedi schene?"
"Sire, of hethenesse a quene,
And she wile, for my sake,
Cristendome at thee take."
"Who is this with the grete visage?"
"Sire," he sede, "hit is my page
And wille ben i-cristnede also,
And ich bidde, that ye hit do!"
The nexste dai after than
The beschop cristnede Josian.
For Ascopard was mad a kove;
Whan the bischop him scholde in schove,
He lep anon upon the benche
And seide: "Prest, wiltow me drenche?
The devel yeve thee helle pine,
Ich'am to meche to be cristine!'
After Josian his cristing
Beves dede a gret fighting,
Swich bataile dede never non
Cristene man of flesch ne bon,
Of a dragoun ther be-side,
That Beves slough ther in that tide,
Save sire Launcelet de Lake,
He faught with a fur drake,
And Wade dide also,
And never knightes boute thai to,
And Guy a Warwik, ich under-stonde,
Slough a dragoun in North-Homberlonde.
How that ilche dragoun com ther,
Ich wille yow telle, in what maner.
Thar was a king in Poyle londe
And another in Calabre, ich understonde;
This two kinge foughte i-fere
More than foure and twenti yere,
That thai never pes nolde,
Naither for silver ne for golde,
And al the contre, saundoute,
Thai distruede hit al aboute;
Thai hadde mani mannes kours,
Whar thourgh thai ferden wel the wors;
Thar-fore thai deide in dedli sinne
And helle pine thai gan hem winne.
After in a lite while
Thai be-come dragouns vile,
And so thai foughte dragouns i-fere
Mor than foure and thretti yere.
An ermite was in that londe,
That was fild of Godes sonde;
To Jesu Crist he bad a bone,
That he dilivre the dragouns sone
Out of that ilche stede,
That thai namore harm ne dede.
And Jesu Crist, that sit in hevene,
Wel herde that ermites stevene
And grauntede him his praiere.
Anon the dragouns bothe i-fere
Toke here flight and flowe awai,
Thar never eft man hem ne sai.
That on flegh anon with than,
Til he com to Toscan.
That other dragoun his flight nome
To Seinte Peter his brige of Rome;
Thar he schal leggen ay,
Til hit come domes dai.
And everi seve yer ones,
Whan the dragoun moweth his bones,
Than cometh a roke and a stink
Out of the water under the brink,
That men ther-of taketh the fevere,
That never after mai he kevere;
And who that nel nought leve me,
Wite at pilgrimes, that ther hath be,
For thai can telle yow, iwis,
Of that dragoun how it is.
That other thanne flegh an highe
Thourgh Toskan and Lombardie,
Thourgh Province, with-outen ensoine,
Into the londe of Coloyne;
Thar the dragoun gan arive
At Coloyne under a clive.
His eren were rowe and ek long,
His frount be-fore hard and strong;
Eighte toskes at his mouth stod out,
The leste was seventene inch about,
The her, the cholle under the chin,
He was bothe leith and grim;
He was i-maned as a stede;
The heved he bar with meche pride,
Be-twene the scholder and the taile
Foure and twenti fot, saunfaile.
His taile was of gret stringethe,
Sextene fot he was a lingthe;
His bodi as a wintonne.
Whan hit schon the brighte sonne,
His wingges schon so the glas.
His sides wer hard as eni bras.
His brest was hard as eni ston;
A foulere thing nas never non.
Ye that wille a stounde dwelle,
Of his stringethe I mai yow telle.
Beves yede to bedde a-night
With torges and with candel light.
Whan he was in bedde i-brought,
On Jesu Crist was al his thought.
Him thoughte, a king, that was wod,
Hadde wounded him ther he stod;
He hadde wounded him biter and sore,
He wende he mighte live namore,
And yet, him thoughte, a virgine
Him broughte out of al his pine.
Whan he of his slepe abraid,
Of his swevene he was afraid.
Thanne he herde a reuli cri,
And be-soughte Jesu merci:
"For the venim is on me throwe,
Her I legge al to-blowe,
And roteth my flesch fro the bon,
Bote ne tit me never non!"
And in his cri he seide: "Allas,
That ever yet I maked was!"
Anon whan hit was dai light,
Beves awakede and askede right,
What al that cri mighte ben.
His men him answerde ayen
And seide, that he was a knight,
In bataile he was holden wight;
Alse he wente him to plaie
Aboute her in this contrai,
In this contre aviroun
He mette with a vile dragoun,
And venim he hath on him throwe:
Thar he lith al to-blowe!
"Lord Crist," queth Beves tho,
"Mai eni man the dragoun slo?"
soon saw her
measure of food
Be he willing or unwilling
took / heed
taken as a thief
many and numerous
Three acres broad
eagerly (do it)
Assume that ( = if)
Whether (= should I)
(go) in haste
many and numerous
Certainly / slayer
made that bargain
staff / pilgrim's cloak
many sorts of lands
accustomed / dole
sit highest on the dais
Either in field or
kind lord's name
chains / broke to pieces
neighed / much
first of all
four day's journey
he will in haste
staff / pilgrim's bag
they never saw
necromancy (black magic)
open rhine wine
their / went
in the morning
could not find them
Grinning and pawing
beginning and end
knew / injured
was eager to help him
let him be
calf (of the leg)
on the side
one / slipped
club in hand he took
excuse for delay
thought / lost
too big to be Christian
asked a boon
will not believe me
skin beneath the neck
lie / swollen
No rememdy comes to me
he = a certain one