The Tale of Gamelyn; fourteenth-century Middle English Romance

The Tale of Gamelyn

Fourteenth-century Middle English Romance

 

The text is lightly glossed; for words not explained in the margins see the Riverside Chaucer.

[Fit I]

Litheth, and lesteneth and herkeneth aright,Listen

And ye schulle heere a talking of a doughty knight;

Sire Johan of Boundys was his righte name,

He cowde of norture y-nough and mochil of game.
 
5Thre sones the knight hadde that with his body he wan;achieved

The eldest was a moche schrewe and sone he bigan.began (to show this)

His bretheren loved wel here fader and of him were agast,

The eldest deserved his fadres curs and had it at the last.
 

The goode knight his fader livede so yore,
10That deth was comen him to and handled him ful sore.

The goode knight cared sore syk ther he lay,

How his children scholde liven after his day.

He hadde ben wyde-wher but non housbond he was, travelled widely, careful householder

Al the lond that he hadde it was verrey purchas.fee simple, unencumbered possession
15Fayn he wolde it were dressed among hem alle,divided

That ech of hem hadde his part as it mighte falle.
 

Tho sente he in-to cuntre after wyse knightes,

To helpe delen his londes and dressen hem to-rightes.

He sente hem word by lettres they schulden hye blyve,hasten quickly
20If they wolde speke with him whyl he was on lyve.alive

Tho the knightes herden syk that he lay,Tho = whe

Hadde they no reste nother night ne day,

Til they comen to him ther he lay stille

On his deth-bedde to abyde Goddes wille.
 
225Than seyde the goode knight syk ther he lay,

"Lordes, I you warne for soth, withoute nay,

I may no lenger liven heer in this stounde;

For thurgh Goddes wille deth draweth me to grounde."
 

Ther nas non of hem alle that herde him aright,
30That they ne hadden reuthe of that ilke knight,

And seyde, "Sir, for Goddes love ne dismay you nought;

God may do bote of bale that is now y-wrought."
 

Than spak the goode knight syk ther he lay,

"Boote of bale God may sende I wot it is no nay;relief for pain
35But I byseke you, knightes for the love of me,

Goth and dresseth my lond among my sones three.divide

And sires, for the love of God deleth hem nat amis,

And forgetith nat Gamelyn my yonge sone that is.

Taketh heed to that on as wel as to that other;
40Selde ye see ony eyr helpen his brother."heir
 

Tho leete they the knight lyen that was nought in hele,

And wenten in-to counsel his londes for to dele;

For to delen hem alle to oon, that was her thought,

And for Gamelyn was yongest he schulde have nought.
45Al the lond that ther was they dalten it in two,

And leeten Gamelyn the yonge withoute londe go,

And ech of hem seyde to other ful lowde,

His bretheren mighte yeve him lond whan he good cowde.cowde = knew how (i.e., was of age)
 

Whan they hadde deled the lond at here wille,
50They comen ayein to the knight ther he lay ful stille,

And tolden him anon-right how they hadden wrought;

And the knight ther he lay lyked it right nought.
 

Than seyde the knight,, "By Seynt Martyn,

For al that ye have y-doon yit is the lond myn;
55For Goddes love, neyhebours stondeth alle stille,

And I wil dele my lond right after my wille.

Johan, myn eldeste sone schal have plowes fyve,plow = a measurement of lan

That was my fadres heritage whyl he was on lyve;

And my middeleste sone fyve plowes of lond,
60That I halp for to gete with my righte hond;

And al myn other purchas of londes and leedes,property`people, serfs

That I biquethe Gamelyn and alle my goode steedes.

And I biseke yow, goode men that lawe conne of londe,

For Gamelynes love that my queste stonde."bequest
 
65Thus dalte the knight his lond by his day,

Right on his deth-bedde syk ther he lay;sick

And sone aftirward he lay stoon-stille,

And deyde whan tyme com as it was Cristes wille.
 

And anon as he was deed and under gras y-grave,
70Sone the elder brother gyled the yonge knave;cheated

He took into his hond his lond and his leede,people, serfs

And Gamelyn himselfe to clothen and to feede.

He clothed him and fedde him yvel and eek wrothewrathfully (i.e., begrudgingly)

And leet his londes for-fare and his houses bothe,got to ruin
75His parkes and his woodes and dede nothing wel;

And seththen he it aboughte on his faire fel.paid for i

So longe was Gamelyn in his brotheres halle,

For the strengest, of good wil they doutiden him alle;feared

Ther was non ther-inne nowther yong ne old,
80That wolde wraththe Gamelyn were he never so bold.
 

Gamelyn stood on a day in his brotheres yerde,

And bigan with his hond to handlen his berde;

He thoughte on his londes that layen unsawe,unsown

And his faire okes that down were y-drawe;
85His parkes were y-broken and his deer bireved;stolen

Of alle his goode steedes noon was him bileved;remained

His houses were unhiled and ful yvel dight;without roofs

Tho thoughte Gamelyn it wente nought aright.
 

Afterward cam his brother walkinge thare,
90And seyde to Gamelyn,, "Is our mete yare?"ready

Tho wraththed him Gamelyn and swor by Goddes book,

"Thou schalt go bake thy-self I wil nought be thy cook!"
 

"How? brother Gamelyn how answerest thou now?

Thou spake never such a word as thou dost now."
 
95"By my faith," seyde Gamelyn, "Now me thinketh neede,

Of alle the harmes that I have I tok never ar heede.

My parkes ben to-broken and my deer bireved,

Of myn armure and my steedes nought is me bileved;

Al that my fader me biquath al goth to schame,
100And therfor have thou Goddes curs brother by thy name!"
 

Than bispak his brother that rape was of rees,quic

"Stond stille, gadeling and hold right thy pees;

Thou schalt be fayn for to have thy mete and thy wede;clothing

What spekest thou, Gamelyn of lond other of leede?"
105Thanne seyde Gamelyn the child that was ying,young

"Cristes curs mot he have that clepeth me gadeling!

I am no worse gadeling ne no worse wight,

But born of a lady and geten of a knight."
 

Ne durste he nat to Gamelyn ner a-foote go,
110But clepide to him his men and seyde to hem tho,

"Goth and beteth this boy and reveth him his wit,

And lat him lerne another tyme to answere me bet."
 

Thanne seyde the child yonge Gamelyn,

"Cristes curs mot thou have brother art thou myn!
115And if I schal algate be beten anon,

Cristes curs mot thou have but thou be that oon!"but = unless you be the one (to beat me)
 

And anon his brother in that grete hete

Made his men to fette staves Gamelyn to bete.fetch

Whan that everich of hem a staf hadde y-nome,taken
120Gamelyn was war anon tho he seigh hem come;when

Tho Gamelyn seigh hem come he loked over-al,

And was war of a pestel stood under a wal;

Gamelyn was light of foot and thider gan he lepe,

And drof alle his brotheres men right on an hepe.
125He loked as a wilde lyoun and leyde on good woon;good store, plentifully

Tho his brother say that he bigan to goon;whe

He fley up in-til a loft and schette the dore fast;fled

Thus Gamelyn with the pestel made hem alle agast.

Some for Gamelynes love and some for his eye,for awe of him
130Alle they drowe by halves tho he gan to pleye.

"What! how now?" seyde Gamelyn, "Evel mot ye thee!may you prosper evilly

Wil ye biginne contek and so sone flee?"strife
 

Gamelyn soughte his brother whider he was flowe,

And saugh wher he loked out at a windowe.
135"Brother," sayde Gamelyn, "Com a litel ner,

And I wil teche thee a play atte bokeler."
 

His brother him answerde and swor by Seynt Richer,

"Whyl the pestel is in thin hond I wil come no neer:

Brother, I wil make thy pees I swere by Cristes ore;mercy
140Cast away the pestel and wraththe thee no-more."
 

"I mot neede," sayde Gamelyn, "Wraththe me at oones,

For thou wolde make thy men to breke myne boones,

Ne hadde I had mayn and might in myn armes,

To have y-put hem fro me they wolde have do me harmes."
 
145"Gamelyn," sayde his brother, "Be thou nought wroth,

For to seen thee have harm it were me right loth;

I ne dide it nought, brother but for a fonding,

For to loken if thou were strong and art so ying."
 

"Com a-doun than to me and graunte me my bone
150Of thing I wil thee aske and we schul saughte sone."make peace
 

Doun than cam his brother that fikil was and fel,fierce

And was swithe sore agast of the pestel.

He seyde, "Brother Gamelyn aske me thy boone,

And loke thou me blame but I graunte sone."
 
155Thanne seyde Gamelyn,, "Brother, y-wis,

And we schulle ben at oon thou most me graunte this:And = If

Al that my fader me biquath whyl he was on lyve,

Thou most do me it have yif we schul nat stryve."
 

"That schalt thou have, Gamelyn, I swere by Cristes ore!mercy
160Al that thy fader thee biquath though thou woldest have more;

Thy lond, that lyth laye ful wel it schal be sowe,fallow

And thyn howses reysed up that ben leyd so lowe."
 

Thus seyde the knight to Gamelyn with mowthe,

And thoughte eek of falsnes as he wel couthe.
165The knight thoughte on tresoun and Gamelyn on noon,

And wente and kiste his brother and, whan they were at oon,

Allas! yonge Gamelyn nothing he ne wiste

With which a false tresoun his brother him kiste!
 

[Fit II]
 

Litheth, and lesteneth and holdeth your tonge,
170And ye schul heere talking of Gamelyn the yonge.
 

Ther was ther bisyden cryed a wrastling,

And therfor ther was set up a ram and a ring;

And Gamelyn was in good wil to wende therto,

For to preven his might what he cowthe do.
 
175"Brother," seyde Gamelyn, "By Seynt Richer,

Thou most lene me to-night a litel courser

That is freisch to the spore on for to ryde;

I most on an erande a litel her bisyde."
 

"By God!" seyde his brother, "Of steedes in my stalle
180Go and chese thee the best and spare non of alle

Of steedes or of coursers that stonden hem bisyde;

And tel me, goode brother whider thou wolt ryde."
 

"Her bisyde, brother is cryed a wrastling,

And therfor schal be set up a ram and a ring;
185Moche worschip it were brother, to us alle,

Might I the ram and the ring bring home to this halle."

A steede ther was sadeled smertely and skeet;

Gamelyn did a paire spores fast on his feet.

He sette his foot in the styrop the steede he bistrood,
190And toward the wrasteling the yonge child rood.
 

Tho Gamelyn the yonge was ride out at the gat,

The false knight his brother lokked it after that,

And bisoughte Jesu Crist that is heven king,

He mighte breke his nekke in that wrasteling.
 
195As sone as Gamelyn com ther the place was,

He lighte doun of his steede and stood on the gras,

And ther he herd a frankeleyn wayloway singe,alas

And bigan bitterly his hondes for to wringe.

"Goode man," seyde Gamelyn, "Why makestow this fare?
200Is ther no man that may you helpe out of this care?"
 

"Allas!" seyde this frankeleyn, "That ever was I bore!

For tweye stalworthe sones I wene that I have lore;lost

A champioun is in the place that hath y-wrought me sorwe,

For he hath slayn my two sones but-if God hem borwe.
205I wold yeve ten pound by Jesu Crist! and more,

With the nones I fand a man to handelen him sore."On the condition
 

"Goode man," sayde Gamelyn, "Wilt thou wel doon,

Hold myn hors, whyl my man draweth of my schoon,of = off

And help my man to kepe my clothes and my steede,
210And I wil into place go to loke if I may speede."succeed
 

"By God!" sayde the frankeleyn, "Anon it schal be doon;

I wil my-self be thy man and drawen of thy schoon,

And wende thou into the place Jesu Crist thee speede,And wende =- If you go

And drede not of thy clothes nor of thy goode steede."
 
215Barfoot and ungert Gamelyn in cam,

Alle that weren in the place heede of him they nam,took

How he durste auntre him of him to doon his mightdared adventure

That was so doughty champioun in wrastling and in fight.
 

Up sterte the champioun rapely and anoon,
220Toward yonge Gamelyn he bigan to goon,

And sayde, "Who is thy fader and who is thy sire?

For sothe thou art a gret fool that thou come hire!"
 

Gamelyn answerde the champioun tho,tho = then

"Thou knewe wel my fader whyl he couthe go,
225Whyles he was on lyve by Seint Martyn!

Sir Johan of Boundys was his name and I Gamelyn."
 

"Felaw," seyde the champioun, "Al-so mot I thryve,

I knew wel thy fader whyl he was on lyve;

And thyself, Gamelyn I wil that thou it heere,
230Whyl thou were a yong boy a moche schrewe thou were."
 

Than seyde Gamelyn and swor by Cristes ore,

"Now I am older woxe thou schalt me finde a more!"
 

"By God!" sayde the champioun, "Welcome mote thou be!

Come thou ones in myn hond schalt thou never thee."
 
235It was wel withinne the night and the moone schon,

Whan Gamelyn and the champioun togider gonne goon.

The champioun caste tornes to Gamelyn that was prest,ready

And Gamelyn stood stille and bad him doon his best.

Thanne seyde Gamelyn to the champioun,
240"Thou art faste aboute to bringe me adoun;

Now I have y-proved many tornes of thyne,

Thow most," he seyde, "Proven on or two of myne."
 

Gamelyn to the champioun yede smertely anon,

Of all the tornes that he cowthe he schewed him but oon,
245And caste him on the lefte syde that three ribbes to-brak,

And ther-to his oon arm that yaf a gret crak.

Thanne seyde Gamelyn smertely anoon,

"Schal it be holde for a cast or elles for noon?"
 

"By God!" seyde the champioun, "Whether that it be,
250He that cometh ones in thin hand schal he never thee!"
 

Than seyde the frankeleyn that had his sones there,

"Blessed be thou, Gamelyn that ever thou bore were!"

The frankeleyn seyde to the champioun of him stood him noon eye,eye = awe

"This is yonge Gamelyn that taughte thee this pleye."
 
255Agein answerd the champioun that lyked nothing wel,In return

"He is a lither mayster and his pley is right fel;evil

Sith I wrastled first it is y-go ful yore,

But I was nevere in my lyf handeled so sore."
 

Gamelyn stood in the place allone withoute serk,shirt
260And seyde, "If ther be eny mo lat hem come to werk;

The champioun that peyned him to werke so sore,

It semeth by his continaunce that he wil no-more."

Gamelyn in the place stood as stille as stoon,

For to abyde wrasteling but ther com noon;
265Ther was noon with Gamelyn wolde wrastle more,

For he handled the champioun so wonderly sore.
 

Two gentil-men ther were that yemede the place,guarded

Comen to Gamelyn (God yeve him goode grace!)

And sayde to him, "Do on thyn hosen and thy schoon,
270For sothe at this tyme this feire is y-doon."
 

And than seyde Gamelyn, "So mot I wel fare,

I have nought yet halven-del sold up my ware."
 

Tho seyde the champioun, "So brouke I my sweere,As I enjoy (having) my head

He is a fool that ther-of byeth thou sellest it so deere."
 
275Tho sayde the frankeleyn that was in moche care,

"Felaw," he seyde, "Why lakkest thou his ware?dispriase, criticiz

By Seynt Jame in Galys that many man hath sought,Galicia

Yet it is to good cheep that thou hast y-bought."
 

Tho that wardeynes were of that wrastelingtho = those
280Come and broughte Gamelyn the ram and the ring,

And seyden, "Have, Gamelyn the ring and the ram,

For the beste wrasteler that ever here cam."
 

Thus wan Gamelyn the ram and the ring,

And wente with moche joye home in the morning.
285His brother seih wher he cam with the grete rowte,saw

And bad schitte the gate and holde him withoute.shut

The porter of his lord was ful sore agast,afraid

And sterte anon to the gate and lokked it fast.
 
 

[Fit III]
 
 

Now litheth, and lesteneth bothe yonge and olde,
290And ye schul heere gamen of Gamelyn the bolde.
 

Gamelyn come ther-to for to have comen in,

And thanne was it y-schet faste with a pin;

Than seyde Gamelyn, "Porter, undo the gate,

For many good mannes sone stondeth ther-at."
 
295Than answerd the porter and swor by Goddes berde,

"Thow ne schalt, Gamelyn come into this yerde."
 

"Thow lixt," sayde Gamelyn, "So browke I my chin!"

He smot the wiket with his foot and brak awey the pin.wicket

The porter seyh tho it might no better be,tho = then
300He sette foot on erthe and bigan to flee.

"By my faith," seyde Gamelyn, "That travail is y-lore,

For I am of foot as light as thou, though thou haddest swore."

Gamelyn overtook the porter and his teene wrak,pain wreaked

And gerte him in the nekke that the bon to-brak,struck
305And took him by that oon arm and threw him in a welle,

Seven fadmen it was deep as I have herd telle.fathoms
 

Whan Gamelyn the yonge thus hadde pleyd his play,

Alle that in the yerde were drewen hem away;

They dredden him ful sore for werkes that he wroughte,
310And for the faire company that he thider broughte.

Gamelyn yede to the gate and leet it up wyde;

He leet in alle maner men that gon in wolde or ryde,

And seyde, "Ye be welcome withouten eny greeve,

For we wiln be maistres heer and aske no man leve.
315Yestirday I lefte" seyde yonge Gamelyn,

"In my brother seller fyve tonne of wyn;

I wil not that this compaignye parten a-twinne,depart

And ye wil doon after me whyl eny sope is thrinne,And = IF

And if my brother grucche or make foul cheere,
320Other for spense of mete or drink that we spenden heere,dispensing

I am oure catour and bere oure aller purs,caterer

He schal have for his grucching Seint Maries curs.

My brother is a niggoun I swer by Cristes ore,miser

And we wil spende largely that he hath spared yore;saved for a long time
325And who that maketh grucching that we here dwelle,

He schal to the porter into the draw-welle."
 

Seven dayes and seven night Gamelyn held his feste,

With moche mirth and solas that was ther, and no cheste;strife

In a little toret his brother lay y-steke,turre
330And sey hem wasten his good but durste he not speke.saw
 

Erly on a morning on the eighte day,

The gestes come to Gamelyn and wolde gon here way.

"Lordes," seyde Gamelyn, "Wil ye so hye?hasten

Al the wyn is not yet dronke so brouke I myn ye;."
335Gamelyn in his herte was he ful wo,

Whan his gestes took her leve from him for to go;

He wolde they had lenger abide and they seyde "Nay,"

But bitaughte Gamelyn God, and good day.

Thus made Gamelyn his feest and broughte it wel to ende,
340And after his gestes toke leve to wende.
 
 

[Fit IV]
 
 

Litheth, and lesteneth and holdeth youre tonge,

And ye schul heere gamen of Gamelyn the yonge;

Herkeneth, lordinges and lesteneth aright,

Whan alle gestes were goon how Gamelyn was dight.
 
345Al the whyl that Gamelyn heeld his mangerye,feast

His brother thoughte on him be wreke with his treccherye.

Tho Gamelyns gestes were riden and y-goon,tho = when

Gamelyn stood allone frendes had he noon;

Tho after ful soone withinne a litel stounde,tho = then
350Gamelyn was y-taken and ful harde y-bounde.

Forth com the false knight out of the soleer,upper room

To Gamelyn his brother he yede ful neer,

And sayde to Gamelyn,, "Who made thee so bold

For to stroye my stoor of myn houshold?"
 
355"Brother," seyde Gamelyn, "Wraththe thee right nought,

For it is many day y-gon siththen it was bought;

For, brother, thou hast y-had by Seynt Richer,

Of fiftene plowes of lond this sixtene yer,

And of alle the beestes thou hast forth bred,
360That my fader me biquath on his deth-bed;

Of al this sixtene yeer I yeve thee the prow,profit

For the mete and the drink that we have spended now."

Thanne seyde the false knight (evel mot he thee!)
 

"Herkne, brother Gamelyn what I wol yeve thee;
365For of my body, brother heir geten have I noon,begotten

I wil make thee myn heir I swere by Seint Johan."
 

"Par ma foy!" sayde Gamelyn, "And if it so be,

And thou thenke as thou seyst God yelde it thee!"

Nothing wiste Gamelyn of his brotheres gyle;guile
370Therfore he him bigyled in a litel whyle.
 

"Gamelyn," seyde he, "O thing I thee telle;

Tho thou threwe my porter in the draw-welle,

I swor in that wraththe and in that grete moot,meeting

That thou schuldest be bounde bothe hand and foot;
375Therfore I thee biseche brother Gamelyn,

Lat me nought be forsworen; brother art thou myn;

Lat me binde thee now bothe hand and feet,

For to holde myn avow as I thee biheet."
 

"Brother," sayde Gamelyn, "Al-so mot I thee!
380Thou schalt not be forsworen for the love of me."

Tho made they Gamelyn to sitte; mighte he nat stonde,

Til they hadde him bounde bothe foot and honde.

The false knight his brother of Gamelyn was agast,

And sente aftir feteres to feteren him fast.
385His brother made lesinges on him ther he stood,lies

And tolde hem that comen in that Gamelyn was wood.

Gamelyn stood to a post bounden in the halle,

Tho that comen in ther lokede on him alle.

Ever stood Gamelyn even upright;
390But mete ne drink had he non neither day ne night.
 

Than seyde Gamelyn, "Brother, by myn hals,

Now I have aspyed thou art a party fals;

Had I wist that tresoun that thou haddest y-founde,

I wolde have yeve thee strokes or I had be bounde!"
395Gamelyn stood bounden stille as eny stoon;

Two dayes and two nightes mete had he noon.

Thanne seyde Gamelyn that stood y-bounde stronge,

"Adam Spenser, me thinkth I faste to longe;

Adam Spenser, now I byseche thee,
400For the mochel love my fader loved thee,

If thou may come to the keyes lese me out of bond,loose

And I wil parte with thee of my free lond."of = some of

Thanne seyde Adam, that was the spencer,provisoner, officer in charge of the kitche

"I have served thy brother this sixtene yeer,
405If I leete thee goon out of his bour,

He wolde say afterward I were a traytour."
 

"Adam," sayde Gamelyn, "So brouke I myn hals!neck

Thou schalt finde my brother atte laste fals;atte = at the

Therfor, brother Adam, louse me out of bond,
410And I wil parte with thee of my free lond."
 

"Up swich a forward" seyde Adam, "Y-wis,up = upon

I wil do therto al that in me is."
 

"Adam," seyde Gamelyn, "Al-so mot I thee,

I wol holde thee covenant and thou wil me."
415Anon as Adames lord to bedde was y-goon,

Adam took the keyes and leet Gamelyn out anoon;

He unlokked Gamelyn bothe handes and feet,

In hope of avauncement that he him biheet.
 

Than seyde Gamelyn, "Thanked be Goddes sonde!
420Now I am loosed bothe foot and honde;

Had I now eten and dronken aright,

Ther is noon in this hous schulde binde me this night."
 

Adam took Gamelyn as stille as ony stoon,

And ladde him in-to spence rapely and anon,quickly
425And sette him to soper right in a privee stede,

He bad him do gladly and Gamelyn so dede.

Anon as Gamelyn hadde eten wel and fyn,

And therto y-dronke wel of the rede wyn,

"Adam," seyde Gamelyn, "What is now thy reed?
430Wher I go to my brother and girde of his heed?"Wher = should
 

"Gamelyn," seyde Adam, "It schal not be so.

I can teche thee a reed that is worth the two.

I wot wel for sothe that this is no nay,

We schul have a mangery right on Soneday;dinner, feast
435Abbotes and priours many heer schal be,

And other men of holy chirche as I telle thee;

Thow schalt stonde up by the post as thou were hond-fast,

And I schal leve hem unloke; awey thou may hem cast.

Whan that they have eten and wasschen here hondes,
440Thou schalt biseke hem alle to bring thee out of bondes;

And if they wille borwe thee that were good game;ransom

Then were thou out of prisoun and I out of blame.

And if everich of hem say unto us "nay,"

I schal do an other, I swere by this day!
445Thou schalt have a good staf and I wil have another,

And Cristes curs have that oon that faileth that other!"
 

"Ye, for Gode!" sayde Gamelyn, "I say it for me,

If I fayle on my syde yvel mot I thee!

If we schul algate assoile hem of here sinne,
450Warne me, brother Adam whan I schal biginne."
 

"Gamelyn," seyde Adam, "By Seynte Charite,

I wil warne thee biforn whan that it schal be;

Whan I twinke on thee loke for to goon,

And cast awey the feteres and com to me anoon."
455"Adam," seide Gamelyn, "Blessed be thy bones!

That is a good counseil yeven for the nones;

If they werne me thanne to bringe me out of bendes,bonds

I wol sette goode strokes right on here lendes."loins
 

Tho the Sonday was y-come and folk to the feste,
460Faire they were welcomed both leste and meste;

And ever atte halle-dore as they comen in,

They caste their eye on yonge Gamelyn.

The false knight his brother, ful of trechery,

Alle the gestes that ther were atte mangery,
465Of Gamelyn his brother he tolde hem with mouthe

Al the harm and the schame that he telle couthe.

Tho they were served of messes two or three,dishes
 

Than seyde Gamelyn, "How serve ye me?

It is nought wel served, by God that al made!
470That I sitte fasting and other men make glade."

The false knight his brother, ther that he stood,

Tolde alle his gestes that Gamelyn was wood;

And Gamelyn stood stille and answerde nought,

But Adames wordes he held in his thought.
475Tho Gamelyn gan speke dolfully with-alle

To the grete lordes that saten in the halle:

"Lordes," he seyde, "For Cristes passioun,

Helpeth bringe Gamelyn out of prisoun."
 

Than seyde an abbot sorwe on his cheeke!
480"He schal have Cristes curs and Seynte Maries eeke,

That thee out of prisoun beggeth other borwe,

But ever worthe hem wel that doth thee moche sorwe."well be to them
 

After that abbot than spak another,

"I wold thin heed were of though thou were my brother!
485Alle that thee borwe foule mot hem falle!"

Thus they seyden alle that weren in the halle.
 

Than seyde a priour (yvel mot he thryve!),

"It is moche scathe, boy, that thou art on lyve."
 

"Ow!" seyde Gamelyn, "So brouke I my bon!
490Now I have aspyed that freendes have I non.

Cursed mot he worthe bothe fleisch and blood,

That ever do priour or abbot ony good!"
 

Adam the spencer took up the cloth,

And loked on Gamelyn and say that he was wroth;saw
495Adam on the pantrye litel he thoughte,

But two goode staves to halle-dore he broughte,

Adam loked on Gamelyn and he was war anoon,

And caste awey the feteres and he bigan to goon:

Tho he com to Adam he took that oo staf,
500And bigan to worche and goode strokes yaf.

Gamelyn cam in-to the halle and the spencer bothe,

And loked hem aboute as they had be wrothe;

Gamelyn sprengeth holy-water with an oken spire,sprig

That some that stoode upright fellen in the fire.
505There was no lewed man that in the halle stood,lay

That wolde do Gamelyn eny thing but good,

But stood bisyden and leet hem bothe werche,

For they hadde no rewthe of men of holy cherche;

Abbot or priour monk or chanoun,
510That Gamelyn overtok anon they yeeden doun.

Ther was non of hem alle that with his staf mette,

That he ne made him overthrowe and quitte him his dette.
 

"Gamelyn," seyde Adam, "For Seynte Charite,

Pay large liverey for the love of me,liberal allowance (many blows)
515And I wil kepe the dore so ever here I masse!

Er they ben assoyled there shal noon passe."
 

"Dowt thee nought," seyde Gamelyn, "Whyl we ben in-feere,together

Kep thou wel the dore and I wol werche heere;

Stere thee, good Adam and lat ther noon flee,
520And we schul telle largely how many that ther be."
 

"Gamelyn," seyde Adam, "Do hem but good;

They ben men of holy chirche draw of hem no blood,

Save wel the croune and do hem non harmes,

But brek bothe her legges and siththen here armes."
 
525Thus Gamelyn and Adam wroughte right fast,

And pleyden with the monkes and made hem agast.

Thider they come ryding jolily with swaynes,

And hom ayen they were y-lad in cartes and in waynes.wagons

Tho they hadden al y-don than seyde a gray frere,
530"Allas! Sire abbot, what dide we now heere?

Tho that we comen hider it was a cold reed,Tho that = when

Us hadde ben better at home with water and with breed."

Whyl Gamelyn made ordres of monkes and frere,

Ever stood his brother and made foul chere;
535Gamelyn up with his staf that he wel knew,

And gerte him in the nekke that he overthrew;

A litel above the girdel the rigge-bon to-barst;

And sette him in the feteres ther he sat arst.arst = erst, previously
 

"Sitte ther, brother" sayde Gamelyn,
540"For to colen thy blood as I dide myn."

As swithe as they hadde y-wroken hem on here foon,

They askeden watir and wisschen anoon,wash

What some for here love and some for here awe,

Alle the servants served hem of the beste lawe.
545The scherreve was thennes but a fyve myle,

And al was y-told him in a litel whyle,

How Gamelyn and Adam had doon a sory rees,attack

Bounden and y-wounded men ayein the kinges pees;

Tho bigan sone stryf for to wake,
550And the scherref was aboute Gamelyn for to take.
 
 

[Fit V]
 
 

Now lytheth and lesteneth, so God yif you good fyn,

And ye schul heere good game of yonge Gamelyn!
 

Four and twenty yonge men that heelden hem ful bolde,

Come to the schirref and seyde that they wolde
555Gamelyn and Adam fetten, by her fay;

The scherref yaf hem leve soth as I you say;

They hyeden faste wold they nought bilinne,haste

Til they come to the gate ther Gamelyn was inne.

They knokked on the gate the porter was ny,
560And loked out at an hol as man that was sly.

The porter hadde biholde hem a litel whyle,

He loved wel Gamelyn and was adrad of gyle,

And leet the wicket stonden y-steke ful stille,staked, barred

And asked hem withoute what was here wille.
565For al the grete company thanne spak but oon,

"Undo the gate, porter and lat us in goon."
 

Than seyde the porter, "So brouke I my chin,

Ye schul sey your erand er ye comen in."
 

"Sey to Gamelyn and Adam if here wille be,
570We wil speke with hem wordes two or thre."
 

"Felaw," seyde the porter, "Stond there stille,

And I wil wende to Gamelyn to witen his wille."

In wente the porter to Gamelyn anoon,

And seyde, "Sir, I warne you her ben come your foon;
575The scherreves meyne ben atte gate,sherrif's men

For to take you bothe; schulle ye nat scape."
 

"Porter," seyde Gamelyn, "So moot I wel thee!

I wil allowe thee thy wordes whan I my tyme see;reward you for

Go agayn to the yate and dwel with hem a whyle,
580And thou schalt see right sone, porter, a gyle.

Adam," sayde Gamelyn, "Looke thee to goon;

We have foo-men atte gate and frendes never oon;

It ben the schirrefes men that hider ben y-come,

They ben swore to-gidere that we schul be nome."
 
585"Gamelyn," seyde Adam, "Hye thee right blyve,hasten very quickly

And if I faile thee this day, evel mot I thryve!

And we schul so welcome the scherreves men,

That some of hem schul make here beddes in the fen."
 

Atte posterne-gate Gamelyn out wente,
590And a good cart-staf in his hand he hente;

Adam hente sone another gret staf,

For to helpe Gamelyn, and goode strokes yaf.

Adam felde tweyne and Gamelyn felde three,

The other setten feet on erthe and bigonne flee.
595"What?" seyde Adam, "So ever here I masse!

I have a draught of good wyn! Drink er ye passe!"
 

"Nay, by God!" sayde thay, "Thy drink is not good,

It wolde make mannes brayn to lyen in his hood."
 

Gamelyn stood stille and loked him aboute,
600And seih the scherreve come with a gret route.saw

"Adam," seyde Gamelyn, "What be now thy reedes?

Here cometh the scherreve and wil have oure heedes."
 

Adam sayde, "Gamelyn my reed is now this:

Abyde we no lenger, lest we fare amis:
605I rede that we to wode goon ar that we be founde,ar = ere

Better is us ther loos than in town y-bounde."

Adam took by the hond yonge Gamelyn;

And everich of hem two drank a draught of wyn,

And after took her cours and wenten her way;
610Tho fond the scherreve nest, but non ay.no egg
 

The scherreve lighte adoun and went in-to the halle,

And fond the lord y-fetered faste with-alle.

The scherreve unfetered him sone, and that anoon,

And sente after a leche to hele his rigge-boon.
 
615Lete we now this false knight lyen in his care,

And talke we of Gamelyn and loke how he fare.

Gamelyn in-to the woode stalkede stille,

And Adam the spenser lykede ful ille;

Adam swor to Gamelyn by Seynt Richer,
620"Now I see it is mery to be a spencer,

That lever me were keyes for to bere,

Than walken in this wilde woode my clothes to tere."
 

"Adam," seyde Gamelyn, "Dismaye thee right nought;

Many good mannes child in care is y-brought."
625And as they stoode talking bothen in-feere,

Adam herd talking of men and neyh, him thought, they were.

Tho Gamelyn under the woode lokede aright,

Sevene score of yonge men he saugh wel a-dight;

Alle satte atte mete in compas aboute.
630"Adam," seyde Gamelyn, "Now have we no doute,

After bale cometh boote thurgh grace of God almight;

Me thinketh of mete and drink that I have a sight."
 

Adam lokede tho under woode-bowgh,

And whan he seyh mete he was glad y-nough;
635For he hopede to God for to have his deel,share

And he was sore alonged after a good meel.

As he seyde that word the mayster outlawe

Saugh Gamelyn and Adam under woode-schawe.

"Yonge men," seyde the maister, "By the goode roode,cross
640I am war of gestes God sende us non but goode;

Yonder ben two yonge men wonder wel a-dight,

And paraventure ther ben mo who-so lokede aright.

Ariseth up, ye yonge men, and fetteth hem to me;

It is good that we witen what men they be."
 
645Up ther sterten sevene fro the diner,

And metten with Gamelyn and Adam spenser.

Whan they were neyh hem, than seyde that oon,

"Yeldeth up, yonge men your bowes and your floon."arrows
 

Thanne seyde Gamelyn that yong was of elde,
650"Moche sorwe mot he have that to you hem yelde!

I curse non other but right my-selve;

They ye fette to yow fyve thanne ye be twelve!"They = Though
 

Tho they herde by his word that might was in his arm,

Ther was non of hem alle that wolde do him harm,
655But sayde unto Gamelyn mildely and stille,

"Com afore our maister, and sey to him thy wille."
 

"Yonge men," sayde Gamelyn, "By your lewte,fealty

What man is your maister that ye with be?"
 

Alle they answerde withoute lesing,
660"Oure maister is y-crouned of outlawes king."
 

"Adam," seyde Gamelyn, "Go we in Cristes name;

He may neyther mete nor drink werne us, for schame.

If that he be hende and come of gentil blood,

He wol yeve us mete and drink and doon us som good."
 
665"By Seynt Jame!" seyde Adam, "What harm that I gete,

I wil auntre to the dore that I hadde mete."that = so that

Gamelyn and Adam wente forth in-feere,

And they grette the maister that they founde there.
 

Than seide the maister king of outlawes,
670"What seeke ye, yonge men under woode-schawes?"
 

Gamelyn answerde the king with his croune,

"He moste needes walke in woode that may not walke in towne.

Sire, we walke not heer noon harm for to do,

But if we meete with a deer to scheete ther-to,But if = Unless
675As men that ben hungry and mow no mete finde,

And ben harde bistad under woode-linde."
 

Of Gamelynes wordes the maister hadde routhe,

And seyde, "Ye schal have y-nough; have God my trouthe!"

He bad hem sitte ther adoun for to take reste;
680And bad hem ete and drinke, and that of the beste.

As they sete and eeten and dronke wel and fyn,

Than seyde that oon to that other, "This is Gamelyn."

Tho was the maister outlawe in-to counseil nome,

And told how it was Gamelyn that thider was y-come.
685Anon as he herde how it was bifalle,

He made him maister under him over hem alle.
 

Within the thridde wyke him com tyding,

To the maister outlawe that tho was her king,

That he schulde come hom his pees was y-mad;
690And of that goode tyding he was tho ful glad.

Tho seyde he to his yonge men, "Soth for to telle,

Me ben comen tydinges; I may no lenger dwelle."

Tho was Gamelyn anon withoute tarying,

Maad maister outlawe and crouned here king.
695Tho was Gamelyn crouned king of outlawes,

And walked a whyle under woode-schawes.
 

The false knight his brother was scherreve and sire,

And leet his brother endite for hate and for ire.be indicted

Tho were his bonde-men sory and nothing glad,
700When Gamelyn her lord, "Wolves-heed" was cryed and maad;outlaw

And sente out of his men wher they might him finde,

For to seke Gamelyn under woode-linde,

To telle him tydinges how the wind was went,

And al his good reved and his men schent.stol
705Whan they had him founde on knees they hem sette,

And a-doun with here hood and here lord grette;

"Sire, wraththe you nought for the goode roode,

For we have brought you tydinges but they be nat goode.

Now is thy brother scherreve and hath the baillye,rule, government
710And he hath endited thee and "Wolves-heed" doth thee crye."
 

"Allas!" seyde Gamelyn, "That ever I was so slak

That I ne hadde broke his nekke tho I his rigge brak!back

Goth, greteth hem wel, myn housbondes and wyf,

I wol ben atte nexte schire have God my lyf!"assizes
 
715Gamelyn com wel redy to the nexte schire,

And ther was his brother bothe lord and sire.

Gamelyn com boldelich in-to the moot-halle,court of justice

And putte a-doun his hood among the lordes alle;

"God save you alle, lordinges, that now here be!
720But broke-bak scherreve evel mot thou thee!

Why hast thou do me that schame and vilonye,

For to late endite me and `Wolves-heed' me crye?"
 

Tho thoughte the false knight for to ben awreke,

And leet take Gamelyn moste he no more speke;
725Might ther be no more grace but Gamelyn atte laste

Was cast in-to prisoun and fetered ful faste.

Gamelyn hath a brother that highte Sir Ote,

As good a knight and hende as mighte gon on foote.

Anon ther yede a messager to that goode knight,
730And tolde him al-togidere how Gamelyn was dight.treated
 

Anon as Sire Ote herde how Gamelyn was a-dight,

He was wonder sory was he no-thing light,

And leet sadle a steede and the way he nam,

And to his tweyne bretheren anon-right he cam.
735"Sire," seyde Sire Ote to the scherreve tho,

"We ben but three bretheren schul we never be mo;

And thou hast y-prisoned the beste of us alle;

Swich another brother yvel mot him bifalle!"
 

"Sire Ote," seide the false knight, "Lat be thy curs;
740By God, for thy wordes he schal fare the wurs;

To the kinges prisoun anon he is y-nome,

And ther he schal abyde til the Justice come."judge
 

"Parde!" seyde Sir Ote, "Better it schal be;

I bidde him to maynpris, that thou graunte him me,I offer bail for him
745Til the nexte sitting, of deliveraunce,

And thanne lat Gamelyn stande to his chaunce."
 

"Brother, in swich a forward I take him to thee;give

And by thy fader soule, that thee bigat and me,

But if he be redy whan the Justice sitte,But if = Unless
750Thou schalt bere the juggement for al thy grete witte."
 

"I graunte wel," seide sir Ote, "That it so be.

Let deliver him anon and tak him to me."
 

Tho was Gamelyn delivered to Sire Ote his brother,

And that night dwellede that on with that other.
755On the morn seyde Gamelyn to Sire Ote the hende,

"Brother," he seide, "I moot for sothe, from thee wende,

To loke how my yonge men leden here lyf,

Whether they liven in joye or elles in stryf."
 

"By God!" seyde Sire Ote, "That is a cold reed,
760Now I see that al the cark schal fallen on myn heed;charge, responsibility

For when the Justice sitte and thou be nought y-founde,

I schal anon be take and in thy stede y-bounde."
 

"Brother," sayde Gamelyn, "Dismaye thee nought,

For by Seint Jame in Gales that many man hath sought,Galicia
765If that God almighty holde my lyf and wit,

I wil be ther redy whan the Justice sit."
 

Than seide Sir Ote to Gamelyn, "God schilde thee fro schame;

Com whan thou seest tyme, and bring us out of blame."
 
 

[Fit VI]
 
 

Litheth, and lesteneth and holdeth you stille,
770And ye schul here how Gamelyn hadde al his wille!
 

Gamelyn wente ayein under woode-rys,

And fond there pleying yonge men of prys.

Tho was yong Gamelyn glad and blithe y-nough,

Whan he fond his mery men under woode-bough.
775Gamelyn and his men talkeden in-feere,together

And they hadde good game here maister to heere;

They tolden him of aventures that they hadde founde,

And Gamelyn hem tolde ayein how he was fast y-bounde.

Whyl Gamelyn was outlawed hadde he no cors;curse
780There was no man that for him ferde the wors,

But abbotes and priours monk and chanoun;

On hem left he no-thing whan he mighte hem nom.take
 

Whyl Gamelyn and his men made merthes ryve,rife, many

The false knight his brother, yvel mot he thryve,
785For he was fast aboute bothe day and other,

For to hyre the quest to hangen his brother.bribe the jury

Gamelyn stood on a day and, as he biheeld

The woodes and the schawes in the wilde feeld,

He thoughte on his brother how he him beheet
790That he wolde be redy whan the Justice seet;

He thoughte wel that he wolde, withoute delay,

Come afore the Justice to kepen his day,

And seide to his yonge men, "Dighteth you yare,prepare yourselves quickly

For whan the Justice sitte we moote be thare,
795For I am under borwe til that I come,pledge

And my brother for me to prisoun schal be nome."taken
 

"By Seint Jame!" seyde his yonge men, "And thou rede therto,

Ordeyne how it schal be, and it schal be do."
 

Whyl Gamelyn was coming ther the Justice sat,
800The false knight his brother foryat he nat that,

To huyre the men on his quest to hangen his brother;

Though he hadde nought that oon, he wolde have that other.

Tho cam Gamelyn fro under woode-rys,

And broughte with him his yonge men of prys.
805"I see wel," seyde Gamelyn, "The Justice is set;

Go aforn, Adam and loke how it spet."spet = speedeth,goes
 

Adam wente into the halle and loked al aboute,

He seyh there stonde lordes grete and stoute,

And Sir Ote his brother fetered wel fast;
810Tho went Adam out of halle as he were agast.

Adam said to Gamelyn and to his felawes alle,

"Sir Ote stant y-fetered in the moot-halle."
 

"Yonge men," seide Gamelyn, "This ye heeren alle;

Sire Ote stant y-fetered in the moot-halle.
815If God yif us grace wel for to doo,

He schal it abegge that broughte him ther-too."
 

Thanne sayde Adam that lokkes hadde hore,

"Cristes curs mote he have that him bond so sore!

And thou wilt, Gamelyn, do after my reed,
820Ther is noon in the halle schal bere awey his heed."
 

"Adam," seyde Gamelyn, "We wiln nought don so;

We wil slee the giltif and lat the other go.

I wil into the halle and with the Justice speke;

On hem that ben gultif I wil ben awreke.revenged
825Lat non scape at the dore take, yonge men, yeme;care

For I wil be Justice this day domes for to deme.

God spede me this day at my newe werk!

Adam, com on with me for thou schalt be my clerk."
 

His men answereden him and bade him doon his best,
830"And if thou to us have neede, thou schalt finde us prest;ready

We wiln stande with thee whyl that we may dure,

And but we werke manly pay us non hure."but = unless
 

"Yonge men," seyde Gamelyn, "So mot I wel thee!

As trusty a maister ye schal finde of me."
835Right there the Justice sat in the halle,

In wente Gamelyn amonges hem alle.

Gamelyn leet unfetere his brother out of bende.
 

Thanne seyde Sire Ote, his brother that was hende,

"Thou haddest almost, Gamelyn, dwelled to longe,
840For the quest is oute on me that I schulde honge."
 

"Brother," seyde Gamelyn, "So God yif me good rest!

This day they schuln ben hanged that ben on thy quest;

And the Justice bothe that is the jugge-man,

And the scherreve bothe; thurgh him it bigan."
845Thanne seyde Gamelyn to the Justise,

"Now is thy power y-don; thou most nedes arise;

Thow hast yeven domes that ben yvel dight,

I wil sitten in thy sete and dressen hem aright."arrange
 

The Justice sat stille and roos nought anoon;
850And Gamelyn clevede [a-two] his cheeke-boon;

Gamelyn took him in his arm and no more spak,

But threw him over the barre and his arm to-brak.

Durste non to Gamelyn seye but good,

For ferd of the company that withoute stood.
855Gamelyn sette him doun in the Justices seet,

And Sire Ote his brother by him and Adam at his feet.
 

Whan Gamelyn was y-set in the Justices stede,

Herkneth of a bourde that Gamelyn dede.

He leet fetre the Justice and his false brother,
860And dede hem come to the barre that oon with that other.made them

Tho Gamelyn hadde thus y-doon hadde he no reste,

Til he had enquered who was on the queste

For to deme his brother, Sir Ote, for to honge;

Er he wiste which they were him thoughte ful longe.
865But as sone as Gamelyn wiste wher they were,

He dede hem everichone feteren in-feere,

And bringen hem to the barre and sette hem in rewe;in a row

"By my faith!" seyde the Justice, "The scherreve is a schrewe!"
 

Than seyde Gamelyn to the Justise,
870"Thou hast y-yeve domes of the wors assise;

And the twelve sisours that weren of the queste,jurymen

They schul ben hanged this day so have I good reste!"
 

Thanne seide the scherreve to yonge Gamelyn,

"Lord, I crye the mercy; brother art thou myn."the = thee
 
875"Therfore," seyde Gamelyn, "Have thou Cristes curs,

For, and thou were maister, yit I schulde have wors."and = if

For to make short tale and nought to tarie longe,

He ordeyned him a queste of his men so stronge;

The Justice and the scherreve bothe honged hye,
880To weyven with the ropes and with the winde drye;

And the twelve sisours (sorwe have that rekke!)jurymen

Alle they were hanged faste by the nekke.

Thus ended the false knight with his treccherye,

That ever hadde y-lad his lyf in falsnes and folye.
885He was hanged by the nekke and nought by the purs;

That was the meede that he hadde for his fadres curs.reward
 

Sire Ote was eldest and Gamelyn was ying,

They wenten with here frendes even to the king;

They made pees with the king of the best assise.
890The king loved wel Sir Ote and made him Justise.

And after, the king made Gamelyn, bothe in est and west,

Chief Justice of al his free forest;

Alle his wighte yonge men the king foryaf here gilt,stout

And sitthen in good office the king hem hath y-pilt.put
895Thus wan Gamelyn his lond and his leede,people, serfs

And wrak him of his enemys and quitte hem here meede;

And Sire Ote his brother made him his heir,

And siththen wedded Gamelyn a wyf bothe good and feyr;

They liveden to-gidere whyl that Crist wolde,
900And sithen was Gamelyn graven under molde.earth

And so schal we alle may ther no man flee:

God bringe us to the joye that ever schal be!

 

The text (glosses added) is from Volume VII of Skeat's Oxford Chaucer.
Back to Geoffrey Chaucer Page | (Or use your browser's back button to return to the previous page.)

Last modified: May, 12, 2000
Copyright © The President and Fellows of Harvard College

Gold Texts on this page prepared and maintained by L. D. Benson (ldb@wjh.harvard.edu)