Guy of Warwick

Auchinleck version, Part II (c. 1330)

[This is Part II of a three-part cycle of the Romance of Guy of Warwick as preserved in the Auchinleck MS. (Part I narrates Guy's early adventures and marriage to Felice; Part II tells of his life from his marriage to his death; part III tells of the adventures of his son Reinbrun.

The text, lightly regularised and glossed, is from the edition by J. Zupitza, The Romance of Guy of Warwick, EETS 49, 1887).

For most of the words not glossed in the margins see the glossary to the Riverside Chaucer; the language of this romance has been little studied, and some constructions remain doubtful. A question mark signals a doubtful gloss. Note that the division into sections is purely for the convenience of the reader, and is not a featiure of the manuscripts .]








































































































































































































God graunt hem heven blis to mede
That herken to mi romaunce rede
  Al of a gentil knight:
The best bodi he was at nede
That ever might bistriden stede,
  And freest founde in fight.
The word of him ful wide it ran,
Over al this world the priis he wan
  As man most of might.
Bolder bern was non in bi:
His name was hoten sir Guy
  Of Warwike, wise and wight.

Wight he was, for sothe to say,
And holden for priis in everi play
  As knight of gret bounte.
Out of this lond he went his way
Thurgh mani divers cuntray,
  That was biyond the see.
Seththen he com into Inglond,
And Athelston the king he fond,
  That was bothe hende and fre.
For his love, ich under-stond,
He slough a dragoun in Northhumberlond,
  Ful fer in the north cuntre.

He and Herhaud, for sothe to say,
To Wallingforth toke the way,
  That was his faders toun.
Than was his fader, sothe to say,
Ded and birid in the clay:
  His air was sir Gioun.
Alle that held of him lond or fe
Deden him omage and feute,
  And com to his somoun.
He tok alle his faders lond,
And yaf it hende Herhaud in hond
  Right to his warisoun.

And alle that hadde in his servise be
He yaf hem gold and riche fe
  Ful hendeliche on honde,
And seththen he went with his meyne
To th'erl Rohaud, that was so fre:
  At Warwike he him fond.
Alle than were thai glad and blithe,
And thonked God a thousand sithe
  That Guy was comen to lond.
Sethe on hunting thai gun ride
With knightes fele and miche pride
  As ye may understond.

On a day sir Guy gan fond,
And feir Felice he tok bi hond,
  And seyd to that bird so blithe:
"Ichave," he seyd, "thurgh Godes sond
Won the priis in mani lond
  Of knightes strong and stithe,
And me is boden gret onour,
Kinges douhter and emperour
  To have to mi wive.
Ac, swete Felice," he seyd than,
"Y ne schal never spouse wiman
  Whiles thou art alive."

Than answerd that swete wight,
And seyd ayain to him ful right:
  "Bi him that schope mankinne,
Icham desired day and night
Of erl, baroun, and mani a knight.
  For nothing wil thai blinne.
Ac Guy," sche seyd, "hende and fre,
Al mi love is layd on thee:
  Our love schal never twinne,
And bot ich have thee to make
Other lord nil y non take,
  For al this world to winne."

Anon to hir than answerd Guy,
To fair Felice, that sat him bi,
  That semly was of sight:
"Leman," he seyd, "gramerci!"
With joie and with melodi
  He kist that swete wight.
Than was he bothe glad and blithe:
His joie couthe he noman kithe
  For that bird so bright.
He ne was never ther-biforn
Half so blithe sethe he was born
  For nought that man him hight.

On a day th'erl gan fond,
And fair Felice he tok bi hond,
  And hir moder biside:
"Douhter," he seyd, "now under-stond;
Why wiltow have non husbond
  That might thee spouse with pride?
Thou has ben desired of mani man,
And yete ne wostow never nan
  For nought that might bitide.
Leve douhter hende and fre,
Telle me now, par charite,
  What man thou wilt abide."

Felice answerd ayain:
"Fader," quoth hye, "ichil thee sain
  With wordes fre and hende.
Fader," quoth sche, "ichil ful fayn
Tel thee at wordes twain,
  Bi him that schop mankende,
Upon sir Guy, that gentil knight,
Y-wis, mi love is alle alight,
  In world where that he wende;
And bot he spouse me, at o word,
Y ne kepe never take lord
  Day withouten ende."

Than seyd th'erl with wordes fre,
"Douhter, y-blisced mot thou be
  Of Godes mouthe to mede.
Ich hadde wele lever than al mi fe
With than he wold spousy thee,
  That douhti man of dede.
He hath ben desired of mani woman,
And he hath forsaken hem everilcan,
  That worthly were in wede.
Ac natheles ichil to him fare,
For to witen of his answare,
  That douhti man of dede."

On a day, withouten lesing,
Th'erl him rode on dere hunting,
  And sir Guy the conquerour.
Als thai riden on her talking
Thai speken togider of mani thing,
  Of levedis bright in bour.
Th'erl seyd to sir Guy hende and fre,
"Tel me the sothe, par charite,
  Y pray thee par amoure:
Hastow ment ever in thi live
Spouse ani wiman to wive
  That falleth to thine onour?"

Sir Guy answerd and seyd than,
"Bi him," he seyd, "that this world wan,
  To saven al man-kende,
Bi nought that y tel can
Y nil never spouse wiman
  Save on is fre and hende."
"Sir," quoth th'erl, "listen nou to me:
Y have a douhter bright on ble;
  Y pray thee, leve frende,
To wive wiltow hir understond?
Y schal the sese in al mi lond,
  To hold with-outen ende."

"Gramerci!" seyd Guy anon;
"So help me Crist and seyn Jon,
  And y schuld spouse a wive
Ich hadde lever hir bodi alon
Than winnen al this worldes won
  With ani woman alive."
Than seyd th'erl, "Gramerci!"
And in his armes he kist sir Guy,
  And thonked him mani a sithe.
"Sir Guy," he seyd, "thou art mi frende:
Now thou wilt spouse mi dohter hende
  Was y never are so blithe.

Ac certes," seyd th'erl so fre,
"Sir Guy, yif thou wilt trowe me
  No lenger thou ne schalt abide:
Now for fourtenight it schal be
The bridal hold with gamen and gle
  At Warwike in that tyde."
Than was sir Guy glad and blithe:
His joie couthe he no man kithe.
  To his ostel he gan ride.
And tho Guy com hom to his frende,
He schuld spouse his douhter hende
  He teld Herhaud that tide.

Th'erl Rouhaud as swithe dede sende
After lordinges fer and hende
  That pris wel told in tour.
When the time was comen to th'ende
To chirche wel feir gun thai wende
  With mirthe and michel onour.
Miche semly folk was gadred thare
Of erls, barouns lasse and mare,
  And levedis bright in bour.
Than spoused sir Guy that day
Fair Felice, that miri may,
  With joie and gret vigour.

When he hadde spoused that swete wight
The fest lasted a fourtennight,
  That frely folk in fere
With erl, baroun, and mani a knight,
And mani a levedy fair and bright,
  The best in lond that were.
Ther wer yiftes for the nones,
Gold, and silver, and precious stones,
  And druries riche and dere.
Ther was mirthe and melody,
And al maner menstracie
  As ye may fortheward here.

Ther was trumpes and tabour,
Fithel, croude, and harpour,
  Her craftes for to kithe,
Organisters and gode stiuours,
Minstrels of mouthe, and mani dysour,
  To glade tho bernes blithe.
Ther nis no tong may telle in tale
The joie that was at that bridale
  With menske and mirthe to mithe;
For ther was al maner of gle
That hert might thinke other eyye se
  As ye may list and lithe.

Erls, barouns hende and fre,
That ther war gadred of mani cuntre,
  That worthliche were in wede,
Thai yoven glewemen for her gle
Robes riche, gold, and fe:
  Her yiftes were nought gnede.
On the fiften day ful yare
Thai toke her leve for to fare,
  And thonked hem her gode dede.
Than hadde Guy, that gentil knight,
Feliis to his wil day and night
  In gest al-so we rede.

When Guy hadde spoused that hendy flour,
Fair Feliis, so bright in bour,
  That was him leve and dere,
Y-wis, in Warwike in that tour
Fiften days with honour
  With joie togider thai were.
So it bifel that first night
That he neyyed that swete wight
  A child thai geten y-fere,
And seththen with sorwe and sikeing sare
Her joie turned hem into care
  As ye may forward here.

Than was sir Guy of gret renoun
And holden lord of mani a toun
  As prince proude in pride;
That erl Rohaut and sir Gyoun,
In fretthe to fel the dere adoun,
  On hunting thai gun ride.
It bi-fel upon a somers day
That sir Guy at Warwike lay
  (In herd is nought to hide);
At night, in tale as it is told,
To bedde went the bernes bold
  Bi time, to rest that tide.

To a turet sir Guy is went,
And biheld that firmament,
  That thicke with steres stode.
On Jesu omnipotent,
That alle his honour hadde him lent,
  He thought with dreri mode;
Hou he hadde ever ben strong werrour,
For Jesu love, our saveour,
  Never ne dede he gode.
Mani man he hadde slayn with wrong.
"Allas, allas!" it was his song:
  For sorwe he yede ner wode.

"Allas," he seyd, "that y was born:
Bodi and soule icham forlorn.
  Of blis icham al bare.
For never in al mi liif biforn
For him that bar the croun of thorn
  Gode dede dede y nare;
Bot wer and wo ichave wrought,
And mani a man to grounde y-brought:
  That rewes me ful sare.
To bote min sinnes ichil wende
Barfot to mi lives ende,
  To bid mi mete with care."

As Guy stode thus in tour alon
In hert him was ful wo bigon:
  "Allas!" it was his song.
Than com Feliis sone anon,
And herd him make rewely mon
  With sorwe and care among.
"Leman," sche seyd, "what is thi thought?
Whi artow thus in sorwe brought?
  Methenke thi pain wel strong.
Hastow ought herd of me bot gode,
That thou makes thus dreri mode?
  Y-wis, thou hast gret wrong."

"Leman," seyd Guy ayain,
"Ichil thee telle the sothe ful fain
  Whi icham brought to grounde.
Seththen y thee seyye first with ayn
("Allas the while," y may sayn)
  Thi love me hath so y-bounde,
That never seththen ne dede y gode,
Bot in wer schadde mannes blode
  With mani a griseli wounde.
Now may me rewe al mi live.
That ever was y born o wive,
  Wayle-way that stounde!

Ac yif ich hadde don half the dede
For him that on rode gan blede
  With grimly woundes sare,
In hevene he wold have quit mi mede,
In joie to won with angels wede
  Ever-more with-outen care.
Ac for thi love ich have al wrought:
For his love dede y never nought.
  Jesu amende mi fare!
Therfore ich wot that icham lorn:
Allas the time that y was born!
  Of blis icham al bare.

Bot God is curteys and hende,
And so dere he hath bought mankende,
  For nothing wil hem lete.
For his love ichil now wende
Barfot to mi lives ende,
  Mine sinnes for to bete,
That where so y lye anight
Y schal never be seyn with sight
  Bi way ne bi strete.
Of alle the dedes y may do wel
God graunt thee, lef, that halvendel
  And Marie, his moder swete."

Than stode that hende levedi stille,
And in hir hert hir liked ille,
  And gan to wepe anon.
"Leman," sche seyd, "what is thi wille?
Y-wis, thi speche wil me spille:
  Y not what y may don.
Y wot thou hast in sum cuntre
Spoused another woman than me,
  That thou wilt to hir gon.
And now thou wilt fro me fare,
Allas, allas, now cometh mi care:
  For sorwe ichil me slon.

For wer and wo thatow hast wrought,
God that al mankende hath bought
  So curteys he is and hende,
Schrive thee wele in word and thought,
And than thee tharf dout right nought
  Ayaines the foule fende.
Chirches and abbays thou might make
That schal pray for thi sake
  To him that schope mankende:
Hastow no nede to go me fro,
Save thou might thi soule fram wo
  In joie withouten ende."

"Leve leman," than seyd sir Guy,
"Lete ben alle this reweful cri:
  It is nought worth thi tale.
For mani a bern and knight hardi
Ich have y-sleyn, sikerly,
  And strued cites fale,
And for ich have destrued mankin
Y schal walk for mi sinne
  Barfot bi doun and dale.

That ich have with mi bodi wrought
With mi bodi it schal be bought,
  To bote me of that bale.
Leman," he seyd, "par charite,
Astow art bothe hende and fre,
  O thing y the pray:
Loke thou make no sorwe for me,
Bot hold thee stille astow may be
  Til to-morwe at day.
Gret wele thi fader, that is so hende,
And thi moder, and al thi frende
  Bi sond as y thee say.

Grete wele Herhaud, y thee biseche.
Leman, God y thee biteche:
  Y wil fare forth in mi way.
Leman, y warn thee biforn,
With a knave child thou art y-corn,
  That doughti beth of dede.
For him that bar the croun of thorn
Therfore as sone as it is born
  Pray Herhaud wight in wede
He teche mi sone as he wele can
Al the thewes of gentil man,
  And helpe him at his nede;
For he is bothe gode and hende,
And ever he hath ben trewe and kende:
  God quite him his mede!

Leman," he seyd, "have here mi brond,
And take mi sone it in his hond,
  Astow art hende and fre!
He may ther-with, ich under-stond,
Winne the priis in everi lond;
  For better may non be.
Leman," he seyd, "have now gode day:
Ichil fare forth in mi way,
  And wende in mi jurne."
Thai kist hem in armes two,
And bothe thai fel aswon tho.
  Gret diol it was to se.

Gret sorwe thai made at her parting,
And kist hem with eyyen wepeing:
  Bi the hond sche gan him reche.
"Leman," sche seyd, "have here this ring,
For Jesus love heven-king
  A word y thee biseche:
When thou ert in fer cuntre
Loke heron, and thenk on me,
  And God y thee biteche."
With that word he went hir fro
Wepeand with eyyen two
  Withouten more speche.

Now is Guy fram Warwike fare,
Unto the se he went ful yare,
  And passed over the flod.
The levedy bileft at hom in care
With sorwe, and wo, and sikeing sare:
  Wel drery was hir mode.
"Allas, allas!" it was hir song:
Hir here sche drough, hir hond sche wrong,
  Hir fingres brast o blode.

Al that night til it was day
Hir song it was "wayleway":
  For sorwe sche yede ner wode.
Hir lordes swerd sche drough biforn,
And thought have slain hirself for sorn
  Withouten more delay.
To sle hirselven, er the child wer born,
Sche thought hir soule it wer forlorn
  Evermore at domesday,
And that hir fader, hir frendes ichon
Schuld seyn hir lord it hadde y-don,
  And were so fled away.

Therfore sche dede his swerd ayain,
Elles for sorwe sche hadde hir slain,
  In gest as y you say.
Arliche amorwe when it was day
To chaumber, ther hir fader lay,
  Sche com wringand hir hond.
"Fader," sche seyd, "ichil thee say
Mi lord is went fro me his way,
  In pilgrimage to fond.
He will passe over the se,
Schal he never com to me
  Ayain into Inglond."

For sorwe that sche hadde that stounde
Aswon sche fel adoun to grounde:
  O fot ne might sche stonde.
"Douhter," seyd hir fader, "lat be.
Y trowe nought that sir Guy the fre
  Is thus fram thee fare.
Y-wis, he nis nought passed the se:
He ne doth nought bot for to fond thee,
  Hou trewe of hert thou ware."
"Nay, sir," sche seyd, "so God me spede,
He is walked in pover wede,
  To beggen his mete with care.
And ther-fore now singen y may,
"Allas the time and wayleway
  That mi moder me bare.""

Th'erl ros up with sikeing sare,
For sir Guy was fram him fare:
  In hert him was ful wo,
And alle his frendes lesse and mare
For sir Guy thai hadde gret care,
  For he was went hem fro.
Thai sought him than al about
Within the cite and without,
  Ther he was won to go.
And when thai founde him nought that day
There was mani a wayleway,
  Wrin-gand her hondes two.

And when Guy was fram hem gon
Herhaud, and his frendes ichon,
  And other barouns him by
To th'erl Rohaut thai seyden anon,
"The best rede that we can don,
  Smertliche and hastily
Messangers we schul now sende
Over alle this lond fer and hende,
  To seche mi lord sir Guy.
And yif he be nought in this lond
He is in Loreyn, ich understond,
  With his brother Tirry."

Menssangers anon thai sende
Over al this lond fer and hende
  Fram Londen in-to Louthe,
Over al biyonde Humber and Trent,
And est and west thurgh-out al Kent
  To the haven of Portesmouthe.
Thai sought him over al up and doun,
Over alle the lond in everich toun
  Bi costes that wer couthe,
And seththen to Warwike thai gan wende,
And seyd thai might him no-whar fende
  Bi north ne bi southe.

Herhaud was wele under-stond
That Guy was fer in uncouthe lond.
  Ful hende he was and fre:
Palmers wede he tok on hond,
To seche his lord he wold fond
  Unto the Grekis see.
To th'erl Rohaut he seyd anon
To seche his lord he most gon
  Thurgh alle Christiante.
When th'erl seye him thus y-dight,
"Thou art," he seyd, "a trewe knight:
  Y-blisced mot thou be."

Tho went Herhaud so trewe in tale
To seche his lord in londes fale:
  For nothing he nold abide.
He yede over alle bi doun and dale
To everi court and kinges sale
  Bi mani a lond side,
Thurgh Normondye and alle Speyne,
Into Fraunce and thurgh Breteyne:
  He yede bothe fer and wide
Thurgh Lorain and thurgh Lombardye,
And never ne herd he telle of Guy
  For nought that might bitide.

When Herhaud had sought him fer and hende,
And he ne might him no-whar fende,
  Noither bi se ne sond,
Into Inglond he gan wende,
And th'erl Rohaut and al his frende
  At Warwike he hem fond,
And teld he hadde his lord sought,
And that he ne might finde him nought
  In non skinnes lond.
Mani a moder child that day
Wepe and gan say, "waileway,"
  Wel sore wringand her hond.

Now herken, and ye may here
In gest, yif ye wil listen and lere,
  Hou Guy as pilgrim yede.
He welke about with glad chere
Thurgh mani londes fer and nere,
  Ther god him wold spede.
First he went to Jerusalem,
  And seththen he went to Bedlem
  Thurgh mani an uncouthe thede.
Yete he bithought him seththen tho
For to sechen halwen mo,
  To winne him heven mede.

Tho he went his pilgrimage
Toward the court of Antiage,
  Bi this half that cite
He mett a man of fair parage:
Y-comen he was of heyye linage,
  And of kin fair and fre.
Michel he was of bodi y-pight,
A man he semed of michel might
  And of gret bounte,
With white-hore heved and berd y-blowe,
As white as ani driven snowe:
  Gret sorwe than made he.

So gret sorwe ther he made,
Sir Guy of him rewthe hade.
  He gan to wepe so sare,
His cloth he rent, his here to-tore,
And curssed the time that he was bore:
  Wel diolful was his fare.
More sorwe made never man.
Guy stode and loked on him than,
  And hadde of him gret care.
He seyd, "allas and walewo!
Al mi joie it is ago.
  Of blis icham al bare."

"Gode man, what artow," seyd Guy,
"That makest thus this reweful cri
  And thus sorweful mone?
Methenke, for the icham sori,
For that thine hert is thus drery,
  Thi joie is fro thee gon.
Telle me the sothe, y pray thee
For Godes love in trinite,
  That this world hath in won;
For Jesu is of so michel might,
He may make thine hert light,
  And thou nost never hou son."

"Gode man," seyd the pilgrim,
"Thou hast me frained bi god thin
  To telle thee of mi fare,
And alle the soth with-outen les
Ichil thee telle, hou it wes,
  Of blis hou icham bare.
So michel sorwe is on me steke,
That min hert it wil to-breke
  With sorwe and sikeing sare.
Forlorn ich have al mi blis:
Y ne schal never have joie, y-wis.
  In erthe y wold y ware.

A man y was of state sum stounde,
And holden a lord of gret mounde,
  And erl of al Durras.
Fair sones ich hadde fiftene,
And alle were knightes stout and kene.
  Men cleped me th'erl Jonas.
Y trowe in this world is man non,
Y-wis, that is so wo-bi-gon,
  Seththen the world made was;
For alle min sones ich have forlorn:
Better berns were non born.
  Therfore y sing, "allas!"

For blithe worth y never more:
Alle mi sones ich have forlore
  Thurgh a batayl unride,
Thurgh Sarrazins that fel wore:
To Jerusalem thai com ful yore
  To rob and reve with pride,
And we toke our ost anon,
Ayaines hem we gun gon,
  Bateyl of hem to abide.
The acountre of hem was so strong,
That mani dyed ther-among,
  Or we wold rest that tide.

Thurgh mi fiftene sone
Were the geauntes over-come,
  And driven doun to grounde.
Fiftene amirals ther wer nome:
The king gan fle with alle his trome
  For drede of us that stounde.
Ich and mi sones, withouten lesing,
Out of that lond we driven the king,
  And his men yaf dedli wounde.
The king him hight Triamour:
A lord he was of gret honour,
  And man of michel mounde.

Than dede we wel-gret foly:
We suwed him with maistrie
  Into his owhen lond.
Into Alisaundre thai fleye owy:
The cuntre ros up with a cri,
  To help her king anhond.
In a brom feld ther wer hidde
Thre hundred Sarrazins wele y-schridde
  With helme and grimly brond.
Out of that brom thai lepen anon,
And bilapped us ever-ichon,
  And drof us alle to schond.

Thai hewen at us with michel hete,
And we leyd on hem dintes grete,
  And slouwen of her ferred.
And ar that we were alle y-nome
Mani of hem were overcome,
  Ded wounded under wede.
Thai were too mani and we too fewe:
Al our armour thai to-hewe,
  And stiked under us our stede.
Yete we foughten afot long,
Til swerdes brosten that were strong,
  And than yeld we us for nede.

To the king we yolden us al and some
That we might to raunsom come,
  To save our lives ichon.
Into Alisaunder he ladde us tho,
And into his prisoun dede us do,
  Was maked of lime and ston.
Litel was our drink and lasse our mete,
For hunger we wende our lives lete:
  Wel wo was us bigon.
So were we ther alle that yer
With michel sorwe bothe y-fere,
  That socour com us non.

So it bifel that riche Soudan
Made a fest of mani a man,
  Of thritti kinges bi tale.
King Triamour com to court tho,
And Fabour, his sone, dede also,
  With knightes mani and fale.
The thridde day of that fest,
That was so riche and so honest,
  So derlich dight in sale --
After that fest, that riche was,
Ther bifel a wonder cas,
  Wher-thurgh ros michel bale.

That riche Soudan hadde a sone
That was y-hold a doughti gome:
  Sadok was his name.
The kinges sone Fabour he cleped him to:
Into his chaumber thai gun go,
  Tho knightes bothe y-same.
Sadok gan to Fabour sayn
Yif he wold ate ches playn,
  And held ayain him game;
And he answerd in gode maner
He wold play with him y-fere,
  With-outen ani blame.

Ate ches thai sett hem to playn,
Tho hendy knightes bothe twayn,
  That egre were of sight:
Er thai hadde don half a game,
With strong wretthe thai gan to grame,
  Tho gomes michel of might.
Thurgh a chek Fabour seyd, for soth,
Sadok in hert wex wroth,
  And missayd him anon right,
And cleped him "fiz a putayn,"
And smot him with might and main,
  Wher-thurgh ros michel fight.

With a roke he brac his heved than,
That the blod biforn out span
  In that ich place.
"Sadok," seyd than Fabour,
"Thou dost me gret deshonour
  That thou me manace.
Nar thou mi lordes sone were,
Thou schuldest dye right now here:
  Schustow never hennes passe."
Sadok stirt up to Fabour,
And cleped him anon "vile traitour,"
  And smot him in the face.

With his fest he smot him thore,
That Fabour was agreved sore,
  And stirt up in that stounde.
The cheker he hent up fot hot,
And Sadok in the heved he smot,
  That he fel ded to grounde.
His fader sone he hath y-teld
That he hath the Soudan sone aqueld,
  And yoven him dethes wounde.
On hors thai lopen than bilive,
Out of the lond thai gun drive
  For ferd thai were y-founde.

When it was the Soudan teld,
That his sone was aqueld,
  And brought of his liif dawe,
On al maner he him bithought
Hou that he him wreke mought
  Thurgh jugement of lawe.
After the king he sent an heyye,
To defende him of that felonie,
  That he his sone hath y-slawe;
And bot he wold com anon
With strengthe he schuld on him gon,
  With wilde hors don him drawe.

King Triamour com to court tho,
And Fabour, his sone, dede also,
  To the Soudans parlement.
When thai bi-forn him comen beth
Thai were adouted of her deth:
  Her lives thai wende have spent;
For the Soudan cleped hem fot hot,
And his sones deth hem atwot,
  And seyd thai were alle schent.
Bot thai hem therof were might
In strong perile he schuld hem dight
  And to her jugement.

Than dede he com forth a Sarrazine --
Have he Cristes curs and mine --
  With boke and eke with belle.
Out of Egypt he was y-come,
Michel and griselich was that gome
  With ani god man to duelle.
He is so michel and unrede,
Of his sight a man may drede,
  With tong as y thee telle.
As blac he is as brodes brend:
He semes as it were a fende,
  That comen were out of helle.

For he is so michel of bodi y-pight,
Ayains him twelue men have ne might,
  Ben thai never so strong;
For he is four fot, sikerly,
More than ani man stont him bi:
  So wonderliche he is long.
Yif king Triamour that ther was
Might fenden him in playn place
  Of that michel wrong,
Than is that vile glotoun
Made the Soudans champioun,
  Batayl of him to fong.

King Triamour answerd than
To that riche Soudan
  In that ich stounde
That he wold defende him wele y-nough
That he never his sone slough,
  Ne yaf him dedli wounde.
When he seye Amoraunt so grim
(Ther durst ne man fight with him:
  So grille he was on grounde),
Than asked he respite til a day,
To finde another yif he may
  Ayaines him durst founde.

Than hadde he respite al that yere
And fourti days: so was the maner
  Thurgh lawe was than in lond,
Yif him selven durst nought fight
Finde another yif he might
  Ayaines him durst stond.
The king as swithe hom is went,
Over alle his lond anon he sent
  After erl, baroun, and bond,
And asked yif ani wer so bold:
Thriddendel his lond have he schold
  The batayl durst take an hond.

Ac for nought that he hot might
Ther was non durst take the fight
  With the geaunt for his sake.
Than was ich out of prisoun nome,
Biforn him he dede me come,
  Conseyl of me to take,
And asked me at worde fewe
Yif y wist other y-knewe
  A man so mighti of strake
That for him durst take the fight:
Were he buriays other knight,
  Riche prince he wold him make.

And yif y might ani fende
He wold make me riche and al mi kende,
  And yif me gret honour,
And wold sese into min hond
To helden thriddendel his lond
  With cite, toun, and tour.
Ac ichim answerd than
In alle this world was ther no man
  To fight with that traitour,
Bot yif it Guy of Warwike were,
Or Herhaud of Ardern, his fere:
  "In world thai bere the flour."

When the king herd tho
That y spac of tho knightes two,
 Ful blithe he was of chere.
He kist me, so glad he was.
"Merci," he seyd, "erl Jonas!
  Thou art me leve and dere.
Yif ich hadde here sir Guy,
Or Herhaud, that is so hardi,
  Of the maistri siker y were.
And thou mightest bring me her on,
Thee and thine sones y schal lete gon
  Fram prisoun quite and skere."

Bi mi lay he dede me swere
That y schuld trewelich bode bere
  To tho knightes so hende,
And seyd to me as swithe anon
With michel sorwe he schuld me slon
  Bot ichem might fende,
And al mine sones do to-drawe,
And ichim graunt in that thrawe,
  To bring hem out of bende.
Out of this lond y went tho
With michel care and michel wo:
  Y nist wider to wende.

Y sought hem into the lond of Coyne,
Into Calaber, and into Sessoyne,
  And fro thennes into Almayne,
In Tuskan and in Lombardye,
In Fraunce and in Normondye,
  Into the lond of Speyne,
In Braban, in Poil, and in Bars
And in-to kinges lond of Tars,
  And thurgh al Aquitayne,
In Cisil, in Hungri, and in Ragoun,
In Romayne, Borgoine, and Gascoine,
  And thurgh-out al Breteyne.

And into Inglond wenden y gan,
And asked ther mani a man,
  Bothe yong and old,
And in Warwike that cite,
Ther he was lord of that cuntre,
  For to haven in wold;
Ac y ne fond non lite ne miche
That couthe telle me sikerliche
  Of tho two knightes bold,
Wher y schold Guy ne Herhaud fende
In no lond fer ne hende:
  Therfore min hert is cold.

For ich have the king mi trewthe y-plight
That y schal bring Guy now right
  Yif ich alives be.
And yif y bring him nought anon
Wele ich wot he wil me slon:
  Ther-fore wel wo is me.
And min sones he schal don hong,
And to-drawe with michel wrong,
  Tho knightes hende and fre.
And yif thai dye gret harm it is.
For hem ich have swiche sorwe, y-wis;
  Mine hert wil breken on thre."

"God man," seyd Guy, "listen me now.
For thine sones gret sorwe hastow,
  And no wonder it nis.
When thou Guy and Herhaud hast sought,
And thou ne may hem finde nought,
  Thi care is michel, y-wis.
Thurgh hem thine hope was to go fre,
And thi sones al forth with thee,
  Thurgh Godes help and his.
Sum time bi dayes old
For douhti man y was told
  And holden of gret priis.

Thurgh Godes helpe, our Dright
(He be min help, and yive me might,
  And leve me wele to spede!),
And for Gyes love and Herhaud also,
That thou hast sought with michel wo,
  That douhti were of dede,
Batayl ichil now for thee fong
Ayain the geaunt, that is so strong,
  Thou seyst is so unrede.
And thei he be the fende out-right,
Y schal for thee take the fight,
  And help thee at this nede."

When th'erl herd him speke so,
That he wold batayl fong for him tho,
  He biheld fot and heved:
Michel he was of bodi pight,
A man he semed of michel might,
  Ac poverliche he was biweved;
With a long berd his neb was growe.
Miche wo him thought he hadde y-drowe.
  He wende his wit were reved,
For he seyd he wold as yern
Fight with that geaunt stern
  Bot yif he hadde him preved.

"God man," than seyd he,
"God al-mighten for-yeld it thee,
  That is so michel of might,
Thatow wost batayl for me fong
Ayain the geaunt, that is so strong.
  Thou knowest him nought, y plight.
For yif he loked on thee with wrake
Sternliche with his eyyen blake,
  So grim he is of sight,
Wastow never so bold in al thi teime,
Thatow durst batayl of him nim,
  Ne hold ayaines him fight."

"Gode man," seyd Guy, "lat be that thought,
For swiche wordes help us nought
  Ayain that schrewe qued.
Mani hath loked me upon
With wicked wil, mani on
  That wold han had min hed;
And thei ne fled y never yete,
Ne never for ferd batayl lete
  For noman that brac bred.
And thei he be the devels rote,
Y schal nought fle him a fot,
  Bi him that suffred ded."

"Leve sir," than seyd he,
"God of heven foryeld it thee:
  Thine wordes er ful swete."
For joie he hadde in hert that stounde
On knes he fel adoun to grounde,
  And kist sir Gyes fet.
Guy tok him up in armes two.
Into Alisaunder thai gun go,
  With the king to mete;
And when thai com in-to the tour
Bifor the king sir Triamour,
  Wel fair thai gun him grete.

And when he seye th'erl Jonas,
Unnethe he knewe him in the fas:
  So chaunged was his ble.
"Erl Jonas," seyd the king,
"Telle me now with-outen lesing,
  Guy and Herhaud where ben he?"
Th'erl answerd, and siked sore,
"Guy ne Herhaud sestow no more;
  For sothe y telle thee,
For hem ich have in Inglond ben,
And y ne might hem no-whar sen:
  Ther-fore wel wo is me.

Ac the lond folk teld me in speche
That Guy was gon halwen to seche
  Wel fer in uncouthe lond,
And Herhaud after him is went
For to seche him, verrament:
  Noither of hem y ne fond,
Ac this man ich have brought to thee
That hath ben man of gret bounte,
  That wele dar take on hond
Ayain the geaunt that is so fel,
Al for to fende the ful wel:
  For drede wil he nought wond."

"Erl Jonas," seyd the king,
"Loke with him be no feynting,
  That y deseived be.
And yif ther be, thou schalt anon
Be honged and thi sones ichon."
  "Y graunt, sir," than seyd he.
The king cleped sir Gyoun,
And asked him at schort resoun,
  "What is thy name? tel me."
Sir Guy answerd to the king,
"Youn," he said, "with-outen lesing,
  Men clepeth me in mi cuntre."

"What cuntre artow?" the king sede.
"Of Inglond, so God me rede:
  Therin ich was y-bore."
"Owe," seyd the king, "artow Inglis knight,
Than schuld y thurgh skil and right
  Hate thee ever more.
Knewe thou nought the gode Guy
Or Herhaud that was so hardi?
  Tel me the sothe bifore.
Wele ought ich be Gyes foman:
He slough mi brother Helmadan;
  Thurgh him icham forlore.

Min em he slough, the riche Soudan,
Ate mete among us everilkan.
  Seyye y never man so bigin:
Y seyye hou he his heved off smot,
And bar it away with him fot hot,
  Maugre that was ther-inne.
After him we driven tho,
The devel halp him thennes to go:
  Y trowe he is of his kinne.
Mahoun yaf that thou wer he!
Ful siker might y than be
  The maistri for to winne."
as reward


warrior / in town


homage and fealty

as his reward





wed woman


shaped, created


be parted
unless I have you as a mate
I will not





you would have

she / I will thee say


as a reward

every one


To marry any woman as wife

Save for one who

dear friend
endow with all my land




bagpipe players
singers / reciters of romances

as pleasure(?)

listen and hear




remedy, atone for



saw / eyes




know not


you need not fear

destroyed / many


as thou

commend you


As thou

dole, sorrow



nearly went mad


i.e, pit the sword away







no sort of (not any)



more saints' shrines
the reward of heaven

On this side


doleful / demeanor


know not / soon



I would I were in my grave

at one time


I will be

were fierce



admirals (commanders) / taken




their / nearby(?)
broom (a shrub)
grim sword


ere / taken


supposed / leave


expensively arranged / hall




become angry

(Fr.) son of a whore


Were thou not




might avenge himself

blamed them for

Big and grisly





One third

could promise




grant ownership
hold a third part

I him


law, religion

Unless I could find them
tear apart
I him / trouble

knew not

hold in (his) power



grant / succeed

I will / take



That thou will





saints' shrines


saw / act

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Last modified: June 28, 2006 Copyright © The President and Fellows of Harvard College

Gold Texts on this page prepared and maintained by L. D. Benson (