Gold THE GEOFFREY CHAUCER PAGE


Libeaus Desconnus, Part 3




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100

For twelf knightes all prest
He sigh come out of the west,
In armes cler and bright;
Al day they hadde y-rest,
And thought in that forest,
To slee Libeaus the knight.
Of a sute were all twelfe,
That one was the lord himselfe,
In rime to rede aright.
They smitte to him all at ones,
And thoghte to breke his bones,
And felle him down in fight.

101

Tho mighte men here dinge,
And round rappes ringe,
Among hem all in fere;
For sooth, with-oute lesinge,
The sparkes gonne out springe,
From scheld and helmes clere.
Libeaus slough of hem three,
The four gonne to flee,
And dorst nought nighe him nere,
The lord dwelde in that stour,
And his sones four,
To selle her lives dere.

102

Ther ronne rappes rive;
He, one ayens hem five,
Fought as he were wod;
Nigh down they gonne him drive,
As water doth of clive,
Of him ran the blode.
As he was nigh y-spilt,
His swerd brast in the hilt,
Tho was he mad of mode;
The lord a strok him sette,
Through helm and basnet,
That in the skull hit stode.

103

A-swogh he fell adoun,
On his hinder arsoun,
As man that was mate;
His fomen were well boun,
To perce his acketoun,
Gipell, maile, and plate.
As he gan sore smerte,
Up he pullede his herte,
And keverede of his state;
An ax he hente all boun,
That heng at his arsoun,
Allmost him thoughte too late.

104

He stired him as a knight,
Three stedes heddes down right,
He slough at strokes three;
The lord sigh that sight,
And of his hors light,
Awey he gan to fle,
Libeaus no lenger abode,
But after him he rode,
And under a chestein tre,
Ther he hadde him quelde,
But the lord him yelde,
At his wille to be.


105

And by certaine extente
Tresour, lond, and rente,
Castell, halle, and bour,
Libeaus ther to consente
In forward that he wente
To the king Arthour,
And seye, "Lord of renoun,
As overcome and prisoun
I am to thine honour."
The lord grauntede to his wille
Bothe loude and stille,
And ledde him to his bour.


106

Anoon that maide Elene,
With gentill men fiftene
Was fet to that castell
Sche and the dwerfe bedene
Tolde dedes kene
Of Libeaus how hit fell.
And whiche presentes four
He sente to king Arthour,
That he wan fair and well;
The lord was glad and blithe,
And thonketh fele sithe
God and Seint Michell,

107

That swich a noble knight
Schuld winne in fight
His lady fair and hende.
To cover main and might
Libeaus a fourtenight
Ther with him gan lende.
He dide him helen his wounde,
That he was hol and sound
By the fourtenight ende.
Then Libeaus and that may
Toke her righte way
To Sinadoun to wende.

108

The lord with-oute dwellinge
Wente to Arthour the king
And for prisoun him yeld
And teld how a knight ying
Hadde wonne him in fightinge
And overcome in felde.
King Arthour had god game
And so had alle in same,
That herde that tale y-telde,
And chosen him profitable
Knight of the Round Table
To fight with spere and scheld.

109

Now reste we here awhile
Of Sir Otes de Lile,
And telle we other tales.
Libeaus rod many a mile,
And sigh aventures file
In Irland and in Wales.
Hit befell in the month of June,
Whan the fenell hongeth in town,
Grene in semely sales;
The someres day is long,
Mery is the fowles song,
And notes of the nightingales.

110

That tyme Libeaus gan ride,
By a river side,
And sigh a greet citee,
With paleis proud in pride,
And castelles high and wide,
And gates greet plentee.
He axede what hit hight.
The maide seide anon right,
"Sir, I telle hit thee:
Men clepeth hit Ile d'or;
Here hath be fightinge more
Than owher in any countree.


111

"For a lady of pris,
Ruddy as rose on rise,
This countre is in doute;
A geaunt that hatte Maugis,
Nowher his per ther nis,
Here hathe beleide aboute.
He is blak as pich.
Nower ther is non swich,
Of dedes sterne and stoute;
What knight that passeth the bregge
His armes he mot down legge,
And to the geaunt aloute.

112

"He is thritty fote of lengthe
And muche more of strengthe
Than other knightes five;
Sir Libeaus, wel bethenk thee,
That thou with him ne meng thee;
He is grim to descrive.
He bereth on everich browe
As bristeles of a sowe;
His heed greet as an hive;
His armes the lengthe of an elle;
His fistes beth full felle,
Dintes with to drive."


113

Quoth Libeaus, "Maide hende,
My way now will I wende,
For alle his strokes ille;
Yif god me grace sende,
Er this day come to ende,
With fight I hope him spille.
I have y-sein grete okes
Falle for windes strokes,
And smale stonde full stille;
Though I be ying and lite,
To him will I smite
Let God do his wille!"


114

They riden forth all three
Toward that faire citee,
Me clepeth hit Ile d'or;
Maugis they gonne y-see
Upon the bregge of tree,
Bold as wilde bore.
His scheld was blak as pich,
Lingell, armes, trappure swich,
Three mammettes ther-inne wore,
Of gold gaylich y-geld;
A spere in honde he held,
And his scheld him before.

115

He cride to him in spite,
"Say, thou felaw in whit,
Tell me: what art thou?
Torne hom again also tit,
For thy owene profit,
Yif thou love thy prow."
Libeaus seide anoon right,
"King Arthour made me knight,
To him I made a vow,
That I ne schulde never turne bak;
Therfore, thou devell in blak,
Make thee redy now!"


116

Sir Libeaus and Maugis,
On stedes proude of pris,
Togedere ride full right;
Bothe lordes and ladys
Layn out in pount tournis
To se that sely fight;
And prayde God loude and still,
Yif it were his will,
Helpe that cristen knight;
And that vile geaunt,
That levede in Termagaunt,
That day to die in fight.

117

Her schaftes breke asonder,
Her dintes ferd as thonder,
The peces gonne out springe;
Ech man hadde wonder
That Libeaus nadde be under,
At the first ginning.
They drough swordes bothe,
As men that weren wrothe,
And gonne togedere dinge;
Libeaus smitte Maugis so,
That his scheld fell him fro,
And in to the feld gan flinge.

118

Maugis was queinte and quede,
And smitte his stede on the heed,
And dasched out the brain;
The stede fell doune deed,
Libeaus nothing ne seide,
But start him up again.
An ax he hente boun,
That heng at his arsoun,
And smitte a strok of main;
Thorugh Maugis stedes swire,
And forcarf bone and lire,
That heed fell in the plain.

119

A-fote bothe they fighte,
Descrive no man ne mighte,
The strokes betwene hem two.
Depe woundes they laughte
For they were unsaught
And either others fo.
From the hour of prime
Till hit was evesong time
To fighte they wer thro;
Sir Libeaus thirsted sore,
And seide, "Maugis, thin ore;
To drinke lette me go;

120

"And I schall graunte thee
What boon thou biddest me,
Swich cas yif thee betit.
Greet schame hit wold be
A knight for thirst to slee,
And no more profit."
Maugis grauntede his will,
To drinken all his fill,
With-oute more despite;
As Libeaus lay on the bank,
And thorugh his helm he drank,
Maugis a strok him smitte.


121

That in the river he fell,
His armure ech a dell
Was wet and evill adight;
But up he start snell,
And seide, "By Seint Michell,
Now am I two so light.
What? Wendest thou, fendes fere,
Uncristenede that I were
Till I sigh thee with sight?
I schall for this baptise
Well quite thy servise,
Thorugh grace of God almight!"


122

Than a newe fight began,
Either to other ran,
And delde dintes strong;
Many a gentilman,
And ladyes whit as swan,
For Libeaus handes wrong.
For Maugis in the feld
Forcarf Libeaus scheld,
With dinte of armes long;
Than Libeaus ran away,
Ther Maugis scheld lay,
And up he gan hit fonge.


123

And ran again to him
With strokes stout and grim,
Togedere they gonne asaile,
Beside the water brim,
Till hit darked dim
Betwene hem was bataile.
Libeaus was werrour wight,
And smitte a strok of might,
Thorugh gipell, plate, and mail;
Forthwith the scholder bon,
His right arm, fell anoon,
Into the feld, saunz faile.


124

The geaunt this gan see
That he schulde slawe be;
And fligh with might and main
Libeaus after gan tee,
With sterne strokes three,
And smitte his back atwein.
The geaunt ther beleved
Libeaus smitte off his heved,
Therof he was fain.
He bar the heed into the town;
With a fair processioun,
The folk com him again.


125

A lady, whit as flowr,
That highte la dame d'amour,
Afeng him fair and well;
And thonked him with honour,
That he was hir socour,
Ayens that geaunt fell.
To chaumbre sche gan him lede,
And dide off all his wede,
And clothede him in pell;
And proferede him with word
For to be hir lord,
In citee and castell.


126

Libeaus grauntede in haste,
And love to her he caste,
For sche was bright and schene;
Alas he nadde be chast!
For afterward at last,
Sche dide him traie and tene;
For twelf monthe and more
Libeaus dwelde thore,
And the maide Elene;
That never he mighte out-breke,
For to help awreke
Of Sinadowne the quene.


127

For this fair lady
Couthe more of sorcery,
Then other swiche five;
Sche made him melodye,
Of all manere minstralsy,
That any man mighte descrive.
Whan he sigh hir face,
Him thought he was
In Paradis alive;
With fantasme, and fairye,
Thus sche blerede his eye --
That evill mot sche thrive!


128

Till hit fell on a day,
He mette Elene, that may,
Withinne the castell towr;
To him sche gan to say,
"Sir knight, thou art fals of fay,
Ayens the king Arthour.
For love of a woman,
That of sorcery can,
Thou doost greet dishonour;
My lady of Sinadoune
May longe ligge in prisoun,
And that is greet dolour!"


129

Libeaus herd her so speke,
Him thought his hert wold breke,
For sorow and for schame;
And at a posterne unsteke
Libeaus gan out-breke
From that gentill dame;
And tok with him his stede,
His scheld, his riche wede,
And ride forth all in same;
Hir steward stout and sterne,
He made his squiere,
Gifflet was his name:

They ride faste, as they may,
Forth in her jornay,
On stedes bay and browne;
Upon the thirdde day
They sigh a citee gay,
Me clepeth hit Sinadowne.
With castell high and wide,
And paleis proud in pride,
Work of fair fasoune;
But Libeaus Desconus
He hadde wonder of an use
That he sigh do in towne.


131

For gore, and fen ful fast,
That er was out y-cast,
They gadered in y-wis;
Libeaus axede in hast,
"Tell me, maide chast,
What betokeneth this?
They taketh all that hore,
That er was out y-bore;
Me thinketh they doth a-mis."
Than seide maide Elene,
"Sir, with-oute wene,
I schalle thee telle how it is.


132

"No knight for nessche ne hard,
Though he schold be forfard,
Ne geteth here non ostell,
For doute of a steward,
That men clepeth Sir Lambard,
Constable of this castell.
Rid into the castell gate,
And axe thin inn ther-at,
Bothe faire and well;
And er he bete thy nede,
Justes he will thee bede,
By god and Seint Michell.


133

"And if he bereth thee down,
His trompes schull be boun,
Her bemes for to blowe;
Than over all Sinadoune,
Bothe maiden and garsoun
Foull fen schull on thee throwe:
In what stede that thou wende,
Than to thy lives ende,
For coward thou worth knowe;
And thus may king Arthour
Lesen his honour
For thy dedes slowe."


134

Quoth Libeaus also tit,
"That wer a greet dispit,
For any man alive;
To do Arthour profit,
And make the lady quit.
To him I will drive.
Sir Gifflette, make thee yare!
Thider we willeth fare,
Hastely and blive.
They ride forth on her gate,
To the castell yate,
With faire schaftes five.


135

And axede her ostell,
At that fair castell
For aunterouse knightes;
The porter, faire and well,
Lette hem in full snell,
And axede anon rightes:
"Who is youre governoure?"
They seide, "King Arthour,
Man of moste mightes;
Welle of curtesye,
And flowr of chivalrye,
To felle his fon in fightes."


136

The porter, profitable
To his lord the constable,
Soone his tale tolde,
And seide, "With-oute fable,
Sir, of the Rownde Table
Beth come knightes bolde;
That one is armed sure,
In rose-reed armure,
With three liouns of gold."
The lord was glad and blithe
And seide also swithe,
Juste with hem he wolde,


137

And bad hem make hem yare,
Into the feld to fare,
With-oute the castell gate;
The porter nolde nought spare,
As grehound doth the hare,
To hem he ran full whate
And seide anon rightes,
"Ye aunterouse knightes,
For nothing ye ne late;
Loketh your scheldes be strong,
Your schaftes good and long,
Your saket and vaunplate,

138

And rideth into the feld!
My lord, with sper and scheld,
Will with you play.
Libeaus spak wordes bold,
"That is a tale y-told,
Likinge unto my pay."
Into the felde they ride,
And boldly they abide,
As bestes brought to bay;
Lambard ofsente his stede,
His scheld, his iren wede,
His tire was stout and gay.


139

His scheld was asure fin,
Three bores heddes therinne,
As blak as brond y-brent;
The border of ermine,
Nas non so queinte of gin,
From Carlile into Kent.
And of the same painture
Was lingell and trappure,
In world wher so he wente.
Two squiers by him ride;
Two schaftes they bere him mid,
To dele with doughty dent.


140

Tho that stout steward,
That highte Sir Lambard,
Was armede at all rightes,
He rood to the felde ward,
Light as a libard,
Ther him abide the knightes.
He smitte his schaft in grate;
Almost him thought too late,
Whanne he hem sigh with sight;
Libeaus rood to him thare,
With a schaft all square,
As man most of mighte.


141

Either smitte other in the scheld,
That the peces fell in the feld,
Of her schaftes schene;
All tho that hit beheld,
Ech man to other teld,
"This yonge knighte is kene."
Lambard his cours out rit,
As werrour out of wit,
For ire and for tene,
And seide, "Bring me a schaft!
Yif this knight can craft,
Sone hit schall be sene."


142

Tho tok they schaftes rounde,
With cornals scharp y-grounde,
And ride with gret randoun;
Either provede in that stounde
To yeve other dethes wounde,
With fell herte as lioun.
Lambard smitte Libeaus so
That his scheld fell him fro,
Into the feld adown;
So harde he him hitte,
Unnethe that he mighte sitte
Upright in his arsoun.


143

His schaft brak with gret power,
Libeaus hitte Lambard in the lainer
Of his helm so bright;
That pisane, aventaile, and gorgere,
Flighe forth with the helm in fer,
And Sir Lambard upright
Sat, and rokkede in his sadell,
As child doth in a cradell,
Withoute main and might;
Ech man tok other by the lappe,
And loughe and gonne her hondes clappe,
Baroun, burgais, and knight.


144

Sir Lamvbert thought to juste bet;
Another helm him was y-fet
And a schaft unmete;
And whan they togidere mette,
Either in othres scheld hitte,
Strokes grim and grete
Sir Lambardes schaft to-brast,
And Sir Libeaus sat so faste
In sadeles ther they setten,
That the steward, Sir Lambard,
Fell off his stede bakward,
So harde they two gonne mete.


145

Sir Lambard was aschamed sore,
Quoth Sir Libeaus, "Wiltou more?"
And he answerede, "Nay!"
For sithe the time that I was bore,
Ne sigh I never knight before
So ridinge to my pay.
By the thought min herte is inne,
Thou art com of Gaweines kinne,
That is so stout and gay;
Yif thou schalt for my lady fight,
Wellcome be thou to me, Sir knight,
In trouthe and siker fay."

146

Libeaus seide, "Sikerly,
Fighte I schall for thy lady,
By heste of king Arthour;
But I not wherfore ne why,
Ne who her doth swich vilany,
Ne what is her dolour.
A maide, that is hir messengere,
And a dwerfe brought me here,
Her to do socour;"
The constable seide, "Well founde,
Noble knight of the Table Rounde,
Y-blessed by Seint Saviour!"


147

Anon that maide Elene
Was fette with knightes ten,
Before Sir Lambard;
Sche and the dwerf bedene
Tolde of six dedes kene,
That he dide thiderward;
And how that Sir Libeaus
Faught with fele schrewes,
And for no deth ne spared;
Lambard was glad and blithe,
And thonkede fele sithe,
God and Seint Edward.



quickly





suite








hear







come near him
remained . . . battle





rife, many



from the cliff

killed
broke
in mind

head-piece




a-swoon
rear saddle-bow
defeated
ready
quilted jacket
tunic


recovered
quickly














would have killed him










On condition













fetched
at once














recover











delay


















file = fele, many



handsome halls

















amy where








nis = ne is
besieged



bridge
must lay down
bow







meddle





fierce























Me = one, people

wooden bridge


harness-straps
pagan idols
gilded over








quickly

your own good














jousting bridge (a gallery?)
marvelous




believed . . . a pagan god








nadde = ne hadde
beginning
drew








clever and evil





quickly took an axe


neck
flesh







took
hostile



persistent

mercy






betit = betideth







i.e., using helmet as cup






every bit

quickly


friend of the devil


baptism
repay
















take












tunic


indeed





slain
fled
draw, go


remained

happy









received





pall












treachery and sorrow

there


avenge














fairy magic
fooled him












knows


lie








unlocked














me = one, people


fashion

custom





refuse . . . dung





filth









ease nor hardship
destroyed







fulfill your request
offer






trumpeters
horns

young man
dung
stead, place

will be known


slack, weak




quickly





ready

quickly
way
gate





their hostel, lodging

adventurous

quickly



























ready


nolde = ne wolde

eagerly


delay


point . . . hand-guard








pleasure



sent for

attire






burned

skilfull of structure


harness straps and trappings











toward the field
leopard

in return-blow

















sorrow









force
tried

fierce





saddle





strap

armor for chest, neck, mouth














hostile



shattered



























not = ne wote













fetched by

together










 
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Last modified: June 28, 2006
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Gold Texts on this page prepared and maintained by L. D. Benson (ldb@wjh.harvard.edu)