Gold THE GEOFFREY CHAUCER PAGE


Libeaus Desconnus, Part 4



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MS N:












148

Anon, with milde chere,
They sette hem to sopere,
With muche glee and game;
Libeaus and Lamberd in fere,
Of aventurs that ther wer,
Talkede bothe in same.
Libeaus seide, "With-oute fable,
Tell me, Sir constable,
What is the knightes name,
That holdeth in prisoune
The lady of Sinadoune,
That is so gent a dame?"

149

Quoth Lambard, "By Seint John,
Knight, sir, ther is non,
That dorst away her lede;
Two clerkes beth hir fon,
Well fals of flessch and bon,
That haveth y-do this dede.
Hit beth men of maistrye,
Clerkes of nigremauncye,
Her artes for to rede;
Maboun is that one brother,
And Irain hight that other,
For whom we beth in drede.

150

This Irain and Maboun
Habbeth made of our town
A palais queinte of ginne;
Ther nis knight ne baroun,
That bereth herte as lioun,
That dorste come ther-inne.
Hit is be nigremauncye,
Y-maked of fairye,
That no man may hit winne;
Ther-inne lieth in prysoun,
The lady of Sinadoune,
That is of knightes kinne.


151

Ofte we hereth hyr crye,
But her to se with eye
Ther-to have we no mighte;
They doth her turmentrye,
And all maner vilanye,
By dayes and by night.
This Maboun and Irain
Haveth swor her deth, certain;
To dethe they will her dighte;
But sche graunte hem tille
To do Mabounes wille,
And yeve hem all hir right.


152

Of alle this dukdom feir
Than is my lady eir;
To welde al with winne.
Sche is meke and boneire,
Therfore we beth in despeire,
That sche be dight to sinne."
Quoth Libeaus Desconus,
"Thourgh help of swete Jhesus,
That lady schall I winne
And of Maboun and Irain;
Hewen in the plain
The heddes off by the chinne!"

153

Tho was no more tale
In the castell greet and smale
But souped and made blithe.
Barouns and burgeis fale
Come to that semely sale
For to liste and lithe
How Sir Lambard had wrought,
And yif the knight were ought
His craftes for to kithe.
They founde hem sitte in fere,
Talkinge at her sopere
Of knightes stout and stithe.

154

Tho toke they her reste,
And likinge as hem leste,
In the castell that night;
A-morwe Libeaus was prest
In armes of the best
Fressch he was to fight.
Lambard ladde him the gate
To the castell yate,
And fond hit open right,
No ferther ne dorste him bringe,
For soth, without lesinge,
Baroun, burgeis, ne knight.


155

But turnede hom again,
Save Sir Gifflet, his swain,
Wolde with him ride;
Libeaus swor, certein,
He wolde se his brain,
Yif he wold abide.
To the castell he rod
And with Lambard abod,
To Jhesu than they criede
To sende him tidinge glad
Of hem that longe had
Destroyed her welthes wide.

156

Sir Libeaus, knight corteis,
Rod into the paleis,
And at the halle alighte;
Trompes, hornes, schalmeis,
Before the high deis
He herd and sigh with sight.
Amidde the halle flore
A fier stark and store
Was light and brende bright;
Than ferther in he yede,
And tok with him his stede,
That halp him in fight.

157

Lybeaus inner gan pace,
To beholde ech place,
The hales in the halle,
Of maine mor ne lasse
Ne sighe he body ne face
But menstrales clothed in palle;
With harp, fidele, and rote,
And with organes note,
Greet glee they maden alle;
With citole, and sautrie,
So muche menstralsie
Was never withinne walle.

158

Before ech menstrale stod
A torche faire and good,
Brenninge faire and bright;
Inner more he yode,
To wite with egre mode
Who scholde with him fighte.
He yede into the corneres,
And beheld the pilers,
That semely wer of sighte,
Of jasper and fin cristal,
Y-flourished with amall,
That was of muche might.

159

The dores wer of bras,
The windowes wer of alas,
Wroght with imagerye,
The halle y-painted was,
Nowher non fairer nas,
That he hadde seye with eye.
He sette him on the deis,
The menstrales wer in pes,
That were so good and trye,
The torches, that brende bright,
Quenchede anon right,
The menstrales wer awey.

160

The dores and windowes alle
Beten in the halle,
As hit wer dint of thunder;
The stones of the walle
Over him gon falle,
Therof he hadde wonder.
The deis began to schake,
The erthe began to quake,
As he satte ther under;
The halle rof unlek,
And the faunsere ek,
As hit wolde asonder.

161

As he sat thus dismaide,
And held himself betraide,
Stedes herde he naye.
Than was he bet apaid,
And to himself he said,
Yet I hope to playe.
He lokede into a feld,
And sigh, with sper and scheld,
Men in armes tweye;
Of purpur inde armure
Was lingell and trappure,
With gold garlandis gay.

162

That one rod into the halle,
And began to calle:
"Sir knight aunterous,
Swich cas ther is befalle,
Though thou be proud in palle,
Fighte thou most with us.
I hold thee queinte of ginne,
Yif thou that lady winne,
That is so precious."
Quoth Libeaus, anon right,
"All fressch I am to fight,
Thorugh help of swete Jhesus."

163

Libeaus with goodwill
Into his sadell gan skill,
A launce in hond he hente;
Quik he rod hem till;
His fomen for to fell,
Therto was his talent.
When they togeder mette,
Upon her scheldes they sette
With speres doughty dent.
Mabounes schaft to-brast;
Tho was he sore agast,
And held him schamely schent.

164

And with that strok feloun
Libeaus bar him adoun
Over his horses taile,
For his hinder arsoun
To-brak and fell adown
Into the feld, saunz faile,
And nigh he hadde him slain;
But than come ride Irain
In helm and hauberk of maile;
All fressch he was to fight,
He thought anon right
Sir Libeaus to assaile.

165

Libeaus of him was war,
And sper to him he bar,
And lefte his brother stille;
Swich dintes he yaf thare,
That his hauberke to-tar;
That likede Irain ille.
Her launces breke atwo,
Swerdes they droughe tho,
With herte grim and grille,
And gonne togeder fighte,
Either prevede his mighte
Other for to spille.

166

As they togedere hewe
Maboun, the more schrewe,
In feld up aros;
He herde and well knew,
Irain yaf dintes fewe,
Ther of him grim aros.
To he went full right,
To helpe felle in fight
Libeaus of noble los;
But Libeaus faught with bothe,
Thaugh they wer never so wrothe,
And kepte himself in clos.

167

Whan Irain sigh Maboun,
He smitte a strok feloun
To Sir Libeaus with ire,
Before his forther arsoun
Als sket he carf adown
Libeaus stedes swire.
But Libeaus was werrour sligh,
And smitte a two his thigh,
Fell, and bone, and lire;
Tho help him nought his armes
His chauntement, ne his charmes,
Adown fell that sory Sire.

168

Libeaus of his hors light,
With Mahoun for to fighte,
In feld bothe in fere;
Swich strokes they gon dighte,
That sparkes sprong out bright
From scheld and helmes clere.
As they togedere sette,
Her bothe swerdes mette,
As ye may lithe and lere.
Maboun, the more schrewe,
To-carf the sworde of Lybeau,
A-twinne quit and skere.

169

Libeaus was sore aschamed,
And in his herte agramede,
For he hadde lore his sworde,
And his stede was lamed,
And he schulde be defamed
To Arthour king, his lord.
To Irain swithe he ran,
And hente his sword up than,
Was scharp of egge and ord,
And ran to Maboun right;
Faste he gan to fight,
Of love ther nas no word.

170

But ever faught Maboun,
As hit were a lioun,
Libeaus for to slo;
But Libeaus carf adoun
His scheld with his fachoun,
That he tok Irain fro.
In the right tale y-teld,
The left arm with the scheld
Awey he smitte tho;
Tho spak Maboun him tille,
"Thy strokes beth full ille,
Gentill knight, now ho!

171

"And I will yelde me,
In love and leautee,
At thin owene wille;
And that lady fre,
That is in my pouste,
Take I will thee tille.
For thorugh that swordes dint
Min hond I have y-tint;
The venim will me spille;
I venimed hem bothe,
Certain, withouten othe,
Our fomen to fille.

172

Quoth Libeaus, Be my thrifte,
I nill nought of thy yifte,
All this world to winne;
But ley on strokes swifte,
Our one schall other lifte
The hedde off by the chinne."
Tho Maboun and Libeau
Faste togedere hewe,
And stinte for no sinne;
Libeaus was more of might,
And carf his helm down right,
And his hedde atwinne

173

Tho Maboun was y-slain,
He ran ther was Irain,
With fachoun in his fist;
For to cleve his brain,
I tell you for certain,
Trewly was his trist.
And whan he com thore,
Away he was ybore,
Whiderward he niste;
He soghte him for the nones,
Wide in alle the wones,
To fighte more him liste.

174

And whanne he ne fond him noght,
He held himself becaught,
And gan to sike sare,
And seide in word and thought
"This will be dere abought
That he is fro me y-fare.
He will with sorcerye
Do me turmentrye;
That is my moste care."
He set and sore he sighte;
He niste what he do mighte;
Of bliss he was all bare.

175

As he set thus in halle
Out of the stone walle
A window faire unfeld.
Greet wonder withall
In his herte gan fall,
As he sat and beheld;
A worm ther out gan pace,
With a womannes face,
Was yong and nothing eld.
Hir body and hyr winge
Schine in alle thinge,
As amall gay and geld.

176

Hir taile was muche unmete,
Hir pawes grim and grete,
As ye may lithe and lere.
Libeaus swette for hete,
Ther he set in his sete,
As all hadde ben a-fere.
So sore he was agast,
Him thought his herte tobrast,
As sche neghed him nere;
And er Libeaus hit wiste
The worm with mouth him kiste,
And colled aboute his swere;

177

And after that kissinge
The wormes taile and winge
Swiftly felle her fro.
So fair in all thing
Woman, without lesing,
Ne sigh he never er tho,
But sche stod al naked,
As God had her maked;
Therfore was Libeaus wo.
Sche seide, "Knight gentile,
God yelde the thy will,
My fon that thou wold slo.

178

"Thou hast islawe nouthe
Two elerkes couthe,
That wrought by the fend.
Est, west, north, and sowthe,
By maistris of hir mouthe,
Many man couth they schende;
With her chauntement,
To worme they hadde me went,
In wo to welde and wende.
Till I hadde kiste Gawein,
That is doughty knight, certain,
Other some of his kende.

179

"And for thou saved my lif,
Casteles fifty and fif
Take I will thee till,
And myself to be thy wif,
Still, with-oute strif,
Yif hit is Arthours wille."
Libeaus was glad and blithe,
And lepte to horse swithe,
And lefte that ladye stille.
For ever he dradde Irain,
For he was nought y-slain,
With speche he wold him spille;

180

To the castell Libeaus rode,
Ther folk him abod.
To Jhesu gonne they crye,
Sende him tidinges glad,
Of hem that long hadde
That lady do vilanye;
Libeaus to Lambard tolde,
And othre knightes bolde,
How he him there gan gye;
And how Maboun was slain,
And wounded was Irain,
Thorugh grace of Seint Marie.

181

And how that lady bright
To a worm was dight,
Thorugh craft of charmure;
And thrugh the kis of a knight
Woman sche was aplight,
A semily creature;
"But sche stod me before,
Naked as sche was bore,
And seide, `Now I am sure
My fomen thou hast slain,
Maboun and Irain,
In pes now may we dure.'"

182

Whan Sir Libeaus, knight of pris,
Hadde tolde the steward, ywis,
Bothe ord and endinge,
A robe of purpure bis,
Pelured with pured gris,
He sente her in highinge.
Keverchefs and garlandes riche
He sent her priviliche,
A birde gan hit bringe.
And when sche was redy dight,
Sche wente with main and might,
To her owne woninge.

183

All the folk of Sinadoune,
With a fair processioun,
Her lady hom they fette.
Whan sche was come to towne,
Of gold and stones a crowne,
Upon hir hedde was sette;
They were glad and blithe,
And thonked god fele sithe,
That her bales bette.
All the lordes of dignitee,
Dide her homage and fealtee,
As hit was due dette.

184

Seven dayes they made sojour,
With Lambard in the tour,
And all the peple in same;
Tho wente they with honour
To the king Arthour,
With muche glee and game:
And thonked God almight,
Arthour and his knight,
That he ne hadde no schame.
Arthour yaf also blive
Libeaus that lady to wive,
That was so gent a dame.

185

The joy of that bridale
Nis not told in tale,
Ne rekened in no gest.
In that semily sale
Were lordes mnany and fale
And ladyes well honeste.
Ther was riche servise,
To lordes and ladies,
To lest and ek to mest;
Ther wonne they riche yiftes,
Ech menstral arightes,
And they that were unwrest.

186

Fourty dayes they dwellde,
And her feste helde,
With Arthour the king;
As the Frenssch tale told,
Arthour, with knightes bold,
Hom he gan hem bringe.
Fele yer they lived in same,
With muche glee and game,
Libeaus and that swete thing.
Jhesu Crist our saviour,
And his moder, that swete flowr,
Graunte us alle good endinge! Amen.



Qui scripsit carmen, sit Benedictus Amen!
Explicit Libeaus Desconus

He that lovyth welle to fare,
Euer to spend and neuer spare,
But he have the more good,
His here wol grow throw his hood.
Quod More

Hic pennam fixi; penitet me, si male scipsi.





















foes



black magic
books of magical arts








ingenious of design
nis = ne is



fairy magic

















to them







heir
joy
gracious














fale = fele, many

listen


make known


strong






ready


way
gate









servant




















strong









corners
members of the houasehold

rich cloth
rote (a stringed instrument)


cithole, psalter (stringed instruments)

























seen


choice















opened
walls






neigh
better pleased






harness straps and trappings








rich cloth

ingenious









ascend



































drew
fierce

tried









anger












front
quickly
steed's neck


skin . . . flesh














listen and learn


clean




angered
lost





point








slay

sword














power


destroyed
kill


fell




nill = ne will


one of us












sword





niste = ne wiste

dwelling places (i.e. rooms)






sigh sorely






sighed







opened



serpent













afire


came nearer to him


coiled around his neck






















learned words (charms)


changed



kin





Give




















guide, go










truly













purplish gray
fur-lined . . . gray fur



maid















































unconstrained






























 
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Last modified: May, 12, 2000
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Gold Texts on this page prepared and maintained by L. D. Benson (ldb@wjh.harvard.edu)