Sir Degare

General notes

[Herkeneþ, lordinges, gent and fre, {f.78rb} View Facsimile
Ich wille ȝou telle of Sire Degarre.]
Kniȝ[tes],[þat were some time in londe,]
Ferli fele wolde fonde
5000 And sechen auentures bi niȝt and dai,
Hou ȝhe miȝte here strengthe asai.
So dede a knyȝt, Sire Degarree.
Ich wille ȝou telle wat man was he.
¶ In Litel-Bretaygne was a kyng
1000 Of gret poer in alle þing,
Stif in armes vnder sscheld
And mochel idouted in þe feld.
Þer nas no man, verraiment,
Þat miȝte in werre ne in tornament
1500 Ne in justes for no þing
Him out of his sadel bring
Ne out of his stirop bringe his fot:
So stron[g] he was of bon and blod.
Þis kyng [ne hadde non oþer] hair
MS smudged.
2000 But a maidenchild [fre and] fair;
Here gentiresse and here beaute
Was moche renound in ich countre.
Þis maiden he loued als his lif.
Of hire was ded þe quene, his wif;
2500 In trauailing here lif ȝhe les.
And þo þe maiden of age wes,
Kynges sones to him speke,
Emperours and dukes eke,
To hauen his doughter in mariage
3000 For loue of here heritage.
Ac þe kyng answered euer,
Þat no man sschal here halden euer,
But ȝif he mai in turneying
Him out of his sadel bring
3500 And maken him lesen hise stiropes bayne.
stiropes: final s is superscript.

{ Auchinleck lacks seven lines }

[Mani assayed and miȝte not gayne. {f.78va} View Facsimile
Euery ȝer that riche kyng wold
A solempne feste make and holde
On his wyues mynnyng day,
4000 Þat was beryed in an abbai
In a foreste there-besyde.
With grete mene he wolde ryde,]

Hire dirige do and masse boþe,
Poure men fede and naked cloþe,
4500 Offring brenge gret plente
And fede þe couent wiȝ gret daynte.
Towar[d] þe abbai als he com ride
And mani knyȝtes bi his side,
His doughter also bi him rod.
5000 Amidde þe forest hii abod.
Here chaumberleyn ȝhe clepede hire to
And oþer dammaiseles two
And seide, þat hii moste aliȝte
To don here nedes and hire riȝte.
5500 Þai aliȝt adoune alle þre,
Tweie damaiseles & ssche,
And longe while þer abiden,
Til al þe folk was forht iriden.
Þai wolden vp and after wolde
6000 And couþen nowt here way holde.
Þe wode was rough and þikke, iwis,
And þai token þe wai amys;
Þai moste souht and riden west
Into þe þikke of þe forest.
6500 Into a launde hii ben icome
And habbeȝ wel vndernome,
Þat þai were amis igon.
Þai liȝt adoune euerichon
And cleped and criede al ifere;
7000 Ac no man miȝt hem ihere.
miȝt: MS reads ariȝt.
Þai nist what hem was best to don
Þe weder was hot bifor þe non:
Hii leien hem doun vpon a grene
Vnder a chastein-tre, ich wene,
7500 And fillen aslepe euerichone
Bote þe damaisele alone. {f.78vb} View Facsimile
ȝhe wente aboute and gaderede floures
And herknede song of wilde foules.
So fer in þe launde ȝhe goht, iwis,
8000 Þat ȝhe ne wot neuere whare ȝe is.
To hire maidenes ȝhe wolde anon,
Ac hi ne wiste neuer, wat wei to gon.
Whenne hi wende best to hem terne,
Aweiward þan hi goȝ wel ȝerne.
8500 ‘Allas!’ hi seide ‘þat I was boren;
Nou ich wot ich am forloren.
Wilde bestes me willeȝ togrinde,
Or ani man me sschulle finde.’
Þan segh hi swich a siȝt:
9000 Toward hire comen a kniȝt,
Toward: d is superscript.
Gentil, ȝong and iolif man;
A robe of scarlet he hadde vpon;
His visage was feir, his bodi ech weies;
Of countenaunce riȝt curteis,
9500 Wel farende legges, fot and honde;
Þer nas non in al þe kynges londe
More apert man þan was he.
‘Damaisele, welcome mote þou be.
Be þou afered of none wihȝte.
1000 Iich am comen here a fairi-knyȝte.
Mi kynde is armes for to were,
On horse to ride wiȝ scheld and spere.
Forþi afered be þou nowt;
I ne haue nowt but mi swerd ibrout.
1050 Iich haue iloued þe mani a ȝer,
And now we beȝ vs selue her.
Þou best mi lemman ar þou go,
Weþer þe likeȝ wel or wo.’
Þo no þing ne coude do ȝhe,
1100 But wep and criede and wolde fle;
And he anon gan hire atholde
And dide his wille what he wolde.
He binam hire here maidenhod
And seththen vp toforen hire stod.
1150 ‘Lemman’ he seide ‘gent and fre,
Mid schilde I wot þat þou schalt be; {f.79ra} View Facsimile
Siker ich wot hit worht a knaue.
Forþi mi swerd þou sschalt haue;
And, whenne þat he is of elde,
1200 Þat he mai him self biwelde,
Tak him þe swerd and bidde him fonde
To sechen his fader in eche londe.
Þe swerd (h)is god and auenaunt;
Lo, as I faug[h]t wiȝ a geaunt,
1250 I brak þe point in his hed,
And siththen, when þat he was ded,
I tok hit out and haue hit [h]er
Redi in min aumener.
ȝit perauenture time biȝ,
1300 Þat mi sone mete me wiȝ,
Be mi swerd I mai him kenne.
Haue god dai. I mot gon henne.’
Þe kniȝt passede as he cam.
Al wepende þe swerd ȝhe nam
1350 And com hom sore sikend,
And fond here maidenes al slepend.
Þe swerd ȝhe hidde als ȝhe miȝte
And awaked hem in hiȝte
And doht hem to horse anon
1400 And gonne to ride euerichon.
Þanne seghen hi ate last
Tweie squiers come prikend fast.
Fram þe kyng þai weren isent
To white whider his doughter went.
1450 Þai browt hire into þe riȝte wai
And comen faire to þe abbay
And doȝ þe seruise in alle þingges,
Mani masse and riche offringes.
And whanne þe seruise was al idone
1500 And ipassed ouer þe none,
Þe kyng to his castel gan ride –
His doughter rod bi his side –
And ȝemeȝ his kyngdom oueral
Stoutliche, as a god king sschall.
1550 ¶ Ac whan ech man was glad an[d] blithe,
His doughter siked an sorewed swithe. {f.79rb} View Facsimile
Here wombe greted more and more;
Þer while ȝhe miȝte, ȝe hidde here sore.
¶ On a dai as hi wepende set,
1600 On of hire maidenes hit vnderȝet.
‘Ma Dame’ ȝhe seide ‘par charite,
Whi wepe ȝe? Now telleȝ hit me.’
‘A, gentil maiden, kinde icoren,
Help me oþer ich am forloren.
1650 Ich haue euer ȝete ben meke and milde,
Lo, now ich am wiȝ quike schilde.
ȝif ani man hit vnderȝete,
Men wolde sai bi sti and strete,
Þat mi fader þe king hit wan;
1700 And I ne was neuere aqueint wiȝ man.
And ȝif he hit him selue wite,
Swich sorewe schal to him smite,
Þat neuer bliȝe schal he be;
For al his ioie is in me.’
1750 And tolde here altogeder þer,
Hou hit was biȝete and wher.

‘Madame’ quad þe maide ‘ne care þou nowt.
Stille awai hit sschal be browt.
No man schal wite in Godes riche,
1800 Whar hit bicomeȝ but þou and iche.’
¶ Her time come, ȝhe was vnbounde
And deliured al mid sounde.
A knaue schild þer was ibore;
Glad was þe moder þarfore.
1850 Þe maiden seruede here at wille,
Wond þat child in cloþes stille
And laid hit in a cradel anon
And was al prest þarwiȝ to gon.
ȝhit [h]is moder was him hold:
1900 Four pound ȝhe tok of gold
And ten of seluer also;
Vnder his fote ȝhe laid hit þo
‘For swich þinges hit mihoue.’
And seththen ȝe tok a paire gloue
1950 Þat here lemman here sente of fairi-londe,
Þat nolde on no manne honde, {f.79va} View Facsimile
Ne on child ne on womman ȝhe nolde;
But on hire selue wel ȝhe wolde.
Þe glouen ȝe put vnder his hade,
2000 And siththen a letter ȝhe wrot and made
And knit hit wiȝ a selkene þred
Aboute his nekke – wel God sped –
Þat who hit founde sscholde iwite.
Þan was in þe lettre þous iwrite:
2050 ¶ ‘Par charite, ȝif ani god man
Þis helples child finde can,
Lat cristen hit wiȝ prestes honde
And bringgen hit to liue in londe,
For hit is comen of gentil blod.
2100 Helpeȝ hit wiȝ his owen god,
Wiȝ tresor þat vnder his fet lis.
And ten ȝer eld whan þat he his,
Takeȝ him þis ilke glouen two
And biddeȝ him, whareuere he go,
2150 Þat he ne louie no womman in londe,
But þis gloues willen on hire honde,
For, siker, on honde nelle þai nere
But on his moder þat him bere.’
¶ Þe maiden tok þe chil[d] here mide
2200 Stille awai in auentide;
Alle þe winteres longe niȝt
Þe weder was cler, þe mone liȝt.
Þan war hiȝ ȝe war anon
Of an hermitage in a ston;
2250 An holi man had þer his woniyng.
Þider ȝhe wente on heying
An sette þe cradel at his dore
And durste abide no lengore
And passede forȝ anonriȝt.
2300 Hom ȝhe com in þat oþer niȝt
And fond þe leuedi al drupni,
Sore wepinde and was sori,
And tolde hire altogeder þer,
Hou ȝhe had iben and wher.
2350 ¶ Þe hermite aros erliche þo,
And his knaue was vppe also, {f.79vb} View Facsimile
An[d] seide ifere here matines
And seruede God and hise seins.
Þe litel child þai herde crie
2400 And clepede after help on hie.
Þe holi man his dore vndede
And fond þe cradel in þe stede.
He tok vp þe cloþes anon
And biheld þe litel grom.
2450 He tok þe letter and radde wel sone,
Þat tolde him þat he scholde done.

Þe heremite held vp boþe his honde
An[d] þonked God of al his sonde
And bar þat child into his chapel,
2500 And for joie he rong his bel.
He dede vp þe glouen and þe tresour
And cristned þe child wiȝ gret honour
In þe name of þe trinite;
He hit nemnede Degarre.
2550 Degarre nowt elles ne is
But þing þat not neuer whar it is,
O[r] þe þing þat is negȝ forlorn also;
Forþi þe schild he nemnede þous þo.

Þe heremite, þat was holi of lif,
2600 Hadde a soster þat was a wif;
A riche marchaunt of þat countre
Hadde hire ispoused into þat cite.
To hire þat schild he sente þo
Bi his knaue and þe siluer also.
2650 And bad here take gode hede
Hit to forster and to fede,
And ȝif God almiȝti wolde
Ten ȝer his lif holde,
Aȝen to him [h]i scholde hit wise;
2700 He hit wolde teche of clergise.

Þe litel child Degarre
Was ibrout into þat cite.
Þe wif and hire louerd ifere
Kept hit, ase hit [h]ere owen were.
2750 Bi þat hit was ten ȝer old,
Hit was a fair child and a bold, {f.80ra} View Facsimile
Wel inorissched, god and hende:
inorissched: MS reads inorisscher.
Was non betere in al þat ende.
He wende wel þat þe gode man
2800 Had ben his fader þat him wan,
And þe wif his moder also
And þe hermite his vnkel bo.
And whan þe ten ȝer was ispent
To þe hermitage he was sent.
2850 And he was glad him to se;
He was so feir and so fre.
He tauȝte him of clerkes lore
Oþer ten wynter oþer more.
And he was of twenti ȝer,
2900 Staleworth he was, of swich pouer
Þat þer ne was man in þat lond
was: MS reads wan.
Þat o breid him miȝt astond.

Þo þe hermite seȝ, wiȝouten les,
Man for him self þat he wes,
2950 Staleworht to don ech werk
And of his elde so god a clerk,
He tok him his florines and his gloues,
Þat he had kept to hise bihoues.
Ac þe ten pound of starlings
3000 Were ispended in his fostrings.
He tok him þe letter to rede;
And biheld al þe dede.
‘O leue (h)em, par charite,
Was þis letter mad for me?’
3050 ‘ȝe, bi oure lord, vs helpe sschal,
Þus hit was.’ And told him al.
He knelede adoun also swiȝe
And þonked þe ermite of his liue,
And swor he nolde stinte no stounde
3100 Til he his kinrede hadde ifounde.
For in þe lettre was þous iwrite,
Þat bi þe glouen he sscholde iwite,
Wich were his moder and who,
ȝhif þat sche liuede þo;
3150 For on hire honden hii wolde
And on non oþer hii nolde. {f.80rb} View Facsimile
Half þe florines he ȝaf þe hermite,
And haluendel he tok him mide
And nam his leue an[d] wolde go.
3200 ‘Nai’ seide þe hermite ‘schaltu no.
To seche þi ken miȝtou nowt dure
Wiȝouten hors and god armure.’
‘Nai’ quod he ‘bi heuene-kyng.
Ich wil haue first anoþer þing.’
3250 He hew adoun boþe grete an[d] grim
To beren in his hond wiȝ him
A god sapling of an ok.
Whan he þarwiȝ ȝaf a strok,
Ac, wer he neuer so strong a man
3300 Ne so gode armes hadde vpon,
Þat he ne scholde falle to grounde –
Swich a bourdon to him he founde.
Þo þenne God he him bitawt,
& aiþer fram oþer wepyng rawt.

3350 Child Degarre wente his wai

Þourgh þe forest al þat dai;
No man he ne herd, ne non he seȝ,
Til hit was non ipassed heȝ.
Þanne he herde a noise kete
3400 In o valai an dintes grete.
Bliue þider he gan to te;
What hit ware he wolde ise.
An herl of þe countre, stout and fers,
Wiȝ a kniȝt and four squiers
3450 Hadde ihonted a der oþer two,
And al here houndes weren ago.
Þan was þar a dragon grim,
Ful of filth and of venim,
Wiȝ wide þrote and teȝ grete
3500 And wynges bitere wiȝ to bete;
As a lyoun he hadde fet,
And his tail was long an[d] gret.
Þe smoke com of his nose awai
Ase fer out of a chimenai.
3550 Þe knyȝt and squiers he had torent,
Man and hors to deþe chent. {f.80va} View Facsimile
Þe dragon þe erl assaile gan,
And defended him as a man
And stoutliche leid on wiȝ his swerd
3600 And stronge strokes on him gerd;
Ac alle his dentes ne greued him nowt,
His hide was hard so jren wrout.
Þerl flei fram tre to tre,
Fein he wolde fram him be,
3650 And þe dragon him gan asail.
Þe doughti erl in þat batail
Ofsegh þis child Degarre.
‘Ha, help’ he seide ‘par charite.’
Þe dragoun seȝ þe child com,
dragoun: MS reads dagroun.
3700 He laft þe erl and to him nom,
Blowinde and ȝeniend also,
Als he him wolde swolewe þo.
Ac Degarre was ful strong;
He tok his bat gret and long,
3750 And in þe forehefd he him batereȝ
Þat al þe forehefd he tospatereȝ.
He fil adoun anonriȝt
And frapte his tail wiȝ gret miȝt
Vpon Degarres side,
3800 Þat vp so doun he gan to glide.
Ac he stert vp ase a man
And wiȝ his bat leide vpan
And al tofrusst him ech a bon
Þat he lai ded, stille as a ston.

3850 Þerl knelede adoun biliue

And ȝonked þe child of his liue
And maked him wiȝ him gon
To his castel riȝt anon
And wel at hese he him made
3900 And proferd him al þat he hade:
Rentes, tresor an eke lond,
For to holden in his hond.
Þanne answerede Degarre
‘Lat come ferst bifor me
3950 Þi leuedi and oþer wimmen bold,
Maidenes & widues, ȝonge & olde, {f.80vb} View Facsimile
And oþer damoiseles swete.
ȝif mine glouen beȝ to hem mete
For to done vpon here honde,
4000 Þanne ich wil take þi londe;
&, ȝif þai ben nowt so,
Iich wille take mi leue and go.

Alle wimman were forht ibrowt,
Wide cuntreis and forht isowt.
4050 Ech þe glouen assaie bigan,
Ac non ne miȝte don hem on.
He tok his glouen and vp hem dede
And nam his leue in þat stede.
Þe erl was gentil man of blod
4100 And ȝaf him a stede ful god
And noble armure riche and fin
When he wolde armen him þerin.
And a palefrai to riden an
And a knaue to ben his man
4150 And ȝaf him a swerd briȝt,
And dubbed him þer to knyȝt
And swor bi God almiȝti
Þat he was better worthi
To vsen hors and armes also
4200 Þan wiȝ his bat aboute to go.

Sire Degarre was wel blithe
And þanked þe erl mani a siþe
And lep vpon palefrai hiis
And doht him forȝ in his wai.
4250 Vpon his stede riȝte his man
& ledde his armes als he wel can.
Mani a iorne þai ride and sette.
So on a dai gret folk þei mette,
Erles and barouns of renoun,
4300 Þat come fram a cite-toun.
He asked a seriaunt ‘What tiding?’
& whennes hii come & ‘What is þis þing?’
‘Sire’ he seide ‘verraiment,
We come framward a parlement.
4350 Þe king a gret counseil þer made {f.81ra} View Facsimile
For nedes þat he to don hade.
Whan þe parlement was plener
He lette crie fer and ner,
ȝif ani man were of armes so bold
4400 Þat wiȝ þe kinge iusti wold,
He sscholde haue in mariage
His dowter and his heritage,
Þat is [a] kingdom god and fair;
For he ne had non oþer hair.
4450 Ac no man ne dar graunte þerto;
For mani hit assaieȝ & mai nowt do,
Mani erl & mani baroun,
Kniȝtes and squiers of renoun.
Ac ech man þat him iusteȝ wiȝ, tit,
4500 Haþ of him a foul despit:
Some he brekeȝ þe nekke anon
And of some þe rig-bon,
Some þourgh þe bodi he girt;
Ech is maimed oþer ihirt.
4550 Ac noman mai don him no þing:
Swich wonder chaunce haþ þe king.’

Sire Degarre þous þenche gan
‘Ich am a staleworht man,
And of min owen ich haue a stede,
4600 Swerd and spere and riche wede;
And ȝif ich felle þe kyng adoun
Euere ich haue wonnen renoun;
And þei þat he me herte sore,
No man wot wer ich was bore.
4650 Wheþer deȝ oþer lif me bitide,
Aȝen þe king ich wille ride.’
In þe cite his in he takeȝ
And resteȝ him and meri makeȝ.
On a dai wiȝ þe king he mette
4700 And knelede adoun and him grette.
‘Sire king’ he saide ‘of muchel miȝt,
Mi louerd me sende hider nou riȝt
For to warne ȝou þat he
Bi þi leue wolde iuste wiȝ þe
4750 And winne þi dowter, ȝif he mai, {f.81rb} View Facsimile
As þe cri was þis enderdai;
Justes he had to þe inome.’
‘De par deus’ quaþ þe king ‘he is welcome.
Be he baroun, be he erl,
4800 Be he burgeis, be he cherl.
No man wil I forsake;
He þat winneȝ al sschal take.’

Amorewe þe iustes was iset.
Þe king him purueid wel þe bet,
4850 And Degarre ne knew no man;
Ac al his trust is God vpon.
Erliche to churche þan wente he,
Þe masse he herde of þe trinite.
To þe fader he offreȝ hon florine
4900 And to þe sone an oþer also fine
And to þe holi gost þe þridde.
Þe prest for him ful ȝerne gan bidde.
And to þe seruise was idon,
To his in he wente wel son
4950 And let him armi wel afin
In god armes to justi in.
His gode stede he gan bistride;
His squier bar his sschaft biside.
In þe feld þe king he abide gan,
5000 As he com ridend wiȝ mani a man
Stoutliche out of þe cite-toun,
Wiȝ mani a lord of gret renoun.
Ac al þat in þe felde beȝ,
Þat þe iustes iseȝ,
5050 Seide þat hi neuer ȝit iseȝe
So pert a man wiȝ here egȝe,
As was þis gentil Degarre;
Ac no man wiste whennes was he.

Boþe þai gonne to iusti þan,
5100 Ac Degarre can nowt þeron;
Þe king haþ þe gretter schaft
And kan inowgh of þe craft.
To breke his nekke he had iment;
In þe helm he set his dent,
5150 Þat þe schaft al tosprong. {f.81va} View Facsimile
Ac Degarre was so strong
Þat in þe sadel stille he set
And in þe stiropes held his fet.
For soþe I seie, wiȝoute lesing,
5200 He ne couþe nammore of iusting.
‘Allas!’ quaþ þe king ‘Allas!
Me ne fil neuere swich a cas,
Þat man þat ich miȝte hitte
After mi stroke miȝte sitte.’
5250 He takeȝ a wel gretter tre
And swor, so he moste iþe,
‘ȝif his nekke nel nowt atwo,
His rigg schal ar ich hennes go.’
He rod eft wiȝ gret raundoun
5300 And þought to beren him adoun
And girt Degarre anon
Riȝt aȝein þe brest-bon.
Þe schaft was stef and wonder god,
And Degarre stede astod,
5350 And al biforen he ros on heghȝ,
And þo was he ifallen neghȝ.
But, as God almiȝti wold,
Þe schaft brak and miȝt nowt hold,
And Degarre his cours outritte
5400 And was agramed out of his witte.
‘Allas!’ quaþ he ‘for vilaynie;
Þe king me haþ ismiten þrie,
And I ne touchede him nowt ȝete.
Nou I schal [a]vise me bette.’
5450 He turned his stede wiȝ herte grim
And rod to þe king and he to him,
And togider þai gert ful riȝt
And in þe scheldes here strokes piȝt,
Þat þe speres al toriueȝ
5500 And vpriȝt to here honde sliueȝ,
Þat alle þe lordings þat þer ben,
Þat þe iusting miȝte sen,
Seiden hi ne seȝe neuer wiȝ egȝe
Man þat mighte so longe dreghȝe
þat is superscript, with caret.
5550 In wraþþe for no þing {f.81vb} View Facsimile
Sitten a strok of here king.
‘Ac he his doughti for þe nones,
A strong man of bodi and bones.’

Þe king wiȝ egre mod gan speke
5600 ‘Do bring me a schaft þat wil nowt breke.
A, be mi trewþe, he sschal adoun,
Þai he be strengere þan Sampson;
And þei he be þe bare qued,
He sschal adoune maugre his heued.’
5650 He tok a schaft was gret and long,
Þe schild anoþer also strong;
And to þe king wel euene he rit.
Þe king faileȝ, & he him smit.
His schaft was strong and god wiȝal
5700 And wel scharped þe coronal.
He smot þe kyng in þe lainer;
He miȝt flit noþer fer ne ner.
Þe king was strong and harde sat;
Þe stede ros vp biforn wiȝ þat,
5750 & sire Degarre so þriste him þan,
Þat, maugre whoso grochche bigan,
Out of þe sadel he him cast,
Tail ouer top riȝt ate last.
Þan was þer long houting and cri;
5800 Þe king was sor asschamed forþi.
Þe lordinges comen wiȝ miȝt and mein
And broughte þe king on horse aȝein
An seide wiȝ o criing ‘iwis,
Child Degarre haþ wonne þe pris.’
5850 Þan was þe damaisele sori;
For hi wiste wel forwhi:
Þat hi scholde ispoused ben
To a kniȝt þat sche neuer had sen,
And lede here lif wiȝ swich a man,
5900 Þat sche ne wot who him wan
No in what londe he was ibore.
Carful was Þe leuedi þerfore.

Þan seide þe king to Degarre:
‘Min hende sone, com hider to me.
5950 And þou were also gentil a man, {f.82ra} View Facsimile
As þou semest wiȝ siȝt vpan,
And ase wel couþest wisdomes do,
As þou art staleworht man þe[r]to,
Me þouwte mi kingdom [i]s wel biset.
6000 Ac, be þou werse, be þou bet,
Couenaunt ich wille þe holde.
Lo, her biforn mi barons bolde
Mi douwter I take þe bi þe hond
And seise þe her in al mi lond;
6050 King þou schalt ben after me.
God graunte þe godman forto be.’
Þan was þe child glad and bliȝe
And þonked þe kyng mani a sithe.
Gret purueaunce þan was þer iwrout;
6100 To churche þai were togidere ibrout;
& spoused þat leuedi, verraiment,
Vnder holi sacrement.
Lo, what chaunse and wonder strong
Bitideȝ mani a man wiȝ wrong,
6150 Þat comeȝ into an vncouþe þede
And spouseȝ wif for ani mede
& knowes no þing of hire kin
Ne sche of his neiþer more ne min
And beȝ iwedded togider to libbe,
6200 Par auenture, and beȝ neghȝ sibbe.
So dede Sire Degarre þe bold,
Spoused þere [h]is moder;
And þat hende leuedi also
Here owene sone was spoused to
6250 Þat sche vpon here bodi bar.
Lo, what auenture fil hem þar.
But God, þat alle þingge mai stere,
Wolde nowt, þa[t] þai sinned ifere.
To chirche þai wente wiȝ barouns bolde.
6300 A riche feste þai gonne to holde,
And wan was wel ipassed non
And þe dai was al idon,
To bedde þai sscholde wende, þat fre
Þe dammaisele and sire Degarre.
6350 He stod stille and biþouwte him þan, {f.82rb} View Facsimile
Hou þe hermite, þe holi man,
Bad he scholde no womman take
For faired ne for riches sake,
But ȝhe miȝte þis gloues two
6400 Liȝtliche on hire hondes do.
‘Allas, allas!’ þan saide he
‘What meschaunce is comen to me.
Awai! witles wrechche ich am.
Iich hadde leuere þan þis kingdam,
6450 Þat is iseised into min hond,
Þat ich ware faire out of þis lond.’
He wrang his hondes and was sori;
Ac no man wiste þer forewi.

Þe king parceyued and saide þo
6500 ‘Sire Degarre, wi farest þou so?
Is þer ani þing don ille,
Spoken or seid aȝen þi wille?’
‘ȝa, sire’ he saide ‘bi heuene-king.
Ichal neuer for no spousing,
6550 Þerwhiles I liue, wiȝ wimman dele,
Widue, ne wif, ne dammeisele,
But ȝhe þis gloues mai take and fonde
And liȝtlich drawen vpon hire honde.’
His ȝonge bride þat gan here,
6600 And al for þout chaunged hire chere,
And ate laste gan to turne here mod,
Here visage wex ase red ase blod.
ȝhe knew þo gloues þat wer hire,
‘Schewe hem hider, leue sire.’
6650 Sche tok þe gloues in þat stede
And liȝtliche on hire hondes dede
And fil adoun wiȝ reuli cri
And seide ‘God, mercy, merci!
Þou art mi sone hast spoused me her,
6700 And ich am, sone, þi moder der;
Ich hadde þe loren, ich haue þe founde.
Blessed be Ihesu Crist þat stounde.’
Sire Degarre tok his moder þo
And helde here in his armes two,
6750 Keste and clepte here mani a siþe; {f.82va} View Facsimile
Þat hit wa[s] sche, he was ful bliþe.
Þe kyng gret wonder hadde,
What þat noise [was] þat þai made,
And meruaile[d] of hire crying
6800 And seide ‘Doughter, what is þis þing?’
‘Fader’ ȝhe seide ‘þou schalt ihere.
Þou wenest þat ich a maiden were,
Ac certes nay, sire, ich am non.
Twenti winter nou hit is gon,
6850 Þat mi maidenhed I les,
Lines 685 and 686 written as
a single line by the scribe.
A faint diagonal line
entered to separate them.
In a forest as I wes.
And þis is mi sone, God hit wot;
Bi þis gloues wel ich wot.’
ȝhe told him al þat soþe þer,
6900 Hou þe child was geten and wher,
And hou þat he was boren also.
To þe hermitage ȝhe sente him þo
And seþthen herd of him no þing.
‘But þanked be Ihesu, heuene-king,
6950 Iich haue ifounde him oliue.
Ich am his moder and ek his wiue.’
am and ek each preceded
by diagonal stroke, perhaps
intended to mark stress.

‘Leue moder’ seide Sire Degarre
‘Telle me þe sothe, par charite,
Into what londe I mai terne,
7000 To seke mi fader swithe and ȝerne.’
‘Sone’ ȝhe saide ‘bi heuene-kyng,
I can þe of him telle no þing;
But þo þat he fram me rauȝt,
His owen swerd he me bitauȝt
me altered from mi.
7050 And bad ich scholde take hit þe forþan,
ȝif þou liuedest and were a man.’
Þe swerd sche fet forht anonriȝt,
And Degarre hit outpliȝt.
Brod and long and heui hit wes,
7100 In þat kyngdom no swich nes.
Þan seide Degarre forþan
‘Whoso hit auȝt, he was a man;
Nou ich haue þat I kepe,
Niȝt ne dai nel ich slepe
7150 Til þat I mi fader see,
ȝif God wile þat hit so be.’ {f.82vb} View Facsimile
In þe cite he reste al niȝt.
Amorewe, whan hit was dai-liȝt,
He aros and herde his masse.
7200 He diȝte him and forȝ gan passe.
Of al þat cite þan moste non
Neiþer wiȝ him riden ne gon
But his knaue to take hede
To his armour and his stede.
7250 Forȝ he rod in his wai
Mani a pas & mani iurnai.
So longe he passede into west,
Þat he com into þeld forest,
Þer he was biȝeten som while.
7300 Þerinne he rideȝ mani a mile;
Mani a dai he ride gan,
No quik best he fond of man.
Ac mani wilde bestes he seghȝ,
And foules singen on heghȝ.
7350 So longe he drouwȝ to þe niȝt,
Þe sonne was adoune riȝt.
Toward toun he wolde ride,
But he nist neuer bi wiche side.
Þenne he seȝ a water cler
7400 And amidde a riuer
A fair castel of lim and ston;
Oþer wonyng was þer non.
To his knaue he seide ‘Tide wat tide,
O fote forþer nel I ride,
7450 Ac here abide wille we
And aske herberewe par charite,
ȝif ani quik man be here on liue.’
To þe water þai come als swiþe.
Þe bregge was adoune þo
7500 & þe gate open also
And into þe castel he gan spede.
First he stabled vp his stede.
He taiede vp his palefrai;
Inouȝ he fond of hote and hai.
7550 He bad his grom on heying
heying: MS reads heþing.
Kepen wel al here þing. {f.83ra} View Facsimile
He passed vp into þe halle,
Biheld aboute & gan to calle;
Ac neiþer on lond ne on heȝ
7600 No quik man he ne seȝ.
Amidde þe halle flore
A fir was bet stark an store.
‘Par fai’ he saide ‘ich am al sure,
He þat bette þat fure
7650 Wil comen hom ȝit to niȝt.
Abiden ich wille a litel wiȝt.’
He sat adoun vpon þe dais.
And he warmed him wel eche wais,
And he biheld and vndernam,
7700 Hou in at þe dore cam
Four dammaiseles gent and fre.
Ech was itakked to þe kne;
Þe two bowen an[d] arewen bere,
Þe oþer two icharged were
7750 Wiȝ venesoun riche and god.
And Degarre vp stod
And gret hem wel fair, apliȝt.
Ac þai answerede no wiȝt,
But ȝede into chaumbre anon
7800 And barred þe dore after son.
Sone þerafter wiȝalle
Þer com a dwerw into þe halle.
Four fet of lengthe was in him,
His visage was stout and grim;
7850 Boþe his berd and his fax
Was crisp an[d] ȝhalew as wax;
Grete sscholdres and quarre;
Riȝt stoutliche loked he.
Mochele were hise fet and honde
7900 Ase þe meste man of þe londe.
He was iclothed wel ariȝt,
His sschon icouped as a kniȝt;
He hadde on a sorcot ouert,
Iforred wiȝ blaunchener, apert.
blaunchener: MS reads blaundener.
7950 Sire Degarre him biheld and lowgȝ
And gret him fair inowgȝ. {f.83rb} View Facsimile
Ac he ne answerede neuere a word,
But sette trestles and laid þe bord;
And torches in þe halle he liȝte
8000 And redi to þe soper diȝte.
Þan þer com out of þe bour
A dammeisele of gret honour.
In þe lond non fairer nas;
In a diapre cloþed ȝhe was.
8050 Wiȝ hire come maidenes tene,
Some in scarlet, some in grene,
Gent of bodi, of semblaunt swete.
And Degarre hem gan grete.
Ac hi ne answerede no wiȝt,
8100 But ȝede to þe soper anonriȝt.
‘Certes’ quaþ sire Degarre
‘Ich haue hem gret and hi nowt me;
But þai be dombe, bi and bi
Þai schul speke first ar I.’

8150 Þe leuedi þat was of rode so briȝt;

Amidde ȝhe sat anonriȝt,
And on aiþer half maidenes fiue.
Þe dwerw hem seruede also bliue
Wiȝ riche metes and wel idiȝt;
8200 Þe coppe he filleȝ wiȝ alle his miȝt.
Sire Degarre couþe of curteisie.
He set a chaier bifore þe leuedie
And þerin him selue set
& tok a knif and carf his met.
8250 At þe soper litel at he,
But biheld þe leuedi fre
And seȝ ase feir a wimman,
Als he heuere loked an,
Þat al his herte and his þout
8300 Hire to loue was ibrowt.
And þo þai hadde souped anowȝ,
Þe dwerw com, and þe cloȝ he drouȝ.
dwerw: MS reads drew.
Þe leuedis wessche euerichon
And ȝede to chaumbre quik anon.

{ following line omitted from Auchinleck }

8350 [Vp at þe gres his wai he nom;]

Into þe chaumbre he com ful sone.
Þe leuedi on here bed set {f.83va} View Facsimile
And a maide at here fet
And harpede notes gode and fine;
8400 Anoþer brouȝte spices and wine.
Vpon þe [bedde] he set adoun
To here of þe harpe soun.
For murthe of þe notes so sschille
He fel adoun on slepe stille;
8450 So he slep al þat niȝt.
Þe leuedi wreiȝ him warm, apliȝt,
And a pilewer vnder his heued dede
And ȝede to bedde in þat stede.

Amorewe whan hit was dai-liȝt,
8500 Sche was vppe and redi diȝt;
Faire sche awaked him þo.
‘Aris’ sche seide ‘graiȝ þe an[d] go.’
And saide þus in here game
‘Þou art worþ to suffri schame,
8550 Þat al niȝt as a best sleptest
And non of mine maidenes ne keptest.’
‘O gentil leuedi’ seide Degarre
‘For Godes loue forȝif hit me.
Certes, þe murie harpe hit made;
8600 Elles misdo nowt [I] ne hade.
Ac tel me, leuedi so hende,
Ar ich out of þi chaumber wende,
Who is louerd of þis lond,
And who þis castel haþ in hond,
8650 Wether þou be widue or wif
Or maiden ȝit of clene lif,
And whi her be so fele wimman
Allone wiȝouten ani man.’
Þe dameisele sore siȝte
8700 And bigan to wepen anonriȝte.
‘Sire, wel fain ich telle þe wolde,
ȝif euere þe better be me sscholde.
Mi fader was a riche baroun
And hadde mani a tour and toun.
8750 He ne hadde no child but me.
Ich was his [h]air of þis cuntre.
In mene ich hadde mani a kniȝ[t] {f.83vb} View Facsimile
And squiers þat were gode and liȝt,
An[d] staleworht men of mester
8800 To serue in court fer and ner.
Ac þanne is þar herebiside
A sterne kniȝt iknawe ful wide;
Ich wene in Bretaine þer be non
So strong a man so he is on.
8850 He had iloue me ful ȝore;
Ac in herte neuere more
Ne miȝte ich louie him aȝein.
But whenne he seghȝe þer was no gein,
He was aboute wiȝ maistri
8900 For to rauisse me awai.
Mine kniȝtes wolde defende me,
And ofte fowȝten hi an[d] he:
Þe best he slowgh þe firste dai
And seþen an oþe[r], par ma fai,
8950 And seþen þe þridde and þe ferþe,
Þe beste þat miȝte gon on erthe.
Mine squiers, þat weren so stoute,
Bi foure, bi fiue þai riden oute
On hors armed wel anowȝ
9000 His houen bodi he hem slough.
Mine men of mester he slough alle
And oþer pages of mine halle.
Þerfore ich am sore agast,
Lest he wynne me ate last.’
9050 Wiȝ þis word sche fil to grounde
And lai aswone a wel gret stounde.
Hire maidenes to hire come
And in hire armes vp hire nome.
He beheld þe leuedi wiȝ gret pite;
9100 ‘Loueli madame’ quaþ he
‘On of þine ich am here.
Ich wille þe help be mi pouere.’
‘ȝhe, sire’ ȝhe saide ‘þan al mi lond
Ich wil þe ȝiue into þin hond
9150 And at þi wille bodi mine,
at is written superscript with caret.
ȝif þou miȝt wreke me of hine.’
Þo was he glad al for to fiȝte, {f.84ra} View Facsimile
A[c] wel gladere þat he miȝte
Haue þe leuedi so briȝt
9200 ȝif he slough þat oþer kniȝt.

And als þai stod and spak ifere
A maiden cried wiȝ reuful chere:
‘Her comeȝ oure enemi faste vs ate.
Drauwe þe bregge and sschet þe ȝate.
9250 Or he wil slen ous euerichone.’
Sire Degarre stirt vp anon,
And at a window him seȝ,
Wel i-armed on hors hegh,
A fairer bodi þan he was on,
9300 In armes ne segh he neuer non.
Sire Degarre armed him bliue
And on a stede gan out driue
Wiȝ a spere gret of gayn.
To þe kniȝt he rit aȝein.
9350 Þe kniȝte spere al tosprong.
Ac Degarre was so strong
And so harde to him þrast.
But þe kniȝt sat so fast,
Þat þe stede rigge tobrek
9400 And fel to grounde and he ek.
But anon stir[t] vp þe kniȝt
And drouȝ out his swerd briȝt.
‘Aliȝt’ he saide ‘adoun anon.
To fiȝt þou sschalt afote gon.
9450 For þou hast slawe mi stede,
Deȝ-dint schal be þi mede.
Ac þine stede sle I nille;
Ac on fote fiȝte ich wille.’
Þan on fote þai toke þe fiȝt
9500 And hewe togidere wiȝ brondes briȝt.
Þe kniȝt ȝaf Sire Degarre
Sterne strokes gret plente,
And he him aȝen also,
Þat helm and scheld cleue atwo.
9550 Þe kniȝt was agreued sore,
Þat his armour toburste þore.
A strok he ȝaf Sire Degarre, {f.84rb} View Facsimile
Þat to grounde fallen is he.
But he stirt vp anonriȝt,
9600 And swich a strok he ȝaf þe kniȝt
Vpon his heued so harde iset
Þat helm and heued and bacinet,
Þat ate brest stod þe dent.
Ded he fil doun, verraiment.
9650 Þe leuedi lai in o kernel
And biheld þe batail eueri del.
ȝhe ne was neuer er so bliþe;
Sche þankede God fele sithe.
Sire Degarre com into castel;
9700 Aȝein him com þe dammaisel
And þonked him swiþe of þat dede.
Into chaumber sche gan him lede
And vnarmed him anon
And set him hire bed vpon
9750 And saide ‘sire, par charite,
I þe prai dwel wiȝ me;
And al mi lond ich wil þe ȝiue
And mi selue, whil þat I liue.’
‘Grant merci, dame’ saide Degarre
9800 ‘Of þe gode þou bedest me.
Wende ich wille into oþer londe
More of hauentours for to fonde.
And be þis twelue moneþ be go
Aȝein ich wil come þe to.’
9850 Þe leuedi made moche mourning
For þe kniȝtes departing
And ȝaf him a stede god and sur,
Gold and siluer an[d] god armur
And bitauȝt him Ihesu heuene-king;
9900 And sore þai wepen at here parting.
Forht wente Sire Degarre
Þurh mani a diuers cuntre;
Euermor he rod west.
So in a dale of o forest
9950 He mette wiȝ a douȝti kniȝt
Vpon a stede god and liȝt
In armes þat were riche and sur {f.84va} View Facsimile
Wiȝ þe sscheld of asur
And þre bor-heuedes þerin,
1000 Wel ipainted wiȝ gold fin.
Sire Degarre anonriȝt
Hendeliche grette þe kniȝt
And saide ‘sire, God wiȝ þe be.’
And þous aȝein answerede he
1005 ‘Velaun, wat dost þou here
In mi forest to chase mi dere?’
Degarre answerede wiȝ wordes meke
‘Sire, þine der noug[h]t I ne seke;
Iich am an aunterous kniȝt
1010 For to seche werre and fiȝt.’
Þe kniȝt saide ‘Wiȝouten fail,
ȝif þou comest to seke batail,
Here þou hast þi per ifounde.
Arme þe swiþe in þis stounde.’
1015 Sire Degarre and his squier
Armed him in riche atir,
Wiȝ an helm riche for þe nones;
Was ful of precious stones,
Þat þe maide him ȝaf, saun fail,
1020 For whom he did raþer batail.
A sscheld he kest aboute his swere,
Þat was of armes riche and dere,
Wiȝ þre maidenes heuedes of siluer briȝt,
Wiȝ crounes of gold precious of siȝt.
1025 A sschaft he tok þat was nowt smal,
Wiȝ a kene coronal.
His squier tok anoþer spere,
Bi his louerd he gan hit bere.
Lo, swich auenture he gan bitide:
1030 Þe sone aȝein þe fader gan ride,
And noiþer ne knew oþer no wiȝt.
Nou beginneȝ þe firste fiȝt.
Sire Degarre tok his cours þare,
Aȝen his fader a sschaft he bare.
1035 To bere him doun he hadde imint;
Riȝt in þe sscheld he set his dint.
Þe sschaft brak to peces al, {f.84vb} View Facsimile
And in þe sscheld sat þe coronal.
Anoþer cours þai gonne take.
1040 Þe fader tok for þe sones sake
A sschaft þat was gret and long,
And he anoþer also strong;
Togider þai riden wiȝ gret raundoun,
And aiþer bar oþer adoun.
1045 Wiȝ dintes þat þai smiten þere
Here stede-rigges toborsten were.
Afote þai gonne fiȝt ifere
And laiden on wiȝ swerdes clere.
Þe fader amerueiled wes,
1050 Whi his swerd was pointles,
And seide to his sone, apliȝt
‘Herkne to me a litel wiȝt.
Wher were þou boren, in what lond?’
‘In Litel Bretaigne, ich vnderstond,
1055 Kingges doughter sone, witouten les;
Ac I not wo mi fader wes.’
‘What is þi name?’ þan saide he.
‘Certes, men clepeȝ me Degarre.’
‘O, Degarre, sone mine,
1060 Certes, ich am fader þine.
And bi þi swerd I knowe hit here.
Þe point is in min aumenere.’
He tok þe point and set þerto.
Degarre fel iswone þo,
1065 And his fader, sikerli,
Also he gan swony.
And whanne of swone arisen were,
Þe sone cride merci þere
His owen fader of his misdede.
1070 And he him to his castel gan lede
And bad him dwelle wiȝ him ai.
‘Certes, sire’ he saide ‘nai.’
Ac, ȝif hit ȝoure wille were,
To mi moder we wende ifere;
1075 For ȝhe is in gret mourning.’
‘Bleþelich’ quaþ he ‘bi heuene-kyng.’

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