« PreviousContinue »
THE MARRIAGE OF SIR GAWAINE.
Is chiefly taken from the fragment of an old ballad in the Editor's MS. which he has reason to believe more ancient than the time of CHAUCER, and what furnished that bard with his Wife of Bath's Tale. The original was so extremely mutilated, half of every leaf being torn away, that without large supplements, &c. it was deemed improper for this collection: these it has therefore received, such as they are. They are not here particularly pointed out, because the FRAGMENT itself will now be found printed at the end of this volume.
PART THE FIRST.
King Arthur lives in merry Carleile,
And seemely is to see;
And there with him queene Guenever,
That bride so bright in bowre :
That were both stiffe and stowre.
The king a royale Christmasse kept,
With mirth and princelye cheare ;
That came both farre and neare,
And when they were to dinner sette,
And cups went freely round:
And knelt upon the ground.
A boone, a boone, O kinge Arthure,
I beg a boone of thee ;
Who hath shent my love and mee.
At Tearne-Wadling* his castle stands,
Near to that lake so fair,
And streamers deck the air.
Noe gentle knighte, nor ladye gay,
May pass that castle-walle :
Mishappe will them befalle.
the size of common men, Wi' thewes, and sinewes stronge, And on his backe he bears a clubbe,
That is both thicke and longe.
* Tearne-Wadling is the name of a small lake near Hesketh in Cumberland, on the road from Penrith to Carlisle. There is a tradition, that an old castle once stood near the lake, the remains of which were not long since visible. T'earn, in the dialect of that country, signifies a small lake, and is still E 2
This grimme bardne 'twas our harde happe,
But yester morne to see ; When to his bowre he bare
And sore misused mee.
And when I told him, king Arthure
As lyttle shold him spare ;
To meete mee if he dare.
Upp then sterted king Arthure,
And sware by hille and dale,
Till he had made him quail.
Goe fetch my sword Excalibar:
Goe saddle mee my steede;
Shall rue this ruthfulle deede.
And when he came to Tearne Wadlinge
Benethe the castle walle : “ Come forth ; come forth ; thou proude bardne,
Or yielde thyself my thralle."
On magicke grounde that castle stoode,
And fenc'd with many a spelle:
But straite his courage felle.
Forth then rush'd that carlish knight,
King Arthur felte the charme:
Downe sunke his feeble arme.
Nowe yield thee, yield thee, kinge Arthùre,
Now yield thee, unto mee :
Noe better termes maye bee,
Unlesse thou sweare upon the rood,
And promise on thy faye,
Upon the new-yeare's daye :
And bringe me worde what thing it is
All women moste desyre :
Ile have noe other hyre.
King Arthur then helde up his hande,
And sware upon his faye,
And faste hee rode awaye.
And he rode east, and he rode west,
And did of all inquyre,
And what they most desyre.