When sayd was this mirácle, every man
As sober was, that wonder was to see,
Til that oure Host to jape soon bigan,
And then at erst he lokéd upon me,
And sayde thus: “What man art thou?” quoth he.
“Thou lokest as thou woldest fynde an hare,
For ever upon the ground I see thee stare.
“Approche near, and loke merily.
Now ware you, sirs, and let this man have space.
He in the waist is shape as wel as I;
This were a popet in an arm to embrace
For any woman, smal and fair of face.
He semeth elvish by his countenaunce,
For unto no wight doth he daliaunce.
“Say now som what, since other folk have said;
Telle us a tale and that of mirthe anon.”
“Hoste,” quoth I, “be ye nought evil paid,
For other tale certes can I none,
But of a rym I lernèd yore agon.”
“Yea, that is good,” quoth he, “now shul we heere
Som deyntee thing, me thinketh by his cheere.”
Lesteneth, lordyngs, in good entent,
And I wol telle verrayment
Of myrthe and of solas,
Al of a knyght was fair and gent
In batail and in tornament,
His name was Sir Thopas.
I-bore he was in fer contré,
In Flaundres, al byyonde the se,
At Poperyng in the place;
His fader was a man ful fre,
And lord he was of that contré,
As it was Goddes grace.
Sir Thopas wax a doughty swayn;
Whyt was his face as payndemayn,
His lippes reed as rose;
His rode is lik scarlet en grayn,
And I yow telle, in good certayn
He had a semly nose.
His heer, his berd, was lik safroun,
That to his girdil raught adoun;
His schoon of cordewane;
Of Brigges were his hosen broun;
His robe was of sicladoun,
That coste many a jane.
He couthe hunt at wilde deer,
And ride on haukyng for ryver
With gray goshauk on honde;
Therto he was a good archeer,
Of wrastelyng was noon his peer,
Ther eny ram schal stonde.
Ful many mayde bright in bour
Thay mourne for him, par amour,
Whan hem were bet to slepe:
But he was chast and no lecchour,
And sweet as is the brembre flour
That bereth the reede heepe.
And so it fel upon a day,
For soth as I yow telle may,
Sir Thopas wold out ryde;
He worth upon his steede gray,
And in his hond a launcegay,
A long sword by his syde.
He priketh thurgh a fair forest,
Therin is many a wilde best,
Ye, bothe buk and hare;
And as he prikede north and est,
I tel it yow, hym had almest
Bityd a sory care.
Ther springen herbes greet and smale,
The licorys and the cetewale,
And many a clow gilofre,
And notemuge to put in ale,
Whethir it be moist or stale,
Or for to lay in cofre.
The briddes synge, it is no nay,
The sperhauk and the popinjay.
That joye it was to heere;
The throstilcock maad eek his lay,
The woode dowve upon the spray
Tho song ful lowde and cleere.
Sir Thopas fel in love-longinge,
Whan that he herde the briddes synge,
And priked as he were wood;
His faire steede in his prikynge
So swette, that men might him wrynge,
His sydes were al blood.
Sir Thopas eek so wery was
For priking on the softe gras,
So feers was his corrage,
That doun he layd him in the place
To make his steede som solace,
And yaf him good forage.
“O, seinte Mary, benedicite,
What eylith this love at me
To bynde me so sore?
Me dremed al this night, pardé,
An elf queen schal my lemman be,
And slepe under my gore.
An elf queen wol I have, i-wis,
For in this world no womman is
Worthy to be my make In toune;
Alle othir wommen I forsake,
And to an elf queen I me take
By dale and eek by doune.”
Into his sadil he clomb anoon,
And priked over stile and stoon
An elf queen for to spye;
Til he so longe hath ryden and goon,
That he fond in a privé woon
The contré of faïrye, So wylde;
For in that contré was ther noon,
That to hym durste ride or goon,
Neither wif ne childe.
Til that ther cam a greet geaunt,
His name was sir Olifaunt,
A perilous man of dede;
He swar, “Child, by Termagaunt,
But-if thou prike out of myn haunt,
Anoon I slee thy stede, With mace.
Heer is the queen of fayerie,
With harp, and lute, and symphonye,
Dwellyng in this place.”
The child sayd: “Also mote I the,
To morwe wil I meete with the,
Whan I have myn armure.
And yit I hope, par ma fay,
That thou schalt with this launcegay
Abyen it ful soure; Thy mawe
Schal I persyn, if that I may,
Er it be fully prime of day,
For heer schalt thou be slawe.”
Sir Thopas drough on-bak ful faste;
This geaunt at him stoones caste
Out of a fell staf slynge;
But faire eschapeth child Thopas,
And al it was thurgh Goddis gras,
And thurgh his faire berynge.
Yet lesteneth, lordynges, to my tale,
Merier than the nightyngale.
For nowe I wol yow roune.
How sir Thopas with sides smale,
Prikynge over hul and dale,
Is come ageyn to toune.
His mery men comaunded he,
To make him bothe game and gle,
For needes most he fighte
With a geaunt with heedes thre,
For paramours and jolité
Of oon that schon ful brighte,
“Do come,” he sayde, “my mynstrales
And gestours for to telle tales
Anoon in myn armynge,
Of romaunces that ben reales,
Of popes and of cardinales,
And eek of love-longeinge.”
Thay fet him first the swete wyn,
And made him eek in a maselyn
A real spicerye,
Of gyngebred that was so fyn,
And licorys, and eek comyn,
With sugre that is trye.
He dede next his white leere
Of cloth of lake whyt and cleere
A brech and eek a schert;
And next his schert an aketoun,
And over that an haberjoun,
For persyng of his hert;
And over that a fyn hauberk,
Was al i-wrought of Jewes werk,
Ful strong it was of plate;
And over that his cote-armour,
As whyt as is a lily flour,
In which he wolde debate.
His scheld was al of gold so red,
And therinne was a bores heed,
A charbocle by his syde;
And ther he swor on ale and bred
How that the geaunt schal be deed,
Bytyde what betyde.
His jambeux were of quirboily,
His swerdes schethe of yvory,
His helm of latoun bright.
His sadel was of rowel boon,
His bridel as the sonne schon,
Or as the moone light;
His spere was of fine cipres,
That bodeth werre, and no thing pees,
The heed ful scharp i-grounde.
His steede was al dappul gray,
Hit goth an ambel in the way
Ful softely and rounde In londe.
Lo, lordes, heer is a fyt;
If ye wil eny more of it,
To telle it wol I fonde.
Now hold your mouth for charité,
Bothe knight and lady fre,
And herkneth to my spelle;
Of batail and of chivalry,
Of ladys love drewery,
Anoon I wol yow telle.
Men speken of romauns of pris,
Of Horn child and of Ypotis,
Of Bevys and sir Gy,
Of sir Libeaux, and Pleyndamour;
But sir Thopas bereth the flour
Of real chivalry.
His goode steede he bistrood,
And forth upon his way he glood,
As sparkeles out of the bronde;
Upon his crest he bar a tour,
And therin stiked a lily flour:—
God schilde his corps fro schonde!
And for he was a knyght auntrous,
He nolde slepen in noon hous,
But liggen in his hood.
His brighte helm was his wonger,
And by him baytith his destrer
Of herbes fyne and goode.
Him self drank water of the welle,
As dede the knight sir Percivelle
So worthy under wede,
Tille it was on a daye —
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:52