Verse > Geoffrey Chaucer > Complete Poetical Works
Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340–1400).  The Complete Poetical Works.  1894.
The Canterbury Tales
Appendix to Group A. The Tale of Gamelyn
LITHETH, and lesteneth · and herkeneth aright,
And ye schulle heere a talking · of a doughty knight;
Sire Iohan of Boundys · was his righte name,
He cowde of norture y-nough · and mochil of game.
Thre sones the knight hadde · that with his body he wan;        5
The eldest was a moche schrewe · and sone he bigan.
His bretheren loved wel here fader · and of him were agast,
The eldest deserved his fadres curs · and had it at the last.
The goode knight his fader · livede so yore,
That deth was comen him to · and handled him ful sore.        10
The goode knight cared sore · syk ther he lay,
How his children scholde · liven after his day.
He hadde ben wyde-wher · but non housbond he was,
Al the lond that he hadde · it was verrey purchas.
Fayn he wolde it were · dressed among hem alle,        15
That ech of hem hadde his part · as it mighte falle.
Tho sente he in-to cuntre · after wyse knightes,
To helpe delen his londes · and dressen hem to-rightes.
He sente hem word by lettres · they schulden hye blyve,
If they wolde speke with him · whyl he was on lyve.        20
  Tho the knightes herden · syk that he lay,
Hadde they no reste · nother night ne day,
Til they comen to him · ther he lay stille
On his deth-bedde · to abyde goddes wille.
Than seyde the goode knight · syk ther he lay,        25
‘Lordes, I you warne · for soth, withoute nay,
I may no lenger liven · heer in this stounde;
For thurgh goddes wille · deth draweth me to grounde.’
Ther nas non of hem alle · that herde him aright,
That they ne hadden reuthe · of that ilke knight,        30
And seyde, ‘sir, for goddes love · ne dismay you nought;
God may do bote of bale · that is now y-wrought.’
  Than spak the goode knight · syk ther he lay,
‘Boote of bale god may sende · I wot it is no nay;
But I byseke you, knightes · for the love of me,        35
Goth and dresseth my lond · among my sones three.
And sires, for the love of god · deleth hem nat amis,
And forgetith nat Gamelyn · my yonge sone that is.
Taketh heed to that on · as wel as to that other;
Selde ye see ony eyr · helpen his brother.’        40
  Tho leete they the knight lyen · that was nought in hele,
And wenten in-to counsel · his londes for to dele;
For to delen hem alle · to oon, that was her thought,
And for Gamelyn was yongest · he schulde have nought.
Al the lond that ther was · they dalten it in two,        45
And leeten Gamelyn the yonge · withoute londe go,
And ech of hem seyde · to other ful lowde,
His bretheren mighte yeve him lond · whan he good cowde.
Whan they hadde deled · the lond at here wille,
They comen ayein to the knight · ther he lay ful stille,        50
And tolden him anon-right · how they hadden wrought;
And the knight ther he lay · lyked it right nought.
Than seyde the knight · ‘by seynt Martyn,
For al that ye have y-doon · yit is the lond myn;
For goddes love, neyhebours · stondeth alle stille,        55
And I wil dele my lond · right after my wille.
Iohan, myn eldeste sone · schal have plowes fyve,
That was my fadres heritage · whyl he was on lyve;
And my middeleste sone · fyve plowes of lond,
That I halp for to gete · with my righte hond;        60
And al myn other purchas · of londes and leedes,
That I biquethe Gamelyn · and alle my goode steedes.
And I biseke yow, goode men · that lawe conne of londe,
For Gamelynes love · that my queste stonde.’
Thus dalte the knight · his lond by his day,        65
Right on his deth-bedde · syk ther he lay;
And sone aftirward · he lay stoon-stille,
And deyde whan tyme com · as it was Cristes wille.
And anon as he was deed · and under gras y-grave,
Sone the elder brother · gyled the yonge knave;        70
He took into his hond · his lond and his leede,
And Gamelyn himselfe · to clothen and to feede.
He clothed him and fedde him · yvel and eek wrothe,
And leet his londes for-fare · and his houses bothe,
His parkes and his woodes · and dede nothing wel;        75
And seththen he it aboughte · on his faire fel.
So longe was Gamelyn · in his brotheres halle,
For the strengest, of good wil · they doutiden him alle;
Ther was non ther-inne · nowther yong ne old,
That wolde wraththe Gamelyn · were he never so bold.        80
Gamelyn stood on a day · in his brotheres yerde,
And bigan with his hond · to handlen his berde;
He thoughte on his londes · that layen unsawe,
And his faire okes · that down were y-drawe;
His parkes were y-broken · and his deer bireved;        85
Of alle his goode steedes · noon was him bileved;
His howses were unhiled · and ful yvel dight;
Tho thoughte Gamelyn · it wente nought aright.
Afterward cam his brother · walkinge thare,
And seyde to Gamelyn · ‘is our mete yare?’        90
Tho wraththed him Gamelyn · and swor by goddes book,
‘Thou schalt go bake thy-self · I wil nought be thy cook!’
‘How? brother Gamelyn · how answerest thou now?
Thou spake never such a word · as thou dost now.’
‘By my faith,’ seyde Gamelyn · ‘now me thinketh neede,        95
Of alle the harmes that I have · I tok never ar heede.
My parkes ben to-broken · and my deer bireved,
Of myn armure and my steedes · nought is me bileved;
Al that my fader me biquath · al goth to schame,
And therfor have thou goddes curs · brother by thy name!’        100
Than bispak his brother · that rape was of rees,
‘Stond stille, gadeling · and hold right thy pees;
Thou schalt be fayn for to have · thy mete and thy wede;
What spekest thou, Gamelyn · of lond other of leede?’
Thanne seyde Gamelyn · the child that was ying,        105
‘Cristes curs mot he have · that clepeth me gadeling!
I am no worse gadeling · ne no worse wight,
But born of a lady · and geten of a knight.’
Ne durste he nat to Gamelyn · ner a-foote go,
But clepide to him his men · and seyde to hem tho,        110
‘Goth and beteth this boy · and reveth him his wit,
And lat him lerne another tyme · to answere me bet.’
Thanne seyde the child · yonge Gamelyn,
‘Cristes curs mot thou have · brother art thou myn!
And if I schal algate · be beten anon,        115
Cristes curs mot thou have · but thou be that oon!’
And anon his brother · in that grete hete
Made his men to fette staves · Gamelyn to bete.
Whan that everich of hem · a staf hadde y-nome,
Gamelyn was war anon · tho he seigh hem come;        120
Tho Gamelyn seigh hem come · he loked over-al,
And was war of a pestel · stood under a wal;
Gamelyn was light of foot · and thider gan he lepe,
And drof alle his brotheres men · right on an hepe.
He loked as a wilde lyoun · and leyde on good woon;        125
Tho his brother say that · he bigan to goon;
He fley up in-til a loft · and schette the dore fast;
Thus Gamelyn with the pestel · made hem alle agast.
Some for Gamelynes love · and some for his eye,
Alle they drowe by halves · tho he gan to pleye.        130
‘What! how now?’ seyde Gamelyn · ‘evel mot ye thee!
Wil ye biginne contek · and so sone flee?’
Gamelyn soughte his brother · whider he was flowe,
And saugh wher he loked · out at a windowe.
‘Brother,’ sayde Gamelyn · ‘com a litel ner,        135
And I wil teche thee a play · atte bokeler.’
His brother him answerde · and swor by seynt Richer,
‘Whyl the pestel is in thin hond · I wil come no neer:
Brother, I wil make thy pees · I swere by Cristes ore;
Cast away the pestel · and wraththe thee no-more.’        140
‘I mot neede,’ sayde Gamelyn · ‘wraththe me at oones,
For thou wolde make thy men · to breke myne boones,
Ne hadde I had mayn · and might in myn armes,
To have y-put hem fro me · they wolde have do me harmes.’
‘Gamelyn,’ sayde his brother · ‘be thou nought wroth,        145
For to seen thee have harm · it were me right loth;
I ne dide it nought, brother · but for a fonding,
For to loken if thou were strong · and art so ying.’
‘Com a-doun than to me · and graunte me my bone
Of thing I wil thee aske · and we schul saughte sone.’        150
Doun than cam his brother · that fikil was and fel,
And was swithe sore · agast of the pestel.
He seyde, ‘brother Gamelyn · aske me thy boone,
And loke thou me blame · but I graunte sone.’
Thanne seyde Gamelyn · ‘brother, y-wis,        155
And we schulle ben at oon · thou most me graunte this:
Al that my fader me biquath · whyl he was on lyve,
Thou most do me it have · yif we schul nat stryve.’
‘That schalt thou have, Gamelyn · I swere by Cristes ore!
Al that thy fader thee biquath · though thou woldest have more;        160
Thy lond, that lyth laye · ful wel it schal be sowe,
And thyn howses reysed up · that ben leyd so lowe.’
Thus seyde the knight · to Gamelyn with mowthe,
And thoughte eek of falsnes · as he wel couthe.
The knight thoughte on tresoun · and Gamelyn on noon,        165
And wente and kiste his brother · and, whan they were at oon,
Allas! yonge Gamelyn · nothing he ne wiste
With which a false tresoun · his brother him kiste!
  Litheth, and lesteneth · and holdeth your tonge,
And ye schul heere talking · of Gamelyn the yonge.        170
Ther was ther bisyden · cryed a wrastling,
And therfor ther was set up · a ram and a ring;
And Gamelyn was in good wil · to wende therto,
For to preven his might · what he cowthe do.
‘Brother,’ seyde Gamelyn · ‘by seynt Richer,        175
Thou most lene me to-night · a litel courser
That is freisch to the spore · on for to ryde;
I most on an erande · a litel her bisyde.’
‘By god!’ seyde his brother · ‘of steedes in my stalle
Go and chese thee the best · and spare non of alle        180
Of steedes or of coursers · that stonden hem bisyde;
And tel me, goode brother · whider thou wolt ryde.’
  ‘Her bisyde, brother · is cryed a wrastling,
And therfor schal be set up · a ram and a ring;
Moche worschip it were · brother, to us alle,        185
Might I the ram and the ring · bring home to this halle.’
A steede ther was sadeled · smertely and skeet;
Gamelyn did a paire spores · fast on his feet.
He sette his foot in the styrop · the steede he bistrood,
And toward the wrasteling · the yonge child rood.        190
Tho Gamelyn the yonge · was ride out at the gat,
The false knight his brother · lokked it after that,
And bisoughte Iesu Crist · that is heven king,
He mighte breke his nekke · in that wrasteling.
As sone as Gamelyn com · ther the place was,        195
He lighte doun of his steede · and stood on the gras,
And ther he herd a frankeleyn · wayloway singe,
And bigan bitterly · his hondes for to wringe.
‘Goode man,’ seyde Gamelyn · ‘why makestow this fare?
Is ther no man that may · you helpe out of this care?’        200
‘Allas!’ seyde this frankeleyn · ‘that ever was I bore!
For tweye stalworthe sones · I wene that I have lore;
A champioun is in the place · that hath y-wrought me sorwe,
For he hath slayn my two sones · but-if god hem borwe.
I wold yeve ten pound · by Iesu Crist! and more,        205
With the nones I fand a man · to handelen him sore.’
‘Goode man,’ sayde Gamelyn · ‘wilt thou wel doon,
Hold myn hors, whyl my man · draweth of my schoon,
And help my man to kepe · my clothes and my steede,
And I wil into place go · to loke if I may speede.’        210
‘By god!’ sayde the frankeleyn · ‘anon it schal be doon;
I wil my-self be thy man · and drawen of thy schoon,
And wende thou into the place · Iesu Crist thee speede,
And drede not of thy clothes · nor of thy goode steede.’
  Barfoot and ungert · Gamelyn in cam,        215
Alle that weren in the place · heede of him they nam,
How he durste auntre him · of him to doon his might
That was so doughty champioun · in wrastling and in fight.
Up sterte the champioun · rapely and anoon,
Toward yonge Gamelyn · he bigan to goon,        220
And sayde, ‘who is thy fader · and who is thy sire?
For sothe thou art a gret fool · that thou come hire!’
Gamelyn answerde · the champioun tho,
‘Thou knewe wel my fader · whyl he couthe go,
Whyles he was on lyve · by seint Martyn!        225
Sir Iohan of Boundys was his name · and I Gamelyn.’
‘Felaw,’ seyde the champioun · ‘al-so mot I thryve,
I knew wel thy fader · whyl he was on lyve;
And thyself, Gamelyn · I wil that thou it heere,
Whyl thou were a yong boy · a moche schrewe thou were.’        230
Than seyde Gamelyn · and swor by Cristes ore,
‘Now I am older woxe · thou schalt me finde a more!’
‘By god!’ sayde the champioun · ‘welcome mote thou be!
Come thou ones in myn hond · schalt thou never thee.’
It was wel withinne the night · and the moone schon,        235
Whan Gamelyn and the champioun · togider gonne goon.
The champioun caste tomes · to Gamelyn that was prest,
And Gamelyn stood stille · and bad him doon his best.
Thanne seyde Gamelyn · to the champioun,
‘Thou art faste aboute · to bringe me adoun;        240
Now I have y-proved · many tornes of thyne,
Thow most,’ he seyde, ‘proven · on or two of myne.’
Gamelyn to the champioun · yede smertely anon,
Of all the tornes that he cowthe · he schewed him but oon,
And caste him on the lefte syde · that three ribbes to-brak,        245
And ther-to his oon arm · that yaf a gret crak.
Thanne seyde Gamelyn · smertely anoon,
‘Schal it be holde for a cast · or elles for noon?’
‘By god!’ seyde the champioun · ‘whether that it be,
He that cometh ones in thin hand · schal he never thee!’        250
Than seyde the frankeleyn · that had his sones there,
‘Blessed be thou, Gamelyn · that ever thou bore were!’
The frankeleyn seyde to the champioun · of him stood him noon eye,
‘This is yonge Gamelyn · that taughte thee this pleye.’
Agein answerd the champioun · that lyked nothing wel,        255
‘He is a lither mayster · and his pley is right fel;
Sith I wrastled first · it is y-go ful yore,
But I was nevere in my lyf · handeled so sore.’
Gamelyn stood in the place · allone withoute serk,
And seyde, ‘if ther be eny mo · lat hem come to werk;        260
The champioun that peyned him · to werke so sore,
It semeth by his continaunce · that he wil no-more.’
Gamelyn in the place · stood as stille as stoon,
For to abyde wrasteling · but ther com noon;
Ther was noon with Gamelyn · wolde wrastle more,        265
For he handled the champioun · so wonderly sore.
Two gentil-men ther were · that yemede the place,
Comen to Gamelyn · (god yeve him goode grace!)
And sayde to him, ‘do on · thyn hosen and thy schoon,
For sothe at this tyme · this feire is y-doon.’        270
And than seyde Gamelyn · ‘so mot I wel fare,
I have nought yet halven-del · sold up my ware.’
Tho seyde the champioun · ‘so brouke I my sweere,
He is a fool that ther-of byeth · thou sellest it so deere.’
Tho sayde the frankeleyn · that was in moche care,        275
‘Felaw,’ he seyde · ‘why lakkest thou his ware?
By seynt lame in Galys · that many man hath sought,
Yet it is to good cheep · that thou hast y-bought.’
Tho that wardeynes were · of that wrasteling
Come and broughte Gamelyn · the ram and the ring,        280
And seyden, ‘have, Gamelyn · the ring and the ram,
For the beste wrasteler · that ever here cam.’
Thus wan Gamelyn · the ram and the ring,
And wente with moche Ioye · home in the morning.
His brother seih wher he cam · with the grete rowte,        285
And bad schitte the gate · and holde him withoute.
The porter of his lord · was ful sore agast,
And sterte anon to the gate · and lokked it fast.
  Now litheth, and lesteneth · bothe yonge and olde,
And ye schul heere gamen · of Gamelyn the bolde.        290
Gamelyn come ther-to · for to have comen in,
And thanne was it y-schet · faste with a pin;
Than seyde Gamelyn · ‘porter, undo the yat,
For many good mannes sone · stondeth ther-at.’
Than answerd the porter · and swor by goddes berde,        295
‘Thow ne schalt, Gamelyn · come into this yerde.’
‘Thow lixt,’ sayde Gamelyn · ‘so browke I my chin!’
He smot the wiket with his foot · and brak awey the pin.
The porter seyh tho · it might no better be,
He sette foot on erthe · and bigan to flee.        300
‘By my faith,’ seyde Gamelyn · ‘that travail is y-lore,
For I am of foot as light as thou · though thou haddest swore.’
Gamelyn overtook the porter · and his teene wrak,
And gerte him in the nekke · that the bon to-brak,
And took him by that oon arm · and threw him in a welle,        305
Seven fadmen it was deep · as I have herd telle.
Whan Gamelyn the yonge · thus hadde pleyd his play,
Alle that in the yerde were · drewen hem away;
They dredden him ful sore · for werkes that he wroughte,
And for the faire company · that he thider broughte.        310
Gamelyn yede to the gate · and leet it up wyde;
He leet in alle maner men · that gon in wolde or ryde,
And seyde, ‘ye be welcome · withouten eny greeve,
For we wiln be maistres heer · and aske no man leve.
Yestirday I lefte’ · seyde yonge Gamelyn,        315
‘In my brother seller · fyve tonne of wyn;
I wil not that this compaignye · parten a-twinne,
And ye wil doon after me · whyl eny sope is thrinne,
And if my brother grucche · or make foul cheere,
Other for spense of mete or drink · that we spenden heere,        320
I am oure catour · and bere oure aller purs,
He schal have for his grucching · seint Maries curs.
My brother is a niggoun · I swer by Cristes ore,
And we wil spende largely · that he hath spared yore;
And who that maketh grucching · that we here dwelle,        325
He schal to the porter · into the draw-welle.’
Seven dayes and seven night · Gamelyn held his feste,
With moche mirth and solas · that was ther, and no cheste;
In a little toret · his brother lay y-steke,
And sey hem wasten his good · but durste he not speke.        330
Erly on a morning · on the eighte day,
The gestes come to Gamelyn · and wolde gon here way.
‘Lordes,’ seyde Gamelyn · ‘wil ye so hyë?
Al the wyn is not yet dronke · so brouke I myn yë.’
Gamelyn in his herte · was he ful wo,        335
Whan his gestes took her leve · from him for to go;
He wolde they had lenger abide · and they seyde ‘nay,’
But bitaughte Gamelyn · god, and good day.
Thus made Gamelyn his feest · and broughte it wel to ende,
And after his gestes · toke leve to wende.        340
  Litheth, and lesteneth · and holdeth youre tonge,
And ye schul heere gamen · of Gamelyn the yonge;
Herkeneth, lordinges · and lesteneth aright,
Whan alle gestes were goon · how Gamelyn was dight.
Al the whyl that Gamelyn · heeld his mangerye,        345
His brother thoughte on him be wreke · with his treccherye.
Tho Gamelyns gestes · were riden and y-goon,
Gamelyn stood allone · frendes had he noon;
Tho after ful soone · withinne a litel stounde,
Gamelyn was y-taken · and ful harde y-bounde.        350
Forth com the false knight · out of the soleer,
To Gamelyn his brother · he yede ful neer,
And sayde to Gamelyn · ‘who made thee so bold
For to stroye my stoor · of myn houshold?’
‘Brother,’ seyde Gamelyn · ‘wraththe thee right nought,        355
For it is many day y-gon · siththen it was bought;
For, brother, thou hast y-had · by seynt Richer,
Of fiftene plowes of lond · this sixtene yer,
And of alle the beestes · thou hast forth bred,
That my fader me biquath · on his deth-bed;        360
Of al this sixtene yeer · I yeve thee the prow,
For the mete and the drink · that we have spended now.’
Thanne seyde the false knight · (evel mot he thee!)
‘Herkne, brother Gamelyn · what I wol yeve thee;
For of my body, brother · heir geten have I noon,        365
I wil make thee myn heir · I swere by seint Iohan.’
‘Par ma foy!’ sayde Gamelyn · ‘and if it so be,
And thou thenke as thou seyst · god yelde it thee!’
Nothing wiste Gamelyn · of his brotheres gyle;
Therfore he him bigyled · in a litel whyle.        370
‘Gamelyn,’ seyde he · ‘o thing I thee telle;
Tho thou threwe my porter · in the draw-welle,
I swor in that wraththe · and in that grete moot,
That thou schuldest be bounde · bothe hand and foot;
Therfore I thee biseche · brother Gamelyn,        375
Lat me nought be forsworen · brother art thou myn;
Lat me binde thee now · bothe hand and feet,
For to holde myn avow · as I thee biheet.’
‘Brother,’ sayde Gamelyn · ‘al-so mot I thee!
Thou schalt not be forsworen · for the love of me.’        380
Tho made they Gamelyn to sitte · mighte he nat stonde,
Til they hadde him bounde · bothe foot and honde.
The false knight his brother · of Gamelyn was agast,
And sente aftir feteres · to feteren him fast.
His brother made lesinges · on him ther he stood,        385
And tolde hem that comen in · that Gamelyn was wood.
Gamelyn stood to a post · bounden in the halle,
Tho that comen in ther · lokede on him alle.
Ever stood Gamelyn · even upright;
But mete ne drink had he non · neither day ne night.        390
Than seyde Gamelyn · ‘brother, by myn hals,
Now I have aspyed · thou art a party fals;
Had I wist that tresoun · that thou haddest y-founde,
I wolde have yeve thee strokes · or I had be bounde!’
Gamelyn stood bounden · stille as eny stoon;        395
Two dayes and two nightes · mete had he noon.
Thanne seyde Gamelyn · that stood y-bounde stronge,
‘Adam spenser · me thinkth I faste to longe;
Adam spenser · now I byseche thee,
For the mochel love · my fader loved thee,        400
If thou may come to the keyes · lese me out of bond,
And I wil parte with thee · of my free lond.’
Thanne seyde Adam · that was the spencer,
‘I have served thy brother · this sixtene yeer,
If I leete thee goon · out of his bour,        405
He wolde say afterward · I were a traytour.’
‘Adam,’ sayde Gamelyn · ‘so brouke I myn hals!
Thou schalt finde my brother · atte laste fals;
Therfor, brother Adam · louse me out of bond,
And I wil parte with thee · of my free lond.’        410
‘Up swich a forward’ · seyde Adam, ‘y-wis,
I wil do therto · al that in me is.’
‘Adam,’ seyde Gamelyn · ‘al-so mot I thee,
I wol holde thee covenant · and thou wil me.’
Anon as Adames lord · to bedde was y-goon,        415
Adam took the keyes, and leet · Gamelyn out anoon;
He unlokked Gamelyn · bothe handes and feet,
In hope of avauncement · that he him biheet.
Than seyde Gamelyn · ‘thanked be goddes sonde!
Now I am loosed · bothe foot and honde;        420
Had I now eten · and dronken aright,
Ther is noon in this hous · schulde binde me this night.’
Adam took Gamelyn · as stille as ony stoon,
And ladde him in-to spence · rapely and anon,
And sette him to soper · right in a privee stede,        425
He bad him do gladly · and Gamelyn so dede.
Anon as Gamelyn hadde · eten wel and fyn,
And therto y-dronke wel · of the rede wyn,
‘Adam,’ seyde Gamelyn · ‘what is now thy reed?
Wher I go to my brother · and girde of his heed?’        430
‘Gamelyn,’ seyde Adam · ‘it schal not be so.
I can teche thee a reed · that is worth the two.
I wot wel for sothe · that this is no nay,
We schul have a mangery · right on Soneday;
Abbotes and priours · many heer schal be,        435
And other men of holy chirche · as I telle thee;
Thow schalt stonde up by the post · as thou were hond-fast,
And I schal leve hem unloke · awey thou may hem cast.
Whan that they have eten · and wasschen here hondes,
Thou schalt biseke hem alle · to bring thee out of bondes;        440
And if they wille borwe thee · that were good game,
Then were thou out of prisoun · and I out of blame;
And if everich of hem · say unto us ‘nay,’
I schal do an other · I swere by this day!
Thou schalt have a good staf · and I wil have another,        445
And Cristes curs have that oon · that faileth that other!’
‘Ye, for gode!’ sayde Gamelyn · ‘I say it for me,
If I fayle on my syde · yvel mot I thee!
If we schul algate · assoile hem of here sinne,
Warne me, brother Adam · whan I schal biginne.’        450
‘Gamelyn,’ seyde Adam · ‘by seynte Charite,
I wil warne thee biforn · whan that it schal be;
Whan I twinke on thee · loke for to goon,
And cast awey the feteres · and com to me anoon.’
‘Adam,’ seide Gamelyn · ‘blessed be thy bones!        455
That is a good counseil · yeven for the nones;
If they werne me thanne · to bringe me out of bendes,
I wol sette goode strokes · right on here lendes.’
  Tho the Sonday was y-come · and folk to the feste,
Faire they were welcomed · both leste and meste;        460
And ever atte halle-dore · as they comen in,
They caste their eye · on yonge Gamelyn.
The false knight his brother · ful of trechery,
Alle the gestes that ther were · atte mangery,
Of Gamelyn his brother · he tolde hem with mouthe        465
Al the harm and the schame · that he telle couthe.
Tho they were served · of messes two or three,
Than seyde Gamelyn · ‘how serve ye me?
It is nought wel served · by god that al made!
That I sitte fasting · and other men make glade.’        470
The false knight his brother · ther that he stood,
Tolde alle his gestes · that Gamelyn was wood;
And Gamelyn stood stille · and answerde nought,
But Adames wordes · he held in his thought.
Tho Gamelyn gan speke · dolfully with-alle        475
To the grete lordes · that saten in the halle:
‘Lordes,’ he seyde · ‘for Cristes passioun,
Helpeth bringe Gamelyn · out of prisoun.’
Than seyde an abbot · sorwe on his cheeke!
‘He schal have Cristes curs · and seynte Maries eeke,        480
That thee out of prisoun · beggeth other borwe,
But ever worthe hem wel · that doth thee moche sorwe.’
After that abbot · than spak another,
‘I wold thin heed were of · though thou were my brother!
Alle that thee borwe · foule mot hem falle!’        485
Thus they seyden alle · that weren in the halle.
Than seyde a priour · yvel mot he thryve!
‘It is moche scathe, boy · that thou art on lyve.’
‘Ow!’ seyde Gamelyn · ‘so brouke I my bon!
Now I have aspyed · that freendes have I non.        490
Cursed mot he worthe · bothe fleisch and blood,
That ever do priour · or abbot ony good!’
Adam the spencer · took up the cloth,
And loked on Gamelyn · and say that he was wroth;
Adam on the pantrye · litel he thoughte,        495
But two goode staves · to halle-dore he broughte,
Adam loked on Gamelyn · and he was war anoon,
And caste awey the feteres · and he bigan to goon:
Tho he com to Adam · he took that oo staf,
And bigan to worche · and goode strokes yaf.        500
Gamelyn cam in-to the halle · and the spencer bothe,
And loked hem aboute · as they had be wrothe;
Gamelyn sprengeth holy-water · with an oken spire,
That some that stoode upright · fellen in the fire.
There was no lewed man · that in the halle stood,        505
That wolde do Gamelyn · eny thing but good,
But stood bisyden · and leet hem bothe werche,
For they hadde no rewthe · of men of holy cherche;
Abbot or priour · monk or chanoun,
That Gamelyn overtok · anon they yeeden doun.        510
Ther was non of hem alle · that with his staf mette,
That he ne made him overthrowe · and quitte him his dette.
‘Gamelyn,’ seyde Adam · ‘for seynte Charite,
Pay large liverey · for the love of me,
And I wil kepe the dore · so ever here I masse!        515
Er they ben assoyled · there shal noon passe.’
‘Dowt thee nought,’ seyde Gamelyn · ‘whyl we ben in-feere,
Kep thou wel the dore · and I wol werche heere;
Stere thee, good Adam · and lat ther noon flee,
And we schul telle largely · how many that ther be.’        520
‘Gamelyn,’ seyde Adam · ‘do hem but good;
They ben men of holy chirche · draw of hem no blood,
Save wel the croune · and do hem non harmes,
But brek bothe her legges · and siththen here armes.’
Thus Gamelyn and Adam · wroughte right fast,        525
And pleyden with the monkes · and made hem agast.
Thider they come ryding · Iolily with swaynes,
And hom ayen they were y-lad · in cartes and in waynes.
Tho they hadden al y-don · than seyde a gray frere,
‘Allas! sire abbot · what dide we now heere?        530
Tho that we comen hider · it was a cold reed,
Us hadde ben better at home · with water and with breed.’
Whyl Gamelyn made ordres · of monkes and frere,
Ever stood his brother · and made foul chere;
Gamelyn up with his staf · that he wel knew,        535
And gerte him in the nekke · that he overthrew;
A litel above the girdel · the rigge-bon to-barst;
And sette him in the feteres · ther he sat arst.
‘Sitte ther, brother’ · sayde Gamelyn,
‘For to colen thy blood · as I dide myn.’        540
As swithe as they hadde · y-wroken hem on here foon,
They askeden watir · and wisschen anoon,
What some for here love · and some for here awe,
Alle the servants served hem · of the beste lawe.
The scherreve was thennes · but a fyve myle,        545
And al was y-told him · in a litel whyle,
How Gamelyn and Adam · had doon a sory rees,
Bounden and y-wounded men · ayein the kinges pees;
Tho bigan sone · stryf for to wake,
And the scherref was aboute · Gamelyn for to take.        550
  Now lytheth and lesteneth · so god yif you good fyn!
And ye schul heere good game · of yonge Gamelyn.
Four and twenty yonge men · that heelden hem ful bolde,
Come to the schirref · and seyde that they wolde
Gamelyn and Adam · fetten, by her fay;        555
The scherref yaf hem leve · soth as I you say;
They hyeden faste · wold they nought bilinne,
Til they come to the gate · ther Gamelyn was inne.
They knokked on the gate · the porter was ny,
And loked out at an hol · as man that was sly.        560
The porter hadde biholde · hem a litel whyle,
He loved wel Gamelyn · and was adrad of gyle,
And leet the wicket stonden · y-steke ful stille,
And asked hem withoute · what was here wille.
For al the grete company · thanne spak but oon,        565
‘Undo the gate, porter · and lat us in goon.’
Than seyde the porter · ‘so brouke I my chin,
Ye schul sey your erand · er ye comen in.’
‘Sey to Gamelyn and Adam · if here wille be,
We wil speke with hem · wordes two or thre.’        570
‘Felaw,’ seyde the porter · ‘stond there stille,
And I wil wende to Gamelyn · to witen his wille.’
In wente the porter · to Gamelyn anoon,
And seyde, ‘Sir, I warne you · her ben come your foon;
The scherreves meyne · ben atte gate,        575
For to take you bothe · schulle ye nat scape.’
‘Porter,’ seyde Gamelyn · ‘so moot I wel thee!
I wil allowe thee thy wordes · whan I my tyme see;
Go agayn to the yate · and dwel with hem a whyle,
And thou schalt see right sone · porter, a gyle.        580
Adam,’ sayde Gamelyn · ‘looke thee to goon;
We have foo-men atte gate · and frendes never oon;
It ben the schirrefes men · that hider ben y-come,
They ben swore to-gidere · that we schul be nom.’
‘Gamelyn,’ seyde Adam · ‘hye thee right blyve,        585
And if I faile thee this day · evel mot I thryve!
And we schul so welcome · the scherreves men,
That some of hem schul make · here beddes in the fen.’
Atte posterne-gate · Gamelyn out wente,
And a good cart-staf · in his hand he hente;        590
Adam hente sone · another gret staf
For to helpe Gamelyn · and goode strokes yaf.
Adam felde tweyne · and Gamelyn felde three,
The other setten feet on erthe · and bigonne flee.
‘What?’ seyde Adam · ‘so ever here I masse!        595
I have a draught of good wyn! · drink er ye passe!’
‘Nay, by god!’ sayde thay · ‘thy drink is not good,
It wolde make mannes brayn · to lyen in his hood.’
Gamelyn stood stille · and loked him aboute,
And seih the scherreve come · with a gret route.        600
‘Adam,’ seyde Gamelyn · ‘what be now thy reedes?
Here cometh the scherreve · and wil have oure heedes.’
Adam sayde, ‘Gamelyn · my reed is now this,
Abyde we no lenger · lest we fare amis:
I rede that we to wode goon · ar that we be founde,        605
Better is us ther loos · than in town y-bounde.’
Adam took by the hond · yonge Gamelyn;
And everich of hem two · drank a draught of wyn,
And after took her cours · and wenten her way;
Tho fond the scherreve · nest, but non ay.        610
The scherreve lighte adoun · and went in-to the halle,
And fond the lord y-fetered · faste with-alle.
The scherreve unfetered him · sone, and that anoon,
And sente after a leche · to hele his rigge-boon.
  Lete we now this false knight · lyen in his care,        615
And talke we of Gamelyn · and loke how he fare.
Gamelyn in-to the woode · stalkede stille,
And Adam the spenser · lykede ful ille;
Adam swor to Gamelyn · by seynt Richer,
‘Now I see it is mery · to be a spencer,        620
That lever me were · keyes for to bere,
Than walken in this wilde woode · my clothes to tere.’
‘Adam,’ seyde Gamelyn · ‘dismaye thee right nought;
Many good mannes child · in care is y-brought.’
And as they stoode talking · bothen in-feere,        625
Adam herd talking of men · and neyh, him thought, they were.
Tho Gamelyn under the woode · lokede aright,
Sevene score of yonge men · he saugh wel a-dight;
Alle satte atte mete · in compas aboute.
‘Adam,’ seyde Gamelyn · ‘now have we no doute,        630
After bale cometh boote · thurgh grace of god almight;
Me thinketh of mete and drink · that I have a sight.’
Adam lokede tho · under woode-bowgh,
And whan he seyh mete · he was glad y-nough;
For he hopede to god · for to have his deel,        635
And he was sore alonged · after a good meel.
As he seyde that word · the mayster outlawe
Saugh Gamelyn and Adam · under woode-schawe.
‘Yonge men,’ seyde the maister · ‘by the goode roode,
I am war of gestes · god sende us non but goode;        640
Yonder ben two yonge men · wonder wel a-dight,
And paraventure ther ben mo · who-so lokede aright.
Ariseth up, ye yonge men · and fetteth hem to me;
It is good that we witen · what men they be.’
Up ther sterten sevene · fro the diner,        645
And metten with Gamelyn · and Adam spenser.
Whan they were neyh hem · than seyde that oon,
‘Yeldeth up, yonge men · your bowes and your floon.’
Thanne seyde Gamelyn · that yong was of elde,
‘Moche sorwe mot he have · that to you hem yelde!        650
I curse non other · but right my-selve;
They ye fette to yow fyve · thanne ye be twelve!’
Tho they herde by his word · that might was in his arm,
Ther was non of hem alle · that wolde do him harm,
But sayde unto Gamelyn · mildely and stille,        655
‘Com afore our maister · and sey to him thy wille.’
‘Yonge men,’ sayde Gamelyn · ‘by your lewte,
What man is your maister · that ye with be?’
Alle they answerde · withoute lesing,
‘Oure maister is y-crouned · of outlawes king.’        660
‘Adam,’ seyde Gamelyn · ‘go-we in Cristes name;
He may neyther mete nor drink · werne us, for schame.
If that he be hende · and come of gentil blood,
He wol yeve us mete and drink · and doon us som good.’
‘By seynt Iame!’ seyde Adam · ‘what harm that I gete,        665
I wil auntre to the dore · that I hadde mete.’
Gamelyn and Adam · wente forth in-feere,
And they grette the maister · that they founde there.
Than seide the maister · king of outlawes,
‘What seeke ye, yonge men · under woode-schawes?’        670
Gamelyn answerde · the king with his croune,
‘He moste needes walke in woode · that may not walke in towne.
Sire, we walke not heer · noon harm for to do,
But-if we meete with a deer · to scheete ther-to,
As men that ben hungry · and mow no mete finde,        675
And ben harde bistad · under woode-linde.’
Of Gamelynes wordes · the maister hadde routhe,
And seyde, ‘ye schal have y-nough · have god my trouthe!’
He bad hem sitte ther adoun · for to take reste;
And bad hem ete and drinke · and that of the beste.        680
As they sete and eeten · and dronke wel and fyn,
Than seyde that oon to that other · ‘this is Gamelyn.’
Tho was the maister outlawe · in-to counseil nome,
And told how it was Gamelyn · that thider was y-come.
Anon as he herde · how it was bifalle,        685
He made him maister under him · over hem alle.
Within the thridde wyke · him com tyding,
To the maister outlawe · that tho was her king,
That he schulde come hom · his pees was y-mad;
And of that goode tyding · he was tho ful glad.        690
Tho seyde he to his yonge men · ‘soth for to telle,
Me ben comen tydinges · I may no lenger dwelle.’
Tho was Gamelyn anon · withoute tarying,
Maad maister outlawe · and crouned here king.
  Tho was Gamelyn crouned · king of outlawes,        695
And walked a whyle · under woode-schawes.
The false knight his brother · was scherreve and sire,
And leet his brother endite · for hate and for ire.
Tho were his bonde-men · sory and nothing glad,
When Gamelyn her lord · ‘wolves-heed’ was cryed and maad;        700
And sente out of his men · wher they might him finde,
For to seke Gamelyn · under woode-linde,
To telle him tydinges · how the wind was went,
And al his good reved · and his men schent.
  Whan they had him founde · on knees they hem sette,        705
And a-doun with here hood · and here lord grette;
‘Sire, wraththe you nought · for the goode roode,
For we have brought you tydinges · but they be nat goode.
Now is thy brother scherreve · and hath the baillye,
And he hath endited thee · and ‘wolves-heed’ doth thee crye.’        710
  ‘Allas!’ seyde Gamelyn · ‘that ever I was so slak
That I ne hadde broke his nekke · tho I his rigge brak!
Goth, greteth hem wel · myn housbondes and wyf,
I wol ben atte nexte schire · have god my lyf!’
Gamelyn com wel redy · to the nexte schire,        715
And ther was his brother · bothe lord and sire.
Gamelyn com boldelich · in-to the moot-halle,
And putte a-doun his hood · among the lordes alle;
‘God save you alle, lordinges · that now here be!
But broke-bak scherreve · evel mot thou thee!        720
Why hast thou do me · that schame and vilonye,
For to late endite me · and ‘wolves-heed’ me crye?’
Tho thoughte the false knight · for to ben awreke,
And leet take Gamelyn · moste he no more speke;
Might ther be no more grace · but Gamelyn atte laste        725
Was cast in-to prisoun · and fetered ful faste.
  Gamelyn hath a brother · that highte sir Ote,
As good a knight and hende · as mighte gon on foote.
Anon ther yede a messager · to that goode knight,
And tolde him al-togidere · how Gamelyn was dight.        730
Anon as sire Ote herde · how Gamelyn was a-dight,
He was wonder sory · was he no-thing light,
And leet sadle a steede · and the way he nam,
And to his tweyne bretheren · anon-right he cam.
‘Sire,’ seyde sire Ote · to the scherreve tho,        735
‘We ben but three bretheren · schul we never be mo;
And thou hast y-prisoned · the beste of us alle;
Swich another brother · yvel mot him bifalle!’
‘Sire Ote,’ seide the false knight · ‘lat be thy curs;
By god, for thy wordes · he schal fare the wurs;        740
To the kinges prisoun · anon he is y-nome,
And ther he schal abyde · til the Iustice come.’
‘Parde!’ seyde sir Ote · ‘better it schal be;
I bidde him to maynpris · that thou graunte him me
Til the nexte sitting · of deliveraunce,        745
And thanne lat Gamelyn · stande to his chaunce.’
‘Brother, in swich a forward · I take him to thee;
And by thy fader soule · that thee bigat and me,
But-if he be redy · whan the Iustice sitte,
Thou schalt bere the Iuggement · for al thy grete witte.’        750
‘I graunte wel,’ seide sIr Ote · ‘that it so be.
Let deliver him anon · and tak him to me.’
Tho was Gamelyn delivered · to sire Ote his brother,
And that night dwellede · that on with that other.
On the morn seyde Gamelyn · to sire Ote the hende,        755
‘Brother,’ he seide, ‘I moot · for sothe, from thee wende,
To loke how my yonge men · leden here lyf,
Whether they liven in Ioye · or elles in stryf.’
‘By god!’ seyde sire Ote · ‘that is a cold reed,
Now I see that al the cark · schal fallen on myn heed;        760
For when the Iustice sitte · and thou be nought y-founde,
I schal anon be take · and in thy stede y-bounde.’
‘Brother,’ sayde Gamelyn · ‘dismaye thee nought,
For by seint Iame in Gales · that many man hath sought,
If that god almighty · holde my lyf and wit,        765
I wil be ther redy · whan the Iustice sit.’
Than seide sir Ote to Gamelyn · ‘god schilde thee fro schame;
Com whan thou seest tyme · and bring us out of blame.’
  Litheth, and lesteneth · and holdeth you stille,
And ye schul here how Gamelyn · hadde al his wille.        770
Gamelyn wente ayein · under woode-rys,
And fond there pleying · yonge men of prys.
Tho was yong Gamelyn · glad and blithe y-nough,
Whan he fond his mery men · under woode-bough.
Gamelyn and his men · talkeden in-feere,        775
And they hadde good game · here maister to heere;
They tolden him of aventures · that they hadde founde,
And Gamelyn hem tolde ayein · how he was fast y-bounde.
Whyl Gamelyn was outlawed · hadde he no cors;
There was no man that for him · ferde the wors,        780
But abbotes and priours · monk and chanoun;
On hem left he no-thing · whan he mighte hem nom.
Whyl Gamelyn and his men · made merthes ryve,
The false knight his brother · yvel mot he thryve!
For he was fast aboute · bothe day and other,        785
For to hyre the quest · to hangen his brother.
Gamelyn stood on a day · and, as he biheeld
The woodes and the schawes · in the wilde feeld,
He thoughte on his brother · how he him beheet
That he wolde be redy · whan the Iustice seet;        790
He thoughte wel that he wolde · withoute delay,
Come afore the Iustice · to kepen his day,
And seide to his yonge men · ‘dighteth you yare,
For whan the Iustice sitte · we moote be thare,
For I am under borwe · til that I come,        795
And my brother for me · to prisoun schal be nome.’
‘By seint Iame!’ seyde his yonge men · ‘and thou rede therto,
Ordeyne how it schal be · and it schal be do.’
Whyl Gamelyn was coming · ther the Iustice sat,
The false knight his brother · foryat he nat that,        800
To huyre the men on his quest · to hangen his brother;
Though he hadde nought that oon · he wolde have that other.
Tho cam Gamelyn · fro under woode-rys,
And broughte with him · his yonge men of prys.
  ‘I see wel,’ seyde Gamelyn · ‘the Iustice is set;        805
Go aforn, Adam · and loke how it spet.’
Adam wente into the halle · and loked al aboute,
He seyh there stonde · lordes grete and stoute,
And sir Ote his brother · fetered wel fast;
Tho went Adam out of halle · as he were agast.        810
Adam said to Gamelyn · and to his felawes alle,
‘Sir Ote stant y-fetered · in the moot halle.’
‘Yonge men,’ seide Gamelyn · ‘this ye heeren alle;
Sire Ote stant y-fetered · in the moot halle.
If god yif us grace · wel for to doo,        815
He schal it abegge · that broughte him ther-too.’
Thanne sayde Adam · that lokkes hadde hore,
‘Cristes curs mote he have · that him bond so sore!
And thou wilt, Gamelyn · do after my reed,
Ther is noon in the halle · schal bere awey his heed.’        820
‘Adam,’ seyde Gamelyn · ‘we wiln nought don so,
We wil slee the giltif · and lat the other go.
I wil into the halle · and with the Iustice speke;
On hem that ben gultif · I wil ben awreke.
Lat non scape at the dore · take, yonge men, yeme;        825
For I wil be Iustice this day · domes for to deme.
God spede me this day · at my newe werk!
Adam, com on with me · for thou schalt be my clerk.’
His men answereden him · and bade him doon his best,
‘And if thou to us have neede · thou schalt finde us prest;        830
We wiln stande with thee · whyl that we may dure,
And but we werke manly · pay us non hure.’
‘Yonge men,’ seyde Gamelyn · ‘so mot I wel thee!
As trusty a maister · ye schal finde of me.’
Right there the Iustice · sat in the halle,        835
In wente Gamelyn · amonges hem alle.
  Gamelyn leet unfetere · his brother out of bende.
Thanne seyde sire Ote · his brother that was hende,
‘Thou haddest almost, Gamelyn · dwelled to longe,
For the quest is oute on me · that I schulde honge.’        840
‘Brother,’ seyde Gamelyn · ‘so god yif me good rest!
This day they schuln ben hanged · that ben on thy quest;
And the Iustice bothe · that is the Iugge-man,
And the scherreve bothe · thurgh him it bigan.’
Thanne seyde Gamelyn · to the Iustise,        845
‘Now is thy power y-don · thou most nedes arise;
Thow hast yeven domes · that ben yvel dight,
I wil sitten in thy sete · and dressen hem aright.’
The Iustice sat stille · and roos nought anoon;
And Gamelyn clevede · [a-two] his cheeke-boon;        850
Gamelyn took him in his arm · and no more spak,
But threw him over the barre · and his arm to-brak.
Durste non to Gamelyn · seye but good,
For ferd of the company · that withoute stood.
Gamelyn sette him doun · in the Iustices seet,        855
And sire Ote his brother by him · and Adam at his feet.
Whan Gamelyn was y-set · in the Iustices stede,
Herkneth of a bourde · that Gamelyn dede.
He leet fetre the Iustice · and his false brother,
And dede hem come to the barre · that oon with that other.        860
Tho Gamelyn hadde thus y-doon · hadde he no reste,
Til he had enquered · who was on the queste
For to deme his brother · sir Ote, for to honge;
Er he wiste which they were · him thoughte ful longe.
But as sone as Gamelyn · wiste wher they were,        865
He dede hem everichone · feteren in-feere,
And bringen hem to the barre · and sette hem in rewe;
‘By my faith!’ seyde the Iustice · ‘the scherreve is a schrewe!’
Than seyde Gamelyn · to the Iustise,
‘Thou hast y-yeve domes · of the wors assise;        870
And the twelve sisours · that weren of the queste,
They schul ben hanged this day · so have I good reste!’
Thanne seide the scherreve · to yonge Gamelyn,
‘Lord, I crye the mercy · brother art thou myn.’
‘Therfore,’ seyde Gamelyn · ‘have thou Cristes curs,        875
For, and thou were maister · yit I schulde have wors.’
For to make short tale · and nought to tarie longe,
He ordeyned him a queste · of his men so strenge;
The Iustice and the scherreve · bothe honged hye,
To weyven with the ropes · and with the winde drye;        880
And the twelve sisours · (sorwe have that rekke!)
Alle they were hanged · faste by the nekke.
Thus ended the false knight · with his treccherye,
That ever hadde y-lad his lyf · in falsnes and folye.
He was hanged by the nekke · and nought by the purs;        885
That was the meede that he hadde · for his fadres curs.
  Sire Ote was eldest · and Gamelyn was ying,
They wenten with here frendes · even to the king;
They made pees with the king · of the best assise.
The king loved wel sir Ote · and made him Iustise.        890
And after, the king made Gamelyn · bothe in est and west,
Chief Iustice · of al his free forest;
Alle his wighte yonge men · the king foryaf here gilt,
And sitthen in good office · the king hem hath y-pilt.
Thus wan Gamelyn · his lond and his leede,        895
And wrak him of his enemys · and quitte hem here meede;
And sire Ote his brother · made him his heir,
And siththen wedded Gamelyn · a wyf bothe good and feyr;
They liveden to-gidere · whyl that Crist wolde,
And sithen was Gamelyn · graven under molde.        900
And so schal we alle · may ther no man flee:
God bringe us to the Ioye · that ever schal be!

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