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Some shedd on their shoulder,
II. The Warriage 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.
And seemely is to see;
That bride soe bright of blee.
That bride so bright in bowre:
At Tearne-Wadling 1 his castle stands,
Near to that lake so fair,
And streamers deck the air.
Noe gentle knighte, nor ladye gay,
May pass that castle-wall:
Mishappe will them befalle.
Hee's twice the size of common men,
Wi' thewes, and sinewes stronge, And on his backe he bears a clubbe,
That is both thicke and longe.
1 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. Tearn, in the dialect of that country, signifies a small lake, and is still in use.
This grimme barène 'twas our harde happe,
But yester morne to see;
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 Arthùre,
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:
Or yielde thyself my thralle."
And fenc'd with many a spelle:
But straite his courage felle.
King Arthur felte the charme:
Downe sunke his feeble arme:
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: This is thy ransome, Arthur,
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
Some told him riches, pompe, or state;
Some rayment fine and brighte; Some told him mirthe; some flatterye;
And some a jollye knighte.
In letters all king Arthur wrote,
And seald them with his ringe:
Each tolde a different thinge.
As ruthfulle he rode over a more,
He saw a ladye sette
All clad in red 2 scarlette.
2 This was a common phrase in our old writers; so Chaucer, in his Prologue to the Cant. Tales, says of the Wife of Batb:
Her hosen were of fyne scarlet red.
Her nose was crookt and turnd outwarde,
Her chin stoode all awrye;
Lo! there was set her eye:
Her haires, like serpents, clung aboute
Her cheekes of deadlye hewe:
No man mote ever viewe.
To hail the king in seemelye sorte
This ladye was fulle faine:
No aunswere made againe.
That wilt not speake to mee;
Though I bee foule to see.
And helpe me in my neede;
And it shall bee thy meede.
And promise on thy faye;
That shall thy ransome paye.
And sware upon the roode; The secrette then the ladye told,
As lightlye well shee cou'de. Now this shall be my paye,
sir king, And this my guerdon bee, That some yong fair and courtlye knight,
Thou bringe to marrye mee.