The Project Gutenberg EBook of Arthur, Copied And Edited From The Marquis of Bath's MS


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A Short Sketch of His Life and History in English Verse of the First Half of the Fifteenth Century

Copied and Edited From the Marquis of Bath's MS.


Frederick J. Furnivall, M.A., Camb.

Editor of De Borron's and Lonelich's "History of the Holy Graal," Walter Map's "Queste Del Saint Graal," Etc. Etc.

Published for the Early English Text Society,
by Trübner & Co., 60, Paternoster Row.


[pg v]


As one of the chief objects of the Early English Text Society is to print every Early English Text relating to Arthur, the Committee have decided that this short sketch of the British hero's life shall form one of the first issue of the Society's publications. The six hundred and forty-two English lines here printed occur in an incomplete Latin Chronicle of the Kings of Britain, bound up with many other valuable pieces in a MS. belonging to the Marquis of Bath. The old chronicler has dealt with Uther Pendragon, and Brounsteele (Excalibur), and is narrating Arthur's deeds, when, as if feeling that Latin prose was no fit vehicle for telling of Arthur, king of men, he breaks out into English verse,

"Herkeneþ, þat loueþ honour,

Of kyng Arthour & hys labour."

The story he tells is an abstract, with omissions, of the earlier version of Geoffry of Monmouth, before the love of Guinevere for Lancelot was introduced by the French-writing English romancers of the Lionheart's time (so far as I know), into the Arthur tales. The fact of Mordred's being Arthur's son, begotten by him on his sister, King Lot's wife, is also omitted; so that the story is just that of a British king founding the Round Table, conquering Scotland, Ireland, Gothland, and divers parts of France, killing a giant from Spain, [pg vi] beating Lucius the Emperor of Rome, and returning home to lose his own life, after the battle in which the traitor whom he had trusted, and who has seized his queen and his land, was slain.

"He that will more look,

Read on the French book,"

says our verse-writer: and to that the modern reader must still be referred, or to the translations of parts of it, which we hope to print or reprint, and that most pleasantly jumbled abstract of its parts by Sir Thomas Maleor, Knight, which has long been the delight of many a reader,—though despised by the stern old Ascham, whose Scholemaster was to turn it out of the land.—There the glory of the Holy Grail will be revealed to him; there the Knight of God made known; there the only true lovers in the world will tell their loves and kiss their kisses before him; and the Fates which of old enforced the penalty of sin will show that their arm is not shortened, and that though the brave and guilty king fights well and gathers all the glory of the world around him, yet still the sword is over his head, and, for the evil that he has done, his life and vain imaginings must pass away in dust and confusion.

Of the language of the Poem there is little to say: its dialect is Southern, as shown by the verbal plural th, the vyve for five, zyx for six, ych for I, har (their), ham (them), for her, hem; hulle, dude, ȝut, for hill, did, yet, the infinitive in y (rekeny), etc. Of its poetical merits, every reader will judge for himself; but that it has power in some parts I hope few will deny. Arthur's answer to Lucius, and two lines in the duel with Frollo,

"There was no word y-spoke,

But eche had other by the throte,"

are to be noted. Parts of the MS. have very much faded since it was written some ten or twenty years before 1450, so that a [pg vii] few of the words are queried in the print. The MS. contains a few metrical points and stops, which I have here printed between parentheses (). The expansions of the contractions are printed in italics, but the ordinary doubt whether the final lined n or u—for they are often undistinguishable—is to be printed ne, nne, or un, exists here too.

I am indebted to Mr. Sims, of the Manuscript Department of the British Museum, for pointing out the Poem to me, and to the Marquis of Bath for his kind permission to copy it for printing.

3, Old Square, Lincoln's Inn,

London, W.C., August 30, 1864.

[pg 1]


From the Marquis of Bath's MS.

BEF. 1450 A.D.

[The Latin side notes in italics, and the stops of the text in parentheses (), are those of the MS.]

Herkeneþ, þat loueþ honour, [Fol. 42b.]

Of kyng Arthour & hys labour;

And furst how he was bygete, How Arthur was begotten

As þat we in bokis do rede. 4

Vther pendragone was hys fader, by Pendragon on Ygerne.

And ygerne was hys Moder.

Pendragone ys in walysche

'Dragones heed' on Englysche; Pendragon (t.i. Dragon's Head) made two painted dragons, 8

He maked ypeynted dragones two;

Oon schold byfore him goo

Whan he went to batayle,

Whan he wold hys foes sayle; 12

That other abood at wynchester,

Euermore stylle there.

Bretones ȝaf hym þat Name, and thence had his name.

Vther Pendragone þe same, 16

For þat skyle fer & nere

Euer-more hyt to here.

The Erles wyff of Cornewayle How Uther loved the Earl of Cornwall's wife,

He loued to Muche sanz fayle; 20

[pg 2 - Arthur Has the Round Table Made.]

Merlyn wyþ hys sotelnesse

Turned vtheris lyknesse,

And maked hym lyche þe Erl anone,

And wyþ hys wyff (:) his wylle to done 24

In þe countre of Cornewelle:

In þe Castel of Tyntagelle,

Thus vther, yf y schalle nat lye,

Bygat Arthour in avowtrye. 28 and begat Arthur in adultery.

Whan vther Pendragone was deed,

Arthour anon was y-crowned; Arthur is crowned,

He was courteys, large, & Gent

to alle puple verrament; 32

Beaute, Myȝt, amyable chere

To alle Men ferre and neere;

Hys port (;) hys ȝyftes gentylle

Maked hym y-loved wylle; 36 is loved of all,

Ech mon was glad of hys presence,

And drade to do hym dysplesaunce;

A stronger Man of hys honde is strong

was neuer founde on any londe, 40

As courteys as any Mayde:— and courteous.

Þus wryteþ of hym þat hym a-sayde. [Fol. 42b. col. 2.]

At Cayrlyone, wythoute fable,

he let make þe Rounde table: 44 He makes the Round Table,

And why þat he maked hyt þus,

Þis was þe resoun y-wyss,—

Þat no man schulde sytt aboue other, that all at it might be equal.

ne haue indignacioun of hys broþer; 48

And alle hadde (.)oo(.) seruyse,

For no pryde scholde aryse

For any degree of syttynge,

Oþer for any seruynge:— 52

Þus he kept þe table Rounde

Whyle he leuyd on þe grounde.

After he hadde conquered skotlond After his first conquests

yrland & Gotland, 56

[pg 3 - He Fights Frollo for France.]

Þan leuyd he at þe best he lives twelve years in peace,

twelf ȝeeris on alle reste

Wyþoute werre (:) tylle at þe laste

he þouȝt to make (.)a(.) nywe conqueste. 60

Into Fraunce wyþ gode counceyle and then invades France.

he wolde weende (:) & hyt assayle,

Þat Rome þo kept vnder Myght,

Vnder Frollo (:) a worthy knyght 64

Þat fraunce hadde þo to kepe,

To rywle, defende, & to lede.

Arthour and Frollo fouȝt in feld; He beats Frollo back to Paris,

Þere deyde many vnder scheld. 68

Frollo in-to Paryss fly,

Wyth strenkthe kept hyt wysely:

Arthour byseged þat Syte & town and there besieges him, till

Tylle þeire vytayl was y-doon. 72

Frollo þat worthy knyght Frollo challenges him to single combat.

Proferyd wyth Arthour for to fyght

Vnder þis wyse & condicioun,—

"Ho hadde þe Maystrie (:) haue þe crown; 76

And no mo men but þey two."

Þe day Was sett (:) to-geder þey go: They fight:

Fayr hyt was to byholde

In suche two knyȝghteȝ bolde: 80

Þer was no word y-spoke,

But eche hadde other by þe þrote;

Þey smote wyth trounchoun & wyth swerd;

Þat hyt seye were a-ferd; 84 [Fol. 43.]

Frollo fouȝt wyþ hys ax (:) as men dude se; (Frollo with his axe)

He hytt Arthour (:) so sore (:) þat he felle on kne.

He ros vp raply (:) and smot hym fulle sore;

He dude hym to grent a (.) soueȝ1 þerfore. 88

thus they hyw on helmes hye,

And schatered on wyþ scheldes.

Þe puple by-gan to crye

Þat stood on þe feldes; 92

[pg 4 - Arthur Returns Victorious to Britain,]

ther ne wyst no man, as y can lere,

Who of ham two was þe bettere þere.

Arthour was chafed & wexed wrothe, till Arthur in wrath takes Brownsteel,

He hente brounsteelle | and to Frollo gothe 96

Brounstelle was heuy & also kene; Caliburnus Arthuri Gladius [with a sketch thereof in the MS.]

Fram þe schulder(:) to þe syde went bytwene

Off frollo | and þan he fell to þe grounde

Ryȝt as he moste | deed(.) in lyte stounde. 100 and strikes Frollo dead.

Frensche men made doelle & wept fulle faste;

Þeir Crowne of fraunce þere þey loste.

Than wente Arthour in-to paryse Arthur takes Paris.

And toke þe castelle & þe town at hys avyse. 104

Worschuped be god of hys grete grace Glory to God.

Þat þus ȝeueþ fortune(:) and worschup to þe Reme;

Thanke ȝe hym alle þat beþ on þis place,

And seyeþ a Pater noster wythout any Beeme. 108 Say ye a Pater Noster therefore.

Pater noster.

Arthour fram paryse went wyth hys Rowte,

And conquered þe Countre on euery syde aboute; Arthur conquers the countries around,

Angeoy2, Peytow, Berry, & Gaskoyne,

Nauerne, Burgone | Loreyn & Toreyne; 112

He daunted þe proude | & hawted þe poure;

He dwelt long in Paryss after in honoure;

He was drad and loued in countreis abowte;

Heyest & lowest hym Loved & alowte; 116

And vpon an Estour tyme sone afterward

He fested hys knyghtis & ȝaf ham gret reward; distributes them among his knights,

To hys styward he ȝaf Angers & Aungeye;

To Bedewer hys botyler he ȝaf Normandye; 120

He ȝaf to Holdyne flaundrys parde;

To Borel hys Cosyn, Boloyne þe cyte;

And eche man, after þe astat þat he was,

He rewarded hem alle, boþe More & lasse, 124

And ȝaf hem reward, boþe lond and Fee,

And turned to Breteyn, to Carlyone ayhe. and returns to Britain.

[pg 5 - And Then Holds a Great Feast.]

Arthour wolde of honour [Fol. 43b, col. 1.]

Hold a fest at Eestour 128 Arthur gives an Easter Feast

Of regalye & worthynesse,

And feede alle hys frendess;

And sende Messanger

To kynges ferre & neer 132

Þat were to hym Omager,

to come to þis Dyner.

And alle at oo certeyn day

They come þyder in gode aray, 136

And kept þeire Cesone

At þe Castelle Cayrlyone. at Carlyon, greater than ere before.

Thys fest was Muche Moore

Þan euere Arthour made a-fore; 140

For þere was Vrweyn þe kynge Ten kings were there,

Of scottes at þat dynynge,

Stater þe kyng of south wales,

Cadwelle þe kyng of north waleȝ, 144

Gwylmar þe kyng of yrland,

Dolmad þe kyng of guthland,

Malgan of yselond also,

Archyl of Denmarch þerto, 148

Alothe þe kyng of Norwey,

Souenas þe kyng of Orkenye,

Of Breteyn þe kyng Hoel,

Cador Erl of Cornewelle, 152 and thirteen earls

Morice þe Erl of Gloucestre,

Marran Erl of Wynchestre,

Gwergound Erl of herford,

Booȝ Erl of Oxenford, 156

Of bathe vngent þe Erl also, (including him of Bath),

Cursal of Chestre þer-to,

Euerad Erl of salesbury,3

Kynmar Erl of Canterbury, 160

Jonas þe Erl of Dorcestre,

[pg 6 - Arthur's Guests at Cayrlyone.]

Valence þe Erl of sylchestre,

Jugeyn of Leyccer [?] þerto,

Argal of warwyk also,— 164

Kynges & Erles Echon

Þes were; & many anoþer goom with many other gentles great,

Gret of astaat, & þe beste,

Þes were at þe Feste. 168

Other also gentyls grete

Were þere at þat Meete,

Sauer appon Donand,

Regeym & Alard, 172

Reyneȝ fitȝ Colys,

Tadeus fitȝ Reis,

Delyn fitȝ Dauid,

Kymbelyn le fitȝ Gryffith, 176

Gryffitȝ þe Sone of Nagand,

Þes were þere also theoband:

Alle þes were þere wythoute fable,

Wythoute ham of þe rounde table. 180 besides the Round Tablers,

Thre archebusschopes þer were also, Archbishops,

And other busschopes many mo— Bishops,

Alle þis mayne were nat al-oone;

Wyth ham com many a Goome. 184

Þis feste dured dayes þre

In reuelle & solempnite.

Of by ȝonde þe See also and many from beyond the sea.

Many lordez[?] were þere þo. 1884

Now resteþ alle wyþ Me,

And say a Pater & Ave.

Pater noster.

The þrydde day folowyng

Then coom nywe tydynge, 192

Þe whyle þey sete at þe Mete

Messagers were In ylete; To the feasters came messengers from the Roman Emperor,

Welle arayd forsoþe þey come,

& send fram cite of Rome 196

[pg 7 - Lucius's Message to Arthur.]

Wyþ lettres of þe Emperoures

Whas name was Lucies. lucius.

Þes lettres were opened & vnfold,

And þe tydynge to alle men told, 200

Whas sentence, yf y ne lye,

Was after þat y can aspye:

¶ Lucius þe grete Emperour Litera Lucii imperatoris.

To hys Enemy Arthour:— 204

We woundereþ of þi wodeness

And also of þy Madnesse!

How darst þow any wyse

Aȝenst the Emperour þus aryse, 208 saying, that to have invaded France, etc., and made kings, Arthur must be mad in his noll;

And ryde on Remes on eche wey,

And make kyngeȝ to þe obey?

Þu art wood on þe Nolle!

Þu hast scley owre cosyn frolle; 212

Þu schalt be tawȝt at a schort day [Fol. 44, col. 1.]

for to make suche aray.

Oure cosyn Iulius cesar

Somme tyme conquered þar; 216

To Rome þu owest hys trybut; that he must pay his tribute,

We chargeþ þe to paye vs hyt.

Thy pryde we wolle alaye

Þat makest so gret aray: 220

We commandeþ þe on haste

To paye owre trybut faste;

Þu hast scley frolle in fraunce

Þat hadde vnder vs þere gouernaunce, 224

And wyþholdest oure tribute þerto:

Þu schalt be tawȝt þu hast mysdo:

We commandeþ þe in haste soone

Þat þu come to vs at Rome 228 and come to Rome to be punished for his disobedience.

To vnderfang oure ordynaunce

For þy dysobediaunce;

As þu wold nat leze þy lyf,

Fulfylle þys wythoute stryff." 232

[pg 8 - Arthur's Answer to Lucius.]

When þis lettre was open & rad;

Þe bretouns & alle men were mad, The Britons purpose to kill the messengers,

And wolde þe messager scle:—

"Nay," seyd Arthour, "per de, 236 but Arthur forbids it,

That were aȝenst alle kynde,

A messager to bete or bynde;

y charge alle men here

for to make ham good chere." 240

And after Mete sanz fayl

Wyþ hys lordes he hadde counsayl;

And alle asented þer to,

Arthour to Rome scholde go; 244 and resolves to invade Rome.

And þey ne wolde in hys trauayle

Wyþ strenkþ & good neuer fayle.

Than Arthour wroot to Rome a lettre,

Was sentence was somm-what byttere, 248

And sayde in þis manere

As ȝe may hure here:—

"Knoweþ welle ȝe of Romayne, Litera Regis Arthuri.

Y am kyng Arthour of Bretayne. 252 Arthur's answer to the Emperor Lucius,

Fraunce, y haue conquered hyt,

Y schalle defende & kepe hyt ȝut, [Fol. 44, col. 2.]

Y come to Rome, as y am tryw,

To take my trybut (.) to me dywe, 256 claiming tribute from him.

But noon þere-for to paye,

By my werk ȝe schalle asay;

For þe Emperour Constantyne

Þat was þe Soone of Elyne, 260

Þat was a Bretone of þis lond,

Conquered Rome wyth hys hond,

And so ȝe oweþ me tribut:

Y charge ȝow þat ȝe pay me hyt. 264

Also Maximian kyng of Bretaigne

Co[n]quered al fraunce & Almayne,

Lombardye Rome & ytalye—

[pg 9 - The Messenger's Report of Arthur.]

By ȝoure bokis ȝe may a-spye. 268

Y am þeir Eyr & þeyre lynage,

Y aske ȝow my trywage."

Þis lettre was celyd fast,

Y-take the Messagerez on hast; 272

Arthour ȝaf ham ȝyftez grete,

And chered ham wyþ drynk and Mete.

Þey hasted ham to come hoom; Lucius's messengers return to him.

Byfor þe Emperour þey beþ coom; 276

Saluted hym as resoun ys,

And toke hym þes letterys.

Þey seyde to þe Emperour

"We have be wyþ kyng Arthour; 280

But such anoþer as he ys oon,

Say neuer no Man.

He ys serued on hys howshold

Wyþ kynges, Erles, worthy & bold; 284

Hys worthynesse, sur Emperour,

Passeþ Muche alle ȝowre;

He seyde he wolde hyder come and give him Arthur's message.

And take trywage of alle Rome, 288

We dowteþ last he wel do soo,

For he ys Myghty ynow þer-too."

Now, erst þan we goo ferþer,

Every man þat ys here 292

Sey a Pater noster

And ave wyþ gode chere; Amen.

Pater noster

Ave Maria.

Now stureth hym self Arthour [Fol. 44b.]

Þenkyng on hys labour, 296

And gaderyþ to hym strenghth aboute, Arthur prepares for his expedition to Rome.

Hys kynges & Erles on a rowte—

A fayr syȝt to Mannes ye

to see suche a cheualrye,— 300

[pg 10 - The Number of Arthur's Host.]

The kyng of Gotland, Has five kings,

Also þe kyng of Irland,

the kyng of ysland | & of Orkenye,

Þis was worthy Maynye; 304

The kyng of Denmark also was þere,

Þis was a worthy chere:

Eche of þese vyve at her venyw

Brouȝt zyx þousand at har retenyw; 308

xxxti þowsand, ych vnderstand, with 30,000 men,

Þes vyf kyngis hadde on honde.

Than hadde he out of Normandye,

Of Angeoy & of Almanye, 312 80,000 Normans and

Boloyne(.) Peytow & flaundres

Fowre skore þowsand harneys—

Geryn of Chartez .xij. þowsand 12,000 from Chartres,

þat went wyþ Artour euer at honde; 316

Hoel of bretayn, þowsandez ten 10,000 Bretons.

Of hardy & welle fyghtyng Men;

Out of Bretaygne hys owne land

He passed fourty þowsand 320 and 40,000 British:

Of Archerys & off Arblastere

Þat Cowþ welle þe craft of werre.

¶ In Foot other Many a Man Moo

Able to feyght(:) as welle as þo: 324

Two hunderd þousand in all 200,000.

Went wyþ hym out of lond,

And Many moo sykerly

That y can4 not nombrye. 328

Arthour toke þan þe lond

To Moddredes owne hond; Britain is left in Mordred's charge.

He kept al oþer þyng

Saue þo Corowne weryng; 332

But he was [fals] of hys kepynge,

As ȝe schalle hure here folewynge.

Now thanne ys Artour y-Come

And hys Ost to Sowthamptone: 336 Arthur ships at Southampton,

[pg 11 - The Giant that Ravished Fair Elayne.]

Ther was Many a Man of Myghte

Strong & bold also to fyghte.

Eche man hath take his schuppynge,

And ys at hys loghynge. 340

Vp goþ þe sayl(:) þey sayleþ faste:

Arthour owt of syȝt ys paste.

Þe ferst lond þat he gan Meete,

Forsoþe hyt was Bareflete; 344 and lands at Barfleet.

Ther he gan vp furst aryve.

Now welle Mote Arthour spede & thryve;

And þat hys saule spede þe better, God speed him!

Lat eche man sey a Pater noster. 348

Pater noster.

Now god spede Artour welle!

hym ys comyng a nyw batelle. A new foe appears, a Spanish Giant,

Ther coom a gyant out of spayne,

And rauasched had fayr Elayne; 352

He had brouȝt heore vp on an hulle—

Mornyng hyt ys to hure or telle—

Cosyn heo was to kyng hoell,

A damesel fayr and gentelle; 356

And ȝut ferþermore to,

He rauasehed heore Moder also. who has slain fair Elayne.

He dude þe damesel for to dye

for he myght not lygge heor bye. 360

Whan þis was told to Artour,

He maked Much dolour,

And send Bedewer for to spye Arthur sends Bedwere first as a spy,

How he myght come hym bye; 364

And he was nat sclowh,

But to þe hulle hym drowh

Þat Closed was wyþ water stronge,

Þe hulle a-Mydde gret & longe; 368

He went ouer to þe hulle syde,

And þere a fonde a wommane byde

Þat sorwedd & wept Mornynge

[pg 12 - Arthur's Fight with the Giant.]

For Eleynes deþ & departynge, 372

And bad Bedewer to fle also

Last he were ded more to;

"For yf þe Gyant fynde þe,

Wythoute dowte he wylle þe scle." 376

Bedwer wyþ alle hastynge

Tolde Arthour alle þis þynge.

Amorwe whan þat hyt was day

Arthour toke þyder hys way, 380 and then (with Bedwere and Key) starts on his adventure.

Bedewer wyþ hym went, & keye,—

Men þat cowþe welle þe weye,— [Fol. 45.]

And broute Arthour Meyntenaunt,

Euen byfore þe Gyant. 384

Arthour fowȝt wyþ þat wyght;

He had almost ylost hys Myght:

Wyþ Muche peyne, þruȝ goddez grace

He sclowh þe Geant in þat place, 388 He kills the Giant,

And þan he made Bedewere

To smyte of hys heed þere.

To þe Ost he dude hyt brynge,

And þeron was gret woundrynge, 392

Hyt was so oryble & so greet, whose horrible head is shown to the host,

More þan any Horse heed.

Than hadde hoel Ioye ynowh

For þat Arthour so hym sclowh; 396

And for a perpetuel Memorie

He Made a chapelle of seynt Marye and St. Mary's Chapel is built in honour of the victory.

In þe hulle vpon þe pleyne,

Wyþ-Inne þat (:) þe tumbe5 of Eleyne; 400 tombe

And þat name wyþoute nay

Hyt bereþ ȝut in-to þis day.

Now ys an ende of þis þynge,

And Artour haþ nyw tydynge,— 404 News of Lucius's approach is brought,

Lucy þe Emperour wyþ hys host

Comeþ fast in gret bost;

Þey helyþ ouer alle þe lond,

[pg 13 - Arthur's Men Pray to God.]

Fowre hundred þowsand 408 with an army of 400,124 men.

An hunderd and foure & twenty,—

Thus herawdes dude ham rekeny;

Thus he hadde gadered to hym

Of cristien and of Sarasyn, 412

Wyþ alle hys wytt & labour

To destroyen Arthour.

Arthour dude wyselye,

And hadde euer gode aspye 416

Of lucyes gouernynge

And of hys þyder comynge;

But somme seyde hyt were folye Some advise Arthur to turn and flee,

To fyght aȝenst Emperour lucie, 420

For he hadde sepe6 aȝenst oon,

& counceyled Arthour to fle & goon.

Wyþ þe Emperour come kynges Many oon,

And alle þeire power hoolle & soom; 424

Stronger men Myȝt no man see,

As fulle of drede as þey myght be;

But Arthour was not dysmayd,

He tryst on god, & was wel payd, 428 but he trusts in God,

And prayd þe hye trynyte

Euer hys help forto be;

And alle hys Men wyþ oo voyse

Cryde to god wyþ Oo noyse, 432

"Fader in heuene, þy wylle be doon; to whom his soldiers pray

Defende þy puple fram þeire foon,

And lat not þe heþone Men

Destroye þe puple crystien: 436

Haue Mercy on þy se[r]uantis bonde,

And kepe ham fram þe heþone honde; to keep them from the heathen's hands.

Þe Muchelnesse of Men sainfayle

Ys nat victorie in Batayle; 440

[pg 14 - The Battle Between Arthur and Lucius.]

But after þe wylle þat in heuene ys,

So þe victorie falleþ y-wys."

Than seyd Arthour, "hyt ys so: Arthur's "Forward!"

Auaunt Baner, & be Goo." 444

Now frendes alle, for goddes loue,

Rereþ ȝowre hertes to god aboue,

And seyeþ ȝowre prayeris faste,

Þat we welle spede furst & laste. 448

Pater noster.

The emperour tryst on hys men,

And þat haþ bygyled hym;

Forsothe hyt most nedez be so,

For þey beþ cursed þat welle hyt do, 452

Suche alle myght comeþ of god; Maledictus qui confidet in homine.

To tryst on hym, y hold hyt good.

Lucye haþ pyght his paueloun

And sprad wyþ pryde his gunfanoun; 456

His claryouns blastes fulle grete blywe,

Archeris schot(:) Men ouer-thrywe;

Bowes, arwes, & arblastere The battle begins.

Schot sore alle y-vere; 460

Quarels, arwes, þey fly smerte;

Þe fyched Men þruȝ heed & herte;

Axes, sperys, and gysarmes gret,

Clefte Many a prowt Mannes heed: 464

Hors & steedes gan to grent,

And deyde wyþ strokis þat þey hente;

Many a man þere lost hys lyf, [Fol. 45b.]

Many on was wedyw þat was wyff; 468

Þere men were wetschoede Men are wetshod with brains and blood.

Alle of Brayn & of blode;

Gret rywthe hyt was to seyn

Þe feltes fulle of men y-scleyn; 472

Lucy þe Emperour also was dede; Lucius is slain,

But ho hym sclowh, y can nat rede;

He, for alle hys grete Renoun,

[pg 15 - Arthur Wins, and Buries the Dead.]

Aȝenst Arthour hadde no fusoun, 476 not able to stand against Arthur.

No more þan haue twenty schep

Aȝenst vyve wolfez greet.

To god be euere alle honourez!

The falde was hys & Arthourez. 480

Arthour, as he scholde done, Arthur sends Lucius's body to Rome,

Sende lucyes body to Rome;

Whan þe Romeynes say þis,

Þo þey dradde Arthour & hys. 484

Also he buryed Bedewere buries Bedwere and others

Hys frend and | hys Botyler,

And so he dude other Echon

In Abbeys of Relygyoun 488 in Abbeys,

Þat were cristien of name;

He dude to alle þe same;

And dude for ham Masse synge

wyth solempne song & offrynge, 492

And bood þere for to rest,

Tylle þat wynter was past, and stays the winter,

Boþe he (.) hys Men echone

Seruyd god in deuocione, 496

Þankyng god of hys Myȝt thanking God

Þat kepeþ hys seruauntez ryȝt,

And suffreþ noon for to spylle

Þat hym loueþ & tryste wylle: 500

Þus worschup god dude certeyn for His honour to England.

To Englond, þat þo was Bretayn; [Of the difference between More (or Great) Britain and Little Britain.]

Þe More Breteyn Englond ys—

As men may rede on Cronyclys— 504

Byȝend þe See Bretayne þer ys,

Þat haþ hys name forsoþe of þis,

For þe kyng Maxymyan,—

Þe next after Octauyan,— 508

He conquered alle Armoryk,

And to þe Reme named hyt lyk:

Amorica on latyn me cl[e]ped þat lond, Armorica.

[pg 16 - Of the Welsh and Stinking Saxons.]

Tyl Maxymyan co[n]queryd hyt wyth honde, 512

And called hyt lyte bretayne þan,

So hyȝt þis lond þat he coom fram;

For perpetuelle Mynde of grete Bretayne Little Britain is called after Great Britain.

He called hyt lyte Bretayne, 516

Þat Men schulde kepe in Mynde & wytt

How þis lond conqueryd hytt;

For Walsche Men beþ Bretouns of kynde—

Know þat welle fast on Mynde— 520

Englische men beþ Saxoynes,

Þat beþ of Engistes Soones;

There-fore þe walsch man Bretoun

Seyþ & clepeþ vs "Sayson"7 524

And seyþ (.) "taw or (.) peyd Sayson brount"8 How the Welshmen call the English "stinking Saxons."

Whan he ys wroth (;) or ellys drounke;

Hauyng Mynde of Engystis Men

Þat wyth gyle sclow þeyre kyn: 528

At þe place of þe Stonehenge

Ȝut þey þenkeþ for to venge:

And þat hyt neuere be so,

Seyþ a Pater noster more to. 532

Pater noster.

Now turne we to oure labour Arthur is preparing to cross the mountains to Rome,

And lat vs speke of Arthour:

He cast on herte sone

After þat to go to Rome, 536

And spak of Passage & hys wey

Forth ouer Mount Ioye.

And sone after vpon an owr when he hears of Mordred's treachery;

He horde of Mordred the tretour 540

That hadde alle þis loud on warde—

[pg 17 - Of Mordred's Treachery and Arthur's Return.]

Euylle moot suche fare, and harde.

Who may best bygyle a man

But suche as he tryst vpon? 544

Þer ys no man wel nye, y tryste,

Þat can be waar of hadde wyste.—

Mordred þis falss Man

Muche sorw þo bygan; 548

He stuffed alle castelle

Wyþ armyre & vytelle,

And strenghthed hym on eche syde

Wyth Men of countreys ferre & wyde: 552

He toke þe qwene, Arthoureȝ wyff, how the traitor had seized the queen, his (Arthur's) wife,

Aȝenst goddes lawe & gode lyff,

And putte heore to soiourne þo

At Euerwyk: god ȝyf hym wo. 556 and put her at York.

Yhork ys Euerwyk:

& so me calleþ hyt.

Arthour aryved at Whytsond Arthur then comes home,

Wyth gret Myght & strong hond, 560

And Mordred sainz fayl fights Mordred,

Ȝaf hym þo a strong batayl;

Many a man, as y rede,

Þat day was þere dede; 564

Arthoures nevew Waweyn

Þat day was þere y-sclayn, and Gawain is slain.

And oþer knyȝtes Many moo:

Þan Arthour was heuy & woo. 568

Mordred fly toward Londoun; Mordred flies to London,

He most not come in þe toun:

Þan fled he to wynchester

And wyth hys Maynee kep [?] hym þere; 572

And Arthour on gret haste

Pursywed after hym faste.

Mordred wythoute fayle

Fled in-to Cornewayle. 576 and then to Cornwall.

The qwene wyþoute lesyng

[pg 18 - Arthur's Last Battle with Mordred.]

Hurde of þis tydyng,

And how Mordred was flow,

And how to Cornewale he hym drow. 580

Heo of Mercy hadde noon hoope,

Ther-for he dude on a Russet cote, The Queen turns nun at Carlyon.

And to Carlyoun ys preuyly Rounne,

And made heore self þo a Nounne; 584

Fro þat place neuer heo wende,

But of heore lyf þere made an ende.

Waweynes body, as y reede, Gawain

And other lordes þat weere deede, 588

Arthour sente in-to skotlonde, is buried in Scotland.

And buryed ham þere, y vnderstonde.

Muche folke þerhenne he toke þo,

Of Northumber-lond also 592 Northern men and others come to Arthur.

Fram dyverse places to Arthour come

Hys wylle to werk & to done:

Thus he sembled a fulle gret Ost;

To Cornewayle he draweþ hym fast 596

After þat Mordred þe traytour

Þat hadde do hym Muche dyshonour.

That tretour hadde gret strength

And fulled þat lond on brede & lengthe, 600

Suche a batelle as þere was redy þo He gives Mordred battle.

Hadde neuer Arthour byfore y-doo:

They fowȝt tyl þer come doun bloode

As a(.) Ryver or (.)a(.) flood; 604

Þey fowȝt euer sorest sadde; Bellum arthuri apud Camelertonum in Cornubia.

Men nyst ho þe betere hadde;

But at þe last Certeyn

Was Mordred & alle hys y-sclayn; 608 Mordred is slain:

And Arthour y-bete wyþ wounde, Arthur wounded,

He Myght not stonde on grounde;

But on lyter ryȝt anon and carried to Avelon, or Auelona .l. insula pomorum Glastonia.

Was browȝt to Auelone, 612

Þat was a place fayr & Mury;

[pg 19 - Arthur Is Buried at Glastonbury.]

Now hyt hooteþ Glastyngbury. Glastonbury, where he dies,

Ther Arthour þat worthy kyng

Maked hys lyues endyng; 616

But for he skaped þat batelle y-wys,

Bretouns & Cornysch sayeþ þus,

"Þat he leuyth ȝut parde,

And schalle come & be a kyng aȝe." 620

At Glastyngbury on þe qweer

Þey made Artourez toumbe þere, and is buried A.D. 542.

And wrote wyth latyn vers þus,

Hic iacet Arthurus rex quondam rex que futurus. 624

Thys was þus forsoþe ydone

Þe yheer after þe Incarnacione, Anno domini quingentesimo quadragesimo secundo.

Vyf hundred (.) fourty & two.

Now saue vs alle fra woo 628

Ihesu cryst, heuenly kyng,

& graunt vs alle hys blessyng;

And þat hyt Moote so be,

Seyeþ alle Pater & Aue. 632

Pater noster. Aue.

Ho þat wolle more loke,

Reed on þe frensch boke, Read the French Book for the rest.

And he schalle fynde þere

Þynges þat y leete here. 636

But yf þat god wolle graunte grace,

y schalle rehercy in þis place

Alle þe kyngez þat after were,

And what names [þ]at þey bere; 640

And ho þat wolle þeyre gestes loke,

Reed on þe Frensche boke. Amen fiat.



a, he, l. 370.

aspye, sb. espial, l. 416.

ayhe, again, l. 126.

beeme, sb. ? noise, display, from A.S. béme, a trumpet, l. 108.

falde, l. 480, felt, l. 472; field.

fusoun, gain, victory, l. 476. L. fusio, outpouring, plenty.

fyched, pierced, l. 462.

goom, man, l. 166.

gysarme, l. 463. Hallebarde, pique, hache. Roquefort.

hadde wyste, l. 546, had I known (how it would have turned out). See Nares, and the Poem "Beware of had-I-wyst," that he quotes. "Beware of had-I-wyst, whose fine bringes care and smart."

hawted, exalted, l. 113.

he, she, l. 582.

helyth, cover, l. 407.

last, lest, l. 289.

loghynge, lodging, l. 344.

lynage, descendant, l. 269.

muchelnesse, sb. muchness, number and power, l. 439.

mynde, remembrance, l. 527.

oo, one, l. 49.

sayle, assail, attack, l. 12.

scley, slain, l. 212.

skyle, sb. reason, l. 17.

soueȝ (?), sough, moan, l. 88.

that, ye who, l. 1; those who, l. 42, 84.

theoband (l. 178), is, I expect, miswritten for theodand; A.S. þeodan, to join; ge-þeod-an, to join, associate.

therhenne, thence, l. 591.

toke, gave, l. 329.

venge, have revenge, take vengeance, l. 530.

verrament, truly, l. 32.

was, whose, l. 248.

wood, wild, mad, l. 211.

ydoon, done, spent, l. 72.

ylete, let, l. 194.

ytake, taken to, given to, l. 272.

y-vere, together, l. 460.

ywyss, certainly, l. 46.


? soneȝ (return)
? MS. perhaps Angecye. (return)
The s is rubbed: the word may be "onlesbury." (return)
? MS. y-tan. (return)
tombe (return)
sepe, ? for seue, seven. It is p not x (six) in the MS. But as Arthur had 200,000, and Lucius only 400,124, sepe should mean two. (return)
Þat ys to seye vpon a reess,
"Stynking Saxoun, be on pees." (return)
Pughe's abridged Dictionary gives tau, v.a. be still; taw, s.m. and adj. quiet, silence, silent; paid, s.m. a cessation, quiet; bront, a. nasty, filthy, surly. Or, says Dr. Benj. Davies, you must take as equal to the modern Welsh wr, man, if it is not English; peyd is cease, pause; taw, be silent. (return)

Index (1K)