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King Arthur and King Cornwall

No: 30; variant: 30

  1. [SAIES, ‘Come here, cuzen Gawaine so gay,] My sisters sonne be yee; Ffor you shall see one of the fairest round tables That euer you see with your eye.’
  2. Then bespake Lady Queen Gueneuer, And these were the words said shee: ‘I know where a round table is, thou noble king, Is worth thy round table and other such three.
  3. ‘The trestle that stands vnder this round table,’ she said, ‘Lowe downe to the mould, It is worth thy round table, thou worthy king, Thy halls, and all thy gold.
  4. ‘The place where this round table stands in, . . . . . . It is worth thy castle, thy gold, thy fee, And all good Litle Britaine.’
  5. ‘Where may that table be, lady?’ quoth hee, ‘Or where may all that goodly building be?’ ‘You shall it seeke,’ shee says, ‘Till you it find, For you shall neuer gett more of me.’
  6. Then bespake him noble King Arthur, These were the words said hee: ‘Ile make mine avow to God, And alsoe to the Trinity,
  7. ‘Ile never sleepe one night there as I doe another, Till that round table I see: Sir Marramiles and Sir Tristeram, Fellowes that ye shall bee.
  8. . . . . . . . . . . ‘Weele be clad in palmers weede, Fiue palmers we will bee;
  9. ‘There is noe outlandish man will vs abide, Nor will vs come nye.’ Then they riued east and the: riued west, In many a strange country.
  10. Then they tranckled a litle further, They saw a battle new sett: ‘Now, by my faith,’ saies noble King Arthur, . . . . . . well .
  11. But when he cam to this . . c . . And to the palace gate, Soe ready was ther a proud porter, And met him soone therat.
  12. Shooes of gold the porter had on, And all his other rayment was vnto the same: ‘Now, by my faith,’ saies noble King Arthur, ‘Yonder is a minion swaine.’
  13. Then bespake noble King Arthur, These were the words says hee: ‘Come hither, thou proud porter, I pray thee come hither to me.
  14. ‘I haue two poore rings of my finger, The better of them Ile giue to thee; Tell who may be lord of this castle,’ he sayes, ‘Or who is lord in this cuntry?’
  15. ‘Cornewall King,’ the porter sayes, ‘There is none soe rich as hee; Neither in christendome, nor yet in heathennest, None hath soe much gold as he.’
  16. And then bespake him noble King Arthur, These were the words sayes hee: ‘I haue two poore rings of my finger, The better of them Ile giue thee, If thou wilt greete him well, Cornewall King, And greete him well from me.
  17. ‘Pray him for one nights lodging and two meales meate, For his love that dyed vppon a tree; Of one ghesting and two meales meate, For his loue that dyed vppon a tree.
  18. ‘Of one ghesting, of two meales meate, For his love that was of virgin borne, And in the morning that we may scape away, Either without scath or scorne.’
  19. Then forth is gone this proud porter, As fast as he cold hye, And when he came befor Cornewall King, He kneeled downe on his knee.
  20. Sayes, ‘I haue beene porter-man, at thy gate, This thirty winter and three . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  21. . . . . . . . . . . . Our Lady was borne; then thought Cornewall King These palmers had beene in Brittaine.
  22. Then bespake him Cornwall King, These were the words he said there: ‘Did you euer know a comely king, His name was King Arthur?’
  23. And then bespake him noble King Arthur, These were the words said hee: ‘I doe not know that comly king, But once my selfe I did him see.’ Then bespake Cornwall King againe, These were the words said he:
  24. Sayes, ‘Seuen yeere I was clad and fed, In Litle Brittaine, in a bower; I had a daughter by King Arthurs wife, That now is called my flower; For King Arthur, that kindly cockward, Hath none such in his bower.
  25. ‘For I durst sweare, and saue my othe, That same lady soe bright, That a man that were laid on his death bed Wold open his eyes on her to haue sight.’ ‘Now, by my faith,’ sayes noble King Arthur, ‘And that’s a full faire wight!’
  26. And then bespake Cornewall [King] againe, And these were the words he said: ‘Come hither, fiue or three of my knights, And feitch me downe my steed; King Arthur, that foule cockeward, Hath none such, if he had need.
  27. ‘For I can ryde him as far on a day As King Arthur can doe any of his on three; And is it not a pleasure for a king When he shall ryde forth on his iourney?
  28. ‘For the eyes that beene in his head, The: glister as doth the gleed.’ ‘Now, by my faith,’ says noble King Arthur, ‘That is a well faire steed.’
  29. . . . . . . . . . . . ‘Nobody say . . . . But one that’s learned to speake.’
  30. Then King Arthur to his bed was brought, A greeiued man was hee; And soe were all his fellowes with him, From him the: thought neuer to flee.
  31. Then take they did that lodly groome, And under the rub-chadler closed was hee, And he was set by King Arthurs bed-side, To heere theire talke and theire comunye;
  32. That he might come forth, and make Proclamation, Long before it was day; It was more for King Cornwalls pleasure, Then it was for King Arthurs pay.
  33. And when King Arthur in his bed was laid, These were the words said hee: ‘Ile make mine avow to God, And alsoe to the Trinity, That Ile be the bane of Cornwall Kinge, Litle Brittaine or euer I see!’
  34. ‘It is an vnaduised vow,’ saies Gawaine the gay, ‘As ever king hard make I; But wee that beene five christian men, Of the christen faith are wee, And we shall fight against anoynted king And all his armorie.’
  35. And then bespake him noble Arthur, And these were the words said he: ‘Why, if thou be afraid, Sir Gawaine the gay, Goe home, and drinke wine in thine owne country.’
  36. And then bespake Sir Gawaine the gay, And these were the words said hee: ‘Nay, seeing you have made such a hearty vow, Heere another vow make will I.
  37. ‘Ile make mine avow to God, And alsoe to the Trinity, That I will haue yonder faire lady To Litle Brittaine with mee.
  38. ‘Ile hose her hourly to my heart, And with her Ile worke my will;’ . . . . . . . . . .
  39. . . . . . These were the words sayd hee: ‘Befor I wold wrestle with yonder feend, It is better be drowned in the sea.’
  40. And then bespake Sir Bredbeddle, And these were the words said he: ‘Why, I will wrestle with yon lodly feend, God, my gouernor thou wilt bee!’
  41. Then bespake him noble Arthur, And these were the words said he: ‘What weapons wilt thou haue, thou gentle knight? I pray thee tell to me.’
  42. He sayes, ‘Collen brand Ile haue in my hand, And a Millaine knife fast by me knee, And a Danish axe fast in my hands, That a sure weapon I thinke wilbe.’
  43. Then with his Collen brand that he had in his hand The bunge of that rub-chandler he burst in three; With that start out a lodly feend, With seuen heads, and one body.
  44. The fyer towards the element flew, Out of his mouth, where was great plentie; The knight stoode in the middle and fought, That it was great ioy to see.
  45. Till his Collaine brand brake in his hand, And his Millaine knife burst on his knee, And then the Danish axe burst in his hand first, That a sur weapon he thought shold be.
  46. But now is the knight left without any weapons, And alacke! it was the more pitty; But a surer weapon then he had one, Had neuer lord in Christentye; And all was but one litle booke, He found it by the side of the sea.
  47. He found it at the sea-side, Wrucked upp in a floode; Our Lord had written it with his hands, And sealed it with his bloode.
  48. ‘That thou doe not s . . . . But ly still in that wall of stone, Till I haue beene with noble King Arthur, And told him what I haue done.’
  49. And when he came to the kings chamber, He cold of his curtesie: Says, ‘Sleepe you, wake you, noble King Arthur? And euer Iesus waken yee!’
  50. ‘Nay, I am not sleeping, I am waking,’ These were the words said hee; ‘Ffor thee I haue card; how hast thou fared? O gentle knight, let me see.’
  51. The knight wrought the king his booke, Bad him behold, reede and see; And euer he found it on the backside of the leafe As noble Arthur wold wish it to be.
  52. And then bespake him King Arthur, ‘Alas! thow gentle knight, how may this be, That I might see him in the same licknesse That he stood vnto thee?’
  53. And then bespake him the Greene Knight, These were the words said hee: ‘If youle stand stifly in the battell stronge, For I haue won all the victory.’
  54. Then bespake him the King againe, And these were the words said hee: ‘If wee stand not stifly in this battell strong, Wee are worthy to be hanged all on a tree.’
  55. Then bespake him the Greene Kinght, These were the words said he: Saies, ‘I doe coniure thee, thou fowle feend, In the same licknesse thou stood vnto me.’
  56. With that start out a lodly feend, With seuen heads, and one body; The fier towards the element flaugh, Out of his mouth, where was great plenty.
  57. The knight stood in the middle p . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  58. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . they stood the space of an houre, I know not what they did.
  59. And then bespake him the Greene Knight, And these were the words said he: Saith, ‘I coniure thee, thou fowle feend, That thou feitch downe the steed that we see.’
  60. And then forth is gone Burlow-beanie, As fast as he cold hie, And feitch he did that faire steed, And came againe by and by.
  61. Then bespake him Sir Marramiles, And these were the words said hee: ‘Riding of this steed, brother Bredbeddle, The mastery belongs to me.’
  62. Marramiles tooke the steed to his hand, To ryd him he was full bold; He cold noe more make him goe Then a child of three yeere old.
  63. He laid vppon him with heele and hand, With yard that was soe fell; ‘Helpe! brother Bredbeddle,’ says Marramile, ‘For I thinke he be the devill of hell.
  64. ‘Helpe! brother Bredbeddle,’ says Marramile, ‘Helpe! for Christs pittye; Ffor without thy help, brother Bredbeddle, He will neuer be rydden for me.’
  65. Then bespake him Sir Bredbeddle, These were the words said he: ‘I coniure thee, thou Burlow-beane, Thou tell me how this steed was riddin in his country.
  66. He saith, ‘There is a gold wand Stands in King Cornwalls study windowe; . . . . . . . . . . . .
  67. ‘Let him take that wand in that window, And strike three strokes on that steed; And then he will spring forth of his hand As sparke doth out of gleede.’
  68. And then bespake him the Greene Knight, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  69. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A lowd blast he may blow then.
  70. And then bespake Sir Bredebeddle, To the ffeend these words said hee: Says, ‘I coniure thee, thou Burlow-beanie, The powder-box thou feitch me.’
  71. Then forth is gone Burlow-beanie, As fast as he cold hie, And feich he did the powder-box, And came againe by and by.
  72. Then Sir Tristeram tooke powder forth of that box, And blent it with warme sweet milke, And there put it vnto that horne, And swilled it about in that ilke.
  73. Then he tooke the horne in his hand, And a lowd blast he blew; He rent the horne vp to the midst, All his ffellowes this the: knew.
  74. Then bespake him the Greene Knight, These were the words said he: Saies, ‘I coniure thee, thou Burlow-beanie, That thou feitch me the sword that I see.’
  75. Then forth is gone Burlow-beanie, As fast as he cold hie, And feitch he did that faire sword, And came againe by and by.
  76. Then bespake him Sir Bredbeddle, To the king these words said he: ‘Take this sword in thy hand, thou noble King Arthur, For the vowes sake that thou made Ile giue it th[ee,] And goe strike off King Cornewalls head, In bed were he doth lye.’
  77. Then forth is gone noble King Arthur, As fast as he cold hye, And strucken he hath off King Cornwalls head, And came againe by and by.
  78. He put the head vpon a swords point, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .