Lithes and listneth and harkeneth aright,
And ye shul here of a doughty knyght;
Sire John of Boundes was his name,
He coude of norture and of mochel game.
Thre sones the knyght had and with his body he wan,
The eldest was a moche schrewe and sone bygan.
His brether loved wel her fader and of hym were agast,
The eldest deserved his faders curs and had it atte last.
The good knight his fadere lyved so yore,
That deth was comen hym to and handled hym ful sore.
The good knyght cared sore sik ther he lay,
How his children shuld lyven after his day.
He had bene wide where but non husbonde he was,
Al the londe that he had it was purchas.
Fayn he wold it were dressed amonge hem alle,
That eche of hem had his parte as it myght falle.
Thoo sente he in to contrey after wise knyghtes
To helpen delen his londes and dressen hem to-rightes.
He sent hem word by letters thei shul hie blyve,
If thei wolle speke with hym whilst he was alyve.
Whan the knyghtes harden sik that he lay,
Had thei no rest neither nyght ne day,
Til thei come to hym ther he lay stille
On his dethes bedde to abide goddys wille.
Than seide the good knyght seke ther he lay,
‘Lordes, I you warne for soth, without nay,
I may no lenger lyven here in this stounde;
For thorgh goddis wille deth droueth me to grounde.’
Ther nas noon of hem alle that herd hym aright,
That thei ne had routh of that ilk knyght,
And seide, ‘Sir, for goddes love dismay you nought;
God may don boote of bale that is now ywrought.’
Than speke the good knyght sik ther he lay,
‘Boote of bale God may sende I wote it is no nay;
But I beseche you knyghtes for the love of me,
Goth and dresseth my londes amonge my sones thre.
And for the love of God deleth not amyss,
And forgeteth not Gamelyne my yonge sone that is.
Taketh hede to that oon as wel as to that other;
Seelde ye seen eny hier helpen his brother.’
Thoo lete thei the knyght lyen that was not in hele,
And wenten into counselle his londes for to dele;
For to delen hem alle to on that was her thought.
And for Gamelyn was yongest he shuld have nought.
All the londe that ther was thei dalten it in two,
And lete Gamelyne the yonge without londe goo,
And eche of hem seide to other ful loude,
His bretheren myght yeve him londe whan he good cowde.
And whan thei had deled the londe at her wille,
They commen to the knyght ther he lay stille,
And tolde him anoon how thei had wrought;
And the knight ther he lay liked it right nought.
Than seide the knyght, ‘Be Seint Martyne,
For al that ye han done yit is the londe myne;
For Goddis love, neighbours stondeth alle stille,
And I wil delen my londe after myn owne wille.
John, myne eldest sone shal have plowes fyve,
That was my faders heritage whan he was alyve;
And my myddelest sone fyve plowes of londe,
That I halpe forto gete with my right honde;
And al myn other purchace of londes and ledes
That I biquethe Gamelyne and alle my good stedes.
And I biseche you, good men that lawe conne of londe,
For Gamelynes love that my quest stonde.’
Thus dalt the knyght his londe by his day,
Right on his deth bed sik ther he lay;
And sone afterward he lay stoon stille,
And deide whan tyme come as it was Cristes wille.
Anoon as he was dede and under gras grave,
Sone the elder brother giled the yonge knave;
He toke into his honde his londe and his lede,
And Gamelyne him selven to clothe and to fede.
He clothed him and fedde him evell and eke wroth,
And lete his londes forfare and his houses bothe,
His parkes and his wodes and did no thing welle;
And sithen he it abought on his owne felle.
So longe was Gamelyne in his brothers halle,
For the strengest, of good will they douted hym alle;
Ther was noon therinne neither yonge ne olde,
That wolde wroth Gamelyne were he never so bolde.
Gamelyne stood on a day in his brotheres yerde,
And byganne with his hond to handel his berde;
He thought on his landes that lay unsowe,
And his fare okes that doune were ydrawe;
His parkes were broken and his deer reved;
Of alle his good stedes noon was hym byleved;
His hous were unhilled and ful evell dight;
Tho thought Gamelyne it went not aright.
Afterward come his brother walking thare,
And seide to Gamelyne, ‘Is our mete yare?’
Tho wrathed him Gamelyne and swore by Goddys boke,
‘Thow schalt go bake thi self I wil not be thi coke!’
‘What? brother Gamelyne howe answerst thou nowe?
Thou spekest nevere such a worde as thou dost nowe.’
‘By feithe,’ seide Gamelyne ‘now me thenketh nede;
Of al the harmes that I have I toke never yit hede.
My parkes bene broken and my dere reved,
Of myn armes ne my stedes nought is byleved;
Alle that my fader me byquathe al goth to shame,
And therfor have thou Goddes curs brother be thi name!’
Than spake his brother that rape was and rees,
‘Stond stille, gadlynge and holde thi pees;
Thou shalt be fayn to have thi mete and thi wede;
What spekest thow, gadelinge of londe or of lede?’
Than seide Gamelyne the child so yinge,
‘Cristes curs mote he have that me clepeth gadelinge!
I am no wors gadeling ne no wors wight,
But born of a lady and gete of a knyght.’
Ne dorst he not to Gamelyn never a foot goo,
But cleped to hym his men and seide to hem thoo,
‘Goth and beteth this boye and reveth hym his witte,
And lat him lerne another tyme to answere me bette.’
Than seide the childe yonge Gamelyne,
‘Cristes curs mote thou have brother art thou myne!
And if I shal algates be beten anoon,
Cristes curs mote 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 every of hem had a staf ynomen,
Gamelyn was werre whan he segh hem comen;
Whan Gamelyne segh hem comen he loked overall,
And was ware of a pestel stode under the wall;
Gamelyn was light and thider gan he lepe,
And droof alle his brotheres men right sone on an hepe
And loked as a wilde lyon and leide on good wone;
And whan his brother segh that he byganne to gon;
He fley up into a loft and shette the door fast;
Thus Gamelyn with his pestel made hem al agast.
Some for Gamelyns love and some for eye,
Alle they droughen hem to halves whan he gan to pleye.
‘What now!’ seyde Gamelyne ‘evel mot ye the!
Wil ye bygynne contecte and so sone flee?’
Gamelyn sought his brother whider he was flowe,
And seghe where he loked out a wyndowe.
‘Brother,’ sayde Gamelyne ‘com a litel nere,
And I wil teche thee a play at the bokelere.’
His brother him answerde and seide by Seint Richere,
‘The while that pestel is in thine honde I wil come no nere;
Brother, I will make thi pees I swer by Cristes oore;
Cast away the pestel and wrethe the no more.’
‘I most nede,’ seide Gamelyn, ‘wreth me at onys,
For thou wold make thi men to breke my bonys,
Ne had I hadde mayn and myght in myn armes,
To han hem fro me thei wold have done me harmes.’
‘Gamelyn,’ seide his brother, ‘be thou not wroth,
For to sene the han harme me were right loth;
I ne did it not, brother, but for a fondinge,
For to loken wher thou art stronge and art so yenge.’
‘Come adoune than to me and graunt me my bone
Of oon thing I wil the axe and we shal saught sone.’
Doune than come his brother that fikel was and felle,
And was swith sore afeerd of the pestelle.
He seide, ‘Brother Gamelyn axe me thi bone,
And loke thou me blame but I it graunte sone.’
Than seide Gamelyn ‘Brother, iwys,
And we shul be at one thou most graunte me this:
Alle that my fader me byquath whilst he was alyve,
Thow most do me it have if we shul not strive.’
‘That shalt thou have, Gamelyn I swere be Cristes oore!
Al that thi fadere the byquathe, though thou wolde have more;
Thy londe that lith ley wel it shal be sawe,
And thine houses reised up that bene leide ful lawe.’
Thus seide the knyght to Gamelyn with mouthe,
And thought on falsnes as he wel couthe.
The knyght thought on tresoun and Gamelyn on noon,
And wente and kissed his brother and whan thei were at oon
Alas, yonge Gamelyne no thinge he ne wist
With such false tresoun his brother him kist!
Lytheneth, and listeneth, and holdeth your tonge,
And ye shul here talking of Gamelyn the yonge.
Ther was there bisiden cride a wrastelinge,
And therfore ther was sette a ramme and a ringe;
And Gamelyn was in wille to wende therto,
Forto preven his myght what he coude doo.
‘Brothere,’ seide Gamelyn, ‘by Seint Richere,
Thow most lene me tonyght a litel coursere
That is fresshe for the spore on forto ride;
I moste on an erande a litel here beside.’
‘By god!’ seide his brothere ‘of stedes in my stalle
Goo and chese the the best spare noon of hem alle
Of stedes and of coursers that stoden hem byside;
And telle me, good brother, whider thou wilt ride.’
‘Here beside, brother is cried a wrastelinge,
And therfore shal be sette a ram and a ringe;
Moche worschip it were brother to us alle,
Might I the ram and the ringe bringe home to this halle.’
A stede ther was sadeled smertly and skete;
Gamelyn did a peire spores fast on his fete.
He sette his foote in the stirop the stede he bistrode,
And towardes the wrastelinge the yonge childe rode.
Whan Gamelyn the yonge was riden out atte gate,
The fals knyght his brother loked yit after thate,
And bysought Jesu Crist that is hevene kinge,
He myghte breke his necke in the wrestelinge.
As sone as Gamelyn come ther the place was,
He lighte doune of his stede and stood on the gras,
And ther he herde a frankeleyn ‘weiloway’ singe,
And bygonne bitterly his hondes forto wringe.
‘Good man,’ seide Gamelyn, ‘whi mast thou this fare?
Is ther no man that may you helpen out of care?’
‘Allas!’ seide this frankeleyn, ‘that ever was I bore!
For twey stalworth sones I wene that I have lore;
A champion is in the place that hath wrought me sorowe,
For he hath sclayn my two sones but if God hem borowe.
I will yeve ten pound by Jesu Christ! and more,
With the nones I fonde a man wolde handel hym sore.’
‘Good man,’ seide Gamelyn, ‘wilt thou wele doon,
Holde my hors the whiles my man drowe of my shoon,
And helpe my man to kepe my clothes and my stede,
And I wil to place gon to loke if I may spede.’
‘By God!’ seide the frankleyn, ‘it shal be doon;
I wil myself be thi man to drowe of thi shoon,
And wende thou into place, Jesu Crist the spede,
And drede not of thi clothes ne of thi good stede.’
Barefoot and ungirt Gamelyn inne came,
Alle that were in the place hede of him nam,
Howe he durst aventure him to doon his myght
That was so doghty a champion in wrasteling and in fight.
Up stert the champioun rapely anon,
And toward yonge Gamelyn byganne to gon,
And seide, ‘Who is thi fadere and who is thi sire?
For sothe thou art a grete fool that thou come hire!’
Gamelyn answerde the champioun tho,
‘Thowe knewe wel my fadere while he myght goo,
The whiles he was alyve, by seynt Martyn!
Sir John of Boundes was his name, and I am Gamelyne.’
‘Felawe,’ sayde the champion, ‘so mot I thrive,
I knewe wel thi fadere the whiles he was alyve;
And thi silf, Gamelyn, I wil that thou it here,
While thou were a yonge boy a moche shrewe thou were.’
Than seide Gamelyn and swore by Cristes ore,
‘Now I am older wexe thou shalt finde me a more!’
‘By God!’ seide the champion ‘welcome mote thou be!
Come thow onys in myn honde thou shalt nevere the.’
It was wel within the nyght and the mone shone,
Whan Gamelyn and the champioun togider gon gone.
The champion cast turnes to Gamelyne that was prest,
And Gamelyn stode and bad hym doon his best.
Than seide Gamelyn to the champioun,
‘Thowe art fast aboute to bringe me adoun;
Now I have proved mony tornes of thine,
Thow most,’ he seide, ‘oon or two of myne.’
Gamelyn to the champioun yede smertely anoon,
Of all the turnes that he couthe he shewed him but oon,
And cast him on the lift side that thre ribbes to-brake,
And therto his owne arme that yaf a grete crake.
Than seide Gamelyn smertly anon,
‘Shal it bi hold for a cast or ellis for non?’
‘By God!’ seide the champion, ‘whedere it be,
He that cometh ones in thi honde shal he never the!’
Than seide the frankeleyn that had the sones there,
‘Blessed be thou, Gamelyn, that ever thou bore were!’
The frankleyn seide to the champioun on hym stode hym noon eye,
‘This is yonge Gamelyne that taught the this pleye.’
Agein answerd the champioun that liketh no thing wel,
‘He is alther maister and his pley is right felle;
Sithen I wrasteled first it is goon yore,
But I was nevere in my lif handeled so sore.’
Gamelyn stode in the place anon without serk,
And seide, ‘Yif ther be moo lat hem come to werk;
The champion that pyned him to worch sore,
It semeth by his countenance that he wil no more.’
Gamelyn in the place stode stille as stone,
For to abide wrastelinge but ther come none;
Ther was noon with Gamelyn that wold wrastel more,
For he handeled the champioun so wonderly sore.
Two gentile men that yemed the place,
Come to Gamelyn — God yeve him goode grace! —
And seide to him, ‘Do on thi hosen and thi shoon,
For soth at this tyme this fare is doon.’
And than seide Gamelyn, ‘So mot I wel fare,
I have not yete halvendele sold my ware.’
Thoo seide the champioun, ‘So broke I my swere,
He is a fool that therof bieth thou selleth it so dere.’
Tho seide the frankeleyne that was in moche care,
‘Felawe,’ he saide ‘whi lackest thou this ware?
By seynt Jame of Gales that mony man hath sought,
Yit is it to good chepe that thou hast bought.’
Thoo that wardeynes were of that wrastelinge
Come and brought Gamelyn the ramme and the rynge,
And Gamelyn bithought him it was a faire thinge,
And wente with moche joye home in the mornynge.
His brother see wher he came with the grete route,
And bad shitt the gate and holde hym withoute.
The porter of his lord was soor agaast,
And stert anoon to the gate and lokked it fast.
Now lithenes and listneth both yonge and olde,
And ye schul here gamen of Gamelyn the bolde.
Gamelyn come to the gate forto have come inne,
And it was shette faste with a stronge pynne;
Than seide Gamelyn, ‘Porter, undo the yate,
For good menys sones stonden ther ate.’
Than answerd the porter and swore by Goddys berd,
‘Thow ne shalt, Gamelyne, come into this yerde.’
‘Thow lixt,’ seide Gamelyne ‘so broke I my chyne!’
He smote the wikett with his foote and breke awaie the pyne.
The porter seie thoo it myght no better be,
He sette foote on erth and bygan to flee.
‘By my feye,’ seide Gamelyn ‘that travaile is ylore,
For I am of fote as light as thou if thou haddest it swore.’ 1
Gamelyn overtoke the porter and his tene wrake,
And girt him in the nek that the boon to-brake,
And toke hym by that oon arme and threwe hym in a welle,
Seven fadme it was depe as I have herde telle.
Whan Gamelyn the yonge thus had plaied his playe,
Alle that in the yerde were drowen hem awaye;
Thei dredden him ful sore for werk that he wrought,
And for the faire company that he thider brought.
Gamelyn yede to the gate and lete it up wide;
He lete inne alle that gone wolde or ride,
And seide, ‘Ye be welcome without eny greve,
For we wil be maisters here and axe no man leve.
Yusterday I lefte,’ seide yonge Gamelyne,
‘In my brothers seler fyve tonne of wyne;
I wil not this company partyn atwynne,
And ye wil done after me while sope is therinne;
And if my brother gruche or make foule chere,
Either for spence of mete and drink that we spende here,
I am oure catour and bere oure alther purs,
He shal have for his grucchinge Seint Maries curs.
My brother is a nigon, I swere be Cristes oore,
And we wil spende largely that he hath spared yore;
And who that make grucchinge that we here dwelle,
He shal to the porter into the drowe-welle.’
Seven daies and seven nyghtes Gamelyn helde his feest,
With moche solace was ther noon cheest;
In a litel torret his brother lay steke,
And see hem waast his good and dorst no worde speke.
Erly on a mornynge on the eight day,
The gestes come to Gamelyn and wolde gone her way.
‘Lordes,’ seide Gamelyn, ‘will ye so hie?
Al the wyne is not yit dronke so brouke I myn ye.’
Gamelyn in his herte was ful woo,
Whan his gestes toke her leve fro hym for to go;
He wolde thei had dwelled lenger and thei seide nay,
But bytaught Gamelyn, ‘God and good day.’
Thus made Gamelyn his feest and brought wel to ende,
And after his gestes toke leve to wende.
Lithen and listen and holde your tunge,
And ye shal here game of Gamelyn the yonge;
Harkeneth, lordingges and listeneth aright,
Whan alle gestis were goon how Gamelyn was dight.
Alle the while that Gamelyn heeld his mangerye,
His brothere thought on hym be wroke with his trecherye.
Whan Gamylyns gestes were riden and goon,
Gamelyn stood anon allone frend had he noon;
Tho aftere felle sone within a litel stounde,
Gamelyn was taken and ful hard ybounde.
Forth come the fals knyght out of the solere,
To Gamelyn his brother he yede ful nere,
And saide to Gamelyn, ‘Who made the so bold
For to stroien the stoor of myn household?’
‘Brother,’ seide Gamelyn, ‘wreth the right nought,
For it is many day gon sith it was bought;
For, brother, thou hast had by Seint Richere,
Of fiftene plowes of londe this sixtene yere,
And of alle the beestes thou hast forth bredde,
That my fader me byquath on his dethes bedde;
Of al this sixtene yere I yeve the the prowe,
For the mete and the drink that we han spended nowe.’
Than seide the fals knyght (evel mote he thee!)
‘Harken, brothere Gamelyn what I wil yeve the;
For of my body, brother here geten have I none,
I wil make the myn here I swere by Seint John.’
‘Par fay!’ seide Gamelyn ‘and if it so be,
And thou thenk as thou seist God yeelde it the!’
Nothinge wiste Gamelyn of his brother gile;
Therfore he hym bygiled in a litel while.
‘Gamelyn,’ seyde he, ‘oon thing I the telle;
Thoo thou threwe my porter in the drowe-welle,
I swore in that wrethe and in that grete moote,
That thou shuldest be bounde bothe honde and fote;
This most be fulfilled my men to dote,
For to holden myn avowe as I the bihote.’
‘Brother,’ seide Gamelyn, ‘as mote I thee!
Thou shalt not be forswore for the love of me.’
Tho maden thei Gamelyn to sitte and not stonde,
To thei had hym bounde both fote and honde.
The fals knyght his brother of Gamelyn was agast,
And sente efter fetters to fetter hym fast.
His brother made lesingges on him ther he stode,
And tolde hem that commen inne that Gamelyn was wode.
Gamelyn stode to a post bounden in the halle,
Thoo that commen inne loked on hym alle.
Ever stode Gamelyn even upright!
But mete and drink had he noon neither day ne nyght.
Than seide Gamelyn, ‘Brother, be myn hals,
Now have I aspied thou art a party fals;
Had I wist the tresoun that thou hast yfounde,
I wold have yeve strokes or I had be bounde!’
Gamelyn stode bounde stille as eny stone;
Two daies and two nyghtes mete had he none.
Than seide Gamelyn that stood ybounde stronge,
‘Adam Spencere me thenketh I faste to longe;
Adam Spencere now I biseche the,
For the moche love my fadere loved the,
If thou may come to the keys lese me out of bonde,
And I wil part with the of my free londe.’
Than seide Adam that was the spencere,
‘I have served thi brother this sixtene yere,
Yif I lete the gone out of his boure,
He wold saye afterwardes I were a traitour.’
‘Adam,’ seide Gamelyn, ‘so brouke I myn hals!
Thow schalt finde my brother at the last fals;
Therfore brother Adam lose me out of bondes,
And I wil parte with the of my free londes.’
‘Up such forward,’ seide Adam, ‘ywis,
I wil do therto al that in me is.’
‘Adam,’ seide Gamelyn ‘as mote I the,
I wil holde the covenaunt and thou wil me.’
Anoon as Adams lord to bed was goon,
Adam toke the kayes and lete Gamelyn out anoon;
He unlocked Gamelyn both hondes and fete,
In hope of avauncement that he hym byhete.
Than seide Gamelyn, ‘Thonked be Goddis sonde!
Nowe I am lose both fote and honde;
Had I nowe eten and dronken aright,
Ther is noon in this hous shuld bynde me this nyght.’
Adam toke Gamelyn as stille as eny stone,
And ladde him into the spence raply anon,
And sette him to sopere right in a privey styde,
He bad him do gladly and so he dide.
Anoon as Gamelyn had eten wel and fyne,
And therto y-dronken wel of the rede wyne,
‘Adam,’ seide Gamelyn, ‘what is nowe thi rede?
Or I go to my brother and gerd of his heed?’
‘Gamelyn,’ seide Adam, ‘it shal not be so.
I can teche the a rede that is worth the twoo.
I wote wel for soth that this is no nay,
We shul have a mangerye right on Sonday;
Abbotes and priours mony here shul be,
And other men of holy chirch as I telle the;
Thou shal stonde up by the post as thou were bounde fast,
And I shal leve hem unloke that away thou may hem cast.
Whan that thei han eten and wasshen her handes,
Thow shalt biseche hem alle to bringe the oute of bondes;
And if thei willen borowe the that were good game,
Than were thou out of prisoun and out of blame;
And if ecche of hem saye to us nay,
I shal do another I swere by this day!
Thow shalt have a good staf and I wil have another,
And Cristes curs haf that on that failleth that other!’
‘Ye for God,’ seide Gamelyn ‘I say it for me,
If I faille on my side evel mot I thee!
If we shul algate assoile hem of her synne,
Warne me, brother Adam, whan we shul bygynne.’
‘Gamelyn,’ seid Adam, ‘by Seinte Charité,
I wil warne the biforn whan it shal be;
Whan I winke on the loke for to gone,
And caste away thi fetters and come to me anone.’
‘Adam,’ seide Gamelyn, ‘blessed be thi bonys!
That is a good counseill yeven for the nonys;
Yif thei warne the me to bringe out of bendes,
I wil sette good strokes right on her lendes.’
Whan the Sonday was comen and folk to the feest,
Faire thei were welcomed both leest and mest;
And ever as thei at the haldore come inne,
They casten her yen on yonge Gamelyn.
The fals knyght his brother ful of trecherye,
Al the gestes that ther were at the mangerye,
Of Gamelyn his brother he tolde hem with mouthe
Al the harme and the shame that he telle couthe.
Whan they were yserved of messes two or thre,
Than seide Gamelyn, ‘How serve ye me?
It is not wel served by God that alle made!
That I sitte fastinge and other men make glade.’
The fals knyght his brother ther as he stode,
Told to all the gestes that Gamelyn was wode;
And Gamelyn stode stille and answerde nought,
But Adames wordes he helde in his thought.
Thoo Gamelyn gan speke doolfully withalle
To the grete lordes that seton in the halle:
‘Lordes,’ he seide ‘for Cristes passioun,
Helpe to bringe Gamelyn out of prisoun.’
Than seide an abbot, sorowe on his cheke,
‘He shal have Cristes curs and Seinte Maries eke,
That the out of prison beggeth or borowe,
And ever worth him wel that doth the moche sorowe.’
After that abbot than speke another,
‘I wold thine hede were of though thou were my brother!
Alle that the borowe foule mot hem falle!’
Thus thei seiden alle that were in the halle.
Than seide a priour, evel mote he threve!
‘It is grete sorwe and care boy that thou art alyve.’
‘Ow!’ seide Gamelyn, ‘so brouke I my bone!
Now have I spied that frendes have I none
Cursed mote he worth both flesshe and blood,
That ever doth priour or abbot eny good!’
Adam the spencere took up the clothe,
And loked on Gamelyn and segh that he was wrothe;
Adam on the pantry litel he thought,
And two good staves to the halle door he brought,
Adam loked on Gamelyn and he was warre anoon,
And cast away the fetters and bygan to goon;
Whan he come to Adam he took that on staf,
And bygan to worch and good strokes yaf.
Gamelyn come into the halle and the spencer bothe,
And loked hem aboute as thei hadden be wrothe;
Gamelyn spreyeth holy watere with an oken spire,
That some that stode upright felle in the fire.
Ther was no lewe man that in the halle stode,
That wolde do Gamelyn enything but goode,
But stoden bisides and lete hem both wirche,
For thei had no rewthe of men of holy chirche;
Abbot or priour, monk or chanoun,
That Gamelyn overtoke anoon they yeden doun
Ther was noon of alle that with his staf mette,
That he ne made hem overthrowe to quyte hem his dette.
‘Gamelyn,’ seide Adam, ‘for Seinte Charité,
Pay good lyveré for the love of me,
And I wil kepe the door so ever here I masse!
Er they bene assoilled ther shal non passe.’
‘Doute the not,’ seide Gamelyn ‘whil we ben ifere,
Kepe thow wel the door and I wil wirche here;
Bystere the, good Adam, and lete none fle,
And we shul telle largely how mony that ther be.’
‘Gamelyn,’ seide Adam, ‘do hem but goode;
Thei bene men of holy churche drowe of hem no blode
Save wel the crownes and do hem no harmes,
But breke both her legges and sithen her armes.’
Thus Gamelyn and Adam wroughte ryght faste,
And pleide with the monkes and made hem agaste.
Thidere thei come ridinge joly with swaynes,
And home ayein thei were ladde in cartes and waynes.
Tho thei hadden al ydo than seide a grey frere,
‘Allas! sire abbot what did we nowe here?
Whan that we comen hidere it was a colde rede,
Us had be bet at home with water and breed.’
While Gamelyn made orders of monke and frere,
Evere stood his brother and made foule chere;
Gamelyn up with his staf that he wel knewe,
And girt him in the nek that he overthrewe;
A litel above the girdel the rigge-boon he barst;
And sette him in the fetters theras he sat arst.
‘Sitte ther, brother,’ seide Gamelyn,
‘For to colen thi body as I did myn.’
As swith as thei had wroken hem on her foon,
Thei asked water and wasshen anon,
What some for her love and some for her awe,
Alle the servantes served hem on the beste lawe.
The sherreve was thennes but fyve myle,
And alle was tolde him in a lytel while,
Howe Gamelyn and Adam had ydo a sorye rees,
Boundon and wounded men ayeinst the kingges pees;
Tho bygan sone strif for to wake,
And the shereff about Gamelyn forto take.
Now lithen and listen so God geve you good fyne!
And ye shul here good game of yonge Gamelyne.
Four and twenty yonge men that helde hem ful bolde,
Come to the shiref and seide that thei wolde
Gamelyn and Adam fette by her fay;
The sheref gave hem leve soth for to say;
Thei hiden fast wold thei not lynne,
To thei come to the gate there Gamelyn was inne.
They knocked on the gate the porter was nyghe,
And loked out atte an hool as man that was scleghe.
The porter hadde bihold hem a litel while,
He loved wel Gamelyn and was dradde of gyle,
And lete the wikett stonde ful stille,
And asked hem without what was her wille.
For all the grete company speke but oon,
‘Undo the gate, porter and lat us in goon.’
Than seide the porter ‘So brouke I my chyn,
Ye shul saie youre erand er ye come inne.’
‘Sey to Gamelyn and Adam if theire wil be,
We wil speke with hem two wordes or thre.’
‘Felawe,’ seide the porter ‘stonde ther stille,
And I wil wende to Gamelyn to wete his wille.’
Inne went the porter to Gamelyn anoon,
And saide, ‘Sir, I warne you here ben comen youre foon;
The shireves men bene at the gate,
Forto take you both ye shul not scape.’
‘Porter,’ seide Gamelyn, ‘so mote I the!
I wil alowe thi wordes whan I my tyme se.
Go ageyn to the gate and dwelle with hem a while,
And thou shalt se right sone porter, a gile.’
‘Adam,’ seide Gamelyn, ‘hast the to goon;
We han foo men mony and frendes never oon;
It bene the shireves men that hider bene comen,
Thei ben swore togidere that we shal be nomen.’
‘Gamelyn,’ seide Adam, ‘hye the right blyve,
And if I faile the this day evel mot I thrive!
And we shul so welcome the shyreves men,
That some of hem shal make her beddes in the fenne.’
At a postern gate Gamelyn out went,
And a good cartstaf in his hondes hent;
Adam hent sone another grete staff
For to helpen Gamelyne and good strokes yaf.
Adam felled tweyn and Gamelyn thre,
The other sette fete on erthe and bygan to flee.
‘What’ seide Adam, ‘so evere here I masse!
I have right good wyne drynk er ye passe!’
‘Nay, by God!’ seide thei, ‘thi drink is not goode,
It wolde make a mannys brayn to lyen on his hode.’
Gamelyn stode stille and loked hym aboute,
And seide ‘The shyref cometh with a grete route.’
‘Adam,’ seyde Gamelyn ‘what bene now thi redes?
Here cometh the sheref and wil have our hedes.’
Adam seide to Gamelyn ‘My rede is now this,
Abide we no lenger lest we fare amys:
I rede we to wode gon er we be founde,
Better is ther louse than in the toune bounde.’
Adam toke by the honde yonge Gamelyn;
And every of hem dronk a draught of wyn,
And after token her cours and wenten her way;
Tho fonde the scherreve nyst but non aye.
The shirrive light doune and went into halle,
And fonde the lord fetred faste withalle.
The shirreve unfetred hym right sone anoon,
And sente aftere a leche to hele his rigge boon.
Lat we now the fals knyght lye in hys care,
And talke we of Gamelyn and of his fare.
Gamelyn into the wode stalked stille,
And Adam Spensere liked right ille;
Adam swore to Gamelyn, ‘By Seint Richere,
Now I see it is mery to be a spencere,
Yit lever me were kayes to bere,
Than walken in this wilde wode my clothes to tere.’
‘Adam,’ seide Gamelyn, ‘dismay the right nought;
Mony good mannys child in care is brought.’
As thei stode talkinge bothen in fere,
Adam herd talking of men and right nyghe hem thei were.
Tho Gamelyn under wode loked aright,
Sevene score of yonge men he seye wel ydight;
Alle satte at the mete compas aboute.
‘Adam,’ seide Gamelyn, ‘now have I no doute,
Aftere bale cometh bote thorgh Goddis myght;
Me think of mete and drynk I have a sight.’
Adam loked thoo under wode bough,
And whan he segh mete was glad ynogh;
For he hoped to God to have his dele,
And he was sore alonged after a mele.
As he seide that worde the mayster outlawe
Saugh Adam and Gamelyn under the wode shawe.
‘Yonge men,’ seide the maistere ‘by the good Rode,
I am ware of gestes God send us goode;
Yond ben twoo yonge men wel ydight,
And parenture ther ben mo whoso loked right.
Ariseth up, yonge men and fette hem to me;
It is good that we weten what men thei be.’
Up ther sterten sevene from the dynere,
And metten with Gamelyn and Adam Spencere.
Whan thei were nyghe hem than seide that oon,
‘Yeeldeth up, yonge men your bowes and your floon.’
Than seide Gamelyn that yong was of elde,
‘Moche sorwe mote thei have that to you hem yelde!
I curs noon other but right mysilve;
Thoo ye fette to you fyve than be ye twelve!’
Whan they harde by his word that myght was in his arme,
Ther was noon of hem that wolde do hym harme,
But seide to Gamelyn myldely and stille,
‘Cometh afore our maister and seith to hym your wille.’
‘Yong men,’ seide Gamelyn, ‘be your lewté,
What man is youre maister that ye with be?’
Alle thei answerd without lesing,
‘Our maister is crowned of outlawe king.’
‘Adam,’ seide Gamelyn, ‘go we in Cristes name;
He may neither mete ne drink warne us for shame.
If that he be hende and come of gentil blood,
He wil yeve us mete and drink and do us som gode.’
‘By Seint Jame!’ seide Adam, ‘what harme that I gete,
I wil aventure me that I had mete.’
Gamelyn and Adam went forth in fere,
And thei grette the maister that thei fond there.
Than seide the maister king of outlawes,
‘What seche ye, yonge men, under the wode shawes?’
Gamelyn answerde the king with his croune,
‘He most nedes walk in feeld that may not in toune.
Sire, we walk not here no harme to doo,
But yif we mete a deer to shete therto,
As men that bene hungry and mow no mete fynde,
And bene harde bystad under wode lynde.’
Of Gamelyns wordes the maister had reuthe,
And seide, ‘Ye shul have ynow have God my trouth!’
He bad hem sitte doun for to take rest;
And bad hem ete and drink and that of the best.
As they eten and dronken wel and fyne,
Than seide on to another, ‘This is Gamelyne.’
Tho was the maistere outlaw into counseile nome,
And tolde howe it was Gamelyn that thider was come.
Anon as he herd how it was byfalle,
He made him maister under hym over hem alle.
Withinne the thridde weke hym come tydinge,
To the maistere outlawe that was her kinge,
That he shuld come home his pees was made;
And of that good tydinge he was ful glade.
Thoo seide he to his yonge men soth forto telle,
‘Me bene comen tydinges I may no lenger dwelle.’
Tho was Gamelyn anoon withoute taryinge,
Made maister outlawe and crowned her kinge.
Whan Gamelyn was crowned king of outlawes,
And walked had a while under the wode shawes,
The fals knyght his brother was sherif and sire,
And lete his brother endite for hate and for ire.
Thoo were his boond men sory and no thing glade,
Whan Gamelyn her lord wolfeshede was made;
And sente out of his men wher thei might hym fynde,
For to go seke Gamelyne under the wode lynde,
To telle hym tydinge the wynde was wente,
And al his good reved and al his men shente.
Whan thei had hym founden on knees thei hem setten,
And adoune with here hodes and her lord gretten;
‘Sire, wreth you not for the good Rode,
For we han brought you tyddyngges but thei be not gode.
Now is thi brother sherreve and hath the bayly,
And hath endited the and wolfesheed doth the crye.’
‘Allas!’ seide Gamelyn, ‘that ever I was so sclak
That I ne had broke his nek whan I his rigge brak!
Goth, greteth wel myn husbondes and wif,
I wil be at the nexte shyre have God my lif!’
Gamelyn come redy to the nexte shire,
And ther was his brother both lord and sire.
Gamelyn boldely come into the mote halle,
And putte adoun his hode amonge tho lordes alle;
‘God save you, lordinggs that here be!
But broke bak sherreve evel mote thou thee!
Whi hast thou don me that shame and vilenye,
For to lat endite me and wolfeshede do me crye?’
Thoo thoghte the fals knyght forto bene awreke,
And lette Gamelyn most he no thinge speke;
Might ther be no grace but Gamelyn atte last
Was cast in prison and fettred faste.
Gamelyn hath a brothere that highte Sir Ote,
Als good an knyght and hende as might gon on foote.
Anoon yede a massager to that good knyght
And tolde him altogidere how Gamelyn was dight.
Anoon whan Sire Ote herd howe Gamelyn was dight,
He was right sory and no thing light,
And lete sadel a stede and the way name,
And to his tweyne bretheren right sone he came.
‘Sire,’ seide Sire Ote to the sherreve thoo,
‘We bene but three bretheren shul we never be mo;
And thou hast prisoned the best of us alle;
Such another brother evel mote hym byfalle!’
‘Sire Ote,’ seide the fals knyght, ‘lat be thi cors;
By God, for thi wordes he shal fare the wors;
To the kingges prisoun he is ynome,
And ther he shal abide to the justice come.’
‘Par de!’ seide Sir Ote, ‘better it shal be;
I bid hym to maynprise that thou graunte me
To the next sitting of delyveraunce,
And lat than Gamelyn stonde to his chaunce.’
‘Brother, in such a forward I take him to the;
And by thine fader soule that the bigate and me,
But he be redy whan the justice sitte,
Thou shalt bere the juggement for al thi grete witte.’
‘I graunte wel,’ seide Sir Ote, ‘that it so be.
Lat delyver him anoon and take hym to me.’
Tho was Gamelyn delyvered to Sire Ote, his brother;
And that nyght dwelled the oon with the other.
On the morowe seide Gamelyn to Sire Ote the hende,
‘Brother,’ he seide, ‘I mote forsoth from you wende
To loke howe my yonge men leden her liff,
Whedere thei lyven in joie or ellis in striff.’
‘By God’ seyde Sire Ote, ‘that is a colde rede,
Nowe I se that alle the carke schal fal on my hede;
For whan the justice sitte and thou be not yfounde,
I shal anoon be take and in thi stede ibounde.’
‘Brother,’ seide Gamelyn, ‘dismay you nought,
For by saint Jame in Gales that mony men hath sought,
Yif that God almyghty holde my lif and witte,
I wil be redy whan the justice sitte.’
Than seide Sir Ote to Gamelyn, ‘God shilde the fro shame;
Come whan thou seest tyme and bringe us out of blame.’
Litheneth, and listeneth and holde you stille,
And ye shul here how Gamelyn had al his wille.
Gamelyn went under the wode-ris,
And fonde ther pleying yenge men of pris.
Tho was yonge Gamelyn right glad ynoughe,
Whan he fonde his men under wode boughe.
Gamelyn and his men talkeden in fere,
And thei hadde good game her maister to here;
His men tolde him of aventures that they had founde,
And Gamelyn tolde hem agein howe he was fast bounde.
While Gamelyn was outlawe had he no cors;
There was no man that for him ferde the wors,
But abbots and priours, monk and chanoun;
On hem left he nought whan he myghte hem nome.
While Gamelyn and his men made merthes ryve,
The fals knyght his brother evel mot he thryve!
For he was fast aboute both day and other,
For to hiren the quest to hongen his brother.
Gamelyn stode on a day and byheeld
The wodes and the shawes and the wild feeld,
He thoughte on his brothere how he hym byhette
That he wolde be redy whan the justice sette;
He thought wel he wold without delay,
Come tofore the justice to kepen his day,
And saide to his yonge men, ‘Dighteth you yare,
For whan the justice sitte we most be thare,
For I am under borowe til that I come,
And my brother for me to prison shal be nome.’
‘By Seint Jame!’ seide his yonge men, ‘and thou rede therto,
Ordeyn how it shal be and it shal be do.’
While Gamelyn was comyng ther the justice satte,
The fals knyght his brother forgate he not that,
To hire the men of the quest to hangen his brother;
Thoughe thei had not that oon thei wolde have that other
Tho come Gamelyn from under the wode-ris,
And brought with hym yonge men of pris
‘I see wel,’ seide Gamelyn, ‘the justice is sette;
Go aforn, Adam, and loke how it spette.’
Adam went into the halle and loked al aboute,
He segh there stonde lordes grete and stoute,
And Sir Ote his brother fetred ful fast;
Thoo went Adam out of halle as he were agast.
Adam seide to Gamelyn and to his felawes alle,
‘Sir Ote stont fetered in the mote halle.’
‘Yonge men,’ seide Gamelyn, ‘this ye heeren alle:
Sir Ote stont fetered in the mote halle.
If God geve us grace well forto doo,
He shal it abigge that it broughte therto.’
Than seide Adam that lockes had hore,
‘Cristes curs mote he have that hym bonde so sore!
And thou wilt, Gamelyn, do after my rede,
Ther is noon in the halle shal bere awey his hede.’
‘Adam,’ seide Gamelyn, ‘we wil not do soo,
We wil slee the giltif and lat the other go.
I wil into the halle and with the justice speke;
Of hem that bene giltif I wil ben awreke.
Lat no skape at the door take, yonge men, yeme;
For I wil be justice this day domes to deme.
God spede me this day at my newe werk!
Adam, com with me for thou shalt be my clerk.’
His men answereden hym and bad don his best,
‘And if thou to us have nede thou shalt finde us prest;
We wil stonde with the while that we may dure;
And but we worchen manly pay us none hure.’
‘Yonge men,’ seid Gamelyn, ‘so mot I wel the!
A trusty maister ye shal fynde me.’
Right there the justice satte in the halle,
Inne went Gamelyn amonges hem alle.
Gamelyn lete unfetter his brother out of bende.
Than seide Sire Ote his brother that was hende,
‘Thow haddest almost, Gamelyn, dwelled to longe,
For the quest is out on me that I shulde honge.’
‘Brother,’ seide Gamelyn, ‘so God yeve me good rest!
This day shul thei be honged that ben on the quest;
And the justice both that is the juge man,
And the sherreve also thorgh hym it bigan.
Than seide Gamelyn to the justise,
‘Now is thi power don, the most nedes rise;
Thow hast yeven domes that bene evel dight,
I will sitten in thi sete and dressen hem aright.’
The justice satte stille and roos not anon;
And Gamelyn cleved his chekebon;
Gamelyn toke him in his armes and no more spake,
But threwe hym over the barre and his arme brake.
Dorst noon to Gamelyn seie but goode,
Forfeerd of the company that without stoode.
Gamelyn sette him doun in the justise sete,
And Sire Ote his brother by him and Adam at his fete.
Whan Gamelyn was sette in the justise stede,
Herken of a bourde that Gamelyn dede.
He lete fetter the justise and his fals brother,
And did hem com to the barre that on with that other.
Whan Gamelyn had thus ydon had he no rest,
Til he had enquered who was on his quest
Forto demen his brother Sir Ote for to honge;
Er he wist what thei were hym thought ful longe.
But as sone as Gamelyn wist where thei were,
He did hem everechon fetter in fere,
And bringgen hem to the barre and setten in rewe;
‘By my feith!’ seide the justise, ‘the sherrive is a shrewe!’
Than seide Gamelyn to the justise,
‘Thou hast yove domes of the worst assise;
And the twelve sesoures that weren on the quest,
Thei shul be honged this day so have I good rest!’
Than seide the sheref to yonge Gamelyn,
‘Lord, I crie thee mercie brother art thou myn.’
‘Therfor,’ seide Gamelyn, ‘have thou Cristes curs,
For and thow were maister I shuld have wors.’
For to make shorte tale and not to longe,
He ordeyned hym a quest of his men stronge;
The justice and the shirreve both honged hie,
To weyven with the ropes and the winde drye;
And the twelve sisours (sorwe have that rekke!)
Alle thei were honged fast by the nekke.
Thus endeth the fals knyght with his trecherye,
That ever had lad his lif in falsenesse and folye.
He was honged by the nek and not by the purs,
That was the mede that he had for his faders curs.
Sire Ote was eldest and Gamelyn was yenge,
Wenten to her frendes and passed to the kinge;
Thei maden pees with the king of the best sise.
The king loved wel Sir Ote and made hym justise.
And after, the king made Gamelyn in est and in west,
The cheef justice of his free forest;
Alle his wight yonge men the king foryaf her gilt,
And sithen in good office the king hath hem pilt,
Thus wane Gamelyn his land and his lede,
And wreke him on his enemyes and quytte hem her mede;
And Sire Ote his brother made him his heire,
And sithen wedded Gamelyn a wif good and faire;
They lyved togidere the while that Crist wolde,
And sithen was Gamelyn graven under molde.
And so shull we alle may ther no man fle:
God bring us to that joye that ever shal be!