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Ellys may no man fynde hem stable,
So ben dremys deseyvable.
Gyf thou telle hem, than mayst thou erre;
And gyf thow trow hem, that ys wel werre;
For thou mayst dreme of sume evyl thyng
That may turn to better for thy preyyng.
" Thou, leudman,10 gyf godë tent,11
Trow noght agen the comaundment."

Gyf thou beleve yn wycchëcraft
To chaungë thyng be the devylys craft,
Swych beyn the devyl betaght,
With holy chyrche they ben unsaght, 18
And allë tho that on hem trowe
Mow drede hem self to brenne yn lowe; 14
And thogh they fynde byt sothe other

whyle, 15 Hyt ys thurgh the fendës gyle. The fend fondyth 16 with alle hys myght To put sumwat yn herë syght That shal make hem swych thyng beleve And God almyghty myspay For ther was never womman ne man That any wycchëcraft be-gan, That ever myght bryng hyt to an ende, But fals beleve that wyl hem shende. The wurdys certys beyn ryght noght, But fals beleve maketh dede y-wroght. For whan thou trowyst yn a fals thyng The devyl hyt shewyth for that trowyng. Lo here a tale of a wycche, That leved 18 no better tha(n) a bycche.



17 and greve

Thus the wyse clerk seyth, Catun,
And techyth chyldryn thys lessun,

Geve no charge to (thy) dremys,
They been but as (glasyng) glemys
That yn the thought (stertys &) lepys
A-nyght whan thou (restys &) slepys:
That you wakyng (sumtyme) thenkes,
Beforë thy ygen hyt blenkys.'

Gyf they ne come thurgh pryvyte That God wyl shewë me or the, Iosep of dremys had gyve no kepe 2 What bym was shewed yn hys slepe, That fadyr and modyr and al hys kynde, Thurgh hym shuld they wurshyp fynde. Yn the byble men redë thys In the fyrst boke of Genesys. Also byt was shewyd pryvyly To Iosep that wedded oure lady, That with the chyld they shuldë fle To Egypt, that yche cuntre. Thys ys clepyd revelacyun, To shewe byfore what ys to doun.

Gyf they com noght thurgh stodyyng, That tokene ys of selkouthe 8 thyng, Danyel had noght wyst byfore The dreme of Nabugodonosore. Danyel seyd un-to the kyng, “ Thou thougtyst to nyght a selkouthe

thyng; What manere folk shuld they be

this worlde come aftyr the, And how they shulde the wuride governe; Yn thy thoght thou gunne byt gerne; And God shewyd hyt yn thy sygt; That dremed the the touther nyght.” He tolde the profyte than every deyl; And the profete redde hyt weyl: Wysly he seyd, and weyl thurgh soght, Whan he hede toke to that the kynge thoght. And God shewyd what shuld betyde; What manere folk shulde aftyr a-byde. Sethyn ther beyn dremys so many man

ere, Than ys doute and gretë were To wytë where-of dremys come, That every nyght dremyn thurgh custome; Ther beyn so many dremys yn veyne, That no man wotë no certeyn But they that beyn with God pryve, To whom ys graunted, swych thyng to see: Swych men deseyveth nat the devyl, They have no grace to knowe hys evyl ;

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THERE was a wycche, and made a bagge,
A bely 19 of lethyr, a gretë swagge,
She sygaldryd 11 so thys bagge bely
That hyt gede 22 and soke

mennys ky,
At evene, and at morw tyde,
Yn here pasture, other ellys be syde.
Long hyt gede aboutë fast,
Tyl hyt was parceyved at the last;
Than all the godemen of the toune,
Byfore the bysshop dyden here somoune;
They dyden the baggë with here bere,
To wetë 25 what she shuld answere.
Hyt was shewyd byfore the bysshop,
That she dyde 26 to goo swych à melk

slop, 21




10 layman.

17 displease.
20 bulky object. 21 enchanted.

1 flashes before thine eyes.

2 heed. I began to yearn for it. s expounded. * kinds. 8 uncertainty.

3 strange.

6 beed.

9 worse.

11 heed. 12 handed over to. 13 unreconciled. 14 burn in flame. 15 sometimes. 16 strives.

18 believed. 19 bellows.

22 went. 28 sucked. 24 kine. 36 know. 26 caused.

27 bag

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Thurgh wycchecraft and mysaventure, Of sacrylage he may be a-ferd;
To sugke here keyn yn here pasture. Or entyrludës, or syngynge,
The bysshop mervey led, and other mo, Or tabure bete, or other pypynge,
How that she myght do hyt go.

Alle swychë thyng forbodyn es
“ Dame,” seyd the bysshop, "do thy quen- Whyle the prest stondeth at messe.

Alle swyche, to every gode preste ys lotho, And late us se how hyt shal ryse.”

And sunner wyl he make hym wroth
Thys wycche here charme began to sey, Than he wyl that hath no wyt,
The slop ros up, and gede the weye. Ne undyrstondeth nat holy wryt;
The bysshop seyd, “thys have we seyu; And specyaly, at hyghe tymes,
Do hyt now to lygge 8 ageyn,”.

Karolles to synge, and redë rymys,
The wycchë dede al at hys wylle:

Noght yn nonë holy stedes, 10 She made the slop agen lygge stylle. That myght dysturble the prestës bedes, The bysshop made a clerk than wryte Or gyf he were yn orysun Al that she seyd, mochel and lyte,

Or any outher devocyun, And allë how she made here went; *

Sacrylage ys alle hyt tolde,11 The bysshop tharto gaf gode entent. Thys and many other folde. “ Than,” seyde the bysshop, “now shal y, But for to leve yn cherche to daunce, As thou hast do, do thy maystry.” 6

Y shal ghow telle a ful grete chaunce, The bysshop began the charme to rede, And y trow, the most that fel And as she dyde, he dyde yn dede;

Ys as soth as the gospel; He seyd and dedë every deyl,

And fyl thys chauncë yn thys londe,
Ryght as she dede, he dede as weg l. Yn Ingland, as y undyrstonde;
The sloppe lay stylle, as hyt ded wore, Yn a kynges tyme that hyght Edward,
For hym ne ros hyt never the more.

Fyl thys chaunce that was so hard.
Why,” seyd he, “wyl hyt nat ryse, Hyt was upp-on a crystemesse nyght
And у
have do the samë wyse,

That twelve folys 12 a karolle dyght; 18 And seyd the wurdys, lesse ne mo,

Yn wodehed, 14 as hyt were yn cuntek 16 And for my seyyng wyl hyt nat go ?

They come to a tonnne men calles Colbek; Nay,” she seyd, “why shuld hyt so ? The cherche of the tounne that they to Ye beleve nat as y do:

come, Wulde ye beleve my wurdys as y,

Ys of Seynt Magne 16 that suffred martyrHyt shulde a go, and sokun ky."

dome; He seyd," than falethế noght but belevyng”; Of Sent Bukcestre hyt ys also, She seyd, “ that helpeth al my thyng; Seynt Magnes suster, that they come to. And so hyt ys for ourë lawe,

Here names of alle, thus fonde y wryte, Beleve ys morë than the sawe;?

And as y wote, now shul ye wyte: For thou mayst sey what thou wylt, Here lodës-man 17 that made hem glew,18 But thou beleve hyt, ellys ys alle spylt; This ys wryte, he hyghte Gerlew; Alle that y seyd, ye beleve hyt weyl, Twey maydens were yn here coveyne," My beleve hath do the dede every deyl.”. Mayden Merswynde, and Wybessyne; The bysshop comaundyd that she shuld noght Alle these come thedyr for that enchesone 20 Beleve ne wurche as she had wroght. Of the prestës doghtyr of the tounne.

The prest hyght Robert, as y kan ame;21

Agone hyght hys sone by name; THE TALE OF THE SACRILE- Hys doghter, that these men wulde have, GIOUS CAROLLERS

Thus ys wryte, that she hyght Ave;

Echoune consented to o wyl, (Handling Sin, 11. 8987-9252)

Who shuld go Ave oute to tyl: 22 KAROLLES,8 wrastlynges, or

They graunted echone out to sende games,

Bothe Wybessynë and Merswynde. Who-so ever haunteth any swyche shames

These wommen gede and tolled 2 here oute Yn cherche, other yn cherchëyerd,

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o beating.

10 places. 1 others besides. 2 cunning.

16 Magnus. 7 saying 8 Circular dances,

18 music.

20 on account and the accompanying song.

21 entice. 33 enticed.

12 fools.

lie down.

4 trick.

16 madness.

11 accounted.
19 company.

5 feat.

18 made.
17 leader.


6 needeth.


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Wyth hem to karolle the cherche aboute.
Beune ordeyned here karollyng;
Gerlew endyted what they shuld syng:
Thys ys the karolle that they sunge,
As telleth tbe latyn tunge,

“ Equitabat Bevo per silvam frondosam, Ducebat secum Merswyndam formosam. 60 Quid stamus, cur non imus?( a gap in the MS.)

By the leved wode rode Bevolyne, Wyth hym he leddë feyre Merswyne. Why stondë we? why go we noght?”. Thys ys the karolle that Grysly wroght. Thys songe sunge they yn the cherche

yerd, Of foly were they no thyng aferd, Un-to the matynes were alle done, And the messe shuld bygynnë sone. 69

The preste hym revest 1 to begynne messe, And they ne left therefore, wever the lesse, But daunsed furthe as they bygan; For alle the messë they ne blan.?

The preste, that stode at the autere 8 And herde here noysë and here bere, 4 Fro the auter down be nam,5 And to the cherchë porche he cam, And seyd, “On Goddes behalve, y yow

forbede That ye no lenger do swych dede; But cometh yn, on feyre manere, Goddës servysë for to here, And doth at Crystyn mennys lawe; Karolleth no more for Crystys awe, Wurschyppeth hym with alle youre myght, That of the Vyrgyne was bore thys nyght.

For alle hys byddyng, lefte they noght, But daunsed furth, as they thoght. The prest tharefore was sore a-greved; He preyd God that he on belevyd, And for Seynt Magne, that he wulde so

werche Yn whos wurschyp sette was the cherche That swych a veniaunce 6 were on bem sent Are they oute of that stede were went, That they myght ever ryght so wende Unto that tymë twelvemonth ende: (Yn the latyne that y fonde thore, He seyth nat 'twelvemonth, but

more.') He cursed hem there alsaune? As they karoled on here gaume.

As sone as the preste hadde so spoke, Every hande yn outher so fast was loke,

That no man nuyght with no wundyr
That twelvemonthe parte bem asundyr.

The preste gede yn, whan thys was done,
And coinmaunded hys sone Agone
That he shulde go swythe 8 aftyr Ave,
Oute of that karolle algate 9 to have.
But al to late that wurde was seyd,
For on hem alle was the veniaunce leyd.

Agone wende weyl for to spede;
Un-to the karolle asswythe 10 he gede;
Hys systyr by the arme he hente, in
And the arme fro the body wente.
Men wundred allë, that there wore,
And merveyle mowe ye herë more;
For sethen 12 he had the arme yn hande,
The body gede furth karoland;
And nother body ne the arme
Bledde never blodë, colde ne warme,
But was as drye, with al the haunche,
As of a stok were ryve a braunche.

Agone to hys fadyr went,
And broght hym a sory present:
Loke, fadyr,” he seyd, “and have hyt

here, The armë of thy doghtyr dere That was myn ownë syster Ave, That y wende y myght a save.18 Thy cursyng, now sene hyt ys With veniaunce on thyn owuë flessh; Fellyche 14 thou cursedst, and over sone; 130 Thou askedest veniaunce, thou hast thy

bone." Yow thar 16 nat aske gyf there was wo With the preste and with many mo.

The prest that cursed for that daunce, On some of hys fyl hardë chaunce. He toke hys doghtyr arme forlorn And byryëd hyt on the morn; The nextë day the arme of Ave He fonde hyt lyggyng above the grave. He byryed hyt on anouther day, 140 And eft 17 above the grave hyt lay; The thryddë tyme he byryed hyt, And eft was hyt kast oute of the pyt. The prest wulde byrye hyt no more; He dredde the veniaunce ferly 18 sore; Yn-to the cherche he bare the arme; For drede and doute of morë barme, He ordeyned hyt for to be, That every man myght with ye hyt se.

These men that gede so karolland Alle that yerë hand


» 15


6 ever


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yn hand,

1 attired.

6 took

2 cenged.
6 vengeance.

8 altar. 4 cries.

7 all together.

8 straightway. o by all means.
11 took. 12 after. is have saved.
15 boon.
16 you need.

17 again.

10 forthwith.

14 Savagely. 18 wondrous.

his way


To the parysshe prest, syre Robert:
“Thou art ensanıple and enchesun 12
Of oure long confusyun;
Thou maker art of oure travayle,
That ys to many grete mervayle;
And thy traveyle shalt thou sone ende,
For to thy long home, sone shalt thou

Alle they ryse that ychë tyde,
But Avë; she lay dede besyde;
Grete sorowe had here fadyr, here brother;
Merveyle and drede had allë outher,
Y trow no drede of soulë dede, 1
But with pyne was broght the body dede.
The fyrst man was the fadyr, the prest,
That deyd aftyr the doghtyr nest.14
Thys ychë arme that was of Ave,
That nonë myght leye yn grave,
The emperoure dyd a vessel werche
To do hyt yn, and hange yn the cherche,
That alle men myght se hyt and knawe, 220
And thenk on the chaunce when men hyt




But sungge



They never onte of that stede gede,
Ne nonë myght hem thennë 1 lede;
There the cursyng fyrst bygan,
Yn that place a-boute they ran,
That never ne felte they no werynes -
As many bodyes, for goyng, dos -
Ne metë etë, ne drank drynke,
Ne sleptë onely a-lepy? wynke;
Nyght, ne day, they wyst of none,
Wban hyt was come, whan hyt was gone;
Frost ne snogh, hayle ne reyne,
Of colde ne hete, felte they no peyne;
Heere ne naylës never grewe,
Ne solowed 3 clothes, ne turned hewe;
Thundyr ne lyghtnyng dyd hem no dere, 4
Goddes mercy dyd hyt fro hem were;


songge that the wo wroght, “Why stondë we? why go we noght? W bat man shuld thyr be yn thys lyve, 170 Tuat ne wulde hyt see, and thedyr

dryve ? 6 The Emperoure Henry come fro Rome For to see thys hard(ë) dome; Whan be bem say, he weptë sore For the myschefe that he sagh thore; He did come wryghtës for to make Coveryng over hem for tempest sake; But that they wroght, hyt was yn veyn, For hyt come to no certeyn; For that they setti on oo? day, On the touther downe hyt lay; Ones, twyys, thryys, thus they wrogt, And alle here makyng was for nogt; Myght no coveryng hyle 8 hem fro colde Tyl tyme of mercy, that Cryst hyt wolde.

Tyme of grace fyl thurgh hys mygt
At the twelvemonth end, on the yolë 'nyght,
The same oure that the prest hem banned, 10
They samë oure, atwynne they woned; 11
That houre that he cursed hem ynne,
That samë oure they gede atwynne:
And, as yn twynkelyng of an ye,
Yn-to the cherchë gun they flye,
And on the pavement they fyl alle downe,
As they hade be dede, or fal yn a swone.

Thre days, styl, they lay echone,
That none steryd, other flesshe or bone,
And, at the thre days ende,
To lyfe God grauntede hem to wende.
They sette hem upp, and spak apert
2 a single.






These men that hadde go thus karolland Alle the yere, fast hand yn hand, Thogh that they werë than asunder, Yyt alle the world spake of hem wunder: That same hoppyng that they fyrst gede, That daunce gede they thurgh land and

lede; 16 And as they ne myght fyrst be unbounde, So efte to-gedyr myght they never be

founde, Ne myght they never come ageyn To-gedyr, to 00 stede 17 certeyn.

Foure gede to the courte of Rome, And ever hoppyng aboute they nome; With sundyr lepys come they thedyr, But they come never efte to-gedyr; Here clothes ne roted, ne naylës grewe Ne heere ne wax, ne solowed hewe, Ne never hadde they amendëment, That we herde, at any corseynt, 19 But at the vyrgyne Seynt Edyght,20 There was he botened, 21 seynt Teodryght; On oure lady day, yn lenten tyde, As he slepte here toumbe besyde, There he hade hys medycyne, At seynt Edyght, the holy vyrgyne.




11 apart they went.

18 no fear of her soul's being dead.

16 nations. 17 one place. 19 holy saint.

21 amended.

1 thence.

faded. 4 caused them no harm. 5 turn aside.


7 one. 8 cover, protect.

9 Yule. 10 cursed.

12 occasion. 14 next.

15 same. 18 went.

20 Edith.


Of goud vche goude is ay by-gonne;
So semly a sede mozt fayly not,
þạt spry[n]gande spycez vp ne sponne
Of pat precios perle wyth-outen spotte.

PERLE plesauntea to prynces paye,
To clanly clos in golde so clere!
Oute of oryent, 1 hardyly saye,
Ne proued I nener her precios pere,
So rounde, so reken in vche araye,
So smal, so smope her sydez were.
Quere-so-euer I jugged gemmez gaye,
I sette byr sengeley in synglure.
Allas ! I leste byr in on erbere;
þurz gresse to grounde bit fro ine yot.
I dewyne, for-dolked of luf-daungere,
Of þat pryuy perle wyth-outen spot.

4 To pat spot þat I in speche expoun I entred, in þat erber grene, In augoste in a hy3 seysoun, Quen corne is coruen wyth crokez kene. On huyle per perle hit trendeled duun Schadowed pis wortez ful schyre & schene Gilofre, gyngure, & gromylyoun, & pyonys powdered ay by-twene. Zif hit watz semly on to sene, A fayr retíayr zet fro hit flot, þer wonys þat worþyly, I wot & wene, My precious perle wyth-outen spot.



Sypen in þat spote 3 hit fro me sprange,
Ofte haf I wayted, wyschande pat wele
þat wont watz whyle deuoyde my wrange,
& heuen my happe & al my hele,
þat dotz bot prych my, hert 4

My breste in bale bot bolne & bele.
Zet þozt me neuer so swete a sange
As stylle stounde let to me stele;
For-sope per fleten to me fele.
To penke hir color so clad in clot!
O moul, pou marrez a myry iuele,
My priuy perle wyth-outen spotte !

5 Bifore þat spot my honde I spenn[e]d For care ful colde pat to me cazt; A de[r]uely dele in my hert denned, þaz resoun sette myseluen sazt. I playned my perle þat þer watz spenned Wyth fyrte skyllez þat faste fazt; þaz kynde of kryst me comfort kenned, My wreched wylle in wo ay wrazte. I felle upon pat floury flazt, Suche odour to my hernez schot; I slode vpon a slepyng-slazte, On þat prec[i]os perle wythouten spot.

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i See the notes to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the excerpt from the original text, for the main peculiarities of the manuscript.

? The italic letters, like n here, are indicated in the MS. only by a sign of contraction.

3 Each stanza in the sets of five is connected to the preceding stanza by the repetition in the first line of some word from the last line of the preceding stanza.

4 Such a word could perfectly well have its original final e in order to improve the metre.

5 Brackets about letters, as here, indicate that the letters have been supplied or emended by an editor.

6 w for siugle u.

6 Fro spot my spyryt per sprang


space, My body on balke per bod in sweuen; My goste


in godez grace, In auenture per meruaylez meuen. I ne wyste in þis worlde quere þat liit

wace, Bot I knew me keste per klyfez clenen; Towarde a foreste I bere pe face, Where rych rokkez wer to dyscrenen. pe lyzt of hem myzt no mou leuen, be glemande glory pat of hem glent; For wern neuer webbez pat wyzez weuen Of half so dere adub[be]mente.

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