Norse Terms in English: a Short Introduction
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Cleanness (a.k.a. Purity)
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
At London in englonde noȝt fulle longe tyme
Sythen Crist suffride on
and cristendome stablyde,
Ther was a byschop in that burghe blessyd and sacryd
Saynt Erkenwolde, as i hope, that holy mon hatte.
In his tyme in that ton the temple aldergrattyst
Was drawen don that one dole to dedifie new
For hit hethen had bene in Hengyst dawes,
That the Saxones
haden sende hyder.
bete oute the Bretons and broȝt hom into Wales,
And peruertyd alle the pepul that in that place
Then wos this reame renaide mony ronke ȝeres,
saynt Austyn into Sandewiche was sende
Then prechyd he here the pure faythe and plantyd the trouthe,
And conuertyd alle the communnates to Cristendame newe.
He turnyd temples that tyme that temyd to the deuelle
And clansyd hom in Cristes nome and
He hurlyd owt hor ydols and hade hym in sayntes
And chaungit cheuely hor nomes and chargit hom better.
That ere was of Appolyn is now of saynt Petre,
Mahon to saynt Margrete other to Maudelayne,
The synagoge of the sonne was sett to oure Lady,
Jubiter and Jono to Jhesu other to James.
So he hom dedifiet and dyght alle to dere halowes
That ere wos sett of Sathanas in Saxones tyme.
Now that london is
hatte the new Troie:
The metropol and the maysterton hit euermore has bene
The mecul mynster therinne a maghty deuel aght,
And the title of the temple
was his name
For he was dryghtyn derrest of ydols praysid
And the solempnest of his sacrifices in saxon londes.
The thrid temple hit wos tolde of Triapolitanes
By alle Bretaynes
were bot othire twayne.
Now of this Augustynes art is Erkenwolde bischop
At loue London ton and the
in the sege of saynt Paule mynster
That was the temple Triapolitan, as i tolde
then was hit abatyd and beten don and
A noble note for the nones and new werke hit hatte,
Mony a mery mason was made ther to wyrke.
Harde stones for to hewe with eggit toles
Mony grubber in grete the grounde for to seche
That the fundement on fyrst shuld the fote halde,
mukkyde and mynde a meruayle
As ȝet in crafty cronecles is kydde the memorie:
dyȝt and dalfe so depe into the erthe
founden fourmyt on a flore a
Hit was a throghe of thykke ston
With gargeles garnysht aboute alle of gray marbre;
The speke of the spelunke that spadde hit
Was metely made of the marbre and
And the bordure enbelicit with bryȝt golde lettres.
were the resones that ther on row stoden
Fulle verray were the vigures--ther auisyde hom mony--
Bot alle muset hit to mouthe and quat hit mene shulde.
Mony clerke in that clos with
Ther besiet hom aboute noȝt to brynge hom in wordes
to the ton of the toumbe wonder,
Mony hundrid hende men highide thider sone:
Burgeys boghit therto bedels ande othire,
And mony a mestersmon of maners dyuerse
laften hor werke and lepen thiderwardes
radly in route with ryngande noyce:
Ther commen thider of alle kynnes so kenely mony
That as alle the worlde were thider
within a hondequile
Quen the maire with his meynye that meruaile aspied.
By assent of the sextene the sayntuare
Bede vnlouke the lidde and lay hit byside
wolde loke on that lome quat lengyd withinne.
werkemen with that wenten
Putten prises therto, pinchid onevnder
Kaghten by the corners with crowes of yrne,
And were the lydde neuer so large
laide hit by sone.
Bot then wos wonder to
on wehes that stoden,
That myȝt not come to toknowe a quontyse strange
So was the
within gay al with golde payntyde,
And a blisfulle body
the bothum lyggid,
Araide on a riche wise in rialle wedes.
Al with glisnande golde his gowne wos hemmyd
With mony a precious perle picchit theron
And a gurdille of golde bigripide his mydelle,
A meche mantel on
with menyuer furrit
The clothe of camelyn ful clene with cumly bordures,
And on his coyfe wos
a coron ful riche
septure sett in his honde.
Als wemles were his wedes withouten any tecche
other of motes othir moghtfreten.
And als bryȝt of hor blee in blysnande hewes
hade ȝepely in that ȝorde bene ȝisturday shapen.
And als freshe hym the face and the fleshe nakyde
Bi his eres and bi his hondes that openly shewid
With ronke rode as the rose and two rede lippes
as he in sounde sodanly were slippide
Ther was spedeles space to spyr vschon other
Quat body hit myȝt be that buried wos ther,
How longe had he ther layne his
And al his wede vnwemmyd thus ylka weghe askyd.
"Hit myȝt not be bot suche a mon in mynde stode longe.
He has ben kynge of this kithe as couthely hit
he lyes doluen thus depe hit is a
Bot summe segge couthe say that he hym
Bot that ilke note wos noght, for
Nother by title ne token ne by tale nother
in brut ne in boke notyde
suche a mon, more ne lasse.
The bodeworde to the byschop was broght on a quile
Of that buriede body al the bolde wonder
the primate with his prelacie was partyd
In Esex was ser Erkenwolde an abbay to visite.
tolden hym the tale and the troubulle in the pepul,
And suche a cry aboute a cors crakit euermore,
The bischop sende hit to blynne by bedels and lettres
thiderwarde bytyme on his blonke after.
By that he come to the
kydde of saynt paule
Mony hym metten on that meere the meruayle to telle.
He passyd into his palais and pes he comaundit,
the douthe and ditte the durre after.
The derke nyȝt ouerdrofe and daybelle ronge
And ser Erkenwolde was vp in the vghten ere then,
That welneghe al the nyȝt hade
To biseche his Souerayn of his swete grace,
To vouchesafe to reuele hym hit by avision or elles,
"Thaghe i be vnworthi," al wepande he sayde,
Thurghe thi deere debonerte digne hit, my Lorde,
In confirmynge thi cristen faithe fulsen me to
The mysterie of this meruaile that men
And so longe he grette after grace that he graunte hade
An ansuare of the Holy Goste and afterwarde hit dawid,
Mynsterdores were makyd
quen matens were songen
The byschop hym shope solemply to synge the heghe masse:
The prelate in pontificals was prestly atyride.
Manerly with his ministres the masse he begynnes
Of "Spiritus Domini" for his spede on sutile wise
With queme questis of the quere with ful quaynt notes.
Mony a gay grete lorde was gedrid to herken hit
As the rekenest of the reame repairen thider ofte,
cessyd was the seruice and sayde the later ende,
the autere alle the heghe
The prelate passide on the playn--ther plied to hym lordes--
As riche reuestid as he was he
to the toumbe.
Men vnclosid hym the cloyster with clustrede keies,
Bot pyne wos withthe grete prece that passyd hym after.
The byschop come to the burynes him barones besyde,
The maire with mony maȝti men and macers before hym.
The dene of the dere place deuysit al on fyrst:
The fyndynge of that
with fynger he mynte.
"Lo lordes," quoth that lede, "suche a lyche here is,
Has layn loken here on
how longe is vnknawen.
And ȝet his colour and his clothe has caȝt no defaute,
ne the lome that he is layde inne.
Ther is no lede
lyfe of so longe age,
That may mene in his mynde that suche a mon regnyd,
Ne nother his nome ne his note
of one speche,
Quether mony porer in this place is putte into graue.
is in oure martilage his mynde for euer.
And we haue oure librarie
thes longe seuen dayes,
Bot one cronicle of this kynge con we neuer fynde.
He has non layne here so longe, to loke hit by kynde,
To malte so out of memorie bot meruayle hit were."
"Thou says sothe," quoth the segge that sacrid was byschop,
"Hit is meruaile to men that mountes to
Towarde the prouidens of the Prince that paradis weldes,
Quen hym luste to vnlouke the leste of his myȝtes.
Bot quen matyd is monnes myȝt and his mynde passyde,
And al his resons
torent and redeles he stondes,
Then lettes hit hym ful
wyt a fynger,
That alle the hondes vnder heuen halde myȝt neuer.
There as creatures crafte of counselle oute swarues,
The comforthe of the creatore byhoues the creature
And so do we now oure dede, deuyne we no fyrre
To seche the sothe at oureselfe ȝe se ther no bote.
Bot glew we alle
godde and his grace aske,
That careles is of counselle vs comforthe to sende,
Anande that in fastynge of ȝour faithe and of fyne bileue,
I shal auay ȝow so verrayly of vertues his,
That ȝe may leue
longe that he is Lord myȝty,
And fayne ȝour talent to fulfille
ȝe hym frende leues."
Then he turnes to the toumbe and talkes to the corce,
vp his eghelyddes, he
"Now lykhame that thus lies,
thou no lenger,
Sythen Jhesus has iuggit today his ioy to be schewyde.
to his bode, I bydde in his behalue,
As he was bende on a beme quen he his blode schedde.
As thou hit wost
and we hit wele leuen,
Ansuare here to my sawe, councele no trouthe,
Sithen we wot not qwo thou art
In worlde quat weghe thou was, and quy thow thus ligges,
How longe thou has layne here, and quat laghe thou vsyt,
Quether art thou ioyned to ioy other iuggid to pyne."
Quen the segge hade thus sayde, and syked therafter,
The bryȝt body in the burynes braythed a litelle.
And with a drery dreme, he dryues owte wordes voice
Thurghe sum lyfly goste
of Hym that al redes.
"Bisshop," quoth this ilke body, "thi bode is me dere.
I may not bot boghe to thi
The name that thou
Al heuen and helle heldes to and erthe bitwene.
Fyrst to say the the sothe quo myselfe were:
One the vnhapnest hathel that euer on erthe ȝode.
Neuer kynge, ne
, ne ȝet no knyȝt nothyre,
Bot a lede of the
that then this londe vsit,
I was committid and made a maystermon here,
sayd causes this cite I ȝemyd
Vnder a prince of parage of paynymes
(And vche segge that him sewide the
The lengthe of my lyinge here, that is a lappid date,
Hit to muthe to any mon to make of a nombre.
After that Brutus this burghe had
Noȝt bot aght hundred ȝere ther aghtene
Before that kynned ȝour Criste--by Cristen acounte--
Thre hundred ȝere and thritty mo and ȝet
I was on eire of an oyer in the new Troie,
In the regne of the riche kynge that rewlit vs then,
The bolde Breton ser Belyn--ser Berynge was his brothire--
Mony one was the busmare boden hom bitwene,
For hor wrakeful were quil hor wrathe lastyd.
Then was I iuge here enioynyd in gentil
Quil he in spelunke thus spake, ther sprange in the pepulle
In al this worlde no worde ne wakenyd no noice,
Bot al as stille as the ston stoden and listonde,
With meche wonder forwrast and wepid ful mony.
The bisshop biddes that body biknowe the cause,
"Sithen thou was kidde for no kynge, quy thou the
Quy haldes thou so heghe in honde the septre,
And hades no londe of lege men ne life ne lym aghtes."
"Dere ser," quoth the dede body, "deuyse the, I
Al was hit neuer my wille that wroght thus hit were.
I wos deputate and domesmon vnder a duke noble,
And in my power this place was putte altogeder.
I iustifiet this ioly toun on gentil wise,
And euer in fourme of gode faithe more then fourty wynter.
The folke was felonse, and fals, and frowarde to reule.
I hent harmes ful ofte to holde hom to riȝt,
, ne wele, ne wrathe, ne drede,
Ne for maystrie, ne for mede, ne for no mounes
I remewit neuer
the riȝt, by reson myn awen,
For to dresse a
dome no day of my lyue.
Declynet neuer my consciens for couetise on erthe
In no gynful iugement no iapes to make.
neuer so riche, for reuerens
Ne for no monnes manas, ne meschefe, ne
out of ryȝt.
Als ferforthe as my faithe, confourmyd my hert.
Thaghe had bene my fader bone, I bede hym no
Ne fals fauour to my fader, thaghe felle hym be hongyt.
And for I was ryȝtwis, and reken, and redy of the
, for dul denyed alle Troye.
Alle menyd my dethe, the more and the lasse,
And thus to bounty my body,
buriet in golde,
Cladden me, for the curtest that courte couthe then holde,
In mantel for the
and monlokest on benche,
Gurden me for gouernance the
Furrid me for the fynest of faithe ther withinne.
For the honour of myn honeste of heghest enprise,
coronyd me the kidde kynge of kene iustises,
That euer was tronyd in Troye other trowid euer shulde.
And for I rewardid euer riȝt,
raght me the septre."
hym ȝet, with bale at his hert,
him so, how hit myȝt worthe
that his clothes were so clene. "In cloutes, me thynkes,
haue rotid and bene rent in
Thi body may be enbawmyd, hit bashis me noght
That hit thar ryne ne
ne no ronke wormes.
Bot thi coloure, ne thi clothe I know in no wise
How hit myȝt lye by monnes lore and last so longe."
bisshop," quoth that body, "Enbawmyd wos I neuer,
Ne no monnes counselle my clothe has kepyd vnwemmyd;
Bot the riche Kynge of reson that riȝt euer alowes
and loues al the
lely that longen to trouthe,
and moste He
Then for al the meritorie medes that men on molde vsen,
for riȝt thus me arayed has,
me to last that loues ryȝt best."
"ȝea bot say thou of thi saule," then sayd the bisshop,
"Quere is ho stablid and
thou so streȝt wroghtes.
He that rewardes vche a
as he has riȝt seruyd,
Myȝt euel forgo the to
of His grace summe brawnche.
For as He says in His sothe psalmyde writtes,
Forthi say me of thi soule in sele quere ho wonnes,
And of the riche restorment that raȝt hyr oure Lorde."
Then hummyd he that ther lay, and his hedde
a gronynge ful grete and to Godde sayde,
"Maȝty Maker of men, thi myghtes
How myȝt Thi mercy to me amounte any tyme?
Nas I a paynym vnpreste that neuer thi plite knewe,
Ne the mesure of Thi mercy ne Thi mecul vertue,
a freke faitheles that faylid thi
That euer Thou, Lord, wos louyd in allas the harde stoundes?
I was non of the nombre that Thou with noy boghtes
With the blode of Thi body
Quen Thou herghedes hellehole and hentes hom theroute,
The loffynge oute of limbo, Thou laftes me ther!
And ther sittes my soule that se may no fyrre,
Dwynande in the derke dethe that dyȝt vs oure fader
Adam, oure alder, that ete of that appulle
That mony a plyȝtles pepul has poysned for euer.
ȝe were entouchid with his teche and
in the glette,
Bot mendyd with a medecyn, ȝe
made for to lyuye.
That is fulloght in fonte with faitheful bileue
And that han we myste. Alle merciles myselfe and my soule
Quat wan we with oure weledede that wroghtyn
dampnyd dulfully into the depe lake,
that soper so that solempne fest,
Ther richely hit
refetyd that after right hungrid.e
My soule may sitte ther in sorow and sike ful colde,
Dymly in that derke dethe ther dawes neuer morowen,
Hungrie inwith hellehole and herken after meeles,
Longe er ho that soper se other segge hyr to lathe."
Thus dulfully this dede body deuisyt hit sorowe,
That alle wepyd for woo the wordes that herden,
And the bysshop balefully bere don his eghen,
What hade no space to speke, so
and to the toumbe lokyd
To the liche ther hit lay with lauande teres.
"Oure Lord lene," quoth that lede, "that thou lyfe hades
by Goddes leue, as longe as I myȝt lacche water,
thi faire cors, and
"I folwe the in the Fader nome, and his fre Childes,
and of the gracious Holy Goste, and not one grue lenger.
thou droppyd doun dede hit daungerde me lasse."
With that worde that he
of his wete eghen,
The teres trillyd adon, and on the toumbe lighten,
And one felle on his face, and the freke syked,
Then sayd he with a sadde soun: "Oure Sauyoure be louyd!
Now herid be Thou, heghe God, and thi hende Moder!
And blissid be that blisful houre that Ho The bere in,
And also be thou, bysshop, the bote of my sorowe,
And the relefe of the lodely lures that my soule has leuyd in.
For the wordes that thou werpe and the water that thou sheddes,
The bryȝt bourne of thin eghen my bapteme is worthyn.
The fyrst slent that on me slode
al my tene.
Ryȝt now to soper my soule is sette at the table.
For with the wordes and the water that weshe vs of payne,
Liȝtly lasshit ther a leme
in the abyme
my spyrit with vnsparid murthe
into the cenacle solemply ther soupen alle trew.
And ther a marcialle hyr mette with
And with reuerence a rowme He raȝt hyr for euer.
I heere therof, my heghe God, and also the, bysshop,
bale has broȝt vs to blis blessid thou worthe."
Wyt this cessyd his sowne; sayd he no more, words
Bot sodenly his swete chere swyndid and faylide,
And alle the blee of his body wos blakke as the moldes,
that rises in powdere.
For as sone as the soule was sesyd in blisse,
Corrupt was that other craft that couert the bones.
For the aylastande life that lethe shalle neuer,
Deuoydes vche a vayneglorie that vayles so litelle.
Then wos louynge oure Lorde with
meche mournynge and myrthe was mellyd togeder.
passyd forthe in procession and alle the pepulle folowid,
and alle the belles in the burghe