Previous Previous:
From The Squire's Tale, lines 76-88:
A strange knight enters the king's hall
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.

From The Canterbury Tales:
The Squire's Tale
lines 89-167: The knight brings presents to the king

      This strange knyght, that cam thus sodeynly
90Al armed, save his heed, ful richely,
Saleweth kyng, and queene, and lordes alle,
By ordre, as they seten in the halle,
With so heigh reverence and obeisaunce,
As wel in speche as in contenaunce,
95That Gawayn, with his olde curteisye,
Though he were comen ayeyn out of Fairye,
Ne koude hym nat amende with a word.
And after this, biforn the heighe bord
He with a manly voys seith his message,
100After the forme used in his langage,
Withouten vice of silable or of lettre.
And, for his tale sholde seme the bettre,
Accordant to hise wordes was his cheere,
As techeth art of speche hem that it leere.
105l be it that I kan nat sowne his stile,
Ne kan nat clymben over so heigh a style,
Yet seye I this, as to commune entente,
Thus muche amounteth al that evere he mente,
If it so be that I have it in mynde.
110He seyde, "The kyng of Arabe and of Inde,
My lige lord, on this solempne day
Saleweth yow, as he best kan and may;
And sendeth yow, in honour of your feeste,
By me, that am al redy at your heeste,
115This steede of bras, that esily and weel
Kan in the space of o day natureel,
This is to seyn, in foure and twenty houres,
Wher-so yow lyst, in droghte or elles shoures,
Beren youre body into every place
120To which youre herte wilneth for to pace,
Withouten wem of yow, thurgh foul or fair.
Or if yow lyst to fleen as hye in the air
As dooth an egle, whan that hym list to soore,
This same steede shal bere yow evere moore
125Withouten harm, til ye be ther yow leste,
Though that ye slepen on his bak or reste;
And turne ayeyn, with writhyng of a pyn.
He that it wroghte, koude ful many a gyn;
He wayted many a constellacion
130Er he had doon this operacion;
And knew ful many a seel, and many a bond.
      This stranger knight, who came thus suddenly,
90Armed at all points, except his head, richly,
Saluted king and queen and those lords all,
In order of rank, as they sat there in hall,
Showing such humble courtesy to each
In manner of behaviour and in speech,
95That Gawain, with his old-time courtesy,
Though he were come again from Faery,
Could not have bettered him in any word.
And after this, before the king's high board,
He with a manly voice said his message,
100After the form in use in his language,
Without mistake in syllable or letter;
And, that his tale should seem to all the better,
According to his language was his cheer,
As men teach art of speech both there and here;
105Albeit that I cannot ape his style,
Nor can I climb across so high a stile,
Yet sky I this, as to his broad intent,
To this amounts the whole of what he meant,
If so be that I have it yet in mind.
110He said: "The king of Araby and Ind,
My liege-lord, on this great and festive day
Salutes you as he now best can and may,
And sends to you, in honour of your feast,
By me, that am prepared for your behest,
115This steed of brass, that easily and well
Can, in one natural day, 'tis truth I tell,
That is to say, in four and twenty hours,
Where'er you please, in drought or else in showers,
Bear you in body unto every place
120To which your heart wants that you go apace,
Without least hurt to you, through foul or fair;
Or, if you please to fly as high in air
As does an eagle when he wishes to soar,
This self-same steed will bear you evermore
125Without least harm, till you have gained your quest,
Although you sleep upon his back, or rest;
And he'll return, by twisting of a pin.
He that made this could make full many a gin;
He waited, watching many a constellation
130Before he did contrive this operation;
And he knew many a magic seal and band.
      This mirrour eek, that I have in myn hond,
Hath swich a myght, that men may in it see
Whan ther shal fallen any adversitee
135Unto your regne, or to yourself also,
And openly who is your freend, or foo.
      And over al this, if any lady bright
Hath set hir herte in any maner wight,
If he be fals, she shal his tresoun see,
140His newe love, and al his subtiltee
So openly, that ther shal no thyng hyde.
Wherfore, ageyn this lusty someres tyde,
This mirour and this ryng that ye may see,
He hath sent unto my lady Canacee,
145Your excellente doghter that is heere.
      This mirror, too, which I have in my hand,
Has power such that in it men may see
When there shall happen any adversity
135Unto your realm, and to yourself also;
And openly who is your friend or foe.
      More than all this, if any lady bright
More than all this, if any lady bright
If he be false she shall his treason see,
140His newer love and all his subtlety
So openly that nothing can he hide.
Wherefore, upon this pleasant summertide,
This mirror and this ring, which you may see,
He has sent to my Lady Canace,
145Your most surpassing daughter, who is here.
      The vertu of the ryng, if ye wol heere,
Is this, that if hir lust it for to were
Upon hir thombe, or in hir purs it bere,
Ther is no fowel that fleeth under the hevene
150That she ne shal wel understonde his stevene,
And knowe his menyng openly and pleyn,
And answere hym in his langage ageyn.
And every gras that groweth upon roote,
She shal eek knowe, and whom it wol do boote,
155Al be hise woundes never so depe and wyde.
      This naked swerd, that hangeth by my syde
Swich vertu hath, that what man so ye smyte
Thurgh out his armure it wole kerve and byte,
Were it as thikke as is a branched ook.
160And what man that is wounded with a strook
Shal never be hool, til that yow list of grace
To stroke hym with the plate in thilke place
Ther he is hurt; this is as muche to seyn,
Ye moote with the plate swerd ageyn
165Stroke hym in the wounde, and it wol close.
This is a verray sooth withouten glose.
It faileth nat, whils it is in youre hoold."
      The virtue of the ring, if you will hear,
Is this: that if she pleases it to wear
Upon her thumb, or in her purse to bear,
There is no bird that flies beneath the heaven
150But she shall understand his language, even
To know his meaning openly and plain,
And answer him in his own words again.
And every herb that grows upon a root
She shall know, too, and whom 'twill heal, to boot,
155Although his wounds be never so deep and wide.
      This naked sword that's hanging by my side
Such virtue has that any man you smite,
Right through his armour will it carve and bite,
Were it as thick as is a branching oak;
160And that man who is wounded by its stroke
Shall never be whole until you please, of grace,
To strike him with the flat in that same place
Where he is hurt; which is to say, 'tis plain,
That you may with the flat sword blade again
165Strike him upon the wound and it will close;
This is the truth, I seek not to impose,
For it shall fail not while it's in your hold."

Next Next:
From The Squire's Tale, lines 168-188:
The king offers the knight a room and the presents are safely stored