Four Arthurian Romances, by Chretien DeTroyes

Part 5 out of 9

miserable villains torment and afflict the lady, by taking the
lead all boiling hot from the fire and pouring it into the palms
of her hands. Not satisfied with pouring the lead clean through
her palms, the cowardly rascals say that, if she does not speak
at once they will straightway stretch her on the grate until she
is completely grilled. Yet, she holds her peace, and does not
refuse to have her body beaten and maltreated by them. Now they
were on the point of placing her upon the fire to be roasted and
grilled when more than a thousand ladies, who were stationed
before the palace, come to the door and through a little crack
catch sight of the torture and anguish which they were inflicting
upon the lady, as with coal and flame they accomplished her
martyrdom. They bring clubs and hammers to smash and break down
the door. Great was the noise and uproar as they battered and
broke in the door. If now they can lay hands on the doctors, the
latter will not have long to wait before they receive their full
deserts. With a single rush the ladies enter the palace, and in
the press is Thessala, who has no other aim than to reach her
mistress. Beside the fire she finds her stripped, severely
wounded and injured. She puts her back in the bier again, and
over her she spreads a cloth, while the ladies go to give their
reward to the three doctors, without wishing to wait for the
emperor or his seneschal. Out of the windows they threw them
down into the court-yard, breaking the necks, ribs, arms, and
legs of all: no better piece of work was ever done by any ladies.

(Vv. 6051-6162.) Now the three doctors have received their
gruesome reward at the hands of the ladies. But Cliges is
terror-stricken and filled with grief upon hearing of the pain
and martyrdom which his sweetheart has endured for him. He is
almost beside himself, fearing greatly, and with good reason,
that she may be dead or badly injured by the torture inflicted
upon her by the three physicians who now are dead. So he is in
despair and despondency when Thessala comes, bringing with her a
very precious ointment with which she has already gently rubbed
the body and wounds of her mistress. When they laid her back in
her bier the ladies wrapped her again in a cloth of Syrian stuff,
leaving her face uncovered. All that night there is no abatement
of the cries they raise unceasingly. Throughout the city. high
and low, poor and rich, are beside themselves with grief, and it
seems as if each one boasts that he will outdo all others in his
woe, and would fain never be comforted. All that night the grief
continues. The next morning John came to the court; and the
emperor sends for him and issues to him this command: "John, if
ever thou wroughtest a fine piece of work, now put forth and show
all thy skill in constructing such a sepulchre as for beauty and
workmanship shall have no match." And John, who had already
performed the task, says that he has already completed one which
is very fine and cleverly wrought; but when he began the work he
had no thought that other than a holy body should be laid in it.
"Now let the empress be laid in it and buried in some sacred
place, for she, I think, is sanctified." "You have spoken well,"
says the emperor; "she shall be buried yonder in my lord Saint
Peter's Church, where bodies are wont to be interred. For before
her death she made this request of me, that I should have her
buried there. Now go about your task, and place your sepulchre
in the best position in the cemetery, where it ought rightfully
to be." John replies: "Very well, my lord." John at once takes
his leave, and prepares the sepulchre with great skill; a
feather-bed he placed inside, because the stone was hard and
cold; and in order that the odour may be sweet, he spreads
flowers and leaves about. Another reason for doing this was that
no one might perceive the mattress he had laid within the grave.
Already Mass had been said for the dead in the churches and
parishes, and the bells were tolling continuously as is proper
for the dead. Orders are given to bring the body to be laid in
the sepulchre, which John with all his skill has constructed so
richly and handsomely. In all Constantinople none remains,
whether small or great, who does not follow the body in tears,
cursing and reproaching Death. Knights and youths alike grow
faint, while the ladies and damsels beat their breasts as they
thus find fault with Death: "O Death," cries each, "why didst
thou not take ransom for my lady? Surely, thy gain was slight
enough, whereas the loss to us is great." And in this grief
Cliges surely bears his part, as he suffers and laments more than
all the others do, and it is strange he does not kill himself.
But still he decides to put this off until the hour and the time
shall come for him to disinter her and get possession of her and
see whether she be alive or not. Over the gave stand the men who
let down the body into its place; but, with John there, they do
not meddle with the adjustment of the sarcophagus, and since they
were so prostrated that they could not see, John had plenty of
time to perform his special task. When the coffin was in its
place, and nothing else was in the grave, he sealed up tightly
all the joints. When this was done, any one would have been
skilful who, except by force or violence, could take away or
loosen anything which John had put inside.

(Vv. 6163-6316.) Fenice lies in the sepulchre until the darkness
of night came on. But thirty knights mount guard over her, and
there are ten tapers burning there, which light up the place all
about. The knights were weary and exhausted by the strain they
had undergone; so they ate and drank that night until they all
fell sound asleep. When night came on, Cliges steals away from
the court and from all his followers, so that there was not a
single knight or servant who knew what had become of him. He did
not stop until he found John, who advises him as best he can. He
furnishes him with arms, but he will never have any need of them.
Once armed, they both spur to the cemetery. The cemetery was
enclosed all about with a high wall, so that the knights, who had
gone asleep after making the gate fast within, could rest assured
that no one would enter there. Cliges does not see how he can
get in, for there is no passing through the gate. And yet,
somehow he must pass through, for love bids him and drives him
on. He tries the wall and climbs up, being strong and agile.
Inside was a garden planted with trees, one of which stood so
near the wall that it touched it. Now Cliges had what he needed,
and after letting himself down by the tree, the first thing he
did was to go to open the gate for John. Seeing the knights
asleep, they extinguished all the lights, so that the place
remained in darkness. And John now uncovers the grave and opens
the coffin, taking care to do it no harm. Cliges steps into the
grave and lifts out his Sweetheart, all weak and prostrate, whom
he fondles, kisses, and embraces. He does not know whether to
rejoice or regret that she does not stir or move. And John, as
quickly as he could, closed up the sepulchre again, so that it
was not apparent that any one had tampered with it. Then they
betook themselves as fast as they could to the tower. When they
had set her in the tower, in the rooms which were beneath the
level of the ground, they took off her grave clothes; and Cliges,
who knew nothing of the potion which she had taken, which made
her dumb and kept her motionless, thinks that she is dead, and is
in despair with anxiety as he heavily sighs and weeps. But soon
the time will come for the potion to lose its force. And Fenice,
who hears his grief, struggles and strives for strength to
comfort him by word or glance. Her heart almost bursts because
of the sorrow which he shows. "Ah Death!" he says, "how mean
thou art, to spare and reprieve all things despicable and vile--to
let them live on and endure. Death! art thou beside thyself
or drunk, who hast killed my lady without me? This is a
marvellous thing I see: my lady is dead, and I still live on!
Ah, precious one, why does your lover live to see you dead? One
now could rightly say that you have died in my service, and that
it is I who have killed and murdered you. Sweetheart, then I am
the death that has smitten you. Is not that wrong? For it is my
own life I have lost in you, and have preserved your life in me.
For did not your health and life belong to me. sweet one? And
did not mine belong to you? For I loved nothing excepting you,
and our double existence was as one. So now I have done what was
right in keeping your soul in my body while mine has escaped from
your body, and one ought to go to seek the company of the other,
wherever it may be, and nothing ought to separate them." At this
she heaves a gentle sigh and whispers faintly: "Lover mine, I am
not altogether dead, but very near it. I value my life but
little now. I thought it a jest and a mere pretence; but now I
am indeed to be pitied, for death has not treated this as a jest.
It will be a marvel if I escape alive. For the doctors have
seriously wounded me, and broken my flesh and disfigured me. And
yet, if it was possible for my nurse to come here, and if efforts
were of any avail, she would restore me to health again." "Do
not worry, dear, about that," says Cliges, "for this very night I
will bring her here." "Dear, let John go for her now." So John
departed and looked for her until he found her, and told her how
he wished her to come along and to let no other cause detain her;
for Fenice and Cliges have sent for her to come to a tower where
they are awaiting her; and that Fenice is in a grievous state, so
that she must come provided with ointments and remedies, and to
bear in mind that she will not live long, if she does not quickly
come to bear her aid. Thessala runs at once and, taking
ointments, plaster, and remedies which she has prepared, she
meets John again. Secretly they go out from the city, until they
come straight to the tower. When Fenice sees her nurse, she
feels already cured, because of the loving faith and trust she
places in her. And Cliges greets her affectionately, and says:
"Welcome, nurse, whom I love and prize. Nurse, for God's sake,
what do you think of this young lady's malady? What is your
opinion? Will she recover?" "Yes, my lord, have no fear but
that I shall restore her completely. A fortnight will not pass
before I make her so well that she was never before so lively and

(Vv. 6317-6346.) While Thessala is busy with her remedies, John
goes to provide the tower with everything that is necessary.
Cliges goes to the tower and comes away bravely and openly, for
he has lodged a moulting falcon there, and he says that he goes
to visit it; thus no one can guess that he goes there for any
other reason than for the falcon. He makes long stays there
night and day. He orders John to guard the tower, so that no one
shall enter against his will. Fenice now has no further cause to
complain, for Thessala has completely cured her. If Cliges were
Duke of Almeria, Morocco, or Tudela, he would not consider it all
worth a holly-berry compared with the joy which he now feels.
Certainly Love did not debase itself when it joined these two,
for it seems to them, when they embrace and kiss each other. that
all the world must be better for their joy and happiness. Now
ask me no more of this, for one can have no wish in which the
other does not acquiesce. Thus they have but one desire, as if
they two themselves were one.

(Vv. 6347-6392.) Fenice was in the tower, I believe, all that
year and full two months of the next, until summer came again.
When the trees bring forth their flowers and leaves, and the
little birds rejoice, singing gaily their litanies, it came about
that Fenice one morning heard the song of the nightingale.
Cliges was holding her tightly clasped with his arms about her
waist and neck, and she held him in a like embrace, as she said:
"Dear fair lover mine. A garden would do me good, in which I
could disport myself. For more than fifteen months I have not
seen the light of moon or sun. If possible, I would fain go out
yonder into the daylight, for here in this tower I am confined.
If there was a garden near, where I could go and amuse myself, it
would often do me good." Then Cliges promises her to consult
with John about it as soon as he can see him. At that very
moment John came in, as he was often wont to do, and Cliges spoke
to him of what Fenice desired. John replies: "All that she asks
for is already provided and supplied. This tower is well
equipped with what she wishes and requires." Then Fenice was
very glad, and asked John to take her there, which he said he
would very gladly do. Then John goes and opens a door,
constructed in a fashion which I cannot properly describe. No
one but John could have made it, and no one could have asserted
that there was any door or window there--so perfectly was it

(Vv. 6393-6424.) When Fenice saw the door open, and the sun come
streaming in, as she had not seen it for many a day, her heart
beat high with joy; she said that now there was nothing lacking,
since she could leave her dungeon-tower, and that she wished for
no other lodging-place. She passed out through the door into the
garden, with its pleasures and delights. In the middle of the
garden stood a grafted tree loaded with blooming flowers and
leaves, and with a wide-spreading top. The branches of it were
so trained that they all hung downwards until they almost touched
the ground; the main trunk, however, from which they sprang, rose
straight into the air. Fenice desires no other place. Beneath
the tree the turf is very pleasant and fine, and at noon, when it
is hot, the sun will never be high enough for its rays to
penetrate there. John had shown his skill in arranging and
training the branches thus. There Fenice goes to enjoy herself,
where they set up a bed for her by day. There they taste of joy
and delight. And the garden is enclosed about with a high wall
connected with the tower, so that nothing can enter there without
first passing through the tower.

(Vv. 6425-6586.) Fenice now is very happy: there is nothing to
cause her displeasure, and nothing is lacking which she desires,
when her lover is at liberty to embrace her beneath the blossoms
and the leaves. (42) At the season when people take the sparrow-
hawk and setter and hunt the lark and brown-thrush or stalk the
quail and partridge, it chanced that a knight of Thrace, who was
young and alert and inclined to knightly sport, came one day
close by the tower in his search for game. The hawk of Bertrand
(for~such was his name) having missed a lark, had flown away, and
Bertrand thought how great his loss would be if he should lose
his hunting-bird. When he saw it come down and light in a garden
beneath the tower he was glad, for he thought he could not lose
it now. At once he goes and clambers up the wall until he
succeeds in getting over it, when beneath the tree he sees Fenice
and Cliges lying asleep and naked in close embrace. "God!" said
he, "what has happened to me now? What marvel is this I see? Is
that not Cliges? It surely is. Is not that the empress with him
there? Nay, but it looks like her. Never did one thing so
resemble another. Her nose, her mouth, and brow are like those
of my lady the empress. Never did Nature make two creatures of
such similitude. There is no feature in this woman here which I
have not seen in my lady. If she were alive, I should say that it
was certainly she herself." Just then a pear falls down and
strikes close by Fenice's ear. She jumps and awakes and, seeing
Bertrand, cries out aloud: "My dear, my dear, we are lost.
Yonder is Bertrand. If he escapes you, we are caught in a bad
trap, for he will tell that he has seen us." Then Bertrand
realised that it was the empress beyond any doubt. He sees the
necessity of leaving at once, for Cliges had brought with him his
sword into the garden, and had laid it down beside the bed. He
jumped up now and grasped his sword, while Bertrand hastily took
his leave. As fast as he could he scaled the wall, and was
almost safely over when Cliges coming after him raised his sword
and struck him with such violence that he severed his leg below
the knee, as if it had been a fennel stalk. In spite of this,
Bertrand got away, though badly wounded and maimed. Beside
themselves with grief and wrath at the sight of his sorry state,
his men on the other side picked him up, and insistently inquired
who it was who had used him thus. "Don't speak to me now," he
says, "but help me to mount my horse. No mention shall be made
of this excepting to the emperor. He who thus has treated me
must be, and doubtless is, in great terror; for he is in great
danger of his life." Then they set him upon his palfrey and lead
him through the city, sorely grieved in their fright the while.
After them more than twenty thousand others come, following them
to the court. And all the people run together, each striving to
be there first. Bertrand made his complaint aloud, in the
hearing of all, to the emperor: but they took him for an idle
chatterer when he said that he had seen the empress all exposed.
The city is in a ferment of excitement: some regard the news they
hear as simple nonsense, others advise and urge the emperor to
visit the tower himself. Great is the noise and confusion of the
people who prepare to accompany him. But they find nothing in
the tower, for Fenice and Cliges make their escape, taking with
them Thessala, who comforts them and declares to them that, if
perchance they see people coming after them to arrest them, they
need have no fear; that they would never approach to do them harm
within the range of a strong cross-bow. And the emperor within
the tower has John sought for and brought. He orders him to be
bound and tied saying that he will have him hanged or burnt, and
will have his ashes scattered wide. He shall receive his due
reward for the shame he has caused the emperor; but this reward
will not be agreeable, because John has hidden in the tower his
nephew with his wife. "Upon my word, you tell the truth," says
John; "I will not lie, but will go still further and declare the
truth, and if I have done any wrong it is right that I should be
seized. But I offer this as my excuse: that a servant ought to
refuse nothing when his lawful lord commands. Now, every one
knows forsooth that I am his, and this tower is too." "It is
not, John. Rather is it thine." "Mine, sire? Yes, after him:
but neither do I belong to myself, nor have I anything which is
mine, except what he pleased to bestow on me. And if you should
think to say that my lord is guilty of having done you wrong, I
am ready to take up his defence without any command from him.
But I feel emboldened to proclaim openly what is on my mind, just
as I have thought it out, for I know full well that I must die.
So I will speak regardless of results. For if I die for my
lord's sake, I shall not die an ignoble death, for the facts are
generally known about that oath and pledge which you gave to your
brother, that after you Cliges should be emperor, who now is
banished as a wanderer. But if God will, he shall yet be
emperor! Hence you are open to reproach, for you ought not to
have taken a wife; yet you married her and did Cliges a wrong,
and he has done you no wrong at all. And if I am punished with
death by you, and if I die wrongfully for his sake, and if he is
still alive, he will avenge my death on you. Now go and do the
best you can, for if I die you shall also die."

(Vv. 6587-6630.) The emperor trembles with wrath upon hearing
the mocking words addressed to him by John. "John," he says.
"thou shalt have so much respite, until we find thy lord, who has
done such wrong to me, though I loved him dearly and had no
thought of defrauding him. Meanwhile, thou shalt stay in prison.
If thou knowest what has become of him, tell me at once, I order
thee." "I tell you? How can I commit such treachery? Were the
life to be drawn from my body I would not reveal my lord to you,
even if I knew his whereabouts. As a matter of fact, I do not
know any more than you where they have gone, so help me God! But
there is no need for your jealousy. I do not so much fear your
wrath that I should not say, so that all can hear, how you have
been deceived, even my words are not believed. You were deceived
and tricked by potion you drank on your wedding night. Unless it
happened in dream, when you were asleep, you have never had your
pleasure with her; but the night made you dream, and the dream
gave you as much satisfaction as if it had happened in your
waking hours that she had held you in her arms: that was the sum
of your satisfaction. Her heart was so devoted to Cliges that
she feigned death for his sake; and he had such confidence in me
that he explained it all to me and established her in my house,
which rightfully belongs to him. You ought not to find fault
with me. I ought, indeed, to be burnt or hanged, were I to
betray my lord or refuse to do his will."

(Vv. 6631-6784.) When the emperor's attention is recalled to the
potion which he had been pleased to drink, and with which
Thessala had deceived him, then he realised for the first time
that he had never had pleasure with his wife, unless it had
happened in a dream: thus it was but an illusory joy. And he
says that if he does not take vengeance for the shame and
disgrace inflicted upon him by the traitor who has seduced his
wife, he will never again be happy. "Now quick!" he says, "as
far as Pavia, and from here to Germany, let no castle, town, or
city remain in which search is not made. I will hold that man
above all others dear who will bring to me captive the two of
them. Now up and down, near and far, go diligently and search!"
Then they started out with zeal and spent all that day in the
search. But in the number Cliges had some friends, who, if they
found them, would have led them to some hiding-place rather than
hale them back again. All that fortnight they exhausted
themselves in a fruitless search. For Thessala, who is acting as
their guide, conducts them by her arts and charms in such
security that they feel no dread or fear of all the strength of
the emperor. They seek repose in no town or city; yet they have
all they wish or desire, even more so than is usually the case.
For all they need is procured for them by Thessala, who searches
and scours and purveys for them. Nor is there any who hunts them
now, for all have returned to their homes again. Meanwhile
Cliges is not idle, but starts to find his uncle, King Arthur.
He continued his search until he found him, and to him he made
his claim and protest about his uncle, the emperor, who, in order
to disinherit him, had disloyally taken a wife, which it was not
right for him to do; for he had sworn to his father that he would
never marry in his life. And the King says that with a fleet he
will proceed to Constantinople, and that he will fill a thousand
ships with knights, and three thousand more with men-at-arms,
until no city or burg, town or castle, however strong or however
high, will be able to withstand their assault. Then Cliges did
not forget to thank the King for the aid he offered him. The
King sends out to seek and summon all the high barons of the
land, and causes to be requisitioned and equipped ships, war
vessels, boats, and barks. He has a hundred ships loaded and
filled with shields, lances, bucklers, and armour fit for
knights. The King makes such great preparations for the war that
never did Caesar or Alexander make the like. He orders to
assemble at his summons all England, and all Flanders, Normandy,
France, and Brittany, and all the men as far as the Pyrenees.
(43) Already they were about to set sail, when messengers arrived
from Greece who delayed the embarkation and kept the King and his
people back. Among the messengers who came was John, that trusty
man, for he would never be a witness or messenger of any news
which was not true, and which he did not know for a certainty.
The messengers were high born men of Greece, who came in search
for Cliges. They made inquiry and asked for him, until they
found him at the King's court, when they said to him: "God save
you, sire! Greece is made over to you. and Constantinople is
given to you by all those of your empire, because of the right
you have to them. Your uncle (but you know it not) is dead of
the grief he felt because he could not discover you. His grief
was such that he lost his mind; he would neither drink nor eat,
but died like a man beside himself. Fair sire, now come back
again! For all your lords have sent for you. Greatly they
desire and long for you, wishing to make you their emperor."
Some there were that rejoiced at this; and others there were who
would have gladly seen their guests elsewhere, and the fleet make
sail for Greece. But the expedition is given up, and the King
dismisses his men, and the hosts depart to their homes again.
And Cliges hurriedly makes haste in his desire to return to
Greece. He has no wish to tarry. His preparations made, he took
his leave of the King, and then of all his friends. and taking
Fenice with him, he goes away. They travel until they arrive in
Greece, where they receive him with the jubilation which they
ought to show to their rightful lord, and they give him his
sweetheart to be his wife. Both of them are crowned at once.
His mistress he has made his wife, but he still calls her his
mistress and sweetheart, and she can complain of no loss of
affection, for he loves her still as his mistress, and she loves
him, too, as a lady ought to love her lover. And each day saw
their love grow stronger: he never doubted her, nor did she blame
him for anything. She was never kept confined, as so many women
have been who have lived since her time. For never since has
there been an emperor who did not stand in fear of his wife, lest
he should be deceived by her, upon his hearing the story of how
Fenice deceived Alis, first with the potion which he drank, and
then later by that other ruse. Therefore, every empress, however
rich and noble she may be, is guarded in Constantinople as in a
prison, for the emperor has no confidence in her when he
remembers the story of Fenice. He keeps her constantly guarded
in her room, nor is there ever allowed any man in her presence,
unless he be a eunuch from his youth; in the case of such there
is no fear or doubt that Love will ensnare them in his bonds.
Here ends the work of Chretien. (44)

NOTE: Endnotes supplied by Prof. Foerster are indicated by
"(F.)"; all other endnotes are supplied by W.W. Comfort.

(1) There is no English version corresponding to the old French
"Cliges". The English metrical romance "Sir Cleges" has
nothing to do with the French romance.
(2) Ovid in "Metamorphosis", vi. 404, relates how Tantalus at a
feast to the gods offered them the shoulder of his own son.
It is not certain, however, that Chretien is referring here
to this slight episode of the "Metamorphosis".
(3) This allusion is generally taken as evidence that the poet
had written previously of the love of Tristan and Iseut.
Gaston Paris, however, in one of his last utterances
("Journal des Savants", 1902, p. 297), says: "Je n'hesite
pas a dire que l'existence d'un poeme sur Tristan par
Chretien de Troies, a laquelle j'ai cru comme presque tout
le monde, me parait aujourd'hui fort peu probable; j'en vais
donner les raisons."
(4) The story of Philomela or Philomena, familiar in Chaucer's
"Legende of Good Women", is told by Ovid in "Metamorphosis",
vi. 426-674. Cretiens li Gois is cited by the author of the
"Ovide moralise" as the author of the episode of Philomena
incorporated in his long didactic poem. This episode has
been ascribed to Chretien de Troyes by many recent critics,
and has been separately edited by C. de Boer, who offers in
his Introduction a lengthy discussion of its authorship.
See C. de Boer, "Philomena, conte raconte d'apres Ovide par
Chretien de Troyes" (Paris, 1909).
(5) The present cathedral of Beauvais is dedicated to St. Peter,
and its construction was begun in 1227. The earlier
structure here referred to, destroyed in 1118, probably was
also dedicated to the same saint. (F.)
(6) The real kernal of the Cliges story, stripped of its lengthy
introduction concerning Alexandre and Soredamors, is told in
a few lines in "Marques de Rome", p. 135 (ed. J. Alton in
"Lit. Verein in Stuttgart", No. 187, Tubingen, 1889), as one
of the tales or "exempla" recounted by the Empress of Rome
to the Emperor and the Seven Sages. No names are given
except that of Cliges himself; the version owes nothing to
Chretien's poem, and seems to rest upon a story which the
author may have heard orally. See Foerster's "Einleitung to
Cliges" (1910), p. 32 f.
(7) This criticism of ignoble leisure on the part of a warrior
is found also in "Erec et Enide" and "Yvain".
(8) This allegorical tribute to "largesse" is quite in the
spirit of the age. When professional poets lived upon the
bounty of their patrons, it is not strange that their poetry
should dwell upon the importance of generosity in their
heroes. For an exhaustive collection of "chastisements" or
"enseignements", such as that here given to Alexandre by his
father, see Eugen Altner, "Ueber die chastiements in den
altfranzosischen chansons de geste" (Leipzig, 1885).
(9) As Miss Weston has remarked ("The Three Days' Tournament",
p. 45), the peculiar georgraphy of this poem "is distinctly
Anglo-Norman rather than Arthurian".
(10) For this intimate relation between heroes, so common in the
old French heroic and romantic poems, see Jacques Flach, "Le
compagnonnage dans les chansons de geste" in "Etudes
romances dediees a Gaston Paris" (Paris, 1891). Reviewed in
"Romania", xxii. 145.
(11) Here begins one of those long dialogues, where one person is
represented as taking both sides of an argument. This
rhetorical device, so wearisome to modern readers, is used
by Chretien preferably when some sentiment or deep emotion
is to be portrayed. Ovid may well have suggested the
device, but Ovid never abuses it as does the more prolix
mediaeval poet. For the part playing by the eyes in
mediaeval love sophistry, see J.F. Hanford, "The Debate of
Heart and Eye" in "Modern Language Notes", xxvi. 161-165;
and H.R. Lang, "The Eyes as Generators of Love." id. xxiii.
(12) For play upon words and for fanciful derivation of proper
names in mediaeval romance literature, see the interesting
article of Adolf Tobler in "Vermischte Beitrage", ii. 211-
266. Gaston Paris ("Journal des Savants", 1902, p. 354)
points out that Thomas used the same scene and the play upon
the same words "mer", "amer", and "amers" in his "Tristan"
and was later imitated by Gottfried von Strassburg.
(13) According to the 12th century troubadours, the shafts of
Love entered the victim's body through the eyes, and thence
pierced the heart.
(14) For fanciful derivation of proper names, cf. A. Tobler,
"Vermischte Beitrage", ii. 211-266.
(15) Ganelon, the traitor in the "Chanson de Roland", to whose
charge is laid the defeat of Charlemagne's rear-guard at
Ronceval, became the arch-traitor of mediaeval literature.
It will be recalled that Dante places him in the lowest pit
of Hell ("Inferno", xxxii. 122). (NOTE: There is a slight
time discrepance here. Roland, Ganelon, and the Battle of
Ronceval were said to have happened in 8th Century A.D.,
fully 300 years after Arthur and the Round Table.--DBK).
(16) For the ceremonies attendant upon the conferring of
knighthood, see Karl Treis, "Die Formalitaten des
Ritterschlags in der altfranzosischen Epik" (Berlin, 1887).
(17) The "quintainne" was "a manikin mounted on a pivot and armed
with a club in such a way that, when a man struck it
unskilfully with his lance, it turned and landed a blow upon
his back" (Larousse).
(18) This conventional attitude of one engaged in thought or a
prey to sadness has been referred to by G.L. Hamilton in
"Ztsch fur romanische Philologie", xxxiv. 571-572.
(19) Many traitors in old French literature suffered the same
punishments as Ganelon, and were drawn asunder by horses
("Roland", 3960-74).
(20) The same rare words "galerne" and "posterne" occur in rhyme
in the "Roman de Thebes", 1471-72.
(21) This qualified praise is often used in speaking of traitors
and of Saracens.
(22) The failure to identify the warriors is due to the fact that
the knights are totally encased in armour.
(23) A reference to the "Roman de Thebes", 1160 circ.
(24) The disregard of Alis for his nephew Cliges is similar to
that of King Mark for Tristan in another legend. In the
latter, however, Tristan joins with the other courtiers in
advising his uncle to marry, though he himself had been
chosen heir to the throne by Mark. cf. J. Bedier, "Le Roman
de Tristan", 2 vols. (Paris, 1902), i. 63 f.
(25) See Endnote #14 above.
(26) Cf. Shakespeare, "Othello", ii. I, where Cassio, speaking of
Othello's marriage with Desdemona, says:
"he hath achieved a maid
That paragons description and wild fame;
One that excels the quirks of blazoning pens,
And in the essential vesture of creation
Does tire the enginer."
(27) Ovid ("Metamorphosis", iii. 339-510) is Chretien's
(28) Cf. L. Sudre, "Les allusions a la legende de Tristan dans la
litterature du moyen age", "Romania", xv. 435 f. Tristan
was famed as a hunter, fencer, wrestler, and harpist.
(29) "The word `Thessala' was a common one in Latin, as meaning
`enchantress', `sorceress', `witch', as Pliny himself tells
us, adding that the art of enchantment was not, however,
indigenous to Thessaly, but came originally from Persia."
("Natural History", xxx. 2).--D.B. Easter, "Magic Elements
in the romans d'aventure and the romans bretons, p. 7.
(Baltimore, 1906). A Jeanroy in "Romania", xxxiii. 420
note, says: "Quant au nom de Thessala, il doit venir de
Lucain, tres lu dans les ecoles au XIIe siecle." See also
G. Paris in "Journal des Savants", 1902, p. 441 note.
Thessala is mentioned in the "Roman de la Violetta", v. 514,
in company with Brangien of the Tristan legend.
(30) Medea, the wife of Jason, is the great sorceress of classic
(31) This personage was regarded in the Middle Ages as an Emperor
of Rome. In the 13th-century poem of "Octavian" (ed.
Vollmuller, Heilbronn, 1883) he is represented as a
contemporary of King Dagobert!
(32) This commonplace remark is quoted as a proverb of the rustic
in "Ipomedon", 1671-72; id., 10, 348-51; "Roman de Mahomet",
1587-88; "Roman de Renart", vi. 85-86; Gower's "Mirour de
l'omme", 28, 599, etc.
(33) It is curious to note that Corneille puts almost identical
words in the mouth of Don Gomes as he addresses the Cid ("Le
Cid", ii. 2).
(34) For this tournament and its parallels in folk-lore, see Miss
J.L. Weston, "The Three Days' Tournament" (London, 1902).
She argues (p. 14 f. and p. 43 f.) against Foerster's
unqualified opinion of the originality of Chretien in his
use of this current description of a tournament, an opinion
set forth in his "Einleitung to Lancelot", pp. 43, 126, 128,
(35) Note that Chretien here deliberately avoids such a list of
knights as he introduces in "Erec". (F.)
(36) It must be admitted that the text, which is offered by all
but one MS., is here unintelligible. The reference, if any
be intended, is not clear. (F.)
(37) Much has been made of this expression as intimating that
Chretien wrote "Cliges" as a sort of disavowal of the
immorality of his lost "Tristan". Cf. Foerster, "Cliges"
(Ed. 1910), p. xxxix f., and Myrrha Borodine, "La femme et
l'amour au XXIe Seicle d'apres les poemes de Chretien de
Troyes" (Paris, 1909). G. Paris has ably defended another
interpretation of the references in "Cliges" to the Tristan
legend in "Journal des Savants", 1902, p. 442 f.
(38) This curious moral teaching appears to be a perversion of
three passages form St. Paul's Epistles: I Cor. vii. 9, I
Cor. x. 32, Eph. v. 15. Cf. H. Emecke, "Chretien von Troyes
als Personlichkeit und als Dichter" (Wurzburg, 1892).
(39) "This feature of a woman who, thanks to some charm,
preserves her virginity with a husband whom she does not
love, is found not only in widespread stories, but in
several French epic poems. In only one, "Les Enfances
Guillaume", does the husband, like Alis, remain ignorant of
the fraud of which he is the victim, and think that he
really possesses the woman.... If Chretien alone gave to the
charm of the form of a potion, it is in imitation of the
love potion in "Tristan". (G. Paris in "Journal des
Savants", 1902, p. 446). For many other references to the
effect of herb potions, cf. A. Hertel, "Verzauberte
Oerlichkeiten und Gegenstande in der altfranzosische
erzahlende Dichtung", p. 41 ff. (Hanover, 1908).
(40) I have pointed out the curious parallel between the
following passage and Dante's "Vita Nova", 41 ("Romantic
Review", ii. 2). There is no certain evidence that Dante
knew Chretien's work (cf. A. Farinelli, "Dante e la
Francia", vol. i., p. 16 note), but it would be strange if
he did not know such a distinguished predecessor.
(41) For the legend of Solomon deceived by his wife, see Foerster
"Cliges" (ed. 1910), p. xxxii. f., and G. Paris in
"Romania", ix. 436-443, and in "Journal des Savants", 1902,
p. 645 f. For an additional reference, add "Ipomedon",
(42) For an imitation of the following scene, see Hans Herzog in
"Germania", xxxi. 325.
(43) "Porz d'Espaingne" refers to the passes in the Pyrenees
which formed the entrance-ways to Spain. Cf. The "Cilician
Gates" in Xenophon's "Anabasis".
(44) Chretien here insists upon his divergence from the famous
dictum attributed to the Countess Marie de Champagne by
Andre le Chapelain: "Praeceptum tradit amoris, quod nulla
etiam coniugata regis poterit amoris praemio coronari, nisi
extra coniugii foedera ipsius amoris militae cernatur
adiuneta". (Andreae Capellini, "De Amore", p. 154; Ed.
Trojel, Havniae, 1892).

or, The Knight with the Lion

(Vv. 1-174.) Arthur, the good King of Britain, whose prowess
teaches us that we, too, should be brave and courteous, held a
rich and royal court upon that precious feast-day which is always
known by the name of Pentecost. (1) The court was at Carduel in
Wales. When the meal was finished, the knights betook themselves
whither they were summoned by the ladies, damsels, and maidens.
Some told stories; others spoke of love, of the trials and
sorrows, as well as of the great blessings, which often fall to
the members of its order, which was rich and flourishing in those
days of old. But now its followers are few, having deserted it
almost to a man, so that love is much abased. For lovers used to
deserve to be considered courteous, brave, generous, and
honourable. But now love is a laughing-stock, for those who have
no intelligence of it assert that they love, and in that they
lie. Thus they utter a mockery and lie by boasting where they
have no right. (2) But let us leave those who are still alive,
to speak of those of former time. For, I take it, a courteous
man, though dead, is worth more than a living knave. So it is my
pleasure to relate a matter quite worthy of heed concerning the
King whose fame was such that men still speak of him far and
near; and I agree with the opinion of the Bretons that his name
will live on for evermore. And in connection with him we call to
mind those goodly chosen knights who spent themselves for
honour's sake. But upon this day of which I speak, great was
their astonishment at seeing the King quit their presence; and
there were some who felt chagrined, and who did not mince their
words, never before having seen the King, on the occasion of such
a feast, enter his own chamber either to sleep or to seek repose.
But this day it came about that the Queen detained him, and he
remained so long at her side that he forgot himself and fell
asleep. Outside the chamber door were Dodinel, Sagremor, and
Kay, my lord Gawain, my lord Yvain, and with them Calogrenant, a
very comely knight, who had begun to tell them a tale, though it
was not to his credit, but rather to his shame. The Queen could
hear him as he told his tale, and rising from beside the King,
she came upon them so stealthily that before any caught sight of
her, she had fallen, as it were, right in their midst. Calogrenant
alone jumped up quickly when he saw her come. Then
Kay, who was very quarrelsome, mean, sarcastic, and abusive, said
to him: "By the Lord, Calogrenant, I see you are very bold and
forward now, and certainly it pleases me to see you the most
courteous of us all. And I know that you are quite persuaded of
your own excellence, for that is in keeping with your little
sense. And of course it is natural that my lady should suppose
that you surpass us all in courtesy and bravery. We failed to
rise through sloth, forsooth, or because we did not care! Upon
my word, it is not so, my lord; but we did not see my lady until
you had risen first." "Really, Kay," the Queen then says, "I
think you would burst if you could not pour out the poison of
which you are so full. You are troublesome and mean thus to
annoy your companions." "Lady," says Kay, "if we are not better
for your company, at least let us not lose by it. I am not aware
that I said anything for which I ought to be accused, and so I
pray you say no more. It is impolite and foolish to keep up a
vain dispute. This argument should go no further, nor should any
one try to make more of it. But since there must be no more high
words, command him to continue the tale he had begun." Thereupon
Calogrenant prepares to reply in this fashion: "My lord, little
do I care about the quarrel, which matters little and affects me
not. If you have vented your scorn on me, I shall never be
harmed by it. You have often spoken insultingly, my lord Kay, to
braver and better men than I, for you are given to this kind of
thing. The manure-pile will always stink, (3) and gadflies
sting, and bees will hum, and so a bore will torment and make a
nuisance of himself. However, with my lady's leave, I'll not
continue my tale to-day, and I beg her to say no more about it,
and kindly not give me any unwelcome command." "Lady," says Kay,
"all those who are here will be in your debt, for they are
desirous to hear it out. Don't do it as a favour to me! But by
the faith you owe the King, your lord and mine, command him to
continue, and you will do well." "Calogrenant," the Queen then
says, "do not mind the attack of my lord Kay the seneschal. He
is so accustomed to evil speech that one cannot punish him for
it. I command and request you not to be angered because of him,
nor should you fail on his account to say something which it will
please us all to hear; if you wish to preserve my good-will, pray
begin the tale anew." "Surely, lady, it is a very unwelcome
command you lay upon me. Rather than tell any more of my tale
to-day, I would have one eye plucked out, if I did not fear your
displeasure. Yet will I perform your behest, however distasteful
it may be. Then since you will have it so, give heed. Let your
heart and ears be mine. For words, though heard, are lost unless
understood within the heart. Some men there are who give consent
to what they hear but do not understand: these men have the
hearing alone. For the moment the heart fails to understand, the
word falls upon the ears simply as the wind that blows, without
stopping to tarry there; rather it quickly passes on if the heart
is not so awake as to be ready to receive it. For the heart
alone can receive it when it comes along, and shut it up within.
The ears are the path and channel by which the voice can reach
the heart, while the heart receives within the bosom the voice
which enters through the ear. Now, whoever will heed my words,
must surrender to me his heart and ears, for I am not going to
speak of a dream, an idle tale, or lie, with which many another
has regaled you, but rather shall I speak of what I saw.

(Vv. 175-268.) "It happened seven years ago that, lonely as a
countryman, I was making my way in search of adventures, fully
armed as a knight should be, when I came upon a road leading off
to the right into a thick forest. The road there was very bad,
full of briars and thorns. In spite of the trouble and
inconvenience, I followed the road and path. Almost the entire
day I went thus riding until I emerged from the forest of
Broceliande. (4) Out from the forest I passed into the open
country where I saw a wooden tower at the distance of half a
Welsh league: it may have been so far, but it was not anymore.
Proceeding faster than a walk, I drew near and saw the palisade
and moat all round it, deep and wide, and standing upon the
bridge, with a moulted falcon upon his wrist, I saw the master of
the castle. I had no sooner saluted him than he came forward to
hold my stirrup and invited me to dismount. I did so, for it was
useless to deny that I was in need of a lodging-place. Then he
told me more than a hundred times at once that blessed was the
road by which I had come thither. Meanwhile, we crossed the
bridge, and passing through the gate, found ourselves in the
courtyard. In the middle of the courtyard of this vavasor, to
whom may God repay such joy and honour as he bestowed upon me
that night, there hung a gong not of iron or wood, I trow, but
all of copper. Upon this gong the vavasor struck three times
with a hammer which hung on a post close by. Those who were
upstairs in the house, upon hearing his voice and the sound, came
out into the yard below. Some took my horse which the good
vavasor was holding; and I saw coming toward me a very fair and
gentle maid. On looking at her narrowly I saw she was tall and
slim and straight. Skilful she was in disarming me, which she
did gently and with address; then, when she had robed me in a
short mantle of scarlet stuff spotted with a peacock's plumes,
all the others left us there, so that she and I remained alone.
This pleased me well, for I needed naught else to look upon.
Then she took me to sit down in the prettiest little field, shut
in by a wall all round about. There I found her so elegant, so
fair of speech and so well informed, of such pleasing manners and
character, that it was a delight to be there, and I could have
wished never to be compelled to move. But as ill luck would have
it, when night came on, and the time for supper had arrived. The
vavasor came to look for me. No more delay was possible, so I
complied with his request. Of the supper I will only say that it
was all after my heart, seeing that the damsel took her seat at
the table just in front of me. After the supper the vavasor
admitted to me that, though he had lodged many an errant knight,
he knew not how long it had been since he had welcomed one in
search of adventure. Then, as a favour, he begged of me to
return by way of his residence, if I could make it possible. So
I said to him: `Right gladly, sire!' for a refusal would have
been impolite, and that was the least I could do for such a host.

(Vv. 269-580.) That night, indeed, I was well lodged, and as
soon as the morning light appeared, I found my steed ready
saddled, as I had requested the night before; thus my request was
carried out. My kind host and his dear daughter I commended to
the Holy Spirit, and, after taking leave of all, I got away as
soon as possible. I had not proceeded far from my stopping-place
when I came to a clearing, where there were some wild bulls at
large; they were fighting among themselves and making such a
dreadful and horrible noise that if the truth be known, I drew
back in fear, for there is no beast so fierce and dangerous as a
bull. I saw sitting upon a stump, with a great club in his hand,
a rustic lout, as black as a mulberry, indescribably big and
hideous; indeed, so passing ugly was the creature that no word of
mouth could do him justice. On drawing near to this fellow, I
saw that his head was bigger than that of a horse or of any other
beast; that his hair was in tufts, leaving his forehead bare for
a width of more than two spans; that his ears were big and mossy,
just like those of an elephant; his eyebrows were heavy and his
face was flat; his eyes were those of an owl, and his nose was
like a cat's; his jowls were split like a wolf, and his teeth
were sharp and yellow like a wild boar's; his beard was black and
his whiskers twisted; his chin merged into his chest and his
backbone was long, but twisted and hunched. (5) There he stood,
leaning upon his club and accoutred in a strange garb, consisting
not of cotton or wool, but rather of the hides recently flayed
from two bulls or two beeves: these he wore hanging from his
neck. The fellow leaped up straightway when he saw me drawing
near. I do not know whether he was going to strike me or what he
intended to do, but I was prepared to stand him off, until I saw
him stop and stand stock-still upon a tree trunk, where he stood
full seventeen feet in height. Then he gazed at me but spoke not
a word, any more than a beast would have done. And I supposed
that he had not his senses or was drunk. However, I made bold to
say to him: `Come, let me know whether thou art a creature of
good or not.' And he replied: `I am a man.' `What kind of a
man art thou?' `Such as thou seest me to be: I am by no means
otherwise.' `What dost thou here?' `I was here, tending these
cattle in this wood.' `Wert thou really tending them? By Saint
Peter of Rome! They know not the command of any man. I guess
one cannot possibly guard wild beasts in a plain or wood or
anywhere else unless they are tied or confined inside.' `Well, I
tend and have control of these beasts so that they will never
leave this neighbourhood.' `How dost thou do that? Come, tell
me now!' `There is not one of them that dares to move when they
see me coming. For when I can get hold of one I give its two
horns such a wrench with my hard, strong hands that the others
tremble with fear, and gather at once round about me as if to ask
for mercy. No one could venture here but me, for if he should go
among them he would be straightway done to death. In this way I
am master of my beasts. And now thou must tell me in turn what
kind of a man thou art, and what thou seekest here.' `I am, as
thou seest, a knight seeking for what I cannot find; long have I
sought without success.' `And what is this thou fain wouldst
find?' `Some adventure whereby to test my prowess and my
bravery. Now I beg and urgently request thee to give me some
counsel, if possible, concerning some adventure or marvellous
thing.' Says he: `Thou wilt have to do without, for I know
nothing of adventure, nor did I ever hear tell of such. But if
thou wouldst go to a certain spring here hard by and shouldst
comply with the practice there, thou wouldst not easily come back
again. Close by here thou canst easily find a path which will
lead thee thither. If thou wouldst go aright, follow the straight
path, otherwise thou mayst easily go astray among the many other
paths. Thou shalt see the spring which boils, though the water
is colder than marble. It is shadowed by the fairest tree that
ever Nature formed, for its foliage is evergreen, regardless of
the winter's cold, and an iron basin is hanging there by a chain
long enough to reach the spring. And beside the spring thou
shalt find a massive stone, as thou shalt see, but whose nature I
cannot explain, never having seen its like. On the other side a
chapel stands, small, but very beautiful. If thou wilt take of
the water in the basin and spill it upon the stone, thou shalt
see such a storm come up that not a beast will remain within this
wood; every doe, star, deer, boar, and bird will issue forth.
For thou shalt see such lightning-bolts descend, such blowing of
gales and crashing of trees, such torrents fail, such thunder and
lightning, that, if thou canst escape from them without trouble
and mischance, thou wilt be more fortunate than ever any knight
was yet.' I left the fellow then, after he had pointed our the
way. It must have been after nine o'clock and might have been
drawing on toward noon, when I espied the tree and the chapel. I
can truly say that this tree was the finest pine that ever grew
on earth. I do not believe that it ever rained so hard that a
drop of water could penetrate it, but would rather drip from the
outer branches. From the tree I saw the basin hanging, (6) of
the finest gold that was ever for sale in any fair. As for the
spring, you may take my word that it was boiling like hot water.
The stone was of emerald, with holes in it like a cask, and there
were four rubies underneath, more radiant and red than is the
morning sun when it rises in the east. Now not one word will I
say which is not true. I wished to see the marvellous appearing
of the tempest and the storm; but therein I was not wise, for I
would gladly have repented, if I could, when I had sprinkled the
perforated stone with the water from the basin. But I fear I
poured too much, for straightway I saw the heavens so break loose
that from more than fourteen directions the lightning blinded my
eyes, and all at once the clouds let fall snow and rain and hail.
The storm was so fierce and terrible that a hundred times I
thought I should be killed by the bolts which fell about me and
by the trees which were rent apart. Know that I was in great
distress until the uproar was appeased. But God gave me such
comfort that the storm did not continue long, and all the winds
died down again. The winds dared not blow against God's will.
And when I saw the air clear and serene I was filled with joy
again. For I have observed that joy quickly causes trouble to be
forgot. As soon as the storm was completely past, I saw so many
birds gathered in the pine tree (if any one will believe my
words) that not a branch or twig was to be seen which was not
entirely covered with birds. (7) The tree was all the more
lovely then, for all the birds sang in harmony, yet the note of
each was different, so that I never heard one singing another's
note. I, too, rejoiced in their joyousness, and listened to them
until they had sung their service through, for I have never heard
such happy song, nor do I think any one else will hear it, unless
he goes to listen to what filled me with such joy and bliss that
I was lost in rapture. I stayed there until I heard some knights
coming, as I thought it seemed that there must be ten of them.
But all the noise and commotion was made by the approach of a
single knight. When I saw him coming on alone I quickly caught
my steed and made no delay in mounting him. And the knight, as
if with evil intent, came on swifter than an eagle, looking as
fierce as a lion. From as far as his voice could reach he began
to challenge me, and said: `Vassal, without provocation you have
caused me shame and harm. If there was any quarrel between us
you should first have challenged me, or at least sought justice
before attacking me. But, sir vassal, if it be within my power,
upon you shall fall the punishment for the damage which is
evident. About me here lies the evidence of my woods destroyed.
He who has suffered has the right to complain. And I have good
reason to complain that you have driven me from my house with
lightning-bolt and rain. You have made trouble for me, and
cursed be he who thinks it fair. For within my own woods and
town you have made such an attack upon me that resources of men
of arms and of fortifications would have been of no avail to me;
no man could have been secure, even if he had been in a fortress
of solid stone and wood. But be assured that from this moment
there shall be neither truce nor peace between us.' At these
words we rushed together, each one holding his shield well
gripped and covering himself with it. The knight had a good
horse and a stout lance, and was doubtless a whole head taller
than I. Thus, I was altogether at a disadvantage, being shorter
than he, while his horse was stronger than mine. You may be sure
that I will tell the facts, in order to cover up my shame. With
intent to do my best, I dealt him as hard a blow as I could give,
striking the top of his shield, and I put all my strength into it
with such effect that my lance flew all to splinters. His lance
remained entire, being very heavy and bigger than any knight's
lance I ever saw. And the knight struck me with it so heavily
that he knocked me over my horse's crupper and laid me flat upon
the ground, where he left me ashamed and exhausted, without
bestowing another glance upon me. He took my horse, but me he
left, and started back by the way he came. And I, who knew not
what to do, remained there in pain and with troubled thoughts.
Seating myself beside the spring I rested there awhile, not
daring to follow after the knight for fear of committing some
rash act of madness. And, indeed, had I had the courage, I knew
not what had become of him. Finally, it occurred to me that I
would keep my promise to my host and would return by way of his
dwelling. This idea pleased me, and so I did. I laid off all my
arms in order to proceed more easily, and thus with shame I
retraced my steps. When I reached his home that night, I found
my host to be the same good-natured and courteous man as I had
before discovered him to be. I could not observe that either his
daughter or he himself welcomed me any less gladly, or did me any
less honour than they had done the night before. I am indebted
to them for the great honour they all did me in that house; and
they even said that, so far as they knew or had heard tell, no
one had ever escaped, without being killed or kept a prisoner,
from the place whence I returned. Thus I went and thus I
returned, feeling, as I did so, deeply ashamed. So I have
foolishly told you the story which I never wished to tell again."

(Vv. 581-648.) "By my head," cries my lord Yvain, "you are my
own cousin-german, and we ought to love each other well. But I
must consider you as mad to have concealed this from me so long.
If I call you mad, I beg you not to be incensed. For if I can,
and if I obtain the leave, I shall go to avenge your shame." "It
is evident that we have dined," says Kay, with his ever-ready
speech; "there are more words in a pot full of wine than in a
whole barrel of beer. (8) They say that a cat is merry when
full. After dinner no one stirs, but each one is ready to slay
Noradin, (9) and you will take vengeance on Forre! Are your
saddle-cloths ready stuffed, and your iron greaves polished, and
your banners unfurled? Come now, in God's name, my lord Yvain,
is it to-night or to-morrow that you start? Tell us, fair sire,
when you will start for this rude test, for we would fain convoy
you thither. There will be no provost or constable who will not
gladly escort you. And however it may be, I beg that you will
not go without taking leave of us; and if you have a bad dream
to-night, by all means stay at home!" "The devil, Sir Kay," the
Queen replies, "are you beside yourself that your tongue always
runs on so? Cursed be your tongue which is so full of
bitterness! Surely your tongue must hate you, for it says the
worst it knows to every man. Damned be any tongue that never
ceases to speak ill! As for your tongue, it babbles so that it
makes you hated everywhere. It cannot do you greater treachery.
See here: if it were mine, I would accuse it of treason. Any man
that cannot be cured by punishment ought to be tied like a madman
in front of the chancel in the church." "Really, madame," says
my lord Yvain, "his impudence matters not to me. In every court
my lord Kay has so much ability, knowledge, and worth that he
will never be deaf or dumb. He has the wit to reply wisely and
courteously to all that is mean, and this he has always done.
You well know if I lie in saying so. But I have no desire to
dispute or to begin our foolishness again. For he who deals the
first blow does not always win the fight, but rather he who gains
revenge. He who fights with his companion had better fight
against some stranger. I do not wish to be like the hound that
stiffens up and growls when another dog yaps at him."

(Vv. 649-722.) While they were talking thus, the King came out
of his room where he had been all this time asleep. And when the
knights saw him they all sprang to their feet before him, but he
made them at once sit down again. He took his place beside the
Queen, who repeated to him word for word, with her customary
skill, the story of Calogrenant. The King listened eagerly to
it, and then he swore three mighty oaths by the soul of his
father Utherpendragon, and by the soul of his son, and of his
mother too, that he would go to see that spring before a
fortnight should have passed; and he would see the storm and the
marvels there by reaching it on the eve of my lord Saint John the
Baptist's feast; there he would spend the night, and all who
wished might accompany him. All the court thought well of this,
for the knights and the young bachelors were very eager to make
the expedition. But despite the general joy and satisfaction my
lord Yvain was much chagrined, for he intended to go there all
alone; so he was grieved and much put out because of the King who
planned to go. The chief cause of his displeasure was that he
knew that my lord Kay, to whom the favour would not be refused if
he should solicit it, would secure the battle rather than he
himself, or else perchance my lord Gawain would first ask for it.
If either one of these two should make request, the favour would
never be refused him. But, having no desire for their company,
he resolves not to wait for them, but to go off alone, if
possible, whether it be to his gain or hurt. And whoever may
stay behind, he intends to be on the third day in the forest of
Broceliande, and there to seek if possibly he may find the narrow
wooded path for which he yearns eagerly, and the plain with the
strong castle, and the pleasure and delight of the courteous
damsel, who is so charming and fair, and with the damsel her
worthy sire, who is so honourable and nobly born that he strives
to dispense honour. Then he will see the bulls in the clearing,
with the giant boor who watches them. Great is his desire to see
this fellow, who is so stout and big and ugly and deformed, and
as black as a smith. Then, too, he will see, if possible, the
stone and the spring itself, and the basin and the birds in the
pine-tree, and he will make it rain and blow. But of all this he
will not boast, nor, if he can help it, shall any one know of his
purpose until he shall have received from it either great
humiliation or great renown: then let the facts be known.

(Vv. 723-746.) My lord Yvain gets away from the court without
any one meeting him, and proceeds alone to his lodging place.
There he found all his household, and gave orders to have his
horse saddled; then, calling one of his squires who was privy to
his every thought, he says: "Come now, follow me outside yonder,
and bring me my arms. I shall go out at once through yonder gate
upon my palfrey. For thy part, do not delay, for I have a long
road to travel. Have my steed well shod, and bring him quickly
where I am; then shalt thou lead back my palfrey. But take good
care, I adjure thee, if any one questions thee about me, to give
him no satisfaction. Otherwise, whatever thy confidence in me,
thou need never again count on my goodwill." "Sire," he says,
"all will be well, for no one shall learn anything from me.
Proceed, and I shall follow you."

(Vv. 747-906.) My lord Yvain mounts at once, intending to
avenge, if possible, his cousin's disgrace before he returns.
The squire ran for the arms and steed; he mounted at once without
delay, since he was already equipped with shoes and nails. Then
he followed his master's track until he saw him standing mounted,
waiting to one side of the road in a place apart. He brought him
his harness and equipment, and then accoutred him. My lord Yvain
made no delay after putting on his arms, but hastily made his way
each day over the mountains and through the valleys, through the
forests long and wide, through strange and wild country, passing
through many gruesome spots, many a danger and many a strait,
until he came directly to the path, which was full of brambles
and dark enough; then he felt he was safe at last, and could not
now lose his way. Whoever may have to pay the cost, he will not
stop until he sees the pine which shades the spring and stone,
and the tempest of hail and rain and thunder and wind. That
night, you may be sure, he had such lodging as he desired, for he
found the vavasor to be even more polite and courteous than he
had been told, and in the damsel he perceived a hundred times
more sense and beauty than Calogrenant had spoken of, for one
cannot rehearse the sum of a lady's or a good man's qualities.
The moment such a man devotes himself to virtue, his story cannot
be summed up or told, for no tongue could estimate the honourable
deeds of such a gentleman. My lord Yvain was well content with
the excellent lodging he had that night, and when he entered the
clearing the next day, he met the bulls and the rustic boor who
showed him the way to take. But more than a hundred times he
crossed himself at sight of the monster before him--how Nature
had ever been able to form such a hideous, ugly creature. Then
to the spring he made his way, and found there all that he wished
to see. Without hesitation and without sitting down he poured
the basin full of water upon the stone, when straightway it began
to blow and rain, and such a storm was caused as had been
foretold. And when God had appeased the storm, the birds came to
perch upon the pine, and sang their joyous songs up above the
perilous spring. But before their jubilee had ceased there came
the knight, more blazing with wrath than a burning log, and
making as much noise as if he were chasing a lusty stag. As soon
as they espied each other they rushed together and displayed the
mortal hate they bore. Each one carried a stiff, stout lance,
with which they dealt such mighty blows that they pierced the
shields about their necks, and cut the meshes of their hauberks;
their lances are splintered and sprung, while the fragments are
cast high in air. Then each attacks the other with his sword,
and in the strife they cut the straps of the shields away, and
cut the shields all to bits from end to end, so that the shreds
hang down, no longer serving as covering or defence; for they
have so split them up that they bring down the gleaming blades
upon their sides, their arms, and hips. Fierce, indeed, is their
assault; yet they do not budge from their standing-place any more
than would two blocks of stone. Never were there two knights so
intent upon each other's death. They are careful not to waste
their blows, but lay them on as best they may; they strike and
bend their helmets, and they send the meshes of their hauberks
flying so, that they draw not a little blood, for the hauberks
are so hot with their body's heat that they hardly serve as more
protection than a coat. As they drive the sword-point at the
face, it is marvellous that so fierce and bitter a strife should
last so long. But both are possessed of such courage that one
would not for aught retreat a foot before his adversary until he
had wounded him to death. Yet, in this respect they were very
honourable in not trying or deigning to strike or harm their
steeds in any way; but they sat astride their steeds without
putting foot to earth, which made the fight more elegant. At
last my lord Yvain crushed the helmet of the knight, whom the
blow stunned and made so faint that he swooned away, never having
received such a cruel blow before. Beneath his kerchief his head
was split to the very brains, so that the meshes of his bright
hauberk were stained with the brains and blood, all of which
caused him such intense pain that his heart almost ceased to
beat. He had good reason then to flee, for he felt that he had a
mortal wound, and that further resistance would not avail. With
this thought in mind he quickly made his escape toward his town,
where the bridge was lowered and the gate quickly opened for him;
meanwhile my lord Yvain at once spurs after him at topmost speed.
As a gerfalcon swoops upon a crane when he sees him rising from
afar, and then draws so near to him that he is about to seize
him, yet misses him, so flees the knight, with Yvain pressing him
so close that he can almost throw his arm about him, and yet
cannot quite come up with him, though he is so close that he can
hear him groan for the pain he feels. While the one exerts
himself in flight the other strives in pursuit of him, fearing to
have wasted his effort unless he takes him alive or dead; for he
still recalls the mocking words which my lord Kay had addressed
to him. He had not yet carried out the pledge which he had given
to his cousin; nor will they believe his word unless he returns
with the evidence. The knight led him a rapid chase to the gate
of his town, where they entered in; but finding no man or woman
in the streets through which they passed, they both rode swiftly
on till they came to the palace-gate.

(Vv. 907-1054.) The gate was very high and wide, yet it had such
a narrow entrance-way that two men or two horses could scarcely
enter abreast or pass without interference or great difficulty;
for it was constructed just like a trap which is set for the rat
on mischief bent, and which has a blade above ready to fall and
strike and catch, and which is suddenly released whenever
anything, however gently, comes in contact with the spring. In
like fashion, beneath the gate there were two springs connected
with a portcullis up above, edged with iron and very sharp. If
anything stepped upon this contrivance the gate descended from
above, and whoever below was struck by the gate was caught and
mangled. Precisely in the middle the passage lay as narrow as if
it were a beaten track. Straight through it exactly the knight
rushed on, with my lord Yvain madly following him apace, and so
close to him that he held him by the saddle-bow behind. It was
well for him that he was stretched forward, for had it not been
for this piece of luck he would have been cut quite through; for
his horse stepped upon the wooden spring which kept the
portcullis in place. Like a hellish devil the gate dropped down,
catching the saddle and the horse's haunches, which it cut off
clean. But, thank God, my lord Yvain was only slightly touched
when it grazed his back so closely that it cut both his spurs off
even with his heels. And while he thus fell in dismay, the other
with his mortal wound escaped him, as you now shall see. Farther
on there was another gate just like the one they had just passed;
through this the knight made his escape, and the gate descended
behind him. Thus my lord Yvain was caught, very much concerned
and discomfited as he finds himself shut in this hallway, which
was all studded with gilded nails, and whose walls were cunningly
decorated with precious paints. (10) But about nothing was he so
worried as not to know what had become of the knight. While he
was in this narrow place, he heard open the door of a little
adjoining room, and there came forth alone a fair and charming
maiden who closed the door again after her. When she found my
lord Yvain, at first she was sore dismayed. (11) "Surely, sir
knight," she says, "I fear you have come in an evil hour. If you
are seen here, you will be all cut to pieces. For my lord is
mortally wounded, and I know it is you who have been the death of
him. My lady is in such a state of grief, and her people about
her are crying so that they are ready to die with rage; and,
moreover, they know you to be inside. But as yet their grief is
such that they are unable to attend to you. The moment they come
to attack you, they cannot fail to kill or capture you, as they
may choose." And my lord Yvain replies to her: "If God will they
shall never kill me, nor shall I fall into their hands." "No,"
she says, "for I shall do my utmost to assist you. It is not
manly to cherish fear. So I hold you to be a man of courage,
when you are not dismayed. And rest assured that if I could I
would help you and treat you honourably, as you in turn would do
for me. Once my lady sent me on an errand to the King's court,
and I suppose I was not so experienced or courteous or so well
behaved as a maiden ought to be; at any rate, there was not a
knight there who deigned to say a word to me except you alone who
stand here now; but you, in your kindness, honoured and aided me.
For the honour you did me then I shall now reward you. I know
full well what your name is, and I recognised you at once: your
name is my lord Yvain. You may be sure and certain that if you
take my advice you will never be caught or treated ill. Please
take this little ring of mine, which you will return when I shall
have delivered you." (12) Then she handed him the little ring
and told him that its effect was like that of the bark which
covers the wood so that it cannot be seen; but it must be worn so
that the stone is within the palm; then he who wears the ring
upon his finger need have no concern for anything; for no one,
however sharp his eyes may be, will be able to see him any more
than the wood which is covered by the outside bark. All this is
pleasing to my lord Yvain. And when she had told him this, she
led him to a seat upon a couch covered with a quilt so rich that
the Duke of Austria had none such, and she told him that if he
cared for something to eat she would fetch it for him; and he
replied that he would gladly do so. Running quickly into the
chamber, she presently returned, bringing a roasted fowl and a
cake, a cloth, a full pot of good grape-wine covered with a white
drinking-cup; all this she offered to him to eat. And he, who
stood in need of food, very gladly ate and drank.

(Vv. 1055-1172.) By the time he had finished his meal the
knights were astir inside looking for him and eager to avenge
their lord, who was already stretched upon his bier. Then the
damsel said to Yvain: "Friend, do you hear them all seeking you?
There is a great noise and uproar brewing. But whoever may come
or go, do not stir for any noise of theirs, for they can never
discover you if you do not move from this couch. Presently you
will see this room all full of ill-disposed and hostile people,
who will think to find you here; and I make no doubt that they
will bring the body here before interment, and they will begin to
search for you under the seats and the beds. It will be amusing
for a man who is not afraid when he sees people searching so
fruitlessly, for they will all be so blind, so undone, and so
misguided that they will be beside themselves with rage. I
cannot tell you more just now, for I dare no longer tarry here.
But I may thank God for giving me the chance and the opportunity
to do some service to please you, as I yearned to do." Then she
turned away, and when she was gone all the crowd with one accord
had come from both sides to the gates, armed with clubs and
swords. There was a mighty crowd and press of hostile people
surging about, when they espied in front of the gate the half of
the horse which had been cut down. Then they felt very sure that
when the gates were opened they would find inside him whose life
they wished to take. Then they caused to be drawn up those gates
which had been the death of many men. But since no spring or
trap was laid for their passage they all came through abreast.
Then they found at the threshold the other half of the horse that
had been killed; but none of them had sharp enough eyes to see my
lord Yvain, whom they would gladly have killed; and he saw them
beside themselves with rage and fury, as they said: "How can this
be? For there is no door or window here through which anything
could escape, unless it be a bird, a squirrel, or marmot, or some
other even smaller animal; for the windows are barred, and the
gates were closed as soon as my lord passed through. The body is
in here, dead or alive, since there is no sign of it outside
there; we can see more than half of the saddle in here, but of
him we see nothing, except the spurs which fell down severed from
his feet. Now let us cease this idle talk, and search in all
these comers, for he is surely in here still, or else we are all
enchanted, or the evil spirits have filched him away from us."
Thus they all, aflame with rage, sought him about the room,
beating upon the walls, and beds, and seats. But the couch upon
which he lay was spared and missed the blows, so that he was not
struck or touched. But all about they thrashed enough, and
raised an uproar in the room with their clubs, like a blind man
who pounds as he goes about his search. While they were poking
about under the beds and the stools, there entered one of the
most beautiful ladies that any earthly creature ever saw. Word
or mention was never made of such a fair Christian dame, and yet
she was so crazed with grief that she was on the point of taking
her life. All at once she cried out at the top of her voice, and
then fell prostrate in a swoon. And when she had been picked up
she began to claw herself and tear her hair, like a woman who had
lost her mind. She tears her hair and rips her dress, and faints
at every step she takes; nor can anything comfort her when she
sees her husband borne along lifeless in the bier; for her
happiness is at an end, and so she made her loud lament. The
holy water and the cross and the tapers were borne in advance by
the nuns from a convent; then came missals and censers and the
priests, who pronounce the final absolution required for the
wretched soul.

(Vv. 1173-1242.) My lord Yvain heard the cries and the grief
that can never be described, for no one could describe it, nor
was such ever set down in a book. The procession passed, but in
the middle of the room a great crowd gathered about the bier, for
the fresh warm blood trickled out again from the dead man's
wound, and this betokened certainly that the man was still surely
present who had fought the battle and had killed and defeated
him. Then they sought and searched everywhere, and turned and
stirred up everything, until they were all in a sweat with the
trouble and the press which had been caused by the sight of the
trickling crimson blood. Then my lord Yvain was well struck and
beaten where he lay, but not for that did he stir at all. And
the people became more and more distraught because of the wounds
which burst open, and they marvelled why they bled, without
knowing whose fault it was. (13) And each one to his neighbour
said: "The murderer is among us here, and yet we do not see him,
which is passing strange and mysterious." At this the lady
showed such grief that she made an attempt upon her life, and
cried as if beside herself: "All God, then will the murderer not
be found, the traitor who took my good lord's life? Good? Aye,
the best of the good, indeed! True God, Thine will be the fault
if Thou dost let him thus escape. No other man than Thou should
I blame for it who dost hide him from my sight. Such a wonder
was never seen, nor such injustice, as Thou dost to me in not
allowing me even to see the man who must be so close to me. When
I cannot see him, I may well say that some demon or spirit has
interposed himself between us, so that I am under a spell. Or
else he is a coward and is afraid of me: he must be a craven to
stand in awe of me, and it is an act of cowardice not to show
himself before me. Ah, thou spirit, craven thing! Why art thou
so in fear of me, when before my lord thou weft so brave? O
empty and elusive thing, why cannot I have thee in my power? Why
cannot I lay hands upon thee now? But how could it ever come
about that thou didst kill my lord, unless it was done by
treachery? Surely my lord would never have met defeat at thy
hands had he seen thee face to face. For neither God nor man
ever knew of his like, nor is there any like him now. Surely,
hadst thou been a mortal man, thou wouldst never have dared to
withstand my lord, for no one could compare with him." Thus the
lady struggles with herself, and thus she contends and exhausts
herself. And her people with her, for their part, show the
greatest possible grief as they carry off the body to burial.
After their long efforts and search they are completely exhausted
by the quest, and give it up from weariness, inasmuch as they can
find no one who is in any way guilty. The nuns and priests,
having already finished the service, had returned from the church
and were gone to the burial. But to all this the damsel in her
chamber paid no heed. Her thoughts are with my lord Yvain, and,
coming quickly, she said to him: "Fair sir, these people have
been seeking you in force. They have raised a great tumult here,
and have poked about in all the corners more diligently than a
hunting-dog goes ferreting a partridge or a quail. Doubtless you
have been afraid." "Upon my word, you are right," says he: "I
never thought to be so afraid. And yet, if it were possible I
should gladly look out through some window or aperture at the
procession and the corpse." Yet he had no interest in either the
corpse or the procession, for he would gladly have seen them all
burned, even had it cost him a thousand marks. A thousand marks?
Three thousand, verily, upon my word. But he said it because of
the lady of the town, of whom he wished to catch a glimpse. So
the damsel placed him at a little window, and repaid him as well
as she could for the honour which he had done her. From this
window my lord Yvain espies the fair lady, as she says: "Sire,
may God have mercy upon your soul! For never, I verily believe,
did any knight ever sit in saddle who was your equal in any
respect. No other knight, my fair sweet lord, ever possessed
your honour or courtesy. Generosity was your friend and boldness
your companion. May your soul rest among the saints, my fair
dear lord." Then she strikes and tears whatever she can lay her
hands upon. Whatever the outcome may be, it is hard for my lord
Yvain to restrain himself from running forward to seize her
hands. But the damsel begs and advises him, and even urgently
commands him, though with courtesy and graciousness, not to
commit any rash deed, saying: "You are well off here. Do not
stir for any cause until this grief shall be assuaged; let these
people all depart, as they will do presently. If you act as I
advise, in accordance with my views, great advantage may come to
you. It will be best for you to remain seated here, and watch
the people inside and out as they pass along the way without
their seeing you. But take care not to speak violently, for I
hold that man to be rather imprudent than brave who goes too far
and loses his self-restraint and commits some deed of violence
the moment he has the time and chance. So if you cherish some
rash thought be careful not to utter it. The wise man conceals
his imprudent thought and works out righteousness if he can. So
wisely take good care not to risk your head, for which they would
accept no ransom. Be considerate of yourself and remember my
advice. Rest assured until I return, for I dare not stay longer
now. I might stay so long, I fear, that they would suspect me
when they did not see me in the crowd, and then I should suffer
for it."

(Vv. 1339-1506.) Then she goes off, and he remains, not knowing
how to comport himself. He is loath to see them bury the corpse
without his securing anything to take back as evidence that he
has defeated and killed him. If he has no proof or evidence he
will be held in contempt, for Kay is so mean and obstinate, so
given to mockery, and so annoying, that he could never succeed in
convincing him. He would go about for ever insulting him,
flinging his mockery and taunts as he did the other day. These
taunts are still fresh and rankling in his heart. But with her
sugar and honey a new Love now softened him; he had been to hunt
upon his lands and had gathered in his prey. His enemy carries
off his heart, and he loves the creature who hates him most. The
lady, all unaware, has well avenged her lord's death. She has
secured greater revenge than she could ever have done unless she
had been aided by Love, who attacks him so gently that he wounds
his heart through his eyes. And this wound is more enduring than
any inflicted by lance or sword. A sword-blow is cured and
healed at once as soon as a doctor attends to it, but the wound
of love is worst when it is nearest to its physician. This is
the wound of my lord Yvain, from which he will never more
recover, for Love has installed himself with him. He deserts and
goes away from the places he was wont to frequent. He cares for
no lodging or landlord save this one, and he is very wise in
leaving a poor lodging-place in order to betake himself to him.
In order to devote himself completely to him, he will have no
other lodging-place, though often he is wont to seek out lowly
hostelries. It is a shame that Love should ever so basely
conduct himself as to select the meanest lodging-place quite as
readily as the best. But now he has come where he is welcome,
and where he will be treated honourably, and where he will do
well to stay. This is the way Love ought to act, being such a
noble creature that it is marvellous how he dares shamefully to
descend to such low estate. He is like him who spreads his balm
upon the ashes and dust, who mingles sugar with gall, and suet
with honey. However, he did not act so this time, but rather
lodged in a noble place, for which no one can reproach him. When
the dead man had been buried, all the people dispersed, leaving
no clerks or knights or ladies, excepting only her who makes no
secret of her grief. She alone remains behind, often clutching
at her throat, wringing her hands, and beating her palms, as she
reads her psalms in her gilt lettered psalter. All this while my
lord Yvain is at the window gazing at her, and the more he looks
at her the more he loves her and is enthralled by her. He would
have wished that she should cease her weeping and reading, and
that she should feel inclined to converse with him. Love, who
caught him at the window, filled him with this desire. But he
despairs of realising his wish, for he cannot imagine or believe
that his desire can be gratified. So he says: "I may consider
myself a fool to wish for what I cannot have. Her lord it was
whom I wounded mortally, and yet do I think I can be reconciled
with her? Upon my word, such thoughts are folly, for at present
she has good reason to hate me more bitterly than anything. I am
right in saying `at present', for a woman has more than one mind.
That mind in which she is just now I trust she will soon change;
indeed, she will change it certainly, and I am mad thus to
despair. God grant that she change it soon! For I am doomed to
be her slave, since such is the will of Love. Whoever does not
welcome Love gladly, when he comes to him, commits treason and a
felony. I admit (and let whosoever will, heed what I say) that
such an one deserves no happiness or joy. But if I lose, it will
not be for such a reason; rather will I love my enemy. For I
ought not to feel any hate for her unless I wish to betray Love.
I must love in accordance with Love's desire. And ought she to
regard me as a friend? Yes, surely, since it is she whom I love.
And I call her my enemy, for she hates me, though with good
reason, for I killed the object of her love. So, then, am I her
enemy? Surely no, but her true friend, for I never so loved any
one before. I grieve for her fair tresses, surpassing gold in
their radiance; I feel the pangs of anguish and torment when I
see her tear and cut them, nor can her tears e'er be dried which
I see falling from her eyes; by all these things I am distressed.
Although they are full of ceaseless, ever-flowing tears, yet
never were there such lovely eves. The sight of her weeping
causes me agony, but nothing pains me so much as the sight of her
face, which she lacerates without its having merited such
treatment. I never saw such a face so perfectly formed, nor so
fresh and delicately coloured. And then it has pierced my heart
to see her clutch her throat. Surely, it is all too true that
she is doing the worst she can. And yet no crystal nor any
mirror is so bright and smooth. God! why is she thus possessed,
and why does she not spare herself? Why does she wring her
lovely hands and beat and tear her breast? Would she not be
marvellously fair to look upon when in happy mood, seeing that
she is so fair in her displeasure? Surely yes, I can take my
oath on that. Never before in a work of beauty was Nature thus
able to outdo herself, for I am sure she has gone beyond the
limits of any previous attempt. How could it ever have happened
then? Whence came beauty so marvellous? God must have made her
with His naked hand that Nature might rest from further toil. If
she should try to make a replica, she might spend her time in
vain without succeeding in her task. Even God Himself, were He
to try, could not succeed, I guess, in ever making such another,
whatever effort He might put forth."

(Vv. 1507-1588.) Thus my lord Yvain considers her who is broken
with her grief, and I suppose it would never happen again that
any man in prison, like my lord Yvain in fear for his life, would
ever be so madly in love as to make no request on his own behalf,
when perhaps no one else will speak for him. He stayed at the
window until he saw the lady go away, and both the portcullises
were lowered again. Another might have grieved at this, who
would prefer a free escape to tarrying longer where he was. But
to him it is quite indifferent whether they be shut or opened.
If they were open he surely would not go away, no, even were the
lady to give him leave and pardon him freely for the death of her
lord. For he is detained by Love and Shame which rise up before
him on either hand: he is ashamed to go away, for no one would
believe in the success of his exploit; on the other hand, he has
such a strong desire to see the lady at least, if he cannot
obtain any other favour, that he feels little concern about his
imprisonment. He would rather die than go away. And now the
damsel returns, wishing to bear him company with her solace and
gaiety, and to go and fetch for him whatever he may desire. But
she found him pensive and quite worn out with the love which had
laid hold of him; whereupon she addressed him thus: "My lord
Yvain, what sort of a time have you had to-day?" "I have been
pleasantly occupied," was his reply. "Pleasantly? In God's name,
is that the truth? What? How can one enjoy himself seeing that
he is hunted to death, unless he courts and wishes it?" "Of a
truth," he says, "my gentle friend, I should by no means wish to
die; and yet, as God beholds me, I was pleased, am pleased now,
and always shall be pleased by what I saw." "Well, let us say no
more of that," she makes reply, "for I can understand well enough
what is the meaning of such words. I am not so foolish or
inexperienced that I cannot understand such words as those; but
come now after me, for I shall find some speedy means to release
you from your confinement. I shall surely set you free to-night
or to-morrow, if you please. Come now, I will lead you away."
And he thus makes reply: "You may be sure that I will never
escape secretly and like a thief. When the people are all
gathered out there in the streets, I can go forth more honourably
than if I did so surreptitiously." Then he followed her into the
little room. The damsel, who was kind, secured and bestowed upon
him all that he desired. And when the opportunity arose, she
remembered what he had said to her how he had been pleased by
what he saw when they were seeking him in the room with intent to
kill him.

(Vv. 1589-1652.) The damsel stood in such favour with her lady
that she had no fear of telling her anything, regardless of the
consequences, for she was her confidante and companion. Then,
why should she be backward in comforting her lady and in giving
her advice which should redound to her honour? The first time
she said to her privily: "My lady, I greatly marvel to see you
act so extravagantly. Do you think you can recover your lord by
giving away thus to your grief?" "Nay, rather, if I had my
wish," says she, "I would now be dead of grief." "And why?" "In
order to follow after him." "After him? God forbid, and give
you again as good a lord, as is consistent with His might."
"Thou didst never speak such a lie as that, for He could never
give me so good a lord again." "He will give you a better one,
if you will accept him, and I can prove it." "Begone! Peace! I
shall never find such a one." "Indeed you shall, my lady, if you
will consent. Just tell me, if you will, who is going to defend
your land when King Arthur comes next week to the margin of the
spring? You have already been apprised of this by letters sent
you by the Dameisele Sauvage. Alas, what a kind service she did
for you! you ought to be considering how you will defend your
spring, and yet you cease not to weep! If it please you, my dear
lady, you ought not to delay. For surely, all the knights you
have are not worth, as you well know, so much as a single
chamber-maid. Neither shield nor lance will ever be taken in
hand by the best of them. You have plenty of craven servants,
but there is not one of them brave enough to dare to mount a
steed. And the King is coming with such a host that his victory
will be inevitable." The lady, upon reflection, knows very well
that she is giving her sincere advice, but she is unreasonable in
one respect, as also are other women who are, almost without
exception, guilty of their own folly, and refuse to accept what
they really wish. "Begone," she says; "leave me alone. If I
ever hear thee speak of this again it will go hard with thee,
unless thou flee. Thou weariest me with thy idle words." "Very
well, my lady," she says; "that you are a woman is evident, for
woman will grow irate when she hears any one give her good

(Vv. 1653-1726.) Then she went away and left her alone. And the
lady reflected that she had been in the wrong. She would have
been very glad to know how the damsel could ever prove that it
would be possible to find a better knight than her lord had ever
been. She would be very glad to hear her speak, but now she has
forbidden her. With this desire in mind, she waited until she
returned. But the warning was of no avail, for she began to say
to her at once: "My lady, is it seemly that you should thus
torment yourself with grief? For God's sake now control
yourself, and for shame, at least, cease your lament. It is not
fitting that so great a lady should keep up her grief so long.
Remember your honourable estate and your very gentle birth!
Think you that all virtue ceased with the death of your lord?
There are in the world a hundred as good or better men." "May
God confound me, if thou dost not lie! Just name to me a single
one who is reputed to be so excellent as my lord was all his
life." "If I did so you would be angry with me, and would fly
into a passion and you would esteem me less." "No, I will not, I
assure thee." "Then may it all be for your future welfare if you
would but consent, and may God so incline your will! I see no
reason for holding my peace, for no one hears or heeds what we
say. Doubtless you will think I am impudent, but I shall freely
speak my mind. When two knights have met in an affray of arms
and when one has beaten the other, which of the two do you think
is the better? For my part I award the prize to the victor. Now
what do you think?" "It seems to me you are laying a trap for me
and intend to catch me in my words." "Upon my faith, you may
rest assured that I am in the right, and I can irrefutably prove
to you that he who defeated your lord is better than he was
himself. He beat him and pursued him valiantly until he
imprisoned him in his house." "Now," she replies, "I hear the
greatest nonsense that was ever uttered. Begone, thou spirit
charged with evil! Begone, thou foolish and tiresome girl!
Never again utter such idle words, and never come again into my
presence to speak a word on his behalf!" "Indeed, my lady, I
knew full well that I should receive no thanks from you, and I
said so before I spoke. But you promised me you would not be
displeased, and that you would not be angry with me for it. But
you have failed to keep your promise, and now, as it has turned
out, you have discharged your wrath on me, and I have lost by not
holding my peace."

(Vv. 1727-1942.) Thereupon she goes back to the room where my
lord Yvain is waiting, comfortably guarded by her vigilance. But
he is ill at ease when he cannot see the lady, and he pays no
attention, and hears no word of the report which the damsel
brings to him. The lady, too, is in great perplexity all night,
being worried about how she should defend the spring; and she
begins to repent of her action to the damsel, whom she had blamed
and insulted and treated with contempt. She feels very sure and
certain that not for any reward or bribe, nor for any affection
which she may bear him, would the maiden ever have mentioned him;
and that she must love her more than him, and that she would
never give her advice which would bring her shame or
embarrassment: the maid is too loyal a friend for that. Thus,
lo! the lady is completely changed: she fears now that she to
whom she had spoken harshly will never love her again devotedly;
and him whom she had repulsed, she now loyally and with good
reason pardons, seeing that he had done her no wrong. So she
argues as if he were in her presence there, and thus she begins
her argument: "Come," she says, "canst thou deny that my lord was
killed by thee?" "That," says he, "I cannot deny. Indeed, I
fully admit it." "Tell me, then, the reason of thy deed. Didst
thou do it to injure me, prompted by hatred or by spite?" "May
death not spare me now, if I did it to injure you." "In that
case, thou hast done me no wrong, nor art thou guilty of aught
toward him. For he would have killed thee, if he could. So it
seems to me that I have decided well and righteously." Thus, by
her own arguments she succeeds in discovering justice, reason,
and common sense, how that there is no cause for hating him; thus
she frames the matter to conform with her desire, and by her own
efforts she kindles her love, as a bush which only smokes with
the flame beneath, until some one blows it or stirs it up. If
the damsel should come in now, she would win the quarrel for
which she had been so reproached, and by which she had been so
hurt. And next morning, in fact, she appeared again, taking the
subject up where she had let it drop. Meanwhile, the lady bowed
her head, knowing she had done wrong in attacking her. But now
she is anxious to make amends, and to inquire concerning the
name, character, and lineage of the knight: so she wisely humbles
herself, and says: "I wish to beg your pardon for the insulting
words of pride which in my rage I spoke to you: I will follow
your advice. So tell me now, if possible, about the knight of
whom you have spoken so much to me: what sort of a man is he, and
of what parentage? If he is suited to become my mate, and
provided he be so disposed, I promise you to make him my husband
and lord of my domain. But he will have to act in such a way
that no one can reproach me by saying: `This is she who took him
who killed her lord.'" "In God's name, lady, so shall it be.
You will have the gentlest, noblest, and fairest lord who ever
belonged to Abel's line." "What is his name?" "My lord Yvain."
"Upon my word, if he is King Urien's son he is of no mean birth,
but very noble, as I well know." "Indeed, my lady, you say the
truth." "And when shall we be able to see him?" "In five days'
time." "That would be too long; for I wish he were already come.
Let him come to-night, or to-morrow, at the latest." "My lady, I
think no one could fly so far in one day. But I shall send one
of my squires who can run fast, and who will reach King Arthur's
court at least by to-morrow night, I think; that is the place we
must seek for him." "That is a very long time. The days are
long. But tell him that to-morrow night he must be back here,
and that he must make greater haste than usual. If he will only
do his best, he can do two days' journey in one. Moreover,
to-night the moon will shine; so let him turn night into day.
And when he returns I will give him whatever he wishes me to
give." "Leave all care of that to me; for you shall have him in
your hands the day after to-morrow at the very latest. Meanwhile
you shall summon your men and confer with them about the
approaching visit of the King. In order to make the customary
defence of your spring it behoves you to consult with them. None
of them will be so hardy as to dare to boast that he will present
himself. In that case you will have a good excuse for saving
that it behoves you to marry again. A certain knight, highly
qualified, seeks your hand; but you do not presume to accept him
without their unanimous consent. And I warrant what the outcome
will be: I know them all to be such cowards that in order to put
on some one else the burden which would be too heavy for them,
they will fall at your feet and speak their gratitude; for thus
their responsibility will be at an end. For, whoever is afraid
of his own shadow willingly avoids, if possible, any meeting with
lance or spear; for such games a coward has no use." "Upon my
word," the lady replies, "so I would have it, and so I consent,
having already conceived the plan which you have expressed; so
that is what we shall do. But why do you tarry here? Go,
without delay, and take measures to bring him here, while I shall
summon my liege-men." Thus concluded their conference. And the
damsel pretends to send to search for my lord Yvain in his
country; while every day she has him bathed, and washed, and
groomed. And besides this she prepares for him a robe of red
scarlet stuff, brand new and lined with spotted fur. There is
nothing necessary for his equipment which she does not lend to
him: a golden buckle for his neck, ornamented with precious
stones which make people look well, a girdle, and a wallet made
of rich gold brocade. She fitted him out perfectly, then
informed her lady that the messenger had returned, having done
his errand well. "How is that?" she says, "is he here? Then let
him come at once, secretly and privily, while no one is here with
me. See to it that no one else come in, for I should hate to see
a fourth person here." At this the damsel went away, and
returned to her guest again. However, her face did not reveal
the joy that was in her heart; indeed, she said that her lady
knew that she had been sheltering him, and was very much incensed
at her. "Further concealment is useless now. The news about you
has been so divulged that my lady knows the whole story and is
very angry with me, heaping me with blame and reproaches. But
she has given me her word that I may take you into her presence
without any harm or danger. I take it that you will have no
objection to this, except for one condition (for I must not
disguise the truth, or I should be unjust to you): she wishes to
have you in her control, and she desires such complete possession
of your body that even your heart shall not be at large."
"Certainly," he said, "I readily consent to what will be no
hardship to me. I am willing to be her prisoner." "So shall you
be: I swear it by this right hand laid upon you!. Now come and,
upon my advice, demean yourself so humbly in her presence that
your imprisonment may not be grievous. Otherwise feel no
concern. I do not think that your restraint will be irksome."
Then the damsel leads him off, now alarming, now reassuring him,
and speaking to him mysteriously about the confinement in which
he is to find himself; for every lover is a prisoner. She is
right in calling him a prisoner; for surely any one who loves is
no longer free.

(Vv. 1943-2036.) Taking my lord Yvain by the hand, the damsel
leads him where he will be dearly loved; but expecting to be ill
received, it is not strange if he is afraid. They found the lady
seated upon a red cushion. I assure you my lord Yvain was
terrified upon entering the room, where he found the lady who
spoke not a word to him. At this he was still more afraid, being
overcome with fear at the thought that he had been betrayed. He
stood there to one side so long that the damsel at last spoke up
and said: "Five hundred curses upon the head of him who takes
into a fair lady's chamber a knight who will not draw near, and
who has neither tongue nor mouth nor sense to introduce himself."
Thereupon, taking him by the arm, she thrust him forward with the
words: "Come, step forward, knight, and have no fear that my lady
is going to snap at you; but seek her good-will and give her
yours. I will join you in your prayer that she pardon you for
the death of her lord, Esclados the Red." Then my lord Yvain
clasped his hands, and failing upon his knees, spoke like a lover
with these words: "I will not crave your pardon, lady, but rather
thank you for any treatment you may inflict on me, knowing that
no act of yours could ever be distasteful to me." "Is that so,
sir? And what if I think to kill you now?" "My lady, if it
please you, you will never hear me speak otherwise." "I never
heard of such a thing as this: that you put yourself voluntarily
and absolutely within my power, without the coercion of any one."
"My lady, there is no force so strong, in truth, as that which
commands me to conform absolutely to your desire. I do not fear
to carry out any order you may be pleased to give. And if I
could atone for the death, which came through no fault of mine, I
would do so cheerfully." "What?" says she, "come tell me now and
be forgiven, if you did no wrong in killing my lord?" "Lady," he
says, "if I may say it, when your lord attacked me, why was I
wrong to defend myself? When a man in self-defence kills another
who is trying to kill or capture him, tell me if in any way he is
to blame." "No, if one looks at it aright. And I suppose it
would have been no use, if I had had you put to death. But I
should be glad to learn whence you derive the force that bids you
to consent unquestioningly to whatever my will may dictate. I
pardon you all your misdeeds and crimes. But be seated, and tell
us now what is the cause of your docility?" "My lady," he says,
"the impelling force comes from my heart, which is inclined
toward you. My heart has fixed me in this desire." "And what
prompted your heart, my fair sweet friend?" "Lady, my eyes."
"And what the eyes?" "The great beauty that I see in you." "And
where is beauty's fault in that?" "Lady, in this: that it makes
me love." "Love? And whom?" "You, my lady dear." "I?" "Yes,
truly." "Really? And how is that?" "To such an extent that my
heart will not stir from you, nor is it elsewhere to be found; to
such an extent that I cannot think of anything else, and I
surrender myself altogether to you, whom I love more than I love
myself, and for whom, if you will, I am equally ready to die or
live." "And would you dare to undertake the defence of my spring
for love of me?" "Yes, my lady, against the world." "Then you
may know that our peace is made."

(Vv. 2037-2048.) Thus they are quickly reconciled. And the
lady, having previously consulted her lords, says: "We shall
proceed from here to the hall where my men are assembled, who, in
view of the evident need, have advised and counselled me to take
a husband at their request. And I shall do so, in view of the
urgent need: here and now I give myself to you; for I should not
refuse to accept as lord, such a good knight and a king's son."

(Vv. 2049-2328.) Now the damsel has brought about exactly what
she had desired. And my lord Yvain's mastery is more complete
than could be told or described; for the lady leads him away to
the hall, which was full of her knights and men-at-arms. And my
lord Yvain was so handsome that they all marvelled to look at
him, and all, rising to their feet, salute and bow to my lord
Yvain, guessing well as they did so: "This is he whom my lady
will select. Cursed be he who opposes him! For he seems a
wonderfully fine man. Surely, the empress of Rome would be well
married with such a man. Would now that he had given his word to
her, and she to him, with clasped hand, and that the wedding
might take place to-day or tomorrow." Thus they spoke among
themselves. At the end of the hall there was a seat, and there
in the sight of all the lady took her place. And my lord Yvain
made as if he intended to seat himself at her feet; but she
raised him up, and ordered the seneschal to speak aloud, so that
his speech might be heard by all. Then the seneschal began,
being neither stubborn nor slow of speech: "My lords," he said,
"we are confronted by war. Every day the King is preparing with
all the haste he can command to come to ravage our lands. Before
a fortnight shall have passed, all will have been laid waste,
unless some valiant defender shall appear. When my lady married
first, not quite seven years ago, she did it on your advice. Now
her husband is dead, and she is grieved. Six feet of earth is
all he has, who formerly owned all this land, and who was indeed
its ornament. (14) It is a pity he lived so short a while. A
woman cannot bear a shield, nor does she know how to fight with
lance. It would exalt and dignify her again if she should marry
some worthy lord. Never was there greater need than now; do all
of you recommend that she take a spouse, before the custom shall
lapse which has been observed in this town for more than the past
sixty years." At this, all at once proclaim that it seems to
them the right thing to do, and they all throw themselves at her
feet. They strengthen her desire by their consent; yet she
hesitates to assert her wishes until, as if against her will, she
finally speaks to the same intent as she would have done, indeed,
if every one had opposed her wish: "My lords, since it is your
wish, this knight who is seated beside me has wooed me and
ardently sought my hand. He wishes to engage himself in the
defence of my rights and in my service, for which I thank him
heartily, as you do also. It is true I have never known him in
person, but I have often heard his name. Know that he is no less
a man than the son of King Urien. Beside his illustrious
lineage, he is so brave, courteous, and wise that no one has
cause to disparage him. You have all already heard, I suppose,
of my lord Yvain, and it is he who seeks my hand. When the
marriage is consummated, I shall have a more noble lord than I
deserve." They all say: "If you are prudent, this very day shall
not go by without the marriage being solemnised. For it is folly
to postpone for a single hour an advantageous act." They beseech
her so insistently that she consents to what she would have done
in any case. For Love bids her do that for which she asks
counsel and advice; but there is more honour for him in being
accepted with the approval of her men. To her their prayers are
not unwelcome; rather do they stir and incite her heart to have
its way. The horse, already under speed, goes faster yet when it
is spurred. In the presence of all her lords, the lady gives
herself to my lord Yvain. From the hand of her chaplain he
received the lady, Laudine de Landuc, daughter of Duke Laudunet,
of whom they sing a lay. That very day without delay he married
her, and the wedding was celebrated. There were plenty of mitres
and croziers there, for the lady had summoned her bishops and
abbots. Great was the joy and rejoicing, there were many people,
and much wealth was displayed--more than I could tell you of,
were I to devote much thought to it. It is better to keep silent
than to be inadequate. So my lord Yvain is master now, and the
dead man is quite forgot. He who killed him is now married to
his wife, and they enjoy the marriage rights. The people love
and esteem their living lord more than they ever did the dead.
They served him well at his marriage-feast, until the eve before
the day when the King came to visit the marvellous spring and its
stone, bringing with him upon this expedition his companions and
all those of his household; not one was left behind. And my lord
Kay remarked: "Ah, what now has become of Yvain, who after his
dinner made the boast that he would avenge his cousin's shame?
Evidently he spoke in his cups. I believe that he has run away.
He would not dare to come back for anything. He was very
presumptuous to make such a boast. He is a bold man who dares to
boast of what no one would praise him for, and who has no proof
of his great feats except the words of some false flatterer.
There is a great difference between a coward and a hero; for the
coward seated beside the fire talks loudly about himself, holding
all the rest as fools, and thinking that no one knows his real
character. A hero would be distressed at hearing his prowess
related by some one else. And yet I maintain that the coward is
not wrong to praise and vaunt himself, for he will find no one
else to lie for him. If he does not boast of his deeds, who
will? All pass over him in silence, even the heralds, who
proclaim the brave, but discard the cowards." When my lord Kay
had spoken thus, my lord Gawain made this reply: "My lord Kay,
have some mercy now! Since my lord Yvain is not here, you do not
know what business occupies him. Indeed. he never so debased
himself as to speak any ill of you compared with the gracious
things he has said." "Sire," says Kay, "I'll hold my peace.
I'll not say another word to-day, since I see you are offended by
my speech." Then the King, in order to see the rain, poured a
whole basin full of water upon the stone beneath the pine, and at
once the rain began to pour. It was not long before my lord Yvain
without delay entered the forest fully armed, tiding faster than
a gallop on a large, sleek steed, strong, intrepid, and fleet of
foot. And it was my lord Kay's desire to request the first
encounter. For, whatever the outcome might be, he always wished
to begin the fight and joust the first, or else he would be much
incensed. Before all the rest, he requested the King to allow
him to do battle first. The King says: "Kay, since it is your
wish, and since you are the first to make the request, the favour
ought not to be denied." Kay thanks him first, then mounts his
steed. If now my lord Yvain can inflict a mild disgrace upon
him, he will be very glad to do so; for he recognises him by his
arms. (15) Each grasping his shield by the straps, they rush
together. Spurring their steeds, they lower the lances, which
they hold tightly gripped. Then they thrust them forward a
little, so that they grasped them by the leather-wrapped handles,
and so that when they came together they were able to deal such
cruel blows that both lances broke in splinters clear to the
handle of the shaft. My lord Yvain gave him such a mighty blow
that Kay took a summersault from out of his saddle and struck
with his helmet on the ground. My lord Yvain has no desire to
inflict upon him further harm, but simply dismounts and takes his
horse. This pleased them all, and many said: "Ah, ah, see how
you prostrate lie, who but now held others up to scorn! And yet
it is only right to pardon you this time; for it never happened
to you before." Thereupon my lord Yvain approached the King,
leading the horse in his hand by the bridle, and wishing to make
it over to him. "Sire," says he, "now take this steed, for I
should do wrong to keep back anything of yours." "And who are
you?" the King replies; "I should never know you, unless I heard
your name, or saw you without your arms." Then my lord told him
who he was, and Kay was overcome with shame, mortified, humbled,
and discomfited, for having said that he had run away. But the
others were greatly pleased, and made much of the honour he had
won. Even the King was greatly gratified, and my lord Gawain a
hundred times more than any one else. For he loved his company
more than that of any other knight he knew. And the King
requested him urgently to tell him, if it be his will, how he had
fared; for he was very curious to learn all about his adventure;
so the King begs him to tell the truth. And he soon told him all
about the service and kindness of the damsel, not passing over a
single word, not forgetting to mention anything. And after this
he invited the King and all his knights to come to lodge with
him, saying they would be doing him great honour in accepting his
hospitality. And the King said that for an entire week he would
gladly do him the honour and pleasure, and would bear him
company. And when my lord Yvain had thanked him, they tarry no
longer there, but mount and take the most direct road to the
town. My lord Yvain sends in advance of the company a squire
beating a crane-falcon, in order that they might not take the
lady by surprise, and that her people might decorate the streets
against the arrival of the King. When the lady heard the news
of the King's visit she was greatly pleased; nor was there any
one who, upon hearing the news, was not happy and elated. And
the lady summons them all and requests them to go to meet him, to
which they make no objection or remonstrance, all being anxious
to do her will.

(Vv. 2329-2414.) (16) Mounted on great Spanish steeds, they all
go to meet the King of Britain, saluting King Arthur first with
great courtesy and then all his company. "Welcome," they say,
"to this company, so full of honourable men! Blessed be he who
brings them hither and presents us with such fair guests!" At
the King's arrival the town resounds with the joyous welcome
which they give. Silken stuffs are taken out and hung aloft as
decorations, and they spread tapestries to walk upon and drape
the streets with them, while they wait for the King's approach.
And they make still another preparation, in covering the streets
with awnings against the hot rays of the sun. Bells, horns, and
trumpets cause the town to ring so that God's thunder could not
have been heard. The maidens dance before him, flutes and pipes
are played, kettle-drums, drums, and cymbals are beaten. On
their part the nimble youths leap, and all strive to show their
delight. With such evidence of their joy, they welcome the King
fittingly. And the Lady came forth, dressed in imperial garb a
robe of fresh ermine--and upon her head she wore a diadem all
ornamented with rubies. No cloud was there upon her face, but it
was so gay and full of joy that she was more beautiful, I think,
than any goddess. Around her the crowd pressed close, as they
cried with one accord: "Welcome to the King of kings and lord of
lords!" The King could not reply to all before he saw the lady
coming toward him to hold his stirrup. However, he would not
wait for this, but hastened to dismount himself as soon as he
caught sight of her. Then she salutes him with these words:
"Welcome a hundred thousand times to the King, my lord, and
blessed be his nephew, my lord Gawain!" The King replies: "I
wish all happiness and good luck to your fair body and your face,
lovely creature!" Then clasping her around the waist, the King
embraced her gaily and heartily as she did him, throwing her arms
about him. I will say no more of how gladly she welcomed them,
but no one ever heard of any people who were so honourably
received and served. I might tell you much of the joy should I
not be wasting words, but I wish to make brief mention of an
acquaintance which was made in private between the moon and the
sun. Do you know of whom I mean to speak? He who was lord of
the knights, and who was renowned above them all, ought surely to
be called the sun. I refer, of course, to my lord Gawain, for
chivalry is enhanced by him just as when the morning sun sheds
its rays abroad and lights all places where it shines. And I
call her the moon, who cannot be otherwise because of her sense
and courtesy. However, I call her so not only because of her
good repute, but because her name is, in fact, Lunete.

(Vv. 2415-2538.) The damsel's name was Lunete, and she was a
charming brunette, prudent, clever, and polite. As her
acquaintance grows with my lord Gawain, he values her highly and
gives her his love as to his sweetheart, because she had saved
from death his companion and friend; he places himself freely at
her service. On her part she describes and relates to him with
what difficulty she persuaded her mistress to take my lord Yvain
as her husband, and how she protected him from the hands of those


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