You are on page 1of 7

Version 1

Notes de lecture
142

Le texte de base est celui de ldition de Janet Cowen, Penguin Classics (2 vol.).

BOOK VII
CHAPTER 23. How the said knight came again the next night and was
beheaded again, and how at the feast of Pentecost all the knights that
Sir Gareth had overcome came and yielded them to King Arthur
1
Right as she promised she came; and she was not so soon in his bed but she espied an armed
knight coming toward the bed: therewithal she warned Sir Gareth, and lightly through the good help of
Dame Lyonesse he was armed; and they hurtled together with great ire and malice all about the hall;
and there was great light as it had been the number of twenty torches both before and behind, so that
Sir Gareth strained him, so that his old wound brast again on bleeding; but he was hot and courageous
and took no keep, but with his great force he struck down that knight, and voided his helm, and struck
o his head. Then he hew the head in an hundred pieces. And when he had done so he took up all those
pieces, and threw them out at a window into the ditches of the castle; and by this done he was so faint
that unnethes he might stand for bleeding.
And by when he was almost unarmed he fell in a deadly swoon on the oor; and then Dame
Lyonesse cried so that Sir Gringamore heard; and when he came and found Sir Gareth in that plight he
made great sorrow; and there he awaked Sir Gareth, and gave him a drink that relieved him wonderly
well; but the sorrow that Dame Lyonesse made there may no tongue tell, for she so fared with herself as
she would have died.
Right so came this damosel Lynet before them all, and she had fetched all the gobbets of the
head that Sir Gareth had thrown out at a window, and there she anointed them as she had done tofore,
and set them together again.
Well, damosel Linet, said Sir Gareth, I have not deserved all this despite that ye do unto me.
Sir knight, she said, I have nothing done but I will avow, and all that I have done shall be to your worship,
and to us all.
And then was Sir Gareth staunched of his bleeding. But the leeches said that there was no man
that bare the life should heal him throughout of his wound but if they healed him that caused that
stroke by enchantment.

2
So leave we Sir Gareth there with Sir Gringamore and his sisters, and turn we unto King Arthur,
that at the next feast of Pentecost held his feast; and there came the Green Knight with fty knights,
and yielded them all unto King Arthur. And so there came the Red Knight his brother, and yielded him
to King Arthur, and three score knights with him. Also there came the Blue Knight, brother to them,
with an hundred knights, and yielded them unto King Arthur; and the Green Knights name was Pertolepe, and the Red Knights name was Perimones, and the Blue Knights name was Sir Persant of Inde.
These three brethren told King Arthur how they were overcome by a knight that a damosel had with
her, and called him Beaumains.
Jesu, said the king, I marvel what knight he is, and of what lineage he is come. He was with me a twelvemonth, and poorly and shamefully he was fostered, and Sir Kay in scorn named him Beaumains.
So right as the king stood so talking with these three brethren, there came Sir Launcelot du
Lake, and told the king that there was come a goodly lord with ve1 hundred knights with him. Then
the king went out of Caerleon, for there was the feast, and there came to him this lord, and saluted the
king in a goodly manner.
What will ye, said King Arthur, and what is your errand?
Sir, he said, my name is the Red Knight of the Red Launds, but my name is Sir Ironside; and sir, wit ye
well, here I am sent to you of a knight that is called Beaumains, for he won me in plain battle hand for hand, and so
did never no knight but he, that ever had the better of me this thirty winter; the which commanded to yield me to
you at your will.
Ye are welcome, said the king, for ye have been long a great foe to me and my court, and now I trust to
God I shall so entreat you that ye shall be my friend.
Sir, both I and these ve hundred knights shall always be at your summons to do you service as may lie in
our powers.
Gramercy, said King Arthur, I am much beholding unto that knight that hath put so his body in devoir
to worship me and my court. And as to thee, Ironside, that art called the Red Knight of the Red Launds, thou art
called a perilous knight; and if thou wilt hold of me I shall worship thee and make thee knight of the Table Round;
but then thou must be no more a murderer.
Sir, as to that, I have promised unto Sir Beaumains never more to use such customs, for all the shameful
customs that I used I did at the request of a lady that I loved; and therefore I must go unto Sir Launcelot, and unto
Sir Gawain, and ask them forgiveness of the evil will I had unto them; for all that I put to death was all only for the
love of Sir Launcelot and of Sir Gawain.
They be here now, said the king, afore thee, now may ye say to them what ye will.
And then he kneeled down unto Sir Launcelot, and to Sir Gawain, and prayed them of forgiveness of his enmity that ever he had against them.

Le mme chevalier, de retour une autre nuit, subit une nouvelle dcollation ;
lors de la fte de la Pentecte, tous les chevaliers vaincus par sire Gahriet
viennent la cour du roi Arthur faire leur soumission
1
Dame Lionne tint parole et vint, mais elle ne fut pas plus tt couche ses cts quelle aperut
un chevalier en armes qui venait en direction du lit ; elle en avertit sire Gahriet qui squipa promptement grce laide ecace de la dame et les deux combattants, pleins de colre et de haine, sarontrent un peu partout dans la grand-salle ; la clart tait aussi intense que celle diuse par vingt torches
places devant et derrire eux. Sire Gahriet fournit de tels eorts que sa vieille blessure se rouvrit et
recommena saigner, mais ardent et courageux comme il ltait, il ny prit pas garde et, grce sa
force considrable, abattit lautre chevalier, lui ta son casque et lui trancha la tte, quil dchiqueta
alors en cent morceaux, quaprs les avoir rassembls, il jeta par une fentre dans les fosss du chteau ; cela fait, il fut pris dun accs de faiblesse (cest tout juste sil pouvait tenir debout), tant il saignait.
Une fois que presque toutes les pices de son armure lui eurent t retires, il perdit connaissance et scroula, faisant craindre pour sa vie ; dame Lionne poussa alors de tels cris quils furent entendus de sire Guigemar qui, voyant son arrive dans quel triste tat se trouvait sire Gahriet, en eut
1

Caxton et J. Cowen : six ; Winchester, folio 135 : v.

beaucoup de peine ; il le ranima et lui donna boire de quoi le revigorer admirablement. Mais le chagrin quprouvait dame Lionne, aucune langue ne peut lexprimer : la voir se dmener, on laurait crue
en proie aux ares de la mort.
Cest alors que parut en leur prsence tous la demoiselle Lionette, qui tait alle recueillir tous
les fragments de la tte que sire Gahriet avait jets par une fentre et l, elle les enduisit dun baume
comme la fois prcdente et reconstitua la tte.
Vraiment, demoiselle Lionette, lui dit sire Gahriet, je nai pas mrit tant dhostilit de votre part.
Messire chevalier, rpondit-elle, je nai rien fait que je nassume et je nai agi que pour la sauvegarde
de votre honneur et du ntre tous.
On tancha alors lhmorragie de sire Gahriet. Mais les mdecins conclurent quaucun tre
vivant ne le gurirait tout fait de sa blessure, car la seule personne capable de la gurir tait celle qui
lavait provoque au moyen dun enchantement.
2
Laissons l sire Gahriet en compagnie de sire Guigemar et de ses surs, et tournons-nous vers
le roi Arthur qui, la Pentecte suivante, organisa ses festivits, auxquelles participrent : le Chevalier
Vert (autrement dit sire Pertolepe) avec une suite de cinquante chevaliers (tous rent leur soumission
au roi Arthur), le Chevalier Rouge (autrement dit sire Primones), son frre (qui t sa soumission au roi
Arthur, en mme temps que les soixante chevaliers de sa suite), le Chevalier Bleu (autrement dit sire
Persant dInde), autre frre, avec une suite de cent chevaliers (tous rent leur soumission au roi Arthur).
Les trois frres racontrent au roi Arthur comment ils avaient t vaincus par un chevalier quune demoiselle avait en sa compagnie et quelle appelait Beaumains.
Bont divine ! scria le roi, je suis plong dans la perplexit : qui peut-il bien tre et quelle famille appartient-il ? Il a vcu un an ma cour, assez mal nourri et dans des conditions ignominieuses, et sire Key, par mpris, la
surnomm Beaumains.
Alors que le roi devisait ainsi avec ces trois frres, sire Lancelot du Lac vint annoncer au roi larrive dun seigneur important avec une suite de cinq cents chevaliers. Le roi sortit alors de Carlisle (o
avaient lieu les festivits) et ce seigneur vint se prsenter lui et salua le roi courtoisement.
Que me voulez-vous, lui demanda le roi Arthur, et quelle est la raison de votre prsence ici ?
Messire, rpondit-il, on mappelle le Chevalier Rouge des Landes Rouges, mais mon nom est sire Ctede-Fer, et sachez bien, messire, que je vous suis envoy par un chevalier quon appelle Beaumains et qui ma vaincu
en combat singulier, exploit quil est le seul avoir jamais accompli, car jamais en trente ans on ne lavait emport
sur moi ; ce chevalier, donc, ma command de me soumettre vous discrtion.
Heureux de vous accueillir, commenta le roi, car vous mtes depuis longtemps hostile ainsi qu ma
cour, et maintenant, Dieu men soit tmoin, je compte bien quen vous traitant comme je le ferai, vous deviendrez
mon ami.
Messire, moi et les cinq cents chevaliers que voici serons toujours vos ordres pour vous rendre les services qui sont en notre pouvoir.
Dieu vous le rende ! dit le roi Arthur. Je suis vraiment redevable ce chevalier qui sest tant engag
pour contribuer mon honneur et celui de ma cour. Quant toi, Cte-de-Fer, quon appelle le Chevalier Rouge des
Landes Rouges, on te dit chevalier redoutable, et si tu consens devenir mon vassal, je thonorerai et te ferai chevalier de la Table Ronde ; encore faut-il que tu cesses de commettre des assassinats.
Messire, ce sujet, jai fait la promesse sire Beaumains de renoncer pareilles coutumes, car toutes les
ignominies que jai commises faisaient suite la demande dune dame que jaimais ; je dois en consquent aller trouver sir Lancelot et sire Gauvain pour leur demander pardon pour le mal que je cherchais leur faire, car toutes les
mises mort que jai pratiques, ctait seulement en pensant sire Lancelot et sire Gauvain.
Ils sont ici en ce moment mme, conclut le roi, devant toi, vous pouvez prsent leur dire ce que vous
voulez.
Le chevalier sagenouilla alors devant sire Lancelot et sire Gauvain et leur demanda pardon davoir fait preuve de tant dinimiti leur encontre.

1 [titre du chapitre] next night nest pas la nuit qui suit immdiatement ; cf. chapitre
prcdent : Sir Gareth and Dame Lyonesse made their covenant at the tenth night after, that
she should come to his bed

2 with great ire and malice


volet 16 in that ire
volet 181 with ire and rancour
volet 227 with great ire (2 fois)
Les deux mots viennent de lancien-franais (o malice navait que le sens fort, volont
de nuire, seul connu de langlais).
3 Sir Gareth strained him tir (aprs aphrse) du thme destreindre (notre treindre) latin stringre ; on remarquera lparpillement entre astreindre, contraindre
(constrain), treindre et restreindre (restrain).
4 took no keep MED : kp attention, heed, notice
5 he hew the head la forme faible hewed du volet 23 est unique chez Caxton (et Winchester), alors que hew et hew(e)n sont usuels.
6 by this done by the time that this was done (Eugne Vinaver)
7 all the gobbets of the head

MED :

gobet (n.) Also cobet, gobat, gobbot, gobed; (errors) bobet, gebot.
[OF bouche ]
1. (a) A fragment; a bit of esh, a splinter of bone, a broken lump of sugar, a piece cut or torn from
a garment or a cloth; breken (hakken, smiten) to gobettes, heuen (kitten) in gobettes; (b) g.
2. (a) A lump, a mass; (b) a morsel, a tidbit; also, a medicinal pellet, a poisonous pellet; ~ real, royal
tidbit, a delicacy made of spices and sugar; (c) a small mass of esh growing in a part of the body;
a bunch or growth (?parasytic) on the stem of a plant.
3. A part, segment, section; a segment of bamboo between two nodes, one of the phalanges of a
nger. []

Gautier de Coincy, De la misere domme et de fame et de la doutance quon doit avoir de morir :
Trop par est fox homs qui trop bee
A enrober trop riches robes
Et a mengier gros gobez gobes,
Car hom qui va trop goubatant
Il aimme cras guobez tant
Quainz e laieroit com ours beter
Gobez laiat a goubeter
Si le devoit eur lautel penre.

Nol Lebreton de Hauteroche [1617-1707], Crispin mdecin (1673), II, 8 :

Denis Lottin pre [1745], Recherches historiques sur la Ville dOrlans II (1837), p. 258 :

Les gobets sont ici des boulettes (empoisonnes).


Chaucer, portrait du vendeur dindulgences (pardoner) :
A vernycle hadde he sowed upon his cappe.
His walet lay biforn hym in his lappe
Bretful of pardoun come from Rome al hoot.
A voys he hadde as smal as hath a goot,
No berd hadde he, ne nevere sholde have;
As smothe it was as it were late shave,
I trowe he were a geldyng or a mare.
But of his craft, from Berwyk into Ware,
Ne was ther swich another pardoner;
For in his male he hadde a pilwe-beer,
Which that he seyde was Oure Lady veyl:
He seyde he hadde a gobet of the seyl
That Seint Peter hadde, whan that he wente
Upon the see, til Jesu Crist hym hente.
He hadde a croys of latoun ful of stones,
And in a glas he hadde pigges bones.
But with thise relikes, whan that he fond
A povre persoun dwellyng upon lond,
Upon a day he gat hym moore moneye
Than that the person gat in monthes tweye;
And thus, with feyned flaterye and japes,
He made the persoun and the peple his apes.

8 what is your errand?

MED :

r end(e (n.) Also erand, arend, ernde, arnde, erdne, erden, arden.
[OE rend(e.]
1. A message, whether communicated by word of mouth or in writing.
2. A petition or prayer, esp. as presented through an intercessor.
3. The business of carrying and delivering a message for another; also, the business of doing
anything for another; a mission or errand for another;often as obj. of don, maken, speden, or
with prep. in, on. Also, in phrase gon erende, to perform a mission.
4. Any business or activity that one is engaged in; specif., business negotiation.
5. (a)?Cause; (b) purpose, intent, end.
6. (a) erende bere, ~ berere, one who bears a message, messenger; also, a tell-tale or gossip; (b) ~
iwrit [OE rend-gewrit], a letter; (c) erendes man, erend rake [OE rend-raca], messenger.

9 my name is Sir Ironside

[Cf. Icel. Irn-sa name of a mythical king.]

MED :

Iren-sd(e (n.) Also -sides.


(a) A person of extraordinary strength, vigour, or hardiness; an epithet for King Edmund II1; (b) as
surname.
(a) a1259 MParis CM (Corp-C 16) 1.493: Filius regis Eadmundus, quem gens Anglorum propter magni
roboris mentis simul et corporis strenuitatem Irene-side, id est, latus ferreum, nuncupabant.2
c1325(c1300) Glo.Chron.A (Clg A.11) 5939: e king adde bi is verste wif an stalwarde
sone..Me clupede him uor is stalwardhede Edmund yren-syde.
c1325(c1300) Glo.Chron.A (Clg A.11) 6084: Edmond yrene syde..was hardi & god knit.
c1400 Brut-1333 (Rwl B.171)
sone by his ferst wif.

119/6: Edmunde Irenside [vr. Irensides]..was Kyng Eldredus

(a1464) Capgr. Chron.(Cmb Gg.4.12) 124: In this tyme was Kyng in Inglond Edmunde, cleped
Yrunside.
c1475-a1600(a1473) Fortescue Declaration (Clermont)
525: Ye wrote howe Edmunde
Irensyde, elder brother to saynt Edwarde the Confessour, hadd issue a sonne.
(b) (1330-4) *in Pilkington Surn. : Irneside.
(a1470) Malory Wks.(Win-C) 337/1: I am called the Rede Knyght of the Rede Laundis, but my
name is sir Ironsyde.
(a1470) Malory Wks.(Win-C) 342/25: Also that ye sende unto Ironsyde, that is knyght of the
Rede Laundys.
-?-(1333-4) Reg.Freemen York in Sur.Soc.96 29: Joh. Irenside, de Ottelay, mercer.

Edmund
Ironside [Eamun
hyrneide]
British Library :
Royal MS 14 B
VI, folio 001r

rgna du 23 avril au 30 novembre 1016.


ls du roi Edmond que les Anglais appelaient Cte-de-Fer en raison de sa force de caractre et de sa rsistance physique ;
(Bosworth-Toller) Edmund cing rensd ws geclypod for his snellscipe, Chr. 1057 ; P. 187, 36, le roi Edmond, surnomm Ctede-Fer pour sa bravoure
1
2

10 in plain battle hand for hand in an open hand-to-hand ght; i.e. in single combat
(Eugne Vinaver)
11 Gramercy, said King Arthur, I am much beholding unto that knight
Caxton : Iheu mercy aid kyng Arthur I am moche beholdynge vnto that knyght
Winchester, folio 135v : gramercy seyde kynge Arthure I am muche be holdyng vnto at knyght

La langue hsite entre beholden to et beholding to.


12 that knight that hath put so his body in devoir to worship me

do to endeavour

Caxton : that hath put oo his body in deuoyre to worhippe me & my Courte
Winchester : at hath o put his body in devoure to worhyp me and my courte

DMF (extrait) :
Se mettre en son devoir/en ses devoirs (de + inf.).. Sactiver comme il convient (en vue de qqc.) :
...pas ne demoura quelle ne se mist en ses devoirs de loster hors de ceste melencolie. (C.N.N.,
c.1456-1467, 235). Tres redoubtee dame, vous savez que par pluseurs fois vostre serviteur le roy
dEsclavonnie vous a fait requerre par ses ambassadeurs que vous voeilliez estre sa femme, et que
vous lavez reffus, pour quoy il a vostre royaulme assailly de guerre. Encoires, pour tousjours soy
mettre en son devoir, ma il envoy requerre vostre desiree grace quelle ait piti de vous et de
vostre poeuple et que a celle journee vous ayez piti de vostre leal amant, duquel la fortune est
telle que certes il moeurt aprs vous... (LEFVRE (R.), Hist. Jason P., c.1460, 134). Et ilec mons. le
chancellier Morviller dist et exposa de par le roy comment il sestoit grandement mis en son
devoir davoir oert aux princes et seigneurs, qui estoient devant Paris, aux demandes quilz lui
faisoient pour lampanage de mons. le duc de Berry, pour lequel ilz demandoient avoir la duchi
de Guienne, Poitou et le pays de Xanctonge ou la duchi de Normandie. (ROYE, Chron. scand., I,
1460-1483, 107). Et par avant le roy avoit envoy par devers le duc de Bourgongne monseigneur
de Lion, monseigneur le connestable et autres seigneurs pour tousjours se mettre en devoir et
trouver partout bon moien de paix sans gure de guerre. (ROYE, Chron. scand., I, 1460-1483, 208).
...Or sus donques, chascune se mette en ses devoirs, dist lune, et je feray tout aprester . Tandis
quelles estoient ainsy empeschies et ne pensoient que daccomplir leur entention, je me departi
en muchettes et sans congi me retrahy, car grant sommeil avoie. (Ev. Quen., I, c.1466-1474, 105).
[Synthse : Robert Martin.]

ce propos, duty ancien-franais duet, duit, deuet, abstrait tir de du d .


13 for all that I put to death was all only for the love of Sir Launcelot and of Sir Gawain
= on account of