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Yvain

,
The Knight of the Lion
by Chrétien de Troyes
Translated by W. W. Comfort
For your convenience, this text has been comiled into this !"F document by
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Table of Contents
(c)no'ledgments......................................................................................................................................*
!+,!(+,+-. /#T,% ...............................................................................................................................0
.,L,CT," 121L2#3+(!4Y% ...............................................................................................................0
The Translation..........................................................................................................................................5
!art 2% 6v.7 $ 6v. 8*89...........................................................................................................................5
!art 22% 6v. 8*8: $ 6v. 0;*0................................................................................................................*<
!art 222% 6v. 0;*5 $ 6v. ;979...............................................................................................................55
,ndnotes...................................................................................................................................................98
8
Acknowledgments
=Yvain, The Knight of the Lion> 'as 'ritten by the French oet Chrétien de Troyes in the t'elfth
century. Chrétien is a 'ell$)no'n oet among medievalists, and is articularly noted for his oems
involving King (rthur and his )nights.
The original, #ld French text of the oem is in the ublic domain because its author died at least
7<< years ago. This ,nglish translation 'as comleted by W. W. Comfort in 7:70. 2t is also in the
ublic domain in the ?nited .tates and many other countries because it 'as ublished before @anuary
7
st
, 7:8*. W. W. Comfort died in 7:55, 'hich also laces this 'or) in the ublic domain in any country
'hich sets its coyright term at the life of the author lus 5< years. 2t may also be in the ublic domain
in countries 'hich aly the +ule of .horter Term to foreign 'or)s.
This electronic version of the translation has )indly been made available to the ublic by the
#nline Aedieval and Classical Library. (ll of the text 'hich follo's, including the !rearer-s /ote and
.elected 1ibliograhy have been ta)en from them, and rerinted here 'ith their )ind ermission.
!lease visit them on$line at% htt%&&'''.omacl.org&
Their notes on this 'or)%
“#riginally 'ritten in #ld French, sometime in the second half of the 78th Century (."., by the
court oet Chretien "eTroyes. Translation by W. W. Comfort, 7:70.
The text of this edition is based on that ublished as C4+,T2,/ ",T+#Y,.% (+T4?+2(/
+#A(/C,., BTrans% W. W. ComfortC ,veryman-s Library, London, 7:70D. This text is in the !?1L2C
"#A(2/ in the ?nited .tates.
This electronic edition 'as edited, roofed, and reared by "ouglas 1. Killings
B"eTroyesE,nter(ct.C#AD, "ecember 7::;.>
For your convenience, the text of this translation has been comiled into this !"F document for
easy reading by Camelot #nline. You may use and redistribute it freely. !lease visit us on$line at
htt%&&'''.heroofcamelot.com&
*
PREPARER'S NOTE:
For bac)ground information and a discussion of Chretien "eTroyes- 'or), see W.W. Comfort-s
2ntroduction to his translations, released in #A(CL text F87% G,rec et ,nideG.
SELECTED BIBLIORAP!":
#+232/(L T,HT $$
Kibler, William W. B,d.D% GChretien "eTroyes% The Knight 'ith the Lion, or Yvain B3arland
Library of Aedieval Literature 09(, /e' Yor) I London, 7:95D. #riginal text 'ith
,nglish translation B.ee !enguin Classics edition belo'D.
#T4,+ T+(/.L(T2#/. $$
Cline, +uth 4ar'ood BTrans.D% GChretien "eTroyes% Yvain, or the Knight 'ith the LionG
B?niversity of 3eorgia !ress, (thens 3(, 7:J5D.
Kibler, William W. I Carleton W. Carroll BTrans.D% GChretien "eTroyes% (rthurian
+omancesG B!enguin Classics, London, 7::7D. Contains translations of G,rec et ,nideG Bby
CarrollD, GCligesG, GYvainG, GLancelotG, and "eTroyes- incomlete G!ercevalG Bby KiblerD.
4ighly recommended.
#'en, ".".+ BTrans.D% GChretien "eTroyes% (rthurian +omancesG B,veryman Library,
London, 7:9JD. Contains translations of G,rec et ,nideG, GCligesG, GYvainG, GLancelotG, and
"eTroyes- incomlete G!ercevalG. NOTE% This edition relaced W.W. Comfort-s in the
,veryman Library catalogue. 4ighly recommended.
+,C#AA,/"," +,("2/3 $$
(nonymous% GYvain and 3a'ainG, G.ir !ercyvell of 3alesG, and GThe (nturs of (rtherG
B,d% Aald'yn AillsC ,veryman, London, 7::8D. NOTE% Texts are in Aiddle$,nglishC
GYvain and 3a'ainG is a Aiddle$,nglish 'or) based almost exclusively on Chretien
"eTroyes- GYvainG.
Aalory, .ir Thomas% GLe Aorte "-(rthurG B,d% @anet Co'enC !enguin Classics, London,
7:;:D.
0
T#e T$anslat%on
Part I: Vv.1 - Vv. 2328
6v. 7$7J0.D (rthur, the good King of 1ritain, 'hose ro'ess teaches us that 'e, too, should be
brave and courteous, held a rich and royal court uon that recious feast$day 'hich is al'ays )no'n by
the name of !entecost.
i
The court 'as at Carduel in Wales. When the meal 'as finished, the )nights
betoo) themselves 'hither they 'ere summoned by the ladies, damsels, and maidens. .ome told
storiesC others so)e of love, of the trials and sorro's, as 'ell as of the great blessings, 'hich often fall
to the members of its order, 'hich 'as rich and flourishing in those days of old. 1ut no' its follo'ers
are fe', 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. 1ut no' love is a laughing$stoc), for those
'ho have no intelligence of it assert that they love, and in that they lie. Thus they utter a moc)ery and
lie by boasting 'here they have no right.
ii
1ut let us leave those 'ho are still alive, to sea) of those of
former time. For, 2 ta)e it, a courteous man, though dead, is 'orth more than a living )nave. .o it is my
leasure to relate a matter Kuite 'orthy of heed concerning the King 'hose fame 'as such that men
still sea) of him far and nearC and 2 agree 'ith the oinion of the 1retons that his name 'ill live on for
evermore. (nd in connection 'ith him 'e call to mind those goodly chosen )nights 'ho sent
themselves for honour-s sa)e. 1ut uon this day of 'hich 2 sea), great 'as their astonishment at
seeing the King Kuit their resenceC and there 'ere some 'ho felt chagrined, and 'ho did not mince
their 'ords, never before having seen the King, on the occasion of such a feast, enter his o'n chamber
either to slee or to see) reose. 1ut this day it came about that the Lueen detained him, and he
remained so long at her side that he forgot himself and fell aslee. #utside the chamber door 'ere
"odinel, .agremor, and Kay, my lord 3a'ain, my lord Yvain, and 'ith them Calogrenant, a very
comely )night, 'ho had begun to tell them a tale, though it 'as not to his credit, but rather to his
shame. The Lueen could hear him as he told his tale, and rising from beside the King, she came uon
them so stealthily that before any caught sight of her, she had fallen, as it 'ere, right in their midst.
Calogrenant alone Mumed u Kuic)ly 'hen he sa' her come. Then Kay, 'ho 'as very Kuarrelsome,
5
mean, sarcastic, and abusive, said to him% G1y the Lord, Calogrenant, 2 see you are very bold and
for'ard no', and certainly it leases me to see you the most courteous of us all. (nd 2 )no' that you
are Kuite ersuaded of your o'n excellence, for that is in )eeing 'ith your little sense. (nd of course
it is natural that my lady should suose that you surass us all in courtesy and bravery. We failed to
rise through sloth, forsooth, or because 'e did not careN ?on my 'ord, it is not so, my lordC but 'e
did not see my lady until you had risen first.G G+eally, Kay,G the Lueen then says, G2 thin) you 'ould
burst if you could not our out the oison of 'hich you are so full. You are troublesome and mean thus
to annoy your comanions.G GLady,G says Kay, Gif 'e are not better for your comany, at least let us not
lose by it. 2 am not a'are that 2 said anything for 'hich 2 ought to be accused, and so 2 ray you say no
more. 2t is imolite and foolish to )ee u a vain disute. This argument should go no further, nor
should any one try to ma)e more of it. 1ut since there must be no more high 'ords, command him to
continue the tale he had begun.G Thereuon Calogrenant reares to rely in this fashion% GAy lord,
little do 2 care about the Kuarrel, 'hich matters little and affects me not. 2f you have vented your scorn
on me, 2 shall never be harmed by it. You have often so)en insultingly, my lord Kay, to braver and
better men than 2, for you are given to this )ind of thing. The manure$ile 'ill al'ays stin),
iii
and
gadflies sting, and bees 'ill hum, and so a bore 'ill torment and ma)e a nuisance of himself. 4o'ever,
'ith my lady-s leave, 2-ll not continue my tale to$day, and 2 beg her to say no more about it, and )indly
not give me any un'elcome command.G GLady,G says Kay, Gall those 'ho are here 'ill be in your debt,
for they are desirous to hear it out. "on-t do it as a favour to meN 1ut by the faith you o'e the King,
your lord and mine, command him to continue, and you 'ill do 'ell.G GCalogrenant,G the Lueen then
says, Gdo not mind the attac) of my lord Kay the seneschal. 4e is so accustomed to evil seech that one
cannot unish him for it. 2 command and reKuest you not to be angered because of him, nor should you
fail on his account to say something 'hich it 'ill lease us all to hearC if you 'ish to reserve my
good$'ill, ray begin the tale ane'.G G.urely, lady, it is a very un'elcome command you lay uon me.
+ather than tell any more of my tale to$day, 2 'ould have one eye luc)ed out, if 2 did not fear your
disleasure. Yet 'ill 2 erform your behest, ho'ever distasteful it may be. Then since you 'ill have it
so, give heed. Let your heart and ears be mine. For 'ords, though heard, are lost unless understood
'ithin the heart. .ome men there are 'ho give consent to 'hat they hear but do not understand% these
men have the hearing alone. For the moment the heart fails to understand, the 'ord falls uon the ears
simly as the 'ind that blo's, 'ithout stoing to tarry thereC rather it Kuic)ly asses on if the heart is
not so a'a)e as to be ready to receive it. For the heart alone can receive it 'hen it comes along, and
;
shut it u 'ithin. The ears are the ath and channel by 'hich the voice can reach the heart, 'hile the
heart receives 'ithin the bosom the voice 'hich enters through the ear. /o', 'hoever 'ill heed my
'ords, must surrender to me his heart and ears, for 2 am not going to sea) of a dream, an idle tale, or
lie, 'ith 'hich many another has regaled you, but rather shall 2 sea) of 'hat 2 sa'.
B6v. 7J5$8;9.D G2t haened seven years ago that, lonely as a countryman, 2 'as ma)ing my 'ay in
search of adventures, fully armed as a )night should be, 'hen 2 came uon a road leading off to the
right into a thic) forest. The road there 'as very bad, full of briars and thorns. 2n site of the trouble
and inconvenience, 2 follo'ed the road and ath. (lmost the entire day 2 'ent thus riding until 2
emerged from the forest of 1roceliande.
iv
#ut from the forest 2 assed into the oen country 'here 2
sa' a 'ooden to'er at the distance of half a Welsh league% it may have been so far, but it 'as not
anymore. !roceeding faster than a 'al), 2 dre' near and sa' the alisade and moat all round it, dee
and 'ide, and standing uon the bridge, 'ith a moulted falcon uon his 'rist, 2 sa' the master of the
castle. 2 had no sooner saluted him than he came for'ard to hold my stirru and invited me to
dismount. 2 did so, for it 'as useless to deny that 2 'as in need of a lodging$lace. Then he told me
more than a hundred times at once that blessed 'as the road by 'hich 2 had come thither. Aean'hile,
'e crossed the bridge, and assing through the gate, found ourselves in the courtyard. 2n the middle of
the courtyard of this vavasor, to 'hom may 3od reay such Moy and honour as he besto'ed uon me
that night, there hung a gong not of iron or 'ood, 2 tro', but all of coer. ?on this gong the vavasor
struc) three times 'ith a hammer 'hich hung on a ost close by. Those 'ho 'ere ustairs in the house,
uon hearing his voice and the sound, came out into the yard belo'. .ome too) my horse 'hich the
good vavasor 'as holdingC and 2 sa' coming to'ard me a very fair and gentle maid. #n loo)ing at her
narro'ly 2 sa' she 'as tall and slim and straight. .)ilful she 'as in disarming me, 'hich she did
gently and 'ith addressC then, 'hen she had robed me in a short mantle of scarlet stuff sotted 'ith a
eacoc)-s lumes, all the others left us there, so that she and 2 remained alone. This leased me 'ell,
for 2 needed naught else to loo) uon. Then she too) me to sit do'n in the rettiest little field, shut in
by a 'all all round about. There 2 found her so elegant, so fair of seech and so 'ell informed, of such
leasing manners and character, that it 'as a delight to be there, and 2 could have 'ished never to be
comelled to move. 1ut as ill luc) 'ould have it, 'hen night came on, and the time for suer had
arrived. The vavasor came to loo) for me. /o more delay 'as ossible, so 2 comlied 'ith his reKuest.
#f the suer 2 'ill only say that it 'as all after my heart, seeing that the damsel too) her seat at the
table Must in front of me. (fter the suer the vavasor admitted to me that, though he had lodged many
J
an errant )night, he )ne' not ho' long it had been since he had 'elcomed one in search of adventure.
Then, as a favour, he begged of me to return by 'ay of his residence, if 2 could ma)e it ossible. .o 2
said to him% O+ight gladly, sireN- for a refusal 'ould have been imolite, and that 'as the least 2 could
do for such a host.
B6v. 8;:$59<.D That night, indeed, 2 'as 'ell lodged, and as soon as the morning light aeared, 2
found my steed ready saddled, as 2 had reKuested the night beforeC thus my reKuest 'as carried out. Ay
)ind host and his dear daughter 2 commended to the 4oly .irit, and, after ta)ing leave of all, 2 got
a'ay as soon as ossible. 2 had not roceeded far from my stoing$lace 'hen 2 came to a clearing,
'here there 'ere some 'ild bulls at largeC they 'ere fighting among themselves and ma)ing such a
dreadful and horrible noise that if the truth be )no'n, 2 dre' bac) in fear, for there is no beast so fierce
and dangerous as a bull. 2 sa' sitting uon a stum, 'ith a great club in his hand, a rustic lout, as blac)
as a mulberry, indescribably big and hideousC indeed, so assing ugly 'as the creature that no 'ord of
mouth could do him Mustice. #n dra'ing near to this fello', 2 sa' that his head 'as bigger than that of
a horse or of any other beastC that his hair 'as in tufts, leaving his forehead bare for a 'idth of more
than t'o sansC that his ears 'ere big and mossy, Must li)e those of an elehantC his eyebro's 'ere
heavy and his face 'as flatC his eyes 'ere those of an o'l, and his nose 'as li)e a cat-sC his Mo'ls 'ere
slit li)e a 'olf, and his teeth 'ere shar and yello' li)e a 'ild boar-sC his beard 'as blac) and his
'his)ers t'istedC his chin merged into his chest and his bac)bone 'as long, but t'isted and hunched.
v

There he stood, leaning uon his club and accoutred in a strange garb, consisting not of cotton or 'ool,
but rather of the hides recently flayed from t'o bulls or t'o beeves% these he 'ore hanging from his
nec). The fello' leaed u straight'ay 'hen he sa' me dra'ing near. 2 do not )no' 'hether he 'as
going to stri)e me or 'hat he intended to do, but 2 'as reared to stand him off, until 2 sa' him sto
and stand stoc)$still uon a tree trun), 'here he stood full seventeen feet in height. Then he gaPed at
me but so)e not a 'ord, any more than a beast 'ould have done. (nd 2 suosed that he had not his
senses or 'as drun). 4o'ever, 2 made bold to say to him% OCome, let me )no' 'hether thou art a
creature of good or not.- (nd he relied% O2 am a man.- OWhat )ind of a man art thouQ- O.uch as thou
seest me to be% 2 am by no means other'ise.- OWhat dost thou hereQ- O2 'as here, tending these cattle in
this 'ood.- OWert thou really tending themQ 1y .aint !eter of +omeN They )no' not the command of
any man. 2 guess one cannot ossibly guard 'ild beasts in a lain or 'ood or any'here else unless they
are tied or confined inside.- OWell, 2 tend and have control of these beasts so that they 'ill never leave
this neighbourhood.- O4o' dost thou do thatQ Come, tell me no'N- OThere is not one of them that dares
9
to move 'hen they see me coming. For 'hen 2 can get hold of one 2 give its t'o horns such a 'rench
'ith my hard, strong hands that the others tremble 'ith fear, and gather at once round about me as if to
as) for mercy. /o one could venture here but me, for if he should go among them he 'ould be
straight'ay done to death. 2n this 'ay 2 am master of my beasts. (nd no' thou must tell me in turn
'hat )ind of a man thou art, and 'hat thou see)est here.- O2 am, as thou seest, a )night see)ing for 'hat
2 cannot findC long have 2 sought 'ithout success.- O(nd 'hat is this thou fain 'ouldst findQ- O.ome
adventure 'hereby to test my ro'ess and my bravery. /o' 2 beg and urgently reKuest thee to give me
some counsel, if ossible, concerning some adventure or marvellous thing.- .ays he% OThou 'ilt have to
do 'ithout, for 2 )no' nothing of adventure, nor did 2 ever hear tell of such. 1ut if thou 'ouldst go to a
certain sring here hard by and shouldst comly 'ith the ractice there, thou 'ouldst not easily come
bac) again. Close by here thou canst easily find a ath 'hich 'ill lead thee thither. 2f thou 'ouldst go
aright, follo' the straight ath, other'ise thou mayst easily go astray among the many other aths.
Thou shalt see the sring 'hich boils, though the 'ater is colder than marble. 2t is shado'ed by the
fairest tree that ever /ature formed, for its foliage is evergreen, regardless of the 'inter-s cold, and an
iron basin is hanging there by a chain long enough to reach the sring. (nd beside the sring thou shalt
find a massive stone, as thou shalt see, but 'hose nature 2 cannot exlain, never having seen its li)e.
#n the other side a chael stands, small, but very beautiful. 2f thou 'ilt ta)e of the 'ater in the basin
and sill it uon the stone, thou shalt see such a storm come u that not a beast 'ill remain 'ithin this
'oodC every doe, star, deer, boar, and bird 'ill issue forth. For thou shalt see such lightning$bolts
descend, such blo'ing of gales and crashing of trees, such torrents fail, such thunder and lightning,
that, if thou canst escae from them 'ithout trouble and mischance, thou 'ilt be more fortunate than
ever any )night 'as yet.- 2 left the fello' then, after he had ointed our the 'ay. 2t must have been after
nine o-cloc) and might have been dra'ing on to'ard noon, 'hen 2 esied the tree and the chael. 2 can
truly say that this tree 'as the finest ine that ever gre' on earth. 2 do not believe that it ever rained so
hard that a dro of 'ater could enetrate it, but 'ould rather dri from the outer branches. From the
tree 2 sa' the basin hanging,
vi
of the finest gold that 'as ever for sale in any fair. (s for the sring, you
may ta)e my 'ord that it 'as boiling li)e hot 'ater. The stone 'as of emerald, 'ith holes in it li)e a
cas), and there 'ere four rubies underneath, more radiant and red than is the morning sun 'hen it rises
in the east. /o' not one 'ord 'ill 2 say 'hich is not true. 2 'ished to see the marvellous aearing of
the temest and the stormC but therein 2 'as not 'ise, for 2 'ould gladly have reented, if 2 could, 'hen
2 had srin)led the erforated stone 'ith the 'ater from the basin. 1ut 2 fear 2 oured too much, for
:
straight'ay 2 sa' the heavens so brea) loose that from more than fourteen directions the lightning
blinded my eyes, and all at once the clouds let fall sno' and rain and hail. The storm 'as so fierce and
terrible that a hundred times 2 thought 2 should be )illed by the bolts 'hich fell about me and by the
trees 'hich 'ere rent aart. Kno' that 2 'as in great distress until the uroar 'as aeased. 1ut 3od
gave me such comfort that the storm did not continue long, and all the 'inds died do'n again. The
'inds dared not blo' against 3od-s 'ill. (nd 'hen 2 sa' the air clear and serene 2 'as filled 'ith Moy
again. For 2 have observed that Moy Kuic)ly causes trouble to be forgot. (s soon as the storm 'as
comletely ast, 2 sa' so many birds gathered in the ine tree Bif any one 'ill believe my 'ordsD that
not a branch or t'ig 'as to be seen 'hich 'as not entirely covered 'ith birds.
vii
The tree 'as all the
more lovely then, for all the birds sang in harmony, yet the note of each 'as different, so that 2 never
heard one singing another-s note. 2, too, reMoiced in their Moyousness, and listened to them until they had
sung their service through, for 2 have never heard such hay song, nor do 2 thin) any one else 'ill
hear it, unless he goes to listen to 'hat filled me 'ith such Moy and bliss that 2 'as lost in rature. 2
stayed there until 2 heard some )nights coming, as 2 thought it seemed that there must be ten of them.
1ut all the noise and commotion 'as made by the aroach of a single )night. When 2 sa' him coming
on alone 2 Kuic)ly caught my steed and made no delay in mounting him. (nd the )night, as if 'ith evil
intent, came on s'ifter than an eagle, loo)ing as fierce as a lion. From as far as his voice could reach he
began to challenge me, and said% O6assal, 'ithout rovocation you have caused me shame and harm. 2f
there 'as any Kuarrel bet'een us you should first have challenged me, or at least sought Mustice before
attac)ing me. 1ut, sir vassal, if it be 'ithin my o'er, uon you shall fall the unishment for the
damage 'hich is evident. (bout me here lies the evidence of my 'oods destroyed. 4e 'ho has
suffered has the right to comlain. (nd 2 have good reason to comlain that you have driven me from
my house 'ith lightning$bolt and rain. You have made trouble for me, and cursed be he 'ho thin)s it
fair. For 'ithin my o'n 'oods and to'n you have made such an attac) uon me that resources of men
of arms and of fortifications 'ould have been of no avail to meC no man could have been secure, even
if he had been in a fortress of solid stone and 'ood. 1ut be assured that from this moment there shall be
neither truce nor eace bet'een us.- (t these 'ords 'e rushed together, each one holding his shield
'ell gried and covering himself 'ith it. The )night had a good horse and a stout lance, and 'as
doubtless a 'hole head taller than 2. Thus, 2 'as altogether at a disadvantage, being shorter than he,
'hile his horse 'as stronger than mine. You may be sure that 2 'ill tell the facts, in order to cover u
my shame. With intent to do my best, 2 dealt him as hard a blo' as 2 could give, stri)ing the to of his
7<
shield, and 2 ut all my strength into it 'ith such effect that my lance fle' all to slinters. 4is lance
remained entire, being very heavy and bigger than any )night-s lance 2 ever sa'. (nd the )night struc)
me 'ith it so heavily that he )noc)ed me over my horse-s cruer and laid me flat uon the ground,
'here he left me ashamed and exhausted, 'ithout besto'ing another glance uon me. 4e too) my
horse, but me he left, and started bac) by the 'ay he came. (nd 2, 'ho )ne' not 'hat to do, remained
there in ain and 'ith troubled thoughts. .eating myself beside the sring 2 rested there a'hile, not
daring to follo' after the )night for fear of committing some rash act of madness. (nd, indeed, had 2
had the courage, 2 )ne' not 'hat had become of him. Finally, it occurred to me that 2 'ould )ee my
romise to my host and 'ould return by 'ay of his d'elling. This idea leased me, and so 2 did. 2 laid
off all my arms in order to roceed more easily, and thus 'ith shame 2 retraced my stes. When 2
reached his home that night, 2 found my host to be the same good$natured and courteous man as 2 had
before discovered him to be. 2 could not observe that either his daughter or he himself 'elcomed me
any less gladly, or did me any less honour than they had done the night before. 2 am indebted to them
for the great honour they all did me in that houseC and they even said that, so far as they )ne' or had
heard tell, no one had ever escaed, 'ithout being )illed or )et a risoner, from the lace 'hence 2
returned. Thus 2 'ent and thus 2 returned, feeling, as 2 did so, deely ashamed. .o 2 have foolishly told
you the story 'hich 2 never 'ished to tell again.G
B6v. 597$;09.D G1y my head,G cries my lord Yvain, Gyou are my o'n cousin$german, and 'e ought
to love each other 'ell. 1ut 2 must consider you as mad to have concealed this from me so long. 2f 2
call you mad, 2 beg you not to be incensed. For if 2 can, and if 2 obtain the leave, 2 shall go to avenge
your shame.G G2t is evident that 'e have dined,G says Kay, 'ith his ever$ready seechC Gthere are more
'ords in a ot full of 'ine than in a 'hole barrel of beer.
viii
They say that a cat is merry 'hen full. (fter
dinner no one stirs, but each one is ready to slay /oradin,
ix
and you 'ill ta)e vengeance on ForreN (re
your saddle$cloths ready stuffed, and your iron greaves olished, and your banners unfurledQ Come
no', in 3od-s name, my lord Yvain, is it to$night or to$morro' that you startQ Tell us, fair sire, 'hen
you 'ill start for this rude test, for 'e 'ould fain convoy you thither. There 'ill be no rovost or
constable 'ho 'ill not gladly escort you. (nd ho'ever it may be, 2 beg that you 'ill not go 'ithout
ta)ing leave of usC and if you have a bad dream to$night, by all means stay at homeNG GThe devil, .ir
Kay,G the Lueen relies, Gare you beside yourself that your tongue al'ays runs on soQ Cursed be your
tongue 'hich is so full of bitternessN .urely your tongue must hate you, for it says the 'orst it )no's to
every man. "amned be any tongue that never ceases to sea) illN (s for your tongue, it babbles so that
77
it ma)es you hated every'here. 2t cannot do you greater treachery. .ee here% if it 'ere mine, 2 'ould
accuse it of treason. (ny man that cannot be cured by unishment ought to be tied li)e a madman in
front of the chancel in the church.G G+eally, madame,G says my lord Yvain, Ghis imudence matters not
to me. 2n every court my lord Kay has so much ability, )no'ledge, and 'orth that he 'ill never be deaf
or dumb. 4e has the 'it to rely 'isely and courteously to all that is mean, and this he has al'ays
done. You 'ell )no' if 2 lie in saying so. 1ut 2 have no desire to disute or to begin our foolishness
again. For he 'ho deals the first blo' does not al'ays 'in the fight, but rather he 'ho gains revenge.
4e 'ho fights 'ith his comanion had better fight against some stranger. 2 do not 'ish to be li)e the
hound that stiffens u and gro'ls 'hen another dog yas at him.G
B6v. ;0:$J88.D While they 'ere tal)ing thus, the King came out of his room 'here he had been all
this time aslee. (nd 'hen the )nights sa' him they all srang to their feet before him, but he made
them at once sit do'n again. 4e too) his lace beside the Lueen, 'ho reeated to him 'ord for 'ord,
'ith her customary s)ill, the story of Calogrenant. The King listened eagerly to it, and then he s'ore
three mighty oaths by the soul of his father ?therendragon, and by the soul of his son, and of his
mother too, that he 'ould go to see that sring before a fortnight should have assedC and he 'ould see
the storm and the marvels there by reaching it on the eve of my lord .aint @ohn the 1atist-s feastC there
he 'ould send the night, and all 'ho 'ished might accomany him. (ll the court thought 'ell of this,
for the )nights and the young bachelors 'ere very eager to ma)e the exedition. 1ut desite the general
Moy and satisfaction my lord Yvain 'as much chagrined, for he intended to go there all aloneC so he 'as
grieved and much ut out because of the King 'ho lanned to go. The chief cause of his disleasure
'as that he )ne' that my lord Kay, to 'hom the favour 'ould not be refused if he should solicit it,
'ould secure the battle rather than he himself, or else erchance my lord 3a'ain 'ould first as) for it.
2f either one of these t'o should ma)e reKuest, the favour 'ould never be refused him. 1ut, having no
desire for their comany, he resolves not to 'ait for them, but to go off alone, if ossible, 'hether it be
to his gain or hurt. (nd 'hoever may stay behind, he intends to be on the third day in the forest of
1roceliande, and there to see) if ossibly he may find the narro' 'ooded ath for 'hich he yearns
eagerly, and the lain 'ith the strong castle, and the leasure and delight of the courteous damsel, 'ho
is so charming and fair, and 'ith the damsel her 'orthy sire, 'ho is so honourable and nobly born that
he strives to disense honour. Then he 'ill see the bulls in the clearing, 'ith the giant boor 'ho
'atches them. 3reat is his desire to see this fello', 'ho is so stout and big and ugly and deformed, and
as blac) as a smith. Then, too, he 'ill see, if ossible, the stone and the sring itself, and the basin and
78
the birds in the ine$tree, and he 'ill ma)e it rain and blo'. 1ut of all this he 'ill not boast, nor, if he
can hel it, shall any one )no' of his urose until he shall have received from it either great
humiliation or great reno'n% then let the facts be )no'n.
B6v. J8*$J0;.D Ay lord Yvain gets a'ay from the court 'ithout any one meeting him, and
roceeds alone to his lodging lace. There he found all his household, and gave orders to have his horse
saddledC then, calling one of his sKuires 'ho 'as rivy to his every thought, he says% GCome no',
follo' me outside yonder, and bring me my arms. 2 shall go out at once through yonder gate uon my
alfrey. For thy art, do not delay, for 2 have a long road to travel. 4ave my steed 'ell shod, and bring
him Kuic)ly 'here 2 amC then shalt thou lead bac) my alfrey. 1ut ta)e good care, 2 adMure thee, if any
one Kuestions thee about me, to give him no satisfaction. #ther'ise, 'hatever thy confidence in me,
thou need never again count on my good'ill.G G.ire,G he says, Gall 'ill be 'ell, for no one shall learn
anything from me. !roceed, and 2 shall follo' you.G
B6v. J0J$:<;.D Ay lord Yvain mounts at once, intending to avenge, if ossible, his cousin-s
disgrace before he returns. The sKuire ran for the arms and steedC he mounted at once 'ithout delay,
since he 'as already eKuied 'ith shoes and nails. Then he follo'ed his master-s trac) until he sa'
him standing mounted, 'aiting to one side of the road in a lace aart. 4e brought him his harness and
eKuiment, and then accoutred him. Ay lord Yvain made no delay after utting on his arms, but hastily
made his 'ay each day over the mountains and through the valleys, through the forests long and 'ide,
through strange and 'ild country, assing through many gruesome sots, many a danger and many a
strait, until he came directly to the ath, 'hich 'as full of brambles and dar) enoughC then he felt he
'as safe at last, and could not no' lose his 'ay. Whoever may have to ay the cost, he 'ill not sto
until he sees the ine 'hich shades the sring and stone, and the temest of hail and rain and thunder
and 'ind. That night, you may be sure, he had such lodging as he desired, for he found the vavasor to
be even more olite and courteous than he had been told, and in the damsel he erceived a hundred
times more sense and beauty than Calogrenant had so)en of, for one cannot rehearse the sum of a
lady-s or a good man-s Kualities. The moment such a man devotes himself to virtue, his story cannot be
summed u or told, for no tongue could estimate the honourable deeds of such a gentleman. Ay lord
Yvain 'as 'ell content 'ith the excellent lodging he had that night, and 'hen he entered the clearing
the next day, he met the bulls and the rustic boor 'ho sho'ed him the 'ay to ta)e. 1ut more than a
hundred times he crossed himself at sight of the monster before him $$ ho' /ature had ever been able
to form such a hideous, ugly creature. Then to the sring he made his 'ay, and found there all that he
7*
'ished to see. Without hesitation and 'ithout sitting do'n he oured the basin full of 'ater uon the
stone, 'hen straight'ay it began to blo' and rain, and such a storm 'as caused as had been foretold.
(nd 'hen 3od had aeased the storm, the birds came to erch uon the ine, and sang their Moyous
songs u above the erilous sring. 1ut before their Mubilee had ceased there came the )night, more
blaPing 'ith 'rath than a burning log, and ma)ing as much noise as if he 'ere chasing a lusty stag. (s
soon as they esied each other they rushed together and dislayed the mortal hate they bore. ,ach one
carried a stiff, stout lance, 'ith 'hich they dealt such mighty blo's that they ierced the shields about
their nec)s, and cut the meshes of their hauber)sC their lances are slintered and srung, 'hile the
fragments are cast high in air. Then each attac)s the other 'ith his s'ord, and in the strife they cut the
stras of the shields a'ay, and cut the shields all to bits from end to end, so that the shreds hang do'n,
no longer serving as covering or defenceC for they have so slit them u that they bring do'n the
gleaming blades uon their sides, their arms, and his. Fierce, indeed, is their assaultC yet they do not
budge from their standing$lace any more than 'ould t'o bloc)s of stone. /ever 'ere there t'o
)nights so intent uon each other-s death. They are careful not to 'aste their blo's, but lay them on as
best they mayC they stri)e and bend their helmets, and they send the meshes of their hauber)s flying so,
that they dra' not a little blood, for the hauber)s are so hot 'ith their body-s heat that they hardly serve
as more rotection than a coat. (s they drive the s'ord$oint at the face, it is marvellous that so fierce
and bitter a strife should last so long. 1ut both are ossessed of such courage that one 'ould not for
aught retreat a foot before his adversary until he had 'ounded him to death. Yet, in this resect they
'ere very honourable in not trying or deigning to stri)e or harm their steeds in any 'ayC but they sat
astride their steeds 'ithout utting foot to earth, 'hich made the fight more elegant. (t last my lord
Yvain crushed the helmet of the )night, 'hom the blo' stunned and made so faint that he s'ooned
a'ay, never having received such a cruel blo' before. 1eneath his )erchief his head 'as slit to the
very brains, so that the meshes of his bright hauber) 'ere stained 'ith the brains and blood, all of
'hich caused him such intense ain that his heart almost ceased to beat. 4e had good reason then to
flee, for he felt that he had a mortal 'ound, and that further resistance 'ould not avail. With this
thought in mind he Kuic)ly made his escae to'ard his to'n, 'here the bridge 'as lo'ered and the
gate Kuic)ly oened for himC mean'hile my lord Yvain at once surs after him at tomost seed. (s a
gerfalcon s'oos uon a crane 'hen he sees him rising from afar, and then dra's so near to him that
he is about to seiPe him, yet misses him, so flees the )night, 'ith Yvain ressing him so close that he
can almost thro' his arm about him, and yet cannot Kuite come u 'ith him, though he is so close that
70
he can hear him groan for the ain he feels. While the one exerts himself in flight the other strives in
ursuit of him, fearing to have 'asted his effort unless he ta)es him alive or deadC for he still recalls the
moc)ing 'ords 'hich my lord Kay had addressed to him. 4e had not yet carried out the ledge 'hich
he had given to his cousinC nor 'ill they believe his 'ord unless he returns 'ith the evidence. The
)night led him a raid chase to the gate of his to'n, 'here they entered inC but finding no man or
'oman in the streets through 'hich they assed, they both rode s'iftly on till they came to the alace$
gate.
B6v. :<J$7<50.D The gate 'as very high and 'ide, yet it had such a narro' entrance$'ay that t'o
men or t'o horses could scarcely enter abreast or ass 'ithout interference or great difficultyC for it
'as constructed Must li)e a tra 'hich is set for the rat on mischief bent, and 'hich has a blade above
ready to fall and stri)e and catch, and 'hich is suddenly released 'henever anything, ho'ever gently,
comes in contact 'ith the sring. 2n li)e fashion, beneath the gate there 'ere t'o srings connected
'ith a ortcullis u above, edged 'ith iron and very shar. 2f anything steed uon this contrivance
the gate descended from above, and 'hoever belo' 'as struc) by the gate 'as caught and mangled.
!recisely in the middle the assage lay as narro' as if it 'ere a beaten trac). .traight through it exactly
the )night rushed on, 'ith my lord Yvain madly follo'ing him aace, and so close to him that he held
him by the saddle$bo' behind. 2t 'as 'ell for him that he 'as stretched for'ard, for had it not been for
this iece of luc) he 'ould have been cut Kuite throughC for his horse steed uon the 'ooden sring
'hich )et the ortcullis in lace. Li)e a hellish devil the gate droed do'n, catching the saddle and
the horse-s haunches, 'hich it cut off clean. 1ut, than) 3od, my lord Yvain 'as only slightly touched
'hen it graPed his bac) so closely that it cut both his surs off even 'ith his heels. (nd 'hile he thus
fell in dismay, the other 'ith his mortal 'ound escaed him, as you no' shall see. Farther on there 'as
another gate Must li)e the one they had Must assedC through this the )night made his escae, and the gate
descended behind him. Thus my lord Yvain 'as caught, very much concerned and discomfited as he
finds himself shut in this hall'ay, 'hich 'as all studded 'ith gilded nails, and 'hose 'alls 'ere
cunningly decorated 'ith recious aints.
x
1ut about nothing 'as he so 'orried as not to )no' 'hat
had become of the )night. While he 'as in this narro' lace, he heard oen the door of a little
adMoining room, and there came forth alone a fair and charming maiden 'ho closed the door again after
her. When she found my lord Yvain, at first she 'as sore dismayed.
xi
G.urely, sir )night,G she says, G2
fear you have come in an evil hour. 2f you are seen here, you 'ill be all cut to ieces. For my lord is
mortally 'ounded, and 2 )no' it is you 'ho have been the death of him. Ay lady is in such a state of
75
grief, and her eole about her are crying so that they are ready to die 'ith rageC and, moreover, they
)no' you to be inside. 1ut as yet their grief is such that they are unable to attend to you. The moment
they come to attac) you, they cannot fail to )ill or cature you, as they may choose.G (nd my lord
Yvain relies to her% G2f 3od 'ill they shall never )ill me, nor shall 2 fall into their hands.G G/o,G she
says, Gfor 2 shall do my utmost to assist you. 2t is not manly to cherish fear. .o 2 hold you to be a man
of courage, 'hen you are not dismayed. (nd rest assured that if 2 could 2 'ould hel you and treat you
honourably, as you in turn 'ould do for me. #nce my lady sent me on an errand to the King-s court,
and 2 suose 2 'as not so exerienced or courteous or so 'ell behaved as a maiden ought to beC at any
rate, there 'as not a )night there 'ho deigned to say a 'ord to me excet you alone 'ho stand here
no'C but you, in your )indness, honoured and aided me. For the honour you did me then 2 shall no'
re'ard you. 2 )no' full 'ell 'hat your name is, and 2 recognised you at once% your name is my lord
Yvain. You may be sure and certain that if you ta)e my advice you 'ill never be caught or treated ill.
!lease ta)e this little ring of mine, 'hich you 'ill return 'hen 2 shall have delivered you.G
xii
Then she
handed him the little ring and told him that its effect 'as li)e that of the bar) 'hich covers the 'ood so
that it cannot be seenC but it must be 'orn so that the stone is 'ithin the almC then he 'ho 'ears the
ring uon his finger need have no concern for anythingC for no one, ho'ever shar his eyes may be,
'ill be able to see him any more than the 'ood 'hich is covered by the outside bar). (ll this is
leasing to my lord Yvain. (nd 'hen she had told him this, she led him to a seat uon a couch covered
'ith a Kuilt so rich that the "u)e of (ustria had none such, and she told him that if he cared for
something to eat she 'ould fetch it for himC and he relied that he 'ould gladly do so. +unning Kuic)ly
into the chamber, she resently returned, bringing a roasted fo'l and a ca)e, a cloth, a full ot of good
grae$'ine covered 'ith a 'hite drin)ing$cuC all this she offered to him to eat. (nd he, 'ho stood in
need of food, very gladly ate and dran).
B6v. 7<55$77J8.D 1y the time he had finished his meal the )nights 'ere astir inside loo)ing for
him and eager to avenge their lord, 'ho 'as already stretched uon his bier. Then the damsel said to
Yvain% GFriend, do you hear them all see)ing youQ There is a great noise and uroar bre'ing. 1ut
'hoever 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. !resently you 'ill see this room all full of ill$disosed and hostile eole,
'ho 'ill thin) to find you hereC and 2 ma)e no doubt that they 'ill bring the body here before
interment, and they 'ill begin to search for you under the seats and the beds. 2t 'ill be amusing for a
man 'ho is not afraid 'hen he sees eole searching so fruitlessly, for they 'ill all be so blind, so
7;
undone, and so misguided that they 'ill be beside themselves 'ith rage. 2 cannot tell you more Must
no', for 2 dare no longer tarry here. 1ut 2 may than) 3od for giving me the chance and the oortunity
to do some service to lease you, as 2 yearned to do.G Then she turned a'ay, and 'hen she 'as gone all
the cro'd 'ith one accord had come from both sides to the gates, armed 'ith clubs and s'ords. There
'as a mighty cro'd and ress of hostile eole surging about, 'hen they esied in front of the gate the
half of the horse 'hich had been cut do'n. Then they felt very sure that 'hen the gates 'ere oened
they 'ould find inside him 'hose life they 'ished to ta)e. Then they caused to be dra'n u those gates
'hich had been the death of many men. 1ut since no sring or tra 'as laid for their assage they all
came through abreast. Then they found at the threshold the other half of the horse that had been )illedC
but none of them had shar enough eyes to see my lord Yvain, 'hom they 'ould gladly have )illedC
and he sa' them beside themselves 'ith rage and fury, as they said% G4o' can this beQ For there is no
door or 'indo' here through 'hich anything could escae, unless it be a bird, a sKuirrel, or marmot, or
some other even smaller animalC for the 'indo's are barred, and the gates 'ere closed as soon as my
lord assed through. The body is in here, dead or alive, since there is no sign of it outside thereC 'e can
see more than half of the saddle in here, but of him 'e see nothing, excet the surs 'hich fell do'n
severed from his feet. /o' let us cease this idle tal), and search in all these comers, for he is surely in
here still, or else 'e are all enchanted, or the evil sirits have filched him a'ay from us.G Thus they all,
aflame 'ith rage, sought him about the room, beating uon the 'alls, and beds, and seats. 1ut the
couch uon 'hich he lay 'as sared and missed the blo's, so that he 'as not struc) or touched. 1ut all
about they thrashed enough, and raised an uroar in the room 'ith their clubs, li)e a blind man 'ho
ounds as he goes about his search. While they 'ere o)ing about under the beds and the stools, there
entered one of the most beautiful ladies that any earthly creature ever sa'. Word or mention 'as never
made of such a fair Christian dame, and yet she 'as so craPed 'ith grief that she 'as on the oint of
ta)ing her life. (ll at once she cried out at the to of her voice, and then fell rostrate in a s'oon. (nd
'hen she had been ic)ed u she began to cla' herself and tear her hair, li)e a 'oman 'ho had lost
her mind. .he tears her hair and ris her dress, and faints at every ste she ta)esC nor can anything
comfort her 'hen she sees her husband borne along lifeless in the bierC for her hainess is at an end,
and so she made her loud lament. The holy 'ater and the cross and the taers 'ere borne in advance by
the nuns from a conventC then came missals and censers and the riests, 'ho ronounce the final
absolution reKuired for the 'retched soul.
B6v. 77J*$7808.D Ay lord Yvain heard the cries and the grief that can never be described, for no
7J
one could describe it, nor 'as such ever set do'n in a boo). The rocession assed, but in the middle
of the room a great cro'd gathered about the bier, for the fresh 'arm blood tric)led out again from the
dead man-s 'ound, and this beto)ened certainly that the man 'as still surely resent 'ho had fought
the battle and had )illed and defeated him. Then they sought and searched every'here, and turned and
stirred u everything, until they 'ere all in a s'eat 'ith the trouble and the ress 'hich had been
caused by the sight of the tric)ling crimson blood. Then my lord Yvain 'as 'ell struc) and beaten
'here he lay, but not for that did he stir at all. (nd the eole became more and more distraught
because of the 'ounds 'hich burst oen, and they marvelled 'hy they bled, 'ithout )no'ing 'hose
fault it 'as.
xiii
(nd each one to his neighbour said% GThe murderer is among us here, and yet 'e do not
see him, 'hich is assing strange and mysterious.G (t this the lady sho'ed such grief that she made an
attemt uon her life, and cried as if beside herself% G(ll 3od, then 'ill the murderer not be found, the
traitor 'ho too) my good lord-s lifeQ 3oodQ (ye, the best of the good, indeedN True 3od, Thine 'ill be
the fault if Thou dost let him thus escae. /o other man than Thou should 2 blame for it 'ho dost hide
him from my sight. .uch a 'onder 'as never seen, nor such inMustice, as Thou dost to me in not
allo'ing me even to see the man 'ho must be so close to me. When 2 cannot see him, 2 may 'ell say
that some demon or sirit has interosed himself bet'een us, so that 2 am under a sell. #r else he is a
co'ard and is afraid of me% he must be a craven to stand in a'e of me, and it is an act of co'ardice not
to sho' himself before me. (h, thou sirit, craven thingN Why art thou so in fear of me, 'hen before
my lord thou 'eft so braveQ # emty and elusive thing, 'hy cannot 2 have thee in my o'erQ Why
cannot 2 lay hands uon thee no'Q 1ut ho' could it ever come about that thou didst )ill my lord,
unless it 'as done by treacheryQ .urely my lord 'ould never have met defeat at thy hands had he seen
thee face to face. For neither 3od nor man ever )ne' of his li)e, nor is there any li)e him no'. .urely,
hadst thou been a mortal man, thou 'ouldst never have dared to 'ithstand my lord, for no one could
comare 'ith him.G Thus the lady struggles 'ith herself, and thus she contends and exhausts herself.
(nd her eole 'ith her, for their art, sho' the greatest ossible grief as they carry off the body to
burial. (fter their long efforts and search they are comletely exhausted by the Kuest, and give it u
from 'eariness, inasmuch as they can find no one 'ho is in any 'ay guilty. The nuns and riests,
having already finished the service, had returned from the church and 'ere gone to the burial. 1ut to all
this the damsel in her chamber aid no heed. 4er thoughts are 'ith my lord Yvain, and, coming
Kuic)ly, she said to him% GFair sir, these eole have been see)ing you in force. They have raised a
great tumult here, and have o)ed about in all the corners more diligently than a hunting$dog goes
79
ferreting a artridge or a Kuail. "oubtless you have been afraid.G G?on my 'ord, you are right,G says
he% G2 never thought to be so afraid. (nd yet, if it 'ere ossible 2 should gladly loo) out through some
'indo' or aerture at the rocession and the corse.G Yet he had no interest in either the corse or the
rocession, for he 'ould gladly have seen them all burned, even had it cost him a thousand mar)s. (
thousand mar)sQ Three thousand, verily, uon my 'ord. 1ut he said it because of the lady of the to'n,
of 'hom he 'ished to catch a glimse. .o the damsel laced him at a little 'indo', and reaid him as
'ell as she could for the honour 'hich he had done her. From this 'indo' my lord Yvain esies the
fair lady, as she says% G.ire, may 3od have mercy uon your soulN For never, 2 verily believe, did any
)night ever sit in saddle 'ho 'as your eKual in any resect. /o other )night, my fair s'eet lord, ever
ossessed your honour or courtesy. 3enerosity 'as your friend and boldness your comanion. Aay
your soul rest among the saints, my fair dear lord.G Then she stri)es and tears 'hatever she can lay her
hands uon. Whatever the outcome may be, it is hard for my lord Yvain to restrain himself from
running for'ard to seiPe her hands. 1ut the damsel begs and advises him, and even urgently commands
him, though 'ith courtesy and graciousness, not to commit any rash deed, saying% GYou are 'ell off
here. "o not stir for any cause until this grief shall be assuagedC let these eole all deart, as they 'ill
do resently. 2f you act as 2 advise, in accordance 'ith my vie's, great advantage may come to you. 2t
'ill be best for you to remain seated here, and 'atch the eole inside and out as they ass along the
'ay 'ithout their seeing you. 1ut ta)e care not to sea) violently, for 2 hold that man to be rather
imrudent than brave 'ho goes too far and loses his self$restraint and commits some deed of violence
the moment he has the time and chance. .o if you cherish some rash thought be careful not to utter it.
The 'ise man conceals his imrudent thought and 'or)s out righteousness if he can. .o 'isely ta)e
good care not to ris) your head, for 'hich they 'ould accet no ransom. 1e considerate of yourself and
remember my advice. +est assured until 2 return, for 2 dare not stay longer no'. 2 might stay so long, 2
fear, that they 'ould susect me 'hen they did not see me in the cro'd, and then 2 should suffer for it.G
B6v. 7**:$75<;.D Then she goes off, and he remains, not )no'ing ho' to comort himself. 4e is
loath to see them bury the corse 'ithout his securing anything to ta)e bac) as evidence that he has
defeated and )illed him. 2f he has no roof or evidence he 'ill be held in contemt, for Kay is so mean
and obstinate, so given to moc)ery, and so annoying, that he could never succeed in convincing him.
4e 'ould go about for ever insulting him, flinging his moc)ery and taunts as he did the other day.
These taunts are still fresh and ran)ling in his heart. 1ut 'ith her sugar and honey a ne' Love no'
softened himC he had been to hunt uon his lands and had gathered in his rey. 4is enemy carries off
7:
his heart, and he loves the creature 'ho hates him most. The lady, all una'are, has 'ell avenged her
lord-s death. .he has secured greater revenge than she could ever have done unless she had been aided
by Love, 'ho attac)s him so gently that he 'ounds his heart through his eyes. (nd this 'ound is more
enduring than any inflicted by lance or s'ord. ( s'ord$blo' is cured and healed at once as soon as a
doctor attends to it, but the 'ound of love is 'orst 'hen it is nearest to its hysician. This is the 'ound
of my lord Yvain, from 'hich he 'ill never more recover, for Love has installed himself 'ith him. 4e
deserts and goes a'ay from the laces he 'as 'ont to freKuent. 4e cares for no lodging or landlord
save this one, and he is very 'ise in leaving a oor lodging$lace in order to beta)e himself to him. 2n
order to devote himself comletely to him, he 'ill have no other lodging$lace, though often he is 'ont
to see) out lo'ly hostelries. 2t is a shame that Love should ever so basely conduct himself as to select
the meanest lodging$lace Kuite as readily as the best. 1ut no' he has come 'here he is 'elcome, and
'here he 'ill be treated honourably, and 'here he 'ill do 'ell to stay. This is the 'ay Love ought to
act, being such a noble creature that it is marvellous ho' he dares shamefully to descend to such lo'
estate. 4e is li)e him 'ho sreads his balm uon the ashes and dust, 'ho mingles sugar 'ith gall, and
suet 'ith honey. 4o'ever, he did not act so this time, but rather lodged in a noble lace, for 'hich no
one can reroach him. When the dead man had been buried, all the eole disersed, leaving no cler)s
or )nights or ladies, exceting only her 'ho ma)es no secret of her grief. .he alone remains behind,
often clutching at her throat, 'ringing her hands, and beating her alms, as she reads her salms in her
gilt lettered salter. (ll this 'hile my lord Yvain is at the 'indo' gaPing at her, and the more he loo)s
at her the more he loves her and is enthralled by her. 4e 'ould have 'ished that she should cease her
'eeing and reading, and that she should feel inclined to converse 'ith him. Love, 'ho caught him at
the 'indo', filled him 'ith this desire. 1ut he desairs of realising his 'ish, for he cannot imagine or
believe that his desire can be gratified. .o he says% G2 may consider myself a fool to 'ish for 'hat 2
cannot have. 4er lord it 'as 'hom 2 'ounded mortally, and yet do 2 thin) 2 can be reconciled 'ith herQ
?on my 'ord, such thoughts are folly, for at resent she has good reason to hate me more bitterly than
anything. 2 am right in saying Oat resent-, for a 'oman has more than one mind. That mind in 'hich
she is Must no' 2 trust she 'ill soon changeC indeed, she 'ill change it certainly, and 2 am mad thus to
desair. 3od grant that she change it soonN For 2 am doomed to be her slave, since such is the 'ill of
Love. Whoever does not 'elcome Love gladly, 'hen he comes to him, commits treason and a felony. 2
admit Band let 'hosoever 'ill, heed 'hat 2 sayD that such an one deserves no hainess or Moy. 1ut if 2
lose, it 'ill not be for such a reasonC rather 'ill 2 love my enemy. For 2 ought not to feel any hate for
8<
her unless 2 'ish to betray Love. 2 must love in accordance 'ith Love-s desire. (nd ought she to regard
me as a friendQ Yes, surely, since it is she 'hom 2 love. (nd 2 call her my enemy, for she hates me,
though 'ith good reason, for 2 )illed the obMect of her love. .o, then, am 2 her enemyQ .urely no, but
her true friend, for 2 never so loved any one before. 2 grieve for her fair tresses, surassing gold in their
radianceC 2 feel the angs of anguish and torment 'hen 2 see her tear and cut them, nor can her tears
e-er be dried 'hich 2 see falling from her eyesC by all these things 2 am distressed. (lthough they are
full of ceaseless, ever$flo'ing tears, yet never 'ere there such lovely eves. The sight of her 'eeing
causes me agony, but nothing ains me so much as the sight of her face, 'hich she lacerates 'ithout its
having merited such treatment. 2 never sa' such a face so erfectly formed, nor so fresh and delicately
coloured. (nd then it has ierced my heart to see her clutch her throat. .urely, it is all too true that she
is doing the 'orst she can. (nd yet no crystal nor any mirror is so bright and smooth. 3odN 'hy is she
thus ossessed, and 'hy does she not sare herselfQ Why does she 'ring her lovely hands and beat and
tear her breastQ Would she not be marvellously fair to loo) uon 'hen in hay mood, seeing that she
is so fair in her disleasureQ .urely yes, 2 can ta)e my oath on that. /ever before in a 'or) of beauty
'as /ature thus able to outdo herself, for 2 am sure she has gone beyond the limits of any revious
attemt. 4o' could it ever have haened thenQ Whence came beauty so marvellousQ 3od must have
made her 'ith 4is na)ed hand that /ature might rest from further toil. 2f she should try to ma)e a
relica, she might send her time in vain 'ithout succeeding in her tas). ,ven 3od 4imself, 'ere 4e
to try, could not succeed, 2 guess, in ever ma)ing such another, 'hatever effort 4e might ut forth.G
B6v. 75<J$7599.D Thus my lord Yvain considers her 'ho is bro)en 'ith her grief, and 2 suose it
'ould never haen again that any man in rison, li)e my lord Yvain in fear for his life, 'ould ever be
so madly in love as to ma)e no reKuest on his o'n behalf, 'hen erhas no one else 'ill sea) for him.
4e stayed at the 'indo' until he sa' the lady go a'ay, and both the ortcullises 'ere lo'ered again.
(nother might have grieved at this, 'ho 'ould refer a free escae to tarrying longer 'here he 'as.
1ut to him it is Kuite indifferent 'hether they be shut or oened. 2f they 'ere oen he surely 'ould not
go a'ay, no, even 'ere the lady to give him leave and ardon him freely for the death of her lord. For
he is detained by Love and .hame 'hich rise u before him on either hand% he is ashamed to go a'ay,
for no one 'ould believe in the success of his exloitC 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
imrisonment. 4e 'ould rather die than go a'ay. (nd no' the damsel returns, 'ishing to bear him
comany 'ith her solace and gaiety, and to go and fetch for him 'hatever he may desire. 1ut she found
87
him ensive and Kuite 'orn out 'ith the love 'hich had laid hold of himC 'hereuon she addressed
him thus% GAy lord Yvain, 'hat sort of a time have you had to$dayQG G2 have been leasantly occuied,G
'as his rely. G!leasantlyQ 2n 3od-s name, is that the truthQ WhatQ 4o' can one enMoy himself seeing
that he is hunted to death, unless he courts and 'ishes itQG G#f a truth,G he says, Gmy gentle friend, 2
should by no means 'ish to dieC and yet, as 3od beholds me, 2 'as leased, am leased no', and
al'ays shall be leased by 'hat 2 sa'.G GWell, let us say no more of that,G she ma)es rely, Gfor 2 can
understand 'ell enough 'hat is the meaning of such 'ords. 2 am not so foolish or inexerienced that 2
cannot understand such 'ords as thoseC but come no' after me, for 2 shall find some seedy means to
release you from your confinement. 2 shall surely set you free to$night or to$morro', if you lease.
Come no', 2 'ill lead you a'ay.G (nd he thus ma)es rely% GYou may be sure that 2 'ill never escae
secretly and li)e a thief. When the eole are all gathered out there in the streets, 2 can go forth more
honourably than if 2 did so surretitiously.G Then he follo'ed her into the little room. The damsel, 'ho
'as )ind, secured and besto'ed uon him all that he desired. (nd 'hen the oortunity arose, she
remembered 'hat he had said to her ho' he had been leased by 'hat he sa' 'hen they 'ere see)ing
him in the room 'ith intent to )ill him.
B6v. 759:$7;58.D The damsel stood in such favour 'ith her lady that she had no fear of telling her
anything, regardless of the conseKuences, for she 'as her confidante and comanion. Then, 'hy should
she be bac)'ard in comforting her lady and in giving her advice 'hich should redound to her honourQ
The first time she said to her rivily% GAy lady, 2 greatly marvel to see you act so extravagantly. "o you
thin) you can recover your lord by giving a'ay thus to your griefQG G/ay, rather, if 2 had my 'ish,G
says she, G2 'ould no' be dead of grief.G G(nd 'hyQG G2n order to follo' after him.G G(fter himQ 3od
forbid, and give you again as good a lord, as is consistent 'ith 4is might.G GThou didst never sea)
such a lie as that, for 4e could never give me so good a lord again.G G4e 'ill give you a better one, if
you 'ill accet him, and 2 can rove it.G G1egoneN !eaceN 2 shall never find such a one.G G2ndeed you
shall, my lady, if you 'ill consent. @ust tell me, if you 'ill, 'ho is going to defend your land 'hen
King (rthur comes next 'ee) to the margin of the sringQ You have already been arised of this by
letters sent you by the "ameisele .auvage. (las, 'hat a )ind service she did for youN you ought to be
considering ho' you 'ill defend your sring, and yet you cease not to 'eeN 2f it lease you, my dear
lady, you ought not to delay. For surely, all the )nights you have are not 'orth, as you 'ell )no', so
much as a single chamber$maid. /either shield nor lance 'ill ever be ta)en in hand by the best of them.
You have lenty of craven servants, but there is not one of them brave enough to dare to mount a steed.
88
(nd the King is coming 'ith such a host that his victory 'ill be inevitable.G The lady, uon reflection,
)no's very 'ell that she is giving her sincere advice, but she is unreasonable in one resect, as also are
other 'omen 'ho are, almost 'ithout excetion, guilty of their o'n folly, and refuse to accet 'hat
they really 'ish. G1egone,G she saysC Gleave me alone. 2f 2 ever hear thee sea) of this again it 'ill go
hard 'ith thee, unless thou flee. Thou 'eariest me 'ith thy idle 'ords.G G6ery 'ell, my lady,G she saysC
Gthat you are a 'oman is evident, for 'oman 'ill gro' irate 'hen she hears any one give her good
advice.G
B6v. 7;5*$7J8;.D Then she 'ent a'ay and left her alone. (nd the lady reflected that she had been
in the 'rong. .he 'ould have been very glad to )no' ho' the damsel could ever rove that it 'ould
be ossible to find a better )night than her lord had ever been. .he 'ould be very glad to hear her
sea), but no' she has forbidden her. With this desire in mind, she 'aited until she returned. 1ut the
'arning 'as of no avail, for she began to say to her at once% GAy lady, is it seemly that you should thus
torment yourself 'ith griefQ For 3od-s sa)e no' control yourself, and for shame, at least, cease your
lament. 2t is not fitting that so great a lady should )ee u her grief so long. +emember your
honourable estate and your very gentle birthN Thin) you that all virtue ceased 'ith the death of your
lordQ There are in the 'orld a hundred as good or better men.G GAay 3od confound me, if thou dost not
lieN @ust name to me a single one 'ho is reuted to be so excellent as my lord 'as all his life.G G2f 2 did
so you 'ould be angry 'ith me, and 'ould fly into a assion and you 'ould esteem me less.G G/o, 2
'ill not, 2 assure thee.G GThen may it all be for your future 'elfare if you 'ould but consent, and may
3od so incline your 'illN 2 see no reason for holding my eace, for no one hears or heeds 'hat 'e say.
"oubtless you 'ill thin) 2 am imudent, but 2 shall freely sea) my mind. When t'o )nights have met
in an affray of arms and 'hen one has beaten the other, 'hich of the t'o do you thin) is the betterQ For
my art 2 a'ard the riPe to the victor. /o' 'hat do you thin)QG G2t seems to me you are laying a tra
for me and intend to catch me in my 'ords.G G?on my faith, you may rest assured that 2 am in the
right, and 2 can irrefutably rove to you that he 'ho defeated your lord is better than he 'as himself.
4e beat him and ursued him valiantly until he imrisoned him in his house.G G/o',G she relies, G2
hear the greatest nonsense that 'as ever uttered. 1egone, thou sirit charged 'ith evilN 1egone, thou
foolish and tiresome girlN /ever again utter such idle 'ords, and never come again into my resence to
sea) a 'ord on his behalfNG G2ndeed, my lady, 2 )ne' full 'ell that 2 should receive no than)s from
you, and 2 said so before 2 so)e. 1ut you romised me you 'ould not be disleased, and that you
'ould not be angry 'ith me for it. 1ut you have failed to )ee your romise, and no', as it has turned
8*
out, you have discharged your 'rath on me, and 2 have lost by not holding my eace.G
B6v. 7J8J$7:08.D Thereuon she goes bac) to the room 'here my lord Yvain is 'aiting,
comfortably guarded by her vigilance. 1ut he is ill at ease 'hen he cannot see the lady, and he ays no
attention, and hears no 'ord of the reort 'hich the damsel brings to him. The lady, too, is in great
erlexity all night, being 'orried about ho' she should defend the sringC and she begins to reent of
her action to the damsel, 'hom she had blamed and insulted and treated 'ith contemt. .he feels very
sure and certain that not for any re'ard or bribe, nor for any affection 'hich she may bear him, 'ould
the maiden ever have mentioned himC and that she must love her more than him, and that she 'ould
never give her advice 'hich 'ould bring her shame or embarrassment% the maid is too loyal a friend for
that. Thus, loN the lady is comletely changed% she fears no' that she to 'hom she had so)en harshly
'ill never love her again devotedlyC and him 'hom she had reulsed, she no' loyally and 'ith good
reason ardons, seeing that he had done her no 'rong. .o she argues as if he 'ere in her resence
there, and thus she begins her argument% GCome,G she says, Gcanst thou deny that my lord 'as )illed by
theeQG GThat,G says he, G2 cannot deny. 2ndeed, 2 fully admit it.G GTell me, then, the reason of thy deed.
"idst thou do it to inMure me, romted by hatred or by siteQG GAay death not sare me no', if 2 did it
to inMure you.G G2n that case, thou hast done me no 'rong, nor art thou guilty of aught to'ard him. For
he 'ould have )illed thee, if he could. .o it seems to me that 2 have decided 'ell and righteously.G
Thus, by her o'n arguments she succeeds in discovering Mustice, reason, and common sense, ho' that
there is no cause for hating himC thus she frames the matter to conform 'ith her desire, and by her o'n
efforts she )indles her love, as a bush 'hich only smo)es 'ith the flame beneath, until some one blo's
it or stirs it u. 2f the damsel should come in no', she 'ould 'in the Kuarrel for 'hich she had been so
reroached, and by 'hich she had been so hurt. (nd next morning, in fact, she aeared again, ta)ing
the subMect u 'here she had let it dro. Aean'hile, the lady bo'ed her head, )no'ing she had done
'rong in attac)ing her. 1ut no' she is anxious to ma)e amends, and to inKuire concerning the name,
character, and lineage of the )night% so she 'isely humbles herself, and says% G2 'ish to beg your
ardon for the insulting 'ords of ride 'hich in my rage 2 so)e to you% 2 'ill follo' your advice. .o
tell me no', if ossible, about the )night of 'hom you have so)en so much to me% 'hat sort of a man
is he, and of 'hat arentageQ 2f he is suited to become my mate, and rovided he be so disosed, 2
romise you to ma)e him my husband and lord of my domain. 1ut he 'ill have to act in such a 'ay
that no one can reroach me by saying% OThis is she 'ho too) him 'ho )illed her lord.-G G2n 3od-s
name, lady, so shall it be. You 'ill have the gentlest, noblest, and fairest lord 'ho ever belonged to
80
(bel-s line.G GWhat is his nameQG GAy lord Yvain.G G?on my 'ord, if he is King ?rien-s son he is of
no mean birth, but very noble, as 2 'ell )no'.G G2ndeed, my lady, you say the truth.G G(nd 'hen shall
'e be able to see himQG G2n five days- time.G GThat 'ould be too longC for 2 'ish he 'ere already come.
Let him come to$night, or to$morro', at the latest.G GAy lady, 2 thin) no one could fly so far in one day.
1ut 2 shall send one of my sKuires 'ho can run fast, and 'ho 'ill reach King (rthur-s court at least by
to$morro' night, 2 thin)C that is the lace 'e must see) for him.G GThat is a very long time. The days
are long. 1ut tell him that to$morro' night he must be bac) here, and that he must ma)e greater haste
than usual. 2f he 'ill only do his best, he can do t'o days- Mourney in one. Aoreover, to$night the moon
'ill shineC so let him turn night into day. (nd 'hen he returns 2 'ill give him 'hatever he 'ishes me to
give.G GLeave all care of that to meC for you shall have him in your hands the day after to$morro' at the
very latest. Aean'hile you shall summon your men and confer 'ith them about the aroaching visit
of the King. 2n order to ma)e the customary defence of your sring it behoves you to consult 'ith
them. /one of them 'ill be so hardy as to dare to boast that he 'ill resent himself. 2n that case you
'ill have a good excuse for saving that it behoves you to marry again. ( certain )night, highly
Kualified, see)s your handC but you do not resume to accet him 'ithout their unanimous consent.
(nd 2 'arrant 'hat the outcome 'ill be% 2 )no' them all to be such co'ards that in order to ut on
some one else the burden 'hich 'ould be too heavy for them, they 'ill fall at your feet and sea) their
gratitudeC for thus their resonsibility 'ill be at an end. For, 'hoever is afraid of his o'n shado'
'illingly avoids, if ossible, any meeting 'ith lance or searC for such games a co'ard has no use.G
G?on my 'ord,G the lady relies, Gso 2 'ould have it, and so 2 consent, having already conceived the
lan 'hich you have exressedC so that is 'hat 'e shall do. 1ut 'hy do you tarry hereQ 3o, 'ithout
delay, and ta)e measures to bring him here, 'hile 2 shall summon my liege$men.G Thus concluded their
conference. (nd the damsel retends to send to search for my lord Yvain in his countryC 'hile every
day she has him bathed, and 'ashed, and groomed. (nd besides this she reares for him a robe of red
scarlet stuff, brand ne' and lined 'ith sotted fur. There is nothing necessary for his eKuiment 'hich
she does not lend to him% a golden buc)le for his nec), ornamented 'ith recious stones 'hich ma)e
eole loo) 'ell, a girdle, and a 'allet made of rich gold brocade. .he fitted him out erfectly, then
informed her lady that the messenger had returned, having done his errand 'ell. G4o' is thatQG she
says, Gis he hereQ Then let him come at once, secretly and rivily, 'hile no one is here 'ith me. .ee to
it that no one else come in, for 2 should hate to see a fourth erson here.G (t this the damsel 'ent a'ay,
and returned to her guest again. 4o'ever, her face did not reveal the Moy that 'as in her heartC indeed,
85
she said that her lady )ne' that she had been sheltering him, and 'as very much incensed at her.
GFurther concealment is useless no'. The ne's about you has been so divulged that my lady )no's the
'hole story and is very angry 'ith me, heaing me 'ith blame and reroaches. 1ut she has given me
her 'ord that 2 may ta)e you into her resence 'ithout any harm or danger. 2 ta)e it that you 'ill have
no obMection to this, excet for one condition Bfor 2 must not disguise the truth, or 2 should be unMust to
youD% she 'ishes to have you in her control, and she desires such comlete ossession of your body that
even your heart shall not be at large.G GCertainly,G he said, G2 readily consent to 'hat 'ill be no
hardshi to me. 2 am 'illing to be her risoner.G G.o shall you be% 2 s'ear it by this right hand laid uon
youN. /o' come and, uon my advice, demean yourself so humbly in her resence that your
imrisonment may not be grievous. #ther'ise feel no concern. 2 do not thin) that your restraint 'ill be
ir)some.G Then the damsel leads him off, no' alarming, no' reassuring him, and sea)ing to him
mysteriously about the confinement in 'hich he is to find himselfC for every lover is a risoner. .he is
right in calling him a risonerC for surely any one 'ho loves is no longer free.
B6v. 7:0*$8<*;.D Ta)ing my lord Yvain by the hand, the damsel leads him 'here he 'ill be dearly
lovedC but execting to be ill received, it is not strange if he is afraid. They found the lady seated uon
a red cushion. 2 assure you my lord Yvain 'as terrified uon entering the room, 'here he found the
lady 'ho so)e not a 'ord to him. (t this he 'as still more afraid, being overcome 'ith fear at the
thought that he had been betrayed. 4e stood there to one side so long that the damsel at last so)e u
and said% GFive hundred curses uon the head of him 'ho ta)es into a fair lady-s chamber a )night 'ho
'ill not dra' near, and 'ho has neither tongue nor mouth nor sense to introduce himself.G Thereuon,
ta)ing him by the arm, she thrust him for'ard 'ith the 'ords% GCome, ste for'ard, )night, and have
no fear that my lady is going to sna at youC but see) her good$'ill and give her yours. 2 'ill Moin you
in your rayer that she ardon you for the death of her lord, ,sclados the +ed.G Then my lord Yvain
clased his hands, and failing uon his )nees, so)e li)e a lover 'ith these 'ords% G2 'ill not crave
your ardon, lady, but rather than) you for any treatment you may inflict on me, )no'ing that no act of
yours could ever be distasteful to me.G G2s that so, sirQ (nd 'hat if 2 thin) to )ill you no'QG GAy lady,
if it lease you, you 'ill never hear me sea) other'ise.G G2 never heard of such a thing as this% that
you ut yourself voluntarily and absolutely 'ithin my o'er, 'ithout the coercion of any one.G GAy
lady, there is no force so strong, in truth, as that 'hich commands me to conform absolutely to your
desire. 2 do not fear to carry out any order you may be leased to give. (nd if 2 could atone for the
death, 'hich came through no fault of mine, 2 'ould do so cheerfully.G GWhatQG says she, Gcome tell
8;
me no' and be forgiven, if you did no 'rong in )illing my lordQG GLady,G he says, Gif 2 may say it,
'hen your lord attac)ed me, 'hy 'as 2 'rong to defend myselfQ When a man in self$defence )ills
another 'ho is trying to )ill or cature him, tell me if in any 'ay he is to blame.G G/o, if one loo)s at it
aright. (nd 2 suose it 'ould have been no use, if 2 had had you ut to death. 1ut 2 should be glad to
learn 'hence you derive the force that bids you to consent unKuestioningly to 'hatever my 'ill may
dictate. 2 ardon you all your misdeeds and crimes. 1ut be seated, and tell us no' 'hat is the cause of
your docilityQG GAy lady,G he says, Gthe imelling force comes from my heart, 'hich is inclined to'ard
you. Ay heart has fixed me in this desire.G G(nd 'hat romted your heart, my fair s'eet friendQG
GLady, my eyes.G G(nd 'hat the eyesQG GThe great beauty that 2 see in you.G G(nd 'here is beauty-s
fault in thatQG GLady, in this% that it ma)es me love.G GLoveQ (nd 'homQG GYou, my lady dear.G G2QG
GYes, truly.G G+eallyQ (nd ho' is thatQG GTo such an extent that my heart 'ill not stir from you, nor is it
else'here to be foundC to such an extent that 2 cannot thin) of anything else, and 2 surrender myself
altogether to you, 'hom 2 love more than 2 love myself, and for 'hom, if you 'ill, 2 am eKually ready
to die or live.G G(nd 'ould you dare to underta)e the defence of my sring for love of meQG GYes, my
lady, against the 'orld.G GThen you may )no' that our eace is made.G
B6v. 8<*J$8<09.D Thus they are Kuic)ly reconciled. (nd the lady, having reviously consulted her
lords, says% GWe shall roceed from here to the hall 'here my men are assembled, 'ho, in vie' of the
evident need, have advised and counselled me to ta)e a husband at their reKuest. (nd 2 shall do so, in
vie' of the urgent need% here and no' 2 give myself to youC for 2 should not refuse to accet as lord,
such a good )night and a )ing-s son.G
B6v. 8<0:$8*89.D /o' the damsel has brought about exactly 'hat she had desired. (nd my lord
Yvain-s mastery is more comlete than could be told or describedC for the lady leads him a'ay to the
hall, 'hich 'as full of her )nights and men$at$arms. (nd my lord Yvain 'as so handsome that they all
marvelled to loo) at him, and all, rising to their feet, salute and bo' to my lord Yvain, guessing 'ell as
they did so% GThis is he 'hom my lady 'ill select. Cursed be he 'ho ooses himN For he seems a
'onderfully fine man. .urely, the emress of +ome 'ould be 'ell married 'ith such a man. Would
no' that he had given his 'ord to her, and she to him, 'ith clased hand, and that the 'edding might
ta)e lace to$day or tomorro'.G Thus they so)e among themselves. (t the end of the hall there 'as a
seat, and there in the sight of all the lady too) her lace. (nd my lord Yvain made as if he intended to
seat himself at her feetC but she raised him u, and ordered the seneschal to sea) aloud, so that his
seech might be heard by all. Then the seneschal began, being neither stubborn nor slo' of seech%
8J
GAy lords,G he said, G'e are confronted by 'ar. ,very day the King is rearing 'ith all the haste he
can command to come to ravage our lands. 1efore a fortnight shall have assed, all 'ill have been laid
'aste, unless some valiant defender shall aear. When my lady married first, not Kuite seven years
ago, she did it on your advice. /o' her husband is dead, and she is grieved. .ix feet of earth is all he
has, 'ho formerly o'ned all this land, and 'ho 'as indeed its ornament.
xiv
2t is a ity he lived so short
a 'hile. ( 'oman cannot bear a shield, nor does she )no' ho' to fight 'ith lance. 2t 'ould exalt and
dignify her again if she should marry some 'orthy lord. /ever 'as there greater need than no'C do all
of you recommend that she ta)e a souse, before the custom shall lase 'hich has been observed in
this to'n for more than the ast sixty years.G (t this, all at once roclaim that it seems to them the right
thing to do, and they all thro' themselves at her feet. They strengthen her desire by their consentC yet
she hesitates to assert her 'ishes until, as if against her 'ill, she finally sea)s to the same intent as she
'ould have done, indeed, if every one had oosed her 'ish% GAy lords, since it is your 'ish, this
)night 'ho is seated beside me has 'ooed me and ardently sought my hand. 4e 'ishes to engage
himself in the defence of my rights and in my service, for 'hich 2 than) him heartily, as you do also. 2t
is true 2 have never )no'n him in erson, but 2 have often heard his name. Kno' that he is no less a
man than the son of King ?rien. 1eside his illustrious lineage, he is so brave, courteous, and 'ise that
no one has cause to disarage him. You have all already heard, 2 suose, of my lord Yvain, and it is he
'ho see)s my hand. When the marriage is consummated, 2 shall have a more noble lord than 2
deserve.G They all say% G2f you are rudent, this very day shall not go by 'ithout the marriage being
solemnised. For it is folly to ostone for a single hour an advantageous act.G They beseech her so
insistently that she consents to 'hat she 'ould have done in any case. For Love bids her do that for
'hich she as)s counsel and adviceC but there is more honour for him in being acceted 'ith the
aroval of her men. To her their rayers are not un'elcomeC rather do they stir and incite her heart to
have its 'ay. The horse, already under seed, goes faster yet 'hen it is surred. 2n the resence of all
her lords, the lady gives herself to my lord Yvain. From the hand of her chalain he received the lady,
Laudine de Landuc, daughter of "u)e Laudunet, of 'hom they sing a lay. That very day 'ithout delay
he married her, and the 'edding 'as celebrated. There 'ere lenty of mitres and croPiers there, for the
lady had summoned her bishos and abbots. 3reat 'as the Moy and reMoicing, there 'ere many eole,
and much 'ealth 'as dislayed $$ more than 2 could tell you of, 'ere 2 to devote much thought to it. 2t
is better to )ee silent than to be inadeKuate. .o my lord Yvain is master no', and the dead man is Kuite
forgot. 4e 'ho )illed him is no' married to his 'ife, and they enMoy the marriage rights. The eole
89
love and esteem their living lord more than they ever did the dead. They served him 'ell at his
marriage$feast, until the eve before the day 'hen the King came to visit the marvellous sring and its
stone, bringing 'ith him uon this exedition his comanions and all those of his householdC not one
'as left behind. (nd my lord Kay remar)ed% G(h, 'hat no' has become of Yvain, 'ho after his dinner
made the boast that he 'ould avenge his cousin-s shameQ ,vidently he so)e in his cus. 2 believe that
he has run a'ay. 4e 'ould not dare to come bac) for anything. 4e 'as very resumtuous to ma)e
such a boast. 4e is a bold man 'ho dares to boast of 'hat no one 'ould raise him for, and 'ho has no
roof of his great feats excet the 'ords of some false flatterer. There is a great difference bet'een a
co'ard and a heroC for the co'ard seated beside the fire tal)s loudly about himself, holding all the rest
as fools, and thin)ing that no one )no's his real character. ( hero 'ould be distressed at hearing his
ro'ess related by some one else. (nd yet 2 maintain that the co'ard is not 'rong to raise and vaunt
himself, for he 'ill find no one else to lie for him. 2f he does not boast of his deeds, 'ho 'illQ (ll ass
over him in silence, even the heralds, 'ho roclaim the brave, but discard the co'ards.G When my lord
Kay had so)en thus, my lord 3a'ain made this rely% GAy lord Kay, have some mercy no'N .ince
my lord Yvain is not here, you do not )no' 'hat business occuies him. 2ndeed. he never so debased
himself as to sea) any ill of you comared 'ith the gracious things he has said.G G.ire,G says Kay, G2-ll
hold my eace. 2-ll not say another 'ord to$day, since 2 see you are offended by my seech.G Then the
King, in order to see the rain, oured a 'hole basin full of 'ater uon the stone beneath the ine, and at
once the rain began to our. 2t 'as not long before my lord Yvain 'ithout delay entered the forest fully
armed, tiding faster than a gallo on a large, slee) steed, strong, intreid, and fleet of foot. (nd it 'as
my lord Kay-s desire to reKuest the first encounter. For, 'hatever the outcome might be, he al'ays
'ished to begin the fight and Moust the first, or else he 'ould be much incensed. 1efore all the rest, he
reKuested the King to allo' him to do battle first. The King says% GKay, since it is your 'ish, and since
you are the first to ma)e the reKuest, the favour ought not to be denied.G Kay than)s him first, then
mounts his steed. 2f no' my lord Yvain can inflict a mild disgrace uon him, he 'ill be very glad to do
soC for he recognises him by his arms.
xv
,ach grasing his shield by the stras, they rush together.
.urring their steeds, they lo'er the lances, 'hich they hold tightly gried. Then they thrust them
for'ard a little, so that they grased them by the leather$'raed handles, and so that 'hen they came
together they 'ere able to deal such cruel blo's that both lances bro)e in slinters clear to the handle
of the shaft. Ay lord Yvain gave him such a mighty blo' that Kay too) a summersault from out of his
saddle and struc) 'ith his helmet on the ground. Ay lord Yvain has no desire to inflict uon him
8:
further harm, but simly dismounts and ta)es his horse. This leased them all, and many said% G(h, ah,
see ho' you rostrate lie, 'ho but no' held others u to scornN (nd yet it is only right to ardon you
this timeC for it never haened to you before.G Thereuon my lord Yvain aroached the King, leading
the horse in his hand by the bridle, and 'ishing to ma)e it over to him. G.ire,G says he, Gno' ta)e this
steed, for 2 should do 'rong to )ee bac) anything of yours.G G(nd 'ho are youQG the King reliesC G2
should never )no' you, unless 2 heard your name, or sa' you 'ithout your arms.G Then my lord told
him 'ho he 'as, and Kay 'as overcome 'ith shame, mortified, humbled, and discomfited, for having
said that he had run a'ay. 1ut the others 'ere greatly leased, and made much of the honour he had
'on. ,ven the King 'as greatly gratified, and my lord 3a'ain a hundred times more than any one else.
For he loved his comany more than that of any other )night he )ne'. (nd the King reKuested him
urgently to tell him, if it be his 'ill, ho' he had faredC for he 'as very curious to learn all about his
adventureC so the King begs him to tell the truth. (nd he soon told him all about the service and
)indness of the damsel, not assing over a single 'ord, not forgetting to mention anything. (nd after
this he invited the King and all his )nights to come to lodge 'ith him, saying they 'ould be doing him
great honour in acceting his hositality. (nd the King said that for an entire 'ee) he 'ould gladly do
him the honour and leasure, and 'ould bear him comany. (nd 'hen my lord Yvain had than)ed him,
they tarry no longer there, but mount and ta)e the most direct road to the to'n. Ay lord Yvain sends in
advance of the comany a sKuire beating a crane$falcon, in order that they might not ta)e the lady by
surrise, and that her eole might decorate the streets against the arrival of the King. When the lady
heard the ne's of the King-s visit she 'as greatly leasedC nor 'as there any one 'ho, uon hearing the
ne's, 'as not hay and elated. (nd the lady summons them all and reKuests them to go to meet him,
to 'hich they ma)e no obMection or remonstrance, all being anxious to do her 'ill.
Part II: Vv. 2329 - Vv. 4634
B6v. 8*8:$8070.D
xvi
Aounted on great .anish steeds, they all go to meet the King of 1ritain,
saluting King (rthur first 'ith great courtesy and then all his comany. GWelcome,G they say, Gto this
comany, so full of honourable menN 1lessed be he 'ho brings them hither and resents us 'ith such
fair guestsNG (t the King-s arrival the to'n resounds 'ith the Moyous 'elcome 'hich they give. .il)en
stuffs are ta)en out and hung aloft as decorations, and they sread taestries to 'al) uon and drae the
streets 'ith them, 'hile they 'ait for the King-s aroach. (nd they ma)e still another rearation, in
covering the streets 'ith a'nings against the hot rays of the sun. 1ells, horns, and trumets cause the
*<
to'n to ring so that 3od-s thunder could not have been heard. The maidens dance before him, flutes
and ies are layed, )ettle$drums, drums, and cymbals are beaten. #n their art the nimble youths
lea, and all strive to sho' their delight. With such evidence of their Moy, they 'elcome the King
fittingly. (nd the Lady came forth, dressed in imerial garb a robe of fresh ermine $$ and uon her head
she 'ore a diadem all ornamented 'ith rubies. /o cloud 'as there uon her face, but it 'as so gay and
full of Moy that she 'as more beautiful, 2 thin), than any goddess. (round her the cro'd ressed close,
as they cried 'ith one accord% GWelcome to the King of )ings and lord of lordsNG The King could not
rely to all before he sa' the lady coming to'ard him to hold his stirru. 4o'ever, he 'ould not 'ait
for this, but hastened to dismount himself as soon as he caught sight of her. Then she salutes him 'ith
these 'ords% GWelcome a hundred thousand times to the King, my lord, and blessed be his nehe', my
lord 3a'ainNG The King relies% G2 'ish all hainess and good luc) to your fair body and your face,
lovely creatureNG Then clasing her around the 'aist, the King embraced her gaily and heartily as she
did him, thro'ing her arms about him. 2 'ill say no more of ho' gladly she 'elcomed them, but no
one ever heard of any eole 'ho 'ere so honourably received and served. 2 might tell you much of
the Moy should 2 not be 'asting 'ords, but 2 'ish to ma)e brief mention of an acKuaintance 'hich 'as
made in rivate bet'een the moon and the sun. "o you )no' of 'hom 2 mean to sea)Q 4e 'ho 'as
lord of the )nights, and 'ho 'as reno'ned above them all, ought surely to be called the sun. 2 refer, of
course, to my lord 3a'ain, for chivalry is enhanced by him Must as 'hen the morning sun sheds its rays
abroad and lights all laces 'here it shines. (nd 2 call her the moon, 'ho cannot be other'ise because
of her sense and courtesy. 4o'ever, 2 call her so not only because of her good reute, but because her
name is, in fact, Lunete.
B6v. 8075$85*9.D The damsel-s name 'as Lunete, and she 'as a charming brunette, rudent,
clever, and olite. (s her acKuaintance gro's 'ith my lord 3a'ain, he values her highly and gives her
his love as to his s'eetheart, because she had saved from death his comanion and friendC he laces
himself freely at her service. #n her art she describes and relates to him 'ith 'hat difficulty she
ersuaded her mistress to ta)e my lord Yvain as her husband, and ho' she rotected him from the
hands of those 'ho 'ere see)ing himC ho' he 'as in their midst but they did not see him. Ay lord
3a'ain laughed aloud at this story of hers, and then he said% GAademoiselle, 'hen you need me and
'hen you don-t, such as 2 am, 2 lace myself at your disosal. /ever thro' me off for some one else
'hen you thin) you can imrove your lot. 2 am yours, and do you be from no' on my demoiselleNG G2
than) you )indly, sire,G she said. While the acKuaintance of these t'o 'as riening thus, the others, too,
*7
'ere engaged in flirting. For there 'ere erhas ninety ladies there, each of 'hom 'as fair and
charming, noble and olite, virtuous and rudent, and a lady of exalted birth, so the men could
agreeably emloy themselves in caressing and )issing them, and in tal)ing to them and in gaPing at
them 'hile they 'ere seated by their sideC that much satisfaction they had at least. Ay lord Yvain is in
high feather because the King is lodged 'ith him. (nd the lady besto's such attention uon them all,
as individuals and collectively, that some foolish erson might suose that the charming attentions
'hich she sho'ed them 'ere dictated by love. 1ut such ersons may roerly be rated as fools for
thin)ing that a lady is in love 'ith them Must because she is courteous and sea)s to some unfortunate
fello', and ma)es him hay and caresses him. ( fool is made hay by fair 'ords, and is very easily
ta)en in. That entire 'ee) they sent in gaietyC forest and stream offered lenty of sort for any one
'ho desired it. (nd 'hoever 'ished to see the land 'hich had come into the hands of my lord Yvain
'ith the lady 'hom he had married, could go to enMoy himself at one of the castles 'hich stood 'ithin
a radius of t'o, three, or four leagues. When the King had stayed as long as he chose, he made ready to
deart. 1ut during the 'ee) they had all begged urgently, and 'ith all the insistence at their command,
that they might ta)e a'ay my lord Yvain 'ith them. GWhatQ Will you be one of those.G said my lord
3a'ain to him, G'ho degenerate after marriageQ
xvii
Cursed be he by .aint Aary 'ho marries and then
degeneratesN Whoever has a fair lady as his mistress or his 'ife should be the better for it, and it is not
right that her affection should be besto'ed on him after his 'orth and reutation are gone. .urely you,
too, 'ould have cause to regret her love if you gre' soft, for a 'oman Kuic)ly 'ithdra's her love, and
rightly so, and desises him 'ho degenerates in any 'ay 'hen he has become lord of the realm. /o'
ought your fame to be increasedN .li off the bridle and halter and come to the tournament 'ith me,
that no one may say that you are Mealous. /o' you must no longer hesitate to freKuent the lists, to share
in the onslaught, and to contend 'ith force, 'hatever effort it may costN 2naction roduces indifference.
1ut, really, you must come, for 2 shall be in your comany. 4ave a care that our comradeshi shall not
fail through any fault of yours, fair comanionC for my art, you may count on me. 2t is strange ho' a
man sets store by the life of ease 'hich has no end. !leasures gro' s'eeter through ostonementC and
a little leasure, 'hen delayed, is much s'eeter to the taste than great leasure enMoyed at once. The
s'eets of a love 'hich develos late are li)e a fire in a green bushC for the longer one delays in lighting
it the greater 'ill be the heat it yields, and the longer 'ill its force endure. #ne may easily fall into
habits 'hich it is very difficult to sha)e off, for 'hen one desires to do so, he finds he has lost the
o'er. "on-t misunderstand my 'ords, my friend% if 2 had such a fair mistress as you have, 2 call 3od
*8
and 4is saints to 'itness, 2 should leave her most reluctantlyC indeed, 2 should doubtless be infatuated.
1ut a man may give another counsel, 'hich he 'ould not ta)e himself, Must as the reachers, 'ho are
deceitful rascals, and reach and roclaim the right but 'ho do not follo' it themselves.G
B6v. 85*:$85J9.D Ay lord 3a'ain so)e at such length and so urgently that he romised him that
he 'ould goC but he said that he must consult his lady and as) for her consent. Whether it be a foolish
or a rudent thing to do, he 'ill not fail to as) her leave to return to 1ritain. Then he too) counsel 'ith
his 'ife, 'ho had no in)ling of the ermission he desired, as he addressed her 'ith these 'ords% GAy
beloved lady, my heart and soul, my treasure, Moy, and hainess, grant me no' a favour 'hich 'ill
redound to your honour and to mine.G The lady at once gives her consent. not )no'ing 'hat his desire
is, and says% GFair lord, you may command me your leasure, 'hatever it be.G Then my lord Yvain at
once as)s her for ermission to escort the King and to attend at tournaments, that no one may reroach
his indolence. (nd she relies% G2 grant you leave until a certain dateC but be sure that my love 'ill
change to hate if you stay beyond the term that 2 shall fix. +emember that 2 shall )ee my 'ordC if you
brea) your 'ord 2 'ill )ee mine. 2f you 'ish to ossess my love, and if you have any regard for me,
remember to come bac) again at the latest a year from the resent date a 'ee) after .t. @ohn-s dayC for
to$day is the eighth day since that feast. You 'ill be chec)mated of my love if you are not restored to
me on that day.G
B6v. 85J:$8;*5.D Ay lord Yvain 'ees and sighs so bitterly that he can hardly find 'ords to say%
GAy lady, this date is indeed a long 'ay off. 2f 2 could be a dove, 'henever the fancy came to me, 2
should often reMoin you here. (nd 2 ray 3od that in 4is leasure 4e may not detain me so long a'ay.
1ut sometimes a man intends seedily to return 'ho )no's not 'hat the future has in store for him.
(nd 2 )no' not 'hat 'ill be my fate $$ erhas some urgency of sic)ness or imrisonment may )ee
me bac)% you are unMust in not ma)ing an excetion at least of actual hindrance.G GAy lord,G says she,
G2 'ill ma)e that excetion. (nd yet 2 dare to romise you that, if 3od deliver you from death, no
hindrance 'ill stand in your 'ay so long as you remember me. .o ut on your finger no' this ring of
mine, 'hich 2 lend to you. (nd 2 'ill tell you all about the stone% no true and loyal lover can be
imrisoned or lose any blood, nor can any harm befall him, rovided he carry it and hold it dear, and
)ee his s'eetheart in mind. You 'ill become as hard as iron, and it 'ill serve you as shield and
hauber). 2 have never before been 'illing to lend or entrust it to any )night, but to you 2 give it because
of my affection for you.G /o' my lord Yvain is free to go, but he 'ees bitterly on ta)ing leave. The
King, ho'ever, 'ould not tarry longer for anything that might be said% rather 'as he anxious to have
**
the alfreys brought all eKuied and bridled. They acceded at once to his desire, bringing the alfreys
forth, so that it remained only to mount. 2 do not )no' 'hether 2 ought to tell you ho' my lord Yvain
too) his leave, and of the )isses besto'ed on him, mingled 'ith tears and steeed in s'eetness. (nd
'hat shall 2 tell you about the King ho' the lady escorts him, accomanied by her damsels and
seneschalQ (ll this 'ould reKuire too much time. When he sees the lady-s tears, the King imlores her
to come no farther, but to return to her abode. 4e begged her 'ith such urgency that, heavy at heart, she
turned about follo'ed by her comany.
B6v. 8;*:$8JJ*.D Ay lord Yvain is so distressed to leave his lady that his heart remains behind.
The King may ta)e his body off, but he cannot lead his heart a'ay. .he 'ho stays behind clings so
tightly to his heart that the King has not the o'er to ta)e it a'ay 'ith him. When the body is left
'ithout the heart it cannot ossibly live on. For such a marvel 'as never seen as the body alive 'ithout
the heart. Yet this marvel no' came about% for he )et his body 'ithout the heart, 'hich 'as 'ont to
be enclosed in it, but 'hich 'ould not follo' the body no'. The heart has a good abiding$lace, 'hile
the body, hoing for a safe return to its heart, in strange fashion ta)es a ne' heart of hoe, 'hich is so
often deceitful and treacherous. 4e 'ill never )no' in advance, 2 thin), the hour 'hen this hoe 'ill
lay him false, for if he overstays by single day the term 'hich he has agreed uon, it 'ill be hard for
him to gain again his lady-s ardon and good'ill. Yet 2 thin) he 'ill overstay the term, for my lord
3a'ain 'ill not allo' him to art from him, as together they go to Moust 'herever tournaments are
held. (nd as the year asses by my lord Yvain had such success that my lord 3a'ain strove to honour
him, and caused him to delay so long that all the first year slied by, and it came to the middle of
(ugust of the ensuing year, 'hen the King held court at Chester, 'hither they had returned the day
before from a tournament 'here my lord Yvain had been and 'here he had 'on the glory and the story
tells ho' the t'o comanions 'ere un'illing to lodge in the to'n, but had their tents set u outside the
city, and held court there. For they never 'ent to the royal court, but the King came rather to Moin in
theirs, for they had the best )nights, and the greatest number, in their comany. /o' King (rthur 'as
seated in their midst, 'hen Yvain suddenly had a thought 'hich surrised him more than any that had
occurred to him since he had ta)en leave of his lady, for he realised that he had bro)en his 'ord, and
that the limit of his leave 'as already exceeded. 4e could hardly )ee bac) his tears, but he succeeded
in doing so from shame. 4e 'as still dee in thought 'hen he sa' a damsel aroaching raidly uon a
blac) alfrey 'ith 'hite forefeet. (s she got do'n before the tent no one heled her to dismount, and
no one 'ent to ta)e her horse. (s soon as she made out the King, she let her mantle fall, and thus
*0
dislayed she entered the tent and came before the King, announcing that her mistress sent greetings to
the King, and to my lord 3a'ain and all the other )nights, excet Yvain, that disloyal traitor, liar,
hyocrite, 'ho had deserted her deceitfully. G.he has seen clearly the treachery of him 'ho retended
he 'as a faithful lover 'hile he 'as a false and treacherous thief. This thief has traduced my lady, 'ho
'as all unreared for any evil, and to 'hom it never occurred that he 'ould steal her heart a'ay.
Those 'ho love truly do not steal hearts a'ayC there are, ho'ever, some men, by 'hom these former
are called thieves, 'ho themselves go about deceitfully ma)ing love, but in 'hom there is no real
)no'ledge of the matter. The lover ta)es his lady-s heart, of course, but he does not run a'ay 'ith itC
rather does he treasure it against those thieves 'ho, in the guise of honourable men, 'ould steal it from
him. 1ut those are deceitful and treacherous thieves 'ho vie 'ith one another in stealing hearts for
'hich they care nothing. The true lover, 'herever he may go, holds the heart dear and brings it bac)
again. 1ut Yvain has caused my lady-s death, for she suosed that he 'ould guard her heart for her,
and 'ould bring it bac) again before the year elased. Yvain, thou 'ast of short memory 'hen thou
couldst not remember to return to thy mistress 'ithin a year. .he gave thee thy liberty until .t. @ohn-s
day, and thou settest so little store by her that never since has a thought of her crossed thy mind. Ay
lady had mar)ed every day in her chamber, as the seasons assed% for 'hen one is in love, one is ill at
ease and cannot get any restful slee, but all night long must needs count and rec)on u the days as
they come and go. "ost thou )no' ho' lovers send their timeQ They )ee count of the time and the
season. 4er comlaint is not resented rematurely or 'ithout cause, and 2 am not accusing him in any
'ay, but 2 simly say that 'e have been R betrayed by him 'ho married my lady. Yvain, my mistress
has no further care for thee, but sends thee 'ord by me never to come bac) to her, and no longer to
)ee her ring. .he bids thee send it bac) to her by me, 'hom thou seest resent here. .urrender it no',
as thou art bound to do.G
B6v. 8JJ0$*8*<.D .enseless and derived of seech, Yvain is unable to rely. (nd the damsel stes
forth and ta)es the ring from his finger, commending to 3od the King and all the others excet him,
'hom she leaves in dee distress. (nd his sorro' gro's on him% he feels oressed by 'hat he hears,
and is tormented by 'hat he sees. 4e 'ould rather be banished alone in some 'ild land, 'here no one
'ould )no' 'here to see) for him, and 'here no man or 'oman 'ould )no' of his 'hereabouts any
more than if he 'ere in some dee abyss. 4e hates nothing so much as he hates himself, nor does he
)no' to 'hom to go for comfort in the death he has brought uon himself. 1ut he 'ould rather go
insane than not ta)e vengeance uon himself, derived, as he is, of Moy through his o'n fault. 4e rises
*5
from his lace among the )nights, fearing he 'ill lose his mind if he stays longer in their midst. #n
their art, they ay no heed to him, but let him ta)e his dearture alone. They )no' 'ell enough that he
cares nothing for their tal) or their society. (nd he goes a'ay until he is far from the tents and
avilions. Then such a storm bro)e loose in his brain that he loses his sensesC he tears his flesh and,
striing off his clothes, he flees across the meado's and fields, leaving his men Kuite at a loss, and
'ondering 'hat has become of him.
xviii
They go in search of him through all the country around $$ in
the lodgings of the )nights, by the hedgero's, and in the gardens $$ but they see) him 'here he is not
to be found. .till fleeing, he raidly ursued his 'ay until he met close by a ar) a lad 'ho had in his
hand a bo' and five barbed arro's, 'hich 'ere very shar and broad. 4e had sense enough to go and
ta)e the bo' and arro's 'hich he held. 4o'ever, he had no recollection of anything that he had done.
4e lies in 'ait for the beasts in the 'oods, )illing them, and then eating the venison ra'. Thus he d'elt
in the forest li)e a madman or a savage, until he came uon a little, lo'$lying house belonging to a
hermit, 'ho 'as at 'or) clearing his ground. When he sa' him coming 'ith nothing on, he could
easily erceive that he 'as not in his right mindC and such 'as the case, as the hermit very 'ell )ne'.
.o, in fear, he shut himself u in his little house, and ta)ing some bread and fresh 'ater, he charitably
set it outside the house on a narro' 'indo'$ledge. (nd thither the other comes, hungry for the bread
'hich he ta)es and eats. 2 do not believe that he ever before had tasted such hard and bitter bread. The
measure of barley )neaded 'ith the stra', of 'hich the bread, sourer than yeast, 'as made, had not
cost more than five sousC and the bread 'as musty and as dry as bar). 1ut hunger torments and 'hets
his aetite, so that the bread tasted to him li)e sauce. For hunger is itself a 'ell mixed and concocted
sauce for any food. Ay lord Yvain soon ate the hermit-s bread, 'hich tasted good to him, and dran) the
cool 'ater from the Mar. When he had eaten, he betoo) himself again to the 'oods in search of stags and
does. (nd 'hen he sees him going a'ay, the good man beneath his roof rays 3od to defend him and
guard him lest he ever ass that 'ay again. 1ut there is no creature, 'ith ho'soever little sense, that
'ill not gladly return to a lace 'here he is )indly treated. .o, not a day assed 'hile he 'as in this
mad fit that he did not bring to his door some 'ild game. .uch 'as the life he ledC and the good man
too) it uon himself to remove the s)in and set a good Kuantity of the venison to coo)C and the bread
and the 'ater in the Mug 'as al'ays standing on the 'indo'$ledge for the madman to ma)e a meal.
Thus he had something to eat and drin)% venison 'ithout salt or eer, and good cool 'ater from the
sring. (nd the good man exerted himself to sell the hide and buy bread made of barley, or oats, or of
some other grainC so, after that, Yvain had a lentiful suly of bread and venison, 'hich sufficed him
*;
for a long time, until one day he 'as found aslee in the forest by t'o damsels and their mistress, in
'hose service they 'ere. When they sa' the na)ed man, one of the three ran and dismounted and
examined him closely, before she sa' anything about him 'hich 'ould serve to identify him. 2f he had
only been richly attired, as he had been many a time, and if she could have seen him then she 'ould
have )no'n him Kuic)ly enough. 1ut she 'as slo' to recognise him, and continued to loo) at him until
at last she noticed a scar 'hich he had on his face, and she recollected that my lord Yvain-s face 'as
scarred in this same 'ayC she 'as sure of it, for she had often seen it. 1ecause of the scar she sa' that
it 'as he beyond any doubtC but she marvelled greatly ho' it came about that she found him thus oor
and stried. #ften she crosses herself in amaPement, but she does not touch him or 'a)e him uC
rather does she mount her horse again, and going bac) to the others, tells them tearfully of her
adventure. 2 do not )no' if 2 ought to delay to tell you of the grief she sho'edC but thus she so)e
'eeing to her mistress% GAy lady, 2 have found Yvain, 'ho has roved himself to be the best )night in
the 'orld, and the most virtuous. 2 cannot imagine 'hat sin has reduced the gentleman to such a light.
2 thin) he must have had some misfortune, 'hich causes him thus to demean himself, for one may lose
his 'its through grief. (nd any one can see that he is not in his right mind, for it 'ould surely never be
li)e him to conduct himself thus indecently unless he had lost his mind. Would that 3od had restored to
him the best sense he ever had, and 'ould that he might then consent to render assistance to your
causeN For Count (lier, 'ho is at 'ar 'ith you, has made uon you a fierce attac). 2 should see the
strife bet'een you t'o Kuic)ly settled in your favour if 3od favoured your fortunes so that he should
return to his senses and underta)e to aid you in this stress.G To this the lady made rely% GTa)e care
no'N For surely, if he does not escae, 'ith 3od-s hel 2 thin) 'e can clear his head of all the madness
and insanity. 1ut 'e must be on our 'ay at onceN For 2 recall a certain ointment 'ith 'hich Aorgan the
Wise resented me, saying there 'as no delirium of the head 'hich it 'ould not cure.G Thereuon, they
go off at once to'ard the to'n, 'hich 'as hard by, for it 'as not any more than half a league of the
)ind they have in that countryC and, as comared 'ith ours, t'o of their leagues ma)e one and four
ma)e t'o. (nd he remains sleeing all alone, 'hile the lady goes to fetch the ointment. The lady oens
a case of hers, and, ta)ing out a box, gives it to the damsel, and charges her not to be too rodigal in its
use% she should rub only his temles 'ith it, for there is no use of alying it else'hereC she should
anoint only his temles 'ith it, and the remainder she should carefully )ee, for there is nothing the
matter 'ith him excet in his brain. .he sends him also a robe of sotted fur, a coat, and a mantle of
scarlet sil). The damsel ta)es them, and leads in her right hand an excellent alfrey. (nd she added to
*J
these, of her o'n store, a shirt, some soft hose, and some ne' dra'ers of roer cut. With all these
things she Kuic)ly set out, and found him still aslee 'here she had left him. (fter utting her horse in
an enclosure 'here she tied him fast, she came 'ith the clothes and the ointment to the lace 'here he
'as aslee. Then she made so bold as to aroach the madman, so that she could touch and handle
him% then ta)ing the ointment she rubbed him 'ith it until none remained in the box, being so solicitous
for his recovery that she roceeded to anoint him all over 'ith itC and she used it so freely that she
heeded not the 'arning of her mistress, nor indeed did she remember it. .he ut more on than 'as
needed, but in her oinion it 'as 'ell emloyed. .he rubbed his temles and forehead, and his 'hole
body do'n to the an)les. .he rubbed his temles and his 'hole body so much there in the hot sunshine
that the madness and the deressing gloom assed comletely out of his brain. 1ut she 'as foolish to
anoint his body, for of that there 'as no need. 2f she had had five measures of it she 'ould doubtless
have done the same thing. .he carries off the box, and ta)es hidden refuge by her horse. 1ut she leaves
the robe behind, 'ishing that, if 3od calls him bac) to life, he may see it all laid out, and may ta)e it
and ut it on. .he osts herself behind an oa) tree until he had slet enough, and 'as cured and Kuite
restored, having regained his 'its and memory. Then he sees that he is as na)ed as ivory, and feels
much ashamedC but he 'ould have been yet more ashamed had he )no'n 'hat had haened. (s it is,
he )no's nothing but that he is na)ed. 4e sees the ne' robe lying before him, and marvels greatly ho'
and by 'hat adventure it had come there. 1ut he is ashamed and concerned, because of his na)edness,
and says that he is dead and utterly undone if any one has come uon him there and recognised him.
Aean'hile, he clothes himself and loo)s out into the forest to see if any one 'as aroaching. 4e tries
to stand u and suort himself, but cannot summon the strength to 'al) a'ay, for his sic)ness has so
affected him that he can scarcely stand uon his feet. Thereuon, the damsel resolves to 'ait no longer,
but, mounting, she assed close by him, as if una'are of his resence. Luite indifferent as to 'hence
might come the hel, 'hich he needed so much to lead him a'ay to some lodging$ lace, 'here he
might recruit his strength, he calls out to her 'ith all his might. (nd the damsel, for her art, loo)s
about her as if not )no'ing 'hat the trouble is. Confused, she goes hither and thither, not 'ishing to go
straight u to him. Then he begins to call again% G"amsel, come this 'ay, hereNG (nd the damsel guided
to'ard him her soft$steing alfrey. 1y this ruse she made him thin) that she )ne' nothing of him
and had never seen him beforeC in so doing she 'as 'ise and courteous. When she had come before
him, she said% G.ir )night, 'hat do you desire that you call me so insistentlyQG G(h,G said he. Grudent
damsel, 2 have found myself in this 'ood by some misha $$ 2 )no' not 'hat. For 3od-s sa)e and your
*9
belief in 4im, 2 ray you to lend me, ta)ing my 'ord as ledge, or else to give me outright, that alfrey
you are leading in your hand.G G3ladly, sire% but you must accomany me 'hither 2 am going.G GWhich
'ayQG says he. GTo a to'n that stands near by, beyond the forest.G GTell me, damsel, if you stand in
need of me.G GYes,G she says, G2 doC but 2 thin) you are not very 'ell. For the next t'o 'ee)s at least
you ought to rest. Ta)e this horse, 'hich 2 hold in my right hand, and 'e shall go to our lodging$lace.G
(nd he, 'ho had no other desire, ta)es it and mounts, and they roceed until they come to a bridge
over a s'ift and turbulent stream. (nd the damsel thro's into the 'ater the emty box she is carrying,
thin)ing to excuse herself to her mistress for her ointment by saying that she 'as so unluc)y as to let
the box fall into the 'ater for, 'hen her alfrey stumbled under her, the box slied from her gas, and
she came near falling in too, 'hich 'ould have been still 'orse luc). 2t is her intention to invent this
story 'hen she comes into her mistress- resence. Together they held their 'ay until they came to the
to'n, 'here the lady detained my lord Yvain and as)ed her damsel in rivate for her box and ointment%
and the damsel reeated to her the lie as she had invented it, not daring to tell her the truth. Then the
lady 'as greatly enraged, and said% GThis is certainly a very serious loss, and 2 am sure and certain that
the box 'ill never be found again. 1ut since it has haened so, there is nothing more to be done about
it. #ne often desires a blessing 'hich turns out to be a curseC thus 2, 'ho loo)ed for a blessing and Moy
from this )night, have lost the dearest and most recious of my ossessions. 4o'ever, 2 beg you to
serve him in all resects.G G(h, lady, ho' 'isely no' you sea)N For it 'ould be too bad to convert
one misfortune into t'o.G
B6v. *7*7$*850.D Then they say no more about the box, but minister in every 'ay they can to the
comfort of my lord Yvain, bathing him and 'ashing his hair, having him shaved and clied, for one
could have ta)en u a fist full of hair uon his face. 4is every 'ant is satisfied% if he as)s for arms, they
are furnished him% if he 'ants a horse, they rovide him 'ith one that is large and handsome, strong
and sirited. 4e stayed there until, uon a Tuesday, Count (lier came to the to'n 'ith his men and
)nights, 'ho started fires and too) lunder. Those in the to'n at once rose u and eKuied themselves
'ith arms. .ome armed and some unarmed, they issued forth to meet the lunderers, 'ho did not deign
to retreat before them, but a'aited them in a narro' ass. Ay lord Yvain struc) at the cro'dC he had
had so long a rest that his strength 'as Kuite restored, and he struc) a )night uon his shield 'ith such
force that he sent do'n in a hea, 2 thin), the )night together 'ith his horse. The )night never rose
again, for his bac)bone 'as bro)en and his heart burst 'ithin his breast. Ay lord Yvain dre' bac) a
little to recover. Then rotecting himself comletely 'ith his shield, he surred for'ard to clear the
*:
ass. #ne could not have counted u to four before one 'ould have seen him cast do'n seedily four
)nights. Whereuon, those 'ho 'ere 'ith him 'axed more brave, for many a man of oor and timid
heart, at the sight of some brave man 'ho attac)s a dangerous tas) before his eves, 'ill be
over'helmed by confusion and shame, 'hich 'ill drive out the oor heart in his body and give him
another li)e to a hero-s for courage. .o these men gre' brave and each stood his ground in the fight and
attac). (nd the lady 'as u in the to'er, 'hence she sa' the fighting and the rush to 'in and gain
ossession of the ass, and she sa' lying uon the ground many 'ho 'ere 'ounded and many )illed,
both of her o'n arty and of the enemy, but more of the enemy than of her o'n. For my courteous,
bold, and excellent lord Yvain made them yield Must as a falcon does the teal. (nd the men and 'omen
'ho had remained 'ithin the to'n declared as they 'atched the strife% G(h, 'hat a valiant )nightN
4o' he ma)es his enemies yield, and ho' fierce is his attac)N 4e 'as about him as a lion among the
fallo' deer, 'hen he is imelled by need and hunger. Then, too, all our other )nights are more brave
and daring because of him, for, 'ere it not for him alone, not a lance 'ould have been slintered nor a
s'ord dra'n to stri)e. When such an excellent man is found he ought to be loved and dearly riPed.
.ee no' ho' he roves himself, see ho' he maintains his lace, see ho' he stains 'ith blood his lance
and bare s'ord, see ho' he resses the enemy and follo's them u, ho' he comes boldly to attac)
them, then gives a'ay and turns aboutC but he sends little time in giving a'ay, and soon returns to the
attac). .ee him in the fray again, ho' lightly he esteems his shield, 'hich he allo's to be cut in ieces
mercilessly. @ust see ho' )een he is to avenge the blo's 'hich are dealt at him. For, if some one
should use all the forest of (rgone
xix
to ma)e lances for him, 2 guess he 'ould have none left by night.
For he brea)s all the lances that they lace in his soc)et, and calls for more. (nd see ho' he 'ields the
s'ord 'hen he dra's itN +oland never 'rought such havoc 'ith "urendal against the Tur)s at
+onceval or in .ainN
xx
2f he had in his comany some good comanions li)e himself, the traitor,
'hose attac) 'e are suffering, 'ould retreat today discomfited, or 'ould stand his ground only to find
defeat.G Then they say that the 'oman 'ould be blessed 'ho should be loved by one 'ho is so
o'erful in arms, and 'ho above all others may be recognised as a taer among candles, as a moon
among the stars, and as the sun above the moon. 4e so 'on the hearts of all that the ro'ess 'hich
they see in him made them 'ish that he had ta)en their lady to 'ife, and that he 'ere master of the
land.
B6v. *855$**0<.D Thus men and 'omen ali)e raised him, and in doing so they but told the truth.
For his attac) on his adversaries 'as such that they vie 'ith one another in flight. 1ut he resses hard
0<
uon their heels, and all his comanions follo' him, for by his side they feel as safe as if they 'ere
enclosed in a high and thic) stone 'all. The ursuit continues until those 'ho flee become exhausted,
and the ursuers slash at them and disembo'el their steeds. The living roll over uon the dead as they
'ound and )ill each other. They 'or) dreadful destruction uon each otherC and mean'hile the Count
flees 'ith my lord Yvain after him, until he comes u 'ith him at the foot of a stee ascent, near the
entrance of a strong lace 'hich belonged to the Count. There the Count 'as stoed, 'ith no one near
to lend him aidC and 'ithout any excessive arley my lord Yvain received his surrender. For as soon as
he held him in his hands, and they 'ere left Must man to man, there 'as no further ossibility of escae,
or of yielding, or of self$defenceC so the Count ledged his 'ord to go to surrender to the lady of
/oroison as her risoner, and to ma)e such eace as she might dictate. (nd 'hen he had acceted his
'ord he made him disarm his head and remove the shield from about his nec), and the Count
surrendered to him his s'ord. Thus he 'on the honour of leading off the Count as his risoner, and of
giving him over to his enemies, 'ho ma)e no secret of their Moy. 1ut the ne's 'as carried to the to'n
before they themselves arrived. While all come forth to meet them, the lady herself leads the 'ay. Ay
lord Yvain holds his risoner by the hand, and resents him to her. The Count gladly acceded to her
'ishes and demands, and secured her by his 'ord, oath, and ledges. 3iving her ledges, he s'ears to
her that he 'ill al'ays live on eaceful terms 'ith her, and 'ill ma)e good to her all the loss 'hich she
can rove, and 'ill build u again the houses 'hich he had destroyed. When these things 'ere agreed
uon in accordance 'ith the lady-s 'ish, my lord Yvain as)ed leave to deart. 1ut she 'ould not have
granted him this ermission had he been 'illing to ta)e her as his mistress. or to marry her. 1ut he
'ould not allo' himself to be follo'ed or escorted a single ste, but rather dearted hastily% in this
case entreaty 'as of no avail. .o he started out to retrace his ath, leaving the lady much chagrined,
'hose Moy he had caused a 'hile before. When he 'ill not tarry longer she is the more distressed and ill
at ease in roortion to the hainess he had brought to her, for she 'ould have 'ished to honour him,
and 'ould have made him, 'ith his consent, lord of all her ossessions, or else she 'ould have aid
him for his services 'hatever sum he might have named. 1ut he 'ould not heed any 'ord of man or
'oman. "esite their grief he left the )nights and the lady 'ho vainly tried to detain him longer.
B6v. **07$*090.D !ensively my lord Yvain roceeded through a dee 'ood, until he heard among
the trees a very loud and dismal cry, and he turned in the direction 'hence it seemed to come. (nd
'hen he had arrived uon the sot he sa' in a cleared sace a lion, and a serent 'hich held him by
the tail, burning his hind$ Kuarters 'ith flames of fire. Ay lord Yvain did not gae at this strange
07
sectacle, but too) counsel 'ith himself as to 'hich of the t'o he should aid. Then he says that he 'ill
succour the lion, for a treacherous and venomous creature deserves to be harmed. /o' the serent is
oisonous, and fire bursts forth from its mouth $$ so full of 'ic)edness is the creature. .o my lord
Yvain decides that he 'ill )ill the serent first. "ra'ing his s'ord he stes for'ard, holding the shield
before his face in order not to be harmed by the flame emerging from the creature-s throat, 'hich 'as
larger than a ot. 2f the lion attac)s him next, he too shall have all the fight he 'ishesC but 'hatever
may haen after'ards he ma)es u his mind to hel him no'. For ity urges him and ma)es reKuest
that he should bear succour and aid to the gentle and noble beast. With his s'ord, 'hich cuts so clean,
he attac)s the 'ic)ed serent, first cleaving him through to the earth and cutting him in t'o, then
continuing his blo's until he reduces him to tiny bits. 1ut he had to cut off a iece of the lion-s tail to
get at the serent-s head, 'hich held the lion by the tail. 4e cut off only so much as 'as necessary and
unavoidable. When he had set the lion free, he suosed that he 'ould have to fight 'ith him, and that
the lion 'ould come at himC but the lion 'as not minded so. @ust hear no' 'hat the lion didN 4e acted
nobly and as one 'ell$bredC for he began to ma)e it evident that he yielded himself to him, by standing
uon his t'o hind$feet and bo'ing his face to the earth, 'ith his fore$ feet Moined and stretched out
to'ard him. Then he fell on his )nees again, and all his face 'as 'et 'ith the tears of humility. Ay
lord Yvain )no's for a truth that the lion is than)ing him and doing him homage because of the serent
'hich he had )illed, thereby delivering him from death. 4e 'as greatly leased by this eisode. 4e
cleaned his s'ord of the serent-s oison and filthC then he relaced it in its scabbard, and resumed his
'ay. (nd the lion 'al)s close by his side, un'illing henceforth to art from him% he 'ill al'ays in
future accomany him, eager to serve and rotect him.
xxi
4e goes ahead until he scents in the 'ind
uon his 'ay some 'ild beasts feedingC then hunger and his nature romt him to see) his rey and to
secure his sustenance. 2t is his nature so to do. 4e started ahead a little on the trail, thus sho'ing his
master that he had come uon and detected the odour and scent of some 'ild game. Then he loo)s at
him and halts, 'ishing to serve his every 'ish, and un'illing to roceed against his 'ill. Yvain
understands by his attitude that he is sho'ing that he a'aits his leasure. 4e erceives this and
understands that if he holds bac) he 'ill hold bac) too, and that if he follo's him he 'ill seiPe the
game 'hich he has scented. Then he incites and cries to him, as he 'ould do to hunting$dogs. (t once
the lion directed his nose to the scent 'hich he had detected, and by 'hich he 'as not deceived, for he
had not gone a bo'$shot 'hen he sa' in a valley a deer graPing all alone. This deer he 'ill seiPe, if he
has his 'ay. (nd so he did, at the first sring, and then dran) its blood still 'arm. When he had )illed it
08
he laid it uon his bac) and carried it bac) to his master, 'ho thereuon conceived a greater affection
for him, and chose him as a comanion for all his life, because of the great devotion he found in him. 2t
'as near nightfall no', and it seemed good to him to send the night there, and stri from the deer as
much as he cared to eat. 1eginning to carve it he slits the s)in along the rib, and ta)ing a stea) from
the loin he stri)es from a flint a sar), 'hich he catches in some dry brush$ 'oodC then he Kuic)ly uts
his stea) uon a roasting sit to coo) before the fire, and roasts it until it is Kuite coo)ed through. 1ut
there 'as no leasure in the meal, for there 'as no bread, or 'ine, or salt, or cloth, or )nife, or
anything else. While he 'as eating, the lion lay at his feetC nor a movement did he ma)e, but 'atched
him steadily until he had eaten all that he could eat of the stea). What remained of the deer the lion
devoured, even to the bones. (nd 'hile all night his master laid his head uon his shield to gain such
rest as that afforded, the lion sho'ed such intelligence that he )et a'a)e, and 'as careful to guard the
horse as it fed uon the grass, 'hich yielded some slight nourishment.
B6v. *095$*5;8.D 2n the morning they go off together, and the same sort of existence, it seems, as
they had led that night, they t'o continued to lead all the ensuing 'ee), until chance brought them to
the sring beneath the ine$tree. There my lord Yvain almost lost his 'its a second time, as he
aroached the sring, 'ith its stone and the chael that stood close by. .o great 'as his distress that a
thousand times he sighed GalasNG and grieving fell in a s'oonC and the oint of his shar s'ord, falling
from its scabbard, ierced the meshes of his hauber) right in the nec) beside the chee). There is not a
mesh that does not sread, and the s'ord cuts the flesh of his nec) beneath the shining mail, so that it
causes the blood to start. Then the lion thin)s that he sees his master and comanion dead. You never
heard greater grief narrated or told about anything than he no' began to sho'. 4e casts himself about,
and scratches and cries, and has the 'ish to )ill himself 'ith the s'ord 'ith 'hich he thin)s his master
has )illed himself. Ta)ing the s'ord from him 'ith his teeth he lays it on a fallen tree, and steadies it
on a trun) behind, so that it 'ill not sli or give 'ay, 'hen he hurls his breast against it, 4is intention
'as nearly accomlished 'hen his master recovered from his s'oon, and the lion restrained himself as
he 'as blindly rushing uon death, li)e a 'ild boar heedless of 'here he 'ounds himself. Thus my
lord Yvain lies in a s'oon beside the stone, but, on recovering, he violently reroached himself for the
year during 'hich he had overstayed his leave, and for 'hich he had incurred his lady-s hate, and he
said% GWhy does this 'retch not )ill himself 'ho has thus derived himself of MoyQ (lasN 'hy do 2 not
ta)e my lifeQ 4o' can 2 stay here and loo) uon 'hat belongs to my ladyQ Why does the soul still tarry
in my bodyQ What is the soul doing in so miserable a frameQ 2f it had already escaed a'ay it 'ould
0*
not be in such torment. 2t is fitting to hate and blame and desise myself, even as in fact 2 do. Whoever
loses his bliss and contentment through fault or error of his o'n ought to hate himself mortally. 4e
ought to hate and )ill himself. (nd no', 'hen no one is loo)ing on, 'hy do 2 thus sare myselfQ Why
do 2 not ta)e my lifeQ 4ave 2 not seen this lion a rey to such grief on my behalf that he 'as on the
oint Must no' of thrusting my s'ord through his breastQ (nd ought 2 to fear death 'ho have changed
hainess into griefQ @oy is no' a stranger to me. @oyQ What Moy is thatQ 2 shall say no more of that, for
no one could sea) of such a thingC and 2 have as)ed a foolish Kuestion. That 'as the greatest Moy of all
'hich 'as assured as my ossession, but it endured for but a little 'hile. Whoever loses such Moy
through his o'n misdeed is undeserving of hainess.G
B6v. *5;*$*9:9.D While he thus bemoaned his fate, a lorn damsel in sorry light, 'ho 'as in the
chael, sa' him and heard his 'ords through a crac) in the 'all. (s soon as he 'as recovered from his
s'oon, she called to him% G3od,G said she, G'ho is that 2 hearQ Who is it that thus comlainsQG (nd he
relied% G(nd 'ho are youQG G2 am a 'retched one,G she said, Gthe most miserable thing alive.G (nd he
relied% G1e silent, foolish oneN Thy grief is Moy and thy sorro' is bliss comared 'ith that in 'hich 2
am cast do'n. 2n roortion as a man becomes more accustomed to hainess and Moy, so is he more
distracted and stunned than any other man by sorro' 'hen it comes. ( man of little strength can carry,
through custom and habit, a 'eight 'hich another man of greater strength could not carry for
anything.G G?on my 'ord,G she said, G2 )no' the truth of that remar)C but that is no reason to believe
that your misfortune is 'orse than mine. 2ndeed, 2 do not believe it at all, for it seems to me that you
can go any'here you choose to go, 'hereas 2 am imrisoned here, and such a fate is my ortion that to$
morro' 2 shall be seiPed and delivered to mortal Mudgment.G G(h, 3odNG said he, Gand for 'hat crimeQG
G.ir )night, may 3od never have mercy uon my soul, if 2 have merited such a fateN /evertheless, 2
shall tell you truly, 'ithout decetion, 'hy 2 am here in rison% 2 am charged 'ith treason, and 2 cannot
find any one to defend me from being burned or hanged to$morro'.G G2n the first lace,G he relied, G2
may say that my grief and 'oe are greater than yours, for you may yet be delivered by some one from
the eril in 'hich you are. 2s that not true%G GYes, but 2 )no' not yet by 'hom. There are only t'o men
in the 'orld 'ho 'ould dare on my behalf to face three men in battle.G GWhatQ 2n 3od-s name, are
there three of themQG GYes, sire, uon my 'ord. There are three 'ho accuse me of treachery.G G(nd
'ho are they 'ho are so devoted to you that either one of them 'ould be bold enough to fight against
three in your defenceQG G2 'ill ans'er your Kuestion truthfully% one of them is my lord 3a'ain, and the
other is my lord Yvain, because of 'hom 2 shall to$morro' be handed over unMustly to the martyrdom
00
of death.G G1ecause of 'homQG he as)ed, G'hat did you sayQG G.ire, so hel me 3od, because of the
son of King ?rien.G G/o' 2 understand your 'ords, but you shall not die, 'ithout he dies too. 2 myself
am that Yvain, because of 'hom you are in such distress. (nd you, 2 ta)e it, are she 'ho once guarded
me safely in the hall, and saved my life and my body bet'een the t'o ortcullises, 'hen 2 'as troubled
and distressed, and alarmed at being traed. 2 should have been )illed or seiPed, had it not been for
your )ind aid. /o' tell me, my gentle friend, 'ho are those 'ho no' accuse you of treachery, and
have confined you in this lonely laceQG G.ire, 2 shall not conceal it from you, since you desire me to
tell you all. 2t is a fact that 2 'as not slo' in honestly aiding you. ?on my advice my lady received
you, after heeding my oinion and my counsel. (nd by the 4oly !aternoster, more for her 'elfare than
for your o'n 2 thought 2 'as doing it, and 2 thin) so still. .o much no' 2 confess to you% it 'as her
honour and your desire that 2 sought to serve, so hel me 3odN 1ut 'hen it became evident that you
had overstayed the year 'hen you should return to my mistress, then she became enraged at me, and
thought that she had been deceived by utting trust in my advice. (nd 'hen this 'as discovered by the
seneschal $$ a rascally, underhanded, disloyal 'retch, 'ho 'as Mealous of me because in many matters
my lady trusted me more than she trusted him, he sa' that he could no' stir u great enmity bet'een
me and her. 2n full court and in the resence of all he accused me of having betrayed her in your favour.
(nd 2 had no counsel or aid excet my o'nC but 2 )ne' that 2 had never done or conceived any
treacherous act to'ard my lady, so 2 cried out, as one beside herself, and 'ithout the advice of any one,
that 2 'ould resent in my o'n defence one )night 'ho should fight against three. The fello' 'as not
courteous enough to scorn to accet such odds, nor 'as 2 at liberty to retreat or 'ithdra' for anything
that might haen. .o he too) me at my 'ord, and 2 'as comelled to furnish bail that 2 'ould resent
'ithin forty days a )night to do battle against three )nights. .ince then 2 have visited many courtsC 2
'as at King (rthur-s court, but found no hel from any there, nor did 2 find any one 'ho could tell me
any good ne's of you, for they )ne' nothing of your affairs.G G!ray tell me. Where then 'as my good
and gentle lord 3a'ainQ /o damsel in distress ever needed his aid 'ithout its being extended to her.G
G2f 2 had found him at court, 2 could not have as)ed him for anything 'hich 'ould have been refused
meC but a certain )night has carried off the Lueen, so they told meC surely the King 'as mad to send
her off in his comany.
xxii
2 believe it 'as Kay 'ho escorted her to meet the )night 'ho has ta)en her
a'ayC and my lord 3a'ain in great distress has gone in search for her. 4e 'ill never have any rest until
he finds her. /o' 2 have told you the 'hole truth of my adventure. To$morro' 2 shall be ut to a
shameful death, and shall be burnt inevitably, a victim of your criminal neglect.G (nd he relies% GAay
05
3od forbid that you should be harmed because of meN .o long as 2 live you shall not dieN You may
exect me tomorro', reared to the extent of my o'er to resent my body in your cause, as it is
roer that 2 should do. 1ut have no concern to tell the eole 'ho 2 amN 4o'ever the battle may turn
out, ta)e care that 2 be not recognisedNG G.urely, sire, no ressure could ma)e me reveal your name. 2
'ould sooner suffer death, since you 'ill have it so. Yet, after all, 2 beg you not to return for my sa)e. 2
'ould not have you underta)e a battle 'hich 'ill be so deserate. 2 than) you for your romised 'ord
that you 'ould gladly underta)e it, but consider yourself no' released, for it is better that 2 should die
alone than that 2 should see them reMoice over your death as 'ell as mineC they 'ould not sare my life
after they had ut you to death. .o it is better for you to remain alive than that 'e both should meet
death.G GThat is very ungrateful remar), my dear,G says my lord YvainC G2 suose that either you do not
'ish to be delivered from death, or else that you scorn the comfort 2 bring you 'ith my aid. 2 'ill not
discuss the matter more, for you have surely done so much for me that 2 cannot fail you in any need. 2
)no' that you are in great distressC but, if it be 3od-s 'ill, in 'hom 2 trust, they shall all three be
discomfited. .o no more uon that score% 2 am going off no' to find some shelter in this 'ood, for
there is no d'elling near at hand.G G.ire,G she says, Gmay 3od give you both good shelter and good
night, and rotect you as 2 desire from everything that might do you harmNG Then my lord Yvain
dearts, and the lion as usual after him. They Mourneyed until they came ro a baron-s fortified lace,
'hich 'as comletely surrounded by a massive, strong, and high 'all. The castle, being extraordinarily
'ell rotected, feared no assault of catault or storming$machineC but outside the 'alls the ground 'as
so comletely cleared that not a single hut or d'elling remained standing. You 'ill learn the cause of
this a little later, 'hen the time comes. Ay lord Yvain made his 'ay directly to'ard the fortified lace,
and seven varlets came out 'ho lo'ered the bridge and advanced to meet him. 1ut they 'ere terrified
at sight of the lion, 'hich they sa' 'ith him, and as)ed him )indly to leave the lion at the gate lest he
should 'ound or )ill them. (nd he relies% G.ay no more of thatN For 2 shall not enter 'ithout him.
,ither 'e shall both find shelter here or else 2 shall stay outsideC he is as dear to me as 2 am myself. Yet
you need have no fear of himN For 2 shall )ee him so 'ell in hand that you may be Kuite confident.G
They made ans'er% G6ery 'ellNG Then they entered the to'n, and assed on until they met )nights and
ladies and charming damsels coming do'n the street, 'ho salute him and 'ait to remove his armour as
they say% GWelcome to our midst, fair sireN (nd may 3od grant that you tarry here until you may leave
'ith great honour and satisfactionNG 4igh and lo' ali)e extend to him a glad 'elcome, and do all they
can for him, as they Moyfully escort him into the to'n. 1ut after they had exressed their gladness they
0;
are over'helmed by grief, 'hich ma)es them Kuic)ly forget their Moy, as they begin to lament and 'ee
and beat themselves. Thus, for a long sace of time, they cease not to reMoice or ma)e lament% it is to
honour their guest that they reMoice, but their heart is not in 'hat they do, for they are greatly 'orried
over an event 'hich they exect to ta)e lace on the follo'ing day, and they feel very sure and certain
that it 'ill come to ass before midday. Ay lord Yvain 'as so surrised that they so often changed their
mood, and mingled grief 'ith their hainess, that he addressed the lord of the lace on the subMect.
GFor 3od-s sa)e,G he said, Gfair gentle sir, 'ill you )indly inform me 'hy you have thus honoured me,
and sho'n at once such Moy and such heavinessQG GYes, if you desire to )no', but it 'ould be better for
you to desire ignorance and silence. 2 'ill never tell you 'illingly anything to cause you grief. (llo' us
to continue to lament, and do you ay no attention to 'hat 'e doNG G2t 'ould be Kuite imossible for
me to see you sad and nor ta)e it uon my heart, so 2 desire to )no' the truth, 'hatever chagrin may
result to me.G GWell, then,G he said, G2 'ill tell you all. 2 have suffered much from a giant, 'ho has
insisted that 2 should give him my daughter, 'ho surasses in beauty all the maidens in the 'orld. This
evil giant, 'hom may 3od confound, is named 4arin of the Aountain. /ot a day asses 'ithout his
ta)ing all of my ossessions uon 'hich he can lay his hands. /o one has a better right than 2 to
comlain, and to be sorro'ful, and to ma)e lament. 2 might 'ell lose my senses from very grief, for 2
had six sons 'ho 'ere )nights, fairer than any 2 )ne' in the 'orld, and the giant has ta)en all six of
them. 1efore my eyes he )illed t'o of them, and to$morro' he 'ill )ill the other four, unless 2 find
some one 'ho 'ill dare to fight him for the deliverance of my sons, or unless 2 consent to surrender my
daughter to himC and he says that 'hen he has her in his ossession he 'ill give her over to be the sort
of the vilest and le'dest fello's in his house, for he 'ould scorn to ta)e her no' for himself. That is
the disaster 'hich a'aits me to$morro', unless the Lord 3od grant me 4is aid. .o it is no 'onder, fair
sir, if 'e are all in tears. 1ut for your sa)e 'e strive for the moment to assume as cheerful a
countenance as 'e can. For he is a fool 'ho attracts a gentleman to his resence and then does not
honour himC and you seem to be a very erfect gentleman. /o' 2 have told you the entire story of our
great distress. /either in to'n nor in fortress has the giant left us anything, excet 'hat 'e have here.
2f you had noticed, you must have seen this evening that he has not left us so much as an egg, excet
these 'alls 'hich are ne'C for he has raPed the entire to'n. When he had lundered all he 'ished, he
set fire to 'hat remained. 2n this 'ay he has done me many an evil turn.G
B6v. *9::$*:5;.D Ay lord Yvain listened to all that his host told him, and 'hen he had heard it all
he 'as leased to ans'er him% G.ire, 2 am sorry and distressed about this trouble of yoursC but 2 marvel
0J
greatly that you have not as)ed assistance at good King (rthur-s court. There is no man so mighty that
he could not find at his court some 'ho 'ould be glad to try their strength 'ith his.G Then the 'ealthy
man reveals and exlains to him that he 'ould have had efficient hel if he had )no'n 'here to find
my lord 3a'ain. G4e 'ould not have failed me uon this occasion, for my 'ife is his o'n sisterC but a
)night from a strange land, 'ho 'ent to court to see) the King-s 'ife, has led her a'ay. 4o'ever, he
could not have gotten ossession of her by any means of his o'n invention, had it not been for Kay,
'ho so befooled the King that he gave the Lueen into his charge and laced her under his rotection.
4e 'as a fool, and she imrudent to entrust herself to his escort. (nd 2 am the one 'ho suffers and
loses in all thisC for it is certain that my excellent lord 3a'ain 'ould have made haste to come here,
had he )no'n the facts, for the sa)e of his nehe's and his niece. 1ut he )no's nothing of it,
'herefore 2 am so distressed that my heart is almost brea)ing, for he is gone in ursuit of him, to 'hom
may 3od bring shame and 'oe for having led the Lueen a'ay.G While listening to this recital my lord
Yvain does not cease to sigh. 2nsired by the ity 'hich he feels, he ma)es this rely% GFair gentle sire,
2 'ould gladly underta)e this erilous adventure, if the giant and your sons should arrive to$morro' in
time to cause me no delay, for tomorro' at noon 2 shall be some'here else, in accordance 'ith a
romise 2 have made.G G#nce for all, fair sire,G the good man said, G2 than) you a hundred thousand
times for your 'illingness.G (nd all the eole of the house li)e'ise exressed their gratitude.
B6v. *:5J$0*90.D @ust then the damsel came out of a room, 'ith her graceful body and her face so
fair and leasing to loo) uon. .he 'as very simle and sad and Kuiet as she came, for there 'as no
end to the grief she felt% she 'al)ed 'ith her head bo'ed to the ground. (nd her mother, too, came in
from an adMoining room, for the gentleman had sent for them to meet his guest. They entered 'ith their
mantles 'raed about them to conceal their tearsC and he bid them thro' bac) their mantles, and hold
u their heads, saying% GYou ought not to hesitate to obey my behests, for 3od and good fortune have
given us here a very 'ell$ born gentleman 'ho assures me that he 'ill fight against the giant. "elay no
longer no' to thro' yourselves at his feetNG GAay 3od never let me see thatNG my lord Yvain hastens to
exclaimC Gsurely it 'ould not be roer under any circumstances for the sister and the niece of my lord
3a'ain to rostrate themselves at my feet. Aay 3od defend me from ever giving lace to such ride as
to let them fall at my feetN 2ndeed, 2 should never forget the shame 'hich 2 should feelC but 2 should be
very glad if they 'ould ta)e comfort until to$morro', 'hen they may see 'hether 3od 'ill consent to
aid them. 2 have no other reKuest to ma)e, excet that the giant may come in such good time that 2 be
not comelled to brea) my engagement else'hereC for 2 'ould not fail for anything to be resent to$
09
morro' noon at the greatest business 2 could ever underta)e.G Thus he is un'illing to reassure them
comletely, for he fears that the giant may not come early enough to allo' him to reach in time the
damsel 'ho is imrisoned in the chael. /evertheless, he romises them enough to arouse good hoe
in them. They all ali)e Moin in than)ing him, for they lace great confidence in his ro'ess, and they
thin) he must be a very good man, 'hen they see the lion by his side as confident as a lamb 'ould be.
They ta)e comfort and reMoice because of the hoe they sta)e on him, and they indulge their grief no
more. When the time came they led him off to bed in a brightly lighted roomC both the damsel and her
mother escorted him, for they riPed him dearly, and 'ould have done so a hundred thousand times
more had they been informed of his ro'ess and courtesy. 4e and the lion together lay do'n there and
too) their rest. The others dared not slee in the roomC but they closed the door so tight that they could
not come out until the next day at da'n. When the room 'as thro'n oen he got u and heard Aass,
and then, because of the romise he had made, he 'aited until the hour of rime. Then in the hearing of
all he summoned the lord of the to'n and said% GAy lord, 2 have no more time to 'ait, but must as)
your ermission to leave at onceC 2 cannot tarry longer here. 1ut believe truly that 2 'ould gladly and
'illingly stay here yet a'hile for the sa)e of the nehe's and the niece of my beloved lord 3a'ain, if 2
did not have a great business on hand, and if it 'ere not so far a'ay.G (t this the damsel-s blood
Kuivered and boiled 'ith fear, as 'ell as the lady-s and the lord-s. They 'ere so afraid he 'ould go
a'ay that they 'ere on the oint of humbling themselves and casting themselves at his feet, 'hen they
recalled that he 'ould not arove or ermit their action. Then the lord ma)es him an offer of all he
'ill ta)e of his lands or 'ealth, if only he 'ill 'ait a little longer. (nd he relied% G3od forbid that ever
2 should ta)e anything of yoursNG Then the damsel, 'ho is in dismay, begins to 'ee aloud, and
beseeches him to stay. Li)e one distracted and rey to dread, she begs him by the glorious Kueen of
heaven and of the angels, and by the Lord, not to go but to 'ait a little 'hileC and then, too, for her
uncle-s sa)e, 'hom he says he )no's, and loves, and esteems. Then his heart is touched 'ith dee ity
'hen he hears her adMuring him in the name of him 'hom he loves the most, and by the mistress of
heaven, and by the Lord, 'ho is the very honey and s'eet savour of ity. Filled 'ith anguish he heaved
a sigh, for 'ere the )ingdom of Tarsus at sta)e he 'ould not see her burned to 'hom he had ledged
his aid. 2f he could not reach her in time, he 'ould be unable to endure his life, or 'ould live on
'ithout his 'its on the other hand, the )indness of his friend, my lord 3a'ain, only increased his
distressC his heart almost bursts in half at the thought that he cannot delay. /evertheless, he does not
stir, but delays and 'aits so long that the giant came suddenly, bringing 'ith him the )nights% and
0:
hanging from his nec) he carried a big sKuare sta)e 'ith a ointed end, and 'ith this he freKuently
surred them on. For their art they had no clothing on that 'as 'orth a stra', excet some soiled and
filthy shirts% and their feet and hands 'ere bound 'ith cords, as they came riding uon four liming
Mades, 'hich 'ere 'ea), and thin, and miserable. (s they came riding along beside a 'ood, a d'arf,
'ho 'as uffed u li)e a toad, had tied the horses- tails together, and 'al)ed beside them, beating them
remorselessly 'ith a four$)notted scourge until they bled, thin)ing thereby to be doing something
'onderful. Thus they 'ere brought along in shame by the giant and the d'arf. .toing in the lain in
front of the city gate, the giant shouts out to the noble lord that he 'ill )ill his sons unless he delivers to
him his daughter, 'hom he 'ill surrender to his vile fello's to become their sort. For he no longer
loves her nor esteems her, that he should deign to abase himself to her. .he shall be constantly beset by
a thousand lousy and ragged )naves, vacant 'retches, and scullery boys, 'ho all shall lay hands on her.
The 'orthy man is 'ell$nigh beside himself 'hen he hears ho' his daughter 'ill be made a ba'd, or
else, before his very eyes, his four sons 'ill be ut to a seedy death. 4is agony is li)e that of one 'ho
'ould rather be dead than alive. (gain and again he bemoans his fate, and 'ees aloud and sighs. Then
my fran) and gentle lord Yvain thus began to sea) to him% G.ire, very vile and imudent is that giant
'ho vaunts himself out there. 1ut may 3od never grant that he should have your daughter in his
o'erN 4e desises her and insults her oenly. 2t 'ould be too great a calamity if so lovely a creature
of such high birth 'ere handed over to become the sort of boys. 3ive me no' my arms and horseN
4ave the dra'bridge lo'ered, and let me ass. #ne or the other must be cast do'n, either 2 or he, 2
)no' not 'hich. 2f 2 could only humiliate the cruel 'retch 'ho is thus oressing you, so that he
'ould release your sons and should come and ma)e amends for the insulting 'ords he has so)en to
you, then 2 'ould commend you to 3od and go about my business.G Then they go to get his horse, and
hand over to him his arms, striving so exeditiously that they soon have him Kuite eKuied. They
delayed as little as they could in arming him. When his eKuiment 'as comlete, there remained
nothing but to lo'er the bridge and let him go. They lo'ered it for him, and he 'ent out. 1ut the lion
'ould by no means stay behind. (ll those 'ho 'ere left behind commended the )night to the .aviour,
for they fear exceedingly lest their devilish enemy, 'ho already had slain so many good men on the
same field before their eyes, 'ould do the same 'ith him. .o they ray 3od to defend him from death,
and return him to them safe and sound, and that 4e may give him strength to slay the giant. ,ach one
softly rays to 3od in accordance 'ith his 'ish. (nd the giant fiercely came at him, and 'ith
threatening 'ords thus sa)e to him% G1y my eyes, the man 'ho sent thee here surely had no love for
5<
theeN /o better 'ay could he have ta)en to avenge himself on thee. 4e has chosen 'ell his vengeance
for 'hatever 'rong thou hast done to him.G 1ut the other, fearing naught, relies% GThou treatest of
'hat matters not. /o' do thy best, and 2-ll do mine. 2dle arley 'earies me.G Thereuon my lord Yvain,
'ho 'as anxious to deart, rides at him. 4e goes to stri)e him on the breast, 'hich 'as rotected by a
bear-s s)in, and the giant runs at him 'ith his sta)e raised in air. Ay lord Yvain deals him such a blo'
uon the chest that he thrusts through the s)in and 'ets the ti of his lance in his body-s blood by 'ay
of sauce. (nd the giant belabours him 'ith the sta)e, and ma)es him bend beneath the blo's. Ay lord
Yvain then dra's the s'ord 'ith 'hich he )ne' ho' to deal fierce blo's. 4e found the giant
unrotected, for he trusted in his strength so much that he disdained to arm himself. (nd he 'ho had
dra'n his blade gave him such a slash 'ith the cutting edge, and not 'ith the flat side, that he cut from
his chee) a slice fit to roast. Then the other in turn gave him such a blo' 'ith the sta)e that it made
him sing in a hea uon his horse-s nec). Thereuon the lion bristles u, ready to lend his master aid,
and leas u in his anger and strength, and stri)es and tears li)e so much bar) the heavy bears)in the
giant 'ore, and he tore a'ay beneath the s)in a large iece of his thigh, together 'ith the nerves and
flesh. The giant escaed his clutches, roaring and bello'ing li)e a bull, for the lion had badly 'ounded
him. Then raising his sta)e in both hands, he thought to stri)e him, but missed his aim, 'hen the lion
leaded bac)'ard so he missed his blo', and fell exhausted beside my lord Yvain, but 'ithout either of
them touching the other. Then my lord Yvain too) aim and landed t'o blo's on him. 1efore he could
recover himself he had severed 'ith the edge of his s'ord the giant-s shoulder from his body. With the
next blo' he ran the 'hole blade of his s'ord through his liver beneath his chestC the giant falls in
death-s embrace. (nd if a great oa) tree should fall, 2 thin) it 'ould ma)e no greater noise than the
giant made 'hen he tumbled do'n. (ll those 'ho 'ere on the 'all 'ould fain have 'itnessed such a
blo'. Then it became evident 'ho 'as the most fleet of foot, for all ran to see the game, Must li)e
hounds 'hich have follo'ed the beast until they finally come u 'ith him. .o men and 'omen in
rivalry ran for'ard 'ithout delay to 'here the giant lay face do'n'ard. The daughter comes running,
and her mother too. (nd the four brothers reMoice after the 'oes they have endured. (s for my lord
Yvain they are very sure that they could not detain him for any reason they might allege, but they
beseech him to return and stay to enMoy himself as soon as he shall have comleted the business 'hich
calls him a'ay. (nd he relies that he cannot romise them anything, for as yet he cannot guess
'hether it 'ill fare 'ell or ill 'ith him. 1ut thus much did he say to his host% that he 'ished that his
four sons and his daughter should ta)e the d'arf and go to my lord 3a'ain 'hen they hear of his
57
return, and should tell and relate to him ho' he has conducted himself. For )ind actions are of no use if
you are not 'illing that they be )no'n. (nd they rely% G2t is not right that such )indness as this should
be )et hid% 'e shall do 'hatever you desire. 1ut tell us 'hat 'e can say 'hen 'e come before him.
Whose raises can 'e sea), 'hen 'e )no' not 'hat your name may beQG (nd he ans'ers them%
GWhen you come before him, you may say thus much% that 2 told you OThe Knight 'ith the Lion- 'as
my name. (nd at the same time 2 must beg you to tell him from me that, if he does not recognise 'ho 2
am, yet he )no's me 'ell and 2 )no' him. /o' 2 must be gone from here, and the thing 'hich most
alarms me is that 2 may too long have tarried here, for before the hour of noon be assed 2 shall have
lenty to do else'here, if indeed 2 can arrive there in time.G Then, 'ithout further delay, he starts. 1ut
first his host begged him insistently that he 'ould ta)e 'ith him his four sons% for there 'as none of
them 'ho 'ould not strive to serve him, if he 'ould allo' it. 1ut it did not lease or suit him that any
one should accomany himC so he left the lace to them, and 'ent a'ay alone. (nd as soon as he starts,
riding as fast as his steed can carry him, he heads to'ard the chael. The ath 'as good and straight,
and he )ne' 'ell ho' to )ee the road. 1ut before he could reach the chael, the damsel had been
dragged out and the yre reared uon 'hich she 'as to be laced. Clad only in a shift, she 'as held
bound before the fire by those 'ho 'rongly attributed to her an intention she had never had. Ay lord
Yvain arrived, and, seeing her beside the fire into 'hich she 'as about to be cast, he 'as naturally
incensed. 4e 'ould be neither courteous nor sensible 'ho had any doubt about that fact. .o it is true
that he 'as much incensedC but he cherishes 'ithin himself the hoe that 3od and the +ight 'ill be on
his side. 2n such helers he confidesC nor does he scorn his lion-s aid. +ushing Kuic)ly to'ard the
cro'd, he shouts% GLet the damsel be, you 'ic)ed fol)N 4aving committed no crime, it is not right that
she should be cast uon a yre or into a furnace.G (nd they dra' off on either side, leaving a assage$
'ay for him. 1ut he yearns to see 'ith his o'n eyes her 'hom his heart beholds in 'hatever lace she
may be. 4is eyes see) her until he finds her, 'hile he subdues and holds in chec) his heart, Must as one
holds in chec) 'ith a strong curb a horse that ulls. /evertheless, he gladly gaPes at her, and sighs the
'hileC but he does not sigh so oenly that his action is detectedC rather does he stifle his sighs, though
'ith difficulty. (nd he is seiPed 'ith ity at hearing, seeing, and erceiving the grief of the oor ladies,
'ho cried% G(h, 3od, ho' hast Thou forgotten usN 4o' desolate 'e shall no' remain 'hen 'e lose so
)ind a friend, 'ho gave us such counsel and such aid, and interceded for us at courtN 2t 'as she 'ho
romted madame to clothe us 'ith her clothes of vair. 4enceforth the situation 'ill change, for there
'ill be no one to sea) for usN Cursed be he 'ho is the cause of our lossN For 'e shall fare badly in all
58
this. There 'ill be no one to utter such advice as this% OAy lady, give this vair mantle, this cloa), and
this garment to such and such an honest dameN Truly, such charity 'ill be 'ell emloyed, for she is in
very dire need of them.- /o such 'ords as these shall be uttered henceforth, for there is no one else
'ho is fran) and courteousC but every one solicits for himself rather than for some one else, even
though he have no need.G
B6v. 0*95$00J0.D Thus they 'ere bemoaning their fateC and my lord Yvain 'ho 'as in their midst,
heard their comlaints, 'hich 'ere neither groundless nor assumed. 4e sa' Lunete on her )nees and
stried to her shift, having already made confession, and besought 3od-s mercy for her sins. Then he
'ho had loved her deely once came to her and raised her u, saying% GAy damsel, 'here are those
'ho blame and accuse youQ ?on the sot, unless they refuse, battle 'ill be offered them.G (nd she,
'ho had neither seen nor loo)ed at him before, said% G.ire. you come from 3od in this time of my great
needN The men 'ho falsely accuse me are all ready before me hereC if you had been a little later 2
should soon have been reduced to fuel and ashes. You have come here in my defence, and may 3od
give you the o'er to accomlish it in roortion as 2 am guiltless of the accusation 'hich is made
against meNG The seneschal and his t'o brothers heard these 'ords. G(hNG they exclaim, G'oman,
chary of uttering truth but generous 'ith liesN 4e indeed is mad 'ho for thy 'ords assumes so great a
tas). The )night must be simle$minded 'ho has come here to die for thee, for he is alone and there are
three of us. Ay advice to him is that he turn bac) before any harm shall come to him.G Then he relies,
as one imatient to begin% GWhoever is afraid, let him run a'ayN 2 am not so afraid of your three shields
that 2 should go off defeated 'ithout a blo'. 2 should be indeed discourteous, if, 'hile yet unscathed
and in erfect case, 2 should leave the lace and field to you. /ever, so long as 2 am alive and sound,
'ill 2 run a'ay before such threats. 1ut 2 advise thee to set free the damsel 'hom thou hast unMustly
accusedC for she tells me, and 2 believe her 'ord, and she has assured me uon the salvation of her soul,
that she never committed, or so)e, or conceived any treason against her mistress. 2 believe imlicitly
'hat she has told me, and 'ill defend her as best 2 can, for 2 consider the righteousness of her cause to
be in my favour. For, if the truth be )no'n, 3od al'ays sides 'ith the righteous cause, for 3od and the
+ight are oneC and if they are both uon my side, then 2 have better comany and better aid than
thou.G
xxiii
Then the other resonds imrudently that he may ma)e every effort that leases him and is
convenient to do him inMury, rovided that his lion shall not do him harm. (nd he relies that he never
brought the lion to chamion his cause, nor does he 'ish any but himself to ta)e a hand% but if the lion
attac)s him, let him defend himself against him as best he can, for concerning him he 'ill give no
5*
guarantee. Then the other ans'ers% GWhatever thou mayst sayC unless thou no' 'arn thy lion, and
ma)e him stand Kuietly to one side, there is no use of thy longer staying here, but begone at once, and
so shalt thou be 'iseC for throughout this country every one is a'are ho' this girl betrayed her lady,
and it is right that she receive her due re'ard in fire and flame.G GAay the 4oly .irit forbidNG says he
'ho )no's the truthC Gmay 3od not let me stir from here until 2 have delivered herNG Then he tells the
lion to 'ithdra' and to lie do'n Kuietly, and he does so obediently.
B6v. 00J5$05*8.D The lion no' 'ithdre', and the arley and Kuarrel being ended bet'een them
t'o, they all too) their distance for the charge. The three together surred to'ard him, and he 'ent to
meet them at a 'al). 4e did not 'ish to be overturned or hurt at this first encounter. .o he let them slit
their lances, 'hile )eeing his entire, ma)ing for them a target of his shield, 'hereon each one bro)e
his lance. Then he galloed off until he 'as searated from them by the sace of an acreC but he soon
returned to the business in hand, having no desire to delay. #n his coming u the second time, he
reached the seneschal before his t'o brothers, and brea)ing his lance uon his body, he carried him to
earth in site of himself, and he gave him such a o'erful blo' that for a long 'hile he lay stunned,
incaable of doing him any harm. (nd then the other t'o came at him 'ith their s'ords bared, and
both deal him great blo's, but they receive still heavier blo's from him. For a single one of the blo's
he deals is more than a match for t'o of theirsC thus he defends himself so 'ell that they have no
advantage over him, until the seneschal gets u and does his best to inMure him, in 'hich attemt the
others Moin, until they begin to ress him and get the uer hand. Then the lion, 'ho is loo)ing on,
delays no longer to lend him aidC for it seems to him that he needs it no'. (nd all the ladies, 'ho are
devoted to the damsel, beseech 3od reeatedly and ray to 4im earnestly not to allo' the death or the
defeat of him 'ho has entered the fray on her account. The ladies, having no other 'eaons, thus assist
him 'ith their rayers. (nd the lion brings him such effective aid, that at his first attac), he stri)es so
fiercely the seneschal, 'ho 'as no' on his feet, that he ma)es the meshes fly from the hauber) li)e
stra', and he drags him do'n 'ith such violence that he tears the soft flesh from his shoulder and all
do'n his side. 4e stris 'hatever he touches, so that the entrails lie exosed. The other t'o avenge this
blo'.
B6v. 05**$0;*0.D /o' they are all even on the field. The seneschal is mar)ed for death, as he turns
and 'elters in the red stream of 'arm blood ouring from his body. The lion attac)s the othersC for my
lord Yvain is Kuite unable, though he did his best by beating or by threatening him, to drive him bac)C
but the lion doubtless feels confident that his master does not disli)e his aid, but rather loves him the
50
more for it% so he fiercely attac)s them, until they have reason to comlain of his blo's, and they
'ound him in turn and use him badly. When my lord Yvain sees his lion 'ounded, his heart is 'roth
'ithin his breast, and rightly soC but he ma)es such efforts to avenge him, and resses them so hard,
that he comletely reduces themC they no longer resist him, but surrender to him at discretion, because
of the lion-s hel, 'ho is no' in great distressC for he 'as 'ounded every'here, and had good cause to
be in ain. For his art, my lord Yvain 'as by no means in a healthy state, for his body bore many a
'ound. 1ut he is not so anxious about himself as about his lion, 'hich is in distress. /o' he has
delivered the damsel exactly in accordance 'ith his 'ish, and the lady has very 'illingly dismissed the
grudge that she bore her. (nd those men 'ere burned uon the yre 'hich had been )indled for the
damsel-s deathC for it is right and Must that he 'ho has misMudged another, should suffer the same
manner of death as that to 'hich he had condemned the other. /o' Lunete is Moyous and glad at being
reconciled 'ith her mistress, and together they 'ere more hay than any one ever 'as before. Without
recognising him, all resent offered to him, 'ho 'as their lord, their service so long as life should lastC
even the lady, 'ho ossessed un)no'ingly his heart, begged him insistently to tarry there until his lion
and he had Kuite recovered. (nd he relied% GLady, 2 shall not no' tarry here until my lady removes
from me her disleasure and anger% then the end of all my labours 'ill come.G G2ndeed,G she said, Gthat
grieves me. 2 thin) the lady cannot be very courteous 'ho cherishes ill$'ill against you. .he ought not
to close her door against so valorous a )night as you, unless he had done her some great 'rong.G
GLady,- he relies, Gho'ever great the hardshi be, 2 am leased by 'hat ever may be her 'ill. 1ut
sea) to me no more of thatC for 2 shall say nothing of the cause or crime, excet to those 'ho are
informed of it.G G"oes any one )no' it, then, beside you t'oQG GYes, truly, lady.G GWell, tell us at least
your name, fair sirC then you 'ill be free to go.G GLuite free, my ladyQ /o, 2 shall not be free. 2 o'e
more than 2 can ay. Yet, 2 ought not to conceal from you my name. You 'ill never hear of OThe Knight
'ith the Lion- 'ithout hearing of meC for 2 'ish to be )no'n by that name.G GFor 3od-s sa)e, sir, 'hat
does that name meanQ For 'e never sa' you before, nor have 'e ever heard mentioned this name of
yours.G GAy lady, you may from that infer that my fame is not 'idesread.G Then the lady says% G#nce
more, if it did not oose your 'ill, 2 'ould ray you to tarry here.G G+eally, my lady, 2 should not dare,
until 2 )ne' certainly that 2 had regained my lady-s good$'ill.G GWell, then, go in 3od-s name, fair sirC
and, if it be 4is 'ill, may 4e convert your grief and sorro' into Moy.G GLady,G says he, Gmay 3od hear
your rayer.G Then he added softly under his breath% GLady, it is you 'ho hold the )ey, and, though you
)no' it not, you hold the cas)et in 'hich my hainess is )et under loc).G
55
Part III: Vv. 4635 - Vv. 6818
B6v. 0;*5$0;J0.D Then he goes a'ay in great distress, and there is no one 'ho recognises him save
Lunete, 'ho accomanied him a long distance. Lunete alone )ees him comany, and he begs her
insistently never to reveal the name of her chamion. G.ire,G says she, G2 'ill never do so.G Then he
further reKuested her that she should not forget him, and that she should )ee a lace for him in his
mistress- heart, 'henever the chance arose. .he tells him to be at ease on that scoreC for she 'ill never
be forgetful, nor unfaithful, nor idle. Then he than)s her a thousand times, and he dearts ensive and
oressed, because of his lion that he must needs carry, being unable to follo' him on foot. 4e ma)es
for him a litter of moss and ferns in his shield. When he has made a bed for him there, he lays him in it
as gently as he can, and carries him thus stretched out full length on the inner side of his shield. Thus,
in his shield he bears him off, until he arrives before the gate of a mansion, strong and fair. Finding it
closed, he called, and the orter oened it so romtly that he had no need to call but once. 4e reaches
out to ta)e his rein, and greets him thus% GCome in, fair sire. 2 offer you the d'elling of my lord, if it
lease you to dismount.G G2 accet the offer gladly,G he relies, Gfor 2 stand in great need of it, and it is
time to find a lodging.G
B6v. 0;J5$0J<8.D Thereuon, he assed through the gate, and sa' the retainers in a mass coming to
meet him. They greeted him and heled him from his horse, and laid do'n uon the avement his
shield 'ith the lion on it. (nd some, ta)ing his horse, ut it in a stable% 'hile others very roerly
relieved him of his arms and too) them. Then the lord of the castle heard the ne's, and at once came
do'n into the courtyard, and greeted him. (nd his lady came do'n, too, 'ith all her sons and
daughters and a great cro'd of other eole, 'ho all reMoiced to offer him a lodging. They gave him a
Kuiet room, because they deemed that he 'as sic)C but their good nature 'as ut to a test 'hen they
allo'ed the lion to go 'ith him. 4is cure 'as underta)en by t'o maidens s)illed in surgery, 'ho 'ere
daughters of the lord. 2 do not )no' ho' many days he stayed there, until he and his lion, being cured,
'ere comelled to roceed uon their 'ay.
B6v. 0J<*$0J*;.D 1ut 'ithin this time it came about that my lord of /oire ,sine had a struggle
'ith "eath, and so fierce 'as "eath-s attac) that he 'as forced to die. (fter his death it haened that
the elder of t'o daughters 'hom he had, announced that she 'ould ossess uncontested all the estates
for herself during her entire lifetime, and that she 'ould give no share to her sister. (nd the other one
said that she 'ould go to King (rthur-s court to see) hel for the defence of her claim to the land.
When the former sa' that her sister 'ould by no means concede all the estates to her 'ithout contest,
5;
she 'as greatly concerned, and thought that, if ossible, she 'ould get to court before her. (t once she
reared and eKuied herself, and 'ithout any tarrying or delay, she roceeded to the court. The other
follo'ed her, and made all the haste she couldC but her Mourney 'as all in vain, for her eider sister had
already resented her case to my lord 3a'ain, and he had romised to execute her 'ill. 1ut there 'as
an agreement bet'een them that if any one should learn of the facts from her, he 'ould never again
ta)e arms for her, and to this arrangement she gave consent.
B6v. 0J*J$0J59.D @ust then the other sister arrived at court, clad in a short mantle of scarlet cloth
and fresh ermine. 2t haened to be the third day after the Lueen had returned from the cativity in
'hich Aaleagant had detained her 'ith all the other risonersC but Lancelot had remained behind,
treacherously confined 'ithin a to'er. (nd on that very day, 'hen the damsel came to court, ne's 'as
received of the cruel and 'ic)ed giant 'hom the )night 'ith the lion had )illed in battle. 2n his name,
my lord 3a'ain 'as greeted by his nehe's and niece, 'ho told him in detail of all the great service
and great deeds of ro'ess he had done for them for his sa)e, and ho' that he 'as 'ell acKuainted
'ith him, though not a'are of his identity.
B6v. 0J5:$098<.D (ll this 'as heard by her, 'ho 'as lunged thereby into great desair and sorro'
and deMectionC for, since the best of the )nights 'as absent, she thought she 'ould find no aid or
counsel at the court. .he had already made several loving and insistent aeals to my lord 3a'ainC but
he had said to her% GAy dear, it is useless to aeal to meC 2 cannot do itC 2 have another affair on hand,
'hich 2 shall in no 'ise give u.G Then the damsel at once left him, and resented herself before the
King. G# King,G said she, G2 have come to thee and to thy court for aid. 1ut 2 find none, and 2 am very
much maPed that 2 can get no counsel here. Yet it 'ould not be right for me to go a'ay 'ithout ta)ing
leave. Ay sister may )no', ho'ever, that she might obtain by )indness 'hatever she desired of my
roertyC but 2 'ill never surrender my heritage to her by force, if 2 can hel it, and if 2 can find any aid
or counsel.G GYou have so)en 'isely,G said the KingC Gsince she is resent here, 2 advise, recommend,
and urge her to surrender to you 'hat is your right.G Then the other, 'ho 'as confident of the best
)night in the 'orld, relied% G.ire, may 3od confound me, if ever 2 besto' on her from my estates any
castle, to'n, clearing, forest, land, or anything else. 1ut if any )night dares to ta)e arms on her behalf
and desires to defend her cause, let him ste forth at once.G GYour offer to her is not fairC she needs
more time,G the King reliedC Gif she desires, she may have forty days to secure a chamion, according
to the ractice of all courts.G To 'hich the elder sister relied% GFair King, my lord, you may establish
your la's as it leases you, and as seems good, nor is it my lace to gainsay you, so 2 must consent to
5J
the ostonement, if she desires it.G Whereuon, the other says that she does desire it, and she ma)es
formal reKuest for it. Then she commended the King to 3od, and left the court resolving to devote her
life to the search through all the land for the Knight 'ith the Lion, 'ho devotes himself to succouring
'omen in need of aid.
B6v. 0987$0:89.D Thus she entered uon her Kuest, and traversed many a country 'ithout hearing
any ne's of him, 'hich caused her such grief that she fell sic). 1ut it 'as 'ell for her that it haened
soC for she came to the d'elling of a friend of hers, by 'hom she 'as dearly loved. 1y this time her
face sho'ed clearly that she 'as not in good health. They insisted uon detaining her until she told
them of her lightC 'hereuon, another damsel too) u the Kuest 'herein she had been engaged, and
continued the search on her behalf. .o 'hile the one remained in this retreat, the other rode raidly all
day long, until the dar)ness of night came on, and caused her great anxiety.
xxiv
(nd her trouble 'as
doubled 'hen the rain came on 'ith terrible violence, as if 3od 4imself 'ere doing 4is 'orst, 'hile
she 'as in the deths of the forest. The night and the 'oods cause her great distress, but she is more
tormented by the rain than by either the 'oods or the night. (nd the road 'as so bad that her horse 'as
often u to the girth in mudC any damsel might 'ell be terrified to be in the 'oods, 'ithout escort, in
such bad 'eather and in such dar)ness that she could not see the horse she 'as riding. .o she called on
3od first, and 4is mother next, and then on all the saints in turn, and offered u many a rayer that 3od
'ould lead her out from this forest and conduct her to some lodging$lace. .he continued in rayer
until she heard a horn, at 'hich she greatly reMoicedC for she thought no' she 'ould find shelter, if she
could only reach the lace. .o she turned in the direction of the sound, and came uon a aved road
'hich led straight to'ard the horn 'hose sound she heardC for the horn had given three long, loud
blasts. (nd she made her 'ay straight to'ard the sound, until she came to a cross 'hich stood on the
right side of the road, and there she thought that she might find the horn and the erson 'ho had
sounded it. .o she surred her horse in that direction, until she dre' near a bridge, and descried the
'hite 'alls and the barbican of a circular castle. Thus, by chance she came uon the castle, setting her
course by the sound 'hich had led her thither. .he had been attracted by the sound of the horn blo'n
by a 'atchman uon the 'alls. (s soon as the 'atchman caught sight of her, he called to her, then
came do'n, and ta)ing the )ey of the gate, oened it for her and said% GWelcome, damsel, 'hoe-er you
be. You shall be 'ell lodged this night.G G2 have no other desire than that,G the damsel relied, as he let
her in. (fter the toil and anxiety she had endured that day, she 'as fortunate to find such a lodging$
laceC for she 'as very comfortable there. (fter the meal the host addressed her, and inKuired 'here
59
she 'as going and 'hat 'as her Kuest. Whereuon, she thus relied% G2 am see)ing one 'hom 2 never
sa', so far as 2 am a'are, and never )ne'C but he has a lion 'ith him, and 2 am told that, if 2 find him, 2
can lace great confidence in him.G G2 can testify to that,G the other said% Gfor the day before yesterday
3od sent him here to me in my dire need. 1lessed be the aths 'hich led him to my d'elling. For he
made me glad by avenging me of a mortal enemy and )illing him before my eyes. #utside yonder gate
you may see to$morro' the body of a mighty giant, 'hom he sle' 'ith such ease that he hardly had to
s'eat.G GFor 3od-s sa)e, sire,G the damsel said, Gtell me no' the truth, if you )no' 'hither he 'ent,
and 'here he is.G G2 don-t )no',G he said, Gas 3od sees me hereC but to$morro' 2 'ill start you on the
road by 'hich he 'ent a'ay from here.G G(nd may 3od,G said she, Glead me 'here 2 may hear true
ne's of him. For if 2 find him, 2 shall be very glad.G
B6v. 0:8:$0:;0.D Thus they continued in long converse until at last they 'ent to bed. When the
day da'ned, the maid arose, being in great concern to find the obMect of her Kuest. (nd the master of
the house arose 'ith all his comanions, and set her uon the road 'hich led straight to the sring
beneath the ine. (nd she, hastening on her 'ay to'ard the to'n, came and as)ed the first men 'hom
she met, if they could tell her 'here she 'ould find the lion and the )night 'ho travelled in comany.
(nd they told her that they had seen him defeat three )nights in that very lace. Whereuon, she said at
once% GFor 3od-s sa)e, since you have said so much, do not )ee bac) from me anything that you can
add.G G/o,G they reliedC G'e )no' nothing more than 'e have said, nor do 'e )no' 'hat became of
him. 2f she for 'hose sa)e he came here, cannot give you further ne's, there 'ill be no one here to
enlighten you. You 'ill not have far to go, if you 'ish to sea) 'ith herC for she has gone to ma)e
rayer to 3od and to hear Aass in yonder church, and Mudging by the time she has been inside, her
orisons have been rolonged.G
B6v. 0:;5$57<;.D While they 'ere tal)ing thus, Lunete came out from the church, and they said%
GThere she is.G Then she 'ent to meet her, and they greeted each other. .he as)ed Lunete at once for
the information she desiredC and Lunete said that she 'ould have a alfrey saddledC for she 'ished to
accomany her, and 'ould ta)e her to an enclosure 'here she had left him. The other maiden than)ed
her heartily. Lunete mounts the alfrey 'hich is brought 'ithout delay, and, as they ride, she tells her
ho' she had been accused and charged 'ith treason, and ho' the yre 'as already )indled uon 'hich
she 'as to be laid, and ho' he had come to hel her in Must the moment of her need. While sea)ing
thus, she escorted her to the road 'hich led directly to the sot 'here my lord Yvain had arted from
her. When she had accomanied her thus far, she said% GFollo' this road until you come to a lace
5:
'here, if it lease 3od and the 4oly .irit, you 'ill hear more reliable ne's of him than 2 can tell. 2
very 'ell remember that 2 left him either near here, or exactly here, 'here 'e are no'C 'e have not
seen each other since then, and 2 do not )no' 'hat he has done. When he left me, he 'as in sore need
of a laster for his 'ounds. .o 2 'ill send you along after him, and if it be 3od-s 'ill, may 4e grant
that you find him to$night or to$morro' in good health. /o' go% 2 commend you to 3od. 2 must not
follo' you any farther, lest my mistress be disleased 'ith me.G Then Lunete leaves her and turns
bac)C 'hile the other ushed on until she found a house, 'here my lord Yvain had tarried until he 'as
restored to health. .he sa' eole gathered before the gate, )nights, ladies and men$at$arms, and the
master of the houseC she saluted them, and as)ed them to tell her, if ossible, ne's of a )night for
'hom she sought. GWho is heQG they as). G2 have heard it said that he is never 'ithout a lion.G G?on
my 'ord, damsel,G the master says, Ghe has Must no' left us. You can come u 'ith him to$night, if you
are able to )ee his trac)s in sight, and are careful not to lose any time.G G.ire,G she ans'ers, G3od
forbid. 1ut tell me no' in 'hat direction 2 must follo' him.G (nd they tell her% GThis 'ay, straight
ahead,G and they beg her to greet him on their behalf. 1ut their courtesy 'as not of much availC for,
'ithout giving any heed, she galloed off at once. The ace seemed much too slo' to her, though her
alfrey made good time. .o she galloed through the mud Must the same as 'here the road 'as good
and smooth, until she caught sight of him 'ith the lion as his comanion. Then in her gladness she
exclaims% G3od, hel me no'. (t last 2 see him 'hom 2 have so long ursued, and 'hose trace 2 have
long follo'ed. 1ut if 2 ursue and nothing gain, 'hat 'ill it rofit me to come u 'ith himQ Little or
nothing, uon my 'ord. 2f he does not Moin in my enterrise, 2 have 'asted all my ains.G Thus saying,
she ressed on so fast that her alfrey 'as all in a s'eatC but she caught u 'ith him and saluted him.
4e thus at once relied to her% G3od save you, fair one, and deliver you from grief and 'oe.G GThe
same to you, sire, 'ho, 2 hoe, 'ill soon be able to deliver me.G Then she dra's nearer to him, and
says% G.ire, 2 have long searched for you. The great fame of your merit has made me traverse many a
county in my 'eary search for you. 1ut 2 continued my Kuest so long, than) 3od, that at last 2 have
found you here. (nd if 2 brought any anxiety 'ith me, 2 am no longer concerned about it, nor do 2
comlain or remember it no'. 2 am entirely relievedC my 'orry has ta)en flight the moment 2 met 'ith
you. Aoreover, the affair is none of mine% 2 come to you from one that is better than 2, a 'oman 'ho is
more noble and excellent. 1ut if she be disaointed in her hoes of you, then she has been betrayed by
your fair reno'n, for she has no exectation of other aid. Ay damsel, 'ho is derived of her
inheritance by a sister, exects 'ith your hel to 'in her suitC she 'ill have none but you defend her
;<
cause. /o one can ma)e her believe that any one else could bear her aid. 1y securing her share of the
heritage, you 'ill have 'on and acKuired the love of her 'ho is no' disinherited, and you 'ill also
increase your o'n reno'n. .he herself 'as going in search for you to secure the boon for 'hich she
hoedC no one else 'ould have ta)en her lace, had she not been detained by an illness 'hich comels
her to )ee her bed. /o' tell me, lease, 'hether you 'ill dare to come, or 'hether you 'ill decline.G
G/o,G he saysC Gno man can 'in raise in a life of easeC and 2 'ill not hold bac), but 'ill follo' you
gladly, my s'eet friend, 'hithersoever it may lease you. (nd if she for 'hose sa)e you have sought
me out stands in some great need of me, have no fear that 2 shall not do all 2 can for her. /o' may 3od
grant me the hainess and grace to settle in her favour her rightful claim.G
B6v. 57<J$5790.D
xxv
Thus conversing, they t'o rode a'ay until they aroached the to'n of !esme
(vanture. They had no desire to ass it by, for the day 'as already dra'ing to a close. They came
riding to the castle, 'hen all the eole, seeing them aroach, called out to the )night% G2ll come, sire,
ill come. This lodging$lace 'as ointed out to you in order that you might suffer harm and shame. (n
abbot might ta)e his oath to that.G G(h,G he relied, Gfoolish and vulgar fol), full of all mischief, and
devoid of honour, 'hy have you thus assailed meQG GWhyQ you 'ill find out soon enough, if you 'ill
go a little farther. 1ut you shall learn nothing more until you have ascended to the fortress.G (t once my
lord Yvain turns to'ard the to'er, and the cro'd cries out, all shouting aloud at him% G,h, eh, 'retch,
'hither goest thouQ 2f ever in thy life thou hast encountered one 'ho 'or)ed thee shame and 'oe, such
'ill be done thee there, 'hither thou art going, as 'ill never be told again by thee.G Ay lord Yvain,
'ho is listening, says% G1ase and itiless eole, miserable and imudent, 'hy do you assail me thus,
'hy do you attac) me soQ What do you 'ish of me, 'hat do you 'ant, that you gro'l this 'ay after
meQG ( lady, 'ho 'as some'hat advanced in years, 'ho 'as courteous and sensible, said% GThou hast
no cause to be enraged% they mean no harm in 'hat they sayC but, if thou understoodest them aright,
they are 'arning thee not to send the night u thereC they dare not tell thee the reason for this, but they
are 'arning and blaming thee because they 'ish to arouse thy fears. This they are accustomed to do in
the case of all 'ho come, so that they may not go inside. (nd the custom is such that 'e dare not
receive in our o'n houses, for any reason 'hatsoever, any gentleman 'ho comes here from a distance.
The resonsibility no' is thine aloneC no one 'ill stand in thy 'ay. 2f thou 'ishest, thou mayst go u
no'C but my advice is to turn bac) again.G GLady,G he says, Gdoubtless it 'ould be to my honour and
advantage to follo' your adviceC but 2 do not )no' 'here 2 should find a lodging$lace to$night.G
G?on my 'ord,G says she, G2-ll say no more, for the concern is none of mine. 3o 'herever you lease.
;7
/evertheless, 2 should be very glad to see you return from inside 'ithout too great shameC but that
could hardly be.G GLady,G he says, Gmay 3od re'ard you for the 'ish. 4o'ever, my 'ay'ard heart
leads me on inside, and 2 shall do 'hat my heart desires.G Thereuon, he aroaches the gate,
accomanied by his lion and his damsel. Then the orter calls to him, and says% GCome Kuic)ly, come.
You are on your 'ay to a lace 'here you 'ill be securely detained, and may your visit be accursed.G
B6v. 5795$5*0;.D The orter, after addressing him 'ith this very ungracious 'elcome, hurried
ustairs. 1ut my lord Yvain, 'ithout ma)ing rely, assed straight on, and found a ne' and lofty hallC
in front of it there 'as a yard enclosed 'ith large, round, ointed sta)es, and seated inside the sta)es he
sa' as many as three hundred maidens, 'or)ing at different )inds of embroidery. ,ach one 'as se'ing
'ith golden thread and sil), as best she could. 1ut such 'as their overty, that many of them 'ore no
girdle, and loo)ed slovenly, because so oorC and their garments 'ere torn about their breasts and at the
elbo's, and their shifts 'ere soiled about their nec)s. Their nec)s 'ere thin, and their faces ale 'ith
hunger and rivation. They see him, as he loo)s at them, and they 'ee, and are unable for some time
to do anything or to raise their eyes from the ground, so bo'ed do'n they are 'ith 'oe. When he had
contemlated them for a 'hile, my lord Yvain turned about and moved to'ard the doorC but the orter
barred the 'ay, and cried% G2t is no use, fair masterC you shall not get out no'. You 'ould li)e to be
outside% but, by my head, it is of no use. 1efore you escae you 'ill have suffered such great shame
that you could not easily suffer moreC so you 'ere not 'ise to enter here, for there is no Kuestion of
escaing no'.G G/or do 2 'ish to do so, fair brother,G said heC Gbut tell me, by thy father-s soul, 'hence
came the damsels 'hom 2 sa' in the yard, 'eaving cloths of sil) and gold. 2 enMoy seeing the 'or)
they do, but 2 am much distressed to see their bodies so thin, and their faces so ale and sad. 2 imagine
they 'ould be fair and charming, if they had 'hat they desire.G G2 'ill tell you nothing,G 'as the relyC
Gsee) some one else to tell you.G GThat 'ill 2 do, since there is no better 'ay.G Then he searches until he
finds the entrance of the yard 'here the damsels 'ere at 'or)% and coming before them, he greets them
all, and sees tears flo'ing from their eyes, as they 'ee. Then he says to them% GAay it lease 3od to
remove from your hearts, and turn to Moy, this grief, the cause of 'hich 2 do not )no'.G #ne of them
ans'ers% GAay you be heard by 3od, to 'hom you have addressed your rayer. 2t shall not be
concealed from you 'ho 'e are, and from 'hat land% 2 suose that is 'hat you 'ish to )no'.G GFor
no other urose came 2 here,G says he.
xxvi
G.ire, it haened a long 'hile ago that the )ing of the 2sle
of "amsels 'ent see)ing ne's through divers courts and countries, and he )et on his travels li)e a
dunce until he encountered this erilous lace. 2t 'as an unluc)y hour 'hen he first came here, for 'e
;8
'retched catives 'ho are here receive all the shame and misery 'hich 'e have in no 'ise deserved.
(nd rest assured that you yourself may exect great shame, unless a ransom for you be acceted. 1ut,
at any rate, so it came about that my lord came to this to'n, 'here there are t'o sons of the devil Bdo
not ta)e it as a MestD 'ho 'ere born of a 'oman and an im. These t'o 'ere about to fight 'ith the
)ing, 'hose terror 'as great, for he 'as not yet eighteen years old, and they 'ould have been able to
cleave him through li)e a tender lamb. .o the )ing, in his terror, escaed his fate as best he could, by
s'earing that he 'ould send hither each year, as reKuired, thirty of his damsels, and 'ith this rent he
freed himself. (nd 'hen he s'ore, it 'as agreed that this arrangement should remain in force as long
as the t'o devils lived. 1ut uon the day 'hen they should be conKuered and defeated in battle, he
'ould be relieved from this tribute, and 'e should be delivered 'ho are no' shamefully given over to
distress and misery. /ever again shall 'e )no' 'hat leasure is. 1ut 2 so)e folly Must no' in referring
to our deliverance, for 'e shall never more leave this lace. We shall send our days 'eaving cloths of
sil), 'ithout ever being better clad. We shall al'ays be oor and na)ed, and shall al'ays suffer from
hunger and thirst, for 'e shall never be able to earn enough to rocure for ourselves any better food.
#ur bread suly is very scarce $$ a little in the morning and less at night, for none of us can gain by
her handi'or) more than fourence a day for her daily bread. (nd 'ith this 'e cannot rovide
ourselves 'ith sufficient food and clothes. For though there is not one of us 'ho does not earn as much
as t'enty sous
xxvii
a 'ee), yet 'e cannot live 'ithout hardshi. /o' you must )no' that there is not a
single one of us 'ho does not do t'enty sous 'orth of 'or) or more, and 'ith such a sum even a du)e
'ould be considered rich. .o 'hile 'e are reduced to such overty, he, for 'hom 'e 'or), is rich 'ith
the roduct of our toil. We sit u many nights, as 'ell as every day, to earn the more, for they threaten
to do us inMury, 'hen 'e see) some rest, so 'e do not dare to rest ourselves. 1ut 'hy should 2 tell you
moreQ We are so shamefully treated and insulted that 2 cannot tell you the fifth art of it all. 1ut 'hat
ma)es us almost 'ild 'ith rage is that 'e very often see rich and excellent )nights, 'ho fight 'ith the
t'o devils, lose their lives on our account. They ay dearly for the lodging they receive, as you 'ill do
to$morro'. For, 'hether you 'ish to do so or not, you 'ill have to fight singlehanded and lose your
fair reno'n 'ith these t'o devils.G GAay 3od, the true and siritual, rotect me,G said my lord Yvain,
Gand give you bac) your honour and hainess, if it be 4is 'ill. 2 must go no' and see the eole
inside there, and find out 'hat sort of entertainment they 'ill offer me.G G3o no', sire, and may 4e
rotect you 'ho gives and distributes all good things.G
B6v. 5*0J$505;.D Then he 'ent until he came to the hall 'here he found no one, good or bad, to
;*
address him. Then he and his comanion assed through the house until they came to a garden. They
never so)e of, or mentioned, stabling their horses. 1ut 'hat matters itQ For those 'ho considered
them already as their o'n had stabled them carefully. 2 do not )no' 'hether their exectation 'as
'ise, for the horses- o'ners are still erfectly hale. The horses, ho'ever, have oats and hay, and stand
in litter u to their belly. Ay lord Yvain and his comany enter the garden. There he sees, reclining
uon his elbo' uon a sil)en rug, a gentleman, to 'hom a maiden 'as reading from a romance about 2
)no' not 'hom. There had come to recline there 'ith them and listen to the romance a lady, 'ho 'as
the mother of the damsel, as the gentleman 'as her fatherC they had good reason to enMoy seeing and
hearing her, for they had no other children. .he 'as not yet sixteen years old, and 'as so fair and full
of grace that the god of Love 'ould have devoted himself entirely to her service, if he had seen her,
and 'ould never have made her fall in love 'ith anybody excet himself. For her sa)e he 'ould have
become a man, and 'ould lay aside his deity, and 'ould smite his o'n body 'ith that dart 'hose
'ound never heals unless some base hysician attends to it. 2t is not fitting that any one should recover
until he meets 'ith faithlessness. (ny one 'ho is cured by other means is not honestly in love. 2 could
tell you so much about this 'ound, if you 'ere leased to listen to it, that 2 'ould not get through my
tale to$day. 1ut there 'ould be some one 'ho 'ould romtly say that 2 'as telling you but an idle
taleC for eole don-t fall in love no'adays, nor do they love as they used to do, so they do not care to
hear of it.
xxviii
1ut hear no' in 'hat fashion and 'ith 'hat manner of hositality my lord Yvain 'as
received. (ll those 'ho 'ere in the garden leaed to their feet 'hen they sa' him come, and cried out%
GThis 'ay, fair sire. Aay you and all you love be blessed 'ith all that 3od can do or say.G 2 )no' not if
they 'ere deceiving him, but they receive him Moyfully and act as if they are leased that he should be
comfortably lodged. ,ven the lord-s daughter serves him very honourably, as one should treat a 'orthy
guest. .he relieves him of all his arms, nor 'as it the least attention she besto'ed on him 'hen she
herself 'ashed his nec) and face. The lord 'ishes that all honour should be sho'n him, as indeed they
do. .he gets out from her 'ardrobe a folded shirt, 'hite dra'ers, needle and thread for his sleeves,
'hich she se's on, thus clothing him.
xxix
Aay 3od 'ant no' that this attention and service may not
rove too costly to himN .he gave him a handsome Mac)et to ut on over his shirt, and about his nec)
she laced a brand ne' sotted mantle of scarlet stuff. .he ta)es such ains to serve him 'ell that he
feels ashamed and embarrassed. 1ut the damsel is so courteous and oen$hearted and olite that she
feels she is doing very little. (nd she )no's 'ell that it is her mother-s 'ill that she shall leave nothing
undone for him 'hich she thin)s may 'in his gratitude. That night at table he 'as so 'ell served 'ith
;0
so many dishes that there 'ere too many. The servants 'ho brought in the dishes might 'ell have been
'earied by serving them. That night they did him all manner of honour, utting him comfortably to
bed, and not once going near him again after he had retired. 4is lion lay at his feet, as his custom 'as.
2n the morning, 'hen 3od lighted 4is great light for the 'orld, as early as 'as consistent in one 'ho
'as al'ays considerate, my lord Yvain Kuic)ly arose, as did his damsel too. They heard Aass in a
chael, 'here it 'as romtly said for them in honour of the 4oly .irit.
B6v. 505J$5JJ<.D (fter the Aass my lord Yvain heard bad ne's, 'hen he thought the time had
come for him to leave and that nothing 'ould stand in his 'ayC but it could not be in accordance 'ith
his 'ish. When he said% G.ire, if it be your 'ill, and 'ith your ermission, 2 am going no',G the master
of the house relied% GFriend, 2 'ill not grant you ermission yet. There is a reason 'hy 2 cannot do so,
for there is established in this castle a very terrible ractice 'hich 2 am bound to observe. 2 shall no'
cause to aroach t'o great, strong fello's of mine, against 'hom, 'hether right or 'rong, you must
ta)e arms. 2f you can defend yourself against them, and conKuer and slay them both, my daughter
desires you as her lord, and the suPerainty of this to'n and all its deendencies a'aits you.G G.ire,G
said he, Gfor all this 2 have no desire. .o may 3od never besto' your daughter uon me, but may she
remain 'ith youC for she is so fair and so elegant that the ,meror of 3ermany 'ould be fortunate to
'in her as his 'ife.G G/o more, fair guest,G the lord relied% Gthere is no need of my listening to your
refusal, for you cannot escae. 4e 'ho can defeat the t'o, 'ho are about to attac) you, must by right
receive my castle, and all my land, and my daughter as his 'ife. There is no 'ay of avoiding or
renouncing the battle. 1ut 2 feel sure that your refusal of my daughter is due to co'ardice, for you thin)
that in this manner you can comletely avoid the battle. Kno', ho'ever, 'ithout fail that you must
surely fight. /o )night 'ho lodges here can ossibly escae. This is a settled custom and statute, 'hich
'ill endure yet for many a year, for my daughter 'ill never be married until 2 see them dead or
defeated.G GThen 2 must fight them in site of myself. 1ut 2 assure you that 2 should very gladly give it
u. 2n site of my reluctance, ho'ever, 2 shall accet the battle, since it is inevitable.G Thereuon, the
t'o hideous, blac) sons of the devil come in, both armed 'ith a croo)ed club of a cornelian cherry$
tree, 'hich they had covered 'ith coer and 'ound 'ith brass. They 'ere armed from the shoulders
to the )nees, but their head and face 'ere bare, as 'ell as their bra'ny legs. Thus armed, they
advanced, bearing in their hands round shields, stout and light for fighting. The lion begins to Kuiver as
soon as he sees them, for he sees the arms they have, and erceives that they come to fight his master.
4e is aroused, and bristles u at once, and, trembling 'ith rage and bold imulse, he thrashes the earth
;5
'ith his tail, desiring to rescue his master before they )ill him. (nd 'hen they see him they say%
G6assal, remove the lion from here that he may not do us harm. ,ither surrender to us at once, or else,
'e adMure you, that lion must be ut 'here he can ta)e no art in aiding you or in harming us. You must
come alone to enMoy our sort, for the lion 'ould gladly hel you, if he could.G Ay lord Yvain then
relies to them% GTa)e him a'ay yourselves if you are afraid of him. For 2 shall be 'ell leased and
satisfied if he can contrive to inMure you, and 2 shall be grateful for his aid.G They ans'er% G?on my
'ord that 'ill not doC you shall never receive any hel from him. "o the best you can alone, 'ithout
the hel of any one. You must fight single$handed against us t'o. 2f you 'ere not alone, it 'ould be
t'o against t'oC so you must follo' our orders, and remove your lion from here at once, ho'ever
much you may disli)e to do so.G GWhere do you 'ish him to beQG he as)s, Gor 'here do you 'ish me to
ut himQG Then they sho' him a small room, and say% G.hut him u in there.G G2t shall be done, since it
is your 'ill.G Then he ta)es him and shuts him u. (nd no' they bring him arms for his body, and lead
out his horse, 'hich they give to him, and he mounts. The t'o chamions, being no' assured about the
lion, 'hich is shut u in the room, come at him to inMure him and do him harm. They give him such
blo's 'ith the maces that his shield and helmet are of little use, for 'hen they hit him on the helmet
they batter it in and brea) itC and the shield is bro)en and dissolved li)e ice, for they ma)e such holes in
it that one could thrust his fists through it% their onslaught is truly terrible. (nd he $$ 'hat does he do
against these t'o devilsQ ?rged on by shame and fear, he defends himself 'ith all his strength. 4e
strains every nerve, and exerts himself to deal heavy, and telling blo'sC they lost nothing by his gifts,
for he returned their attentions 'ith double measure. 2n his room, the lion-s heart is heavy and sad, for
he remembers the )ind deed done for him by this noble man, 'ho no' must stand in great need of his
service and aid. 2f no' he could escae from there, he 'ould return him the )indness 'ith full measure
and full bushel, 'ithout any discount 'hatsoever. 4e loo)s about in all directions, but sees no 'ay of
escae. 4e hears the blo's of the dangerous and deserate fight, and in his grief he rages and is beside
himself. 4e investigates, until he comes to the threshold, 'hich 'as beginning to gro' rottenC and he
scratches at it until he can sKueePe himself in as far as his haunches, 'hen he stic)s fast. Aean'hile,
my lord Yvain 'as hard ressed and s'eating freely, for he found that the t'o fello's 'ere very
strong, fierce, and ersistent. 4e had received many a blo', and reaid it as best he could, but 'ithout
doing them any harm, for they 'ere 'ell s)illed in fencing, and their shields 'ere not of a )ind to be
hac)ed by any s'ord, ho'ever shar and 'ell temered it might be. .o my lord Yvain had good reason
to fear his death, yet he managed to hold his o'n until the lion extricated himself by continued
;;
scratching beneath the threshold. 2f the rascals are not )illed no', surely they 'ill never be. For so long
as the lion )no's them to be alive, they can never obtain truce or eace 'ith him. 4e seiPes one of
them, and ulls him do'n to earth li)e a tree$trun). The 'retches are terrified, and there is not a man
resent 'ho does not reMoice. For he 'hom the lion has dragged do'n 'ill never be able to rise again,
unless the other succours him. 4e runs u to bring him aid, and at the same time to rotect himself, lest
the lion should attac) him as soon as he had desatched the one 'hom he had thro'n do'nC he 'as
more afraid of the lion than of his master. 1ut my lord Yvain 'ill be foolish no' if he allo's him
longer life, 'hen he sees him turn his bac), and sees his nec) bare and exosedC this chance turned out
'ell for him. When the rascal exosed to him his bare head and nec), he dealt him such a blo' that he
smote his head from his shoulders so Kuietly that the fello' never )ne' a 'ord about it. Then he
dismounts, 'ishing to hel and save the other one from the lion, 'ho holds him fast. 1ut it is of no use,
for already he is in such straits that a hysician can never arrive in timeC for the lion, coming at him
furiously, so 'ounded him at the first attac), that he 'as in a dreadful state. /evertheless, he drags the
lion bac), and sees that he had torn his shoulder from its lace. 4e is in no fear of the fello' no', for
his club has fallen from his hand, and he lies li)e a dead man 'ithout action or movementC still he has
enough strength to sea), and he said as clearly as he could% G!lease ta)e your lion a'ay, fair sire, that
he may not do me further harm. 4enceforth you may do 'ith me 'hatever may be your desire.
Whoever begs and rays for mercy, ought not to have his rayer refused, unless he addresses a
heartless man. 2 'ill no longer defend myself, nor 'ill 2 ever get u from here 'ith my o'n strengthC
so 2 ut myself in your hands.G G.ea) out then,G he says, Gif thou dost admit that thou art conKuered
and defeated.G G.ire,G he says, Git is evident. 2 am defeated in site of myself, and 2 surrender, 2 romise
you.G GThen thou needest have no further fear of me, and my lion 'ill leave thee alone.G Then he is
surrounded by all the cro'd, 'ho arrive on the scene in haste. (nd both the lord and his lady reMoice
over him, and embrace him, and sea) to him of their daughter, saying% G/o' you 'ill be the lord and
master of us all, and our daughter 'ill be your 'ife, for 'e besto' her uon you as your souse.G G(nd
for my art,G he says. G2 restore her to you. Let him 'ho has her )ee her. 2 have no concern 'ith her,
though 2 say it not in disaragement. Ta)e it not amiss if 2 do not accet her, for 2 cannot and must not
do so. 1ut deliver to me no', if you 'ill, the 'retched maidens in your ossession. The agreement, as
you 'ell )no', is that they shall all go free.G GWhat you say is true,G he says% Gand 2 resign and deliver
them freely to you% there 'ill be no disute on that score. 1ut you 'ill be 'ise to ta)e my daughter
'ith all my 'ealth, for she is fair, and charming, and sensible. You 'ill never find again such a rich
;J
marriage as this.G G.ire,G he relies, Gyou do not )no' of my engagements and my affairs, and 2 do not
dare to exlain them to you. 1ut, you may be sure, 'hen 2 refuse 'hat 'ould never be refused by any
one 'ho 'as free to devote his heart and intentions to such a fair and charming girl, that 2 too 'ould
'illingly accet her hand if 2 could, or if 2 'ere free to accet her or any other maid. 1ut 2 assure you
that 2 cannot do it% so let me deart in eace. For the damsel, 'ho escorted me hither, is a'aiting me.
.he has )et me comany, and 2 'ould not 'illingly desert her 'hatever the future may have in store.G
GYou 'ish to go, fair sireQ 1ut ho'Q Ay gate 'ill never be oened for you unless my Mudgment bids
me give the commandC rather shall you remain here as my risoner. You are acting haughtily and
ma)ing a mista)e 'hen you disdain to ta)e my daughter at my reKuest.G G"isdain, my lordQ ?on my
soul, 2 do not disdain her. Whatever the enalty may be, 2 cannot marry a 'ife or tarry here. 2 shall
follo' the damsel 'ho is my guide% for other'ise it cannot be. 1ut, 'ith your consent, 2 'ill ledge
you my right hand, and you may ta)e my 'ord, that, Must as you see me no', 2 'ill return if ossible,
and then 'ill accet your daughter-s hand, 'henever it may seem good ro you.G GConfound any one,G
he says, G'ho as)s you for your 'ord or romise or ledge. 2f my daughter leases you, you 'ill return
Kuic)ly enough. You 'ill not return any sooner. 2 thin), for having given your 'ord or s'orn an oath.
1egone no'. 2 release you from all oaths and romises. 2f you are detained by rain or 'ind, or by
nothing at all, it is of no conseKuence to me. 2 do not hold my daughter so chea as to besto' her uon
you forcibly. /o' go about your business. For it is Kuite the same to me 'hether you go or 'hether
you stay.G
B6v. 5JJ7$59J7.D Thereuon my lord Yvain turns a'ay and delays no longer in the castle. 4e
escorted the oor and ill$clad 'retches, 'ho 'ere no' released from cativity, and 'hom the lord
committed to his care. These maidens feel that no' they are rich, as they file out in airs before him
from the castle. 2 do not believe that they 'ould reMoice so much as they do no' 'ere 4e 'ho created
the 'hole 'orld to descend to earth from 4eaven. /o' all those eole 'ho had insulted him in every
ossible 'ay come to beseech him for mercy and eace, and escort him on his 'ay. 4e relies that he
)no's nothing of 'hat they mean. G2 do not understand 'hat you mean,G he saysC Gbut 2 have nothing
against you. 2 do not remember that you ever said anything that harmed me.G They are very glad for
'hat they hear, and loudly raise his courtesy, and after escorting him a long distance, they all
commend him to 3od. Then the damsels, after as)ing his ermission, searated from him. When they
left him, they all bo'ed to him, and rayed and exressed the 'ish that 3od might grant him Moy and
health, and the accomlishment of his desire, 'herever in the future he should go. Then he, 'ho is
;9
anxious to be gone, says that he hoes 3od 'ill save them all. G3o,G he says, Gand may 3od conduct
you into your countries safe and hay.G Then they continue their 'ay MoyfullyC and my lord Yvain
dearts in the other direction. (ll the days of that 'ee) he never ceases to hurry on under the escort of
the maid, 'ho 'as 'ell acKuainted 'ith the road, and 'ith the retired lace 'here she had left the
unhay and disconsolate damsel 'ho had been derived of her inheritance. 1ut 'hen she heard ne's
of the arrival of the maiden and of the Knight 'ith the Lion. There never 'as such Moy as she felt
'ithin her heart. For no' she thin)s that, if she insists, her sister 'ill cede her a art of her inheritance.
The damsel had long lain sic), and had Must recovered from her malady. 2t had seriously affected her, as
'as aarent from her face. .traight'ay she 'ent forth to meet them, greeting them and honouring
them in every 'ay she could. There is no need to sea) of the hainess that revailed that night in the
house. /o mention 'ill be made of it, for the story 'ould be too long to tell. 2 ass over all that, until
they mounted next morning and 'ent a'ay. They rode until they sa' the to'n 'here King (rthur had
been staying for a fortnight or more. (nd there, too, 'as the damsel 'ho had derived her sister of her
heritage, for she had )et close to the court, 'aiting for the arrival of her sister, 'ho no' dra's near.
1ut she does not 'orry much, for she does not thin) that her sister can find any )night 'ho can
'ithstand my lord 3a'ain-s attac), and only one day of the forty yet remains. 2f this single day had
assed, she 'ould have had the reasonable and legal right to claim the heritage for herself alone. 1ut
more stands in the 'ay than she thin)s or believes. That night they sent outside the to'n in a small
and humble house, 'here, in accordance 'ith their desire, they 'ere not recognised. (t the first sign of
da'n the next morning they necessarily issue forth, but ensconce themselves in hiding until broad
daylight.
B6v. 59J8$5:80.D 2 )no' not ho' many days had assed since my lord 3a'ain had so comletely
disaeared that no one at court )ne' anything about him, excet only the damsel in 'hose cause he
'as to fight. 4e had concealed himself three or four leagues from the court, and 'hen he returned he
'as so eKuied that even those 'ho )ne' him erfectly could not recognise him by the arms he bore.
The damsel, 'hose inMustice to'ard her sister 'as evident, resented him at court in the sight of all, for
she intended 'ith his hel to triumh in the disute 'here she had no rights. .o she said to the King%
GAy lord, time asses. The noon hour 'ill soon be gone, and this is the last day. (s you see, 2 am
reared to defend my claim. 2f my sister 'ere going to return, there 'ould be nothing to do but a'ait
her arrival. 1ut 2 may raise 3od that she is not coming bac) again. 2t is evident that she cannot better
her affairs, and that her trouble has been for naught. For my art, 2 have been ready all the time u to
;:
this last day, to rove my claim to 'hat is mine. 2 have roved my oint entirely 'ithout a fight, and
no' 2 may rightfully go to accet my heritage in eaceC for 2 shall render no accounting for it to my
sister as long as 2 live, and she 'ill lead a 'retched and miserable existence.G Then the King, 'ho 'ell
)ne' that the damsel 'as disloyally unMust to'ard her sister, said to her% GAy dear, uon my 'ord, in a
royal court one must 'ait as long as the )ing-s Mustice sits and deliberates uon the verdict. 2t is not yet
time to ac) u, for it is my belief that your sister 'ill yet arrive in time.G 1efore the King had finished,
he sa' the Knight 'ith the Lion and the damsel 'ith him. They t'o 'ere advancing alone, having
slied a'ay from the lion, 'ho had stayed 'here they sent the night.
B6v. 5:85$5::<.D The King sa' the damsel 'hom he did not fail to recognise, and he 'as greatly
leased and delighted to see her, for he 'as on her side of the Kuarrel, because he had regard for 'hat
'as right. @oyfully he cried out to her as soon as he could% GCome for'ard, fair one% may 3od save
youNG When the other sister hears these 'ords, she turns trembling, and sees her 'ith the )night 'hom
she had brought to defend in her claim% then she turned blac)er than the earth. The damsel, after being
)indly 'elcomed by all, 'ent to 'here the King 'as sitting. When she had come before him, she so)e
to him thus% G3od save the King and his household. 2f my rights in this disute can be settled by a
chamion, then it 'ill be done by this )night 'ho has follo'ed me hither. This fran) and courteous
)night had many other things to do else'hereC but he felt such ity for me that he cast aside all his
other affairs for the sa)e of mine. /o', madame, my very dear sister, 'hom 2 love as much as my o'n
heart, 'ould do the right and courteous thing if she 'ould let me have so much of 'hat is mine by right
that there might be eace bet'een me and herC for 2 as) for nothing that is hers.G G/or do 2 as) for
anything that is thine,G the other reliedC Gfor thou hast nothing, and nothing shalt thou have. Thou
canst never tal) so much as to gain anything by thy 'ords. Thou mayest dry u 'ith grief.G Then the
other, 'ho 'as very olite and sensible and courteous, relied 'ith the 'ords% GCertainly 2 am sorry
that t'o such gentlemen as these should fight on our behalf over so small a disagreement. 1ut 2 cannot
disregard my claim, for 2 am in too great need of it. .o 2 should be much obliged to you if you 'ould
give me 'hat is rightly mine.G G.urely,G the other said, Gany one 'ould be a fool to consider thy
demands. Aay 2 burn in evil fire and flame if 2 give thee anything to ease thy lifeN The ban)s of the
.eine 'ill meet, and the hour of rime 'ill be called noon, before 2 refuse to carry out the fight.G GAay
3od and the right, 'hich 2 have in this cause, and in 'hich 2 trust and have trusted till the resent time,
aid him, 'ho in charity and courtesy has offered himself in my service, though he )no's not 'ho 2 am,
and though 'e are ignorant of each other-s identity.G
J<
B6v. 5::7$;709.D .o they tal)ed until their conversation ceased, and then roduced the )nights in
the middle of the court. Then all the eole cro'd about, as eole are 'ont to do 'hen they 'ish to
'itness blo's in battle or in Moust. 1ut those 'ho 'ere about to fight did not recognise each other,
though their relations 'ere 'ont to be very affectionate. Then do they not love each other no'Q 2
'ould ans'er you both GyesG and Gno.G (nd 2 shall rove that each ans'er is correct. 2n truth, my lord
3a'ain loves Yvain and regards him as his comanion, and so does Yvain regard him, 'herever he
may be. ,ven here, if he )ne' 'ho he 'as, he 'ould ma)e much of him, and either one of them 'ould
lay do'n his head for the other before he 'ould allo' any harm to come to him. 2s not that a erfect
and lofty loveQ Yes, surely. 1ut, on the other hand, is not their hate eKually manifestQ YesC for it is a
certain thing that doubtless each 'ould be glad to have bro)en the other-s head, and so to have inMured
him as to cause his humiliation. ?on my 'ord, it is a 'ondrous thing, that Love and mortal 4ate
should d'ell together. 3odN 4o' can t'o things so oosed find lodging in the same d'elling$laceQ
2t seems to me they cannot live togetherC for one could not d'ell 'ith the other, 'ithout giving rise to
noise and contention, as soon as each )ne' of the other-s resence. 1ut uon the ground$ floor there
may be several aartments% for there are halls and sleeing$rooms. 2t may be the same in this case% 2
thin) Love had ensconced himself in some hidden room, 'hile 4ate had beta)en herself to the
balconies loo)ing on the high$road, because she 'ishes to be seen. @ust no' 4ate is in the saddle, and
surs and ric)s for'ard as she can, to get ahead of Love 'ho is indisosed to move. (hN Love, 'hat
has become of theeQ Come out no', and thou shalt see 'hat a host has been brought u and oosed to
thee by the enemies of thy friends. The enemies are these very men 'ho love each other 'ith such a
holy love for love, 'hich is neither false nor feigned, is a recious and a holy thing. 2n this case Love is
comletely blind, and 4ate, too, is derived of sight. For if Love had recognised these t'o men, he
must have forbidden each to attac) the other, or to do any thing to cause him harm. 2n this resect, then,
Love is blind and discomfited and beguiledC for, though he sees them, he fails to recognise those 'ho
rightly belong to him. (nd though 4ate is unable to tell 'hy one of them should hate the other, yet she
tries to engage them 'rongfully, so that each hates the other mortally. You )no', of course, that he
cannot be said to love a man 'ho 'ould 'ish to harm him and see him dead. 4o' thenQ "oes Yvain
'ish to )ill his friend, my lord 3a'ainQ Yes, and the desire is mutual. Would, then, my lord 3a'ain
desire to )ill Yvain 'ith his o'n hands, or do even 'orse than 2 have saidQ /ay, not really, 2 s'ear and
rotest. #ne 'ould not 'ish to inMure or harm the other, in return for all that 3od has done for man, or
for all the emire of +ome. 1ut this, in turn, is a lie of mine, for it is lainly to be seen that, 'ith lance
J7
raised high in rest, each is ready to attac) the other, and there 'ill be no restraint of the desire of each
to 'ound the other 'ith intent to inMure him and 'or) him 'oe. /o' tell meN When one 'ill have
defeated the other, of 'hom can he comlain 'ho has the 'orst of itQ For if they go so far as to come
to blo's, 2 am very much afraid that they 'ill continue the battle and the strife until victory be
definitely decided. 2f he is defeated, 'ill Yvain be Mustified in saying that he has been harmed and
'ronged by a man 'ho counts him among his friends, and 'ho has never mentioned him but by the
name of friend or comanionQ #r, if it comes about erchance that Yvain should hurt him in turn, or
defeat him in any 'ay, 'ill 3a'ain have the right to comlainQ /ay, for he 'ill not )no' 'hose fault
it is. 2n ignorance of each other-s identity, they both dre' off and too) their distance. (t this first shoc),
their lances brea), though they 'ere stout, and made of ash. /ot a 'ord do they exchange, for if they
had stoed to converse their meeting 'ould have been different. 2n that case, no blo' 'ould have
been dealt 'ith lance or s'ordC they 'ould have )issed and embraced each other rather than sought
each other-s harm. For no' they attac) each other 'ith inMurious intent. The condition of the s'ords is
not imroved, nor that of the helmets and shields, 'hich are dented and slitC and the edges of the
s'ords are nic)ed and dulled. For they stri)e each other violently, not 'ith the fiat of the s'ords, but
'ith the edge, and they deal such blo's 'ith the ommels uon the nose$ guards and uon the nec),
forehead and chee)s, that they are all mar)ed blac) and blue 'here the blood collects beneath the s)in.
(nd their hauber)s are so torn, and their shields so bro)en in ieces, that neither one escaed 'ithout
'ounds. Their breath is almost exhausted 'ith the labour of the strifeC they hammer a'ay at each other
so lustily that every hyacinth and emerald set in their helmets is crushed and smashed. For they give
each other such a battering 'ith their ommels uon the helmets that they are Kuite stunned, as they
almost beat out each other-s brains. The eyes in their heads gleam li)e sar)s, as, 'ith stout sKuare fists,
and strong nerves, and hard bones, they stri)e each other uon the mouth as long as they can gri their
s'ords, 'hich are of great service to them in dealing their heavy blo's.
B6v. ;70:$;889.D When they had for a long time strained themselves, until the helmets 'ere
crushed, and the hauber)s- meshes 'ere torn aart 'ith the hammering of the s'ords, and the shields
'ere slit and crac)ed, they dre' aart a little to give their ulse a rest and to catch their breath again.
4o'ever, they do not long delay, but run at each other again more fiercely than before. (nd all declare
that they never sa' t'o more courageous )nights. GThis fight bet'een them is no Mest, but they are in
grim earnest. They 'ill never be reaid for their merits and deserts.G The t'o friends, in their bitter
struggle, heard these 'ords, and heard ho' the eole 'ere tal)ing of reconciling the t'o sistersC but
J8
they had no success in lacating the elder one. (nd the younger one said she 'ould leave it to the King,
and 'ould not gainsay him in anything. 1ut the elder one 'as so obstinate that even the Lueen
3uinevere and the )nights and the King and the ladies and the to'nseole side 'ith the younger
sister, and all Moin in beseeching the King to give her a third or a fourth art of the land in site of the
elder sister, and to searate the t'o )nights 'ho had dislayed such bravery, for it 'ould be too bad if
one should inMure the other or derive him of any honour. (nd the King relied that he 'ould ta)e no
hand in ma)ing eace, for the elder sister is so cruel that she has no desire for it. (ll these 'ords 'ere
heard by the t'o, 'ho 'ere attac)ing each other so bitterly that all 'ere astonished thereatC for the
battle is 'aged so evenly that it is imossible to Mudge 'hich has the better and 'hich the 'orse. ,ven
the t'o men themselves, 'ho fight, and 'ho are urchasing honour 'ith agony, are filled 'ith
amaPement and stand aghast, for they are so 'ell matched in their attac), that each 'onders 'ho it can
be that 'ithstands him 'ith such bravery. They fight so long that the day dra's on to night, 'hile their
arms gro' 'eary and their bodies sore, and the hot, boiling blood flo's from many a sot and tric)les
do'n beneath their hauber)s% they are in such distress that it is no 'onder if they 'ish to rest. Then
both 'ithdra' to rest themselves, each thin)ing 'ithin himself that, ho'ever long he has had to 'ait,
he no' at last has met his match. For some time they thus see) reose, 'ithout daring to resume the
fight. They feel no further desire to fight, because of the night 'hich is gro'ing dar), and because of
the resect they feel for each other-s might. These t'o considerations )ee them aart, and urge them to
)ee the eace. 1ut before they leave the field they 'ill discover each other-s identity, and Moy and
mercy 'ill be established bet'een them.
B6v. ;88:$;58;.D Ay brave and courteous lord Yvain 'as the first to sea). 1ut his good friend
'as unable to recognise him by his utteranceC for he 'as revented by his lo' tone and by his voice
'hich 'as hoarse, 'ea), and bro)enC for his blood 'as all stirred u by the blo's he had received.
GAy lord,G he says, Gthe night comes onN 2 thin) no blame or reroach 'ill attach to us if the night
comes bet'een us. 1ut 2 am 'illing to admit, for my o'n art, that 2 feel great resect and admiration
for you, and never in my life have 2 engaged in a battle 'hich has made me smart so much, nor did 2
ever exect to see a )night 'hose acKuaintance 2 should so yearn to ma)e. You )no' 'ell ho' to land
your blo's and ho' to ma)e good use of them% 2 have never )no'n a )night 'ho 'as so s)illed in
dealing blo's. 2t 'as against my 'ill that 2 received all the blo's you have besto'ed on me to$dayC 2
am stunned by the blo's you have 2 struc) uon my head.G G?on my 'ord,G my lord 3a'ain relies,
Gyou are not so stunned and faint but that 2 am as much so, or more. (nd if 2 should tell you the simle
J*
truth, 2 thin) you 'ould not be loath to hear it, for if 2 have lent you anything of mine, you have fully
aid me bac), rincial and interestC for you 'ere more ready to ay bac) than 2 'as to accet the
ayment. 1ut ho'ever that may be, since you 'ish me to inform you of my name, it shall not be )et
from you% my name is 3a'ain the son of King Lot.G (s soon as my lord Yvain heard that, he 'as
amaPed and sorely troubledC angry and grief$ stric)en, he cast uon the ground his bloody s'ord and
bro)en shield, then dismounted from his horse, and cried% G(las, 'hat mischance is thisN Through 'hat
unhay ignorance in not recognising each other have 'e 'aged this battleN For if 2 had )no'n 'ho
you 'ere, 2 should never have fought 'ith youC but, uon my 'ord, 2 should have surrendered 'ithout
a blo'.G G4o' is thatQG my lord 3a'ain inKuires, G'ho are you, thenQG G2 am Yvain, 'ho love you
more than any man in the 'hole 'ide 'orld, for you have al'ays been fond of me and sho'n me
honour in every court. 1ut 2 'ish to ma)e you such amends and do you such honour in this affair that 2
'ill confess myself to have been defeated.G GWill you do so much for my sa)eQG my gentle lord
3a'ain as)s himC Gsurely 2 should be resumtuous to accet any such amends from you. This honour
shall never be claimed as mine, but it shall be yours, to 'hom 2 resign it.G G(h, fair sire, do not sea)
so. For that could never be. 2 am so 'ounded and exhausted that 2 cannot endure more.G G.urely, you
have no cause to be concerned.G his friend and comanion reliesC Gbut for my art, 2 am defeated and
overcomeC 2 say it not as a comlimentC for there is no stranger in the 'orld, to 'hom 2 'ould not say
as much, rather than receive any more blo's.G Thus saying, he got do'n from his horse, and they thre'
their arms about each other-s nec), )issing each other, and each continuing to assert that it is he 'ho
has met defeat. The argument is still in rogress 'hen the King and the )nights come running u from
every side, at the sight of their reconciliationC and great is their desire to hear ho' this can be, and 'ho
these men are 'ho manifest such hainess. The King says% G3entlemen, tell us no' 'ho it is that has
so suddenly brought about this friendshi and harmony bet'een you t'o, after the hatred and strife
there has been this dayQG Then his nehe', my lord 3a'ain, thus ans'ers him% GAy lord, you shall be
informed of the misfortune and mischance 'hich have been the cause of our strife. .ince you have
tarried in order to hear and learn the cause of it, it is right to let you )no' the truth. 2, 3a'ain, 'ho am
your nehe', did not recognise this comanion of mine, my lord Yvain, until he fortunately, by the 'ill
of 3od, as)ed me my name. (fter each had informed the other of his name, 'e recognised each other,
but not until 'e had fought it out. #ur struggle already has been longC and if 'e had fought yet a little
longer, it 'ould have fared ill 'ith me, for, by my head, he 'ould have )illed me, 'hat 'ith his
ro'ess and the evil cause of her 'ho chose me as her chamion. 1ut 2 'ould rather be defeated than
J0
)illed by a friend in battle.G Then my lord Yvain-s blood 'as stirred, as he said to him in rely% GFair
dear sire, so hel me 3od, you have no right to say so much. Let my lord, The King, 'ell )no' in this
battle 2 am surely the one 'ho has been defeated and overcomeNG G2 am the oneG G/o, 2 am.G Thus each
cries out, and both are so honest and courteous that each allo's the victory and cro'n to be the other-s
riPe, 'hile neither one of them 'ill accet it. Thus each strives to convince the King and all the eole
that he has been defeated and overthro'n. 1ut 'hen he had listened to them for a 'hile, the King
terminated the disute. 4e 'as 'ell leased 'ith 'hat he heard and 'ith the sight of them in each
other-s arms, though they had 'ounded and inMured each other in several laces. GAy lords,G he says,
Gthere is dee affection bet'een you t'o. You give clear evidence of that, 'hen each insists that it is he
'ho has been defeated. /o' leave it all to meN For 2 thin) 2 can arrange it in such a 'ay that it 'ill
redound to your honour, and every one 'ill give consent.G Then they both romised him that they
'ould do his 'ill in every articular. (nd the King says that he 'ill decide the Kuarrel fairly and
faithfully. GWhere is the damsel,G he inKuires, G'ho has eMected her sister from her land, and has
forcibly and cruelly disinherited herQG GAy lord,G she ans'ers, Ghere 2 am.G G(re you thereQ Then dra'
near to meN 2 sa' lainly some time ago that you 'ere disinheriting her. 1ut her right shall no longer be
deniedC for you yourself have avo'ed the truth to me. You must no' resign her share to her.G G.ire,G
she says, Gif 2 uttered a foolish and thoughtless 'ord, you ought not to ta)e me u in it. For 3od-s sa)e,
sire, do not be hard on meN You are a )ing, and you ought to guard against 'rong and error.G The King
relies% GThat is recisely 'hy 2 'ish to give your sister her rightsC for 2 have never defended 'hat is
'rong. (nd you have surely heard ho' your )night and hers have left the matter in my hands. 2 shall
not say 'hat is altogether leasing to youC for your inMustice is 'ell )no'n. 2n his desire to honour the
other, each one says that he has been defeated. 1ut there is no need to delay further% since the matter
has been left to me, either you 'ill do in all resects 'hat 2 say, 'ithout resistance, or 2 shall announce
that my nehe' has been defeated in the fight. That 'ould be the 'orst thing that could haen to your
cause, and 2 shall be sorry to ma)e such a declaration.G 2n reality, he 'ould not have said it for
anythingC but he so)e thus in order to see if he could frighten her into restoring the heritage to her
sisterC for he clearly sa' that she never 'ould surrender anything to her for any 'ords of his unless she
'as influenced by force or fear. 2n fear and arehension, she relied to him% GFair lord, 2 must no'
resect your desire, though my heart is very loath to yield. Yet, ho'ever hard it may go 'ith me, 2 shall
do it, and my sister shall have 'hat belongs to her. 2 give her your o'n erson as a ledge of her share
in my inheritance, in order that she may be more assured of it.G G,ndo' her 'ith it, then, at once,G the
J5
King reliesC Glet her receive it from your hands, and let her vo' fidelity to youN "o you love her as
your vassal, and let her love you as her sovereign lady and as her sister.G Thus the King conducts the
affair until the damsel ta)es ossession of her land, and offers her than)s to him for it. Then the King
as)ed the valiant and brave )night 'ho 'as his nehe' to allo' himself to be disarmedC and he
reKuested my lord Yvain to lay aside his arms alsoC for no' they may 'ell disense 'ith them. Then
the t'o vassals lay aside their arms and searate on eKual terms. (nd 'hile they are ta)ing off their
armour, they see the lion running u in search of his master. (s soon as he catches sight of him, he
begins to sho' his Moy. Then you 'ould have seen eole dra' aside, and the boldest among them
ta)es to flight. Ay lord Yvain cries out% G.tand still, allN Why do you fleeQ /o one is chasing you. 4ave
no fear that yonder lion 'ill do you harm. 1elieve me, lease, 'hen 2 say that he is mine, and 2 am his,
and 'e are both comanions.G Then it 'as )no'n of a truth by all those 'ho had heard tell of the
adventures of the lion and of his comanion that this must be the very man 'ho had )illed the 'ic)ed
giant. (nd my lord 3a'ain said to him% G.ir comanion, so hel me 3od, you have over'helmed me
'ith shame this day. 2 did not deserve the service that you did me in )illing the giant to save my
nehe's and my niece. 2 have been thin)ing about you for some time, and 2 'as troubled because it
'as said that 'e 'ere acKuainted as loving friends. 2 have surely thought much uon the subMect% but 2
could not hit uon the truth, and had never heard of any )night that 2 had )no'n in any land 'here 2
had been, 'ho 'as called OThe Knight 'ith the Lion.-G While they chatted thus they too) their armour
off, and the lion came 'ith no slo' ste to the lace 'here his master sat, and sho'ed such Moy as a
dumb beast could. Then the t'o )nights had to be removed to a sic)$room and infirmary, for they
needed a doctor and iaster to cure their 'ounds. King (rthur, 'ho loved them 'ell, had them both
brought before him, and summoned a surgeon 'hose )no'ledge of surgery 'as sureme. 4e exercised
his art in curing them, until he had healed their 'ounds as 'ell and as Kuic)ly as ossible. When he had
cured them both, my lord Yvain. 'ho had his heart set fast on love, sa' clearly that he could not live,
but that he finally 'ould die unless his lady too) ity uon himC for he 'as dying for love of herC so he
thought he 'ould go a'ay from the court alone, and 'ould go to fight at the sring that belonged to
her, 'here he 'ould cause such a storm of 'ind and rain that she 'ould be comelled erforce to ma)e
eace 'ith himC other'ise, there 'ould be no end to the disturbance of the sring, and to the rain and
'ind.
B6v. ;58J$;;59.D (s soon as my lord Yvain felt that he 'as cured and sound again, he dearted
'ithout the )no'ledge of any one. 1ut he had 'ith him his lion, 'ho never in his life 'ished to desert
J;
him. They travelled until they sa' the sring and made the rain descend. Thin) not that this is a lie of
mine, 'hen 2 tell you that the disturbance 'as so violent that no one could tell the tenth art of it% for it
seemed as if the 'hole forest must surely be engulfed. The lady fears for her to'n, lest it, too, 'ill
crumble a'ayC the 'alls totter, and the to'er roc)s so that it is on the verge of falling do'n. The
bravest Tur) 'ould rather be a cative in !ersia than be shut u 'ithin those 'alls. The eole are so
stric)en 'ith terror that they curse all their ancestors, saying% GConfounded be the man 'ho first
constructed a house in this neighbourhood, and all those 'ho built this to'nN For in the 'ide 'orld
they could not have found so detestable a sot, for a single man is able here to invade and 'orry and
harry us.G GYou must ta)e counsel in this matter, my lady,G says LuneteC Gyou 'ill find no one 'ho 'ill
underta)e to aid you in this time of need unless you see) for him afar. 2n the future 'e shall never be
secure in this to'n, nor dare to ass beyond the 'alls and gate. You )no' full 'ell that, 'ere some one
to summon together all your )nights for this cause, the best of them 'ould not dare to ste for'ard. 2f it
is true that you have no one to defend your sring, you 'ill aear ridiculous and humiliated. 2t 'ill
redound greatly to your honour, forsooth, if he 'ho has attac)ed you shall retire 'ithout a fightN .urely
you are in a bad redicament if you do not devise some other lan to benefit yourself.G The lady
relies% G"o thou, 'ho art so 'ise, tell me 'hat lan 2 can devise, and 2 'ill follo' thy advice.G
G2ndeed, lady, if 2 had any lan, 2 should gladly roose it to you. 1ut you have great need of a 'iser
counsellor. .o 2 shall certainly not dare to intrude, and in common 'ith the others 2 shall endure the
rain and 'ind until, if it lease 3od, 2 shall see some 'orthy man aear here in your court 'ho 'ill
assume the resonsibility and burden of the battleC but 2 do not believe that that 'ill haen to$day, and
'e have not yet seen the 'orst of your urgent need.G Then the lady relies at once% G"amsel, sea) no'
of something elseN .ay no more of the eole of my householdC for 2 cherish no further exectation that
the sring and its marble brim 'ill ever be defended by any of them. 1ut, if it lease 3od, let us hear
no' 'hat is your oinion and lanC for eole al'ays say that in time of need one can test his
friend.G
xxx
GAy lady, if there is any one 'ho thin)s he could find him 'ho sle' the giant and defeated
the three )nights, he 'ould do 'ell to go to search for him. 1ut so long as he shall incur the enmity,
'rath, and disleasure of his lady, 2 fancy there is not under heaven any man or 'oman 'hom he
'ould follo', until he had been assured uon oath that everything ossible 'ould be done to aease
the hostility 'hich his lady feels for him, and 'hich is so bitter that he is dying of the grief and anxiety
it causes him.G (nd the lady said% G1efore you enter uon the Kuest, 2 am reared to romise you uon
my 'ord and to s'ear that, if he 'ill return to me, 2 'ill oenly and fran)ly do all 2 can to bring about
JJ
his eace of mind.G Then Lunete relies to her% GLady, have no fear that you cannot easily effect his
reconciliation, 'hen once it is your desire to do soC but, if you do not obMect, 2 'ill ta)e your oath
before 2 start.G G2 have no obMection,G the lady says. With delicate courtesy, Lunete rocured at once for
her a very recious relic, and the lady fell uon her )nees. Thus Lunete very courteously acceted her
uon her oath. 2n administering the oath, she forgot nothing 'hich it might be an advantage to insert.
GLady,G she says, Gno' raise your handN 2 do not 'ish that the day after to$morro' you should lay any
charge uon meC for you are not doing anything for me, but you are acting for your o'n good. 2f you
lease no', you shall s'ear that you 'ill exert yourself in the interests of the Knight 'ith the Lion
until he recover his lady-s love as comletely as he ever ossessed it.G The lady then raised her right
hand and said% G2 s'ear to all that thou hast said, so hel me 3od and 4is holy saint, that my heart may
never fail to do all 'ithin my o'er. 2f 2 have the strength and ability, 2 'ill restore to him the love and
favour 'hich 'ith his lady he once enMoyed.G
B6v. ;;5:$;J7;.D Lunete has no' done 'ell her 'or)C there 'as nothing 'hich she had desired so
much as the obMect 'hich she had no' attained. They had already got out for her a alfrey 'ith an easy
ace. 3ladly and in a hay frame of mind Lunete mounts and rides a'ay, until she finds beneath the
ine$tree him 'hom she did not exect to find so near at hand. 2ndeed, she had thought that she 'ould
have to see) afar before discovering him. (s soon as she sa' him, she recognised him by the lion, and
coming to'ard him raidly, she dismounted uon the solid earth. (nd my lord Yvain recognised her as
soon as he sa' her, and greeted her, as she saluted him 'ith the 'ords% G.ire, 2 am very hay to have
found you so near at hand.G (nd my lord Yvain said in rely% G4o' is thatQ Were you loo)ing for me,
thenQG GYes, sire, and in all my life 2 have never felt so glad, for 2 have made my mistress romise, if
she does not go bac) uon her 'ord, that she 'ill be again your lady as 'as once the case, and that you
shall be her lordC this truth 2 ma)e bold to tell.G Ay lord Yvain 'as greatly elated at the ne's he hears,
and 'hich he had never exected to hear again. 4e could not sufficiently sho' his gratitude to her 'ho
had accomlished this for him. 4e )isses her eyes, and then her face, saying% G.urely, my s'eet friend,
2 can never reay you for this service. 2 fear that ability and time 'ill fail me to do you the honour and
service 'hich is your due.G G.ire, she relies, Ghave no concern, and let not that thought 'orry youN For
you 'ill have an abundance of strength and time to sho' me and others your good 'ill. 2f 2 have aid
this debt 2 o'ed, 2 am entitled to only so much gratitude as the man 'ho borro's another-s goods and
then discharges the obligation. ,ven no' 2 do not consider that 2 have aid you the debt 2 o'ed.G
G2ndeed you have, as 3od sees me, more than five hundred thousand times. /o', 'hen you are ready,
J9
let us go. 1ut have you told her 'ho 2 amQG G/o, 2 have not, uon my 'ord. .he )no's you only by the
name of OThe Knight 'ith the Lion.-G
B6v. ;J7J$;J59.D Thus conversing they 'ent along, 'ith the lion follo'ing after them, until they
all three came to the to'n. They said not a 'ord to any man or 'oman there, until they arrived 'here
the lady 'as. (nd the lady 'as greatly leased as soon as she heard that the damsel 'as aroaching,
and that she 'as bringing 'ith her the lion and the )night, 'hom she 'as very anxious to meet and
)no' and see. (ll clad in his arms, my lord Yvain fell at her feet uon his )nees, 'hile Lunete, 'ho
'as standing by, said to her% G+aise him u, lady, and aly all your efforts and strength and s)ill in
rocuring that eace and ardon 'hich no one in the 'orld, excet you, can secure for him.G Then the
lady bade him rise, and said% G4e may disose of all my o'erN 2 shall be very hay, if ossible, to
accomlish his 'ish and his desire.G G.urely, my lady,G Lunete relied, G2 'ould not say it if it 'ere not
true. 1ut all this is even more ossible for you than 2 have said% but no' 2 'ill tell you the 'hole truth,
and you shall see% you never had and you never 'ill have such a good friend as this gentleman. 3od,
'hose 'ill it is that there should be unending eace and love bet'een you and him, has caused me to
find him this day so near at hand. 2n order to test the truth of this, 2 have only one thing to say% lady,
dismiss the grudge you bear himN For he has no other mistress than you. This is your husband, my lord
Yvain.G
B6v. ;J5:$;JJ;.D The lady, trembling at these 'ords, relied% G3od save meN You have caught me
neatly in a traN You 'ill ma)e me love, in site of myself, a man 'ho neither loves nor esteems me.
This is a fine iece of 'or), and a charming 'ay of serving meN 2 'ould rather endure the 'inds and
the temests all my life% (nd if it 'ere not a mean and ugly thing to brea) one-s 'ord, he 'ould never
ma)e his eace or be reconciled 'ith me. This urose 'ould have al'ays lur)ed 'ithin me, as a fire
smoulders in the ashesC but 2 do not 'ish to rene' it no', nor do 2 care to refer to it, since 2 must be
reconciled 'ith him.G
B6v. ;JJJ$;J:9.D Ay lord Yvain hears and understands that his cause is going 'ell, and that he
'ill be eacefully reconciled 'ith her. .o he says% GLady, one ought to have mercy on a sinner. 2 have
had to ay, and dearly to ay, for my mad act. 2t 'as madness that made me stay a'ay, and 2 no' admit
my guilt and sin. 2 have been bold, indeed, in daring to resent myself to youC but if you 'ill deign to
)ee me no', 2 never again shall do you any 'rong.G .he relied% G2 'ill surely consent to thatC for if 2
did not do all 2 could to establish eace bet'een you and me, 2 should be guilty of erMury. .o, if you
J:
lease, 2 grant your reKuest.G GLady,G says he, Gso truly as 3od in this mortal life could not other'ise
restore me to hainess, so may the 4oly .irit bless me five hundred timesNG
B6v. ;J::$;97*.D /o' my lord Yvain is reconciled, and you may believe that, in site of the
trouble he has endured, he 'as never so hay for anything. (ll has turned out 'ell at lastC for he is
beloved and treasured by his lady, and she by him. 4is troubles no longer are in his mindC for he forgets
them all in the Moy he feels 'ith his recious 'ife. (nd Lunete, for her art, is hay too% all her desires
are satisfied 'hen once she had made an enduring eace bet'een my olite lord Yvain and his
s'eetheart so dear and so elegant.
B6v. ;970$;979.D Thus Chretien concludes his romance of the Knight 'ith the LionC for 2 never
heard any more told of it, nor 'ill you ever hear any further articulars, unless some one 'ishes to add
some lies.
9<
Endnotes
,ndnotes sulied by !rof. Foerster are indicated by GBF.DGC all other endnotes are sulied by W.W.
Comfort.
i Gcele feste, Kui tant coste,
Lu-an doit clamer la antecoste.G
This rhyme is freKuently met in mediaeval narrative oems. BF.D
ii The contemorary degeneracy of lovers and of the art of love is a favourite theme of mediaeval oets.
iii Cf. G+oman de la +oseG, :;;7, for the stin)ing manure it. BF.D
iv The forest of 1roceliande is in 1rittany, and in it Chretien laces the marvellous sring of 1arenton, of 'hich 'e read in
the seKuel. 2n his version the oet forgets that the sea searates the court at Carduel from the forest of 1roceliande. 4is
readers, ho'ever, robably assed over this GlasusG. The most famous assage relating to this forest and its sring is
found in Wace, GLe +oman de +ou et des dues de /ormandieG, vv. ;*:5$;08<, 8 vols. B4eilbronn, 79JJ$J:D. Cf. further
the informing note by W.L. 4olland, GChretien von TroiesG, . 758 f. BTubingen, 7950D.
v This grotesKue ortrait of the GvilainG is erfectly conventional in aristocratic oetry, and is also alied to some
.aracens in the eic oems. Cf. W.W. Comfort in G!ub. of the Aodern Language (ssociation of (mericaG, xxi. 0:0 f.,
and in GThe "ublin +evie'G, @uly 7:77.
vi For the descrition of the magic fountain, cf. W.(. /itPe, GThe Fountain "efendedG in GAodern !hilologyG, vii. 705$
7;0C 3.L. 4amilton, G.torm$ma)ing .ringsG, etc., in G+omantic +evie'G, ii. *55$*J5C (.F. 3rimme in G3ermaniaG,
xxxiii. *9C #.A. @ohnston in GTransactions and !roceedings of the (merican !hilological (ssociationG, xxxiii., . lxxxiii.
f.
vii ,ugen Kolbing, GChristian von Troyes Yvain und die 1randanuslegendeG in GStsch. fur vergleichende
LiteraturgeschichteG B/eue Folge, xi. 1rand, 79:JD, . 008$009, has ointed out other stri)ing allusions in the Latin
G/avigatio .. 1randansG Bed. Wahlund, ?sala, 7:<<D and else'here in Celtic legend to trees teeming 'ith singing birds,
in 'hich the souls of the blessed are incororated. ( more general reference to trees, animated by the souls of the dead,
is found in @.3. FraPer, GThe 3olden 1oughG B8
nd
ed. 7:<<D, vol. 2., . 7J9 f.
viii Cf. (. Tobler in GStsch. fur romanische !hilologieG, iv. 9<$95, 'ho gives many other instances of boasting after meals.
.ee next note.
ix /oradin is the .ultan /ureddin Aahmud Breigned 770;$77J*D, a contemorary of the oetC Forre is a legendary .aracen
)ing of /ales, mentioned in the eic oems Bcf. ,. Langlois, GTable des noms rores de toute nature comris dans les
chansons de gesteG, !aris, 7:<0C (lbert Counson, G/oms eiKues entres dans le vocabulaire communG in G+omanische
ForschungenG, xxiii. 0<7$07*D. These names are mentioned here in connection 'ith the brave exloits 'hich Christian
)nights, 'hile in their cus, may boast that they 'ill accomlish BF.D. This ractice of boasting 'as called indulging in
GgabsG BT,ng. GgabGD, a good instance of 'hich 'ill be found in GLe 6oyage de Charlemagne a @eruslaemG Bed.
Kosch'itPD, v. 00J ff.
x 2t is evident in this assage that Chretien-s version is not clearC the reader cannot be sure in 'hat sort of an aartment
Yvain is secreted. The assage is erfectly clear, ho'ever, in the Welsh G#'einG, as sho'n by (.C.L. 1ro'n in
G+omanic +evie'G, iii. 70*$7J8, G#n the 2ndeendent Character of the Welsh O#'ain-G, 'here he argues convincingly
for an original older than either the extant French of Welsh versions.
xi The damsel-s surrise and fright at the sight of Yvain, 'hich uPPled !rofessor Foerster, is satisfactorily exlained by @.
(cher in GStsch. fur franPosische .rache und LiteraturG, xxxv. 75<.
xii For magic rings, cf. (. 4ertel, G6erPauberte #ertlich)eitenG, etc. B4anover, 7:<9DC ".1. ,aster, GThe Aagic ,lements in
the romans d-aventure and the romans bretonsG B1altimore, 7:<;D.
xiii Auch has been 'ritten on the 'idesread belief that a dead erson-s 'ounds 'ould bleed afresh in the resence of his
murderer. The assage in our text is interesting as being the earliest literary reference to the belief. #ther instances 'ill
be found in .ha)esear BGKing +ichard 222., (ct. 2., .c. 8D, Cervantes BG"on LuixoteGD, .cott BG1alladsGD, and .chiller
BG1raut von AessinaGD. 2n the75th and 7;th centuries esecially, the bleeding of the dead became in 2taly, 3ermany,
France, and .ain an absolute or contributory roof of guilt in the eyes of the la'. The susected culrit might be
subMected to this ordeal as art of the inKuisitional method to determine guilt. For theories of the origin of this belief and
of its use in legal trials, as 'ell as for more extended bibliograhy, cf. Karl Lehmann in G3ermanistische (bhandlungen
fur Konrad von AaurerG B3ottingen, 79:*D, . 87$05C C.6. Christensen, G1aarerovenG BCoenhagen, 7:<<D.
xivW.L. 4olland in his note for this assage recalls .chiller-s G@ungfrau von #rleansG, (ct 222. .c. J, and .ha)eseare, first
art of GKing 4enry 26.G, (ct 6. .c. 0%
GWhen that this body did contain a sirit,
( )ingdom for it 'as too small a boundC
Endnotes
,ndnotes sulied by !rof. Foerster are indicated by GBF.DGC all other endnotes are sulied by W.W.
Comfort.
1ut no' t'o aces of the vilest earth
2s room enough.G
xv Foerster regards this excuse for Kay-s defeat as ironical.
xvi 2t is hoed that the follo'ing assage may have retained in the translation some of the gay animation 'hich clothes this
descrition of a royal entry into a mediaeval to'n.
xvii This idea forms the dominating motive, it 'ill be recalled, in G,rec et ,nideG Bcf. note to G,recG, v. 85J;D.
xviii The arallel bet'een Yvain-s and +oland-s madness 'ill occur to readers of (riosto-s G#rlando FuriosoG, though in the
former case Yvain-s madness seems to be rather a retribution for his failure to )ee his romise, 'hile +oland-s madness
arises from excess of love.
xix (rgonne is the name of a hilly and 'ell$'ooded district in the north$east of France, lying bet'een the Aeuse and the
(isne.
xx (n allusion to the 'ell$)no'n eic tradition embodied in the GChanson de +olandG. 2t 'as common for mediaeval oets
to give names to both the horses and the s'ords of their heroes.
xxi For the faithful lion in the Latin bestiaries and mediaeval romances, see the long note of W.L. 4olland, GChretien von
TroiesG BTubingen, 7950D, . 7;7 f., and 3. 1aist in Seitschrift fur romanische !hilologie, xxi. 0<8$0<5. To the examles
there cited may be added the eisodes in G#ctavianG B75th centuryD, ublished in the G+omanische 1ibliothe)G
B4eilbronn, 799*D.
xxii This is the first of three references in this oem to the abduction of 3uinevere as fully narrated in the oem of
GLancelotG. The other references are in v. *:79 and v.0J0< f.
xxiii Yvain here states the theory of the Mudicial trial by combat. For another instance see GLancelotG, v. 0:;* f. Cf. A.
!feffer in GStsch. fur romanische !hilogieG, ix. 7$J0, and L. @ordan, id. Hxix. *95$0<7.
xxiv ( similar descrition of a distressed damsel 'andering at night in a forest is found in G1erte aus grans iesG, by (denet
le +oi B7*th centuryD.
xxv The lion is forgotten for the moment, but 'ill aear again v. 500;. BF.D
xxvi This entire assage belongs in the catagory of 'idesread myths 'hich tell of a tribute of youths or maidens aid to
some cruel monster, from 'hich some hero finally obtains deliverance. 2nstances are resented in the adventures of
Theseus and Tristan.
xxvii The old French monetary table 'as as follo's% 7< as T 7 denierC 78 deniers T 7 solC 8< sous T 7 livre
xxviii 2t aears to be the oet-s rerogative in all eochs of social history to bemoan the degeneracy of true love in his o'n
generation.
xxix The sleeves of shirts 'ere detachable, and 'ere se'ed on a fresh 'hen a clean garment 'as ut on. BF.D
xxx This 'as an axiom of feudal society, and occurs more freKuently in feudal literature than any other statement of
mediaeval social relations.