THE WONDERFULL AVENTURE OF SYR GAWAYNE IN THE CASTELL OF MAYDEN CLERKES,

Which Is a Tale Sette Downe for One of the Trewest and Mervayllest Aventures That Ever Bifel Syr Gawayne.

AND AFTER RYDING above thre Englysshe legues syr Gawayne cam uppon a fayre castell. And over the castell gate was wryten in letters of gold,

WORDPRESS TAG: POETRY

And in front of the castell on a roche there sate a mayden, weping ful sore for pyté. And syr Gawayne unmounted hym and asked the mayden, “Wherefor makyst thou soche dole?”

And the mayden answered him, “Trewely I am wepyng for the custome of this castell, for whan that I sawe thee, a knight valyaunt and ful of vertu, approche unto thys curssed castell, hyt nyghe brast myn herte for pyté.”

“Tell me,” quod syr Gawayne, “what ys the custome of this castell?”

“Trewely,” quod the mayden, “ill chance hath brought thee here. For thys ys the Castell of Mayden Clerkes, and hyt ys the custome of this castell that no knyght may passe but that the Mayden Clerkes assaulten hym with dogerel. And many knyghtes have com hereby, but none be yet on lyve.”

“That ys an yvell custome,” seyde syr Gawayne.

“Wherefor I dyd make soche dole whan that I sawe thee. For hyt is seyde that none bot the moste valyaunt of King Arthurs knyghtes schal conquer thys castell. And truely the knyght that enchevyth this aventure schall have moche erthely worschipp. And lo, the Mayden Clerkes approche even now, wherefor I byd the mak haste to arme the.”

And syr Gawayne loked and biheld sevvyn maydens armed like unto knyghts. And eche helde a scroll on whych wer wryt straunge letters, and at once they biganne to rede from the scrolls. And syr Gawayne helde hys shelde tofore hym, but the maydens dyd shoot jagged half-rimes that brast hys shelde asonder.

And whan syr Gawayne was sore bysette, and wot not how he myght defend hymselffe, bihold there appered unto hym Merlion, who gav hym a boke and bade hym rede therfrom. “And loke you rede loude and eke streng,” quod Merlion, “for your lyf dipendyth uppon hyt.”

So syr Gawayne opyned the boke, and lo, in it wer wryten the workes of the Englysshe poets of most renome and worschippe. And syr Gawayne bigan to rede dan Chaucer his poemys in a voys ful resonaunt. And straightaway the maydens dyd dropp hir scrolls, and thei did cover hir eares with hir hondes. And at the fift stanza of Troylus and Criseyde, the maydens all fel doun dede, and the castell vanysshed al sodeynly, for the inchauntements of the place were al to-brokyn.

And on the roche wher the mayden had sate Merlion lette wryt in gold letters,

HERE SYR GAWAYNE DYD CONQUER THE CASTELL OF MAYDEN CLERKES BY POUER AND VERTU OF TREWE POETRIE.

And the peple of the lands about the castell mad grete chere of syr Gawayne, and he dyd abyde with hem fyve dayes with grete honneur.