|He knelede adoun al so swithe, |
And thonked the ermite of his live,
And swor he nolde stinte no stounde
Til he his kinrede hadde ifounde.
For in the lettre was thous iwrite,
That bi the gloven he sscholde iwite
Wich were his moder and who,
Yhif that sche livede tho,
For on hire honden hii wolde,
And on non other hii nolde.
Half the florines he gaf the hermite,
And halvendel he tok him mide,
And nam his leve an wolde go.
"Nai," seide the hermite, "schaltu no!
To seche thi ken mightou nowt dure
Withouten hors and god armure."
"Nai," quad he, "bi Hevene Kyng,
Ich wil have first another thing!"
He hew adoun, bothe gret and grim,
To beren in his hond with him,
A god sapling of an ok;
Whan he tharwith gaf a strok,
Ne wer he never so strong a man
Ne so gode armes hadde upon,
That he ne scholde falle to grounde;
Swich a bourdon to him he founde.
Tho thenne God he him bitawt,
And aither fram other wepyng rawt.
Child Degarre wente his wai
Thourgh the forest al that dai.
No man he ne herd, ne non he segh,
Til hit was non ipassed hegh;
Thanne he herde a noise kete
In o valai, an dintes grete.
Blive thider he gan to te:
What hit ware he wolde ise.
An Herl of the countré, stout and fers,
With a knight and four squiers,
Hadde ihonted a der other two,
And al here houndes weren ago.
Than was thar a dragon grim,
Ful of filth and of venim,
With wide throte and teth grete,
And wynges bitere with to bete.
As a lyoun he hadde fet,
And his tail was long and gret.
The smoke com of his nose awai
Ase fer out of a chimenai.
The knyght and squiers he had torent,
Man and hors to dethe chent.
The dragon the Erl assaile gan,
And he defended him as a man,
And stoutliche leid on with his swerd,
And stronge strokes on him gerd;
Ac alle his dentes ne greved him nowt:
His hide was hard so iren wrout.
Therl flei fram tre to tre -
Fein he wolde fram him be -
And the dragon him gan asail;
The doughti Erl in that batail
Ofsegh this child Degarre;
"Ha! help!" he seide, "par charité!"
The dragoun seth the child com;
He laft the Erl and to him nom
Blowinde and yeniend also
Als he him wolde swolewe tho.
Ac Degarre was ful strong;
He tok his bat, gret and long,
And in the forehefd he him batereth
That al the forehefd he tospatereth.
He fil adoun anon right,
And frapte his tail with gret might
Upon Degarres side,
That up-so-doun he gan to glide;
Ac he stert up ase a man
And with his bat leide upan,
And al tofrusst him ech a bon,
That he lai ded, stille as a ston.
Therl knelede adoun bilive
And thonked the child of his live,
And maked him with him gon
To his castel right anon,
And wel at hese he him made,
And proferd him al that he hade,
Rentes, tresor, an eke lond,
For to holden in his hond.
Thanne answerede Degarre,
"Lat come ferst bifor me
Thi levedi and other wimmen bold,
Maidenes and widues, yonge and olde,
And other damoiseles swete.
Yif mine gloven beth to hem mete
For to done upon here honde,
Thanne ich wil take thi londe;
And yif thai ben nowt so,
Iich wille take me leve and go."
Alle wimman were forht ibrowt
In wide cuntries and forth isowt:
Ech the gloven assaie bigan,
Ac non ne mighte don hem on.
He tok his gloven and up hem dede,
And nam his leve in that stede.
The Erl was gentil man of blod,
And gaf him a stede ful god
And noble armure, riche and fin,
When he wolde armen him therin,
And a palefrai to riden an,
And a knave to ben his man,
And yaf him a swerd bright,
And dubbed him ther to knyght,
And swor bi God Almighti
That he was better worthi
To usen hors and armes also
Than with his bat aboute to go
|In gratitude he did kneel |
And thanked the hermit for his weal,
Swearing to search far aground
Until his father and mother were found.
For in the letter was written thus
That by the gloves know he must
His mother's true identity.
If she were alive he would see
That her hands those gloves would fit,
And on none other's could they sit.
He gave the hermit half his wealth
The remainder he kept for his health
And took his leave with his lot.
"No," said the hermit, "you shall not!
Your quest for kin would go off course
Without good armor, without a horse."
"No," he replied, "by Heaven's King,
I'll start out with a simple thing!"
He cut down, gnarled and great
To carry as he sought his fate,
A good sapling of an oak;
With this weapon, such a stroke
He gave that even the strongest man
With good arms could not withstand
The blow and crumbled to the ground;
Such a pilgrim's staff he found.
Then the hermit blessed the boy
And he departed in sorrow, not joy.
Young Degare made his way
Through the forest all that day.
No one was present with him to commune,
Until the hour was well past noon;
Then he heard in a valley below
The awful noise of a great blow.
Toward the sound he rode eagerly:
Wondering what there was to see.
An earl of that land, aggressive and strong,
And the nobles who had ridden along,
Had hunted deer at some cost:
For all their hunting dogs were lost.
There stood a dragon most ugly
Filled with venom, a creature unholy,
Of wide throat and fangs so great,
His long tail was a fearsome trait.
Bitterly his wings did beat
As he trampled with lion's feet.
His nostrils blew smoke to the skies
As from a chimney fires rise.
The noblemen he had torn apart
Both men and horse felt death's dart.
The dragon began to attack the Earl
Who defended himself, and fought to hurl
Stiff strong strokes with his sword:
On dragon-hide, these were scored.
But every blow came to nought:
The dragon's skin was as iron wrought.
The Earl scrambled from tree to tree
Hoping that he could run free—
And that dragon challenged the mettle
Of the Earl in that battle.
All this young Degare did see;
He said, "I'll help, for charity!"
Seeing Degare's approach,
The dragon left the Earl to broach
Great yawns and a rumbling bellow
As if he would Degare swallow.
But Degare was so strong
That with his staff, great and long,
That monstrous forehead he battered:
And every forehead bone was shattered.
In an instant the dragon fell down
But by whipping his tail around
He struck with a blow so fleet,
That it swept Degare off his feet;
But Degare quickly rose again
And with his cudgel blows did rain
On the fiend, smashing each bone,
Till the dragon lay dead, still as stone.
On humble knees the Earl now gave
Thanks to him who had fought to save
His life. Degare followed this lord
Back to his castle for his reward.
The Earl made Degare his guest,
Offering him all he possessed,
Rents, treasure and even lands,
Were placed into Degare's hands.
To this answered Degare
"If you will, put on display
This land's ladies for me to behold
Maidens and widows, young and old,
And other noble damsels sweet.
If these gloves happen to meet
The lady whose hands they will fit
I'll take your lands and my quest quit;
But if an exact fit is not found
Then I'll leave and not stay around."
Before him were many women brought
From far-flung countries they were sought:
Each one tried the gloves to don
But none was able to put them on.
Retrieving the gloves, Degare
Prepared to continue on his way.
The Earl did what a nobleman should
And gave Degare a steed that was good
And noble armor, of rich design
Which Degare wore and looked fine,
And a palfrey for to ride
And a servant to take his side,
And gave to him a sword most bright,
And dubbing him made him a knight,
Swearing by Almighty God
That Degare should be a lord,
Worthy to employ arms and horse
Instead of using his staff's crude force.
The Last Day
5 years ago