The First Fit* *part Listen, lordings, in good intent, And I will tell you verrament* *truly Of mirth and of solas,* *delight, solace All of a knight was fair and gent,* *gentle In battle and in tournament, His name was Sir Thopas. Y-born he was in far country, In Flanders, all beyond the sea, At Popering <2> in the place; His father was a man full free, And lord he was of that country, As it was Godde's grace. <3> Sir Thopas was a doughty swain, White was his face as paindemain, <4> His lippes red as rose. His rode* is like scarlet in grain, *complexion And I you tell in good certain He had a seemly nose. His hair, his beard, was like saffroun, That to his girdle reach'd adown, His shoes of cordewane:<5> Of Bruges were his hosen brown; His robe was of ciclatoun,<6> That coste many a jane.<7> He coulde hunt at the wild deer, And ride on hawking *for rivere* *by the river* With gray goshawk on hand: <8> Thereto he was a good archere, Of wrestling was there none his peer, Where any ram <9> should stand. Full many a maiden bright in bow'r They mourned for him par amour, When them were better sleep; But he was chaste, and no lechour, And sweet as is the bramble flow'r That beareth the red heep.* *hip And so it fell upon a day, For sooth as I you telle may, Sir Thopas would out ride; He worth* upon his steede gray, *mounted And in his hand a launcegay,* *spear <10> A long sword by his side. He pricked through a fair forest, Wherein is many a wilde beast, Yea, bothe buck and hare; And as he pricked north and east, I tell it you, him had almest *almost Betid* a sorry care. *befallen There sprange herbes great and small, The liquorice and the setewall,* *valerian And many a clove-gilofre, <12> And nutemeg to put in ale, Whether it be moist* or stale, *new Or for to lay in coffer. The birdes sang, it is no nay, The sperhawk* and the popinjay,** *sparrowhawk **parrot <13> That joy it was to hear; The throstle-cock made eke his lay, The woode-dove upon the spray She sang full loud and clear. Sir Thopas fell in love-longing All when he heard the throstle sing, And *prick'd as he were wood;* *rode as if he His faire steed in his pricking were mad* So sweated, that men might him wring, His sides were all blood. Sir Thopas eke so weary was For pricking on the softe grass, So fierce was his corage,* *inclination, spirit That down he laid him in that place, To make his steed some solace, And gave him good forage. "Ah, Saint Mary, ben'dicite, What aileth thilke* love at me *this To binde me so sore? Me dreamed all this night, pardie, An elf-queen shall my leman* be, *mistress And sleep under my gore.* *shirt An elf-queen will I love, y-wis,* *assuredly For in this world no woman is Worthy to be my make* *mate In town; All other women I forsake, And to an elf-queen I me take By dale and eke by down." <14> Into his saddle he clomb anon, And pricked over stile and stone An elf-queen for to spy, Till he so long had ridden and gone, That he found in a privy wonne* *haunt The country of Faery, So wild; For in that country was there none That to him durste ride or gon, Neither wife nor child. Till that there came a great giaunt, His name was Sir Oliphaunt,<15> A perilous man of deed; He saide, "Child,* by Termagaunt, <16> *young man *But if* thou prick out of mine haunt, *unless Anon I slay thy steed With mace. Here is the Queen of Faery, With harp, and pipe, and symphony, Dwelling in this place." The Child said, "All so may I the,* *thrive To-morrow will I meete thee, When I have mine armor; And yet I hope, *par ma fay,* *by my faith* That thou shalt with this launcegay Abyen* it full sore; *suffer for Thy maw* *belly Shall I pierce, if I may, Ere it be fully prime of day, For here thou shalt be slaw."* *slain Sir Thopas drew aback full fast; This giant at him stones cast Out of a fell staff sling: But fair escaped Child Thopas, And all it was through Godde's grace, And through his fair bearing. <17> Yet listen, lordings, to my tale, Merrier than the nightingale, For now I will you rown,* *whisper How Sir Thopas, with sides smale,* *small <18> Pricking over hill and dale, Is come again to town. His merry men commanded he To make him both game and glee; For needes must he fight With a giant with heades three, For paramour and jollity Of one that shone full bright. "*Do come,*" he saide, "my minstrales *summon* And gestours* for to telle tales. *story-tellers Anon in mine arming, Of romances that be royales, <19> Of popes and of cardinales, And eke of love-longing." They fetch'd him first the sweete wine, And mead eke in a maseline,* *drinking-bowl And royal spicery; of maple wood <20> Of ginger-bread that was full fine, And liquorice and eke cumin, With sugar that is trie.* *refined He didde,* next his white lere,** *put on **skin Of cloth of lake* fine and clear, *fine linen A breech and eke a shirt; And next his shirt an haketon,* *cassock And over that an habergeon,* *coat of mail For piercing of his heart; And over that a fine hauberk,* *plate-armour Was all y-wrought of Jewes'* werk, *magicians' Full strong it was of plate; And over that his coat-armour,* *knight's surcoat As white as is the lily flow'r, <21> In which he would debate.* *fight His shield was all of gold so red And therein was a boare's head, A charboucle* beside; *carbuncle <22> And there he swore on ale and bread, How that the giant should be dead, Betide whatso betide. His jambeaux* were of cuirbouly, <23> *boots His sworde's sheath of ivory, His helm of latoun* bright, *brass His saddle was of rewel <24> bone, His bridle as the sunne shone, Or as the moonelight. His speare was of fine cypress, That bodeth war, and nothing peace; The head full sharp y-ground. His steede was all dapple gray, It went an amble in the way Full softely and round In land. Lo, Lordes mine, here is a fytt; If ye will any more of it, To tell it will I fand.* *try The Second Fit Now hold your mouth for charity, Bothe knight and lady free, And hearken to my spell;* *tale <25> Of battle and of chivalry, Of ladies' love and druerie,* *gallantry Anon I will you tell. Men speak of romances of price* * worth, esteem Of Horn Child, and of Ipotis, Of Bevis, and Sir Guy, <26> Of Sir Libeux, <27> and Pleindamour, But Sir Thopas, he bears the flow'r Of royal chivalry. His goode steed he all bestrode, And forth upon his way he glode,* *shone As sparkle out of brand;* *torch Upon his crest he bare a tow'r, And therein stick'd a lily flow'r; <28> God shield his corse* from shand!** *body **harm And, for he was a knight auntrous,* *adventurous He woulde sleepen in none house, But liggen* in his hood, *lie His brighte helm was his wanger,* *pillow <29> And by him baited* his destrer** *fed **horse <30> Of herbes fine and good. Himself drank water of the well, As did the knight Sir Percivel, <31> So worthy under weed; Till on a day - . . .