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Many cliffs he out-clambers in countries full-strange;
Flown far from his folk, friendless he rides.
At each warp-over-water where he wished he could cross
If he found no foe before him, a wonder it was
And one so foul and so fell that fight them he must.
So many marvels in mountains there the man finds,
It were too sore to tell of the tenth part.
Somewhile with wyrms he wars, and with wolves as well,
Somewhile with Woodwose who waited in stones,
Both with bulls and with bears, and boars otherwhile.
And Eoten that him attacked from the high fells;
If not grim and grit-hard and God he had served,
Doubtless he had been dead and dashed full ofte.
For war worried him not so much, that winter was worse,
When the cold clear water from the clouds shed,
And freeze ere it fall to the frail earth.
Near slain with the sleet he slept in his reins
Most nights in among the naked rocks,
There as clattered from the crest the cold-burning rains,
And hung high over his head in hard iisse-ikkles.
Thus in peril and pain and plight full-hard
The country carries this knight till Christmas-Eve,
The knight well that tide
To Mary made his moan,
That she would read his ride
And lead him to some home.
|Book of hours, Bruges or Ghent 15th century Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, MS 287, fol. 80r|
By a mountain on the morn merrily he rides
Into a forest full deep, that fairly was wild,
High hills on each hand, and harsh woods under
Of hoar oaks full high a hundred together;
The hazel and the hawthorn were hooked in their tops,
With rough ragged moss ranging everywhere,
With many birds un-blithe upon bare twigs,
That piteously they piped for pain of the cold.
Gawain upon Gringolet glides them under,
Through many a mist and mire, a man alone,
Seeking for his soul, lest he fail should,
To see the service of that sire, that on that same night
Of a maiden was made, our madness to heal.
and therefore seeking he said, "I beseech thee lord,
And Mary, that is mildest mother so dear,
For some hearth near here where I might hear mass
And thy matins to-morrow, meekly I ask,
And thereto priestly I pray my Paternoster
He rode in his prayer
And cried for his misdeed;
Made the lords sign with care
And said, "Christs Cross me speed!"