Archive for September 9th, 2016

Friday, 9 September 2016

Lines 925-972 of “Sir Launfal” by Thomas Chestre with rough rendering into modern English by flusteredduck

And as the Quene spak to the Kyng,
The barouns seygh come rydynge
A damesele alone
Upoon a whyt comely palfrey.
They saw never non so gay
Upon the grounde gone:
Gentyll, jolyf as bryd on bowe,
In all manere fayr ynowe
To wonye yn wordly wone.
The lady was bryght as blosme on brere;
Wyth eyen gray, wyth lovelych chere,
Her leyre lyght schoone.

As rose on rys her rode was red;
The her schon upon her hed
As gold wyre that schynyth bryght;
Sche hadde a crounne upon her molde
Of ryche stones, and of golde,
That lofsom lemede lyght.
The lady was clad yn purpere palle,
Wyth gentyll body and myddyll small,
That semely was of syght;
Her matyll was furryd wyth whyt ermyn,
Yreversyd jolyf and fyn –
No rychere be ne myght.

Her sadell was semyly set:
The sambus wer grene felvet
Ypaynted wyth ymagerye.
The bordure was of belles
Of ryche gold, and nothyng elles
That any man myghte aspye.
In the arsouns, before and behynde,
Were twey stones of Ynde,
Gay for the maystrye.
The paytrelle of her palfraye
Was worth an erldome, stoute and gay,
The best yn Lumbardye.

A gerfawcon sche bar on her hond;
A softe pas her palfray fond,
That men her schuld beholde.
Thorugh Karlyon rood that lady;
Twey whyte grehoundys ronne hyr by –
Har colers were of golde.
And whan Launfal sawe that lady,
To alle the folk he gon crye an hy,
Bothe to yonge and olde:
“Her,” he seyde, “comyth my lemman swete!
Sche myghte me of my balys bete,
Yef that lady wolde.”

Lines 925-972 of Sir Launfal by Thomas Chestre

And as the Queen spoke to the King,
The barons saw come riding
A damsel alone
Upon a white comely palfrey.
They saw never none so fine
Upon the earth:
Gentle, beautiful as bird on bough,
In all manner extremely fair
To dwell in worldly dwelling.
The lady was bright as blossom on briar:
With eyes grey, with lovely countentance,
Her face shone with light.

As rose on stem, her cheeks were red
The hair shone upon her head
As gold wire that shines bright;
She had a crown upon the top of her head
Of rich stones, and of gold,
That gorgeously blazed with light.
The lady was clad in purple cloth,
With pleasant body and middle small,
That seemly was of sight;
Her mantle was furred with white ermine,
Lined splendidly and fine –
Nothing richer be any sight.

Her saddle was seemly set:
The saddle blanket was green velvet
Painted with imagery.
The border was of bells
Of bright gold, and nothing else.
That any man might espy,
In the saddle bows, before and behind,
Were two stones of India,
Bright for the majesty,
The breast-plate of her palfrey
Was worth an earldom, stout and gay,
The best in Lombardy.

A gerfalcon she bore on her wrist;
A soft pace her palfrey moved,
That men her should behold.
Through Carlyon rode that lady;
Two white greyhounds ran by her –
Her colours were of gold.
And when Launfal saw that lady,
To all the folk he cried aloud,
Both to young and old:
“Here,” he said, “comes my mistress sweet!
She might me of my woes relieve,
If that lady would.”


Date: 14th century

By: Thomas Chestre (14th century)