July 29, 2020

For a full-text version, see Larry D. Benson’s online edition from the Middle English Texts Series: The Alliterative Morte Arthure Summary: Several Roman. The The Alliterative Morte Arthure Community Note includes chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis, character list, theme list, historical context, author. Malory in his second main section, The Noble Tale betwixt King Arthur and Lucius the Emperor of Rome, closely follows not a French romance, as he does in the.

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This table shows you passages from two published translations of the Alliterative Morte. Reading these and studying the decisions made by these translators may help you as you prepare for the translation assignment. Note that these are both verse translations: Some of the passages do not appear in the selections published in The Romance of Arthurand so Stone is the only sample artjure in those cases. You arhture like to listen and who love to hear Of arthre of the old days and of their dread deeds, How they were firm in their faith and followed God Almighty, Hear me closely and hold your silence, And I shall tell you a tale lofty and true Of the royal ranks of the Round Table, The flower of knighthood and all noble lords, Prudent in their deeds and practiced men-in-arms, Able in their actions, ever fearful of dishonor, Proper men and polished and versed in courtly ways; How they gained by battle glories abundant, Laid low Lucius the wicked, Lord of Rome, And conquered that kingdom by prowess in arms– Hark now closely and hear out this tale.

You who love to listen and long to hear Of our ancestors of old and their awesome deeds, How they were loyal to their religion and loved God Almighty, Hear me with good humour! Courteous and kind they were, accomplished in court manners, And won in their wars a wealth of honours, Slaying wicked Lucius, aloiterative Lord of Rome, And conquering that kingdom by skill in arms. Turn hither your ears and hear this history!

Then the mournful maidens fell to the earth, Kneeling and alluterative, and clasped their hands: Then Arthur with a dagger savagely strikes, And stabs the hulk straight up to the hilt; The wretch in his death-throes wrings him so hard, Three ribs in his side al,iterative squeezes to splinters.

The sorcerer was still strong enough to roll on top, And wrathfully they writhed as they wrestled together, Weltering and wallowing in the wild bushes, Tumbling, fast athure and tearing their clothes.

Then Arthur stabbed him savagely with a dagger, Repeatedly hitting into the hulk to the very hilt. So strongly the scoundrel squeezed him in arghure, He broke three ribs in his royal breast. Then the Romans and the ranks of the Round Table Arranged themselves in array, rearguard and all, And on helms went to work with stout weapons of war; Arthrue strong steel they sundered splendid mail, They arrayed themselves well, aloiterative royal men, And thrust in skillfully on steel-grey steeds, Fiercely flourished with flashing spears.

Sliced away ornaments fastened on shields; So many battle-fated are fallen on the field That each brook on the forest floor flows with red blood. The fairest on earth that ever were framed Stretched as far as a furlong, a thousand all told.

The royal blood of Britain then, bishops and all, Proceed toward Glastonbury, with hearts full of grief, To bury the brave king and bring him back to the earth, With all the honor and majesty that any man could have.

Loudly bells they ring and requiem sing, Intone masses and matins with mournful notes; Monastics arrayed in their richest robes, Pontiffs and prelates in precious attire, Dukes and peers all dressed in mourning, Countesses kneeling and clasping their hands, Ladies forlorn and mournful to look at, One and all were draped in black, damsels and all, Who appeared at that sepulcher with streaming tears; A more sorrowful sight was never seen in their time. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.


This page offers a few tools to help you as you work on the translation assignment. First, while translation is not simply a matter of substituting modern words for Middle English ones, both the task and your reading of Middle English in general will go more smoothly if you learn some Middle English vocabulary by alliterativve.

Valerie Krishna in The Romance of Arthur: An Anthology of Medieval Texts in Translationed. May great, glorious God, through His singular grace, And the precious alliterqtive of His peerless Mother, Help us shun shameful ways and wicked works, And grant us grace to guide and govern us here, In this woeful world, through virtuous ways, That we may hurry to His court, the Kingdom of Heaven, When the spirit must be split and sundered from the body, To dwell and abide with Him in bliss forever; And help me to pour forth some words here and now, Neither empty nor idle, only honor to Him, And pleasing and helpful to all people who hear.

Now may glorious God, great in His grace, And the precious prayers of His pure Mother Shield us from shameful deeds and shifts alliterahive sin, And giving us grace, guide and govern us here In this woeful world, that through worthy living Arfhure may come to His court, alliteratiev Kingdom of Heaven, When our souls are severed and sundered from body, Ever to abide in bliss and be with God!

May he sway me to weave some words at this time Not empty or idle, but honouring Him, With pleasure and profit to the people who hear them! Then he bellowed, he roared, and frenziedly swung Full fiercely at Arthur, but struck into the ground. But swiftly the king mmorte himself fiercely, Thrusts in with the sword so it punctured the groin: Both the guts and the gore gush out together And enslime all the grass on the ground where he stands.

Then he casts down the club and lays hold of the king, On the crest of the alliterativ clutches him in his arms, Wraps him right round, to rupture his ribs; So hard he hugs that hero, his heart nearly bursts.

The sound of his savage blows nearly stunned the King, Yet he quickly came to the encounter again And struck with his sword, slitting open the loins So that the guts and the gore gushed out together, Making the grass greasy on the ground he trod.

Then the giant cast away his club and clutched the King On the crest of the crag, clamping him in his arms, And enclosing him completely to crush his ribs, Hugging him so hard his heart almost burst. He whips out Caliburn, all freshly whetted, Hastes to Golapas, who had hurt the most men, And cleaves him just at the knees cleanly in two. You are too high by the half, I tell you in truth; You will be handsomer soon, with the help of my Lord.

Stoutly into that struggle he strikes at another, And sets on seven with his stalwart knights– Till sixty were so served, ceased they never. And thus in that skirmish the giants are slain, Laid low in that battle by lordly knights.

Translating the

He brandished Excalibur the brightly burnished, Got close to Golopas, who had done greatest harm, And cut him in two clean through the knees.

You are too high by half, I have to tell you. Sternly in that assault he struck another, And set on seven more with his stalwart knights: Till sixty giants had been so served, they never ceased. So this omrte saw the destruction of the giants, Outjousted by gentle knights in the doings of the day.


Then both Romans and ranked knights of the Round Table Drew up afresh their rearguards and the rest, And hacked at helmets with hardy war weapons, Slashing with strong steel through splendid mail.

Yes, they did things duly, those daring warriors, Fixing lances in fewters freely on their iron-grey horses, With their skewering spears savagely dueling, And shearing off shields their shining goldwork. Felled on the field of that fight were left so many That every runnel ran with red blood in the forest. By then life-blood lay in pools on the lovely grassland; Swords were smashed in two, dying knights Giddily lurched guardless on galloping steeds. Gashes grieved the bodies of gallant men; Their faces disfigured under the foaming waters, Were smashed by the stamping of steeds in armour.

I am his heir apparent, eldest of his kin. I possess and wield plenary power Over Alexandria and Africa and other foreign lands.

To me shall truly come the treasure and territories Of all the princely cities the port possesses, And the tribute and taxes during my time of life.

Arthur turned into Tuscany when the time seemed ripe, And tumultuously took its high-towered towns, Welting down walls, wounding knights, Overturning towers and tormenting the people. Worshipful widows wrthure made wail in woe, Cursing and crying and clasping their hands.

Wherever he went he laid waste with war Their wealth and their dwellings, working misery. They spread their surging assault, sparing few, Pitilessly plundering and despoiling their arhure, Consuming without stint what had been saved with care, Then sped on to Spoleto with spears in a,literative. From Spain to Prussia word spread about him, With talk of his extravagance; and terrible was the bitterness.

Towards Viterbo then he turned his horse, And in that vale victualled his valiant men prudently With various vintages and baked venison, Arthue to stay in the territory of the Viscount: Very soon the vanguard let free their horses In that virtuous vale among the vines.

There sojourned the Soverein in solace of heart To see if the senators would send any message, Carousing with rich wine and reveling joyously, This royal king with regal members of his Round Table, With mirth and melody and many amusements.

Men were never made merrier on this earth. My kinsman Constantine shall wear the crown, In keeping with his kinship, if Christ will allow it.

Let no wicked weed in this world take root and thrive– I warn you, by your worth, work as I bid. If Guinevere has fared well, fair fortune be with her. My cousin Constantine shall wear the crown, As becomes a kinsman, if Christ permit. Bear my blessing, men, in burying these lords Who were slaughtered by sword in struggle today.

Reading the Alliterative Morte Arthure

Then be stern and see that the offspring of Mordred Are secretly slain and slung into the sea: Let no wicked weed wax twisting on this earth! Then the baronage of Britain, bishops and others, Shaped with shuddering hearts to go to Glastonbury To bury their brave sovereign, bearing him to earth With all the honour and high ceremony any man could have.

They had the bells rung and chanted the Requiem, And sang masses and matins in mournful tones. Religious men arrayed in their rich capes, Pontiffs and prelates in precious robes, All the dukes and dignitaries dressed in mourning, Countesses kneeling and clasping their hands, Ladies languishing and looking forlorn, And girls too, all garbed in garments of black, Surrounded the sepulcher with their tears streaming down; So sorrowful a sight was never seen in their time.

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