(Vv. 5872-5924.) I know not how many days had passed since my lord Gawain had so completely disappeared that no one at court knew anything about him, except only the damsel in whose cause he was to fight. He had concealed himself three or four leagues from the court, and when he returned he was so equipped that even those who knew him perfectly could not recognise him by the arms he bore. The damsel, whose injustice toward her sister was evident, presented him at court in the sight of all, for she intended with his help to triumph in the dispute where she had no rights. So she said to the King: "My lord, time passes. The noon hour will soon be gone, and this is the last day. As you see, I am prepared to defend my claim. If my sister were going to return, there would be nothing to do but await her arrival. But I may praise God that she is not coming back again. It is evident that she cannot better her affairs, and that her trouble has been for naught. For my part, I have been ready all the time up to this last day, to prove my claim to what is mine. I have proved my point entirely without a fight, and now I may rightfully go to accept my heritage in peace; for I shall render no accounting for it to my sister as long as I live, and she will lead a wretched and miserable existence." Then the King, who well knew that the damsel was disloyally unjust toward her sister, said to her: "My dear, upon my word, in a royal court one must wait as long as the king's justice sits and deliberates upon the verdict. It is not yet time to pack up, for it is my belief that your sister will yet arrive in time." Before the King had finished, he saw the Knight with the Lion and the damsel with him. They two were advancing alone, having slipped away from the lion, who had stayed where they spent the night.
(Vv. 5925-5990.) The King saw the damsel whom he did not fail to recognise, and he was greatly pleased and delighted to see her, for he was on her side of the quarrel, because he had regard for what was right. Joyfully he cried out to her as soon as he could: "Come forward, fair one: may God save you!" When the other sister hears these words, she turns trembling, and sees her with the knight whom she had brought to defend in her claim: then she turned blacker than the earth. The damsel, after being kindly welcomed by all, went to where the King was sitting. When she had come before him, she spoke to him thus: "God save the King and his household. If my rights in this dispute can be settled by a champion, then it will be done by this knight who has followed me hither. This frank and courteous knight had many other things to do elsewhere; but he felt such pity for me that he cast aside all his other affairs for the sake of mine. Now, madame, my very dear sister, whom I love as much as my own heart, would do the right and courteous thing if she would let me have so much of what is mine by right that there might be peace between me and her; for I ask for nothing that is hers." "Nor do I ask for anything that is thine," the other replied; "for thou hast nothing, and nothing shalt thou have. Thou canst never talk so much as to gain anything by thy words. Thou mayest dry up with grief." Then the other, who was very polite and sensible and courteous, replied with the words: "Certainly I am sorry that two such gentlemen as these should fight on our behalf over so small a disagreement. But I cannot disregard my claim, for I am in too great need of it. So I should be much obliged to you if you would give me what is rightly mine." "Surely," the other said, "any one would be a fool to consider thy demands. May I burn in evil fire and flame if I give thee anything to ease thy life! The banks of the Seine will meet, and the hour of prime will be called noon, before I refuse to carry out the fight." "May God and the right, which I have in this cause, and in which I trust and have trusted till the present time, aid him, who in charity and courtesy has offered himself in my service, though he knows not who I am, and though we are ignorant of each other's identity."
(Vv. 5991-6148.) So they talked until their conversation ceased, and then produced the knights in the middle of the court. Then all the people crowd about, as people are wont to do when they wish to witness blows in battle or in joust. But those who were about to fight did not recognise each other, though their relations were wont to be very affectionate. Then do they not love each other now? I would answer you both "yes" and "no." And I shall prove that each answer is correct. In truth, my lord Gawain loves Yvain and regards him as his companion, and so does Yvain regard him, wherever he may be. Even here, if he knew who he was, he would make much of him, and either one of them would lay down his head for the other before he would allow any harm to come to him. Is not that a perfect and lofty love? Yes, surely. But, on the other hand, is not their hate equally manifest? Yes; for it is a certain thing that doubtless each would be glad to have broken the other's head, and so to have injured him as to cause his humiliation. Upon my word, it is a wondrous thing, that Love and mortal Hate should dwell together. God! How can two things so opposed find lodging in the same dwelling-place? It seems to me they cannot live together; for one could not dwell with the other, without giving rise to noise and contention, as soon as each knew of the other's presence. But upon the ground- floor there may be several apartments: for there are halls and sleeping-rooms. It may be the same in this case: I think Love had ensconced himself in some hidden room, while Hate had betaken herself to the balconies looking on the high-road, because she wishes to be seen. Just now Hate is in the saddle, and spurs and pricks forward as she can, to get ahead of Love who is indisposed to move. Ah! Love, what has become of thee? Come out now, and thou shalt see what a host has been brought up and opposed to thee by the enemies of thy friends. The enemies are these very men who love each other with such a holy love for love, which is neither false nor feigned, is a precious and a holy thing. In this case Love is completely blind, and Hate, too, is deprived of sight. For if Love had recognised these two men, he must have forbidden each to attack the other, or to do any thing to cause him harm. In this respect, then, Love is blind and discomfited and beguiled; for, though he sees them, he fails to recognise those who rightly belong to him. And though Hate is unable to tell why one of them should hate the other, yet she tries to engage them wrongfully, so that each hates the other mortally. You know, of course, that he cannot be said to love a man who would wish to harm him and see him dead. How then? Does Yvain wish to kill his friend, my lord Gawain? Yes, and the desire is mutual. Would, then, my lord Gawain desire to kill Yvain with his own hands, or do even worse than I have said? Nay, not really, I swear and protest. One would not wish to injure or harm the other, in return for all that God has done for man, or for all the empire of Rome. But this, in turn, is a lie of mine, for it is plainly to be seen that, with lance raised high in rest, each is ready to attack the other, and there will be no restraint of the desire of each to wound the other with intent to injure him and work him woe. Now tell me! When one will have defeated the other, of whom can he complain who has the worst of it? For if they go so far as to come to blows, I am very much afraid that they will continue the battle and the strife until victory be definitely decided. If he is defeated, will Yvain be justified in saying that he has been harmed and wronged by a man who counts him among his friends, and who has never mentioned him but by the name of friend or companion? Or, if it comes about perchance that Yvain should hurt him in turn, or defeat him in any way, will Gawain have the right to complain? Nay, for he will not know whose fault it is. In ignorance of each other's identity, they both drew off and took their distance. At this first shock, their lances break, though they were stout, and made of ash. Not a word do they exchange, for if they had stopped to converse their meeting would have been different. In that case, no blow would have been dealt with lance or sword; they would have kissed and embraced each other rather than sought each other's harm. For now they attack each other with injurious intent. The condition of the swords is not improved, nor that of the helmets and shields, which are dented and split; and the edges of the swords are nicked and dulled. For they strike each other violently, not with the fiat of the swords, but with the edge, and they deal such blows with the pommels upon the nose- guards and upon the neck, forehead and cheeks, that they are all marked black and blue where the blood collects beneath the skin. And their hauberks are so torn, and their shields so broken in pieces, that neither one escaped without wounds. Their breath is almost exhausted with the labour of the strife; they hammer away at each other so lustily that every hyacinth and emerald set in their helmets is crushed and smashed. For they give each other such a battering with their pommels upon the helmets that they are quite stunned, as they almost beat out each other's brains. The eyes in their heads gleam like sparks, as, with stout square fists, and strong nerves, and hard bones, they strike each other upon the mouth as long as they can grip their swords, which are of great service to them in dealing their heavy blows.
(Vv. 6149-6228.) When they had for a long time strained themselves, until the helmets were crushed, and the hauberks' meshes were torn apart with the hammering of the swords, and the shields were split and cracked, they drew apart a little to give their pulse a rest and to catch their breath again. However, they do not long delay, but run at each other again more fiercely than before. And all declare that they never saw two more courageous knights. "This fight between them is no jest, but they are in grim earnest. They will never be repaid for their merits and deserts." The two friends, in their bitter struggle, heard these words, and heard how the people were talking of reconciling the two sisters; but they had no success in placating the elder one. And the younger one said she would leave it to the King, and would not gainsay him in anything. But the elder one was so obstinate that even the Queen Guinevere and the knights and the King and the ladies and the townspeople side with the younger sister, and all join in beseeching the King to give her a third or a fourth part of the land in spite of the elder sister, and to separate the two knights who had displayed such bravery, for it would be too bad if one should injure the other or deprive him of any honour. And the King replied that he would take no hand in making peace, for the elder sister is so cruel that she has no desire for it. All these words were heard by the two, who were attacking each other so bitterly that all were astonished thereat; for the battle is waged so evenly that it is impossible to judge which has the better and which the worse. Even the two men themselves, who fight, and who are purchasing honour with agony, are filled with amazement and stand aghast, for they are so well matched in their attack, that each wonders who it can be that withstands him with such bravery. They fight so long that the day draws on to night, while their arms grow weary and their bodies sore, and the hot, boiling blood flows from many a spot and trickles down beneath their hauberks: they are in such distress that it is no wonder if they wish to rest. Then both withdraw to rest themselves, each thinking within himself that, however long he has had to wait, he now at last has met his match. For some time they thus seek repose, without daring to resume the fight. They feel no further desire to fight, because of the night which is growing dark, and because of the respect they feel for each other's might. These two considerations keep them apart, and urge them to keep the peace. But before they leave the field they will discover each other's identity, and joy and mercy will be established between them.
(Vv. 6229-6526.) My brave and courteous lord Yvain was the first to speak. But his good friend was unable to recognise him by his utterance; for he was prevented by his low tone and by his voice which was hoarse, weak, and broken; for his blood was all stirred up by the blows he had received. "My lord," he says, "the night comes on! I think no blame or reproach will attach to us if the night comes between us. But I am willing to admit, for my own part, that I feel great respect and admiration for you, and never in my life have I engaged in a battle which has made me smart so much, nor did I ever expect to see a knight whose acquaintance I should so yearn to make. You know well how to land your blows and how to make good use of them: I have never known a knight who was so skilled in dealing blows. It was against my will that I received all the blows you have bestowed on me to-day; I am stunned by the blows you have I struck upon my head." "Upon my word," my lord Gawain replies, "you are not so stunned and faint but that I am as much so, or more. And if I should tell you the simple truth, I think you would not be loath to hear it, for if I have lent you anything of mine, you have fully paid me back, principal and interest; for you were more ready to pay back than I was to accept the payment. But however that may be, since you wish me to inform you of my name, it shall not be kept from you: my name is Gawain the son of King Lot." As soon as my lord Yvain heard that, he was amazed and sorely troubled; angry and grief- stricken, he cast upon the ground his bloody sword and broken shield, then dismounted from his horse, and cried: "Alas, what mischance is this! Through what unhappy ignorance in not recognising each other have we waged this battle! For if I had known who you were, I should never have fought with you; but, upon my word, I should have surrendered without a blow." "How is that?" my lord Gawain inquires, "who are you, then?" "I am Yvain, who love you more than any man in the whole wide world, for you have always been fond of me and shown me honour in every court. But I wish to make you such amends and do you such honour in this affair that I will confess myself to have been defeated." "Will you do so much for my sake?" my gentle lord Gawain asks him; "surely I should be presumptuous to accept any such amends from you. This honour shall never be claimed as mine, but it shall be yours, to whom I resign it." "Ah, fair sire, do not speak so. For that could never be. I am so wounded and exhausted that I cannot endure more." "Surely, you have no cause to be concerned." his friend and companion replies; "but for my part, I am defeated and overcome; I say it not as a compliment; for there is no stranger in the world, to whom I would not say as much, rather than receive any more blows." Thus saying, he got down from his horse, and they threw their arms about each other's neck, kissing each other, and each continuing to assert that it is he who has met defeat. The argument is still in progress when the King and the knights come running up from every side, at the sight of their reconciliation; and great is their desire to hear how this can be, and who these men are who manifest such happiness. The King says: "Gentlemen, tell us now who it is that has so suddenly brought about this friendship and harmony between you two, after the hatred and strife there has been this day?" Then his nephew, my lord Gawain, thus answers him: "My lord, you shall be informed of the misfortune and mischance which have been the cause of our strife. Since you have tarried in order to hear and learn the cause of it, it is right to let you know the truth. I, Gawain, who am your nephew, did not recognise this companion of mine, my lord Yvain, until he fortunately, by the will of God, asked me my name. After each had informed the other of his name, we recognised each other, but not until we had fought it out. Our struggle already has been long; and if we had fought yet a little longer, it would have fared ill with me, for, by my head, he would have killed me, what with his prowess and the evil cause of her who chose me as her champion. But I would rather be defeated than killed by a friend in battle." Then my lord Yvain's blood was stirred, as he said to him in reply: "Fair dear sire, so help me God, you have no right to say so much. Let my lord, The King, well know in this battle I am surely the one who has been defeated and overcome!" "I am the one" "No, I am." Thus each cries out, and both are so honest and courteous that each allows the victory and crown to be the other's prize, while neither one of them will accept it. Thus each strives to convince the King and all the people that he has been defeated and overthrown. But when he had listened to them for a while, the King terminated the dispute. He was well pleased with what he heard and with the sight of them in each other's arms, though they had wounded and injured each other in several places. "My lords," he says, "there is deep affection between you two. You give clear evidence of that, when each insists that it is he who has been defeated. Now leave it all to me! For I think I can arrange it in such a way that it will redound to your honour, and every one will give consent." Then they both promised him that they would do his will in every particular. And the King says that he will decide the quarrel fairly and faithfully. "Where is the damsel," he inquires, "who has ejected her sister from her land, and has forcibly and cruelly disinherited her?" "My lord," she answers, "here I am." "Are you there? Then draw near to me! I saw plainly some time ago that you were disinheriting her. But her right shall no longer be denied; for you yourself have avowed the truth to me. You must now resign her share to her." "Sire," she says, "if I uttered a foolish and thoughtless word, you ought not to take me up in it. For God's sake, sire, do not be hard on me! You are a king, and you ought to guard against wrong and error." The King replies: "That is precisely why I wish to give your sister her rights; for I have never defended what is wrong. And you have surely heard how your knight and hers have left the matter in my hands. I shall not say what is altogether pleasing to you; for your injustice is well known. In his desire to honour the other, each one says that he has been defeated. But there is no need to delay further: since the matter has been left to me, either you will do in all respects what I say, without resistance, or I shall announce that my nephew has been defeated in the fight. That would be the worst thing that could happen to your cause, and I shall be sorry to make such a declaration." In reality, he would not have said it for anything; but he spoke thus in order to see if he could frighten her into restoring the heritage to her sister; for he clearly saw that she never would surrender anything to her for any words of his unless she was influenced by force or fear. In fear and apprehension, she replied to him: "Fair lord, I must now respect your desire, though my heart is very loath to yield. Yet, however hard it may go with me, I shall do it, and my sister shall have what belongs to her. I give her your own person as a pledge of her share in my inheritance, in order that she may be more assured of it." "Endow her with it, then, at once," the King replies; "let her receive it from your hands, and let her vow fidelity to you! Do you love her as your vassal, and let her love you as her sovereign lady and as her sister." Thus the King conducts the affair until the damsel takes possession of her land, and offers her thanks to him for it. Then the King asked the valiant and brave knight who was his nephew to allow himself to be disarmed; and he requested my lord Yvain to lay aside his arms also; for now they may well dispense with them. Then the two vassals lay aside their arms and separate on equal terms. And while they are taking off their armour, they see the lion running up in search of his master. As soon as he catches sight of him, he begins to show his joy. Then you would have seen people draw aside, and the boldest among them takes to flight. My lord Yvain cries out: "Stand still, all! Why do you flee? No one is chasing you. Have no fear that yonder lion will do you harm. Believe me, please, when I say that he is mine, and I am his, and we are both companions." Then it was known of a truth by all those who had heard tell of the adventures of the lion and of his companion that this must be the very man who had killed the wicked giant. And my lord Gawain said to him: "Sir companion, so help me God, you have overwhelmed me with shame this day. I did not deserve the service that you did me in killing the giant to save my nephews and my niece. I have been thinking about you for some time, and I was troubled because it was said that we were acquainted as loving friends. I have surely thought much upon the subject: but I could not hit upon the truth, and had never heard of any knight that I had known in any land where I had been, who was called `The Knight with the Lion.'" While they chatted thus they took their armour off, and the lion came with no slow step to the place where his master sat, and showed such joy as a dumb beast could. Then the two knights had to be removed to a sick-room and infirmary, for they needed a doctor and piaster to cure their wounds. King Arthur, who loved them well, had them both brought before him, and summoned a surgeon whose knowledge of surgery was supreme. He exercised his art in curing them, until he had healed their wounds as well and as quickly as possible. When he had cured them both, my lord Yvain. who had his heart set fast on love, saw clearly that he could not live, but that he finally would die unless his lady took pity upon him; for he was dying for love of her; so he thought he would go away from the court alone, and would go to fight at the spring that belonged to her, where he would cause such a storm of wind and rain that she would be compelled perforce to make peace with him; otherwise, there would be no end to the disturbance of the spring, and to the rain and wind.
(Vv. 6527-6658.) As soon as my lord Yvain felt that he was cured and sound again, he departed without the knowledge of any one. But he had with him his lion, who never in his life wished to desert him. They travelled until they saw the spring and made the rain descend. Think not that this is a lie of mine, when I tell you that the disturbance was so violent that no one could tell the tenth part of it: for it seemed as if the whole forest must surely be engulfed. The lady fears for her town, lest it, too, will crumble away; the walls totter, and the tower rocks so that it is on the verge of falling down. The bravest Turk would rather be a captive in Persia than be shut up within those walls. The people are so stricken with terror that they curse all their ancestors, saying: "Confounded be the man who first constructed a house in this neighbourhood, and all those who built this town! For in the wide world they could not have found so detestable a spot, for a single man is able here to invade and worry and harry us." "You must take counsel in this matter, my lady," says Lunete; "you will find no one who will undertake to aid you in this time of need unless you seek for him afar. In the future we shall never be secure in this town, nor dare to pass beyond the walls and gate. You know full well that, were some one to summon together all your knights for this cause, the best of them would not dare to step forward. If it is true that you have no one to defend your spring, you will appear ridiculous and humiliated. It will redound greatly to your honour, forsooth, if he who has attacked you shall retire without a fight! Surely you are in a bad predicament if you do not devise some other plan to benefit yourself." The lady replies: "Do thou, who art so wise, tell me what plan I can devise, and I will follow thy advice." "Indeed, lady, if I had any plan, I should gladly propose it to you. But you have great need of a wiser counsellor. So I shall certainly not dare to intrude, and in common with the others I shall endure the rain and wind until, if it please God, I shall see some worthy man appear here in your court who will assume the responsibility and burden of the battle; but I do not believe that that will happen to-day, and we have not yet seen the worst of your urgent need." Then the lady replies at once: "Damsel, speak now of something else! Say no more of the people of my household; for I cherish no further expectation that the spring and its marble brim will ever be defended by any of them. But, if it please God, let us hear now what is your opinion and plan; for people always say that in time of need one can test his friend." (30) "My lady, if there is any one who thinks he could find him who slew the giant and defeated the three knights, he would do well to go to search for him. But so long as he shall incur the enmity, wrath, and displeasure of his lady, I fancy there is not under heaven any man or woman whom he would follow, until he had been assured upon oath that everything possible would be done to appease the hostility which his lady feels for him, and which is so bitter that he is dying of the grief and anxiety it causes him." And the lady said: "Before you enter upon the quest, I am prepared to promise you upon my word and to swear that, if he will return to me, I will openly and frankly do all I can to bring about his peace of mind." Then Lunete replies to her: "Lady, have no fear that you cannot easily effect his reconciliation, when once it is your desire to do so; but, if you do not object, I will take your oath before I start." "I have no objection," the lady says. With delicate courtesy, Lunete procured at once for her a very precious relic, and the lady fell upon her knees. Thus Lunete very courteously accepted her upon her oath. In administering the oath, she forgot nothing which it might be an advantage to insert. "Lady," she says, "now raise your hand! I do not wish that the day after to-morrow you should lay any charge upon me; for you are not doing anything for me, but you are acting for your own good. If you please now, you shall swear that you will exert yourself in the interests of the Knight with the Lion until he recover his lady's love as completely as he ever possessed it." The lady then raised her right hand and said: "I swear to all that thou hast said, so help me God and His holy saint, that my heart may never fail to do all within my power. If I have the strength and ability, I will restore to him the love and favour which with his lady he once enjoyed."
(Vv. 6659-6716.) Lunete has now done well her work; there was nothing which she had desired so much as the object which she had now attained. They had already got out for her a palfrey with an easy pace. Gladly and in a happy frame of mind Lunete mounts and rides away, until she finds beneath the pine-tree him whom she did not expect to find so near at hand. Indeed, she had thought that she would have to seek afar before discovering him. As soon as she saw him, she recognised him by the lion, and coming toward him rapidly, she dismounted upon the solid earth. And my lord Yvain recognised her as soon as he saw her, and greeted her, as she saluted him with the words: "Sire, I am very happy to have found you so near at hand." And my lord Yvain said in reply: "How is that? Were you looking for me, then?" "Yes, sire, and in all my life I have never felt so glad, for I have made my mistress promise, if she does not go back upon her word, that she will be again your lady as was once the case, and that you shall be her lord; this truth I make bold to tell." My lord Yvain was greatly elated at the news he hears, and which he had never expected to hear again. He could not sufficiently show his gratitude to her who had accomplished this for him. He kisses her eyes, and then her face, saying: "Surely, my sweet friend, I can never repay you for this service. I fear that ability and time will fail me to do you the honour and service which is your due." "Sire, she replies, "have no concern, and let not that thought worry you! For you will have an abundance of strength and time to show me and others your good will. If I have paid this debt I owed, I am entitled to only so much gratitude as the man who borrows another's goods and then discharges the obligation. Even now I do not consider that I have paid you the debt I owed." "Indeed you have, as God sees me, more than five hundred thousand times. Now, when you are ready, let us go. But have you told her who I am?" "No, I have not, upon my word. She knows you only by the name of `The Knight with the Lion.'"
(Vv. 6717-6758.) Thus conversing they went along, with the lion following after them, until they all three came to the town. They said not a word to any man or woman there, until they arrived where the lady was. And the lady was greatly pleased as soon as she heard that the damsel was approaching, and that she was bringing with her the lion and the knight, whom she was very anxious to meet and know and see. All clad in his arms, my lord Yvain fell at her feet upon his knees, while Lunete, who was standing by, said to her: "Raise him up, lady, and apply all your efforts and strength and skill in procuring that peace and pardon which no one in the world, except you, can secure for him." Then the lady bade him rise, and said: "He may dispose of all my power! I shall be very happy, if possible, to accomplish his wish and his desire." "Surely, my lady," Lunete replied, "I would not say it if it were not true. But all this is even more possible for you than I have said: but now I will tell you the whole truth, and you shall see: you never had and you never will have such a good friend as this gentleman. God, whose will it is that there should be unending peace and love between you and him, has caused me to find him this day so near at hand. In order to test the truth of this, I have only one thing to say: lady, dismiss the grudge you bear him! For he has no other mistress than you. This is your husband, my lord Yvain."