The Oxford Book of Ballads - online book

A Selection Of The Best English Lyric Ballads Chosen & Edited by Arthur Quiller-Couch

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And then be-spake him noble King Arthur,
And sware there by this day, For a litle foule sight and misliking
[They should not say her Nay].
At length Sir Gawain, for Arthur's sake, consented. The ugly bride was taken home and bedded, when to Gawain's delight in his arms she turned to a beautiful woman. She then offered him a choice.—
Then shee said, ' Choose thee, gentle Gawaine,
Truth as I doe say, Wether thou wilt have me in this liknesse
In the night or else in the day.'
And then bespake him gentle Gawaine,
Was one soe mild of moode, Sayes, ' Well I know what I wo'ld say,
God grant it may be good !
' To have thee fowle in the night
When I with thee sho'ld play — Yet I had rather, if I might,
Have thee fowle in the day.'
'What! when lords goe with ther feires,' shee said,
' Both to the ale and wine, Alas ! then I must hyde my selfe,
I must not goe withinne.'
feires] mates.
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