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the Low G. tote, a peak. Hexham has: 'een Tote, a teat; de Tote van een schoen, the beak or lap of a shoe; een Tote-pot, a pot with eares,' &c. Cf. ME. toten, to peep out; his ton toteden out, his toes peeped out, Piers Pl. Crede, 425. I translate tote by extremity or end; the sense is, “the ends (probably of his toes) peeped out.” I accept Skeat's explanation, though it seems to me as probable that the ‘ends' are his elbows, and not his toes, since his 'tabarde totorne' is spoken of in the first half of the line. NED. quotes the suggestion that totez is a verb (viz. tote, toot v.), and that toez or tot: 'toes' has been omitted before it, the reading being his toez totez oute "his toes peep out," and compares the phrase from Piers Pl. Crede quoted by Skeat (see above). This explanation is obviously impossible, since his totez oute' is one of four parallel descriptive phrases governed by wyth (40), as 1. 42 shows.
42. he schulde, etc. An anacoluthon. The sentence begins at 1. 35: 'What urbly hapel .. wolde lyke if a ladde com,' etc., but by 1. 42 the poet has forgotten that the if-clause which really ends only with þyse (42) is the object of 'wolde lyke,' and he uses it as the protasis of a condition of which 'he schulde be halden utter,' etc., is the apodosis.
43. mony blame. Many a rebuke'; cf. mony anger, 1602, where a particular exhibition of the general feeling is similarly expressed by the abstract noun. Such 'concretion' of abstracts is common in all periods of the language (see Einenkel, Pauls Grundrissa 1. 1137, § 181 k), but blame and anger in this sense have become obsolete, though we still say 'he fell into a rage,' i. e. a 'fit of rage,' as anger, 1602, is a 'fit of anger.'
a boffet, peraunter. Cf. Gaw. 2343: ‘zif I deliuer had bene, a boffet, paraunter.'
48. in talle ne in tuch. M. suggested emending talle to tuly, and glossed tuch as 'cloth' = Mod. Engl. tuck. Skeat's explanation is probably correct: 'I take this to mean: "though he should never again do wrong either in tale or in touch," i. e. by word or deed. I see no difficulty, especially when we notice the curious uses of touch in Sir Gawain and the Grene Knight (120, 1301, 1677] by the same author, and further note that, in that poem, the words tale and touch are alliterated, 1. 1301.'—Notes on Engl. Etym., p. 289.
49. wor[d]lych. I have adopted M.'s suggestion of 'worldly' here, since a contrast is certainly intended with the 'hyge kyng' in the next line (cf. 'urbly hapel,' 35); M.'s spelling, however, is unnecessary, as the dropping of the 1 is extremely common in ME.; see, e. g., Piers Pl. Crede 784, Sege of Jer. 1226, and glossary of Alex. C.
50. in [heven). This seems to me a less violent emendation than M.'s suggestion of herin euen for MS. in her euen, since any slight accidental mark might have been mistaken by the scribe for the abbreviation for -er, and so expanded. For the expression, cf. 1664; Pat. 257.
51. as Maþew melez. The story of the Parable of the Wedding Feast (51-162) is a combination of the versions given by Matthew 22. 1-14 and Luke 14. 16-24 (see Appendix for these passages). The excuses given by those invited (61-72), the lord's commanding his servants to gather in the wayfarers a second time (93 ff.), and the description of them (100 ff.), are given only in Luke; and the account of the maltreatment of the lord's messengers and his slaying of the guests first invited (Matt. 22. 6-7) is omitted, as in Luke. But several details, for example 1. 84, and the whole passage (125-162) about the man without a wedding garment, are given only in Matthew.
in his masse. Cf. Pearl 497: ‘As Mathew melez in your messe.' This is a curious instance of the manner in which a word comes to be used in an extraordinary sense for the sake of alliteration. In Pat. 9-10, the poet wrote: 'I herde on a halyday at a hyge masse How Mathew melede’; but here, as in The Pearl, he uses mass of that portion of Matthew's gospel which he heard read at ‘mass,' or simply as 'gospel.'
59. rygt to be sete. This cannot be 'seat,' and is hardly likely to be an error for fete. It is possible that it is a noun corresponding to ME. sete, adj., meaning 'wholesome, appetizing' (cf. Gaw. 889: 'Sere sewes & sete, sesounde of be best'); the phrase would then mean ‘appetizingly.'
66. zat. This curious form, which has not been noticed because Schwahn overlooked it in his study of the verbs of these poems, is apparently intended as a past part of gete—'I have desired and obtained yokes of oxen.' The only way I see of explaining it is to assume that it is by analogy to a pret. 3 sg. form *zat, but even this form is unrecorded (see Bülbring, Geschichte der Ablaute der Starken Zeitworter innerhalb des Südenglischen, P. 67: Quellen u. Forschungen 63), though it occurs in the compounds, e. g. forzat, bizat, underzat (Bülbring, p. 12, and passim). For such a transference of the pret. sg. form to the past part., iwan in Layamon might be compared (cited by Bülbring, p. 121). Formally it would be easier to associate zat with the ME. wk. verb gate, ‘grant, assent,' from OE. gēatan, ON. jātta (see Mätzner s. v. zaten); but the meaning of the words forbids. Since writing this note, I have found that Kölbing interprets a form zat, Sir Tristram 330, as pret. 3 sg. of gete. For the form zete, see note on 842.
69. So wer hym. M. printed sower, and suggested swer, but as this is plainly impossible because the alliteration is w, Fischer proposed so werp, and Bateson so werned, 'refused,' though he also suggests so weres. There is no need of emendation, since wer occurs, Pearl 205, as pret. 3 sg., and makes excellent sense: 'thus the third defended, i. e. excused, himself.'
71. drog hem adrez. ‘Drew back,' the line paraphrasing Matt. 22. 5: 'Illi autem neglexerunt et abierunt.' The phrase is very common in the alliterative poetry in the meanings ‘draw back, withdraw'; delay': Gaw. 1031; Morte Arth. 3968, 4219; Destr. Troy 10043, 11647; Awnt. Arth. 513; York Play No. 35 (Crucifixio Christi), 1. 2.
76. wylle gentyl. M. paraphrased: ‘More to blame is their fault, than any forlorn gentile,' referring to wylle of wone, ‘astray from human habitations, etc., but, though ME. wylle, 'wandering, astray' (from ON. villr) is not unusual, this explanation seems farfetched, since we should hardly expect the expression 'her wrange' to be contrasted in blameworthiness with a person. It is preferable to consider wylle the noun and gentyl the adjective, and paraphrase: 'their wrong is more to blame than any heathen rage. For the meaning of wylle, cf. Morte Arth. 3836: 'And for wondson and will al his wit failede,' where Holthausen defines 'Wut in glossary; for gentyl, adj., meaning ‘heathen, pagan,' cf. 1432, and NED. The word-order, noun + adjective, is very common, e. g. combraunce huge, 4; sete ryche, 37; schrowde feble, 47; man ryche,
85. “Then those who guarded the country went hither and thither, literally, 'went and came’; þay is the antecedent of þat; the separation is common, cf. 61, 123, 889, 891, 985, and 1067-8.
92. See note on 114.
101. forlotez. This word is not recorded in the dictionaries, probably because M. suggested that it was a mistake for forletez, 'forsake.' Björkman (Scand. Loan-Words 1. 91) rightly included it among the ME. derivatives of OW. Scand. lāta, meaning here 'omit.' 106. M. placed the
after denounced me, defining ‘renounced me, but this interpretation is unlikely for three reasons: (1) the pause comes in an unnatural place from the metrical point of view; (2) the lord would hardly limit his determination not to entertain the faithless guests so emphatically to ‘nozt now at bis tyme,' implying thus that he might entertain them at some other time; (3) denounce nowhere else has the meaning renounce (see NED. which, misled by M.'s punctuation, gives this single instance with a question). Thomas (Alliterierende Langzeile des GawaynDichters, p. 9), because of the first objection, suggested placing the comma after nogt, and defined denounce = ‘sich für jemand erklären'; similarly Gollancz (Mod. Lang. Rev. 14. 152). Some such meaning must be assumed, since the word always means “declare, announce, proclaim'in ME. (and OF.).
The passage might be paraphrased: 'For certainly these men who have refused my invitation and made no proper announcement to me (Gollancz: have nowise proclaimed me) at this time, shall henceforth never sit in my hall to partake of my feast.' This makes now intelligible, and puts it in proper contrast with never of the next line, the invited guests by this one refusal forfeiting the lord's hospitality for ever. The phrase now at þis time is not uncommon; it occurs Wm. of Palerne 484; Destr. Troy 5615.
108. suppe on sope. "Taste one sup.'
114. ay be best byfore. The fact that the guests are here seated according to rank, leads Osgood to remark (Pearl, p. xl) that the orthodox view of the gradation of heavenly awards is here clearly implied, and that the doctrine of the equality of reward, expounded so unmistakably in Pearl 421-719, must therefore be a later development in the poet's theological ideas. This conclusion is hardly justified, since there is no reason for thinking that the poet had any of the theological implications of the parable in mind in this purely narrative passage. When he comes to the interpretation of the parable (161-176), he makes nothing of this distinction of rank. We might expect such lines in the account of any elaborate feast where young knights and squires (86-7), as well as common people (101 ff.), were present. So in Gawain, at King Arthur's feast the guests seated themselves: 'De best burne ay abof, as hit best semed' (73). Cf. also Pur. 92: 'As he watz dere of degre dressed his seete' with Gaw. 1006: 'Bi vche grome at his degre grayþely watz serued.' Finally, even if one were tempted to extract the poet's theological conceptions from this passage, it would be as easy to deduce the poet's belief in the equality of heavenly rewards from 113: 'Wheber þay wern worþy oper wers, wel wern bay stowed,' and 120: ‘And zet be symplest in þat sale watz served to be fulle, as it would be to deduce his belief in their inequality from the other parts of the passage.
117. soerly. M. emends to soberly, which NED. does not give as an adjective; Emerson (Publ. Mod. Lang. Ass. 34. 496) suggested serly, 'severally, individually.' But the word is certainly the adjective from ON. saurligr, 'unclean, corresponding to the ME. sore, sorze, meaning 'filth, (NED. s. v. sore, sb.'), from ON. saurr, possibly ON. saurgan, 'filth, mud’; emendation is unnecessary (unless perhaps to soorly). This adjective could very properly be used to describe the men who sat below, in contrast to those above that 'dubbed wer fayrest' (115); a few lines further on (119) the poet says there were few “clene men in compaynye.' The word sorze and its derivatives occur elsewhere in the poems of this group. Gollancz adopts the suggestion of Ekwall (Engl. Stud. 44. 171) and Emerson (Mod. Lang. Notes 28. 176) that sorge means 'filth’ in Pat. 275, where Jonah
Stod vp in his stomak, þat stank as be deuel;
Per in saym & in sorze þat sauoured as helle, though Gollancz emends to so[ur). He compares sour turnes, Pur. 192, perhaps rightly. In Pur. 846 sorze cannot have any other meaning than ‘filth'; cf. 845, and froþande fylþe, 1721, which corresponds exactly to zestande sorze. Moreover, I think that the adjective itself (from ON. saurligr) occurs a second time in Pearl 226, where the poet, after speaking of the wondrous pearl on the maiden's breast, says:
I hope no tong mozt endure
Dat precios perle per hit wat3 py3t. Gollancz and Osgood interpret sauerly as “savorly,' and Osgood glosses 'sweet. G. translates :
I trow no tongue might e'er avail
To speak of that sight a fitting word, and O., in his prose rendering, p. 27: ‘No tongue, I think, could utter the sweet tale of that vision. But this interpretation necessitates a violent wrenching of the meaning of endure, which means not avail' or 'be equal to a task' (Osgood's glossary), but ‘suffer, bear' (see the various meanings in NED.). Even this unjustifiable definition of endure as 'avail' does not dispel the difficulties of the above interpretation, since the two lines would then have to be paraphrased: 'I think no tongue could avail to say (or be equal to the task of saying) a sweet (or pleasant) word of that sight.' As this would make no sense, G. is obliged to render sauerly by 'fitting. O. avoids the difficulty in another way by translating no sauerly saghe, 'the sweet tale,' a translation which involves an apparently slight, but syntactically impossible change, since the redundant no can only be indefinite, and equivalent to