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etc., have been expanded without italics, and, except for special cases, and for those words or letters which I have expanded differently from previous editors, without comment.


Scholars have generally agreed in attributing to the author of Purity the other three poems found in the same manuscript?: Patience, The Pearl, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Attempts have been made to add several other poems to this group, and particularly to identify the author of Gawain with the author of the Pistill of Susan, the muchdiscussed Huchown of the Awle Ryale, to whom, at one time or another, have been assigned almost all the anonymous poems of the Middle English alliterative school. At present there is no valuable evidence for the attribution to the Gawain-poet of any other poems than the four mentioned above, and possibly the saint's legend called Erken

forferde, 560, þor, 1384, worschyp, 1127 (written out without u in 545, 651, 1120, 1592, 1616, 1802). In the following few cases, however, I have expanded ur, because other instances of the words written out with ur occurred: bour, 322, 1075, 1126 (written out bour 129), fourre, 1244 (written out fowre, 540), tour, 216, 1189 (written out toures, 1383).

* Morris, Sir Gawayn and the Green Knight (1864), title-page; Trautmann, Über Verfasser und Entstehungszeit einiger Alliterierender Gedichte (1876), pp. 25-33, and Angl. 1. 118 ff.; Ten Brink, Geschichte der Englischen Litteratur (1877) 1. 420 ff.; M. C. Thomas, Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight (1883), pp. 1-12; Knigge, Die Sprache des Dichters von Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (1885), pp. 1-14. Practically all those who have made special investigations of, or edited any of these poems, e. g., Fuhrmann, Gollancz, C. F. Brown, Osgood, Bateson, have accepted the opinion and arguments of the writers just mentioned.

2 Neilson, 'Huchown of the Awle Ryale, the Alliterative Poet. Glasgow, 1902.

wald, which was either written by the Gawain-poet or by some one who was closely imitating his style. The unjustified reliance of some of the earlier investigators on similarities of vocabulary and phraseology, together with the accumulation of evidence tending to disprove the common authorship of many alliterative poems once connected, has even aroused a certain amount of skepticism concerning the common authorship of the four traditionally assigned to the poet of Purity. Gawain, in particular, has been singled out by Schofields as unlikely to have been written by the poet of Purity, Patience, and The Pearl. The two homilies, Purity and Patience, based on the same text in Matthew, are so precisely similar in general development and in numerous details4 that, in spite of their difference in length, they may naturally be regarded as sister-poems. The Pearl is linked to these homilies, not only by its profound religious feeling and its moral earnestness, but by such striking relations of detail as the praise of the pearl (Pur. 1117-28), and the repeated mention of the Beatific Vision (see note on 1. 25). That a poet of such religious fervor should have also written the best of the Middle English romances is indeed matter for comment..

Nevertheless the evidence that Purity and Gawain were


Trautmann (Angl. Anz. 5. 23-5) and Knigge (pp. 4-8) tried to show that Erkenwald belonged to the Gawain-poet, because of similarities in vocabulary, phraseology, and style; C. F. Brown (Publ. Mod. Lang. Ass. 19. 126, n. 2) thinks that the abundance of legendary matter in Erkenwald is an objection to the theory of common authorship. The subject needs further investigation.

? Wells' statement (Manual of the Writings in Middle English, p. 578) that 'the evidence for authorship by one writer is very questionable,' is extreme.

3 Publ. Mod. Lang. Ass. 24. 668, n. 1.

* These are given in their proper places in the Notes. Cf. Bateson, Patience (2d ed., Manchester, 1918), pp. xxi-ii.

• On the authorship of The Pearl, see especially Trautmann, Angl. I. 118-20.

written by one and the same man seems about as conclusive as any indirect evidence can be. The fact that some unreliable tests have been used in proof of the unity of authorship has had the unfortunate result of casting suspicion on the value of all the tests. In order to present as clearly as possible the arguments for common authorship that may still be considered valid in the light of our increased knowledge concerning all the alliterative poems, I shall sum up the most important evidence adduced by the earlier students of this group of poems, adding other evidence of common authorship which I believe should not be disregarded. This is all the more necessary since the next section, in which the relation of the poet to the rest of the alliterative group is discussed, will make plain the fallibility of some of the tests employed by Trautmann.

1. Vocabulary.

Trautmann (Über Verfasser, pp. 26-8) gave a list of 115 words common to Gawain and the other poems in the manuscript, and not found in William of Palerne or the Alexander fragments A and B. Kullnicki found that 30 words (15%) in Gawain occurred howhere but in the other poems of this same manuscript. An examination of NED. reduces his list to about 20, although he has omitted a few others, for example, tevel(yng), owing to the inexactness of the glossaries. As may be seen from the large number of words common to the Gawain-group and The Wars of Alexander (Alex. C.), the test of vocabulary, though not altogether negligible, really indicates only a

dialect or proximity of dialectal provenience. 2. Alliteration.

Trautmann attached too much importance to his tests by



Studien über den Wortschatz in Sir Gawayne and the Grene Knyzt (Berlin, 1902), p. 53.

? Cf. p. xxiv.

means of alliteration, since his investigations covered too small number of lines, and many characteristics which he considered distinctive are found in other alliterative poems. The most important peculiarity is the alliteration of expoun with words beginning with sp. In addition, the consistent agreement of the four poems in the manner of using alliteration is noteworthy, as Schumacher's study of all the poems of the alliterative school shows. One may note particularly the practice of alliterating unstressed syllables, and the freedom from the tendency of the more pedantic poets to rhyme only like vowels.

3. Phraseology and Similar Passages.

Trautmann's list of similar phrases in Gawain and the other

poems of the group is very meagre, and also misleading, since it includes a considerable number of phrases which are mere alliterative commonplaces, such as 'busk to bed,' 'draw adrez,' ‘kever comfort.' But there are other parallels between Purity and Gawain, unnoticed by Trautmann; these are so many in number, and often so peculiar in kind, that they seem to me to constitute indubitable proof of common authorship. We do not find, to be sure, phrases of any length occurring in exactly the same form in the two poems, for it is characteristic of the poet never to repeat himself exactly, even within the limits of a single poem. Unlike most of his fellow-craftsmen in alliterative poetry-for example, the author of The Destruction of Troy—he is careful to change slightly any peculiar alliterative combination which he repeats. The



See Miss Thomas' criticism, Sir Gawayne, pp. 6-7. Fischer, Die Stabende Langzeile in den Werken des Gawaindichters (Bonn, 1901), pp. 41-2; Schumacher, Studien über den Stabreim in der Mittelenglischen Alliterationsdichtung (Bonn, 1914), PP. 120-1.

* Schumacher, pp. 26-8. Schumacher, p. 56.




parallel passages vary in value as evidence: alliterative combinations which might have occurred to different poets, although I have tried to exclude all those which were actually used by other alliterative poets; some are valuable as indicative of a tendency to use the same unusual word, expression, or figure of speech, under similar circumstances; and some are inexplicable except as reminiscences of phraseology previously used (for examples of these last, see the section on Date, pp. xxxiii-vi). It is unnecessary to repeat here the many striking parallel passages that are given in the notes.? But it should be remembered that they include not only unusual alliterative combinations, such as wonde wope (Pur. 855; Gaw. 488), troched toures (Pur. 1383; Gaw. 795), and taken in (þe) teche (Pur. 943; Gaw. 2488), but also such a phrase as (al) þat berez lyf (Pur. 333; Gaw. 1229), which is found nowhere else in the alliterative poetry, and rarely elsewhere. I add the following parallels unrecorded in the notes:

Purity 115 be derrest at þe hyge dese

(cf. 1399). 97 laytez zet ferre (end of

line). 544 In devoydynge be vylanye. 749 And he hit gayn þynkez. 854 And bowez forth fro be

1089 And gif clanly he benne

com, ful cortays ber-

Gawain 445 be derrest on be dece (cf.

75). 411 layt no fyrre (end of

line). 634 voyded of vche vylany. 1241 gayn hit me þynkkez.

boze fro bis benche. 653 His clannes & his cor


344 Bid


1 The following parallels are cited in the notes: Pur. 10, Gaw. 251; Pur. 43, Gaw. 2343; Pur. 114, Gaw. 73; Pur. 333, Gaw. 1229; Pur. 391, Gaw. 1152; Pur. 484, Gaw. 929; Pur. 521, Gaw. 1106, 1387; Pur. 599, Gaw. 1463; Pur. 706, Gaw. 1659; Pur. 735, Gaw. 1811; Pur. 805, Gaw. 1836; Pur. 832, Gaw. 1848; Pur. 855, Gaw. 488; Pur. 943, Gaw. 2488; Pur. 1376, Gaw. 58; Pur. 1383, Gaw. 795; Pur. 1408, Gaw. 802; Pur. 1459, Gaw. 790.

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