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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.


The Legend of Sir Guy

By Percy’s Reliques

WAS ever knight for ladyes sake

Soe tost in love, as I, Sir Guy,

For Phelis fayre, that lady bright

As ever man beheld with eye?

She gave me leave myself to try,

The valiant knight with sheeld and speare,

Ere that her love she would grant me;

Which made mee venture far and neare.

Then proved I a baron bold,

In deeds of armes the doughtyest knight

That in those dayes in England was,

With sworde and speare in feild to light.

An English man I was by birthe:

In faith of Christ a christyan true:

The wicked lawes of infidells

I sought by prowesse to subdue.

Nine hundred and twenty yeere and odde

After our Saviour Christ his birth,

When King Athelstone wore the crowne,

I lived heere upon the earth.

Sometime I was of Warwicke erle,

And, as I sayd, of very truth

A ladyes love did me constraine

To seeke strange ventures in my youth;

To win me fame by feates of armes

In strange and sundry heathen lands;

Where I atchieved for her sake

Right dangerous conquests with my hands.

For first I sayled to Normandye,

And there I stoutlye wan in fight

The emperours daughter of Almaine,

From manye a vallyant worthye knight.

Then passed I the seas to Greece,

To helpe the emperour in his right,

Against the mightye souldans hoaste

Of puissant Persians for to fight:

Where I did slay of Sarazens,

And heathen pagans, manye a man;

And slew the souldans cozen deere,

Who had to name doughtye Coldrôn.

Eskeldered, a famous knight,

To death likewise I did pursue:

And Elmayne, King of Tyre, alsoe,

Most terrible in fight to viewe.

I went into the souldans hoast,

Being thither on embassage sent,

And brought his head awaye with mee;

I having slaine him in his tent.

There was a dragon in that land

Most fiercelye mett me by the waye,

As hee a lyon did pursue,

Which I myself did alsoe slay.

Then soon I past the seas from Greece,

And came to Pavye land aright;

Where I the duke of Pavye killed,

His hainous treason to requite.

To England then I came with speede,

To wedd faire Phelis, lady bright;

For love of whome I travelled farr

To try my manhood and my might.

But when I had espoused her,

I stayd with her but fortye dayes,

Ere that I left this ladye faire,

And went from her beyond the seas.

All cladd in gray, in pilgrim sort,

My voyage from her I did take

Unto the blessed Holy-Land,

For Jesus Christ my Saviour’s sake.

Where I Erle Jonas did redeeme,

And all his sonnes, which were fifteene,

Who with the cruell Sarazens

In prison for long time had beene.

I slew the gyant Amarant

In battel fiercelye hand to hand,

And doughty Barknard killed I,

A treacherous knight of Pavye land.

Then I to England came againe,

And here with Colbronde fell I fought;

An ugly gyant, which the Danes

Had for their champion hither brought.

I overcame him in the feild,

And slewe him soone right valliantlye;

Wherebye this land I did redeeme

From Danish tribute utterlye.

And afterwards I offered upp

The use of weapons solemnlye

At Winchester, whereas I fought,

In sight of manye farr and nye.

But first, neare Winsor, I did slaye

A bore of passing might and strength;

Whose like in England never was

For hugenesse both in bredth and length.

Some of his bones in Warwicke yett

Within the castle there doth lye;

One of his sheeld-bones to this day

Hangs in the citye of Coventrye.

On Dunsmore heath I alsoe slewe

A monstrous wyld and cruell beast,

Calld the Dun-cow of Dunsmore heath;

Which manye people had opprest.

Some of her bones in Warwicke yett

Still for a monument doth lye,

And there exposed to lookers viewe,

As wondrous strange, they may espye.

A dragon in Northumberland

I alsoe did in fight destroye,

Which did bothe man and beast oppresse,

And all the countrye sore annoye.

At length to Warwicke I did come,

Like pilgrim poore, and was not knowne;

And there I lived a hermitt’s life

A mile and more out of the towne.

Where with my hands I hewed a house

Out of a craggy rocke of stone,

And lived like a palmer poore

Within that cave myself alone:

And daylye came to begg my bread

Of Phelis att my castle gate;

Not knowne unto my loved wiffe,

Who dailye mourned for her mate.

Till att the last I fell sore sicke,

Yea, sicke soe sore that I must dye;

I sent to her a ring of golde,

By which shee knew me presentlye.

Then shee repairing to the cave,

Before that I gave up the ghost,

Herself closed up my dying eyes;

My Phelis faire, whom I lovd most.

Thus dreadful death did me arrest,

To bring my corpes unto the grave,

And like a palmer dyed I,

Wherby I sought my soule to save.

My body that endured this toyle,

Though now it be consumed to mold,

My statue, faire engraven in stone,

In Warwicke still you may behold.