The Story of Amis and Amiloun
14th century, Middle English: British Library, Bodleian Library Oxford, Advocates Library of Scotland.
'Take my clothes, all of them,' said Sir Amiloun, 'and I shall dress myself in yours, as though I were you.'
When Sir Amiloun was awake, gret sorwe he gan for him make, and told his wiif ful yare – When Sir Amiloun awoke, he told his wife about the nightmare he had just had. 'I know that Sir Amis is in peril,' he said. 'I won’t be able to get any rest until I have found out what is wrong.'
He got up quickly, dressed for a journey and rode through the growing light of early morning until, as the sun arose, he came across Sir Amis lying beneath a tree. The knight was in a sorry state.
'Get up good fellow! It is light and time for you to be on your way,' Sir Amiloun called. Then he jumped down from his horse and they both embraced. 'My good friend!' said Sir Amiloun. 'Why are you lying here in such distress?'
Sir Amis told Sir Amiloun everything.
'By Jesus, the steward shall have his plans thwarted!' vowed Sir Amiloun, when he had heard the whole sorry tale of how the steward had caught Sir Amis in bed with the duke's daughter. 'I shall fight this trial by combat that you are forced to face, on your behalf, and I shall swear truthfully at the proper time that I am guiltless of this crime that you are charged with. Take my clothes, all of them –
Have al mi wede, and in thi robe y schal me schrede right as the self it ware – and I shall dress myself in yours, as though I were you.'
The two knights exchanged clothes. 'Go home now to that beautiful lady my wife,' said Sir Amiloun. 'Lie in bed with her every night until I return. Everyone will think that it is me they are speaking with –
thai wil wene that ich it be. No one will guess the deception, we are so alike.'
Story fragment recounted from: Foster, Edward E (Ed), 1997, second edition 2007. Amis and Amiloun, Robert of Cisyle, and Sir Amadace. Kalamazoo, Michigan: Western Michigan University for TEAMS. The Middle English text of AMIS AND AMILOUN from National Library of Scotland MS 19.2.1, the Auchinleck Manuscript, supplemented by British Library MS Egerton 2862.