The Original Middle English of:

Sir Gawayn and Þe Grene Kny3t

SIÞEN þe sege and þe assaut watz sesed at Troye,
Þe bor3 brittened and brent to bronde3 and askez,
Þe tulk þat þe trammes of tresoun þer wro3t
Watz tried for his tricherie, þe trewest on erþe:
Hit watz Ennias þe athel, and his highe kynde,
Þat siþen depreced prouinces, and patrounes bicome
Welne3e of al þe wele in þe west iles.
Fro riche Romulus to Rome ricchis hym swyþe,
With gret bobbaunce þat bur3e he biges vpon fyrst,
And neuenes hit his aune nome, as hit now hat;
Tirius to Tuskan and teldes bigynnes,
Langaberde in Lumbardie lyftes vp homes,
And fer ouer þe French flod Felix Brutus
On mony bonkkes ful brode Bretayn he settez

    wyth wynne,

    Where werre and wrake and wonder
    Bi syþez hatz wont þerinne,
    And oft boÞe blysse and blunder
    Ful skete hat3 skyfted synne.

Ande quen þis Bretayn watz bigged bi þis burn rych,
Bolde bredden þerinne, baret þat lofden,
In mony turned tyme tene þat wro3ten.
Mo ferlyes on þis folde han fallen here oft
Þen in any oþer þat I wot, syn þat ilk tyme.
Bot of alle þat here bult, of Bretaygne kynges,
Ay watz Arthur þe hendest, as I haf herde telle.
Forþi an aunter in erde I attle to schawe,
Þat a selly in si3t summe men hit holden,
And an outtrage awenture of Arthurez wonderez.
If 3e wyl lysten þis laye bot on littel quile,
I schal telle hit as-tit, as I in toun herde,

    with tonge,

    As hit is stad and stoken
    In stori stif and stronge,
    With lel letteres loken,
    In londe so hatz ben longe.

Þis kyng lay at Camylot vpon Krystmasse
With mony luflych lorde, ledez of þe best,
Rekenly of þe Rounde Table alle þo rich breþer,
With rych reuel ory3t and rechles merþes.
Þer tournayed tulkes by tymez ful mony,
Justed ful jolilé þise gentyle kny3tes,
Syþen kayred to þe court caroles to make.
For þer þe fest watz ilyche ful fiften dayes,
With alle þe mete and þe mirþe þat men couþe avyse;
Such glaum ande gle glorious to here,
Dere dyn vpon day, daunsyng on ny3tes,
Al watz hap vpon he3e in hallez and chambrez
With lordez and ladies, as leuest him þo3t.
With all þe wele of þe worlde þay woned þer samen,
Þe most kyd kny3tez vnder Krystes seluen,
And þe louelokkest ladies þat euer lif haden,
And he þe comlokest kyng þat þe court haldes;
For al watz þis fayre folk in her first age,

    on sille,

    Þe hapnest vnder heuen,
    Kyng hy3est mon of wylle;
    Hit were now gret nye to neuen
    So hardy a here on hille

mauler's (non-verse) translation:

1
When the siege and the assault were ceased at Troy,
The city broken and burnt to brands and ashes,
The warrior that had wrought the web of treason
Was tried for his treachery, the truest on earth.
It was Aeneas the prince and his noble kin
That then subdued provinces and became lords
Of well-nigh all the wealth in the western isles.
Later royal Romulus hastens to Rome,
With great pomp that city he founds,
And bequeaths to it his own name, which it still bears;
Tirius to Tuscany and begins to build towns;
Langobard in Lombardy raises homes,
And far over the French Flood Felix Brutus
On many broad banks settles Britain

with joy;
Where war and wrack and wonder
By turns have dwelt therein,
And often both bliss and blunder
Have swiftly shifted since.

2
And once Britain was begotten by this royal baron,
Bold men bred therein, who loved battle,
Which many a turned time brought them trouble.
Fabulous wonders have fallen upon this fold more often
Than in any other that I know of, since that distant time.
But of all who dwelt here, of the British kings,
Always was Arthur thought noblest, so I have heard tell.
And so a real adventure I aim to relate,
That some men hold a fantastical tale,
And outrageous even among Arthur’s wonders.
If you will listen to this lay but only a little while
I shall tell it at once, as I heard it in town,

firsthand,
As it is stated and struck
In words stiff and strong,
With loyal linking letters
In the land it has been long.

3
The king lay at Camelot on Christmas
With many a loyal lord, lads of the best quality,
Worthy of the Round Table all those noble brethren,
With rich revelry and reckless merriments.
There tourneyed stout fellows many a time,
Jousted with great jollyness these gentile knights,
Then rode to the court to dance carols.
For there the feast endured a full fifteen days,
With all the meat and mirth that men could handle;
Such gabber and glee glorious to hear,
The din of the day, the dancing at night,
All was highest happiness in halls and chambers
With lords and ladies, each as he liked.
With all the weal of the world they whiled away the time.
The most renowned knights under Christ’s domain,
And the loveliest ladies that ever life knew,
And he the comeliest king who rules the court;
For all were these fair folk in the flower of youth,

in that hall,
The luckiest under heaven,
With a king purest of will;
Nowadays no one can name
So hardy a host on hill.


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