{Middle English Version}

Wyle Nw 3er watz so 3ep þat hit watz nwe cummen,
Þat day doubble on þe dece watz þe douth serued.
Fro þe kyng watz cummen with kny3tes into þe halle,
Þe chauntré of þe chapel cheued to an ende,
Loude crye watz þer kest of clerkez and oþer,
1Nowel nayted onewe, neuened ful ofte;
And syþen riche forth runnen to reche hondeselle,
3e3ed 3eres-3iftes on hi3, 3elde hem bi hond,
Debated busyly aboute þo giftes;
Ladies la3ed ful loude, þo3 þay lost haden,
And he þat wan watz not wrothe, þat may 3e wel trawe.
Alle þis mirþe þay maden to þe mete tyme;
When þay had waschen worþyly þay wenten to sete,
Þe best burne ay abof, as hit best semed,
Whene Guenore, ful gay, grayþed in þe myddes,
Dressed on þe dere des, dubbed al aboute,
Smal sendal bisides, a selure hir ouer
Of tryed tolouse, and tars tapites innoghe,
Þat were enbrawded and beten wyth þe best gemmes
Þat my3t be preued of prys wyth penyes to bye,

    in daye.

    Þe comlokest to discrye
    Þer glent with y3en gray,
    A semloker þat euer he sy3e
    Soth mo3t no mon say.

Bot Arthure wolde not ete til al were serued,
He watz so joly of his joyfnes, and sumquat childgered:
His lif liked hym ly3t, he louied þe lasse
Auþer to longe lye or to longe sitte,
So bisied him his 3onge blod and his brayn wylde.
And also an oþer maner meued him eke
Þat he þur3 nobelay had nomen, he wolde neuer ete
Vpon such a dere day er hym deuised were
Of sum auenturus þyng an vncouþe tale,
Of sum mayn meruayle, þat he my3t trawe,
Of alderes, of armes, of oþer auenturus,
Oþer sum segg hym biso3t of sum siker kny3t
To joyne wyth hym in iustyng, in jopardé to lay,
Lede, lif for lyf, leue vchon oþer,
As fortune wolde fulsun hom, þe fayrer to haue.
Þis watz þe kynges countenaunce where he in court were,
At vch farand fest among his fre meny

    in halle.

    Þerfore of face so fere
    He sti3tlez stif in stalle,
    Ful 3ep in þat Nw 3ere
    Much mirthe he mas withalle.

Thus þer stondes in stale þe stif kyng hisseluen,
Talkkande bifore þe hy3e table of trifles ful hende.
There gode Gawan watz grayþed Gwenore bisyde,
And Agrauayn a la dure mayn on þat oþer syde sittes,
Boþe þe kynges sistersunes and ful siker kni3tes;
Bischop Bawdewyn abof biginez þe table,
And Ywan, Vryn son, ette with hymseluen.
Þise were di3t on þe des and derworþly serued,
And siþen mony siker segge at þe sidbordez.
Þen þe first cors come with crakkyng of trumpes,
Wyth mony baner ful bry3t þat þerbi henged;
Nwe nakryn noyse with þe noble pipes,
Wylde werbles and wy3t wakned lote,
Þat mony hert ful hi3e hef at her towches.
Dayntés dryuen þerwyth of ful dere metes,
Foysoun of þe fresche, and on so fele disches
Þat pine to fynde þe place þe peple biforne
For to sette þe sylueren þat sere sewes halden

    on clothe.

    Iche lede as he loued hymselue
    Þer laght withouten loþe;
    Ay two had disches twelue,
    Good ber and bry3t wyn boþe.

mauler's (non-verse) translation:

When New Years was so young that it had barely come,
That day double the feast was doled out on the dais.
When the king came with knights into the hall,
The chants of the chapel achieved their end.
Loud was the cry of the clergymen and all the others,
"Noel" sung anew, and named repeatedly.
And then the royals rushed to retrieve their presents,
Held their gifts high and handed them around,
And debated animatedly about those gifts;
Ladies laughed out loud, though they lost a game,
And he that won was not at all wrathful at this, as you may well understand!
All this mirth they made until it was time for meat;
Once they had washed as was worthy they went to dine.
The best bred sat above the rest, as befitting,
While Guinevere, quite gaily graced the middle,
Seated on the splendid dais, adorned all about
With fine silk on all sides and a canopy overhead
Of costly Toulouse and Turkish tapestries
That were embroidered and beset with the best of gems
Prized beyond price even by those with pennies enough to pay

any day.
The comeliest to see
Glanced round with her eyes of gray,
That a seemlier sight he ever had seen,
As much no man could say.

But Arthur would not eat till all were served,
He was so jolly in his joyfulness, and somewhat childlike:
He liked to live life lightly, but little loved
To lie or sit still for very long
Thus did his young blood and restless mind urge him to action,
And also a certain custom governed him,
That, as he so nobly declared, he would never eat
Upon such a special occasion, unless he were told
An unusual tale of something adventurous,
Of some great marvel, that he could believe,
Of princes, of prowess, and other perils,
Or else some stranger beseeched him for a worthy knight
To join with in jousting, in jeopardy to lay
Life against life, to leave one or the other,
As fortune would favor him, the fairer to stand.
This was the king’s custom when he was in court
At such a festive feast among his noble company

in that hall.
Therefore with fearsome face,
He stands steady and stalwart
Full of youth on the New Year
Much mirth he means for all.

There stolidly stands the sturdy king himself,
Talking before the high table of pleasant trifles.
There Good Gawain was arrayed beside Guinevere,
And Agravain of the Heavy Hand sits on her other side,
Both the king’s nephews and right noble knights.
Bishop Baldwin at the far end, heads the table,
And Ywain, son of Urien, eats with him.
Such knights sat on the dais and were sumptuously served,
With many a faithful fellow at their sides.
The first course came with a cracking of trumpets
Many bright banners hanging from them;
The novel noise of kettledrums and noble pipes,
Wild warbles and loud echos redounded,
Such that many a heart heaved high at the sound.
Delicacies were brought in, filled with flavor,
Freshest of the fresh, and on dishes so full,
That it was hard to find space in front of the people
To set the silverware that held the savory stews

on the cloth.
Each lad whatever he loved
There ladled without being loathed;
For there were twelve dishes per pair,
Good beer and bright wine for both.

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