Sir Gawain and the Green Knight


34
Þe burne bode on blonk, þat on bonk houed
Of þe depe double dich þat drof to þe place;
Þe walle wod in þe water wonderly depe,
Ande eft a ful huge he3t hit haled vpon lofte
Of harde hewen ston vp to þe tablez,
Enbaned vnder þe abataylment in þe best lawe;
And syþen garytez ful gaye gered bitwene,
Wyth mony luflych loupe þat louked ful clene:
A better barbican þat burne blusched vpon neuer.
And innermore he behelde þat halle ful hy3e,
Towres telded bytwene, trochet ful þik,
Fayre fylyolez þat fy3ed, and ferlyly long,
With coruon coprounes craftyly sle3e.
Chalkwhyt chymnees þer ches he inno3e
Vpon bastel rouez, þat blenked ful quyte;
So mony pynakle payntet watz poudred ayquere,
Among þe castel carnelez clambred so þik,
Þat pared out of papure purely hit semed.
Þe fre freke on þe fole hit fayr innoghe þo3t,
If he my3t keuer to com þe cloyster wythinne,
To herber in þat hostel whyl halyday lested,

auinant.
He calde, and sone þer com
A porter pure plesaunt,
On þe wal his ernd he nome,
And haylsed þe kny3t erraunt.

35
'Gode sir,' quoþ Gawan, 'woldez þou go myn ernde
To þe he3 lorde of þis hous, herber to craue?'
'3e, Peter,' quoþ þe porter, 'and purely I trowee
Þat 3e be, wy3e, welcum to won quyle yow lykez.'
Þen 3ede þe wy3e 3erne and com a3ayn swyþe,
And folke frely hym wyth, to fonge þe kny3t.
Þay let doun þe grete dra3t and derely out 3eden,
And kneled doun on her knes vpon þe colde erþe
To welcum þis ilk wy3 as worþy hom þo3t;
Þay 3olden hym þe brode 3ate, 3arked vp wyde,
And he hem raysed rekenly, and rod ouer þe brygge.
Sere seggez hym sesed by sadel, quel he ly3t,
And syþen stabeled his stede stif men inno3e.
Kny3tez and swyerez comen doun þenne
For to bryng þis buurne wyth blys into halle;
Quen he hef vp his helme, þer hi3ed innoghe
For to hent hit at his honde, þe hende to seruen;
His bronde and his blasoun boþe þay token.
Þen haylsed he ful hendly þo haþelez vchone,
And mony proud mon þer presed þat prynce to honour.
Alle hasped in his he3 wede to halle þay hym wonnen,
Þer fayre fyre vpon flet fersly brenned.
Þenne þe lorde of þe lede loutez fro his chambre
For to mete wyth menske þe mon on þe flor;
He sayde, '3e ar welcum to welde as yow lykez
Þat here is; al is yowre awen, to haue at yowre wylle

and welde.'
'Graunt mercy,' quoþ Gawayn,
'Þer Kryst hit yow for3elde.'
As frekez þat semed fayn
Ayþer oþer in armez con felde.

36
Gawayn gly3t on þe gome þat godly hym gret,
And þu3t hit a bolde burne þat þe bur3 a3te,
A hoge haþel for þe nonez, and of hyghe eldee;
Brode, bry3t, watz his berde, and al beuer-hwed,
Sturne, stif on þe stryþþe on stalworth schonkez,
Felle face as þe fyre, and fre of hys speche;
And wel hym semed, for soþe, as þe segge þu3t,
To lede a lortschyp in lee of leudez ful gode.
Þe lorde hym charred to a chambre, and chefly cumaundez
To delyuer hym a leude, hym lo3ly to serue;
And þere were boun at his bode burnez inno3e,
Þat bro3t hym to a bry3t boure, þer beddyng watz noble,
Of cortynes of clene sylk wyth cler golde hemmez,
And couertorez ful curious with comlych panez
Of bry3t blaunner aboue, enbrawded bisydez,
Rudelez rennande on ropez, red golde ryngez,
Tapitez ty3t to þe wo3e of tuly and tars,
And vnder fete, on þe flet, of fol3ande sute.
Þer he watz dispoyled, wyth spechez of myerþe,
Þe burn of his bruny and of his bry3t wedez.
Ryche robes ful rad renkkez hym bro3ten,
For to charge, and to chaunge, and chose of þe best.
Sone as he on hent, and happed þerinne,
Þat sete on hym semly wyth saylande skyrtez,
Þe ver by his uisage verayly hit semed
Welne3 to vche haþel, alle on hwes
Lowande and lufly alle his lymmez vnder,
Þat a comloker kny3t neuer Kryst made

hem þo3t.
Wheþen in worlde he were,
Hit semed as he mo3t
Be prynce withouten pere
In felde þer felle men fo3t.


mauler's (non-verse) translation:

34
The knight sat on his horse, which waited on the bank
Of the deep double moat that surrounded the place.
The walls stood in the water, wondrously deep
And again a great height it rose up in the air,
Of hard hewn stone, up to the cornices,
Fortified under the battlements in the sturdiest way;
And winsome watchtowers spaced between,
With many a lovely loophole that could be tightly latched.
A better barbican that knight had never seen,
And beyond he beheld the soaring keep,
Towers erected between, ornamented thickly,
With fine spires attached, amazingly tall,
With carved capstones cleverly fitted
Chalkwhite chimneys he picked out aplenty
On the roofs of the towers, shimmering white.
So many a painted pinnacle was scattered everywhere
Among the castle’s crenels, crowded so thickly,
That cut out of paper completely it seemed.
The noble fellow on his horse thought it fair enough,
If he could manage to get inside the walls,
To take lodging in that house during the holy days

pleasant.
He called and soon there came
A cheerful porter;
From the wall he learned his errand
And greeted the knight errant.

35
"Good sir," said Gawain, "Would you go with my message
To the lord of this house, and request his hospitality?"
"Yes, by St. Peter,” said the porter, “and I truly believe,
That you, sir, are welcome to stay as long as you like."
Then he went away eagerly and returned just as swiftly,
With solicitous servants to receive the knight
They let down the great drawbridge and courteously came out,
And kneeled down on their knees upon the cold ground
To welcome the man in a way they thought worthy.
They cleared his path through the broad gate, hoisting it up high,
And he courteously bade them rise, and rode over the bridge.
Several servants held his saddle while he dismounted
And then several strong men stabled his steed.
Knights and squires came down then,
To bring the guest to with pomp into the great hall.
When he took off his helmet, many leapt forward
To take it from his hand, anxious to serve;
His sword and his shield, they took as well,
Then he nobly greeted each knight
And many proud men pressed forward to honor him
Still dressed in his armor they brought him to the hall,
Where a blazing fire fiercely burned.
Then the lord of the company came down from his chamber
To meet with honor the man in the hall.
He said, "You are welcome to do as you please,
With all that is here; treat everything as your own, to use

as you will."
"Many thanks," said Gawain
"And may Christ repay you!"
And as men overjoyed,
They took each other in their arms.

36
Gawain looked over the man that had greeted him so kindly,
And decided it was a fine fellow that ruled over that place,
A large man indeed, and in the prime of life.
Broad and glossy was his beard, and beaver-hued,
Standing fiercely and sturdily on powerful legs,
His face was cruel as fire, but he was noble in speech,
And he truly seemed, Gawain thought
Like the lord of a castle and a company of noble knights.
The lord led him to a chamber, and his first order
Was to bring him a personal attendant to humbly serve him
And several other servants were there also, awaiting his command,
That brought him to a magnificent bedroom, with princely bedding,
Curtains of pure silk with shimmering gold hems,
And extraordinary bedcovers with lovely panels
Of elegant ermine edged with embroidery,
Drapes running on cords, hung with golden rings.
Tapestries of fine Turkish silk were arranged on the walls,
And under foot, on the floor, more of the same.
There they undressed him, speaking to him gaily,
Of his coat of mail and his fine underclothes.
Attendants rushed in with regal robes,
For him to chose the best of and change into
As soon as he received them and was wrapped within
Flowing robes that suited him well,
It seemed, by the rapturous look on his face,
That spring had arrived in all its glorious colors,
And so lustrous and supple were all his limbs beneath,
That a more handsome knight God never made,

they decided.
Wherever in the world he hailed from,
It seemed that he must
Be a prince without peer
In the field where fiece men fight.


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