Sir Gawayn and Þe Grene Kny3t
I have decided to reproduce the Middle English text of "Sir Gawain" as edited by J.R.R. Tolkien in 1925, using my 1963 Oxford edition. Now, as Tolkien notes, this is a faithful reproduction of the text, except that all abreviations have been spelled out in its Midlands dialect form, which the poem is written in.
"The manuscript is found in a small quarto on vellum (7 x 5 in) in th eCoton Collection in the British Museum--MS. Nero A. x. It contans three other poems, known as Pearl, Purity (or Cleanness), and Patience. They are all written in the same hand which has been dated to about 1400. ...It is not known where the manuscript was written, but as the Lancashire character of the language is perfectly preserved, it is likely that the copying as well as the composition belongs to Lancashire."
The story is unquestionably derived from the Irish saga Bricriu's Feast, in which Cuchulainn must behead CuRoi mac Daire. The earliest manuscript which mentions this is from 1100, though there is a poem in the Book of Taliesin which mentions this also (Marwnat Corroi ap Dairy). Another predecesor can be seen in the Mabinogion's "Pwyll penduec Dyfed," when Pwyll is tested by Arawn's wife while on a quest to behead Hafgan; the earliest form likely dates to 1100, same time as Bricriu's Feast. The Irish tale, however, shows no Norman influence, unlike the Mabinogion.
This said, on to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight I, a companion to dirkg42's project.