mauler's (non-verse) translation:

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.

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,

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

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.

Back to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight | On to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight II