mauler's (non-verse) translation:
4 any day.
The comeliest to see
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
Glanced round with her eyes of gray,
That a seemlier sight he ever had seen,
As much no man could say.
5 in that hall.
Therefore with fearsome face,
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
He stands steady and stalwart
Full of youth on the New Year
Much mirth he means for all.
6 on the cloth.
Each lad whatever he loved
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
There ladled without being loathed;
For there were twelve dishes per pair,
Good beer and bright wine for both.
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