Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Fytte the Second

1.

This hansel of adventures had Arthur at the beginning,
in the young year, since he yearned to hear boasting.
Although there was little news when they went to their seats,
now they are provided with stern work,19 their hands quite full.
Gawain was glad to begin those games in the hall;
but it would not be surprising if the end were heavy;
for though men be merry in mind when they have much drink,
yet a year runs full swiftly, and yields never the same;
the beginning full seldom matches the end.
And so this Yule went by, and the year after it,
each season in turn following the other.
After Christmas came the crabbed Lent,
that tries the flesh with fish and more simple food.
But then the weather of the world quarrels with winter,
and though the cold still clings, the clouds lift;
copiously descends the rain in warm showers,
and falls upon the fair earth. Flowers show there;
green are the garments both of fields and of groves;
birds hurry to build, and lustily they sing
for the solace of the soft summer,
that follows thereafter.
Blossoms swell into bloom in rows rich and rank;
and lovely notes are heard in the beauteous wood.

2.

After the season of summer with the soft winds,
when Zephyrus blows on seeds and herbs,
happy is the plant that waxes then,
when the dank dew drops from the leaves,
to await the blissful glance of the bright sun.
But then harvest hastens and hardens it soon:
warns it to wax full ripe against the winter.
He drives with drought the dust to rise,
— from the face of the earth to fly full high.
The wild wind of the welkin wrestles with the sun.
The leaves fall from the bough and light on the ground.
The grass becomes all gray that erst was green.
Then all ripes and rots that which formerly flourished;
and thus runs the year in yesterdays many;
and winter returns again without asking any man,20
till the Michelmas moon has come in wintry wise.
Then thinks Gawain full soon
of his anxious voyage.

3.

Yet till Allhallows day with Arthur he lingers;
and Arthur made a feast on that festival for the hero’s sake,
with great and gay revel of the Round Table.
Knights full courteous and comely ladies all
for love of that man were in sorrow;
but nevertheless they spoke only of mirth;
and many a joyless one there made jests for his gentle sake.
After meat he mournfully addresses his uncle,
and speaks of his passage, and openly he says —
“Now, liege lord of my life, leave I ask of you.
Ye know the cost of this case;
I do not care to tell you even a trifle of its dangers;21
but I am ready to start for the fray no later than tomorrow morn,
to seek the man in the green, as God will guide me.”
Then the best of the castle gathered together,
Ywain and Erec, and others full many,
Sir Dodinel de Sauvage, the Duke of Clarence,
Lancelot and Lyonel and Lucan the Good,
Sir Bors and Sir Bedever, big men both,
and many other proud ones, with Mador de la Port.
All this company of the court came nearer to the king,
to counsel the knight, with care at their hearts.
There was much deep grief felt in the hall
that so worthy a one as Gawain should go on that errand,
to endure a sorry dint and deal none himself with his brand.
But the knight ever made good cheer, and said,
“Why should I swerve from stern and strange destiny?
What can a man do but try?”

4.

He lingered there all that day,
and on the morn made ready.
Early he asked for his arms,
and they were all brought.
First a carpet of Toulouse was stretched over the floor,
and much was the gilt gear that gleamed upon it.
The brave man stepped thereon and handled the steel,
clad in a doublet of costly Tars,
and afterwards a well wrought hood,
closed on top and bound within with a glistening white fur.
Then they put the sabatons22 upon the hero’s feet,
lapped his legs in steel with fair greaves,
to which were attached well polished poleynes23
fastened about his knees with knots of gold.
Fine cuisses then, that well enclosed
his thick, brawny thighs, they attached with thongs.
Next the decorated burnie24 of bright steel rings
upon precious stuff encased the hero,
and well burnished braces upon his two arms,
with elbow-pieces goodly and gay and gloves of plate,
and all the goodly gear that might avail him at that time,
with rich coat armour, gold spurs well fastened,
and a sure brand girt about his side by a silken sash.

5.

When he was hasped in arms his harness was rich;
the least latchet or loop gleamed with gold.
So, harnessed as he was, he heard his mass,
offered and adored at the high altar.
Then he came to the king and his court;
courteously took his leave of lords and ladies;
and they kissed him, and convoyed him,
entrusting him to Christ.
By that time was Gringolet ready, and girt with a saddle
that gleamed full gaily with many gold fringes;
everywhere nailed anew, prepared for that emergency.
The bridle, barred about, was bound with bright gold;
the decoration of the breastplate and of the fine housings,
the crupper and caparison, accorded with the saddle-bow,
and all was adorned with rich red gold nails,
that glittered and gleamed like the gleam of the sun.
Then he took the helm and quickly kissed it.
It was stoutly stapled and stuffed within;
it was high on his head, hasped behind,
with a light urison25 over the ventail,26
embroidered and bound with the best gems on a broad silken border;
and birds on the seams
like painted popinjays27 preening themselves here and there;
turtle-doves and true-loves28 thickly interlaced.
As many birds there were as had been in town for seven winters.
The circlet that surrounded his crown was even more precious —
a device of gleaming diamonds.

6.

Then they showed him the shield,
that was of sheer gules,
with the pentangle painted in pure gold.
He took it by the baldric and cast it about his neck;
and it became the hero passing fair.
And why the pentangle pertains to that noble prince
I mean to tell you, though it should delay me.
It is a sign that Solomon set formerly as a token of truth,
by its own right, for it is a figure that holds five points,
and each line overlaps and locks in another;
and throughout it is endless;
and the English call it everywhere,
as I hear, the endless knot.
Therefore it suits this knight and his clear arms,
forever faithful in five things,
and in each of them five ways.
Gawain was known for good and as refined gold,
devoid of every villainy, adorned with virtues.
Therefore,
the new29 pentangle he bore on shield and coat,
as the man most true of speech,
and the knight gentlest of behaviour.

7.

First, he was found faultless in his five wits;
and again the hero failed never in his five fingers;
and all his affiance in this world was in the five wounds
that Christ received on the cross, as the creed tells;
and wheresoever this man was hard bestead in the melee
his pious thought was in this above all other things —
to take all his strength from the five joys
that the courteous Queen of Heaven had of her child.
For this cause the knight had her image comely
painted in the greater half of his shield,
that when he looked down thereupon,
his courage never abated.
The fifth five that I find that the hero used,
were generosity and fellowship above all things,
his purity and his courtesy that never swerved,
and pity that passes all qualities.
These very five were more surely set upon that warrior
than upon any other.
Now all these30 were established fivefold in this knight,
and each one was fastened in another that had no end,
and they were fastened on five points that never failed,
nor met anywhere, nor sundered either,
but finished always without end at each corner,
wherever the game began or concluded.
Therefore on his fair shield this knot
was painted royally with red gold upon red gules.
That is the true pentangle as the people properly call it.
Now was the gay Gawain armed.
He caught up his lance right there,
and with a good-day he went for evermore.

8.

He spurred his steed with the spurs and sprang on his way
so swiftly that the stone struck out fire after him.
All who saw the gentle man sighed in heart,
and the heroes said all together to each other
in their love for that comely knight,
“By Christ, it is a shame that thou, hero, must be lost,
who art so noble of life.
In faith it is not easy to find his match upon the earth.
To have acted more warily would have been better counsel;
and to have made yon dear one a duke;
it would well become him to be a brilliant leader of people here.
This would have been better than to have him utterly destroyed,
given over31 to an elvish man for mere boasting pride.
Who ever knew any king to take such counsel
as to suffer knights to be so tricked for a Christmas game.”
Much warm water welled from eyes when that seemly sire
departed from the dwellings that day.
He made no stop, but wightly went his way;
many a tiresome path he rode,
as I heard the book tell.

9.

Now rides this hero, Sir Gawain,
through the realm of Logres in God’s behalf,
though to him it seemed no play.
Oft alone companionless he lodged at night
in places where he found not before him the fare that he liked.
No company had he but his foal by friths and downs,
nor nobody but God to talk with by the way;
till that he approached nigh unto North Wales.
He kept all the isles of Anglesey on the left side,
and fared over the fords by the forelands,
over at the Holy Head,
till he again took land in the wilderness of Wirrel.
There dwelt but few that loved either God or man with good heart.
And ever as he fared he asked of men that he met
if they had heard any talk of a green knight of the green chapel
in any spot thereabout, and all nicked him with nay,
that never in their life saw they any man of such green hue.
The knight took strange roads by many a rough bank.
His cheer changed full oft ere he saw that chapel.

10.

Many a cliff he overclimbed in strange countries;
far sundered from his friends, lonely he rode.
At each ford or water where the hero passed
it were strange if he found not a foe before him,
and that so foul and so fell that it behooved him to fight.
So many marvels in the mountains there the man found
that it were too tedious to tell of the tenth part.
Sometimes he warred with serpents, and with wolves also,
sometimes with savages that dwelt in the cliffs;
both with bulls and bears, and boars sometimes;
and giants that assailed him from the high fell.
Had he not been doughty and stern, and served God,
doubtless he had been dead and slain full oft.
But the warfare tried him not so much
but that the winter was worse,
when the cold clear water shed from the clouds,
and froze ere it might fall to the barren earth.
Near slain with the sleet he slept in his iron
more nights than enough on naked rocks,
where clattering from the crest the cold burn ran,
and hung high over his head in hard icicles.
Thus in peril and pain and plights full hard
through the country wanders this knight
all alone till Christmas Eve.
At that tide to Mary he made his moan
that she might direct his riding
and lead him to some dwelling.

11.

Merrily on the morn he rides by a mount
into a forest full deep, that was strangely wild.
High hills were on each side,
and woods beneath of hoar oaks full huge,
a hundred together.
The hazel and the hawthorn were twined all together,
covered everywhere with rough ragged moss,
with many unblithe birds upon bare twigs
that piteously piped there for pain of the cold.
The knight upon Gringolet rides all alone under the boughs,
through many a moss and mire, mourning for his trials,
lest he should never survive to see the service of that Sire
who on that very night was born of a lady to quell our pain.
And therefore sighing he said: “I beseech thee,
Lord, and Mary, that is mildest mother so dear,
for some harbour where I might properly hear
mass and thy matins tomorrow.
Meekly I ask it, and thereto earnestly I pray
my pater and ave and creed.”
He rode in his prayer and lamented for his misdeeds.
Oft-times he blessed himself, and said,
“Christ’s cross speed me.”

12.

The hero had not crossed himself more than thrice
ere he was aware in the wood of a dwelling on a hill,
above a clearing, on a mount,
hidden under the boughs of many a huge tree about the ditches;
a castle the comeliest that ever knight owned,
set on a prairie, a park all about,
with its beautiful palace, pinnacled full thick,
and surrounded with many a tree for more than two miles.
The hero gazed at the castle on that one side
as it shimmered and shone through the fair oaks.
Then he humbly doffed his helm and devoutly he thanked
Jesus and St. Julian — who are both gentle —
who courteously had directed him and harkened to his cry.
“Now bon hostel,” quoth the man,
“I beseech you yet!” Then he spurs Gringolet with his gilt heels,
and he full fortunately takes the way to the chief road,
that soon brought the hero to the bridge-end in haste.
The bridge was securely lifted, the gates locked fast;
the walls were well arrayed; no wind blast did it fear.

13.

The hero that sat on his horse, abode on the bank
of the deep double ditch that stretched to the place.
The wall sank in the water wondrous deep,
and again a full huge height it towered aloft,
of hard hewn stone up to the top courses,
corbelled under the battlement in the best manner;
and above fine watch-towers ranged along,
with many good loop-holes that showed full clean.
A better barbican that hero never looked upon.
And farther within he beheld the high hall,
with towers set full thickly about,
and fair and wondrous high filioles
with carved tops cunningly devised.
Chalk-white chimneys enough he saw
that gleamed full white on the battlements.
So many painted pinnacles were set everywhere,
built so thick among the crenellations of the castle,
that it verily appeared cut out of paper.
Fair enough it seemed to the noble knight on his horse
if he could only attain the shelter within,
to harbour in that hostel, while the holiday lasted.
He called, and soon there appeared
on the wall a right pleasant porter
who took his message
and greeted the knight errant.

14.

“Good sir,” quoth Gawain, “would you go my errand
to the high lord of this house to crave harbour?”
“Yea, by Peter,” quoth the porter; “and truly I trow
that ye are welcome, sir, to dwell while you like.”
Then the man went again quickly,
and a crowd of folk with him,
to receive the knight.
They let down the great draw and eagerly poured out,
and kneeled down on their knees upon the cold earth
to welcome the hero as it seemed to them proper.
They opened up wide the broad gate for him
and he raised them courteously,
and rode over the bridge.
Several attendants held his saddle while he alighted,
and afterwards good men enough stabled his steed.
Then knights and squires came down to bring
this hero joyfully into the hall.
When he lifted up his helm people enough
hurried to take it at his hand,
in order to serve the courteous one;
his sword and his shield they took too.
Then he greeted full courteously the knights each one;
and many a proud man pressed there to honour that prince.
All hasped in his high weeds, they led him to the hall,
where a fair fire burned fiercely upon the hearth.
Then the lord of the people came from his chamber
to meet courteously the man on the floor.
He said, “Ye are welcome to wield as you like what is here;
all is your own to have at your will and commandment.”
“Gramercy,” quoth Gawain. “Christ reward you for it.”
Like glad heroes either folded
the other in his arms.

15.

Gawain looked on the man who greeted him so goodly,
and thought it a bold hero that owned the castle,
a huge warrior for the nonce, and of great age.
Broad and bright was his beard, and all beaver-hued.
Firm-gaited was he on his stalwart limbs;
with a face as fierce as fire, and a free speech;
and to the hero he seemed well suited indeed
to govern a nation of good people.
The lord turned to a chamber and promptly commanded
to give Gawain a retinue to serve him in lowly wise;
and there were ready at his bidding men enough,
who brought him to a bright bower where
the bedding was curtains of pure silk with clear gold hems,
and covertures right curious with comely borders,
adorned above with bright fur.
Curtains running on ropes, red gold rings,
tapestries of Toulouse and Tars hung on the wall,
and under foot on the floor of the same pattern.
There with mirthful speeches the hero was despoiled
of his burnie and of his bright weeds.
Quickly men brought him rich robes
that he might pick and choose the best for his change.
As soon as he took one and was wrapped therein,
that sat upon him seemly with sailing skirts,
the hero by his visage verily seemed to well nigh every man
in looks glowing and lovely in all his limbs;
it seemed to them that Christ never made a comelier knight.
Wherever in the world he were, it seemed
as if he might be a prince without peer
in the field where fell men fight.

16.

A chair before the chimney,32 where charcoal burned,
was prepared for Sir Gawain richly with cloths and cushions,
upon counterpanes that were both fine.
And then a beauteous mantle was cast on the man,
of a brown fabric richly embroidered,
and fairly furred within with the best skins,
all of ermine; the hood of the same.
And he sat on that settle in seemly rich attire,
and warmed him thoroughly;
and then his cheer mended.
Soon a table was raised up on trestles full fair,
and set with a clean cloth that showed clear white,
napkins, salt-cellar, and silver spoons.
The hero washed when he would and went to his meat.
Men served him seemly enough,
— double fold as was proper —
with pottages various and suitable,
seasoned in the best manner;
and many kinds of fish,
some baked in bread,
some broiled on the coals,
some boiled,
some in sauces savoured with spices;
and always discourse so pleasant that it pleased the warrior.
Full freely and often the hero called it a feast right courteously,
when all the retainers together praised him as courteous.33
“Do this penance now, and soon things will be better!”
Right mirthful was he for the wine that went to his head.

17.

Then they questioned and inquired sparingly
in skilful queries put to the prince himself,
till he courteously acknowledged that he was
of the court which noble Arthur holds alone,
who is the rich, royal king of the Round Table;
and that it was Gawain himself that sits in the house,
by chance come for that Christmas.
When the lord had learned that he had that hero,
he laughed aloud, so dear it seemed to him;
and all the men in the castle made much joy
at appearing promptly in the presence of him who
contains in his own person all worth and prowess and gracious traits,
and is ever praised;
above all the men in the world his renown is the greatest.
Each warrior said full softly to his companion —
“Now shall we see courteous turns of behaviour,
and the blameless forms of noble talking;
what profit there is in speech may we learn without asking
since we have taken that fine father of nurture.
God has indeed given us his grace,
who grants us to have such a guest as Gawain,
on account of whose birth men sit and sing for joy.
This hero will now teach us what distinguished manners are;
I think that those who hear him will learn how to make love.”

18.

When the dinner was done and the dear ones risen,
the time was nigh arrived at the night.
Chaplains took their way to the chapels,
and rang full loudly, as they should,
to the melodious evensong of the high time.
The Lord turns thither, and the lady also.
Into a comely closet daintily she enters.
Gawain joyfully proceeds,
and goes thither straightway.
The lord takes him by the mantle and leads him to his seat,
recognizes him openly and calls him by his name,
and says he is the welcomest wight in the world.
And Gawain thanked him thoroughly and either embraced the other,
and they sat soberly together during the service.
Then the lady desired to look on the knight,
and came from her closet with many fair maidens.
But she was fairer than all the others in flesh and face,
in skin and form, in complexion and demeanour —
more beautiful than Guinevere, it seemed to the hero.
He walked through the chancel to greet that gracious one.
Another lady led her by the left hand,
that was older than she;
an ancient lady it seemed,
and one highly honoured by the knights about her;
but unlike to look on were the ladies,
for if the younger was fair,
yellow was the other.
Rich red on the one bloomed everywhere;
rough wrinkled cheeks rolled on the other.
The kerchiefs of the one broidered with many clear pearls,
openly displayed her breast and her bright throat,
which shone clearer than snow that falls on the hills.
The other covered her neck with a gorget,
that wrapped her black chin in milk-white pleats.
Her forehead was completely enveloped in silken folds,
adorned and tricked34 with small ornaments;
and naught was bare of that lady but the black brows,
the two eyes, the nose, and the naked lips;
and those were ugly to behold and oddly bleared.
A gracious lady in the land one might call her forsooth!
Her body was short and thick, her hips round35 and broad.
More pleasant to look on was the being she led.

19.

When Gawain looked on that beauteous one who gazed graciously,
he took leave of the lord, and went toward them.
The elder he saluted, bowing full low;
the lovelier he took a little in his arms;
he kissed her comely, and knightly he greeted her.
They welcomed him, and he quickly asked
to be their servant if it pleased them.
They took him between them and led him conversing
to the fireplace in the parlour;
and straightway they called for spices,
which men speeded to bring them unsparingly,
and the pleasant wine therewith each time.
The lord leaped merrily up full often,
and saw to it that the mirth never faltered.
Gaily he snatched off his hood and hung it on a spear,
and exhorted them to win it as a prize —
he to have it36 who should make the most mirth that Christmas tide.
“And I shall try, by my faith,
with the help of my friends37 to compete with the best,
ere I lose my apparel.”
Thus with laughing mien the lord makes merry
in order to glad Sir Gawain with games in the hall that night.
When it came time the king commanded lights;
Sir Gawain took his leave and went to his bed.

20.

On the morn when as every man knows God was born to die for us,
joy waxes in every dwelling in the world for his sake.
So it did there on that day,
with many dainties at meats and meals,
right quaint dishes,
and brave men on the dais dressed in their best.
The old ancient wife sits in the highest,
the courteous lord placed by her, as I trow;
Gawain and the gay lady together just in the middle,
as the courses38 properly come;
and afterwards the rest throughout all the hall,
as it seemed to them, each man in his degree was properly served.
There was meat, there was mirth, there was much joy,
that it were arduous for me to tell thereof,
though to note it I took pains belike.39
But yet I know that Gawain and the lovely lady
took comfort in each other’s company,
in the choice play of their of their sharp wits,
and the pure courtesy of their modest talk;
their disport surpassed indeed that of any royal game.
Trumps and drums came playing loudly;
each man minded his own business,
and they two minded theirs.

21.

Much delight was taken there that day, and the second;
and the third followed as pleasantly.
The joy of St. John’s day was gentle to hear of;
and it was the last of the festival, the people considered.
There were guests to go upon the grey morn;
therefore wondrous late they sat up and drank the wine,
danced full gayly with sweet carols.
At the last, when it was late, they took their leave,
each good man to wend on his way.
Gawain gave his host good day; but the good man takes him,
and leads him to his own chamber, by the fireplace;
and there he draws him aside and properly thanks him
for the great worship that he had granted him
in honouring his house on that high tide,
in embellishing his castle with his good cheer.
“Indeed, sir, while I live I shall be the better
that Gawain has been my guest at God’s own feast.”
“Gramercy, sir, “quoth Gawain, “in good faith the merit is yours;
all the honour is your own, — the high King reward you;
and I am your man to work your behest
in high and in low as I am bound by right.”
The lord eagerly strives to hold the knight longer;
but Gawain answers him that he can in no wise.

22.

Then the hero asked of him full fairly
what extraordinary deed had driven him
at that dear time from the king’s court,
to go all alone so boldly,
ere the holidays were wholly over.
“For sooth, sir,” quoth the hero,
“ye say but the truth;
a high errand and a hasty had me from these dwellings;
for I am summoned to such a place
as I know not in the world whitherward to wend to find it.
I would not for all the land in Logres
fail to reach it on New Year’s morn —
so our Lord help me.
Therefore, sir, this request I require of you here,
that ye tell me truly if ever ye heard tale of the green chapel,
where in the world it stands,
and of the knight green in colour that keeps it.
There was established by statute an agreement between us
that I should meet that man at that landmark if I could but survive.
And of that same New Year there now lacks but little,
and by God’s Son I would gladlier look on that person —
if God would let me — than wield any possession in the world.
Therefore, indeed — by your good will — it behooves me to wend;
I have now at my disposal barely three days;
and I were as fain fall dead as fail of mine errand.”
Then laughing quoth the lord,
“Now it behooves thee to stay;
for I shall direct you to that spot by the time’s end —
the green chapel upon the ground.
Grieve you no more;
for ye shall be in your bed, sir,
at thine ease some days yet,
and set out on the first of the year
and come to that place at mid-morn,
to do what you like.
Stay till New Year’s day;
and rise and go then.
One shall set you on your way;
it is not two miles hence.”

23.

Then was Gawain full glad, and merrily he laughed;
“Now I thank you especially for this above all other things;
now that my quest is achieved, I shall dwell at your will,
and do whatever else ye decide.”
Then the sire seized him and set him beside him,
and let the ladies be fetched to please them the better.
Fair entertainment they had quietly among themselves;
the lord in his jovial, friendly demeanor behaved
as a man out of40 his wits that knew not what he did.
Then he spake to the knight, crying loud,
“Ye have agree to do the deed that I bid.
Will ye hold this hest here at once?”
“Yea, sir, forsooth,” said the true hero,
“while I stay in your castle I shall be obedient to your hest.”
“Since ye have travelled from afar,” quoth the warrior,
“and then have sat late with me,
ye are not well nourished, I know,
either with sustenance or with sleep.
Ye shall linger in your loft and lie at your ease
tomorrow till mass time;
and go to meat when ye will with my wife,
who shall sit with you and comfort you
with her company till I return home;
and I shall rise early and go hunting.”
Gawain grants all this, bowing courteously.

24.

“Yet further,” quoth the hero, “let us make an agreement.
Whatsoever I win in the wood, it shall be yours;
and whatsoever fortune ye achieve,
exchange with me therefor.
Sweet sir, swap we so, swear truly,
whichever one of us gets the worse or the better.”
“By God,” quoth Gawain the good, “I consent thereto;
and whatever game you like, agreeable it seems to me.”
“On this beverage just brought the bargain is made,”
said the lord of that people; and both laughed.
Then they drank and played and amused41 themselves,
these lords and ladies, so long as it pleased them;
and then with polite demeanour and many fair gestures,
they stood up and lingered a while,
and talked quietly, kissed full comely,
and took their leave.
With many a gay servant and gleaming torches
each hero was brought to his bed full softly at the last.
Yet before they went to bed they oft rehearsed the covenants.
The old lord of that people knew well how to keep up a jest.

19. Morris’s punctuation of this passage has been altered.

20. Passage a bit vague.

21. Morris’s punctuation altered.

22. steel shoes.

23. knee pieces.

24. coat of mail.

25. scarf.

26. visor.

27. parrots.

28. true lover’s knots.

29. Should it be now?

30. These five larger virtues.

31. The meaning of the verb is doubtful.

32. In the old meaning of fireplace, fire-back, or grate.

33. Possibly the host, and not Gawain, is the subject of this sentence, which then might be translated: “Full freely and oft the host called it a feast (i.e. made the feaster welcome) right courteously, when all the retainers praised him (Gawain or the host?) as courteous.” In the next two sentences the host is pretty certainly the subject. With this interpretation cf. Macbeth, III, 4, 31: “The feast is sold that is not often vouch’d, while ’t is a-making, ’t is given with welcome.”

34. The precise, but not the general, meaning of the two participles is uncertain.

35. The meaning of bay is doubtful.

36. These four words supplied.

37. This phrase may go with “lose,” thus aggravating the joke.

38. This word (messe) can refer to the courses (the food), or to the “mess” (the two persons eating together, i.e. using the same goblet, platter, etc.).

39. The clause literally translated is insignificant; we expect something like “and yet I should fail for all my pains.”

40. Wolde in the text is translated as a corruption of some such word as “was lacking,” or “wandered.”

41. Word doubtful.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/l/literature/epic/sir_gawain_and_the_green_knight/chapter2.html

Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 22:31