Monday, 5 December 2016
She comes to the curtain and at the knight peeps.
Sir Gawain welcomes her worthily at once,
And he she replied to, full sweet with her words,
Sits her softly by his side, simply she laughs,
And with a loving look she laid out these words:
"Sir, if you be Gawain, wonder me thinks,
One that is so well-worked in etiquette good,
Cannot comprehend the conventions of nobility,
And if one commends you these claims, you cast them from your mind;
You have forgotten easily what I yesterday taught
By the most oak-obvious token of talk that I could."
"What is that?" said Gawain. "I claim my wits bare;
If it be truth that you breathe, the blame is my own."
"I educated on kissing," said the clear girl,
""When-so countenance is couth quickly to claim;
Then befits such a knight that courtesy uses."*
"Do not," said that doomed man, "my dear make that speech,
For that I dare not do, lest I denied were;
If withheld, I were wrong to have made the advance."
"My word, said the lords wife, "who could stop you?
You are staunch enough to constrain with strength who you like,
If any were so villainous that you deny would."
"Yes, by God," said Gawain, "good is your speech,
But such is un-thought of in lands where I live,
And each gift that is given not with good will.
I am at your commandment, to kiss when you like;
You may lay on when you like, and leave when you thinks,
The lady leans down
And comely kisses his face;
Much speech they there expound
Of loves pain and grace.
"I have wanted to know what," that worthy there said,
"If it raised not your wrath, the reason was
That one so young and un-yielding as you at this time,
So courteous, so knightly as you are known everywhere -
And of all chivalry to choose, the chief thing praised
Is the true talk of love, the gospel of arms;
For to tell of the adventures of these true knights,
It is the title and token and text of their works,
How long for their true love their lives they have ventured,
Endured for her duty doleful times,
And after, vindicated with valor and voided their care,
And brought bliss into bower with bounty their own -
And you are, knight, comeliest kind of your age,
Your worth and your worship walk everywhere,
And I have sat by your side here on two seperate times,
Yet learnt I never of your lips no words
That ever belonged to love, less than none.
And you, that are so courteous and claim a knights heart,
Ought to a young thing service show
And teach some tokens of true love-crafts.
What! Are you so lewd, that all the world loves,
Or else you deem me too dizzy your dalliance to hear?
I come here alone and sit
To learn from you some game;
Do teach me of your wit,
While my lord is from home.
*Really not sure that I got this right. Is a little elliptical even in the original I think.
Sunday, 4 December 2016
Soon one called of a a quest by creeks side;
The hunter urged the hounds that it first declared,
Wild words he warped with a wrenched voice.
The hounds that it heard hastened there quick,
And fell as fast to the foot-path, forty at once.
Then such a clamor and cry of the crowded hounds
Rose that the rocky hills rung about them;
Hunters halooed them with horn and with mouth.
Then all assembled surged together,
Between a gulf in that forest and a fearsome crag.
In a knot by a cliff, at the creeks side,
There where the rough rocks had randomly crashed,
They fell to the finding, and footmen there after.
Then in-between the creek and the knot both,
They sought, till certain and sure that inside this place was
The beast that the baying of the bloodhounds claimed.
Then they beat on the bushes, and bid him uprise,
Unsoundly, as it turned out, for he surged through the lines;
A swine, extremely serious, slashed from the hedges,
Long cleaved from his kin-herd by claim of his age,
For he was BIG, of boars-all the greatest,
Full grim when he grunted, then grayed many men,
For at the first thrust he threw three to the earth,
And spurred off at good speed without spitting more.
Those others halloed "hyge!" full high, and "hay! hay!" cried,
Held horns to mouth, heatedly recharged;
Many was the merry mouth of men and of hounds
That breaks after this boar with bugles and noise
Full oft he bides the bay,
And maims the mute in the mell;
He hurts of the hounds and they
Full somberly cry and knell.
Servants to shoot at him skirmished up close,
Haled to him of their arrows, hitting him oft;
But the points would not pierce the pith of his shoulders,
And the barbs would not bite of his brow -
Though the smooth shaft sundered in pieces,
The head heaved up again where-so-ever it hit.
But when the battering blows bothered him, he burst out,
Hurts them full heartily, hoves into their crowd,
And many arsed it, and ran for their lives.
But the lord on a light horse lances him after,
As a bro bent on boldness his bugle he blows;
He resounded, and rode through hedges full rank,
Seeking this wild swine till the sun slipped away,
The day with this mad deed they drive all the while,
While our lovely lad lies in his bed,
Gawain, happy at home, in gear full rich
She did not give in easy
And came him to salute;
She was with him full early
His mode to renew.
Saturday, 3 December 2016
Then commanded the lord in that hall to assemble the many,
Both the ladies on high to alight with their maids.
Before all the folk in the fortress, footmen he bids
Verily his venison to fetch him before;
And all goodly in gaming Gawain he called,
Teaches him the tally of the full-tined beasts,
Shows him the sheared flesh shorn from the ribs.
"How prize you this play? How Have I praise won?
Can I claim your thanks through my craft and skill?"
"You can," said that knight, "here is a fairer kill
Than I have seen these seven years in season of winter."
"And all I give you, Gawain," replied the great hunter,
"For by accord of covenant you claim it as your own."
"This is so," said the chevalier, "I say you the same:
What I have worthily won here in your home,
Shall with as good a will be given to you."
He holds his fair head his arms within,
And kisses him as comely as he could arrange:
"Take you there my achievement, I claimed little else;
I vouch it you freely, and would if were more."
"It is good," said the good man, "grant mercy therefore.
It may even be better, if you would bravely tell
Where you won this wonder by wit and by skill."
"That was not agreed to," said Gawain, "ask me no more;
For you have taken what is owed, nothing other
They laughed and made blithe
With words that were sweet;
To supper they hied,
With dainties to eat.
And so by the chimney in chamber they sat,
While the willing waiters brought them wine,
And joyful in their jesting they justly agreed
To fulfill the same forwards that they before made:
What chance so achieved, their prize to exchange,
What new thing they gained, next night when they met.
They accorded of their covenant before the full court -
The beverage was brought forth in a pledging-bowl -
Then they lightly took leave of each other at last,
Each bro to his bed slowly crawled.
By time the cock had crowed and cackled but thrice,
The lord was leaping from his bed, the servants too,
So that the meat and the mass was meetly delivered,
The boys bound to the forest before the day sprung,
Thence with hunt and horns
These players pass in space,
Hounds among the thorns
Baying, ran to race.
Friday, 2 December 2016
I'm interested to see what Jeff Rients and Kiel Chenier produce with their new adventures. They both have quite a different aesthetic feel and a different animating spirit to the part of the post-Vornheim OSR with which I am most intimately familiar which orbits quite closely around a particular vein of darkness, decadence, alienation and ruin.
Jeff is pre-Vornheim. Jeff may be pre-dice. It's possible he's teaching Beowulf from first-hand experience. All we know for certain is that he is a confirmed cannibal. (Broodmother has been in-vitro for so long that when its born it will be legally able to drink.)
Keil has also been around for ages but his aesthetic is more post-Steven-Universe than post-Vornheim. So, still social justicey but without decaying onto a fat pile of passive-aggressive tics or an eternal entropic socio-political-maelstrom like a boring Chaos God.
If I was betting on anyone from the OSR finally getting a good enough toehold in mainstream D&D to finally beat some decent fucking information design, or even some actual original ideas into them then it would be Kiel. he's a worker, he has the almost magical ability to get on with people in corporate situations and he still has decent quality control and a capacity for originality. I would recommend checking out his ENWorld adventure in the Feywild which is almost interesting enough to make me not hate the name 'Feywild' and has decent enough informational layout that I sense he must have strained his whip-hand chastising the peons of WotC to get it produced properly.
Jeff is kind of joyful with the imperishable sweetness of a child, Kiel is kind of modern and millennial but without being punchable. It's interesting becasue we've not had anything quite like this in LotFP before (Zzarchovs 'Gingerbread Princess' comes closest I think). Together they rise like twin ginger suns over the glorious bochean wasteland of our imaginations, perhaps adding the lyre of Thalia to the song of Melpomene which as for so long been our anthem.
Ruins must sometimes prove themselves cradles and even death can die if it permits no change. Who knows what might spring from such visions? We must build out as well as down. Beyond the horizon what strange new lands might lie beneath these ginger suns?
Now here are some scenes of disturbing butchery.
This while the lord of the land is lost in his games,
To hunt through hoar-frost and heath the barren hinds.
Such a slaughter he served there before the sun sank,
Of does and other deer, you'd deem it a wonder.
Then fiercely they flocked in, folk at the last,
And quickly of the quelled deer a quantity piled.
The nobles came nigh first, with butchers and knives,
Gathered the greatest of that gruesome hill,
And sliced them quite rightly and searched within;
Two fingers-width of fat they found on the thin.
Then they slit the throat, seized the gullet,
Scraped it with a sharp knife, and the guts tied.
Severed right the four limbs and ripped off the hide,
Then breaked open the belly, the bowels out took
Lightly, not to loosen the loop of the knot.
Then grasped the gorge, and grimly divided
The maw from the wind-hole and whisked out the guts.
Then shear out they the shoulders with their sharp knives,
Heaved them through a little hole to keep whole both sides.
Then broke open the breast and burst it in twain,
And then at the gargling part began their work,
Ripped it up roughly, right to the bite,
Dumped out the flesh-dregs, and directly thereafter
All the rib reinforcements they rapidly slice.
So strip they in the same way the spinal cord,
Trimming to the haunch, so together it hung,
And heaved it up all whole and hewed it off there -
At that part they call "numbles" by name, as I claim,
By the back of the thighs
The skin they cut behind
To hew it in two thy hie,
The backbone to unbind.
Both the head and the neck they hew off then,
And certain sunder the sides swift from the chin,
And the corvids fee they cast in the grass;
Then perforate they each thick side through by the rib,
And hung them by either the hocks or the legs,
Each fellow for his fee, as fell them to have.
Upon the fur of the fair beast fed they their hounds
With the liver and lights, the line of the paunch,
And bread bathed in blood blended among.
Boldly they blew "prize!", bayed their hounds,
Then flung up their flesh, faring for home,
Sounding full stoutly many strong notes.
By time the daylight was done, the dogs were all home
Into the comely castle, there the knight bides
With bliss and bright fire waits.
The lord is come therein
When Gawain with him meets,
They were both well at will.
Thursday, 1 December 2016
"Madame," said that merry man, "Mary reward you,
For I have found, in good faith, your Franchise noble;
And some full much from other folk facsimile deeds,
But those dramatic dividends I have never deserved -
It is from your own greatness that nought but good comes."
"By Mary," said the maiden, "me thinks it quite other;
For were I worth all the weight of women alive,
And all the wealth of the world were in my hand,
And I should bargain and barter to buy me a lord,
For the things that I have seen within you, knight, here,
Of beauty and demeanour and blithe semblance,
And what I have heard of and hold it here true,
There should no man on earth before you be chosen."
"Indeed countess," said the knight, "you already chose better;
But I am proud of the praise that you put on me,
And, soberly your servant, my sovereign hold you,
And your knight I become, may Christ you reward."
Thus they matched muchwhat till midmorn passed,
And always the lady let as if she loved much;
The prince parried, defended, with perfect restraint.
Though she burned the brightest of all the broad world,
The less warmth in his words for the weight he could not
The blow that he must brave,
And needs it must be done.
the lady then spoke of leave;
He granted her full soon.
Then she gave him good day, and with a glance laughed,
And as she stood, she shocked him with full strong words:
"Now he that speeds each speech reward you for this sport!
But that you be Gawain, it goes not in mind."
"Wherefore?" says the chevalier, as if stung,
Feared lest he had failed in form of his tongue.
But the lady him blessed, and "By this sign" said:
"So good as Gawain is generally held,
And courtesy is closed so completely in him,
He could not lightly have laughed so long with a lady
But he had craved a kiss by his courtesy,
By some touch or some trifle at some tales end."
Then said Gawain, "Good lady, claim as you like;
I shall kiss at your commandment as a knight must,
As you desire, lest he displease you, so plead it no more."
She comes near with that, and catches him in arms,
Leans lovingly down and the lord kisses.
Then comely commend they to Christ each the other;
Then goes she forth at the door without a sound more,
And he reaches him to rise and rapidly too,
Claps for his chamberlain, chooses his clothes,
Wanders out, when feels ready, blithely to mass.
And then he moves to his meat that meetly, he eats,
And makes merry all day till the moon rose,
No knight had more fun
Between two loving dames,
The old and the young;
Much joy gave the same
Wednesday, 30 November 2016
"Good morning, Sir Gawain," said that gay lady,
"You are an unsubtle sleeper, that one can slip in.
Now are you taken in a trice! If no truce we shape,
I shall bind you in your bed, that you may trust":
With laughter the lady laced her jests.
"Good morning, gay," said Gawain the blithe,
"I shall work at your will, and that me well likes,
For I surrender, certainly, and seek your grace;
And that is best, I suspect, what necessity needs."
And thus he rebounded with many blithe laughter.
"But would you, lovely lady, then leave me grant,
And release your prisoner, and pray him to rise,
I would break from this bed and beclothe myself better;
then I should keep more comfort to speak you with."
"Nay, for certain, fair sir," said that sweet,
"You shall not rise from your bed, I reckon you better:
I shall tuck you in here, that other half too,
And then speak with my knight that I caught have.
For I clearly cogitate, Sir Gawain you are,
That all the world worships where-so you ride;
Your honour, your humor is highly praised
With lords, with ladies, with all that life bear.
And now we are here, and we are on our own;
My lord and his lads are in the far woods,
All the brothers in bed, and my broads are too,
The door drawn and fastened with a fat hasp.
And since I have in this house him that all like,
I shall spend my time well, while it lasts,
Sir you are welcome in my eyes,
Of your own will use all,
Duty's law then declares I
Your servant be, and shall.
"In good faith," said Gawain, "great I would think
"That I could be he that of you do speak;
To receive such reverence as you rehearse here
I am well unworthy, my wits well declare.
By God, I'd be glad if you thought it good
Your succor or service I might assist, or
Be a pleasure to you, princess - would be a pure joy."
"In good faith, Sir Gawain," said the gay lady,
"The prize and the prowess that pleases all other,
If I laughed at or sold lightly, I'd be slightly vile.
But here are ladies enough that I think would like more
To have you held in their hand, as I have here,
To dally with dearly your dainty words,
Claim their comfort and cool their cares,
Than gems or gleaming gold they now possess.
But I thank that high Lord that all life holds,
I have it wholly in my hand what all desire,
by His grace."
So made she with great cheer,
That was so fair of face;
The knight with speech clear
Answered to each case.
Tuesday, 29 November 2016
At the first cry of the quest quaked the wild;
The deer in the dale by dread were deranged,
Hied to the hills, but were hemmed closely in
Ringed and restrained by the shouting servants.
They let the harts have the gate, with their high heads,
The bold bucks also with their broad antlers;
For the fierce lord had declared in final season
That there should no man move so the male deer.
The hinds were held in with "hay!" and "war!",
The does driven with great din to the deep dales.
There might man see, as they slipped, slanting arrows;
At each warp through the wood whisked a shaft,
That biggly bit into the brown, with full broad heads.
What! they bray and bleed, by banks that descend,
And all the brachets in a rush rashly them chase,
Hunters with high horn hasted them after
With such a cracking cry as if cliffs had burst.
What wild things so escaped the shooting bows
Were brought down and torn open in the deep dales,
Chased from the high cliffs to chokes by the streams;
The servants so skilled at the ambuscade
And the greyhounds so great, that grab them by jaws
And then fall, crash them as fast as a chasers eye
The lord for bliss abides
Full oft with lance and light,
And drove that day with joy
Thus to the dark night.
Thus sports this lord through the border-wood eaves
And Gawain the good man in gay bed lies,
Lurks while the daylight gleams on the walls,
Under a coverlet full clear, curtained about.
As he slipped in and out of slumber, it seemed he heard
A little din at his door, which quietly unlocked;
And he heaves up his head out of the clothes,
And a corner of the curtain he casts up a little,
To watch warily what might be thitherward,
It was the lady, loveliest to behold,
That shuts the door after her full stealthy and still,
And crept towards his crib; the knight was ashamed,
And laid him down lightly and let as he slept.
And she stepped softly and still to his bed,
Cast up the curtain and crept within,
And sat her full softly on the bed side,
And watched there waiting to look when he waked.
Gawain lay lurking a full long while,
Compassing his conscience as to what this case might
Mean or amount to - a marvel he thought;
But said he in himself, "More seemly it were
To seek with my speech what she seems to desire."
Then he wakened, and widened and toward her turned,
And unlocked his eye-lids, and let as he wondered,
And crossed him Christs sign, his soul to save
With chin and cheek full sweet,
Both white and red in guise
Full lovely so she speaks
With lips small she smiles.