Friday, 23 December 2016
Gawain 2358 - 2428, Sarcasm, and a bit of arguable misogyny, Gawain is a poor winner.
"For it is my work you wear, that woven girdle;
My own wife it you gave, I know well for certain.
Now know I well your kisses and your cost also,
And the wooing of my wife; I wrought it myself.
I sent her to assay you, and I certainly think
You the most faultless fellow that ever foot set;
As a pearl to dried peas is worth prize more,
So is Gawain, in good faith, than other gay knights.
But here you lacked a little sir, and lewd you were;
But that was for no wild work, nor wooing neither,
But for you loved your life; the less I you blame."
That other staunch man in study stood a great while,
So aggrieved for guilt he greyed within;
All the blood of his breast blushed in his face,
That all he shrank for shame at what the man said.
The first word upon field that the found to reply:
"Cursed be cowardice and covetousness both!
In you is villainy and vice that virtue destroys."
Then he clasped at the knot and the cloth loosens,
Whipped wrathfully the wrap at the waiting knight,
"Lo! there is the false thing, foul may it fall!
For care of thy cut cowardice me took
To accord me with covetousness, my kind to forsake,
That boldness and bravery that belongs to all knights,
For I am faulty and false and have broken my faith,
Am treasonous and untrue - am abhorred both, beyond
I confess you knight, here still,
All faulty is my fare;
Let me overtake your will
And after shall be ware.
Then laughed that other lord and lightly said:
"I hold it healed whole, the harm that I had.
You are confessed so clean, and know your faults,
And had you your penance at the point of my blade,
I hold you pared of that plight and purged as clean
As you had never forfeited since you were first born.
And I give you sir, the girdle that is gold-hemmed;
For it is green as my gear, Sir Gawain, you may
Think upon this thing when thee have found thy way
Among princes of prize, and this a pure token be
Of the chance of the green chapel among chivalrous knights.
And you shall return in this New Year season to my home,
And we shall revel the remnant of this rich feasts
There pressed him the lord
And said: "With my wife, I deem
We shall you well accord,
That was your enemy keen."
"No, for certain," said the chevalier, and seized his helm
And tips it off civilly and the knight thanks,
"I have sojourned sadly; sweet future to you,
May he send you your salary that our saviour made!
And commend me to that courteous one, your comely wife,
Both that one and that other, mine honoured ladies,
That thus her knight with her cunning has cleverly beguiled.
But that a fool behave foolishly should hardly faze her,
And through wiles of women be won to sore end,
For so was Adam in earth with one beguiled,
And Solomon with a fair few, and Samson as well-
Delilah dealt him his wyrd - and David thereafter
Was blinded by Bathsheeba, with baleful result.
Since they were wrecked with their wiles, it were a wynne huge
To love them well and believe them not, if only we could.
For these were formed the finest, most favoured alive
Excellently of all these other, under heaven
And all they were bewildered
With women that they used.
That I be now beguiled,
I may think myself excused.