Wednesday 30 November 2016

Gawain 1208 - 1261 - Gawain uses all his game to cock-block himself.

"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,
          with tale.
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

Gawain 1150 - 1207, Gawain is in Sexy Danger.

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
          snapping tight.
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
          this while.
With chin and cheek full sweet,
Both white and red in guise
Full lovely so she speaks
With lips small she smiles.

Monday 28 November 2016

Gawain 1105 - 1149, Gawain has learnt fuck-all about games.

"Therefore," said the fort-lord, "let us freely set:
What-so-ever I win in the wood is worthily yours,
And whatever you achieve indoors, we exchange.
So, swap we Sir - swear with Truth -
Whether, lord, we lose or like the other better."
"By God," said Gawain the good, "I grant it so;
If you like to gamble so, a grand game it makes."
"When brings in the beverage, this bargain is made,"
So said the lord of that land; they laughed each one,
They drank and danced and dandled around,
These lords and ladies, as long as they liked.
And then with verbal flair and full fair words
They stood, then stalled a little, spoke softly,
Kissed full comely and claimed their leave.
By gathering footmen with gleaming flambeau
Each guest to their bed-rest was gently returned
          full soft.
Before leaving, both called
Recorded their covenant oft;
The old lord of that hall
Could well hold game aloft.

Full early before the day-folk uprose,
Guests that would go, their grooms so called,
And they briskly pack up and saddle the bags,
Untangle the tackle, truss up the mares;
The rich clad in richness, to ride all arrayed,
Leaping up lightly, latching their bridles,
Each one on his way that him well liked.
The large lord of that land was not the last
Arrayed for the riding, with servants full many;
Ate a soup hastily, when he had heard mass
With horn to the hunt-field he hurried with haste.
By time any daylight gleamed upon earth,
He with his honchos on high horses were.
Then these catchers that each claimed their hounds,
Un-closed the kennel door and called them thereout,
Blew biggly in bugles three bare notes.
Brachets bayed therefore and booming noise made,
And the chasers were chastened and cheered as they went,
By a hundred of hunters, as I have heard tell,
          the best.
Huntsman started surveying,
Hounds started to quest,
There rose from their baying,
Great noise in that forest.

Sunday 27 November 2016

Gawain 1079 - 1104, (・_・;)

Then was Gawain full glad, and gamely he laughed:
"Now I thank you full-totally before all other things;
Now achieved is my chance, I shall at your will
Dwell, and else do what you so deem."
Then seized him the sire and set him beside,
Let the ladies be fetched to like them the better.
There was some solace by themselves still;
The lord let out for love, language so merry,
Like one wild of his wit, who knew not what he did.
Then he spoke to the chevalier, stated aloud,
"Since you have deemed to do the deed I bid;
Will you hold this oath, here, now, at once?"
"Yes, sir, for certain," said the true knight,
"While I bide in your burgh, I'll obey your command."
"As you have traveled," said his protector, "truly far,
And since waked with me, you are not well suffused
Neither of sustenance nor of sleep, certain I know.
You shall sleep in your loft and lie in your ease
Tomorrow till the Mass-time, and to meat wend
When you will, with my wife, that with you shall sit
And comfort you with company, till I to court return.
          You rest
And I shall early rise
And a hunt make my quest."
Gawain grants all this,
And bows, as a good guest.

Saturday 26 November 2016

Gawain 1046 - 1078, Green Chapel = Found.

Then frankly, directly, the Duke framed his words:
What dread deed had driven him at this dear time
So keenly from the kings court to cut his fate alone,
'ere the holy-days wholly had happened to pass?
"For certain, sir," said the chevalier, "you speak only truth;
A high errand and a hasty one took me from my home,
For I am summoned, myself, to search out a place,
I know nowhere in nature its name can be found.
I would not fail to get near it on New Years morn
For all the land in Logres, so help me our Lord!
Therefore, sir, this request I require you to hear,
That you tell me with truth if ever you tale heard
of the green chapel, where it on ground stands,
And of the knight that it keeps, of colour of green.
There was stated by statute a deal us between
To meet that man at that minster, should I so live;
And of this dying December, few days now remain,
And I would look on that lord, if God let me would,
Rather gaze on him, by Gods son, than any gold wield!
Therefore, my lord, your leave I must ask
Now my adventure has left me bare three days,
And I am as fain to fall fatally as of my errand fail."
Then laughing said the lord, "Now you can't leave,
For I shall take you to that temple by the times end,
The green chapel upon ground grieve you no more;
But you shall be in your bed, brother, at your ease,
For four days, going forth on the first of the year,
And come to that man at mid-morn, to make what you like,
          your meeting commence.
Dwell here to New Years day,
And rise and ride then.
I shall show you the way;
It is not two miles hence."

Friday 25 November 2016

Gawain 1020 - 1045, He really likes grabbing Gawain

Much delight was there drunk down that day and the next,
And the third as thickly thronged with pleasures many;
The joy of Saint Johns day was gentle to hear,
And was the last of their leasure, lords there thought,
Then were guests to go upon the gray morn,
Fortwith wonderly they woke and the wine drank,
Danced unceasingly with dear carols,
At the last, when late, they looked to their leave,
Each to wend on his way that was homeward inclined.
Gawain gives him good day, the lord grabs him up,
Leads him to his own chamber, the chimney beside,
And there he deeply commends him and dearly him thanks
Of the good grace that he, Gawain gave,
As to honour his house at that high time,
And to crown his castle with his bright cheer:
"Indeed, Sir, while I live my name is the richer
That Gawain has been my guest at Gods own feast."
"Grant mercy, Sir," said Gawain, "in good faith it is yours,
All the honour is your own - the high king bring you joy!"
And I wait at your will to work your desire,
As I am duty-held to do, in high and in low,
          by right."
The lord begs he remain
To hold longer the knight;
To him answers Gawain,
There is no way he might

Thursday 24 November 2016

Gawain 995 - 1019, Gawain really likes the guys wife..

On the morn, as each man minds that time
Our Deity for our destiny to die was born.
Well waxes in each personal world a wonderful joy.
So did it there on that day through many delights:
Both at breakfast and brunch and buffets as well
Dear men upon decks dressed of the best.
The old ancient wife the highest chair takes;
The perfect lord politely took his place beside.
Gawain and the gay lady together they sit,
Right in the center where courses came first,
Taken then through the hall, as them best seemed,
Till each guest by degree gravely was served.
There was meat, there was mirth, there was much joy,
That to tell of the tenth.. well, I've told this before,
And to pick out each point might pain my portrayal.
But say I know that Gawain and good lady had
Such comfort of their company clasped together
Through the deep dalliance of their dear words,
With clean courteous conversation (flirtation free),
Locked in play more pleasing than a princes game,
          were that pair.
Nakren sounded at leisure,
Trumpets blew their loud airs;
Each man attended his pleasure,
And those two attended theirs.

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Gawain 970 - 994, Best party ever.

Gawains glance at that lady came graciously back,
With leave of the lord he leads them away;
The elder hails nobly, bowing full low,
The lovelier he loops a little in his arms.
He kisses her comely, gives his knightly name.
They crave his acquaintance, and he quickly asks
To be her servant, sincerely, if they himself like.
They take him between them, with talking him lead
To chamber, to chimney, and chiefly they ask
Sweetmeats, that unstinting men speeded them to bring,
Between bites, each time, sipped bubbling wine.
The lord full ofte leaped lightly aloft,
And smiling mandated mirth to be made,
Happily snatched off his hood and on a spear hung,
And tasked them to win the worship thereof
That most mirth made that Christmas while.
"And I shall claim, by my creed, to compete with the best
And win back my wearing, with help from my friends."
Thus with laughing laws the lord makes his aim
For to gladden Sir Gawain with games in hall
          that night.
Till dark turns the time
The lord commands light;
Sir Gawain the stairs climbs
To his bed he alights.

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Gawain 928 - 969, One hot, one not.

When the dinner was done and the dukes full,
Time nosed at the night like a carnivore snout,
Chaplains to the chapel chose the bell,
Rung them full richly, right as they should,
For the dreaming evensong of that high time.
The lord leaves his table, the lady as well;
To a private pew she prudently goes.
Gawain glides full gay and goes the same way;
The lord latches him by the lap and leads him to sit,
And kindly he knows him and calls him by name,
And said he was the welcomest one of the world;
And he him thanked heartily, and each held the other,
And sat soberly the same the service while.
Then likes the lady to look on her knight,
She comes out from her closet with many clear girls.
She was the fairest in form, of flesh and of eye,
And of carriage and colour and cast, above all
And gleamed brighter than Guenevere, as Gawain thought.
She crosses the chancel to converse with that knight;
Another lady lead her by the left hand,
That was older than her, an ancient it seemed,
And highly honoured in the hall about.
But unlike to look on the two ladies were,
for if the first was fresh, the next was freeze-dried;
Rich red on that ripe one, her ruffled clothes,
Rough rankled cheeks on other one rolled;
Kerchiefs on that one, with many clear pearls,
Her breast and her bright throat bare displayed,
Shone more spotless than snow freshly shed on the hills;
That other with a gorger was geared over her, which
Climbed over her grim chin with chalk-white veils,
Her front folded in silk, en-doubled everywhere,
Turreted and trelated with trifles about,
That naught was bare of that bag but the black brows,
Between eyes and nose, the naked lips,
And those were sour to see and sadly bleared;
An eminent lady on earth we easily claim,
          by God!
Her body was short and thick,
Her buttocks bulged and broad;
More lovely on to look
Was that one she lead forward.

Monday 21 November 2016

Gawain 875 - 927, The speed of speech un-spurred*.

A chair before the chimney, where charcoal burned,
Was gathered for Sir Gawain, garlanded with cloth,
With coverings and cushions all skill-quilted both.
And an autumnal mantle was on that man cast,
Of a brown burnet, embroidered full rich,
And fair furred within with fantastic skins,
All of ermine his edging, his hood of the same.
He sat in that settee-supreme and stared at the fire
And calmed his chest, and his cheer mended.
Soon was tended up a table on trestles full fair,
Clad with a clean cloth that clear white showed,
Set up with salt-cellar and silver spoons.
The wanderer washed at his will, and went to his meat.
Servants him served seemly enough
With several starter-stews, seasoned of the best,
Double-filled, as it fell, and fathomless fish,
Some baked in bread, some braised on the grill,
Some seared, some in stew savored with spices,
And all sauce so synthesized as that Sire liked.
Arthurs fighter called it a feast full freely and oft
With grace, when all there gathered replied him as one
          and said:
"This penance now you take,
And after this we amend."
That man much mirth can make,
For wine round his head wound.

Then were pryings and pokings politely engaged,
Questions of that quester made, he quickly replied
And courteously named, claimed the court he was part of:
Arthurs, the autarch, of his known knights one,
That is the right royal king of the Round Table,
And it was Gawain himself that from winter had walked,
Come here at Christmas, as chance had arranged.
When the lord had learned that here a lord lay,
Loud laughed he thereat, so lucky he thought,
And all men in that mansion made much joy
To appear in his presence to priestly see one
That all prize and prowess and pure thought
Appends to his person, and praised is ever;
Of all men molded, his eminence most.
Each servant full softly said to their friend:
"Now shall we see the seemly words
And the tactful terms of noble talk;
What speed is in speech-unspurred may we learn
Since we have found that fine father of verbs.
God has given us his grace in goodly truth,
That such a guest as Gawain he grants us to have,
When bands blithe at His birth shall sit
          and sing.
The meaning of matters dear
This brother shall us bring;
I hope any that him hear
Shall learn of love-talking."

*Possibly not a perfectly accurate translation.

Saturday 19 November 2016

Gawain 842 - 874, Gawain meets another really good-looking guy.

Gawain glanced up at the good gentleman's word,
And thought it a bold baron that this burgh had,
A huge horse-lord, humongous, and of a high age;
Broad and bright was his beard, and all beaver-hued,
Stern, stiff to the stride on stalwart shanks,
Face fierce as the fire, and free of his speech;
And well it seemed, sincerely, as our Sire thought,
He lead as their liege-man these ladies and lords.
The lord him conducts to a chamber and chiefly commands
To send him some servants, his self to assist;
And there were brought at his bidding butlers enough
That bore him to a bright bower, who's bedding was noble,
Of curtains of clean silk with clear gold hems,
And coverlets full curious with comely panes
Of effulgent ermine, embroidered besides,
Shrouds running on ropes through red gold rings,
Tapestries tight to the wall, of Toluse and Tars,
And strewn under step, several of similar kind.
There he was deposed, with speeches of mirth,
The steel from his shoulders and all his cool clothes.
Rich robes full radiant retainers him brought,
For to charge and to change and choose of the best.
When one he picked, and placed therein,
That sat on him seemly, with streaming skirts,
So suited the Chevalier, like jewel set in ring,
He brightened the boudoir, from winter brought spring,
Gleaming and lovely, all his limbs under,
That a comelier knight never Christ made
          or caught.
Wherever in the world he were,
They all thought he must
Be prince without peer
In field where fell fought.

Friday 18 November 2016

Gawain 811 - 841, Everyone here agrees that Gawain is just great.

"Good sir," said Gawain, "would you give my request
To the high lord of this house, harbour to crave?"
"Saint Peter!" the porter said, "I'll promptly go sir
And you are welcome, wanderer to while away here."
Then slipped out the wise servant and came again swift,
And a good gathering with him, to greet the knight.
They let down the draw-bridge and decorously came,
And kneeled down on their knees upon the cold earth
To welcome the equestrian, as worthy him thought;
They beckon him through the broad gate, gaping wide,
He requests them to rise and rides over the bridge.
Several squires seize his saddle, while he alights,
And Gringolet is stabled by some serious grooms.
Knights and squires come rushing down
For to bring this Brave with bliss into hall;
When he hefted his helm, they hurried forth
To lift it from him lightly, his lordship to serve;
His brand and his blazon also were taken.
Then hailed he full honorably the household each,
And many proud men there pressed, that prince to honor.
All hasped in his harness they brought him to hall,
Where fair fire on hearth-flags fiercely burned.
Then the lord of this land leaves his chamber
For to merrily meet the man who arrived.
he said, "You are welcome to wear as you like
All that is here as your own, to have at your will
          and wield.
"Grant mercy," said Gawain,
May Christ be your shield."
As friends that seemed fair
They embraced in arms sealed.

Thursday 17 November 2016

Gawain 785 - 810, The castle, apparently, is pretty great.

The kings sister-son on the mares son remained
By the deep double-ditch that defended the place;
It's side slashed into the moat-stream, superbly deep,
And a full-huge height it haled overloft,
Of hard hewn stone up to the parapets,
Enboldened under the battlements, by builders law;
And several garrets full gay geared between,
With many lovely loopholes that locked full-clean:
A keener keep that knight had never come upon.
And even now, he beheld that hall full high,
Towers like a tridents tines rising full strong,
Fair fastnesses fitting neatly, fearsomly long,
With carved tower-crowns craftily set.
Chalk-white chimneys there he espyed
Upon gabled roofs, that gleamed full-white;
So many painted pinnacles were pitched everywhere,
Among the castle cornices clustered so thick,
That pared out of paper purely it seemed.
The foal's fine fellow it fair enough thought,
If he might contrive to come the cloister within,
To harbor in that hostel while Christs day kept
          it's warrant.
He called, and soon there came
A porter pure pleasant,
From the wall asked his name,
And hailed the knight errant.

Wednesday 16 November 2016

Gawain 763 - 784, Gawain spies a castle in the distance.

(I am translating the old-english poem 'Gawain and the Green Knight. The poem itself runs from one Yuletide, through the other, ending twelve months and a day after it began  so I am doing one or two stanzas every day, ending on Christmas day.)


He had not made Christs sign scarce three times
'ere he was aware of a water-ringed house
Above a cleft, on a crag, clasped by the boughs
Of many titanic trees about the thwarting troughs:
A castle the comeliest that ever knight had,
Pitched on a pasture, a park all about,
With a piked palisade prickling full thick,
That enclosed its timbers a two-mile loop.
At the Hold, across the moat gazed our Hidalgo,
As it shimmered and shone through the sweet oaks:
Then devoutly doffs his head-gear, and directly he thanks
Jesus and Saint Julian, that gentle are both,
That had courteously heard him and hearkened to his cry.
"Now Saints," cried the Chevalier, "I beseech you safe rest!"
Then goads he Gringolet with his gilt spurs.
As he providentially had picked the prime path,
That brought boldly the brave one to the bridge end
          in haste.
The bridge became a defilade,
The gates were closed-in fast,
The walls were well arrayed,
It feared no winds blast.

Tuesday 15 November 2016

The Marketing Beast and Gawain 713 - 784, Wyrms and Wolves



Ok, we now return you to your usual broadcast.


Many cliffs he out-clambers in countries full-strange;
Flown far from his folk, friendless he rides.
At each warp-over-water where he wished he could cross
If he found no foe before him, a wonder it was
And one so foul and so fell that fight them he must.
So many marvels in mountains there the man finds,
It were too sore to tell of the tenth part.
Somewhile with wyrms he wars, and with wolves as well,
Somewhile with Woodwose who waited in stones,
Both with bulls and with bears, and boars otherwhile.
And Eoten that him attacked from the high fells;
If not grim and grit-hard and God he had served,
Doubtless he had been dead and dashed full ofte.
For war worried him not so much, that winter was worse,
When the cold clear water from the clouds shed,
And freeze ere it fall to the frail earth.
Near slain with the sleet he slept in his reins
Most nights in among the naked rocks,
There as clattered from the crest the cold-burning rains,
And hung high over his head in hard iisse-ikkles.
Thus in peril and pain and plight full-hard
The country carries this knight till Christmas-Eve,
          all alone.
The knight well that tide
To Mary made his moan,
That she would read his ride
And lead him to some home.

Book of hours, Bruges or Ghent 15th century Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, MS 287, fol. 80r

By a mountain on the morn merrily he rides
Into a forest full deep, that fairly was wild,
High hills on each hand, and harsh woods under
Of hoar oaks full high a hundred together;
The hazel and the hawthorn were hooked in their tops,
With rough ragged moss ranging everywhere,
With many birds un-blithe upon bare twigs,
That piteously they piped for pain of the cold.
Gawain upon Gringolet glides them under,
Through many a mist and mire, a man alone,
Seeking for his soul, lest he fail should,
To see the service of that sire, that on that same night
Of a maiden was made, our madness to heal.
and therefore seeking he said, "I beseech thee lord,
And Mary, that is mildest mother so dear,
For some hearth near here where I might hear mass
And thy matins to-morrow, meekly I ask,
And thereto priestly I pray my Paternoster
           and Creed."
He rode in his prayer
And cried for his misdeed;
Made the lords sign with care
And said, "Christs Cross me speed!"

Monday 14 November 2016

Gawain 670 - 712, Gawain exits like a Boss & crosses me in time & space.

He struck the steed* with the spurs and sprung away,
So swift that the stone-fire struck out thereafter.
All that saw that scene sighed in heart,
And each said softly the same script to the other,
Grieving for that gallant: "By Christ, it is shameful
that you, lord, shall be lost that are of life noble!
To find his equal on earth is not easy, in faith,
Wiser to be wary and more wit show,
And have his sisters-son deemed a duke
A lordly leader of legions, that sounds about right;
And would have better been that than beheaded,
Hacked off by an elvish man, for masculine pride.
Who knew ever any king such counsel to take
As knights catastrophic calculations in Christmas games!"
Well-much was the warm water that welterd from eyes
When that seemly sire slipped out from the gate
          that day.
He made no abode,
But swiftly went his way;
Many weird ways he rode,
The book as I heard say.

Now rides his rank through the realm of Logres,
Sir Gawain, in God's name, to him no game seemed.
Oft lordless, alone he lingered on nights
Where he found not before him the fayre that he liked.
Had he no friend but his foal by the forests and fells,
Nor no voice but God spoke to him on the road,
Till he nosed full nigh into the North Wales.
All the isles of Anglesay on left hand he held,
and fared over the fords by the furlong,
Over at the Holy Head, till he had hit earth
In the wilderness of Wirral; where there but few
That either God or Man with good heart loved.
And he asked as he fared of freaks that he met,
If they had heard any hail of a knight green,
In any ground hearabout, or the green chapel;
And all narked him with "nay", that never in life
They saw never no fellow that was of such hue
          of green.
The knight took gates strange
In many a realm condemned;
His cheer oft full-changed,
Ere that chapel he found.

(* Poor Gringolet.)

(Arthurs court here, played by every internet comments section ever.)

It's here that Gawain and I cross paths in space and time. Both in 'the wilderness of Wirral' and both half way between Halloween and Christmas.

Sunday 13 November 2016

Gawain 619 - 669, The Meaning of the Pentangle

Then they showed him the shield, that was of sheer Gules
With the pentangle painted in pure gold hues.
He seizes it by the strap, about his shoulders sets,
That beseemed the chevalier seemly and fair.
And why the pentangle appends to that noble prince
I am intent to tell you, though tarry it me it should:
It is a sign that Solomon set somewhile
In betokening of Truth, by title that it has,
For it is a figure that holds five points,
And each line overlaps and locks with another,
And everywhere it is endless; the English it call
Overall, as I hear, the endless knot.
So forth it accords to this knight and to his clear arms;
For faithful five ways, and five times each,
Gawain was for good known, and as gold purified,
Voided of each villainy, with virtues purged,
evils antidote.
For this the pentangle new
He bears on shield and coat,
A friend of faith most true
And gentlest knight of note.

First he was found faultless in his five wits,
And the fighter never failed in his fingers five,
And all his faith on this sphere was in the five wounds
That were cut into Christ on the cross, as the creed tells.
And were-so-ever this man in melee was stood,
His whole heart was in that, nothing higher,
Than all his force he infused from the five joys
that the high heaven-queen had of her child;
At this cause the knight carefully had
In the inner half of his shield her image painted,
When he met that queens gaze his blade never failed.
The fifth five that I find the fellow had
Was Franchise and Fellowship before all things,
His Cleaness and Courtesy crooked were never,
And Pity, that passes all points, these pure five
Were harder hasped in that horse-lord than any other.
Now all these five virtues, verily, were fettled in this knight,
And each hooped in another, that no end they had,
And fixed upon five points that failed never,
Neither ever intersecting, nor sundered neither,
Without an end at any nook my finger could find,
Wherever the game began or came to an end.
Therefore on his shining shield shaped was the knot
Royally with red gold upon red Gules,
That is the pure pentangle named by people who
have lore.
Now girded is Gawain gay,
And last his lance right bore,
And gave them all 'good day -
He thought for evermore.

Saturday 12 November 2016

Gawain 536 - 639, Gawain declares his quest, then locks and loads.

Yet he stays with Arthur till All-Saints-day;
Who made a feast on that festival for his sad fighters sake,
With much rich revelry of the Round Table.
Knights full-courteous and comely ladies
All for love of that lad in longing they were,
Nevertheless, with death looming, they leavened nothing but mirth
Many joys for that gentle child they made.
For after meat, near in mourning, he meets with his king,
And speaks of his passage and politely he says,
"Now, liege lord of my life, leave I you ask.
You know the cause of this case, keep I no more
To tell you the troubles thereof, trifles merely;
But I am bound to the blow, which must be returned,
To search out the green chevalier, as God will me guide."
Then the cream of the castle came together,
Ywain, and Erik, and others full many,
Sir Dodinel de Savage, the Duke of Clarence,
Lancelot, and Lionel, and Lucan the good,
Sir Bors and Sir Bedivere, big men both,
And many other eminents, with Mador de la Port.
All this company of court came the king near
For to counsel the knight, with care in their heart.
There was such secret sorrow in their eyes
That one so worthy as Gawain should wind his way to doom
To brave a brutal blow, and bestow none of
          his own.
The knight made all good cheer
And said, "Why should I groan?
Of destinies dark and dear
What may we reap but what's sown?"*1

He dwells there all that day, and dresses on the morn,
Asks early his arms, and all were they brought.
First a clean carpet was cast on the floor,
And much was the gilded gear that gleamed  therefore.
The staunch man steps thereon, and the steel handles,
Dressed in a doublet of dear Tars cloth,
And also a crafty Capados*2, closed aloft,
That a pearl-white pelt the periphery rimmed.
Then set they the Sabatons upon the sires feet,
His legs lapped in steel with lovely Greaves,
With Poleyn placed thereto, polished full clean,
About his knees, knapped with knots of gold;
Cold-forged Cuisse then, elegantly encasing
His thick thrawn thighs, with thongs so attached;
And then the hasped Habergeon of bright steel rings
Enveloped Gawain, obscuring his clothes,
And well burnished Braces upon his arms both,
With good gay Cubitieres, and gloves of plate,
And all the goodly gear that him gain should
          that tide;
With rich coat-armor,
His gold spurs set with pride,
Girded with a brand full sure
With silk sash upon his side.

When he was hasped in arms, his harness was rich:
The last lace or loop had luster of gold.
So harnessed as he was he hearkens to mass,
Offered and honored at the high alter.
Calmly he comes to the king and to his court-folk,
Takes lightly his leave of the ladies and lords,
And they him kissed and conveyed, commended to Christ.
By then was Gryngolet groomed and girded with a saddle
That gleamed full gaily with many gold fringes,
Its nail-tacks full new made, that none be richer;
The bridle barred about, with bright gold bands;
The pommel-apparel and all the proud skirts.
The crupper and the cantle, corded with the saddle-bows;
And all was railed on red with rich gold nails,
That glittered and a glinted as gleams of the sun,
Then hefts he the helm, and hastily it kisses,
That was stapled staunchly, and stuffed within.
It sits high on his head, held behind,
With a handy band of bold silk attached to the mail,
Embroided and bounded with the best gems
On a broad silken border, and birds on the seams,
As parrots painted between periwinkle plants,
Turtle-doves and true-love blooms entangled so thick
A womans winter work each bird, the whole a life
          to set down.
The circlet was more of prize
That enclasped his crown,
More diamonds than spiders eyes,
That both were bright and brown.

Thursday 10 November 2016

Gawain 491 - 535, Gawain gets a year to think about how he screwed up.

The curled calendar to the king gave his gift,
The heralded adventure he had wished so to hear.
Though his words waned when they went to sit down,
Now they engage in employment, emptying plates.
Gawain was glad to begin those games in hall,
But that the end be regrettable have you no wonder;
For though men may be merry in mind when have they main-drink,
A year swings its pendulum, and perfectly sees,
The first to the finish, rarely resembles.
Fast this yule expires, and the year after,
And each season so leaps after each other,
After Christmas comes the crabbed lent-time,
That frets flesh with the fish and food more simple;
But then the weather of the world with the winter it wars,
Cold collapsing down, clouds up-lifting,
Shedding the shining rain in showers full warm,
Falling on the fair flats, flowers there showing,
Both grounds and the groves green are there clothed,
Birds briskly to build, and brightly sing
For solace of the soft summer that arrives soon
          as it could;
And blossoms burgeon to bloom
In rows rich and good,
Then notes and noble tunes
Are heard in lovely wood.

After the season of summer with the soft winds,
When Zepherus sighs himself on seeds and herbs,
Wonderful and wild is what waxes thereof,
When the burnished dew drips from the leaves,
To bide a lustful blush of the bright sun,
Then Winters herald warns them to be about their work;
He drives with drought the dust for to rise,
From the face of the field to fly full high;
Wrathful wind in sky's workshop wrestles with the sun,
The leaves leap from the linden and light on the ground,
And all grays the grass that green was before;
Then all ripens and rots that rose up first,
And thus yields the year in yesterdays many,
And winter winds its clock, as the world stops
          its making,
Till Michaelmas morn
Was come, with winter waiting.
Then thinks Gawain full-soon
Of his dark undertaking.

Wednesday 9 November 2016

Gawain 491 - 535 Gawain Feasts... AND SO DO YOU.. ON PDF'S!!!!!!

Before your Daily Gawain I'm going to needle you with fucking marketing. As a reward, here's some doggerel.

"The time came then for capitalism,
For bargains and blunders,
And files digital full-many,
A page set rightly, and bundled with the best,
Platters paraded, with PDF's piled,
The format most fine, some say."

"Yn Goddes namen thys fyles diggatal taste full-cleann yt sweetn."

I don't like or even trust PDF's,

I have a terror of my work being downloaded a million times, sitting on a million hard-drives, neatly arranged with a million others, being un-read a million times and un-played a million times. That's why the price for a PDF of Deep Carbon Observatory is the same as the hardcopy and why its free if you buy the hardcopy,that's part of the reason that Fire on the Velvet Horizon will never have a PDF.


Having ploughed through the presumably-less-good offerings of the OSR, the Bundle of Holding people have finally got to the meat, we might say to the piquant quick of our questionable counter-revolution. Just like in a YA post apocalypse film they have seized upon the most lithe, charismatic and brilliant of us and bundled us together in the bleeding-edge technology of PDF. A bunch of bearded white guys will enter, but perhaps slightly less than a bunch will leave!

Which means you can get a PDF of DCO for $8,95!

That mean's, if you like me, you can help fund me going to Gen-Con and possibly meeting Scrap Princess for the first time, and if you fucking hate me you can SHIT IN MY MOUTH by getting DCO for One Dollar Five Cents less than the Real and Eternal price of 10 dollars.


It's right here!!!!









Then read on!

>>>Pod Caverns of the Sinister Shroom by Matthew Finch!<<<

>>>Castle Gargantua & Mad Monks of Kwantoom by Kabuki Kaiser!<<<

>>>The One Page Dungeon Compediums for 2013, 2016 AND 2015!<<<

>>>The 2014 Dodecahedron Cartographic Review by Dyson Logos!<<<

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL, if you pay more than the standard $8.95 YOU GET ALL THIS EXTRA STUFF:

>>>Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls by Ken St Andre!<<<

>>>Dwimmermount by whoever finished it after James Mal had that breakdown!<<<

>>>Yoon-Suin by David McGrogan!<<<

Which I reviewed!

And about which I said this:

"Yoon-Suin is about beauty. All of the sights in it are picturesque. Very like an orientalist painting. Even the very horrible locations are a little more ripe than harsh. And the culture depicted in Yoon-Suin is about luxury and about beauty. Its relaxed instead of tight, slow instead of quick, warm rather than cold, lit rather than dark, sad rather than grim, opium not cocaine. Some RPG settings are created, in the manner of Apocalypse world, on a kind of energetic tilt so that whatever the PC's do when they wander into it will have deep ramifications, the world will spin around them. One gets the sense that, no matter how the DM constructs it, the world of Yoon-Suin is not going to change very much regardless of what the players do. The opium barges will still drift down the Yellow River, the slaves will still have rubbish lives, the Slug Men are not going to be deposed from the Yellow City. (Who would bother to? And who would replace the Slug Men? Calm down and have some tea.) The politics of the Hundred Kingdoms will always be chaotic and the chaos will never change. The PC's are simply moving through this world like everyone else."

Misty Isles of the Eld by Chris Kutalik/Hydra Co-Op!


>>>Chthonic Codex by Paolo Greco<<<

Which I reviewed here, here, here and here!

And about which I said this:

"Our worlds betray their makers pretty quickly. You can't create freely and relentlessly for long enough to fill out a book without exposing some weird aspect of who you are. Zak is a godless warren of snow and decadence. Noisms is an opium dream of a distant east, Scrap is full of life and wild animals, I am an endless network of caverns full of cannibalism and madness.

Paolo is Renaissance-Chthonic rather than just Chtnonic. The Codex and the hypogea it describes is powered by strange energies leaking upwards from an inner world. But the caverns aren't totally dark, they are open to the sky much of the time and the stuff leaking in isn't black, its bright.

The book, like the setting, and by my own questionable logic given above, presumably like the man, is about deep energies interacting with the human world, not just our world but specific human beings."







But that isn't all!

If you yes YOU are the highest contributor to the bundle you will get a FREE. BOXED. SET. from Paolo Greco.

Or at least a free box.











Almost as good as that!!

We don't know yet!! But probably something good! A hardcopy of my book for certain, a bunch of other guys are contributing stuff, it will be unique!

The OSR Bundle of Holding Four! It literally has all the maps, dungeons, adventures and whatever you could ever need or want!

We Now Return You To Your Regular (Non-Digital) Feast
(of words)

Then king Arthur stored his wonders in his heart.
He let no semblance be seen, but said full high
To the comely queen with courteous speech,
"My darling, do not be to-day dismayed;
Well becomes such craft upon Christs-mass,
Flutes interluding, to laugh and to sing,
Are right kind carols of ladies and knights,
Nevertheless to my meat I may me well dress,
For I have witnessed a wonder, I cannot deny."
He glanced upon Sir Gawain, and gently he said.
"Now sir, hang up thy axe, that has enough hewn."
It was tied above the high table,on tapestries hung
That all men for marvel might on it look,
And by the true title therof to tell the wonder.
Then they bent to a board these bro's together,*
The king and the good knight, and keen men them served
Of all dishes double, as is decent and right.
With all manner of meat and minstrally both,
With a well will they sent that day, till sun sank
under land.
Now don't shrink sir Gawain,
Act like you don't understand,
Or this adventure distain
That you have taken on hand.

*"Thenne they bozed to a board thise burnes togeder,"

Tuesday 8 November 2016

Gawain lines 417 - 466 The Beheading

The green knight on the ground, gravely he kneels:
A little lift of the head, he discloses his skin;
His lovely long locks he lays over his crown,
Lets the naked neck to the knight show.
Gawain gripped his axe guardedly, heaved it on high,
Shifted his left foot forward, set it before,
Dropped it down lightly on the dermis bare,
That the braggarts own blade burst open his bones,
And sliced through the sweet meat, and spliced it in twain,
See the bit of the bright steel bite into the ground.
The fair head from the shoulders it span to the earth,
And knocked around rolling, courtiers kicked it away;
The blood burst from the body and blackened on the green.
And neither faltered the fell freak, nor tipped,
But started and sprinted forth upon strong shanks,
And running he reached out among the standing ranks,
Leapt to his lovely head, and lifts it up quick;
And turning boldly to his bronco, the bridle he catches
Steps into the stirrup and strides aloft,
And his head by the hair in his hand holds;
The sire sitting neatly in his saddle seat
As if no mishap he had, though headless now
He bent his bulk about,
That ugly body that bled;
Many of him had some doubt,
But that his reasons be read.

For he actually held up the head in his hand,
At the princes on the podium he pointed the face,
And it lifted the eye-lids and looked full broad,
And emitted this much from his mouth, as you may now hear:
"Remember, Gawain, be ready to ride as you promised you would
And look as long as you need till you find me my lord,
As you have sworn in this citadel, in sight of these knights.
To the green chapel travel, I charge you to take
Such damage you dealt - deserve you well
To be meticulously indemnified on New Years Morn.
The knight of the green chapel, many men know me;
If you fiercely seek for me you shall not fail.
Therefore come, or claim a cowards name in this world."
With a terse twitch he turned his reins,
And hauled out the hall door, his head in his hand,
That the fire of the flint flared from his foals hooves.
To what kin he belonged knew none there,
Never more than they knew from what country he came.
          What then?
The King and Gawain there
At that green they laugh and grin;
Yet most held it full bare
A marvel among those men.


What I found remarkable when translating this is the fluid understatement of the violent act. Everything has been building towards this, Gawain, Arthur and the knight describe and re-describe exactly whats going to happen, the buildup is intense, then, at the final moment Gawain simply shifts his foot a little and the poem reads:

"Let hit doun lygtly lygt on the naked,"

(Those aren't 'g's in the poem.)
(Also my D for L transposition really makes it a little too harsh and sharp, he only 'lets it down lightly, not 'drop it down'

Instead of rising to a percussive and exclamatory point, the strangeness and horror just flows smoothly, with a sense of rising amazement and growing dissonance, keeping the mood and feel of the piece somewhere between a horror story and a joke.

Then at the end:

"He brayde his bulk aboute,
Pat vgly bodi pat bledde;
Moni on of hym had doute,
Bi pat his resounz were redde."

I know "doute" doesn't have the same feel or precise meaning as 'doubt' but its still a glorious and deranged, willful understatement, which will carry over into Arthur and Gawain's reaction in the next stanza and the gradual unfolding of the feeling of threat.

"What then?" indeed.

Monday 7 November 2016

Gawain, 390 - 416, the knight is kind of into Gawain (and a defence of Wynn)

Some of you may have noticed, in the first stanza of Gawain, the line;

"On many banks full broad Britain he sets
with wynne."

Which is unusual for this translation since, though I always try to keep the sonic structure of a line as close to the original as I can without making it unreadable, I generally don't leave in full old-english words that are no longer in any use.

'Wynne' in this case, means 'Joy', but 'Wyn' or 'Wen' is also an old letter in our alphabet, and one we should have back.

Though they aren't exactly the same, 'Wynn' is essentially double-you or 'W'. It fell out of use in english around the 15th century, which I believe was a deep mistake on our part.

Reasons its better than 'W':

- It has a deeper resonance, it relates to the old rune meaning 'joy' which opens up a whole range of poetic and literary possibilities in which the letter, the sound of the letter and the name of the letter can all play a part.

- It is a one-syllable name that matches the sound of the letter, like every other fucking letter that isn't double-you. Why the fucking fuck should it take so fucking time to say "double-you" when you could just say "wynne", which is both a more beautiful sound but also more efficient! How often do you get beauty and usability combined in one thing? We had it and we threw it away to use that shitty printers-error frankenletter "double-you".

(Every time you give someone a web address you would be saying "Wynne, wynne, wynne" which would mean "Joy, joy, joy.")

- It has a cool old sign that, crucially, isn't two other fucking letters from the alphabet stapled together like a pair of idiots. IT'S LITERALLY JUST TWO U'S. It's like what a fucking moron would do if you asked them to design a new letter.

I also want Thorn back.

(Your daily Gawain below.)

"By God," said the green knight, "Sir Gawain, I like
That I shall have from your hand what I here request.
And you have readily rehearsed, by reason full true,
Cleanly all the covenant that I the king asked,
Save that you shall commit sir, by your clean name,
That you shall seek me yourself, where-so you hope
I may exist upon earth, and entertain repayment
Of what you deal me to-day before these dukes rich."
"How do I find you," said Gawain, "where is your place?
No map shows your mansion, by him that me made
I know not thee, knight, thy court nor thy name
But teach me truly thereto, and tell me where you live
And I shall work all my wit to win my way there,
And that I swear thee for certain, by my sacred cinquefoil."
"That is enough in New Year; it needs no more,"
Said the guy in green to kind Gawain.
"If I thee tell truly, when I have had the tap
And thou smoothly has smited me, I'll swiftly thee teach
Of my house and my home and my own name,
Then may you ask for my kindness, and contract keep;
And if I spend no speech, then speeds you the better,
For you may live in your land as long as you like,
Take now thy grim tool to thee
And lets see how you knocks,"
"Gladly, just my cup of tea,"
Smiled Gawain; his axe he strokes.

Sunday 6 November 2016

Gawain 366 - 389, Gawain requests the game.

(I am translating the old-english poem 'Gawain and the Green Knight. The poem itself runs from one Yuletide, through the other, ending twelve months and a day after it began  so I am doing one or two stanzas every day, ending on Christmas day.)

"Would you, worthy lord," said Gawain to the king,
"Bid me break from this bench and stand by you there,
That I without villainy might void this table,
(And if my liege lady liked it not ill,)
I would come to your counsel before your court rich.
For I think it not seemly, as it is so known,
When such challenge is chanted so high in your hall,
That the king, that is: you lord, commands his own hand,
While many so bold sit on benches about,
That under heaven, I hope, are none harder of will,
No better bodies in battle when bad shit goes down,
I am weakest, I know it, and of feeblest wit,
And the loss of my life means the least, it is true.
But for as much as you're my uncle I am only so-praised;
No bounty but your blood I in my body know.
This is such noodling nonsense, beneath you it falls,
And since I asked it of you first, field it to me;
And if I speak not sweetly, let all here assembled
pour blame."
The knights gathered round,
And quickly all chose the same
To deny the king and crown,
And give Gawain the game.

Then commanded the king the knight for to rise;
And gently and knightly he nobly came forth.
Kneeled down before the king and caught that weapon.
Who lightly gave leave of it, then lifted his hand,
And gave him Gods blessing, and gladly him bids
That his heart and his hand should hardy be both.
"Take care, cousin," quoth the king, "that you one cut set,
And if you deal with him duly, directly I think
You will survive that strike he after shall give."
Gawain goes up to this guy with guisarme in hand,
And baldly bides by him with blithe-featured face.
Then talks to Gawain the knight in the green:
"Before we move forwards, before the first pass.
First I beg you, knight, the name that you have,
Tell me that truly, as trust you I may."
"In good faith," quoth the good knight, "Gawain I am named,
That swings this strike, what-so befalls after,
And at this time twelvemonth take from thee another
With what weapon you so wish, and with no-one else
That knight swears on his knees:
"Sir Gawain, as I live
I am perfectly pleased
This gash you will give.

Saturday 5 November 2016

Gawain 323 - 365, Arthur takes up the challenge

And said, "Horseman, by heaven your request is half-cracked,
And as you stupidly have sought it, certainly its yours.
My guys are giggling, not grieving, at your great words.
Give me now your guisarme, upon Gods name
And I shall brave the boon that you so-boldly ask."
Lightly leaps to him and locks with his hand,
Then fiercely that fellow alights upon foot.
Now has Arthur his axe, and the haft grips,
And sternly swings it about, as strike with it he might.
The stiff man stood before him, utter and huge,
Higher than any in the house by a head and more.
With stern stare there he stood, he stroked his beard,
And with a countenance dry he drawed down his coat,
No more daunted or dismayed by the daring man
Than as if a bumbling barmaid had botched a drink
of wine.
Gawain, that sat by the queen,
To the king he inclined:
"I beseech, with speech-serene
This melee must be mine."

Friday 4 November 2016

Gawain 301 - 322 The Knight mocks the bravery of the Round Table

If he had stunned them at first, more shocked were they now
All the headmen in hall, the high and the low.
And ruthlessly tracked his recticule eyes,
Bent his bristled brows, blazing green,
Stroked his beard while he waited - to see who would rise.
When none would keep speech with him, out barked a snarl,
And regally, wrathfully, raised him to speak:
"What, is this Arthurs house" asked the horses theign
"That birthed a river of rumors through so many realms?
Where is now your sovereignty and conquests,
Your bragging and greatness and all your great words?
Now is the rule and the renown of the Round Table
Overthrown with one word from a whimsical tongue,
For all dive from danger without a blow done!"
With this he laughs so loud that Arthur glows;
The blood shoots for shame into his face kind
and fair;
He waxes as wrathful as wind,
So did all that there were.
The king, as keen as his kind
Then steps that stark man near,

Thursday 3 November 2016

Gawain 232 - 300, Arthurs reply

(If I keep going on at the same speed I should finish on Christmas Day, which is too pleasing for me not to do it, so get ready for two months of straight translation.)

Herbert Cole (1867-1930) - The Green Knight Entered the Hall

There was looking at length, this lord to behold,
For each man had marveled what it might mean
That chevalier and courser might such colour turn
As grown green as the grass and greener it seemed,
Then green enamel on bright glowing gold.
All studied him standing there, and slowly stepped near
With all the wonder of the world as to what he would do.
For fell sights had they seen, but none such as this;
Of the phantoms and faeries the folk there it deemed.
Therefore answer-wary were many fine lords,
And all stunned at his statement and stock-still stood
In a swooning silence through the rich citadel.
As all were slipped into sleep, so stopped their tongues
in truth -
I deem it not all for doubt,
But some for courtesy;
Not their kings rank to flout
But to hear his decree.

Then Arthur before his high dais that adventure beholds,
And royally him reverenced (for he was never terrified),
And said, "Welcome, wanderer to this place,
The head of this host, Arthurs name I claim.
Step lightly a-down and stay, I thee pray,
and whatever your will is, we shall after learn."
"Nay, so help me" quoth the horseman, "he that on-high-sits,
To waste any while in this realm, it was not my intent.
But that the legend of thee, lord, is lift up so high,
And thy fort and thy fighters fearsome are held,
Stiffest under steel-gear on steeds to ride,
The wisest and the worthiest of of the worlds kind,
Proved for to play with in other pure sports,
And here is kind courtesy as I have constantly heard -
And that has brought me hither at this bitter time.
So may you see by this branch I bear here
That I pass in peace, and no plight seek.
For I had come forth in force, in fighting wise,
I had a hauberk at home and a helm both,
A shield and a sharp spear, shining bright,
And other weapons to wield, a wardrobe full, yet:
But for I would not war, I wrap myself soft.
And if you are so bold as all the bravos tell,
You will grant me goodly the game that I ask
by right."
Arthur matched his stare,
And said, "Sir, courteous knight,
If you crave battle bare,
Here fails you no fight."

"No, I don't feel like fighting, in faith I thee tell.
There are on this bench about but beardless children;
If I were hasped in arms on a high steed,
Here is no man to match me, their muscles so weak.
Truly I crave in this court, a Christmas game,
It is yule-tide and New year, and here are fresh youths.
If any so hard in this house holds himself,
Be so bold in his blood, brain in his head,
That dares stiffly strike a stroke for another,
I shall give him as my gift this guisarme rich,
This axe, that is high enough, to handle as he likes,
And I shall bide the first blow as bare as I sit.
If any motherfucker is fell enough to test me,
Leap lightly to me, and learn this weapon;
I quit-claim it for ever, keep it as his own,
And I shall stand him a stroke, stiff on this spot,
If thou will deem me decent to deal him another
I shall give him respite
A twelvemonth and a day.
Now quiet, let us see what
Any herein dare to say."

Wednesday 2 November 2016

Gawain 151 - 231, The strange appearance of the knight

And all graphed in green this guy and his clothes:
A straight coat full-streched, that streaked down his sides,
A merry mantle above, masked within
With fur furled apart, the facing full clean
Was full-bright blanche-white, and his hood both,
That was lashed from his locks and laid on his shoulders;
His well-haled hose of that same green,
that clung on his calves, and gleaming cleats under,
Of bright gold, upon silk bands barred full rich,
And shoeless under shanks rides the chevalier.
And all his vestiture truly was clean-viridian,
Both the bars of his belt and other blithe stones
That were richly arranged in his array clean,
About himself and his saddle, upon silk works.
It near tires me to tell of the trifles he had
That were embroidered about, with birds and butterflies,
With gay gaudies of green, the gold laid in-midst.
The pendants of his pony, the proud crupper,
Its mouth-bit, and all the metal annealed was, then
The stirrups that he stood in stained of the same,
And his pommel and panel, his knee-roll and skirts,
That ever glimmered and gleamed of all green stones.
The foal he flies in on fine of that ilk,
A green horse great and thick,
A steed full bold to boil,
In brawny bridle quick -
To the knight he was full loyal.

Well gay was this guy geared in green,
And the hair of his and head of his horse matched:
Fair fanned fur his shoulders enfolds;
As much beard as a bush over his breast hangs,
And his heavenly hair that from his head streams
Was trimmed and teased just under his elbows,
That half of his arms therunder were hidden, in the way
Of a kings cape that closes his features.
The mane of that Main horse much to it like,
Well curled and combed, with knots full many
Folded with gold about the fair green,
One hanging of hair, another of gold.
The tail and his topping twinned of a suite,
And bounded both with a band of bright green,
Dubbed with full-dear stones, as the dock lasted,
Then stopped with a strip, a strange knot below,
There many bells full bright of burning gold rang.
Such a foal upon field, and folk that so rides,
Was not till that time in that citadel seen,
with eyes.
His gaze so fiery-bright,
Said all that saw him so;
It seemed as no man might
Survive beneath his blow.

Yet he had no helm, nor hauberk neither,
Nor breastplate or guardbrace, no gauntlets or greaves,
Not no shaft nor no shield to swing or to smite,
But in his hand he had a holly branch,
That is greatest in green when groves are bare,
And an axe in his other, one huge and uncouth,
A wicked weapon to expound in words, who so might.
The length of a forearm the large head had,
The grain all of green steel and of gold hewn,
The bite burnished bright with a broad edge
as well shaped to shear as sharp razors.
The steel of a stiff staff the stern man by it gripped,
That was wounden with iron to the wands end,
And all begraven with green in gracious works;
A lace lapped about that linked at the head,
And so along the shaft hatched full oft,
With tried tassels thereto attached to it,
By buttons of the bright green burnished full rich.
This Heavy halls himself in and the hall enters,
Driving to the high deck, no danger fears;
Hails he never one, but heads he over-looks.
The first word that he works - "Where is," he said,
"The Governor of this gang? Gladly I would
See that sire in sight and with himself speak
To knights he cast his eye,
And reeled him up and down;
He stooped so to study
Who was there of most renown.

Tuesday 1 November 2016

Gawain 60 - 150, Camelot at Christmas, the green knight arrives

While young Mister Year was so fresh he was sweet,
That day double on the decks were the diners served.
For the king was come with knights into the hall,
The chant of the chapel chimed to an end,
Loud cry was there caused by clerks and the rest,
'Noel' named anew, enobled full ofte.
So then, gifts ran forth richly from that right house,
Said "years-gifts!" on high, gamed gifts for kisses.
Debated busily about those gifts,
Ladies laughed full-loud, though they had lost,
And he that won was not wroth, that may you well know.
All this mirth they made till the meat-time.
When they had washed worthily, they went to their seats
The best bourne over others, as it best seemed.
When Guenevere, full gay, glowed in the midst
Dressed on the bare dias, dubbed all about,
Small sandals besides, a selure her over,
Of tried Tolouse, and the tapestries of Tars,
That were embroidered and beset with the best gems,
That might be proved of price with pennies to buy
in day;
The comliest to descry
She gleamed with eyes grey,
A sweeter, that ever he sees,
So must no man say.

But Arthur would not eat till all were served,
He was so jolly of his joys, and somewhat childish:
He likes his life light, he loves the least
Either to long lie or to long sit,
So busied him with his young blood and his brain wild.
And also another manner moved him, one
That he thought noble to name; he would not eat
Upon such a dear day 'ere him devised were
Of some adventurous thing an uncouth tale,
Or some main marvel, that he might think True,
Of aldermen, or arms, or other adventures,
Or that some sire him bequested, or some likely knights
To join with him in jousting, in jeopardy to lay,
Lightly, life for life, each upon other,
As fortune would favor the fairer to have.
This was the kings countenance when he in court was,
At each fair and feast among his free many
in hall.
Therefore of face so fierce,
He stands stiff in stall,
Full sapped in that new year,
Much mirth he has with all.

Thus there stands in stall the stiff king himself,
Talking before the high table of trifles full-piled.
There good Gawain was gathered, Guenevere beside,
And Agravain of the Hard Hand on that other side sits,
Both the kings sister-sons and full super-knights;
Bishop Bawdewyn above biggens the table,
And Ywain, Uriens son, eats there beside him.
They were dressed on the dais and worthily served.
And with them many sweet squires at the sideboards.
Then the first course came with cracking of trumpets,
With many banner full bright that therby hanged;
Now Nakryn noise with the noble pipes,
Wild warbles and winds wake the echoes,
That many heart full-high-held at their tunes.
Platters paraded in of the dear meats,
Finest of the fresh, and on so many dishes
That piled, that to find a place the people bent
For to set the servers, yet no spaces held
on cloth.
Each ladled as he loved himself
They laughed without lothe;
Every two had dishes twelve,
Good beer and bright wine both.

Now will I of their service say you no more,
For those wise will work out that no want there was.
Another noise full-new announced and blew,
That the lord might have leave lastly to feast.
But scarce was the noise not a while ceased,
And the first course in court kindly served,
There hales in at the hall door one awesome motherfucker,
So big, they broke the mold, his measure high;
From his sight to his seat so square and so thick,
And his loins and limbs so long and so great,
Half-Eoten in earth I think that he was,
But more, I must admit him to be,
Maybe the handsomest and hottest to sit on a horse.
For of back and of breast was his body built-up,
Yet his womb and his waist were worthily small,
And all his features fine-graven in form that he had
full clean.
For wonder of his hue men had,
Set in his semblance serene;
He fierce as a freak stood forth,
And over-all brightest green.