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.)



NOT A TRAP


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.

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