SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHTlines 1208-40
Anon.trans. Marie Borroff (from Middle English)
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"God moroun, Sir Gawayn," sayde þat gay lady,
"Ye ar a sleper vnslyghe, þat mon may slyde hider;
Now ar ye tan astyt! Bot true vus may schape,
I schal bynde yow in your bedde - þat be ye trayst."
Al laghande þe lady lanced þo bourdez.
"Goud moroun, gay," quoþ Gawayn þe blyþe,
"Me schal worþe at your wille, and þat me wel lykez,
For I yelde me yederly, and yeghe after grace,
And þat is þe best, be my dome, for my byhouez nede!"
(And þus he bourded ayayn wiþ mony a blyþe laghter.)
"But wolde ye, lady louely, þen, leue me grante
And deprece your prysoun and pray hym to ryse,
I wolde boghe of þis bed and busk me better;
I shulde keuer þe more comfort to karp yow wyth."
"Nay forsoþ, beau sir," sayd þat swete,
"Ye schal not rise of your bedde. I rych yow better:
I schal happe yow here þat oþer half als
And syþen karp wyth my knyght þat I kaght haue.
For I wene wel, iwysse, Sir Wowen ye are,
Þat alle þe worlde worchipez; quereso ye ride,
Your honour, your hendelayk is hendely praysed
With lordez, with ladyes, with alle þat lyf bere.
And now ye ar here, iwysse, and we bot oure one;
My lorde and his ledez ar on lenþe faren,
Oþer burnez in her bedde, and my burdez als,
Þe dor drawen and dit with a derf haspe;
And syþen I haue in þis hous hym þat al lykez,
I schal ware my whyle wel, quyl hit lastez,
With tale.
Ye ar welcum to my cors,
Yowre awen won to wale,
Me behouez of fyne force
Your seruaunt be, and schale."
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"Good morning, Sir Gawain," said that gay lady,
"A slack sleeper you are, to let one slip in!
Now you are taken in a trice - a truce we must make,
Or I shall bind you in your bed, of that be assured."
Thus laughing lightly that lady jested.
"Good morning, good lady," said Gawain the blithe,
"Be it with me as you will; I am well content!
For I surrender myself, and sue for your grace,
And that is best, I believe, and behooves me now."
Thus jested in answer that gentle knight.
"But if, lovely lady, you misliked it not,
And were pleased to permit your prisoner to rise,
I should quit this couch and accoutre me better,
And be clad in more comfort for converse here."
"Nay, not so, sweet sir," said the smiling lady;
"You shall not rise from your bed; I direct you better:
I shall hem and hold you on either hand,
And keep company awhile with my captive knight.
For as certain as I sit here, Sir Gawain you are,
Whom all the world worships, whereso you ride;
Your honour, your courtesy are highest acclaimed
By lords and by ladies, by all living men;
And lo! we are alone here, and left to ourselves;
My lord and his liegemen are long departed,
The household asleep, my handmaids too,
The door drawn, and held by a well-driven bolt,
And since I have in this house him whom all love,
I shall while the time away with mirthful speech
at will.
My body is here at hand,
Your each wish to fulfill;
Your servant to command
I am, and shall be still."
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Trans. Copyright © W.W.Norton & Co. Inc. 2001, 1977, 1967 - publ. W.W.Norton. Original with acknowledgements to University of Exeter Press.


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