Feb. 26th, 2009

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Yet till All Hallows' Day with Arthur he lingers,
And the king made a fair on that feast-day for his sake,
With much royal revelry of the Round Table.
The courteous knights and the comely ladies
All for love of that lord felt longing at heart;
But nevertheless, now or later, they spoke only mirth,
And many, though joyless, for that gentle knight jested.
For after supper he sadly speaks to his uncle,
And talks of his passage, and proudly he said:
"Now, liege lord of my life, I ask your leave.
You know the cost of this contract, so I won't keep you
With telling over the terrors of it-- nothing but trifles.
But I am bound to begin at bare dawn tomorrow,
To seek the knight of the green, as God will guide me."
Then the highest of the household hastened together,
Ywain and Erec and many another,
Sir Dodinaval de Savage, the Duke of Clarence,
Launcelot and Lionel and Lucan the good,
Sir Bors and Sir Bedivere, big men both,
And many other mighty ones, with Mador de la Porte.
All this company of court came close to the king
For to counsel the knight, with care in their hearts.
There was much sorrow suffered in secret in the hall
That one so worthy as Gawain should go on that errand,
To be dealt a dreadful blow, and draw no sword
To defy.
The knight still made good cheer,
And said "Why should I sigh?
Of destinies dark or clear,
What may man do but try?"

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