Feb. 28th, 2009

gawainandthegreenknight: (Default)
Then they showed him the shield, of shining gules,
With the pentangle depicted in pure gold hues.
He takes it by the baldric and hangs it about his neck,
And it became the knight wondrous well.
And why the pentangle appertains to that noble prince
I am determined to tell you, though it delay our tale:
It is a sign that Solomon sometime set
As a token of truth, to which it has a title.
For it is a figure that has five points,
And each line overlaps and interlocks with the others,
And everywhere it is endless, and the English call it
Overall, as I hear, the endless knot.
Therefore it well accords with this knight and his arms,
For ever faithful in five ways, and five times five,
Gawain was good: like pure refined gold,
Devoid of all villainy, enamoured of virtue
Devout:
Therefore the pentangle new
He bore in shield and coat,
As man of word most true
And gentlest knight of note.

First he was found faultless in his five wits,
And then he failed never with his five fingers,
And all his faith in the field was in the five wounds
That Christ took on the cross, as the creed tells.
And wheresoever this man in melée took his stand,
His first thought was on this, through all other things:
That all his fierceness derived from the five joys
That Heaven's high queen had of her child;
And because of this the knight had, in comely wise,
On the inner side of his shield her image painted,
So that when he glanced upon it his good heart never failed.
The fifth five that I find this free-hearted man used
Were frankness and fellowship before all things;
His cleanness and courtesy never were crooked,
And pity, that passes all points-- these five pure virtues
Were more firmly fixed in him than in any other.
These fivefold gifts, forsooth, were found in the knight,
Each linked to the others so none had an end,
And fixed upon five points that never failed,
Not joined on any side, nor sundered neither,
Without end at any angle anywhere, as I find,
Where the figure might first begin or come to a finish.
Therefore on his shining shield the knot was shaped
Royally with red gold upon red gules,
That is called the pure pentangle by the people
With lore.
Gawain, in brave array,
Took up the lance he bore
And gave them all good day,
He thought, forevermore.

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