May. 1st, 2009

gawainandthegreenknight: (Default)
In the morning he merrily rides by a mound
Into a forest full deep that was wondrous wild,
High hills on either hand, and holtwoods below
Of hoar oaks full huge, a hundred together.
The hazel and the hawthorn were hurled together
With rough ragged moss draped everywhere,
With many birds, not blithe, upon bare twigs
That piteously piped there, pining in the cold.
Gawain upon Gryngolet glides underneath
Through many a marsh and mire, a man all alone,
Full of care for the cost, if he should not come
To see the service of that sire, who that selfsame night
Was born of a bright maiden, our battles to quell.
And therefore sighing he said: "I beseech thee, Lord,
And Mary, that is thy mild mother so dear,
For some haven where, with high heart, I might hear mass
And thy matins tomorrow: meekly I ask this,
And with this prayer I say my Paternoster and Ave
And Creed."
He rode on in his prayer
And wept for his misdeeds;
Crossed himself often there,
Saying "Christ's cross be my speed!"

He had signed himself, good soldier, only thrice
When he was aware in the wood of a moated dwelling
Above a lawn, on a little hill, locked in by boughs
Of many ancient oaks about by the ditches:
A castle, the comeliest that ever knight kept,
In the midst of a meadow, a park all around it,
Stoutly surrounded with a spiked palisade
That enclosed many trees, more than two miles about.
That house, on one side, our hero beheld
As it shimmered and shone through the bare oak branches.
He hastily takes off his helm, and with high heart thanks
Jesus and Saint Julian for their gentleness
That courteously heard him and hearkened to his cry.
"Now a good welcome," says Gawain, "I beseech you yet!"
Then he goads Gryngolet on with gilt-spurred heels
And by good chance he has chosen the chief path
That brought him swiftly to the bridge's end
In haste.
The bridge was drawn away,
And all the gates shut fast;
The walls in good array
Against the winter's blast.


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