Oct. 25th, 2010

gawainandthegreenknight: (Default)
“Good morrow, Sir Gawain,” said that gay lady,
“You’re no sly sleeper, to let me steal in here.
Now in good time you’re taken, and unless we make truce,
I shall bind you in your bed, trust me on that.”
All laughing the lady let fly these light words.
“Good morrow, gay lady,” said Gawain the blithe.
“My fate’s at your will, and that likes me well,
For I yield me meekly, and pray you for grace.
And that’s the best I can do, for I am helpless.”
Thus he bounced her jest back with blithe laughter.
“But if you, lovely lady, would grant me leave,
Parole your prisoner and permit him to rise,
I'd be briskly out of bed and dress me better,
And converse with you in greater comfort.”
“No, forsooth, fair sir,” said that sweet lady,
“You shall not rise from your bed. I’ve a better idea:
I’ll swaddle you in sheets on this other side also,
And then chat with my knight that I have caught.
For I know-- believe it! -- Sir Gawain you are,
Whom all the world worships, wherever you ride;
Your honour, your chivalry courteously praised
By lords and ladies and all that bear life.
And now you are here, and we on our own:
My lord’s led his lads on a lengthy journey,
All other men abed, and my maids too,
The door shut, the bolt shot, the hasp strong.
And since I have in this house he whom all love,
I shall make the most of my time while it lasts
With skill.
My body is all yours,
Do with me as you will.
For I must be perforce
Your willing servant still.”

“In good faith,” said Gawain, “you do me a grace,
Though I’m in no way the man you describe:
To receive such reverence as you refer to
I am a wretch unworthy, I know it well.
But by God, I’d be glad if you thought it good
To let me, in speech or with steel, do you service
As your knight, in your name-- it would be a pure joy.”
“In good faith, Sir Gawain,” said the lady gaily,
“The prize-winning prowess that pleases all people
It would be discourteous in me to dispraise.
Believe me, there are ladies enough who’d rather
Have you, sir, in their hold as I have you here,
To dally dearly with your dainty words,
Take comfort in you and lighten their cares,
Than possess all the goods and gold that they have.
But, my love to the Lord who lifts up heaven,
I have wholly in my hands that which all desire,
Through grace.”
She made him such great cheer
Who was so fair of face;
He, with words pure and clear,
Answered her in each case.


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