Jan. 26th, 2009

gawainandthegreenknight: (Default)
Then Arthur before the high dais that adventure beheld,
And regally did him reverence, for he never was rude,
And said "Wight, welcome in truth to this place:
The head of this house, Arthur I am called.
Dismount in courtesy and dine with us, I pray,
And whatsoever thy will is we shall know after."
"Nay!" said that lord, "So help me He that sits on high,
To waste any while in these walls was not my errand.
But because the praise of thee, lord, is lifted up so high,
And thy house and thy knights are held for the best,
Strongest under steel gear, steeds to ride,
The greatest and the worthiest of their kind in the world,
Proven in play in the joust's pure lists;
And courtesy is not unknown here, as I have heard carp;
That has tempted me hither, in truth, at this time.
You may see surely by this branch I bear here
That I pass your gates in peace, and seek no peril;
For had I come to find you in fighting wise,
I have a hauberk at home and a helm too,
A shield and a sharp spear shining bright,
And other weapons I know well how to wield;
But because I wish no war, I wear softer weeds.
Now if thou be so bold as all the world tells,
Thou wilt grant me with good will the game that I ask,
By right."
Arthur made answer then,
And said "Sir courteous knight,
If thou crave battle bare,
None here will fail to fight."

"Nay, I tell you in faith I seek no fight!
About on these benches are but beardless children,
And if I were hasped in arms on a high steed,
Here is no man that could match me in might.
Therefore I crave in this court only a Christmas game,
For it is Yule and New Year, and here are many youths:
If any holds himself so hardy in this house,
Has boldness in his blood and brain in his head,
That dares strongly to strike one stroke for one more,
I shall give him as my gift this rich giserne,
This axe that is heavy enough, to handle as he likes,
And I shall bide the first blow as bare as I sit.
If any man has the nerve to do as I've said,
Leap lightly to me and take this weapon:
I quit-claim it forever; keep it as his own.
And I shall stand stock-still on this floor for his stroke,
If thou wilt give me leave to strike him another
In fair play.
He'll bide his blow from me
In a twelvemonth and a day.
Now, high lord, let us see
What any man dares say."


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