Jan. 28th, 2009

gawainandthegreenknight: (Default)
If he'd stunned them at first, stiller were then
All the host in the hall, the high and the low.
The strong man on his steed sat firm in the saddle
And roguishly rolled his red eyes round about
and raised his rough brows, glossy and green,
Stroking his beard, awaiting one who would rise.
When none would meet him with words, he coughed aloud,
And smiling full scornfully, started to speak:
"What! is this Arthur's house?" said the noble knight,
"That all the tales tell of through so many realms?
Where is now your glory and your conquests?
Your grandeur, your grim rage and your great words?
Now is the revelry and renown of the Round Table
Overwhelmed with a word of one man's speech,
All scared into silence without a blow struck!"
With this he laughs so loud that the liege-lord grieved;
The blood shot for shame into his face that shone
So fair;
His wrath rose like the wind,
So too all that were there.
This king, born of brave kind,
Then strode that strong man near,

And said "Knight, by heaven, thy demands are a fool's,
And since you challenge in folly, find a fool's fate.
I know no man that is made meek at thy great words.
Give me now thy giserne, and in God's name
I shall bestow on you that blow, that boon you begged."
Lightly he leaps to him and clasps his hand,
Then fiercely that other lights down on foot;
Now Arthur has the axe. He grips the handle
And sternly turns it about, thinking to strike.
The strong man before him stands in height
Higher than any in the house by the head and more.
Still and silent he stands, and strokes his beard,
And with a dry countenance draws down his coat,
No more moved or dismayed by the coming cut
Than if any boon companion had brought him a drink
Of wine.
Gawain, beside the queen,
To the king does now incline:
"My lord, let truth be seen:
This combat must be mine."


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