Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Important Quotations Explained
hurtles in at the hall-door an unknown rider,
One the greatest on ground in growth of his frame:
From broad neck to buttocks so bulky and thick,
And his loins and his legs so long and so great,
Half a giant on earth I hold him to be,
But believe him no less than the largest of men,
And the seemliest in his stature to see, as he rides,
For in back and in breast though his body was grim,
His waist in its width was worthily small,
And formed with every feature in fair accord
Great wonder grew in hall
At his hue most strange to see,
For man and gear and all
Were green as green could be.
was glad to begin those games in hall,
But if the end be harsher, hold it no wonder,
For though men are merry in mind after much drink,
A year passes apace, and proves ever new:
First things and final conform but seldom.
hoved a great hall and fair:
Turrets rising in tiers, with tines at their tops,
Spires set beside them, splendidly long,
With finials well-fashioned, as filigree fine.
Chalk-white chimneys over chambers high
Gleamed in gay array upon gables and roofs;
The pinnacles in panoply, pointing in air,
So vied there for his view that verily it seemed
A castle cut of paper for a king’s feast.
The good knight on Gringolet thought it great luck
If he could but contrive to come there within
To keep the Christmas feast in that castle fair
if you be Gawain, it seems a great wonder—
A man so well-meaning, and mannerly disposed,
And cannot act in company as courtesy bids,
And if one takes the trouble to teach him, ‘tis all in vain.
That lesson learned lately is lightly forgot,
Though I painted it as plain as my poor wit allowed.”
“What lesson, dear lady?” he asked all alarmed;
“I have been much to blame, if your story be true.”
“Yet my counsel was of kissing,” came her answer then,
“Where favor has been found, freely to claim
As accords with the conduct of courteous knights.”
if a dullard should dote, deem it no wonder,
And through the wiles of a woman be wooed into sorrow,
For so was Adam by one, when the world began,
And Solomon by many more, and Samson the mighty—
Delilah was his doom, and David thereafter
Was beguiled by Bathsheba, and bore much distress;
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
For these were proud princes, most prosperous of old,
Past all lovers lucky, that languished under heaven,
And one and all fell prey
To women they had used;
If I be led astry,
Methinks I may be excused.
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