Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Part 2 (lines 491–1125)

1

The gallant lords and gay ladies grieved for Gawain, Anxious on his account; but all the same They mentioned only matters of mirthful import, Joylessly joking for that gentle knights’ sake. For after dinner with drooping heart he addressed his uncle And spoke plainly of his departure[.]

2

All who saw that seemly sight were sick at heart, And all said to each other softly, in the same breath, In care for that comely knight, ‘By Christ, it is evil That yon lord should be lost, who lives so nobly! To find this fellow on earth in faith is not easy. It would have been wiser to have worked more warily. . . . Who supposed the Prince would approve such counsel As is giddily given in Christmas games by knights?’

3

So many marvels did the man meet in the mountains, It would be too tedious to tell a tenth of them. He had death-struggles with dragons, did battle with wolves, Warred with wild men who dwelt among the crags, Battled with bulls and bears and boards at other times, And ogres that panted after him on the high fells. Had he not been doughty in endurance and dutiful to God, Doubtless he would have been done to death time and again.

4

Thrice the sign of the Saviour on himself he had made, When in the wood he was aware of a dwelling with a moat On a promontory above a plateau… The comeliest castle that ever a knight owned, It was pitched on a plain with a park all round, Impregnably palisaded with pointed stakes…. The courteous knight contemplated the castle from one side… Then humbly he took off his helmet and offered thanks To Jesus and Saint Julian, gentle patrons both[.]

5

Then the lord said laughingly, “You may linger a while, For I shall tell you where your tryst is by your term’s end. Give yourself no more grief for the Green Chapel’s whereabouts, For you may lie back in your bed, brave man, at ease Till full morning on the First and then fare forth To the meeting place at mid-morning to manage how you may Out there.[”]