Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Part One

This is a work in progress, being my translation of the classic text. I will be adding first drafts as i work my way through, and even things which are posted on here should not necessarily be considered to be complete.

Here are the first three verses. they have been translated, but still need work on the prose.


The first verse, in the original English

siþen þe sege and þe assaut watz sesed at troye

þe borȝ brittened and brent to brondez and askez

þe tulk þat þe trammes of tresoun þer wroȝt

watz tried for his tricherie þe trewest on erþe

hit watz ennias þe athel and his highe kynde

þat siþen depreced prouinces and patrounes bicome

welneȝe of al þe wele in þe west iles

fro riche romulus to rome ricchis hym swyþe

with gret bobbaunce þat burȝe he biges vpon fyrst

and neuenes hit his aune nome as hit now hat

ticius to tuskan and teldes bigynnes

langaberde in lumbardie lyftes vp homes

and fer ouer þe french flod felix brutus

on mony bonkkes ful brode bretayn he settez

wyth wynne

where werre and wreke and wonder

bi syþez hatz wont þerinne

and oft boþe blysse and blunder

ful skete hatz skyfted synne

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Part One

Verse One

After the siege and the assault surceased at Troy,

The town broken and burnt to cinders and ashes –

The man that the schemes of treason there wrought

Was tried for his treachery, the truest on earth –

It was Aeneas the noble and his good kindred

Who since then subdued provinces and founders became

Well-nigh of all the wealth in the west world.

For good Romulus to Rome travelled there fast,

With great grandeur that town he began to build

And bestowed on it his name, as it now has;

Ticius to Tuscany and townships began,

Langobardus in Lombardy raised up homes,

And far beyond the French straits Felix Brutus

On many banks full broad Britain he ruled

With joy,

Where war and woe and wonder

At times have dwelt therein,

Often both bliss and blunder

Swiftly have shifted since.

Verse Two

And when this Britain was founded by this good man

Therein were bred those who loved strife

The turn of time wrought troubles there.

More wonders in this land took place then

Than in any other that I know since that same time.

But of all who dwelt here, of Britain’s kings,

It was Arthur the noblest, as I have heard tell.

Therefore an exploit in earth I intend to show,

That a wonder in sight some men to behold

And an awesome adventure of Arthurian wonders.

If you will listen this lay but one little while,

I shall tell it at once, as I heard told,

By tongue,

As it is fixed and set down

In story bold and strong,

With alliteration,

A custom for so long.

Verse Three

This king lay at Camelot upon Christmas

With many lovely lords, knights of the best,

Worthy of the Round Table all those good brethren,

With courteous revels and carefree mirth.

There tourneyed knights by times full many,

Jousted full jollily these gracious knights,

And then rode to the court dances to make.

For there the feast was always full fifteen days,

With all the food and the mirth that men could devise;

Such din and glee glorious to hear,

Fine dining by day, dancing on nights,

All were happy in high in halls and chambers

With lords and ladies, as they thought most delightful.

With all the weal of the world they dwelt together,

The most famous knights within Christ’s domain

And the loveliest ladies that ever have lived,

And he the comeliest king whoever held court

For these all were fair folk in their first age

In hall,

Luckiest under Heaven,

King highest man of all;

It would be greatly hard to find

So hardy a group at all.

Verse Four


While New Year was so fresh that it was still new born,

That day double on the dais was the group served.

For the king was coming with knights into the hall,

The chanting in the chapel came to an end,

Loud cries were heard of scholars and others,

Noel sung out anew, called out often;

And afterwards ran forth with New Year’s gifts,

Called years-gifts on high, gave them by hand,

Debated noisily about the gift-games;

Ladies laughed loudly although they had lost,

And he that won was not wroth, that may you well know.

All this mirth they made until the meal time.

When they had washed worthily they went forth to sit,

The best man was above, as was deemed good,

Queen Guinevere gaily arrayed in the midst,

Arrayed on the fine dais, adorned all about,

Silk hangings besides, a canopy over,

Of fine Toulouse and of tapestries enough,

That were embroidered and set with all the best gems

That might be found of worth with pennies to buy

                        This day

            The comeliest to descry

            There glanced with eye grey,

            The fairest that ever he saw

            So might no man say.



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