Since the siege and the assault ceased at Troy
Smashed and burned the castle to charcoal and ashes
The man who was there wrought the cunning devices of treason
Was tried for his trickery, though the truest on earth.
It was Annias the elder and his high breed
Who henceforth since became subjugated princes and lords
Of well-nigh all the land in the Western Isles
From noble Romulus to Rome he proceeded quickly
With great pomp he built upon that first city
And called it by his own name, ‘Langberd’ as it is now known
Founding houses from Ticius to Tuscany
Building up homes in Lombardy
And from over the French Channel
Felix Brutus on many broad British slopes
He founded with joy
Where war and distress and chivalrous deeds
At times had wanted for this
And often both happiness and trouble
Have more quickly since then
Than when Britain was swollen by this rich stream
Bold men were born in it who liked battles
That in many disrupted periods were made.
More wonders happened in this land than any other I know of.
But of all Britain’s kings
Arthur was the greatest, so I am told
And an exceedingly marvellous event from the excellent tales concerning Arthur
For this reason I intend to demonstrate,
That some might deem it a marvel to perceive,
If you will listen to this story but a little while
I shall tell it straight, as I heard in the city in many dialects.
“As it is said and spoken
In strange and wild stories
Written with lovely letters
From the depths of history in this land”
This king was residing at Camelot at Xmas
With many handsome lords, best of all the land
Promptly of the round table and all the rich brothers
With Royal speeches and reckless mirth
They jousted often and frequently
In lusty combat these gentle knights
Then processed to the high court singing hymns
Where there was feasting for two weeks long

And all the wit and mirth they could think of
Such sparkling repartee and jolliness was glorious to hear
Feasting day upon day, dancing night upon night
All the rooms and corridors were full of animation
With the world’s pleasure they dwelt together
With the most famous knights under the highest heavens
And the sexiest women who were ever born
And the most becoming king that the court had ever had
For this was in the youth of the world still
The liveliest people under the sky
And a king of the greatest integrity
It was now great harm to name
So great a company of warriors gathered on a hill-side
Whilst the New Year was so fresh that it was as newly conceived
That day the company visited the temple twice
For the king came with knights into the hall
The singing of mass in the chapel came to an end
Loud cries were offered by priests and others
Christmas was celebrated anew and all listened to the joyous throng
And next the nobles ran forward to prostrate themselves
Criers crying gifts on high
Debated busily about the gifts
Ladies laughed loudly, even when they had lost,
Nobody there was out-of-sorts, as you may well guess.
They made all this jolliness to suit the time of year
When they had cleaned themselves up they all sat at table
The most noteworthy nearer the head of the table
When the delightful Gwen, set in the midst
Arrayed on the sacred alter, adorned all around
Fine precious silk, a canopy over her
Of proven ‘Toulouse’, silk of Turkestan
Plenty of carpets
That were embroidered and beaten with the best jewels
That must be bought with ready cash on the spur
The comliest to spy, with shining grey eyes
One of comparable beauty no-one could describe
Arthur would not dine until all were present
He was so joyful in his merriment, and slightly boisterous
He loved life to be cheerful
He disliked lounging about or lying
So he kept his young blood and restless mind busy.
And also another matter concerned him
That beyond all else he in his magnificence
He had taken on himself
He would never eat upon such a jubilant day before he heard
Of some great marvel that he might think about
Ancient times, of weaponry or other adventures
Or else someone begged him or some trusty knight
To join with him in battle competition and hazard dangers
To risk life, blow for blow, bargain upon bargain
As fortune would befall him, the fairer for to have
When in court he ruled with stern countenance
And each splendid feast amongst his courtly household
For that reason cutting such a bold figure
He holds himself so well
Budding vigour in that New Year
He made jokes with everyone
Thus stood proudly the worthy King himself
Talking before a mountain of goodies piled up on the table
The good Gavin was blessed to sit next to Gwen
With Agravain of the Hard Hand sitting on the other side
Both the King’s sisters and the most trusty knights at arms
The King of the Travellers sits at the head
And Ewan, Bran’s son eats by himself
These people were appointed their places on the day and sumptuously served
And similarly many other folk on the borders
When the first course was served with the braying of trumpets
With many gaily-painted banners hanging close by
Brand new drums sounding against the reels of the pipes
With loud warbles broadcast sounds
With many glad spirits the high notes sounded
The bountiful fruits of the earth were available
Dainty morsels prepared with rare ingredients
So much fresh animal flesh piled upon plates
That people had difficulty finding space for it all
For to put the silver things in which
That the various meats were contained on the table
Nobody had ever seen such a thing before
Both good beer and bright wine
I will tell you no more of the catering arrangements
I may as well tell you that no-one did without!
People had never heard such sophisticated conversation
That the crowd might have leave to take food
For hardly was the noise finished
And the first course in the court politely served
There came through the hall door a terrible Sir
Almost a head taller than average
From the neck to the waist so well built and so broad
His back and chest were muscley
Both his stomach and waist were small
His back and chest were firm
His stomach and waist were appropriately proportioned
Similarly all his features individually distinctive to him, were elegant
Men were awed by his build.
Set in his locks plain to see he was as bold and brash as any man of his time
Adorned in green were his boots and clothes
Bedecked in green this man, of every hue green.
A straight cut jacket, well fitting
A well adorned robe, colourful on the outside
A fur lining carefully trimmed to show only one colour
Evidencing the painstaking endeavour
Of bright gold upon embroidered rich silk
Truly all his clothing was of the deepest, freshest green
From the bars decorating his belt to the bright stones
That were nobly displayed in his handsome apparel
About his person and his saddle, and the silk knotwork
It is hard to describe even half the decorations he wore
And the embroidered birds and flowers that surrounded it
With lovely hues of green, interwoven with gold
The pendants of his horse’s armour, the proud cropper
His ornamented horse’s bit and all the metal work was enamel stained
Similarly the stirrups too were enamelled
The stirrups that he stood in stained the same
And his saddle bows and other straps
That ever glimmered and glinted of green stones
Certainly the horse he rode was perfect for its breed
A green horse, tall and well built both
A big strong green horse
A proud and powerful beast
Quick to follow commands
He was well suited to the knight
This green bloke was full of cheer
And the hair of his head of his horse was sweet
Becoming lengths of his hair lay about his shoulders
As much beard as a bush hung over his chest
That with his splendid hair that hung down from his head
Was clipped around in a circle above the elbows
Half of his arms were enclosed under it in this way
A king’s capadacian tunic of leather which was bound about his neck
Similar to the neck of that great horse
Combed and curled well, with many knots
Plaited with gold thread around handsome green
Even a strand of his hair was matched by one of gold
The tail and forelock plaited to copy it
And bound both with a band of bright green
Adorned with many precious stones as the tail lengths
Above bound with intricately bound knot of thong
A likelier steed no man ever rode
Nor neither since that time has anyone
Seen such a thing with their own eyes, nor would any believe it
He looked as bright as lightening
As all those who saw him said
It seemed as though no man would survive one of his blows
Whether he had neither helmet nor ‘hawbere’ nor ‘paysan’
Nor a blade nor a shield to protect or smite
In his hand he held a cluster of bay trees
Which is covered in green when other trees are bare
And an axe in his other, huge and ugly
To put it plainly as I must, his axe was enormous
At its longest it was as long as a measuring rod (45″)
The spike was made of green steel and gold
the bit polished bright, with a broad edge
So sharp you could shave with it
It gripped the shaft of a steel-shod shaft
Bound about with filigree at the other end
And all engraved with green in wondrous patterns
A thong wrapped about that appeared at the top
And bound about the whole shaft many times
With enough tassels of proven quality attached to it
On bright buttons of the deepest green richly embroidered
This man came in and entered the hallway
Came to the high platform fearing no danger,
He greeted no one but held his gaze levelly
The first words he uttered were, “Where is
“The boss of this organisation? Gladly would
I meet this man, and converse pleasantly with him.”
He gazed at the company, and looked at each and every man.
He stopped and remarked who was the highest
There was a lengthy engagement of eyes before the multitude
For in everyone’s mind was the question
Of how a knight and his horse could have such a colour
Everyone watched closely the man who stood there
As the green grass grows, and greener it seemed
Than green enamel on gold shining brighter
With all the wonder in the world that he should behave thus
They had seen some mighty tough characters
In their time, but none such as this one
such sights the people normally
Attributed to ghosts and fairies
Most of the people were afraid to answer him
They were all astounded when he spoke
And sat stock-still
A stone silence swept the room
They were mesmerised into a dream-like state and lost their tongues
I don’t think it was all out of fear,
But something out of politeness
But let the Goddess decide.
Then Arthur sussed that adventure awaited him
And courteously he saluted him, for he was never afraid
And said, “Fellow, welcome truly to this place,
I am called Arthur, head of this household
Dismount graciously and remain, I beseech you
And what you require we shall find out later
“No, for fortune,” said the knight, “God help me,
For to stay any time in this place was not my aim
And your castles and knights are best considered
The best to ride in armour upon coursers
The wisest and worthiest of the world’s folk
Valiant opponents in any noble contest
And here is shown mutual respect, as I have heard tell
And that has sent me on this path, I know, right now
You may be sure by the branch that I bear
That I come in peace, and seek no trouble
For if I had journeyed here in a fighting manner
I have at home both a helmet and a lance
A shield and a sharp spear shining bright
And other weapons to carry, I know well, so
But I want no battle, my words are gentle
But if you are so courageous as the poets tell
You will grant me the man who I ask for
So do me justice.” Arthur answered and said,
“Good Sir knight, if you crave bare combat
“You will not go away hungry from here”
“No, I’m not looking for a scrap, honestly,
As there are both the beardless and children present.
If I were encased in armour on a lofty steed
There is none here to match me for weakness of strength
Therefore I require of this Xmas gathering of people
For it is Xmas and New Year and there are many bold characters here
If anyone in this house thinks they are hard enough
Be he so blood lusty and intelligent
Who dare strike a powerful stroke for another
I shall give him as a present
This axe that is heavy enough to use as he likes
And I shall take the first blow as I sit naked.
If any man be so brave as to try me
Come hither quickly and be armed
I forego my claim upon it forever, he may keep it for his own
And I shall deal him a mighty blow, right there in this hall
Otherwise you will oblige me to again strike him without resistance
And yet give him a break for a year and a day
Otherwise you will tell me the judgement to give him another geas
Now hurry, and show me quickly
Does anyone here dare to say anything?
If they had stood agape initially, now they were even more perplexed
All the men in the hall, both high and low
The high man on his horse turned about in his saddle
And he rolled his eyes about in a mystical fashion
Wrinkled his bristling eyebrows which glistened in green
And swept his beard from side to side to see who might answer.
When no-one would tarry him with words he brimmed over with laughter
And speaking expansively and in a formal manner,
Spoke thus: “What, can this really be King Arthur’s court,”
Said he, “Through which run all the rich blood of the royal realms?
Where now are your conquests and your pride?
Your fierceness and your wrath? Your great words?
Now is the revels and renown of the round table
Overthrown by the speech of one single person
For all heroism is displayed without injury, for fear!
With this he laughed so loud that the lord grieved
The blood shot to his white face and cheek in shame
He puffed up with rage, as did all the company
And the King, as bold by nature
Stood by that fearsome man, and said,
“My fellow, by God, your request is just fine
And as you pursue this foolishness, reap the reward
I know of no knight who is afraid of your big talk,
Give me your axe now, by God’s concern,
And I shall grant your request that you have made.”
He went up to him and took his hand.
Proudly that other man jumped to his feet.
Now Arthur had his axe, and gripped the handle
Holding it aloft about to strike him down
The sturdy man stood before him, upright,
Taller than anyone else in the hall by more than a head
With a serious expression he stood there stroking his beard
And with unruffled features he drew down his tunic
No more daunted or dismayed for his great blows
Then if any man at table had brought him wine to drink.
Gavin, who was sitting next to the Queen,
Leant over to the Queen,
“I implore you with simple words, this fight must be mine,”
“Would you, most worthy Master,” said Gavin to the king,
“Order me to move from this bench, and stand next
To you there, that I may without mischief quit this table, and that
My sovereign lady take it not amiss
I would come to your aid before our wealthy company
For I think it not appropriate as is truly known
That such a request is harkened so easily in your hall
While so many bold sit about you
With none on earth that I know so keen as adversaries
That you yourself should be so willing to take it on
No better figures on the field of battle where strife is sounded
I know I am the feeblest, and the stupidest
And my life the least loss if you ask anyone
For as much as you are my uncle, my duty is to praise you
I know of no treasure in my body but your blood
And since this business is so foolish
That it is not fitting for you at all
And if I don’t brag graciously, let all this company pour scorn on my head.”
The worthies gathered around
And since each and every one declared
To take from the crowned King
And to give the bargain over to Gavin
Then the King commanded the knight to rise
And he promptly stood up, and continues nobly
Kneeled down before the King, and grabbed the weapon
And gave him God’s blessing, and gladly bade him
That both his heart and his hand should be strong and firm
“Take care cousin,” said the King, “If you are so keen to cut in
And if you deal with him properly, promise fully, that you shall await
The blow he may bear afterwards.”
Gavin went up to the bloke with the weapon in his hand
And he vigorously awaited him, he was dismayed never the more for that
Then the Green Knight bragged to Sir Gavin,
“We will re-affirm our agreements before we proceed with the doings
First, I ask thee, warrior, what is thy name,
And tell me the truth, I prithee.”
“I tell you truly, ” said the Green Knight, “I am called Gavin
And you shall carry this blow I shall cause you and twelve months later offer you another
With whatsoever weapon you choose, and with no-one else on this planet.”
The other answered in reply, “Sir Gavin, so may I prosper,
I am quite glad at your sending me this blow.”
“By God,” said the Green Knight, ” I would like it
If I should receive at your hand what I have demanded
And you have already understood with your full intellect
Every ounce of the agreement I made with the knight
Except that you shall give me your word,
In every true aspect, that you shall find me yourself, my good man, where
You expect, I may be discharged upon pledge
You may find the reward today before such as you mete out to me this noble crowd
“I do not know what your prowess is, by my Maker,
Neither do I know your castle nor your name
But instruct me in this matter, and tell me how you are so called
And I shall employ all my wit to get me thither
And I give you my faithful word, by my most certain assurance
That is enough in New Year, it needs no more
The Man in Green replied to the gracious Gavin
“To be sure, when I’ve taken your blow
When you have kindly belted me one, I will inform you shortly
Of my house and my home and my own name
Then you may test my reactions and keep our agreement
For if I say nothing, then your journey will be shorter
For you may stay in your area and light no fire- but enough of this!
Take your grim business in hand
Let us see how you handle a chopper.”
“Gladly Sire, for sure,” said Gavin; he tested the axe blade.
The Green Knight quickly lay upon the ground
Head bent a little under, uncovering the flesh
He laid his lovely locks over his head
And let his bare neck show to the nape
Gavin gripped his axe, and lifted it high with both hands
He placed the left foot on the ground before him
Let it down quickly to land upon the bare neck
That the sharp of the blade splintered the bones
And penetrated the white flesh, and severed it in two
That the blade of the big weapon bit into the ground
The fair head severed at the neck fell to the ground
People kicked it with their feet, where it rolled forth
the blood spurted forth from the body and gleamed on the green
And neither staggered nor fell the man the more for that
But he set forth stiffly on stiff legs
And eerily he reached out, there where the elders sat
Grabbing his fine head, quickly carrying it
And turning his steed, caught-up the bridle
Stepped into the stirrups and mounted, leaping up
And he held his head by the hair in his hand
The man, sitting firmly in his saddle
As though nothing had hurt him, but he was, instead, without a head
He swung his steed around
This ugly bleeding body
Many men were afraid of him
Because his speech was declared
He even held the head in his hand
Towards the noblest on the high table he directed the head
And opened his eyes wide
And sayeth this, as you may hear:
“Look, Gavin, be ready to journey as you promised
And seek me faithfully, fellow until you find me
As you have promised under this roof,
In front of all these people
To the Green Chapel to make your way, I charge you, to find
You have deserved the great blow that you have dealt to me
To be promptly returned on the new year’s morning
Many men know me, the knight of the Green Chapel
Thus you will find me if you look and don’t give up
Otherwise you shall be known to be a coward.”
With a blood-curdling shout he yanked the reins about
Belted out the castle door, head in his hands
So that the sparks leaped from the shod hooves
To which family he belonged no-one there knew
Neither more did they know of what his family tree was
What next?
The king and Gavin there
Laughed and smiled about the green guy
Nevertheless it was spoken of
As a marvel amongst the people
Though Arthur the High King had wonder in his heart,
He let no outward sign of it show, but said gracefully
To the handsome Queen with gentle words,
“Dear Lady, don’t be dismayed in this hour;
This sort of thing is fitting for Xmas
Messing about and interruptions, laughing and singing
With these holy hymns in knights and ladies
Nevertheless I may well proceed to my dinner
This was some Malarky, I do not doubt
He glanced at Sir Gavin, and said politely,
“Now, Sir, put down your axe, which has chopped enough.”
And it was round about the dais on the tapestry to hang
There, all men looked on it with marvel
To examine it carefully so they could describe what they had seen
Then as one they turned to a table
The King and the knight, and courteous serving men
Served them double the amount of precious foods,
As the noblest men might
With all varieties of both meat and entertainment
They spent the day with all manner of delight
Till such time as the light faded from the land
Now take heed, Sir Gavin
That you do not take to shirking danger
For to make a trial of this adventure
That you have taken in hand.


Arthur had this excellent story first of all
In the New Year, for he was longing to hear Irish harping
That for him mere words were lacking when they went to eat
Now they were fully provided with serious work, their hands full of it
Gavin was glad to have overtaken in honour those others in the King’s court
But, that the end would be heavy, he had no doubt
For that men are jolly when they have drunk too much.
A year turns full turn, and time is never the same
And thus this Xmas passed, and the year after
And each season followed one after another.
After Xmas comes grasping Lent
That satisfies the appetite with more simple meat and veg
But then the weather of the world contends with winter
Cold blankets the land, clouds smother the sky
Clouds shed rain in gentle warm rain
Where it falls upon the plain earth, flowers blossom forth
Both the heathers and the thickets are her clothes
Birds build nests and sing bravely
For the pleasure of the gentle summer that follows after in the land
And blossoms swell to bloom by splendid and luxuriant hedgerows
Then notes beautiful enough are heard in the noble wood
Then following this
After, the summer months with gentle breezes
When Zephyrus blows gently on seeds and grass
The plant which prospers at this time is truly beautiful
When the moistening dew drops from the leaves
Awaiting the blissful blush of the bright sun
Then the harvest arrives, and the harsh rays of the sun
Forewarn him to wax full ripe ere the winter.
He drives with drought the rising dust
From the surface of the earth to rise quite high, really
Angry winds from the sky do battle with the sun
The leaves fly from the trees and lay on the ground
And all grey is the grass that before was green
Then all ripe and red that rose upon first
Thus the year passed through many many days
And winter came along again, as it must, and no lie
Until Xmas morning
Came along with all the usual signs of winter
And anxious, nervous Gavin was thinking again
Of his perilous journey to come.
All through All Saint’s Day (Nov. 1st) he spent his time with Arthur
And he made a feast on that day to help the people
With much music and entertainment around the table
Gallant knights and beautiful ladies
For Gavin was their friend and they were all very sad
For after dinner he sadly performed his duty
And spoke of his mission, unashamedly saying,
“Now, bonded master of my life, may I please ask you…”
But nonetheless, nor less readily, did they only party:
They made many jolly japes and jests for that Knight
After supper he dolefully made his way to bed
And spoke of his journey, putting it bluntly,
“Now, my dear master of my fate, may I just mention,
You know the nature of this affair,
Ewan, Eric and many others
Sir Daniel the Savage, the Duke of Clarence Lancelot, Lionel, and Lucan the Good
Sir Joos, Sir Bedevere, both large men
I will trouble you no more, to tell you
The peril of it
For I am setting out to receive an unconditional blow tomorrow
To find the Knight in Green, as the Gods all know
Then the best of the town turned out together
And many other worthy fellows, with natures also
All this courtly company came up to the King
To advise the Knight, with care at heart
There was much grief boldly struck in the room
That so fitting a Knight as Gavin should embark upon this expedition
To endure a dreadful blow and not to smack any more heads
The Knights made brave talk amongst themselves
And said, “What do I know
About bleak and dreary outcomes
What can anyone do about quests?”
He stayed there all night, and attired himself in the morning
Calling for his arms early, and they were all brought
First of all a rich red silk carpet spread over the floor
Much was the glistening equipment spread upon it
The muscular gentle man stood upon it and the metal (handles)
Adorned in a jacket of precious Tarsian silk
His legs encased in steel with finely crafted greaves
Fastened about his knees with golden knots
Well-crafted thigh pieces that cunningly close
His thick, well-knit thighs, attached by thongs;
And also the linked mail shirt of bright steel rings
This man was encased in such wonderful stuff
And a well-polished shield attached to each arm
With good decorative elbow pieces, and steel shank plated gloves
And all the useful and protective equipment that was bestowed upon him at that time
With wealthy embroidered heraldic armour
With pride his gold spurs proudly mounted Girt with a well-trusty sword
With a silken scarf about his side
When he was encased in armour, his gear shone proudly
The smallest fixing rivet gleamed of gold
Even in his armour he attended church
Gave praises and was blessed at the high alter
Thusly he came to the king and all his noble folk
Graciously laughing as he took his leave of the multitude
And they embraced him as he went out
And pledged his soul to the Almighty
By now Gringolet was ready, and wore saddle
That gleamed joyfully with many bright fringes
Studded everywhere with brand-new nails, well-expensive!
The bridle barred and striped with bright-gold stripes
The adornment of the breast-strapping and the handsome shifts
The saddle-cusp and the horse-cloth matched in colour with the saddle-bows
And all was arrayed on the rich-gold nails
That everything glittered, gleamed and shone like the sun
Then he grasped the helmet, and kissed it briefly
It was bound strongly and padded inside
It was high on his head, and clasped behind
Embroidered and pinioned with the most precious jewels
With embroidered decorated filigree over the visor
Studded and inlaid with the finest gems
On wide silken embroidered strips with ornamental stitching about the seams
And painted parrots preening between
Turtle-doves and true-love knots heavily embroidered
As if every bird thereabout had spent seven winters in town
The circlet was more costly that embroidered his crown
An embellishment of diamonds
That glinted and was bright
With a pentangle the colour of pure gold depicted on it
He seized it by the handle and brandished it about the room
That seemed to the chap becomingly fair
And while the pentangle belonged to that noble knight
I am keen to tell you, although it takes me back
As the bards relate, Solomon set a similar device
Symbolising Faith, that is its name
For it is a symbol that has five points
And each line overlaps and links the other
Therefore it has no end, and is called in England
And everywhere in England
They call it “The Endless Knot”,
And so it was appropriate for this knight and his fine weaponry
For worthy in each five places and five times
Gavin was as renowned for his measure as purified gold
Cleansed of all evil, with virtue in every cell
And so at that moment
He bore the device on shield and coat
Notable in fable and legend
Most civilised of them all
First he was found faultless in his five senses
Since he never weakened even in his fingers five
And all his belief in the world
Was founded upon the five wounds of Kriste
That Kriste pinned on the cross, as doctrine tells us
And wherever this man was placed in battle
His steadfast thoughts were, through everything,
Hung on his pride of the five joys
That the highest Queen of the Sky
Had the greatest pleasure in her offspring
For this reason the goodly knight
Had her picture painted in the greater half of his shield
So that when he glanced her way his courage never failed
The fifth group of five that the man used
Was generosity and love of men above all other things
His courtesy and politeness never failed
And compassionateness, beyond measure of quality,
These noble five were more firmly fastened to that individual than to any other one.
Now all these five occasions, truly, were arrayed on this knight
And each joined to the other, that had no end
And established upon five points that never failed
Never repeated, nor broken on any side
Neither joined together to a side nor ever broken
Without finish at any angle, I find
Whether the man was beginning or coming to an end
Therefore on his brightly fashioned shield
Splendidly with red gold upon dyed-red ermine
That is the simple pentangle which the people credit with healing powers
Now happy Gavin is blessed
And caught his lance right there fearing his lance
And bidding them all “Hooray!”
Off he went for a year and a day.
He dug his heels into his horse’s flanks, and off they shot!
With such a rush of wind that the fire went out!
All that saw it secretly sighed in their hearts
And speaking truly to each other said
Of that handsome Knight, “Shit, it’s a disaster
That you, whom we care for, shall die, and lose your carefree life!
To find his equal upon earth is not easy
It would have been cleverer to have acted with greater discretion
And to have said there was never a noble Duke with such a name.
A brilliant general, matched by none in the country
And had better remained so, than beheaded
By an Aelvish man for the sake of wounded pride
Who ever knew any King to take such advice
As the Knights in the Xmas revels;
—M A L A R K Y ! ! !—
There were many salty tears cried from many eyes
When that handsome courtesan sallied forth from the home that day
He didn’t lie low anywhere
But swiftly went along his way
He rode on many tricky paths
As the story goes
So this man rode through the region called “Logres”
Sir Gavin, under God’s direction, of whom no-one spared a thought
Often he spent the night company-less and alone
Where he found not before him the food he liked.
He had no adversary but his own error by hills and woodland
He had no-one but Kali-Road to speak with
Till he had approached and made his way to north Wales
To his left were all the Isles of Anglesey
And fared the fords on the foreshore
Over at Holy Head, until he made the shore again
And hailed heartily the good folk he met
And indeed he asked of the people he met as he journeyed
If they had heard any talk of the Green Knight
In any land thereabouts, or of the Green Knight
And they all answered him no, that never in their lives
They had never seen anyone of such a colour of green.
The Knight took strange roads
Through many inhospitable a hillside
His mood changed full often
Before he may see that chapel
He climbed many rock faces in strange regions
Having wandered far from his friends
He rode alone in strange lands
At each shore the man passed over the water
He beheld an adversary before him,
That was unusual
And it was so hideous and dangerous that he was obliged to slay it.
The man found so many miracles amongst the hills
That it was difficult to relate even the tenth part of it
Sometimes he battles with dragons, and also with wolves
Sometimes with warlocks, who lived amongst the rocky crags and crannocks,
Both with wild bulls and bears, and boars furthermore
And giants, which chased him angrily up and down the hills
Had he not been dusty and dry, and served God
No doubt he would have been killed and slain many times.
Battles didn’t bother him as much as the winter which was worse
When the clouds shed the cold clear water
And froze before it struck the pale ground
Half dead from the sleet he slept in his armour
More than enough nights on the bare rocks
As the cold streams splashed from the high peaks
And hung high over his head in hard icicles
And so, with danger and suffering and impossible tasks
Over the land this knight rode alone, until Xmas Eve
At that time the knight
Made supplications to the Goddess
To direct him how to arrive and carry him to some abode
He rode happily by a hill one morning into a well-deep forest that was pretty wild
High hills on every side, and brakes under them
Hundreds upon hundreds of beautiful mature oaks
The hazels and hawthorn tangled together as one
With rough shaggy moss arranged everywhere
With many unhappy birds on the bare branches
That squeaked piteously with pain from the cold
The man upon Gringolet hastened under them
Through many bogs and swamps this man all alone
Making his religious observances, lest he should never
Arrive at Xmas, which on that self-same night
Of a Damsel was born to bring peace on earth
Before passing out he cried, “I beg of you, Lord,
And Mary, that is mildest mother so dear
I must perform the Mass in some lodging hereabouts
And the Matins tomorrow, humbly I ask
Therefore I promptly say my Ave Maria, Paternoster and Creed.”
He rode along praying, lamenting for his sin
Slowing several times and saying,
“God on the Cross, make this easier!”
Has he not blessed himself three times over
Before he was perceived in the wood by a moated castle
Above a field, greenery all around
The most good looking that ever a man owned
Constructed on a greensward with well-mown lawns all around
Enclosed all around by a thick spiked fence
That surrounded many trees more than two miles around
This man beheld the castle from that side
As it shimmered and shone through
Then he dexterously grabbed the lovely oak trees
His helmet, and conscientiously prayed, thanking Jesus and St. Giles, who are both merciful,
Who had kindly shown him the way and listened to his cry
“Now good dwelling,” said the man, “I beseech you to provide,”
Then he spurred Gringolet with his shiny spurs
And by genuine good luck chose the main gate
Which quickly led him to the draw-bridge in no time at all
Then the bridge shot up
The gates were shut-fast
The walls were well built
No wind could blow them over
The man rested on the bank on his horse which had stopped there,
Where the double ditch met the building
The wall stood in the water which was marvellously deep
And also incredibly high was it built overhead
Of tough hewn stone up to the moulded cornice-pieces
Projecting horizontal coursings under the battlements of the finest style,
And similarly garrets crafted cunningly between them
With many elegant handsome loop-hole windows
A better castle that man had never seen.
Within he saw a lofty hallway
High towers between, headed by thickets of antlers
Beautiful tight-fitting pinnacles, beautifully long
With carved ornamental tops made with cunning art
He could pick out hundreds of chalk-white chimney-stacks
Upon the tower roofs that gleamed exceedingly brightly
So many pinnacles were scattered thereabouts
Clustering thickly about the crenulated battlements
That it seemed it could only have been made out of paper
To the man on the horse it seemed handsome enough,
If he might manage to enter the rooms within
To take lodging in that house awhile
The holiday endured, very pleasant.
He shouted, and there soon came a very polite and courteous doorman
And addressed the errant Knight
“Dear Sir,” said Gavin, “Would you convey my massage
To the Master of this house, to find shelter?”
On the (-) he stated his business
“By St. Peter,” said the doorman,” Honestly I swear,”
And kneeled down on her knees on the cold earth
“That you are welcome, My Friend,
To stay as long as you like.”
Then swiftly the bloke went off again,
And eager folk with him to welcome and receive the knight.
They let down the great drawbridge
And rushed out enthusiastically
And kneeled down upon their knees on the cold ground
To welcome his sort as they thought him noble.
They opened up for him the great gate
Then knights and squires came down
To bring this man into the house with all due ceremony
When he lifted up his visor, there hurried plenty of knights and squires who came down next
To grasp and shake his hand
They took both his shield and his sword
And each and every one greeted him well courteously
Many a brave man hastened him to honour
All dressed in his (-) clothes they brought him to the great hall
The brave fire burned fiercely upon the hearth
Then the gracious Lord bowed from his chamber
To meet with the crowd of people upon the floor
“You are welcome to dwell here as long as you like,” he said,
“All that is here you may possess, and have at your command.”
“Thanks a lot, ” said Gavin.
“May the Highest of Powers of Heaven bless you,”
Like long-lost friends
They embraced each other.
Gavin looked closely at the man who welcomed him,
Remarking to himself that a brave spirit dwelt within that frame
A large-built man, no mistake, and in the prime of life
His beard was thick and shiny, the colour of kiln-fired pottery
Imperturbable, solid as an old oak, legs like tree roots
His expression alive, eyes brimming with energy, free in speech
And it seemed highly appropriate, for sure,
As he thought to himself, to bear the leadership of the good company within the castle walls.
The master turned into a side room, and above all required
A man to serve him with deference
His bondsmen were numerous enough
Who brought them to a well-lit bedroom,
With expensive decor
Of curtains of clear silk with neat gold hems
And intricate coverlets of multifarious panels
Bright embroidered banners hung on the walls

Many curtains on rails with red gold curtain rings
Finely woven tapestries of Toulouse and Tarsian silk
And underfoot, on the floor, stuff of similar quality.
He was put at his ease with joyful stories
Removed his mail shirt and his colourful clothes.
They brought the man clothes of the deepest red
To wear, to swap, and select the best.
As soon as he had selected some, and dressed himself in them
These flowing robes suited him well
His race seemed illuminated as if by spring-time
Well nigh to each and every man, of all shades
All brilliant and glowing all his limbs underneath
That a handsomer Knight Kriste never made
Thus he seemed of the world
To be King without equal
In fields where great men fought
A chair before the chimney where a coal-fire burned
Was apportioned in front of Sir Gavin covered with fine drapery
Cushions upon quilted coverings that were both beautifully made
A gay robe was stretched across his shoulders
Made of rich brown stuff; embroidered in great detail
And furred inside with the beautiful skin of the animal
Trimmed with ermine the hood also
And he sat in that well-appointed chimney-nook
And warmed himself up, consequently feeling much better
Soon a table was put up on fine trestles
Covered by a clean white cloth
Overcloth and salt-cellar, with silver spoons
The man washed at his will, and sat at the table
He was served most graciously
With various excellent dishes
Prepared by the most experienced chefs
With double helpings, as it happened, and many different species of fishes
Some battered, others grilled athwart the red-hot coals
Some boiled, some simmered in stew with spices,
And intricate Sauces delicately engineered. Yum!
Many times he good-naturedly called it a feast
Politely, and when all the knights encouraged him at once:
“This penance that you now take
Hereafter shall be lifted
It will be time to celebrate again.”
(People often make a lot of noise when
The booze has gone to their head!)
Then it was noticed and enquire about in a tactful fashion
By the questions they discreetfully asked him
If he had any news of the court he came from
That the wise Arthur graciously ruled by himself
Who is the righteous Royal King of the round table
And whether Gavin himself sat at that himself,
And by happenstance at that Xmas, his own affair was broached.
When the master learned that he was the very man
He laughed loudly at that, he thought it so wondrous
And at that signal all the people made noises of tumultuous joy
To appear promptly before him
So that all Knightly prowess and power and goodly chivalrous endeavour
Belonged to his person and praised forever
In front of everyone else on the planet his worth is praised the most.
Each man softly spoke to his mate, and said,
“Now we shall truly see acts in the practised skill of courtly Knightliness
And the most elevated and sophisticated conversation
What power is in speech we may learn
Since we asked in that fine father of good breeding.
We have been well provisioned-for by the Goddess it is no lie,
That in favouring us with such a guest as Gavin
When glad people shall sit in their houses and be jolly.
In understanding and manners noble
This man shall bring to us,
I hope this Gentlemen here
Shall discover how to chat-up women
By that was the dinner finished and the deer away
Night was fast approaching.
Priests made their solemn way up to the temples
Bells rung deeply and loudly, as they rightly should
To the devout evensong of the feasting
The blokes turned to go there, and the ladies also
They entered daintily into a well-adorned stall
They entered into a cunningly constructed and designed chamber
And politely introduced himself and called him by his name
Telling him he was the most welcome of any man in the world
Gavin hastened happily to go there as soon as possible
The Lord grabbed him by the trestle and led him to a seat
Then the Lady desired to look on the Knight
And she came up to him surrounded by many fair ladies
She was the most beautiful of skin, flesh and cheek
Of all other of proportion, colour and quality
And more glamorous than even Gwenevere, it seemed to him
He sped through the chancel to admire that hand
He held another lady by the other hand
That was the eldest of the two, and frail it seemed
And deeply honoured with Knights all about
The ladies were dissimilar to look upon
For one was young and fresh, the other was old and withered
Her apparel a rich deep red arrayed all over her
Whilst the other displayed boldly rouged cheeks (red wrinkled and sagging)
Handkerchiefs of the one, with many clear pearls
On her chest and her bare throat were shining more brightly and more on show
Beautiful then snow which fell on the hills
That other was dressed with a choker on her throat
Wrapped over her backbone with chalk-white veils
Her breasts wrapped up in silk, all about and everywhere
Turreted and detailed with great ornamentation
Nothing was exposed of that woman but her black bra-straps
The two eyes and the nose, the naked lips
Those which were ugly to see, and with too much lipstick
An honourable lady she might be called in this world, Yahweh, Kriste, Armageddon!!!
She was known as the most adorable in the world, by Kriste!
Her body was short and well-set
Her buttocks shapely and broad
No sight was more pleasing
Than to have her on one’s arm
When Sir Gavin looked upon that Lady
Who was so well caparisoned
With the free permission of the Master he approached them again
The senior he greeted, bowing deeply
The lovelier he took her pretty hand
And kissed it neatly
Then he asked permission to introduce himself, and shortly asked
To be her slave if she so wished
They took him between them, and chatting away
Led him from room to room, fireplace to fireplace
Mainly asking of him spices, that men
Sped home unsparingly to bring them
The gracious Lord leapt clean in the air many times
Encouraging the generation of joyousness many times,
Was caught up suddenly by his hood and hung upon the end of a spear
And waved it to win their honour
To arouse much merriment that Xmastime
And I shall put it to the test, I swear to gather with the best
Before I have to go without clothing with my friends help
And so with merry words the Master made great entertainment
To please Sir Gavin with the people in the castle that night
Until it was time
That the Master chose to order,
Sir Gavin knew to take his leave And to his bed he went.
And in the morning, as each man thought of that moment
That Yahweh was born to die for our fate
People gathered wealth about them on earth for their own protection;
So did it on that day through many dainties
Both in church and at table seemly prayers
Stout, well-dressed men upon the sacrificial alter.
The ancient old woman sat highest
The Lord took his place graciously by her
Gavin and his handsome Lady sat together
Even in the middle of all this, as the food arrived in a timely fashion
And similarly through all the rooms as seemed fitting
By each groom according to his rank was served
There was meat, there was joy, there was much merriment
In fact so much that it would be a pain to recount it all,
And to describe it in detail would be irksome
Yet I know that Gavin and the fine Lady
Took such pleasure in each other’s company
Through her pleasant private conversation
With polite courteous chatter with no swearing
In that her teasing surpassed each princely Knight in truth.
Trumpets and kettledrums,
Much piping of their presence
Each man attended to his
And those two offered theirs
Much happiness was enjoyed that day and the next
And the third day after as equally crowned with delight
The merriment of St. John’s day was natural joy
And that was the last of that sort of thing, as the Knights intended
There were guests to go on the grey morning
For which they awoke amazedly, and the wine having been drunk
Dancing incessantly with heartfelt singing
At last, when it was late, they took their leave,
Each one to make his own merry way as he felt appropriate
He bade Gavin “Safe journey”, the good man embraced him
And led him to his own room by the fireside
He took himself to one side and graciously pondered
Of the delightful honourable treatment he had been shown
As to honour his house on that high tide
To bless his castle with sublime bliss.
“I know, Sir, while I am still alive, I shall be the better off
That Gavin has been my guest at God’s own feast.”
“Good blessings Sir, ” said Gavin, “In good faith it is your own
All the honour is your own, you hold the Kingship
I am at your command to do as you please
I am bound thereto, in all matters both in high and in low.”
The Lord earnestly endeavoured
To hold the Knight longer;
He answered Sir Gavin
That he was not able to under any circumstances
Then that self-same man enquired politely
What harsh task had brought him at such a joyous time
So urgently from the King’s court to ride alone
Before the festive holly was even carried out of town.
“Truly, Sir, you speak the exact truth.
A hasty and urgent summons took me from my abode,
For I am summoned myself to such a place
I don’t know where in the world I am to travel to find it.
Therefore, Sir, I entreat you here and now to tell
Truly, if you have ever heard the story
Of the Green Chapel, its whereabouts
And of the Knight who lives there, who is green.
A Tryst was established by solemn agreement,
If I survived, to battle in the designated place
If I would not but reach it by New Year’s Day
For all the land that is in England, for Kriste’s sake!!
Until Jan. 1st little time now remains
And to see his face again, if luck is on my side,
By Apollo! It would cheer me up more than any good thing else!
For I know by your will for this reason, certainly,
I am duty bound to go there.
Otherwise I would rather die than fail my mission.
And I, as desirous to rush toward my doomed fate as to succeed in my task.”
“It is not two miles from here.”
“Now I thank you heartily for this beyond all else
Now my chance is come, and I shall stay here
At your will, and do whatever else you require.”
Then he grasped the Master and sat beside him
“Bring on the girls,” to pleasure him the more
Privately he was extremely delighted
The Master spoke so joyfully because he was happy
As a man full ware of his intelligence not knowing what he was doing
Then he bragged to the master, shouting out loud,
“You have decided to perform the deed I require;
Will you fulfil this promise now and here?”
“Aye Sir, truly indeed, “said the trusty Knight,
“As long as I rest my head in your castle,” he said,
“I am at your command.”
“For you have travelled and journeyed from afar,
And you have not slept, and are not well recovered
For neither of good food nor sleep, truly I know;
You can lie-in in your loft, and take your ease.
Tomorrow morning at Mass time, while people gather,
If you like I shall send my wife to sit with you
To comfort you with company until I return home.
You stay, and I shall get up early; I will go hunting.”
Gavin accorded with all this,
He bowed graciously saluting him.
“Light the cooking-fire,” said he, “Let’s make a deal:
That whatever I catch in the wood it will be yours
And whatever fortune brings you, shall be exchanged with me.
Therefore, let us trade thusly, give me your word
Let us see, my good man, whether good or ill befalls our lot.”
For Kriste’s sake,” said the good Sir Gavin, “I’ll give it my vote,
It seems a quaint notion that we should amuse ourselves thusly.”
“Let us drink upon it, and seal the bargain,” said the Master.
They both roared with laughter.
They boozed and conversed and amused themselves with revels,
All the gentry, for as long as it pleased them;
And afterwards with elaborate politeness and much eloquent speech making
They stood and stopped and spoke quietly,
Kissing their companions and taking their leave.
With many bright people and the burning of torches
Each person was brought at last to their gentle soft sleep
Before they were in bed
They recited pledges for a time;
The old Master of that people
Could really put pleasure at the fore.


The guests arose well early, before dawn
Those that were departing that day called for their horse-mechanics
And jumped up with alacrity into their horses saddle
Readied their tackle, tucked in their boots
They thought they were the bees knees, to ride all dressed up to the nines thus
They mounted their steeds with alacrity, and took hold of their horses bridles
Everyone taking the road which pleased them the most
The dear master of the castle was not the last
Thus dressed and ready to ride, accompanied by not few Knights;
Ate breakfast briefly, after prayers
The horns sounded on the hunting field as he got hastily ready.
By the time the first rays of sunlight struck the ground,
He was charging around on horseback with his followers
The canny dog catchers leashed their hounds
Closed the kennel door and led them out of there,
Three stark notes were sounded on the horns
The hounds raised note, and made a jolly racket
Those that went off chasing were punished and turned back
A hundred of the best hunters, as the Bards relate
Went to the stations of the keepers of the deer hounds
Hunters set-off in pairs
There arose for a good blast
A great racket in that forest.
At the first call of the hounds the wild creatures trembled;
There broke in the valley, mad with fear
Suddenly rushing up to the high ground
Turned back from the ring of beaters, who shouted fiercely
They released the lofty deer from out of the gate
The muscular male deer also with their broad branching antlers;
For the master had ordained that in close-season that no man should pursue male deer.
The hinds were bound in with a “Tallyho!”, and “Tooraloo!”
The dogs were driven with cacophony to the deep valley-sides
And behold! The letting loose of many arrows-
At every turn arrows were flying in the woods
Which cut deeply into the flanks of the deer with their great sharp heads
“What!” they cry, and bleed, dying by pits
And indeed the scent-hounds followed him madly in a rush
Hunters pursued them keenly with blaring trumpets
Whatever game tried to escape the firing men
Was all pulled to the ground and ripped apart at the hunting posts.
Thus they were harassed on the hills and pursued to the water’s edge
The hunters were so skilful at the low hunting posts, and so big the dogs,
That they quickly seized them, faster than you could see, it may be
And tore them down,
The master was carried away with joy
Galloping and dismounting many times
And so thus the day passed, and
Carried on until night fell
And the master amused himself by the borders of a wood
And Gavin the good man lay happily in his bed
Lying snugly whilst the daylight crept up the walls
Under a plain white coverlet, with curtains hung all about
And as he lay dozing off, warily he heard
A little neat knock upon his door
So he sat bolt upright under his duvet
Lifted up a portion of the curtain around his bed
And looked warily in that direction to see what it might be.
It was the Lady of the house, in haughty demeanour
Who shut the door after her well carefully and quietly
And crept toward the bed; and the gent, embarrassed,
And lay down quickly, as if he were asleep
And she came slowly and stealthily to his bed
Raised the curtain and crept within
And sat down gently on the bedside
And stayed there an exceedingly long time to see if he would awaken.
The young man lay nice and snug for a good long while
Gathering his thoughts and pondering what he ought to do
To move in the slightest seemed to him an astonishment
But he said to himself,” It would be more appropriate
To find out quickly what she is doing in my space.”
Then he awoke, stretched himself, and turned towards her
Opened his eyes and made like he was surprised
And crossed himself; as if to give thanks to The Father, with his hand.
With her lovely chin and cheeks so fair
A wholesome blush set in both on parchment skin
With a sweet tone of voice and full Lady-like behaviour
With petite lips parted in a gentle smile
“Good morning, Sir Gavin,” said the Happy Lady,
“You are an unwary sleeper, that someone can steal up on you thus!
“Now you are quite awake! But a truce may thus be arranged:
“I shall tie you to your bed, as agreed,”
Laughing the Lady uttered the jest.
“Good morning, Dear Lady,” said Gavin blithely
“I shall do as you say, which pleases me greatly
“For I surrender promptly, and beg for mercy
“And that is best, in my judgement, for my duty-bound needs,”
Thus he jested again, with much glad laughter,
“But would you, then, beautiful Lady, give me leave,
“Release your prisoner, and tell him to get-up
“I would budge from this bed, and spruce myself up
“This would allow me to converse with you in more comfort,”
“No, truly, handsome Sir,” said the beauty,
“You shall not arise from your bed, I have a better idea.
“I shall wrap you up in that other half also
“And in this way will converse with the knight I have entrapped so,
“For I know without doubt, Sir Gavin you are
That all the world worships wherever you go
Your honour, your courteousness is nobly praised
With Lords, Ladies and all living beings
And now you are here, for sure, and we two are both alone
My master and his Groupie Troupies are miles away
Other warriors are in their beds, and my maidens also
The door closed and locked with a stout hasp
And since I have in this house him whom everyone worships
I shall use my time profitably while it lasts with stories.
You are welcome to my body
Your own pleasure for to take
It becomes me by force of arms alone
To be your humble servant.”
“I must verily say, “said Gavin, “It is to my benefit,
“I think, not to be that of which you have just spoken;
“To reap the benefits of such rewards as
“Those which you now repeat
“I am unworthy, I know well in myself
“For Christ’s sake, I am pleased and if it seemed appropriate to you
“Require of me some other task
“That must please you as greatly- it would
“Be a simple pleasure for me.”
“To speak the truth, Sir Gavin,” said the merry Lady,
“The cost and the reward to please the most
“If I were wanting or took it too lightly
“It were but courteous behaviour
“There are people aplenty, who would
“At this moment desire to have you,
“Gracious one, in their possession as I now have you
“To dilly-dally splendidly with charming love talk
“Providing comfort and soothing of worries
“Then much of the treasure other than gold would they possess.
“But I praise that sort of knight which you praise to the heavens
“I have these kinds of affairs in hand,
“Through the generous and wholly beneficent equality
“Of the Sword of Nuada.”
She encouraged him to such courteous knightly behaviour
That was so fair in the face of appearance
Then that Knight, with pure speeches,
Answered her on every point
“Lady,” said the jolly man, “May Mary
“Repay you for I have found in you a noble generosity
“Other people make a lot of their actions
“But the sweet they serve me for my reward is foolishly exaggerated;
“It is your very own generosity, that can only lead you into Right Action.
“And people very commonly take
“Their line of action from others, but the honour which they appoint to me
“They exaggerate above my desert;
It is the generosity of yourself who can only behave with courtesy
“Lord’o’Mercy,” said the Worthiness, “I consider it contrarywise,”
“For if I was worth all the adoration of all living women
“And all the worldly goods and chattels were at my command,
“And I should bargain with it and decide to acquire a man
“For the qualities I have discovered in you, Knight, here,
“Of beauty and high living and free conversation
“And since I have listened and believed
“I would select no other who walks upon this earth.”
“I know, my dear,” said he, “That you could truly chose better,
“But I am proud of the value you put on me
“And, your willing servant, I hold you supreme
“Henceforth I am solely your knight at arms, and God Speed You.”

And so they spoke together of this and that,
Until it was way past mid-morning.
The lady really did seem as if she held him in very high esteem indeed.
She had in her mind to be his fairest lady
The lesser love in his journey, for that he sought without delay
The blow that would kill him
It should be done most urgently. The Lady then spoke of love
And he was not slow to encourage her.
Then they parted, and with laughing eyes
And as she stood there, she amazed him with mighty powerful words.
Now may the maker of worlds yield this entertainment to you:
That you are Gavin I am debating in my head:
“Why is that?” said the man, quickly enquiring
Afraid lest he had failed in his role in some way
But the Lady blessed him, and saying thus:
“As much as Sir Gavin’s noble honour is held in high esteem
And is said to have razor-sharp wits
In all politeness could not have spent so long with a lady
With asking for a trifle, for his worthiness
As a token to symbolise the end of an account.”
And so Gavin said: “With all respect Madam,
I know I shall kiss at your bidding, like a fallen knight
And besides, unless he annoy you, so plead it no more.”
She came close at those words, and held him tightly,
Lay down quickly, and kissed the knight.
They duly commended each other’s souls to God
She went quickly to the door with
No fuss or hassle, and he stretched and arose to dress,
Calling his attendant, choosing his clothes
And set forth, once dressed, in all innocence to mass
Then he went to his meal, which occupied him most excellently
And amused himself all day with malarky, until the moon arose
Never a man was more ingeniously entertained
By two such thigh-slapping Ladies good
The elder and the younger both
They made much amusement between them
Before long the master of the property took his place
To hunt in the knolls and commons for deer without fawn;
He had slain such a number that by the time the sun’s rays were diminishing,
Of dogs and bucks, that it was a miracle.
Finally, there was a rush of people coming in,
The kill was marked and divided-up.
The best turned their hand to it, and there were enough of them,
Obtaining the hugest chunks of flesh that were there
Applying themselves conscientiously as the task required
They examined and put to the test various which were present
Two finger breadths they found of the poorest quality.
So the slit the gizzard, heaved out the guts,
Scraped away with a razor-sharp knife and bound-up the white meat;
Then they tore-off the four limbs, and carefully pared away the hide
Sliced through the groin and took out the testicles
Cunningly extracted them, and the muscular knot of the pelvic floor
They grabbed the gargulun, and without delay detached
The oesophagus from the wind-hole and flung out the guts;
Then they sawed through the shoulders with their sharp knives
Drew them out by a little hole to have flank pieces
Then they cut up the breast complete and tore it in two,
Again at the gargulun they started on it,
Ripping up rapidly to the mouth
Emptying out the numbles, and truly then afterwards
All the membranes covering the ribs they shortly cut-out;
So they correctly clear away around the back bones,
Right up the haunche, that was hanging all in one piece
And casting it up in one piece, cutting it there
And, as I believe, they classify the numbles in the following way:
“By the front leg pinion by the thighs
The sinews are attached behind”
They hasten to cut it in two
Detaching them from the backbone
Next the sliced through head and neck both
Following this they hacked the flanks from the back,
And the raven’s fee they bunged in a thick grove of trees
Then they speared each stout flank, and hauled each one from off the backbone
Then the other they hanged by the hocks of the leg pinions
Each man was given his share, as befell his lot
The skin of the beast they gave to their dogs
With the liver and lungs, and the tripe,
And the blood-soaked bread mixed in amongst it.
They blew vigorously three times, the hunting dogs barked, howled and bayed
After they received her flesh, turned to go home,
Sounding the horn many times and loudly.
By the time daylight was ebbing the remaining assembled company
Gathered into the stout castle where the knights were meditating
With joy and lovely bright torches kindled
The lord came there unto
When Gavin met with him
They both expressed pleasure
Then the master ordered that all should be gathered together in that room
Even the ladies and their maids were to descend
Before all the folk gathered in the hall he requested
In all good faith to bring his deer-flesh before him
In merriment and laughter he called Gavin to this side
To tell him stories about nimble beasties,
And show him the white flesh shorn from the ribs.
“How can you match this adventure? Do I merit honour?
Have I earned abundant thanks through my talent and ability?
“Truly yes!” said that other man, “Here is the most abundance of food
That I have seen for seven years this winter
“And I give you everything,” said that bloke
“For in agreement with your wishes as you desire for your own
“This is true,” said the guy, “I said something like that,”
What I have earned in my stay indoors, truly
I know with good will it shall become yours
He clasped this good man in his arms
And kissed him as prettily as he could
“There you go, it is all that I have achieved;
I would bestow it freely, though it were greater.”
“That was something,” said the good man
“God forgive me. It is good, and better
Still, and I declare to you, where you
Acquired one such as this by your cunning.”
“I didn’t ask for it,” said he, “Question me no more
For you have been rewarded with
That which you deserved, seek none other, you may.
They laughed, and became merry and jocund
With jolly speech
Proceeding in this manner to dinner
With fresh delicacies anew
And then by the fireplace they sat in the dining room
With choice wine brought to them frequently;
And also with their rude jokes they rung together truly in the morning
To carry out the agreement that they had agreed on earlier
Whatever fate brought them they would freely exchange
Whatever new thing thus they obtained, at night when they met.
They renewed their agreement before the whole court;
The drink was brought forth in jest instantly,
Then they happily took leave of each other,
Finally each man going to his own bed which he quickly prepared.
Following which meal the sermon was quickly delivered in the evening
The company repaired to the wood, before the sun was up, to hunt;
The lofty hunters and their horns
Through fields they tore
Letting rip through the branches
The dogs running headlong
Soon they called for a search to be made by the side of a thicket
They encouraged the hounds which had first given voice
They uttered harsh words with booming voices;
The harkening hounds rushed to the spot speedily,
And at once took on a trail, all forty of them;
Then such an exultant noise of hounds on the scent arose,
That the surrounding hills rang with tumult.
The hunters encouraged them with shouts and horn blasts.
Then the pack dove in between
A pool in that wood and a forbidding crag;
All in a knot together by the marsh side,
There where rough rocks were strewn about
They scrambled over and the men followed;
They cast about the gnarled and knotted peak
Folk, the best who ever breathed (whilst breath was still within them), with the dogs
They stomped around and commanded him to arise
And he leapt out disastrously in the people’s path;
On the most marvellous wild boar leapt out there, a long time
Sundered from the herd that animal had grown wise with age.
He was fearsome and bore piercing sharp tusks,
Frighteningly he roared, then all were dismayed
Three times he thrust and thrust at the ground
And rushed forwards doing even more damage.
The others cried Hey! Shrilly Hey! Hey!
They put horns to their mouths, hastily blowing cried their horns
The happy shouts of men and hounds sounded forth
Who hunted after this boar with clamour and noise
Often he turned and took a stance against the hounds
And in the fracas he injured the dogs!
Maiming them, and they cried and howled piteously.
In this event the men shot arrows through them
Loosing many at one time; they struck him frequently,
But the points would not penetrate his flesh,
Even that the carefully planed shafts were sundered;
The heads rebounded off wheresoever they struck.
But seemingly the blows hurt him with their punishing strikes,
Then, brain dead with fighting, he turned upon the men,
Injuring them sorely with his sudden sally,
And many of them were terrified and withdrew at that.
But the master on an elegant courser sped after him,
As a valiant man upon the field of combat
He sounded his horn, calling his hunters to rally
Charged through the undergrowth,
Pursuing this wild pig until the sun shone.
This day with such a deed they passed the time in this way,
Whilst our handsome boy lay in his bed,
Gavin promptly at home, in bedclothes of rich dark colour.
The mistress of the house did not forget
To come to him with a good morning;
She advanced on him well early
To put him in a good mood.
She crept up to the curtain and peered through at Sir Gavin,
Who immediately welcomed her enthusiastically,
She too reciprocated, and returned his greeting:
“My lord, if it be truly you, Gavin, it is a wonder in my opinion
That a spirit can be so well oriented to goodness all the time,
And yet not be cognisant of their manners and customs,
And if a man could get to know you,
You could picture him on your mind;
You have already forgotten that yesterday I showed you, by Bran the Blessed,
The exchange I made for our talk.
“What’s that?” said he, ” I have no idea about it;
If it is true what you say, then the fault is entirely my own.
“Even thus I made you by kissing,” said the Fair One,
“Even so the face is quick enough to reveal;
This is true for every knight to whom courtesy reveals.”
“Give over with that talk,” said he, “My dear,”
“I dared not try that on, lest I be refused;
“If I was so advised, I would be acting falsely, if I first made advances.”
“Oh my darling,” said the jolly maid, “You were not so boldly put forward,
“You are brave enough to use strength with restraint, as it pleases you,
Many woman were so mischievous to deny you.”
“Well, by Jupiter, you might very well say
For aggression is ungentle manly in that, the country where I dwell,
And any gift taken that is not given freely.
I am at your will, to kiss whenever you wish to,
Adore me as and when seems fitting.”
The Lady bent forward and softly kissed his face,
They always make much talk of happiness and grief in loving
“I would learn from you, dear fellow,” said that noble person
“And not anger you with it, what was the talent
That no-one so young and so valiant as you are now,
So polite, so considerate, so mindful as you are renowned
And of all knighthood to choose, the thing most praised
Is the true lack of human contact, and the mastery and science of weaponry;
For to recite the labours and deeds of this veritable knight,
For it is written in stone, the title of the deeds,
How men have risked their lives for her dear love
Put up with dreary and dreadful times for her sake
And afterwards avenged with their valour and dispelled her worries
And brought bounteous gifts and pleasure beyond all measure-
And you are the most handsome knight of your kind
Speech and praise of you passes through all doors,
And I have sat here by your side on two separate occasions,
Yet still I never heard once any talk from your lips,
Not any at all, about romantic stuff;
And you, who are so elegant and charming of manner,
It is befitting a young man to show lusty
And to show some spirit in love-games
What! Do you not know what all your renown signifies?
For pities sake!
I am alone, sitting here, to learn some tricks from you
Go on, instruct me Oh wise one while the master is off”
“In good faith,” said Gavin, “God protect you!
That would please me greatly, nothing would be better,
That one so honourable as yourself should come hither
And trouble yourself with such a humble man, as to dally with your knight
With any such looks of good favour, it encourages my delight;
But to take the trouble to express my true love
And to illuminate with tales of high endeavour, battles and weaponry
To you whom I know well to be better informed in subtlety and cunning
By that art, of which half a hundredfold of which as I am,
Others ever will be, on this planet which I inhabit
It was fivefold folly, my Lord, dammit,
I would fulfil your desire to the greatest of my ability
Because I am nobly duty bound, and
Pledge myself forever to be your servant, so help me God!!
Thus swore our noble knight, discovering himself full many a time
To have won her heartfelt deepest devotion whatever else she might think of him
But he explained himself so well that it didn’t seem to be his fault
There was no ill feeling on either party,
And they discovered nothing but happiness together.
For a while they laughed and amused themselves
Finally she gave him a kiss, and left him as it pleased her
And went her way, I guess.
Then the bloke got himself out of bed,
Prayed and shortly obtained his meal.
He frolicked with the ladies all day,
But the master cast himself across the countryside all day,
Pursuing solely his boar, which plunged through the undergrowth and
Deflecting his surest thrusts broke his spears asunder
Then he stood his ground, until archers
Burst upon him, and do what he might uttering cries of despair,
Arrows fell fast and thick from the mob.
Even so, he put up the doughtiest resistance,
Until he was at last so exhausted he could no longer move,
However, in the confusion he sought out shelter,
Up a bank by the rocks where a small stream ran; spinning the bank to his back,
Starting to paw the ground, gouts of foam coughed hideously
Around the corners of his mouth, soaking his gleaming tusks;
The men surrounding him baited and poked at him boldly
To goad and provoke him boldly from a safe distance, but dared not
Approach too closely, for he had injured
Their companions so they were all
Wary of being ripped by his huge tusks
And he was fierce and frenzied,
Until the knight himself appeared, urging on his steed, since he
Stood his ground with the men all around him;
He leapt lightly from his horse, leaving him to one side
Unsheathing a long brightly burnished sword
And stepped forward briskly,
And hastened forward through to where the animal was standing.
The boar was mindful of the man with a weapon in his hand,
With fierce snorting and heckles raised fully,
All were scared for their Lord’s life.
The boar leapt at the man
The man and the creature were engaged in melee
The latter was coming off worse,
For the knight had the measure of him,
And as they clashed, firmly shoved the blade at his throat
Split him from top to toe, and sliced through his heart
He snarled and yielded, and sped across the water speedily.
Thousands of dogs ripped him apart
A hundred hounds tore him apart vigorously biting
The men brought them under control, killing a few here and there.
Exultant horns cleaved the air
Much cheering of voices from the hillsides;
At their masters bidding hounds began to howl
Those of whose hounds had been the chief instigators in this exhausting chase
Then someone who was knowledgeable
Began to dissect the dead corpse.
First he cut the head off and put it on a pole, then he
Sliced roughly along the back
Drawing out the bowels, broiling them on red-hot coals, boiled with
Bread to reward his faithful hounds
Then he cut out great white slabs of boar’s flesh and took out
The edible entrails, as it seemed fitting;
Then he sewed the two halves together
And fastened them securely to a stout staff. Then with this
Very same hog they hastened home; the hog’s head was carried along
Before the walkers, who held him in high esteem because of his muscle.
Until they saw Sir Gavin
In the extensive hall
He shouted and came promptly
Through the crowd to claim his portion
The master loudly spoke with great mirth
When he saw Sir Gavin he spoke consolingly
The proud ladies gathered together along with everyone else
He showed them the great flanks of boar flesh
And elaborated on the story of greatness and majesty
The listeners also, of the ferociousness of the wild boar which they had chased
In the woods. That the other gallant knights praised most strongly his deeds
And praised with great deservedly-won praise
For such a great quantity of flesh,
The noble knight said,
Nor such slabs of boar he had never seen. Then they took hold of the boar’s head
The well-mannered man praising it, and professing horror to the master’s ears
“Now Gavin,” said the good man, “This game is your own,”
“As we have both agreed upon previously as you know well,”
“It is true,” said the man, “And it is also true
“All I received I shall give you, by my word,”
He held the bloke around the neck and kissed him gently, then he did it again.
“Now we are equal,” said he, “This evening
“Of all the legal agreements we made since I arrived.”
The master said, “By the Lord Harry, you are the best I know!
“You will be wealthy soon to drive such bargains,”
Then they raised the tables, put table cloths on them
Waxen torches sprung to life on the walls
The men sat about and served in the various rooms
Much noise and merriment and merry-making sprang up therein
All about the fire in the hall, and with many folk
Sang many ancient songs before and after the meal,
Of Christmas carols and new hymns
With all the accustomed enjoyment that is found the world over
Every knight beside a comely lady.
Such seeming looks to that man they encouragingly made
Who with stealthy expression, who
Was hard to best, that the man was all astonished, and angry with himself,
However the act turned out amiss.
When they had mucked about in the dining room
For as long as they so wished
To rooms he called them
And they came to the fireplace
And there they sat drinking and passing the time of day
And decided again to renew once more the agreement on New Year’s Evening
However the knight requested that he might ride that following morning,
For it was close to the time that he should.
The master dissuaded him from the idea, to allow him more time to recover,
Saying, “As I am a praiseworthy man I swear
“That you’ll make it to the Green Church to do your work, my good man,
Well before dawn on New Year’s Day.
Therefore pray you, lie in your room and take things easy,
And I shall hunt in these woods and look after the hunting dogs,
We’ll swap our achievements when I next pass by;
For I have tried you twice and found you true by your word.
Now let us celebrate, for “Third time proves Best,”
Forget tomorrow and let’s enjoy ourselves and have a laugh while we are able,
For people can get into trouble when it pleases them,”
And so it was done, Gavin stayed
And he was bought excellent mead, and they took their lamps to bed.
Sir Gavin lay and slept
Deeply and all night long

The master who attends his pursuits
Was up and about well early.
After prayers and a bite to eat
It was a fine morning and he asked for his horse.
All the notable riders were accompanying him
Arrayed on their horses in front of the castle gates
The fields and vegetation were cloaked with frost;
The red clouds swirled in the sun’s crimson rays
Whilst above clouds were suspended in opaque clearness.
The hunters loosed the hounds on a well-prepared hillside,
The trumpet’s wake-up call rebounded from the mountain tops;
Some sensed the presence of a fox
Setting their trails to and fro by daunt of her cunning;
A hound sounding voice attracted the men’s attention;
His companions fell to him snorting deeply
Running together in a loose pack on his tail
Scampered before him they soon came across
Saw him with their eyes and grasped him fast
Announcing his presence giving it full tongue
He, twisting and turning through many green bowers;
Doubling back and listening often by green breaks
At last by a little stream he jumped over a span
And crept stealthily out by the border of a small wood,
He went half escaped from the wood with cunning from the hounds
Then before he knew it he stumbled on a man at a hunting post
Where three steadfast men thrust angrily at him simultaneously
He swerved again vigorously
Made a new escape; all were pleased when he made for the wood again
Then it was heart warming to hear the dogs,
When they had congregated and mingled together:
Such an imprecation at that place they put on his head
As if all the clustering steeps had fallen into piles
There he cried out, when the men cornered him
He was loudly scalded;
He was attacked and called a thief
And all the hounds pressing hard at his heels, so he couldn’t rest
He was harried and hemmed-in when he made a break for the open,
Turning suddenly with his fox’s wisdom
And he took them over by moor, hill and dale
And yes indeed he led them by mysterious ways, the master and his crew
In this way among the hills until midday
Whilst the gallant knight slept well in his accommodation
Within the pleasant residences on the cold morning
But the lady did not sleep, for the sake of love
Nor to satisfy her the purpose that held her heart
But arose swiftly, and took herself thither
In a colourful dress, as befits the earth
That was lined with beautiful fur with hide trimmed of one colour
No colour about her face but the pure tint of gems
Strewn about in filigree around her hair in bundles of twenty
Her chest was bare, and also her back
She entered the chamber and closed the door behind her
Swinging open a window, saying to the man
And quickly she berated him with noble words in good humour
“Ah! My Good Man, how can you sleep when the day is so bright?”
He was fast asleep but he could hear her
In the gloomy depths of profound slumber that one murmured in his sleep
Like a man in the throes of many oppressive thoughts
That destiny should deal him his fate that day
At the green chapel, when he meets his man
And it has come unto him to put up with abuse without a word;
However when that good man comes he gathered up his wits
And dove out of his dreaming, speaking quickly
The beautiful lady came laughing sweetly to him
Bent over his handsome face, and kissed him daintily
He welcomed her politely with exceedingly good cheer
He saw her so prettily and wonderfully clothed
So faultless and full were her features,
Warm feeling welled up in his heart
With gentle smiles and sweetly they broke into amusement
So that everything was joy and goodwill
And happiness spread between them
They threw good words at each other; there was much warmth and good humour therein
Their sparring words rang true; there was much goodness in them
A great danger separated them nearby
Mary was thinking kindly of her knight
For that noble princess subjugated him so thoroughly
He cared about appearances, lest he should become a laughing stock
And more for the law, lest he should break
And do disgrace to the man who owned that tent. “Christ spare me,” said he,
“That won’t happen!” With a gay chuckle he lay beside her a little
All the magic spells and love potions that sprang into her mind
Said that Lady to that man, “you are blameworthy
If you don’t love the spirit you lie next to
Before everyone wounded in the heart
But if you have a commoner, a lover that you like better
To whom you have enfolded your heart
To whom it doesn’t please you to break your word to, and who I believe now
And if you tell me now truly, I beg of you
For all the loves upon the earth do not blame the truth for cunning.”
The knight said, “By St. Apolline,” and pleasantly smiling,
To be sure I possess at the moment nobody whatsoever.”
“I don’t believe what I’m hearing!
However I am pledged, which vexes me. Kiss me tenderly, and I shall tarry away
I may only sorrow in this life, as may love that much!”
Sighing she stooped down and kissed him properly
Then disembarked herself from him, saying as she stood up,
“Now, my love, at this leave taking do me one favour
Give me something as a gift, even a glove
So I can think of you, and lessen the misery.”
“Now I wish,” said he, “I wish I had here
The most precious thing I own in the world
For you have deserved it, truly, many times over
A greater pride than I have knowledge to name
However, to dally with you in love would yield but little reward”
“It is not worthy for you to have at this time
A glove for a keepsake as a gift from me, Gavin”
“I am here to complete a dreadful duty in this world
And have no men with bags bearing valuable things
That dislike me, Lady, because of love affairs at the moment
I advise everyone to do as he is given, and not to take things amiss or in pain.”
“No, oh noble gracious one of high regard,
Say that lovely thing under the bed clothed
Though I have nothing of yours, you shall have something of mine,”
She gave him a rich red hanky with gold stitching
With a clear set shining stone standing out
From which shone gleaming beams as bright as the sun.
Believe you me, it was worth a fortune
That bristled with gold like the sun
However, the gallant knight refused it, saying,
“I want no gifts for God, my dear, at the moment
I have none to offer you in return so I’ll have nothing.”
She begged him to take it, yet still he refused,
Swiftly saying to her that he would not take it,
For which he was very sorry, continuing,
“If you refuse my ring because it seems too valuable
You would not be so very indebted to me
I shall give you my belt, which is no great loss.”
She carefully loosened the cord that wrapped around her,
Bound it was about her gown which hung to the ground
Beneath a brightly coloured mantle,
It was decorated with green silk and emblazoned with gold,
Only embroidered and beaten with stars
That she commanded the man and merrily implored him
That he would take it.
He declined that he would on no account take it
Neither gold nor treasure before
By God’s name, he was sent
To succeed in the adventure which he had thus chosen.
“And therefore, I beseech, do not be displeased, and end your project,
For I will never consent to grant it you;
I am dearly in your debt
Because you are so beautiful
And whether rain or shine I am your true slave.”
“Now stop all this,” said the Damsel then,
“For it is so easy itself? And it seems so good
Though it is small, and less, it is worthy
But whosoever knew the qualities that are bound up therein
He would praise it more greatly perhaps;
For whatever man is wrapped in this belt
Whilst he has it bound securely about him
No other knight under the sky can harm him
There is no way in this earth he might be slain.”
Then she kissed the knight, and hugged him to her heart
It was a jewel for the perilous task assigned him
When he arrived at the chapel to get his reward
Though he had gone to sleep only to be slain on waking that sleep was noble
Then he was patient with her imploring and allowed her to speak,
She held the belt out to him and bade him to take it
He submitted; and took it with good humour, and begged her, for
His sake, never to reveal it, to faithfully conceal from the master;
The knight consented that no man should ever find out about it, for
Sure, apart from them , on any account whatsoever;
He thanked her earnestly many times,
Generously and with clever and heartfelt words.
Then she parted from her amour and left him behind her,
For she could obtain no more happiness than of that man.
When she had left, Gavin was shortly dressed,
Rising and donning himself in the finest attire,
Wearing the love scarf his lady had given him,
Hiding it carefully where he would be able to find it later.
Then with a merry mien he made his way to church
Discreetly approached the priest and made obeisance before the alter
And that he would raise his consciousness and better himself
How his soul would be saved when he saw heaven
There he confessed himself openly and was cleaned of his errors,
Of the great and the small, and asking for forgiveness,
And asked for absolution from the man;
And he absolved him fully, purifying his spirit
As if doomsday were to be announced in the morning.
And then he went cavorting with the ladies
With suitable hymns and all sorts of joking
He didn’t stop partying all day long, not until the gloom of night, for joy.
Every man had delicacies apportioned to him, saying,
“I reckon we haven’t been this happy since before Gavin came,”
They stayed in that temple of bliss
Until he fell in love!
The Master lounged about on the lawn entertaining his men,
He had slain this fox which had eluded him for so long
He bent over a sapling to display his kill,
There as he heard the dogs rush to him,
Mr. Fox came belting through a gorse bush,
With the noisy pack at his heels.
The man was wary of the animal, and waited on tenterhooks,
And pulled out his sword bright and sharp, striking at the animal
He swerved to avoid the blade, and instead of turning back;
A sniffer dog bore down upon him, just as he turned
And right under the horses’ hooves they fell on him one and all
And tore this wise creature apart with a horrendous noise.
The master stooped down, and hastily grabbed him,
Lifting him up swiftly out of the mouths of the hounds,
Held him over his head. Bellowing loudly,
With many fierce hounds baying at him.
Huntsmen saluted him loudly with their horns
Calling the muster until they spied the man.
Thus his noble entourage assembled,
Everyone who’d ever sounded a trumpet blew all at the same time
And everyone else who had no instrument blew their horns;
It was the merriest note that man ever heard
The tumultuous noise that they raised for the fox drenched in blood.
They gave the dogs their reward
Patted and stroked their heads,
Skinned Mr. Fox and stripped off his coat.
Then they carried on home, for it was nearly night time
Sounding deep notes on their huge horns.
The master arrived at last to his dear abode
Finds fire on the hearth, the people gathered round
Sir Gavin the Good, who was well pleased
Among the ladies he had much joy for love;
He wore a sky-blue shawl which dragged down to earth,
His outer coat suited him well and seemed lined with soft fur,
And his hood of the same pattern hung by his shoulder,
Both were adorned all over with soft fur
And his hood of the same pattern hung by his shoulder,
Both were adorned all over with white fur.
The Goodly Man met the assembled company in the centre of the floor,
He saluted everybody, one and all, and with joyful speech said,
“I shall fulfil first of all our agreement straight away,
That we spoke about to our luck, whereof there was no lack of toasting,”
Then he hugged the Knight and kissed him thrice,
With relish and as vigorously as he could plant it.
“Bloody hell,” said the other man, “You are in receipt of much good fortune
“In obtaining this merchandise, if you got a good bargain,”
“Yay, it cost not a bean,” said the other man briskly,
“As is plainly recounted on the relevant merchandise,”
“Well blow me down!” said the former gentleman,
“Mine is right beside me
Because of my having hunted all day long, and have caught nothing
Except this Wiley old fox dog; his skin can go to the Devil!
And that is unworthy payment for such valuable things
Such as you have put before me those three excellent kisses.”
“Well, that’s as maybe,” said Sir Gavin,
“I thank you, by Christ,”
And how the fox was killed
He told him on the spot
With laughter, merriment, and tables piled high with good food
They made as merry as any men might
The ladies nearly wept with laughter at the jokes people made
Both Gavin and the Good Man were so glad
Unless the party had been stupid, or else everyone drunk too much
Both the man and the crowd made many jokes
Until the hour on the clock was met to retire;
People gladly made their separate ways to their beds.
Then the Master humbly took his leave at the outset
Summoned this Worthy Man and with all due respect thanked him
“Of such a groovy thing as I have had never
Your approbation at the high feast table, the loftiest station that you possess!
I myself will exchange with you something extra that I own, if it please you,
For by necessity I must rouse myself tomorrow morning,
And show some noble man the path,
The gate to the Green Chapel, so God help me,
To receive the doom of my words on New Year’s Day,”
“In good faith,” said the Good Man, “With all my will
I shall provide you with all I ere promised,”
Then he assigned him a servant to show him the way
To conduct him by the hills so that he wouldn’t have any trouble
For to ride through the woodland and traverse the thickets was the shortest route.
The noble Sir Gavin could well be thankful
For such kindness as he was receiving
Then, following the mistresses request,
That man took his parting,
With gentle speech and much embracing they spoke together until,
With many bold blessings and heartfelt thanks
And they promptly reciprocated with similar endorsements;
They dedicated him to Christ with many cold sighs
Then he politely took his leave from the multitude
Each man that he met he thanked for his assistance,
And the lengthy pains he had gone to
That they had not dallied in his requests
And every man was as sad to see him part
As they had travelled excellently for many years with that man!
Then merrily he was led to his chamber
And gratefully shown his pallet where he might be still.
Whether he slept soundly I do not doubt;
For he had much need of it due to the next day’s travails.
Let him lie there still
That for which he was looking was close at hand
And if you will shut up a minute and stop squirming about I will tell you how they wrought.


As the night time rolled on we got closer to the New Year.
The dusk follows closely on the heels of the daytime
The creatures who dwelt in the night time were out and about
The wind cast cold blankets of air upon the earth
The insatiable north wind which darkens the skin;
The bitterly cold snow came skittering down, shutting off the countryside;
The moaning wind poured forth from the heathland,
And filled every valley full of great drifts.
This handsome man knew full well what was the case
Lying in his bed, lowering his eyelids, then jerking awake in fits and starts;
At every hour he was conscious.
As day came upon them he sprang lightly up,
For there was a lamp lit and shining in his room
He called his attendant who dressed him without much ado,
And ordered him to bring his mail shirt and his battle saddle;
That other folks were up and fetched his clothes
Over his garments he pressed on his guardian against the cold,
Then his tournament armour, which had been carefully prepared,
His breastplate and shin and elbow pads, polished `till they gleamed,
Every nodule of his ring-mail scoured and rust-free;
Every item was as splendid looking as when it was first made, for which he
Made his gratitude widely known; on every piece
He had worked both hard and long;
The most repellent poltice.
The lofty knight bade fetch his steed.
While he mantled himself in superlative cloths
Emblazoned with runic script, magical gemstones
And velvet brushed and beaten about
Embroidered and inlayed, seamed and lined inside with rich fur skin
He didn’t omit the Lady’s love-band
Which she had given him, for his own sake.
He didn’t omit the lace, the ladies gift
God forbid that Sir Gavin should forget that
When he had girt himself with the sword around his bulging torso
That knight quickly wrapped around his middle delightedly
The green silk’d belt that seemed nice and pretty
Upon the prestigious red material that looked so splendid.
However, it was not worn so as to display his wealth,
Nor for the pride in the pendants which were brightly polished
Even though the light glittered gold
From each end gleaming.
However, to preserve himself when he was obliged to suffer,
To survive death without passing his arm to ward-off the blows of another.
Thus, the brave man was attired the coming and going thereout quickly
The multitude of famous people
He thanked again and again,
Gringolet was thus saddled, a great and sturdy mount,
Which had been stabled to its pleasure in a safe environment,
And at a pleasing gallop, they set off together, horse and man.
As they sped off he looked upon his flesh, saying,
“There are many People in this castle who ponder on
Great varieties of things, someone to do the repairs I’m sure that they have;
The most adored dearly beloved lady, may Venus attend to her every need;
If they, for the sake of good form, look
After a visitor, holding out great gifts
Of honour in either hand, that a man could not repay them even if he held high heaven and all of you!!
And if I may live for any longer in this world,
I really ought to repay you in some way, if it is in my power to do so
Then he put each boot in its stirrup and mounted his steed
His servant held forth his shield, which he accepted over his shoulder
He struck his heels into Gringolet, gilded with gold as they were,
That carries his spear and lance
“This chapel of God I know”
If God gives him aye good luck
The drawbridge was pulled down
Unlocked and laid flat upon both sides.
The man was sincerely blest, and carried over the planks.
The porter knelt praises
Before the knight, wishing him blessings
Of the Sun and Moon, that they might
Preserve and protect him, and off they
Went the two of them, to seek the path
That would show him the way he might wend to that dismal place
Where he would receive that grievous onslaught.
They travelled through woods where the branches were bare,
They climbed the peaks where the snow lay thick.
The lofty heavens and open skies were looming with cloud;
The moors drizzled with fine rain,
Disappearing into the hillsides
Every shrouded hill with a curtain of mist
Burns boiled and foamed about their banks,
Dashing and breaking nobly on the shining berms where they poured down.
They wandered awhile together by the woods, it seemed a long time
Until it became sunnier, brighter and hotter
They were high on a lofty hillside The silent snow lay all around
The bloke who rode next to him Requested that he stay close by
“Because I have led you hither,
My good man, presently,
And now ye are not far from the wonderful place
Which you have held in your mind’s eye
And so diligently besought;
But because I know you well I shall tell you in good faith,
For you are a human being on this planet who I love and respect well,
If you follow my advice you will fare better
The place you are hastening to is considered perilous;
Desolation, the least craven on the planet,
He is stout and unflinching, and loves to strike,
And he is mightier than any man in this world,
In stature he is taller, than the best four of Arthur’s knights, even Hestor.
He arranges it and carries it off in the Green Chapel
No one goes through his property who is
Such a warrior, that is not slain by his striking.
For he is a psychopath, with no compassion, whether it be robber or bank manager who
Approach the Kirk, doctor or saint, or anyone other,
He thinks it as nice a piece of work to carry it out as it is to breath normally.
Truly I beseech you, as you are flesh and blood in front of me now,
If you approach that place you will be slain, so be warned
I pledge you my deepest word that even if you had twenty lifetimes to throw away,
He has stayed there time aplenty,
On the open ground with much woe and sorrow,
Against his vicious strokes
You may not defend yourself
Therefore, dear sir Gavin, let the knight be gone
Pass by some other doorway, for the sake of the cosmos!
Explore some other stomping ground, where the most high will give you good worth
Then I can go home more quickly, and moreover, I promise you
And I pledge all my life and all the good times I’ve ever had
So bless me Mother-Earth and all her guardians,
That I shall keep secret, and to any who I know never betray you
If you turn back from this mission.”
“That’s a stroke of luck,
My man, to press upon my conscience,
And I dearly wish you to protect my secret,
But you shall never have cause to do so, for here I go on,
Hasten to run away through fright in the manner which you recount,
To be a coward of a warrior, I would have no excuse, however, I will
Proceed to the kick, happenstance befall, and exchange my fate with
This other as chance may dictate
Whether it be good or ill, as the bards relate
That he may be a doughty warrior
And may stand there with his cudgel in hand
Full well knew the sacred words
To save his slave.”
“By the Lord Harry,” said that other man, you have uttered so much
That you will summon your own downfall to your person
I am not anxious to prevent you
Here, take your headgear and your lance to hand
And let us proceed down yonder path by the stony hillside,
Until you reach the lower slopes of the strath;
Let your eyes follow the land, and by the left,
You will see in the basin the very same Kirk, and the powerful brute who
Attends there. Goodbye, brave Sir Gavin!
If all this soil were gold I would not accompany you there, nor would I
Cross this grove on foot.”
With that the man took his own path and journeyed on,
Spurring his horse with all its power,
Scurrying across the plain, to leave the fighter where he stood.
“By the Three in One,” said Gavin,
I will never complain or moan
To my Creator whilst I do his will,
And I pledge my body to him.”
Then he roused his mount, and taking firm control of the reins,
Spurred him on his path, making his
Way by a break of woodland next to a craggy spire,
Traversed the rocky ridge down to the dell, then paused for a while,
It seemed very strange that there was no sign of occupation or villagers.
But broad, high, wide and steep slopes on every side
And vicious gnarled nobbly twisted stems of boulders
The clouds of stones looked grazed to him
Then he stopped abruptly, and in
That moment held his steed back abruptly,
Swung around in his seat looking for to find the Green Kirk:
There was no sign of it whatsoever, he
Was at a complete loss
Shortly, a small distance across a field, as if by magic;
A smooth, rounded knoll on the banks of a small lake
By a fork in the river at that place;
The flowing waters of the busky bourne seemed to bubble
The warrior urged on his steed,
And approaching the knoll,
Alighted nimbly and fastened at a linden tree
And stymied his mount on the untidy branches.
Then turning to the knoll, he circled around, wondering to himself what
On earth it might be. On one side was an entrance and opposite,
Overgrown with clods of grass all over,
Inside was spacious, only
An ancient cavern, or the fissure
Of an old hilltop, he could not discern “Way! Lord,” said the gallant knight
Is this the green chapel? Here, at around 12 o’clock, the
Horned One must speak the devotions!
“I truly say to myself, it is desolate!
This amphitheatre is hideous, and overgrown
It well becomes the man in green
To give his lecture on the methods of evil intent.
Now by my five wits I think it is the devil
Who has struck this bargain with me
This is the Kirk of bad luck, that chance and circumstance has brought me to
It is the untidiest church I ever went into!
With his helmet on and his lance in his hand
He approached the mound of the unruly dwelling.
Then he heard from that lofty hillock in a hard rock
After the stream, in a mound, an incredible loud noise.
Weird! It shook the hillside as if it would break,
As though someone shook it like a scythe on a grindstone.
Astounding! It ground and grumbled like water at a waterwheel;
It roared and cascaded, painful to listen to.
Then Gavin said, “Good grief that menace,
I promise you, is aimed at my good self!
To meet me on my way.
By the winds of chance, “Ho hum!”
It is not assisting me one iota.
Though I may lose my life,
Fear has taken away my wisdom
Then the noble knight shouted at the top of his voice, “Who governs
This place to join me on the appointed day?
For it is the righteous Gavin who steps here:
If any entity has requirements,
Manifest them quickly, either now or nevermore, speak and be known
“Rest now,” said a voice from the earth above his head, “And you
Shall receive all that was justly promised.”
Yet that voice made a loud rushing noise for quite a considerable time onward,
And with no time to react, before he could come down.
As he caught his breath down by a craggy outcrop near the gap,
It was no less than the shatter of deep sheen
And the Knight in the Green as on the first occasion
Both cheeks and legs, hair and beard all
Whirling out of a nook with dangerous tools of war,
A Danish axe newly dyed, to dole out severe blows, with a massive
Four foot head bound to the shaft
Razor sharp from the whetstone,
It was that and no less, by the gleaming thong
Which bound it together- and the same Green Man dressed as before
Both the face and the legs, hair and beard,
Save that he stood on the ground barefoot
Matching steel against stone, nervously
When reaching a lake, side by side over it
He wouldn’t wade, but flipped himself his axe
“Gavin” said the bloke in green, “God must like you!”
With majestic strides, nimbly landing on a plateaux of snow
“You have timed your work as a true gentleman should
And you understand the agreement between us
At this time a year ago you made that promise
That I should at this time return the favour
Truly, we are alone in this valley
Remove your helmet, and receive your desert
Don’t make a fuss, just as I did not when it was your turn
When you knocked my block off with one swipe.”
“No, Marry,” said Gavin, “For my soul’s sake,
I shall bear no ill will against you for the bloody outcome
You may have but one stroke, and I shall stand passively
Without any foul play.”
The other said, “Now, handsome Sir,
We may test blow against blow
“I shall not even flinch, do as you wish.”
He extended his neck, and bowed
Revealing the bare nape of his neck,
And allowed himself not one movement to spare
For fear he would not dare
Then the Green Man with an oath
Lifted high his wicked weapon to strike Sir Gavin
He stretched up as high as he could reach
To bring down the most powerful blow of destruction;
Had it landed with the force he intended,
Death would have resulted from his doughty blow.
However Gavin glanced up and caught sight of the blade, as it came
Down besides that man to sever him on the ground
And shrank a little in his shoulders away from the sharp iron blade
That other man with a sudden jerk and a swerve, withheld the blow
Reproaching the Royal with scolding words:
“You are not Gavin,” said the man “Who never flinched a whisker from
Hoards of warriors from hill to valley who is held in such high esteem
And now you shrink for fear before I even touched you!
Such cowardice of this knight I would never think to hear.
I didn’t budge nor flinch, mate, when you held the axe
Nor cast any objection upon King Arthur’s house.
My head fell to my feet yet I did not flinch
And you, before any harm has been done, flinch, quake in your spirit;
Wherefore I ought to call myself the better man.”
Gavin sayeth thus, “I flinched once
But I won’t do it again
Even though once my head is off
I cannot put it back on.”
However, get ready my man, truly and let’s not be blunt about it
Send me to eternity, right now,
For I shall bear your axe, and no longer live
Until your weapon strikes me I promise”
“Lay to then!” said the first, and
Held it on high, standing
Stark and terrible as a madman.
He clove at the man horrorfully,
But did not cut him, pulling back on the blow before it might Land.
Gavin bravely surrendered to it
Not budging a micron, holding as still as stone
Else like a stump that is suspended in the ground with
A hundred roots. Then happily after
He could parley, the Man in Green:
“So now that you have mended my heart,
I am obliged. Had ye now
The high rank which Arthur offered ye,
And keep yourself at his disposal if it suits you.
Gavin spoke wrathfully saying:
“Eh! Prattle on, you dangerous man,
To carry out your threats; I hope
Your heart trembles with the self-same threats.”
“Well and good,” said the other man,
“You speak so dangerously, I will
No longer hold your mission so lightly.
Then he came down heavily on this resistance
Then wrinkling with frowns his mouth and forehead;
No miracle would he have disliked
Who asked for no succour.
He lightly lifted up his weapon
And let it fall down;
With the blade he took a slice
Out of the bare neck:
That he hacked hard, hurt him none the less,
Nicked him on that side, and took
A slice of skin out.
The razor sharp blade sank into the Flesh, and a thin spout of blood
Shot between his shoulders to the ground;
Thus he struck vigorously, and did him no more harm
He leaped up like a salmon more than a spear length
Grabbed his helmet and put it on
Snatched his beautiful shield up and fastened it about his arm
Drew out a bright sword, and shouted
Never since he was a baby from his mother’s womb
He had never been so happy in his whole life
“Hold your stroke, command me no more!
I will take a blow in his place without resistance
Stop man, hold your blow and taunt me no longer!
I have struck here and received no resistance, and if you offer me
Any more I shall return it without pause,
And give you back without stint, and believe you me, somewhat ferociously too.
It was my lot to strike but one blow
The agreement appointed truly thus,
Decided upon in Arthur’s castle
And therefore, Good Sir, cease immediately!!
The giant held him at arm’s length, resting gamely on his axe,
With the haft upon the ground, resting on the head,
Watching the gent who was on the lawn,
How he stood so erect, fearless and boldly
With use of weapons, fearless: deep down inside, he was fond of him.
Then with gusto he began to parley,
And in ringing tones he said to the noble
“Fearsome knight, do not be so angry on this grassy plain.
No man had been discourteously misused here,
No treatment, except as that which was described at the King’s house.
I hereby release you from the rest of your obligations of whatever kind they may be
If I was nimbler, a blow perhaps
Somewhat smarter I could have dealt,
And brought you a great more pain.
First I set you up with a feint
And left you with no grievous injury,
I offered you justice for the agreement
We initially made, and you meetly and Fairly bound me by my word, and you
Bestowed upon me that which you obtained, as worthy men do so.
The second Blow of that morrow, my son, I dealt thee you smacked
My fair spouse on the cheek- the kisses you gave me, for both
Of which I gave you two minor scrapes of skin from your hide.
Honest men deal honestly,
Then they can walk unafraid. This third I failed you at,
Thus you received a mighty buffet.

It is my clothes you are wearing, that green girdle
My own wife wove it for you I know well, truly
Now I know all too well your love affairs and religious rituals,
And how you charmed my wife: it was my device.
I put her up to it to sound you out, and it occurs to me truly that you are the most
Free of blame of any man I have encountered on this planet;
Gold and silver by the ounce is costlier, so
Gavin, really, compared to any other rainbow warrior
However, in this case you were wanting and were lacking loyalty sir;
Was because of no deceitful cunning nor outrageous advances;
But merely that you loved your life;
Thus I do not blame you.”
This other brave man stood a while in deep thought
So aggrieved with reproach he fumed inside himself;
His face suffused with emotion from all over his body
And he shrank with shame at the other man’s words
And the man proposed words with the principle speech of the planet:
“Cursed with cowardice and politeness both!!
In you is malice and evil that good will expunges.”
Then he cast the knot and broke the bond between them,
Flung fiercely to the knight himself the belt he had been given:
“Behold! Take this for the deceit, and God give you good on’t!
Your buffet has instructed me
To conduct myself covetously, to give up my natural character,
Which is the nobility and generosity belonging to all knights.
Now I am tainted and besmirched
With treachery and lies, both betide sorrow and hassle!
I confess to you, master, between the two of us
That my livelihood is up the spout
Let me learn again your beneficence
And in the future I shall be more careful.”
The other gent laughed, and saying affably
I deem the harm I received wholly annealed
You are purified from all harm, acknowledging all thy faults
And you have the evidence of regret from the edge of my axe,
Acknowledging all thy faults
And if you had never lost the toss since the cradle
And, Sir, I give you this gold-embroidered belt
For it is as green as my cloak, Sir Gavin
You may meditate upon this very same contest as you make your path through life
Amongst the high-fliers and well-endowed and this shall be your sole symbol
Of the chivalrous contestations of worthy knights at the Green Kirk.
And please invite yourself again on Christmas Eve to my abode,
And we shall celebrate a share of this joyful time full of giving.”
Then The Master entreated him sorely
And said, “With my Lady, I suppose
“We shall welcome you with honour
Although I was your bitter enemy.”
“No, come off it,” said the Knight, grabbing his hat
And took it graciously, thanking the knight,
“I have journeyed long enough; may happiness
“Always dwell in your hallowed halls!
“And all people ordain that you receive full recompense!
And commend me to your Lady, that beautiful sister,
Both her and also her attendant,
Most worthy Ladies, who thus with her device had adroitly deceived
Her knight. However, it is no marvel
Conceived by an idiot, and via
The occupation of females to dwell in sorrow,
As was Adam tricked in the Plane of Moy-Mell
And Solomon by many varied questions, and Samson
Was blinded by Bethsheba, and endured much suffering
Deleila dealt him his destiny- and Davyff thereafter
Now these were annoyed with their wives
It was a huge joy to love them well, and not to part
As was obvious to everyone.
For these were noble folk from another age
Excellently of all these others who
Dwelt under the firmament
And were all beguiled
By the women who used them in this way I was deceived,
I think I now ought to be excused the penalty
“What about your belt!” said Gavin, “Heaven protect you!”
I will wear it in good spirit, not for the love of gold
Nor the Saints, nor for silk, nor for hanging jewellery
Nor wealth nor for praises nor for stunning courtmanship
However, as a token of my surfeit I shall regard it often, when I ride in notoriety
And summon to mind all the harm I’ve done,
The mistake and illusion of the unrealised desires
How temptations it is to invite unclean conscience.
So then, when honour calls to carry weapons upon my person,
The afterthought of this token of a woman’s high esteem
Will make my heart free from trouble.
Furthermore I beseech you never to fail you:
Since you are master of the far off land where I have taken
Next to you with great praise: my place
Your methods of government which hold up the sky and make noble repose
How to bestow your correct name, and consequently nothing more?
“This information I shall speak to you in good faith,” spoke the Former,
“I am christened Bercilious of Hoedesert.
Through the libations of Morgan le Fey, who nourishes me by day
And the vast intelligence of the ranks of learned scholars who know their stuff
The divine power of Merlin many have supped;
For he has made costly bargains who formerly
With that redoubtable wizard, who knew all the names of your resident knights
Morgan the Goddess
Perforce it is her name
No other is more redoubtable of fame
Who sent me in this respect to your valorous temple
For to sound your integrity, whether it is genuine or not
Which spreads abroad the fame of the bond of sharing;
Who brings me this marvel of your five senses
To carry, for to have upset Gaynor and caused her health to suffer
With dismay at that kind of fellow who would utter phrases like a ghost
With his head in his hand before the high table.
She that is inside of the doors, the Wise Old Crone
Who is even your Aunt, Arthur’s half-sister (that very same!)
The Duchess daughter of Tintagel, whose
Dear deceased Uter had Arthur who came following, who is now elderly.
Therefore I entreat you, my man, to visit your cousin’s mother
Celebrate in my stead; my household you adore,
And I give you also, human being, goodly as any man under the sun
For your intricate labour.”
And he said ‘No’ to him, he would on no account do it.
They embraced and shook hands and pressed each other’s backs
Naming each other’s Gods, and went their separate ways into the cold light of dawn
Where the strong wind was blowing
Gavin on a strapping white horse Riding hard for the King’s abode
The Green Man to wander
Wherever he might.
The paths less trod Gavin now travels
On his horse Gringolet, that God’s mercy, chance and fate had provided him with
Often he rested indoors, and often outdoors
Many encounters in valleys with frequent victories,
Which I make no attempt to recall at this moment.
The pain had almost annealed the wound he received in His neck, and the weighted belt he wore thereabout
Obliquely as a girdle about his chest
Fastened under his left arm, with a knot
As a token that he had been taken for a spot of bother.
Thus he arrived at the King’s hall, all safe and sound
Shouts of welcome were raised when in that dwelling, when he was admitted
That the noble Gavin had returned; people thought it was a great blessing.
The king kissed the knight, and the children too
And similarly with many other knights who sought a manly embrace
They questioned him about his journey, and
He answered them amazingly, recounting
All the joys and sorrows he had been subject to
The hazards of the Kirk, the friendship of the Master
And the Queen’s adoration; finally
The love token. He demonstrated
The slice out of his neck
And laughed at his disloyalty and rebuke at the Lady’s mercy.
He strung out his story
Moaning for grief and dismay;
The blood suffused his visage,
When he stammering revealed it.
“Ochone! My Master,” said the Lad, Touching the love-token,
“This is the cause of this sorrow
Which I carry in my neck,
This is the offence and the loss that I have suffered,
Of the cowardice and grasping that I have got there;
This is the token of dishonesty which I was drawn into,
And I must wear it whilst I live;
For no-one can conceal his distress,
Though it may have sorely wounded him.
The King, and also the whole of the court,
Comforted the Knight, and happily agreed
That the gents and women who sat at the high table
Every man of our clan should have such a belt
To wrap around him, made of bright green
For the sake of that same man
For upon that was bound the honour of the Round Table (Table D’Or) ever after.
So the Bards relate.
And so, in the time of King Arthur this episode took place
And the histories of Nennius, the Roman historian
Tell us all there is to know about it.
After the siege and the assault of Troy ceased
I know that many adventures before today
Like this one have already happened
Now there is the passion of Christ
We can all go to heaven! Let it be.

© Christopher Julian Hudson 2005
(Translated from J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1930s Old English version)

Copyright © 2005 Christopher J. Hudson