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قراءة كتاب Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight An Alliterative Romance-Poem (c. 1360 A.D.)
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Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight An Alliterative Romance-Poem (c. 1360 A.D.)
The Green Knight:
AN ALLITERATIVE ROMANCE-POEM,
(AB. 1360 A.D.)
BY THE AUTHOR OF
"EARLY ENGLISH ALLITERATIVE POEMS."
RE-EDITED FROM COTTON. MS. NERO, A.x., IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM,
EDITOR OF HAMPOLE'S "PRICKE OF CONSCIENCE," "EARLY ENGLISH ALLITERATIVE POEMS," ETC.;
MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL OF THE PHILOLOGICAL SOCIETY.
SECOND EDITION, REVISED, 1869.
PUBLISHED FOR THE EARLY ENGLISH TEXT SOCIETY
BY N. TRÜBNER & CO., 60, PATERNOSTER ROW,
JOHN CHILDS AND SON, PRINTERS.
NOTE: The Old English "yogh" characters have been translated both upper and lower-case yoghs to digit 3's. There are Unicode allocations for these (in HTML Ȝ and ȝ) but at present no font which implements these. Substiting the digit 3 seemed a workable compromise which anybody can read. The linked html "Old English 'yogh' file" uses Ȝ and ȝ representations, and is included for users with specialist fonts.
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.
In re-editing the present romance-poem I have been saved all labour of transcription by using the very accurate text contained in Sir F. Madden's "Syr Gawayne."
I have not only read his copy with the manuscript, but also the proof-sheets as they came to hand, hoping by this means to give the reader a text free from any errors of transcription.
The present edition differs from that of the earlier one in having the contractions of the manuscript expanded and side-notes added to the text to enable the reader to follow with some degree of ease the author's pleasant narrative of Sir Gawayne's adventures.
The Glossary is taken from Sir F. Madden's "Syr Gawayne,"1 to which, for the better interpretation of the text, I have made several additions, and have, moreover, glossed nearly all the words previously left unexplained.
For a description of the Manuscript, and particulars relating to the authorship and dialect of the present work, the reader is referred to the preface to Early English Alliterative Poems.
December 22, 1864.
[1 Sir F. Madden has most generously placed at the disposal of the Early English Text Society any of his works which it may determine to re-edit.]
No Knight of the Round Table has been so highly honoured by the old Romance-writers as Sir Gawayne, the son of Loth, and nephew to the renowned Arthur. They delighted to describe him as Gawayne the good, a man matchless on mould, the most gracious that under God lived, the hardiest of hand, the most fortunate in arms, and the most polite in hall, whose knowledge, knighthood, kindly works, doings, doughtiness, and deeds of arms were known in all lands.
When Arthur beheld the dead body of his kinsman lying on the ground bathed in blood, he is said to have exclaimed, "O righteous God, this blood were worthy to be preserved and enshrined in gold!" Our author, too, loves to speak of his hero in similar terms of praise, calling him the knight faultless in his five wits, void of every offence, and adorned with every earthly virtue. He represents him as one whose trust was in the five wounds, and in whom the five virtues which distinguished the true knight were more firmly established than in any other on earth.
The author of the present story, who, as we know from his religious poems, had an utter horror of moral impurity, could have chosen no better subject for a romance in which amusement and moral instruction were to be combined. In the following tale he shows how the true knight, though tempted sorely not once alone, but twice, nay thrice, breaks not his vow of chastity, but turns aside the tempter's shafts with the shield of purity and arm of faith, and so passes scatheless through the perilous defile of trial and opportunity seeming safe.
But while our author has borrowed many of the details of his story from the "Roman de Perceval" by Chrestien de Troyes, he has made the narrative more attractive by the introduction of several original and highly interesting passages which throw light on the manners and amusements of our ancestors.
The following elaborate descriptions are well deserving of especial notice:—
I. The mode of completely arming a knight (ll. 568-589).
II. The hunting and breaking the deer (ll. 1126-1359).
III. The hunting and unlacing the wild boar (ll. 1412-1614).
IV. A fox hunt (ll. 1675-1921).
The following is an outline of the story of Gawayne's adventures, more or less in the words of the writer himself:—
Arthur, the greatest of Britain's kings, holds the Christmas festival at Camelot, surrounded by the celebrated knights of the Round Table, noble lords, the most renowned under heaven, and ladies the loveliest that ever had life (ll. 37-57). This noble company celebrate the New Year by a religious service, by the bestowal of gifts, and the most joyous mirth. Lords and ladies take their seats at the table—Queen Guenever, the grey-eyed, gaily dressed, sits at the daïs, the high table, or table of state, where too sat Gawayne and Ywain together with other worthies of the Round Table (ll. 58-84, 107-115). Arthur, in mood as joyful as a child, his blood young and his brain wild, declares that he will not eat nor sit long at the table until some adventurous thing, some uncouth tale, some great marvel, or some encounter of arms has occurred to mark the return of the New Year (ll. 85-106).
The first course was announced with cracking of trumpets, with the noise of nakers and noble pipes.
"Each two had dishes twelve,
Good beer and bright wine both."
Scarcely was the first course served when another noise than that of music was heard. There rushes in at the hall-door a knight of gigantic stature—the greatest on earth—in measure high. He was clothed entirely in green, and rode upon a green foal (ll. 116-178). Fair wavy hair fell about the shoulders of the Green Knight, and a great beard like a bush hung upon his breast (ll. 179-202).
The knight carried no helmet, shield, or spear, but in one hand a holly bough, and in the other an axe "huge and unmeet," the edge of which was as keen as a sharp razor (ll. 203-220). Thus arrayed, the Green Knight enters the hall without saluting any one. The first word that he uttered was, "Where is the govenour of this gang? gladly would I see him and with himself speak reason." To the knights he cast his eye, looking for the most renowned. Much did the noble assembly marvel to see a man and a horse of such a hue, green as the grass. Even greener they seemed than green enamel on bright gold. Many marvels had they seen, but none such as this. They were afraid to answer, but sat stone-still in a dead silence, as if overpowered by sleep;
"Not all from fear, but some for courtesy" (ll. 221-249).
Then Arthur before the high daïs salutes the Green Knight, bids him welcome, and entreats him to stay awhile at his Court. The knight says that his errand is not to abide in any dwelling, but to seek