Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: A New Verse Translation
William Stanley Merwin
Knopf, 2002 - Poetry - 171 pages
A splendid new translation of the classic Arthurian tale of enchantment, adventure, and romance, presented alongside the original Middle English text.
It is the height of Christmas and New Year's revelry when an enormous knight with brilliant green clothes and skin descends upon King Arthur's court. He presents a sinister challenge: he will endure a blow of the axe to his neck without offering any resistance, but whoever gives the blow must promise to take the same in exactly a year and a day's time. The young Sir Gawain quickly rises to the challenge, and the poem tells of the adventures he finds--an almost irresistible seduction, shockingly brutal hunts, and terrifyingly powerful villains--as he endeavors to fulfill his promise.
Capturing the pace, impact, and richly alliterative language of the original text, W. S. Merwin has imparted a new immediacy to a spellbinding narrative, written centuries ago by a poet whose name is now unknown, lost to time. Of the Green Knight, Merwin notes in his foreword: "We seem to recognize him--his splendor, the awe that surrounds him, his menace and his grace--without being able to place him . . . We will never know who the Green Knight is except in our own response to him."
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3elde 3ere a3ayn Arnaut Daniel Arthurian bede benne bere bifore blybe bo3t bobe bold bonk bonkkez bright bro3t bry3t bur3 burne burnez clene courtly love dere doun fayre fayth Forby freke fyrst fyue Gawain poet gode gold gome graybely Green Chapel Green Knight grene Gryngolet Guenever habel halden haldez hall hatz haue he3e hede helez hende hert hit watz honde hondeled horse hounds hounds baying hy3e innoghe iwysse kest King kisses kny3t kny3tez kyng kysses la3ed lady lede leude leue loke lord luflych lykez mete mony my3t neuer no3t noble ouer Penne pentangle poem poet quen quob quob bat quob Gawayn quyle rides ry3t ryche sayde sayn schal schulde segge Sir Gawain sobe stif stroke syben syde troubadours tyme vche vnder vpon W. S. Merwin wolde wy3e wylde wylle wyst wyth