Adam Golaski & Unknown

An exceprt from Green, a translation of Sir Gawain & the Green Knight

from the first fit

{an histoire of the great kings of Bretayn}

Since ceased th’siege + assault upon Troye,
bones brok’nd brittled t’bronz’nd ashes,
that soldier who trod treason o’er th’plots’
his enemies was tried f’r treachery tho
agile Ennias, of th’truest on Earth, of high kind,
haunted by shade Dido, was worth th’wonder
wealth’v all th’west isles—
     From rich milk’v wolf-mother Romulus
rose Rome’nd’n its captured riches Romulus was
swath’d. W/ arrogance he built his name
upon a hill + took Palatine t’Romulus t’Rome—
     Tirius traveled t’Tuscany he built beginnings,
Langaberde’n Lombardy left us houses,
+ far o’er th’French floods Felix Brutus
on many full banks built Bretayn + sits
          w/ one
     where war’nd wreck’nd wonder
     by surprise has went therein,
     + oft both bliss’nd blunder
     fool hope shifted t’sin.

When Bretayn was built by Baron Felix Brutus rich
brethren bold were born therein that loved t’fight in-
deed ten times’nd more of warring much was written.
Marvels have fallen + unfolded here more often
than’n’any other country I know, since that early time.

But of all the kings I’ve read what is written,
Arthur is the most chivalrous in Bretayn.

|| Forthwith a wonder’v adventure I’ll attempt to show,
a selly in th’sight’v some (I’m not w/holding),
An outrageous adventure, an Arthur-wonder­—

If you will listen t’this lay but f’r’a little while,
I shall tell it, as it, as I intend’t t’be heard—

{ of the Round Table on New Year’s Eve }


this king lay at Camylot upon Christmastime
w/ many lovely lord’nd ladies’v th’best.

Reckon th’brethren’v th’Round Table all
rich mirth, rich feasting’nd reckless reveling,
their tournaments taken by turn, harmoniously,
jousting, joyously, these gentle-knights, these jolly


set forth t’th’court they carry carols t’make


for there th’feast lasts a full fifteen days
w/ all th’meat + th’mirth that men could envision.

th’wealth’v th’world + they wanted kin familiar,
those most kind knights under Christ’s sacrifice, under His salvation,

+ th’loveliest look’n ladies ever that lived
+ th’most chivalrous king th’court s ev’r had.

     The happiest under Heaven,
     under king’nd kingly will;
     his knights now the greatest known,
     th’hardiest upon th’hill


the comeliest to describe
w/ eye that glinted gray,
that any other looked like her
no man would ever say.

While th’New Year was so young that it was

Now Arthur would not eat till all were served.

He was so jolly’nd joyful, + child-geared
his life liked him + he loved the least’v’t.
Another might lounge long or long sit,
but Arthur’s young blood hurried him’nd his wild mind

     +     also another custom kept:
he’d neither quench his thirst nor would ever eat
upon such a dear day till described to him was
some adventurous thing, an incredible tale’v
some miracle that must be believed,
of elders, of armies, or of other adventures now—
thus, there stood stalled th’stalwart king himself,
talking’v trifles before the high table t’those at hand:
good Gawain now Gwenore
     now Agrauayn

now Bishop Bawdewyn
     now Ywan, Vryn’s son

now + now
+ many noble knights—

Such gaiety’nd glee glorious + right;
dear din all day’nd dancing upon th’night.

{ th’feast }

+ w/ th’crackling’v trumpets th’first courses came, +
w/ many a banner bright’nd full, hung there by +
now w/ drum noise + noble pipes, pipes that pipe w/
wild trills + w/ strong sounds woke     words


that heard were touched + raised drink’nd clamor + rose

     they rose

w/ delight + w/ delight were drawn forthwith to a
     a table full’v dear meat,
abundant eating, copious fresh dishes so full,
so much served, a place could scarcely b’set f’r
th’silver vessels’v soup t’rest upon


               Each led as he loved himself
               t’take gladly w/out loathe;
               Every two had dishes twelve,
               good beer and bright wine both.

                         || Of their service I’ll now say no more.
                         Each, you well wit, had not a thing to want for—

{ grene, grene, grene: green arrives th’Knight }

A noise’nd another fell fresh upon th’first,
a noise th’lords there could not easily’v’eard—

Noise b’neath noise is not a while sensed,
while course upon course th’court was kindly served.

          When sensed—

There hailed at th’hall door a fearsome master,
on th’most on th’mold on measure high;
from neck t’middle so square’nd so thick,
+’is loins’nd’is limbs so long’nd so great—

Only half’v earth, twice + more a man’s height

yet man more than monster,
right upon his ride.

     Of back + of breast his body was stern,
while his waist was worthily small—

All his features followed fully in form but

          Wonder           at his hue men had,
          set in his assembled scene;
          His features as freakish as his fashion
          as over all, he was achingly green.

This gomen, man’v games, green’nd garbed in green,
a coat, green, which constricted his middle,
a merry mantel, green, graciously w/in
w/ a trim’v valuable green, a garment pure’nd clean
w/ a bright, bright, brightly black’nd white hood
drawn down from his locks’nd laid about his shoulders;
him’n well-heeled hose of that same green,
cut close to th’calf. He wore spurs’v pure’nd bright,
bright gold, + rich silk borders braided full;
+ at the length’v’is legs, w/out shoe th’man rode;
All, all his vesture truly
               green all

                    green’nd the essence’v


both th’bar’v’is belt’nd th’bright stones
rich’nd arranged in’n array’v


about’imself, upon’is saddle, ‘nd over silk
                    Over silk works were
too many trifles t’track th’half, too much t’tell
all what was embroidered about, birds in flight
+ gay green baubles, gaudy gold lines like hay thru their middle.

+ th’pendants of his horse’s breast plate, + th’proud upon his crupper, +
th’ornaments about his bit, all, all enameled metal, all, all green,
+ the stirrups that th’ knight strained, all, all stained th’same—green,
+ th’pommel’v’is saddle, + beneath th’saddle th’skirts,
ever gleamed’nd glinted all, all w/ green stones;

His horse could hunt hidden among grasses,


                    for this man’s powerful horse was green,
                    a steed fully fixed + firm,
                    bridle embroidered’a vivid sheen,
                    all perfect for th’gomen.

Most gaily was this gomen garbed in green
+ the hair of his head as green as the hair of his horse,
fine hair that fanned about his shoulders, +
a beard, as great as a bush, grown to his breast,
that w/ th’splendid hair’v’is head was
clipped round, just above’is elbows,
so that half his arms were covered.
Th’mane’v th’knight’s great horse was
well curled’nd combed w/’a great many knots,
wrapped w/ gold thread among th’green,
for ev’ry twist’v hair, another strand’v gold;
th’horse’s tail’nd his forelock matched his mane,
bound both w/ bands bright’nd green,
adorned w/ many dear stones from end t’end.
Bound up w/’a thong’nd a complicated knot
there were many bright bells’v burnished gold


Such a steed upon earth, th’ride’v that freak knight,
had never until that day been seen in that hall

          by men’s eyes. The

               knight looked lik’a lightening strike
               so said all those that saw him,
               He was as no man is like; +
               beneath his blows no man could win.

{ th’first Words that He spoke }

On the other hand, he had no helmet nor armor either,
Nor gorget nor braces rere or vam,
+ he held no staff nor shield w/ which t’smite or t’show


     he held in’is hand a bob’v holly,

Holly that is greatest green when groves are winter bare, +
He held in’is other hand, an axe
     an axe abnormal’nd cruel
     an axe too unreal to
explain to you but by repeating: “an axe, an axe.”

All’v’n ell its large head had, +
hewn was its spike w/ green steel’nd w/ gold,
a broad-edged blade burnished bright, +
well shaped t’shear as sharp as razors;

By th’steel’v’a stiff staff the axe was gripped,
+ iron was wound from end t’tip,
+ all engraved in green were gracious work;

A lace wrapped about that locked at th’head,
+ so after wrapped th’handle, frequently fastened
t’th’haft, w/’a thick’v fine tassels thereto attached
by buttons bright’nd green’nd graciously work’d.

     This knight rode right


Directly to the high dias,
     was fearless—

He hailed no one there, but glared, he

     he glared over all assembled.

Th’first words warped by his mouth were: “Where is
the governor of thee gathered? Gladly, I would
sue that man, + see, + w/ his self speak

               To th’knights he cast his eye,
               + riding rode them up + down;
               He stopped so he could study
               who might’ve had th’most renown.

His words they lingered, + as a ghost were seen:
th’words he spoke, a mist’v luminous green.


Original Text



SIÞEN Þe sege and Þe assaut watz sesed at Troye,
Þe bor3 brittened and brent to bronde3 and askez,
Þe tulk Þat Þe trammes of tresoun Þer wro3t
Watz tried for his tricherie, Þe trewest on erÞe:
Hit watz Ennias Þe athel, and his highe kynde,
Þat siÞen depreced prouinces, and patrounes bicome
Welne3e of al Þe wele in Þe west iles.
Fro riche Romulus to Rome ricchis hym swyÞe,
With gret bobbaunce Þat bur3e he biges vpon fyrst,
And neuenes hit his aune nome, as hit now hat;
Tirius to Tuskan and teldes bigynnes,
Langaberde in Lumbardie lyftes vp homes,
And fer ouer Þe French flod Felix Brutus
On mony bonkkes ful brode Bretayn he settez
     wyth wynne,
Where werre and wrake and wonder
Bi syÞez hatz wont Þerinne,
And oft boÞe blysse and blunder
Ful skete hatz skyfted synne.

Ande quen Þis Bretayn watz bigged bi Þis burn rych,
Bolde bredden Þerinne, baret Þat lofden,
In mony turned tyme tene Þat wro3ten.
Mo ferlyes on Þis folde han fallen here oft
Þen in any oÞer Þat I wot, syn Þat ilk tyme.
Bot of alle Þat here bult, of Bretaygne kynges,
Ay watz Arthur Þe hendest, as I haf herde telle.
ForÞi an aunter in erde I attle to schawe,
Þat a selly in si3t summe men hit holden,
And an outtrage awenture of Arthurez wonderez.
If 3e wyl lysten Þis laye bot on littel quile,
I schal telle hit as-tit, as I in toun herde,
     with tonge,
As hit is stad and stoken
In stori stif and stronge,
With lel letteres loken,
In londe so hatz ben longe.

Þis kyng lay at Camylot vpon Krystmasse
With mony luflych lorde, ledez of Þe best,
Rekenly of Þe Rounde Table alle Þo rich breÞer,
With rych reuel ory3t and rechles merÞes.
Þer tournayed tulkes by tymez ful mony,
Justed ful jolilé Þise gentyle kni3tes,
SyÞen kayred to Þe court caroles to make.
For Þer Þe fest watz ilyche ful fiften dayes,
With alle Þe mete and Þe mirÞe Þat men
couÞe avyse;
Such glaum ande gle glorious to here,
Dere dyn vpon day, daunsyng on ny3tes,
Al watz hap vpon he3e in hallez and chambrez
With lordez and ladies, as leuest him Þo3t.
With all Þe wele of Þe worlde Þay woned Þer samen,

Þe most kyd kny3tez vnder Krystes seluen,
And Þe louelokkest ladies Þat euer lif haden,
And he Þe comlokest kyng Þat Þe court haldes;
For al watz Þis fayre folk in her first age,
     on sille,
Þe hapnest vnder heuen,
Kyng hy3est mon of wylle;
Hit were now gret nye to neuen
So hardy a here on hille.

Wyle Nw 3er watz so 3ep Þat hit watz nwe cummen,
Þat day doubble on Þe dece watz Þe douth serued.
Fro Þe kyng watz cummen with kny3tes into Þe halle,

Þe chauntré of Þe chapel cheued to an ende,
Loude crye watz Þer kest of clerkez and oÞer,
Nowel nayted onewe, neuened ful ofte;
And syÞen riche forth runnen to reche hondeselle,
3e3ed 3eres-3iftes on hi3, 3elde hem bi hond,
Debated busyly aboute Þo giftes;
Ladies la3ed ful loude, Þo3 Þay lost haden,
And he Þat wan watz not wrothe, Þat may 3e wel trawe.
Alle Þis mirÞe Þay maden to Þe mete tyme;
When Þay had waschen worÞyly Þay wenten to sete,
Þe best burne ay abof, as hit best semed,
Whene Guenore, ful gay, grayÞed in Þe myddes,
Dressed on Þe dere des, dubbed al aboute,
Smal sendal bisides, a selure hir ouer
Of tryed tolouse, and tars tapites innoghe,
Þat were enbrawded and beten wyth Þe best gemmes
Þat my3t be preued of prys wyth penyes to bye,
     in daye.
Þe comlokest to discrye
Þer glent with y3en gray,
A semloker Þat euer he sy3e
Soth mo3t no mon say.

Bot Arthure wolde not ete til al were serued,
He watz so joly of his joyfnes, and sumquat childgered:
His lif liked hym ly3t, he louied Þe lasse
AuÞer to longe lye or to longe sitte,
So bisied him his 3onge blod and his brayn wylde.
And also an oÞer maner meued him eke
Þat he Þur3 nobelay had nomen, he wolde neuer ete
Vpon such a dere day er hym deuised were
Of sum auenturus Þyng an vncouÞe tale,
Of sum mayn meruayle, Þat he my3t trawe,
Of alderes, of armes, of oÞer auenturus,
OÞer sum segg hym biso3t of sum siker kny3t
To joyne wyth hym in iustyng, in jopardé to lay,
Lede, lif for lyf, leue vchon oÞer,

As fortune wolde fulsun hom, Þe fayrer to haue.
Þis watz Þe kynges countenaunce where he in court were,
At vch farand fest among his fre meny
     in halle.
Þerfore of face so fere
He sti3tlez stif in stalle,
Ful 3ep in Þat Nw 3ere
Much mirthe he mas withalle.

Thus Þer stondes in stale Þe stif kyng hisseluen,
Talkkande bifore Þe hy3e table of trifles ful hende.
There gode Gawan watz grayÞed Gwenore bisyde,
And Agrauayn a la dure mayn on Þat oÞer syde sittes,
BoÞe Þe kynges sistersunes and ful siker kni3tes;
Bischop Bawdewyn abof biginez Þe table,
And Ywan, Vryn son, ette with hymseluen.
Þise were di3t on Þe des and derworÞly serued,
And siÞen mony siker segge at Þe sidbordez.
Þen Þe first cors come with crakkyng of trumpes,
Wyth mony baner ful bry3t Þat Þerbi henged;
Nwe nakryn noyse with Þe noble pipes,
Wylde werbles and wy3t wakned lote,
Þat mony hert ful hi3e hef at her towches.
Dayntés dryuen Þerwyth of ful dere metes,
Foysoun of Þe fresche, and on so fele disches
Þat pine to fynde Þe place Þe peple biforne
For to sette Þe sylueren Þat sere sewes halden
     on clothe.
Iche lede as he loued hymselue
Þer laght withouten loÞe;
Ay two had disches twelue,
Good ber and bry3t wyn boÞe.

Now wyl I of hor seruise say yow no more,
For vch wy3e may wel wit no wont Þat Þer were.
An oÞer noyse ful newe ne3ed biliue,
Þat Þe lude my3t haf leue liflode to cach;

For vneÞe watz Þe noyce not a whyle sesed,
And Þe fyrst cource in Þe court kyndely serued,
Þer hales in at Þe halle dor an aghlich mayster,
On Þe most on Þe molde on mesure hyghe;
Fro Þe swyre to Þe swange so sware and so Þik,
And his lyndes and his lymes so longe and so grete,
Half etayn in erde I hope Þat he were,
Bot mon most I algate mynn hym to bene,
And Þat Þe myriest in his muckel Þat my3t ride;
For of bak and of brest al were his bodi sturne,
Both his wombe and his wast were worthily smale,
And alle his fetures fol3ande, in forme Þat he hade,
     ful clene;
For wonder of his hwe men hade,
Set in his semblaunt sene;
He ferde as freke were fade,
And oueral enker-grene.

Ande al grayÞed in grene Þis gome and his wedes:
A strayte cote ful stre3t, Þat stek on his sides,
A meré mantile abof, mensked withinne
With pelure pured apert, Þe pane ful clene
With blyÞe blaunner ful bry3t, and his hod boÞe,
Þat watz la3t fro his lokkez and layde on his schulderes;
Heme wel-haled hose of Þat same,
Þat spenet on his sparlyr, and clene spures vnder
Of bry3t golde, vpon silk bordes barred ful ryche,
And scholes vnder schankes Þere Þe schalk rides;
And alle his vesture uerayly watz clene verdure,
BoÞe Þe barres of his belt and oÞer blyÞe stones,
Þat were richely rayled in his aray clene
Aboutte hymself and his sadel, vpon silk werkez.
Þat were to tor for to telle of tryfles Þe halue
Þat were enbrauded abof, wyth bryddes and fly3es,
With gay gaudi of grene, Þe golde ay inmyddes.
Þe pendauntes of his payttrure, Þe proude cropure,
His molaynes, and alle Þe metail anamayld was Þenne,
Þe steropes Þat he stod on stayned of Þe same,

And his arsounz al after and his aÞel skyrtes,
Þat euer glemered and glent al of grene stones;
Þe fole Þat he ferkkes on fyn of Þat ilke,
A grene hors gret and Þikke,
A stede ful stif to strayne,
In brawden brydel quik—
To Þe gome he watz ful gayn.

Wel gay watz Þis gome gered in grene,
And Þe here of his hed of his hors swete.
Fayre fannand fax vmbefoldes his schulderes;
A much berd as a busk ouer his brest henges,
Þat wyth his hi3lich here Þat of his hed reches
Watz euesed al vmbetorne abof his elbowes,
Þat half his armes Þer-vnder were halched in Þe wyse
Of a kyngez capados Þat closes his swyre;
Þe mane of Þat mayn hors much to hit lyke,
Wel cresped and cemmed, wyth knottes ful mony
Folden in wyth fildore aboute Þe fayre grene,
Ay a herle of Þe here, an oÞer of golde;
Þe tayl and his toppyng twynnen of a sute,
And bounden boÞe wyth a bande of a bry3t grene,
Dubbed wyth ful dere stonez, as Þe dok lasted,
SyÞen Þrawen wyth a Þwong a Þwarle knot alofte,
Þer mony bellez ful bry3t of brende golde rungen.
Such a fole vpon folde, ne freke Þat hym rydes,
Watz neuer sene in Þat sale wyth sy3t er Þat tyme,
     with y3e.
He loked as layt so ly3t,
So sayd al Þat hym sy3e;
Hit semed as no mon my3t
Vnder his dynttez dry3e.

WheÞer hade he no helme ne hawbergh nauÞer,
Ne no pysan ne no plate Þat pented to armes,
Ne no schafte ne no schelde to schwue ne to smyte,
Bot in his on honde he hade a holyn bobbe,

Þat is grattest in grene when greuez ar bare,
And an ax in his oÞer, a hoge and vnmete,
A spetos sparÞe to expoun in spelle, quoso my3t.
Þe lenkÞe of an eln3erde Þe large hede hade,
Þe grayn al of grene stele and of golde hewen,
Þe bit burnyst bry3t, with a brod egge
As wel schapen to schere as scharp rasores,
Þe stele of a stif staf Þe sturne hit bi grypte,
Þat watz wounden wyth yrn to Þe wandez ende,
And al bigrauen with grene in gracios werkes;
A lace lapped aboute, Þat louked at Þe hede,
And so after Þe halme halched ful ofte,
Wyth tryed tasselez Þerto tacched innoghe
On botounz of Þe bry3t grene brayden ful ryche.
Þis haÞel heldez hym in and Þe halle entres,
Driuande to Þe he3e dece, dut he no woÞe,
Haylsed he neuer one, bot he3e he ouer loked.
Þe fyrst word Þat he warp, 'Wher is', he sayd,
'Þe gouernour of Þis gyng? Gladly I wolde
Se Þat segg in sy3t, and with hymself speke
To kny3tez he kest his y3e,
And reled hym vp and doun;
He stemmed, and con studie
Quo walt Þer most renoun.