Gawain and the Green Knight


Here, in an illustration made about 1400 CE, Gawain beheads the Green Knight, who survives this. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was written by the Pearl Poet, and Sir Gawain’s horse is called Gringalet.

The story begins at King Arthur’s court, but there is a kind of preface setting it into the context of the Trojan War and its aftermath. This is that beginning, in modern English since I do not read Middle English easily. We are to notice the bob and wheel construction.

After the siege and the assault of Troy, when the city was burned to ashes, the knight who therein wrought treason was tried for his treachery and was found to be the truest on earth. Aeneas the noble it was, and his high kindred, who vanquished great nations and became the rulers of well-nigh all the western world. Noble Romulus went to Rome with great show of strength, and built that city at the first, and gave it his own name, as it is called to this day. Ticius went into Tuscany and began to set up habitations, and Langobard made his home in Lombardy; whilst Brutus, far over the French sea by many a full broad hill-side, the fair land of Britain

[bob] did win,

[wheel] Where war and wrack and wonder
Often were seen therein,
And oft both bliss and blunder
Have come about through sin.


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