more on Gawain


Somehow Michael Morpurgo keeps some of the poetry of the telling.


Here is another translation – as a small sample – of the bit where the lady of the castle comes to tempt and test Gawain while the lord is out hunting. Gawain pretends to be asleep and …

Then he straightened and stretched and stirring toward her
he opened his eyes and acted astounded.
Then he crossed himself as if he claimed protection
from that sight –

Her chin and cheeks were sweet,
lending red and white;
er voice a pleasant treat
here small lips smiled delight.

Now and again I look at the original – which would be impossible for me to read – and spot a few familiar words. Here’s the same bit in middle English:

Þen he wakenede, and wroth, and to hir warde torned,
And vnlouked his y3e-lyddez, and let as hym wondered,
And sayned hym, as bi his sa3e þe sauer to worthe,
with hande.

Wyth chynne and cheke ful swete,
Boþe quit and red in blande,
Ful lufly con ho lete
Wyth lyppez smal la3ande.

I’ve just spotted a cartoon version on youtube – which has the defect of being over much too quickly – I hate to lose any of the details of the story:
(looking at it again there’s lots that I like in the original that’s not there – but well done to ’em for making it)


1 Comment »

  1. Simon G said

    Sam asked me at breakfast yesterday – ‘It didn’t matter, did it that he was not honourable just that one time? He’s been honourable all the other times.’

    I had to think about this. What I said was that perhaps a knight of the round table had to be much more honourable than an ordinary person like you or me.

    Not such a good answer, a good question…

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