Tag Archives: Britain

Full Text of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Translation Online

In the Medieval History and Literature section of this site I’ve recently posted the full modern English translation by Jessie L. Weston of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight – a rather fine poem, and a good translation.

Here’s an excerpt from the first section of the translation:

After the siege and the assault of Troy, when that burg was destroyed and burnt to ashes, and the traitor tried for his treason, the noble Æneas and his kin sailed forth to become princes and patrons of well-nigh all the Western Isles. Thus Romulus built Rome (and gave to the city his own name, which it bears even to this day); and Ticius turned him to Tuscany; and Langobard raised him up dwellings in Lombardy; and Felix Brutus sailed far over the French flood, and founded the kingdom of Britain, wherein have been war and waste and wonder, and bliss and bale, ofttimes since.

And in that kingdom of Britain have been wrought more gallant deeds than in any other; but of all British kings Arthur was the most valiant, as I have heard tell, therefore will I set forth a wondrous adventure that fell out in his time. And if ye will listen to me, but for a little while, I will tell it even as it stands in story stiff and strong, fixed in the letter, as it hath long been known in the land.

Weston’s translation is clear for the modern reader, but retains the power of the original poem (although in prose format).

Enhanced by Zemanta