16th: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
(Lines 1 – 19)
Reading by Marie Borroff
SIÞEN þe sege and þe assaut watz sesed at Troye,
Þe bor brittened and brent to bronde and askez,
Þe tulk þat þe trammes of tresoun þer wrot
Watz tried for his tricherie, þe trewest on erthe:
Hit watz Ennias þe athel, and his highe kynde,
Þat siþen depreced prouinces, and patrounes bicome
Welnee of al þe wele in þe west iles.
Fro riche Romulus to Rome ricchis hym swyþe,
With gret bobbaunce þat bure 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
Where werre and wrake and wonder
Bi syþez hatz wont þerinne,
And oft boþe blysse and blunder
Ful skete hatz skyfted synne.
Historical Prologue (1)
The siege and assault having ceased at Troy
as its blazing battlements blackened to ash,
the man who had planned and plotted that treason
had trial enough for the truest traitor!
Then Aeneas the prince and his honored line
plundered provinces and held in their power
nearly all the wealth of the western isles.
Thus Romulus swiftly arriving at Rome
sets up that city and in swelling pride
gives it his name, the name it now bears;
and in Tuscany Tirius raises up towns,
and in Lombardy Langoberde settles the land,
and far past the French coast Felix Brutus
founds Britain on broad hills, and so bright hopes
where wonders, wars, misfortune
and troubled times have been,
where bliss and blind confusion
have come and gone again.