The Peregrine Knight ~ Canto I, Last Part

Submitted by Caleb on Mon, 11/26/2018 - 11:24

Wylde wayez in þe worlde Wowen now rydez
~Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

("Wild ways in the world Gawain now rides." -- Not that this poem is about Gawain, though.)

Author's age when written


Five weeks he tarried there within her lands
And caused tribute and honour to be paid,
While government she took within her hands.
And when he had so long beside her stayed
As Hallowmas drew on he told the maid:
“I must the Whitsun feast in Caerleon keep,
And cannot here much longer be delayed.”
Then paleness cross her rose-red cheek did creep
And as rose petals fall, so fell she in a sleep.

Swift to their lady fair her maidens flew,
Their gowns and kirtles billowing in the air —
Like birds upon the wing, of every hue.
And gently did they then her drooping bare
Up to the dais, and to her stately chair
Beneath the broidered baldachin there spread.
And seated in the sunlight falling there,
She bade him speed and slightly bowed her head;
She would not be his fool. And no more words were said.

When early on the morrow he did depart,
The wakening matins choir, in every key
Sang loud for daybreak, each voice held its part,
All hidden high from view in every tree,
Together making sweet antiphony.
But barely listening for one voice, he forced
The bolt back from the rusted gate. Thought he:
‘So swiftly ride I hence -- How strong my horse,
Yet, oh how wondrous weak the heart that guides its course!’

Then dawn spilled crimson ‘cross the expectant sky,
And traced the leaves with golden filigrees,
And she looked from her archéd window high
And saw him riding off into the trees;
While through the casement came an autumn breeze.
It bore the songs of pilgrims of the air
Who seek for sunny lands across great seas,
Nor rest until they reach those countries fair.
And so she prayed “God keep the wanderers everywhere.”

And he was just wondering, for he was a severe critic of his own work, whether that last line couldn't be polished up a bit...
~P.G. Wodehouse