Friday, 9 December 2016
Gawain 1668 - 1718, Poor fox.
And there they drank and dallied, and deemed it keen
To keep the same compact on New Years eve;
But the knight craved leave to escape on the morn,
For crept closer the calendar with its cold end,
And near was the meeting that miss he could not.
The lord tried to relieve him and ask that he stay,
And said, "As I am a true chevalier, I swear by my Truth
You shall make the green chapel, your meeting to match,
Directly, on New Years dawn, before day fully breaks.
So you lie in your loft and laze at your ease,
And I shall hunt in my holdings and hold to the terms,
And exchange my achievment when I choose to return;
For I have tested you twice and faithful have found.
Now 'third time, all testifies' think on the morn;
Make we merry while we may and our minds upon joy,
For a man may catch sadness when-ever he likes."
This was gravely granted and Gawain agreed to stay,
Blithely brought were their drinks, and then to bed went
Sir Gawain lies and sleeps
Full still and soft all night;
The lord that his craft keeps,
Full early he alights.
After Mass, a morsel he and his men took;
Merry was the morning, his mount for he asks.
All the hall-men that on horse should hold him after
Climbed boldly aboard their broncos before the hall gates.
Full fair was the field, for the frost clinged;
In red ribbons of cirrus rose the sun,
And full clear coasts through the clouds of the sky.
Hunters un-hounded by a holt side,
Rock-sides resounded with the ring of their horns.
Some hounds fell in the furrow where the fox bade,
Scanning for scents, a dogs expert science.
A whippet whined warning, the whole group pricked up;
His fellows fell to him, a flurry of dogs,
Rushing forth in a rabble on the rightly found trail.
And the fox whisks between them, they found him soon,
And when they set their sights on him they speeded up,
Denouncing him diligently with a dreadful noise;
And he twists and tourneys through many tight gaps,
Stops hard and hearkens by hedges full oft.
At the last by a little ditch he leaps over a span,
Steals out full stilly by a swampy marsh,
Thinks with his wit of the wood he had won from the hounds.
Then as he crawled, before he knew, he came upon a pack,
There three threw themselves at him at once,
He blanched again backwards
And stiffly sprang away,
With all the woe in his heart
To the wood he went away.