Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Sir Gawain: Part 3

(And here is the final act of the story, a reminder to the Supreme Court that they are not qualified to control the choices of an entire gender. Kansas has already won an important victory to defend Pro-choice rights, with other states hopefully to follow! In all sorts of situations, it is the people most affected by decisions that should have the most voice in the matter. As the Loathly Lady story makes clear. 

When we last left off, King Arthur had received the answer to the riddle from Dame Ragnell and rides back to meet again the Knight.)

The King then thanked the Lady and rode through mire and moor,

‘Till he reached the spot that he had been a year and day before.

And there he calmly waited, the very same black knight.

He rose in all his armor when King Arthur came in sight.


“Come, oh King, do tell me, what answers thou dost give.

If they be wrong, you soon shall die, if they be right, you’ll live.”


The King first tried the answers he’d collected in his books.

In hopes of sparing Gawain’s marriage to someone of Dame’s looks.

The Knight heard all the answers and to every one said nay.


“King Arthur, now prepare to die, for all your wrongs, now pay!”


“Wait!” the good King shouted, “I’ve one more answer still.

What a woman wants the most in life is certainly her will.”


“Who told you that?!”  the black Knight shrieked, “It surely was my sister!

I know not how you got that answers, unless, you rogue, you kissed her!”


The King turned green his stomach churned, he shuddered at the thought.

“Begone, black Knight, stay no more, your effort’s been for nought.”


King Arthur went back to the woods and met again the Dame.

He rode with her back to his Court, his head was hung in shame.

And all who gathered turned their heads in pity at the sight.

But every loyal, out he stepped Sir Gawain, the good night.

He greeted Dame Ragnell, who was now his bride-to-be,

While all his fellow knights prayed for him secretly.


The Queen took her aside and said, “Let a quiet wedding be.”

“No, a high Mass and a banquet is just the thing for me!”


The servant took her to her room and began to dress the bride.

The King’s heart was so heavy, he began to wish he’d died.

Sir Gawain wondered how he’d face her unappetizing snout.

And for one prolonged moment, he began to feel some doubt.


A dance was held, all did their best, to hold up and seem gay.

But when the couple entered, their courage did give way.

When seated at the banquet, her manners were uncouth.

When they left for their chambers, all wept for the fair youth.


The time, it came, to lay in bed, Gawain, he turned away.

“Pray, now that we are married, do kiss me,” she did say.

He gathered all his courage and gave to her the kiss.

“Do open your eyes and look upon your bride in all her bliss.”


Sir Gawain’s mouth hung open, his hair on end did stand.

When he beheld the fairest maid in this or any land.

“You, good sir, released me, from a wicked, evil spell.

But it is only half done, do listen while I tell.

I thank you for your courage, for you brave deed so bold.

But alas, this lasts but half a day, my beauty will not hold.

So you must choose, sir, here and now, whichever you think right,

Fair in evening, foul by day or fair, then foul at night.”


“Alas, my wife, the choice is hard, for if you’re fair at night.

Then all day long amongst the rest, you’d be a grievous sight.

But if you’re fair for all the day, the good Sir Gawain said,

"I cannot help but wonder about our marriage bed.

Though I want to choose what’s right, it’s impossible to do.

Pray let it be as you desire, the choice is up to you.”


“Ah, good knight, I bless your soul,” said the lovely Dame Ragnell.

You’ve now released me fully, for you’ve given me my will.”


 So she stayed fair both day and night and they made merry joy.

The like of which was never known by any girl or boy.

Our story’s done, we now must go, we stay no longer here.

We wish you all make merry joy, today and all the year.


             THE END

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