Communicator (communicator) wrote,

Carry On Questing

Here is the next bit of Gawain that I tried to translate - it's the bedroom encounter between Gawain and the Lady Bertolak. I think it's pretty hot, and funny too.

I know that any translator imposes something of their own ideas, but to be honest I think this is how it was intended. In my opinion Gawain is not a sedate allegory - modern translators are perforce conservative and thoughtful, but the original readers were hot blooded men and women, and this was written to amuse and entertain them. It's supposed to be sexy, and IMHO the double entendres are all quite intentional.

It makes me laugh the way Gawain is all 'oo-er, missus, what's a boy to do?'

Gawain meets a lady

While the lord of the hall
Hunted at the forest edge
Gawain slept in that morning
While the daylight burnished the walls
Under a bright coverlet, in a curtained bed.

He was woken by a tiny sound
A shy knock on the door; it opened quietly
He lifted his head from the pillow
He lifted the corner of the curtain
He wondered who was coming into his bedroom.

- It was that beautiful woman from the night before!

She closed the door behind her, stealthily
She moved towards the bed.
Gawain was worried
He lowered his head back onto the pillow
And pretended he was still asleep.

She stepped softly, softly to his bedside
Lifted the curtain
And slid in beside him
She sat on the bed
And waited for Gawain to 'wake up'.

He lay for ages with his eyes squeezed shut
Wondering what was going to happen next
It all seemed very peculiar
But at last he said to himself
"Better ask her what she wants."

So he pretended to wake up
He stretched and yawned
Unlocked his eyes
Acted surprised to see her there
Crossed himself
As if he sought protection
From her.

Her cheek and chin so sweet
With white and red combined
Her voice delicious
From her laughing lips

"Good Morning Gawain" said the lady,
"You sleep unwarily,
Anyone might have come into your bedroom,
Now you are my captive
And these are my terms
I shall bind you to your bed
And negotiate our next steps."

"Good morning to you too," said Gawain cheerfully,
"I submit to your terms
Which you set out so persuasively
I yield. I beg for mercy.
After all - what choice do I have
But to surrender?"

And so they joked and laughed.

"But, seriously," he continued,
"Would you free your prisoner
So he may rise up and, you know,
Put some clothes on at least?
And, then perhaps
We could talk more comfortably?"

"I don't think so," said the lady,
"You shan't get out of bed
I've got you pinned down
On both sides.
I prefer to have conversation
With a captive knight.

"I know you well, Sir Gawain,
The whole world commends you
Everywhere you go
Your honour and courtesy
Appeal to men and women alike.

"And now you are here
And we are all alone
My lord and his men have gone hunting
Everyone else is still in bed
The door is closed
And I have bolted it.

"And here in my house is the man
That everyone desires
I shall use my time well
While it lasts.

"You are welcome to my body
To choose your own pleasure
The tables are turned
I feel compelled to serve you
And I will."

"Er, to be honest", said Gawain,
"You over-estimate me.
I'm not quite the man
You take me for,
Not quite as admirable as you might have heard.

"But - by God - I would be glad
(If it's really what you want)
To give you pleasure with my words
Or other services
At your will,
In fact I'd love it."

"Well, Gawain," said the lady
"I can hardly make light
of the prowess you are famous for.
There are plenty of women
Who would rather have you
Like I have you now
To dally with
In word and deed
To take comfort
To drive away cares
Than any amount of gold and jewels.

"I thank the lord of heaven above
That I can hold in my hand
This thing that everyone desires."

  • Phew what a scorcher

    I see Gove has backed down on climate change and it's back in the curriculum again.

  • GCSE Computer Science

    My book is now for sale

  • LJ Settings

    At the moment I have set up this journal so that only friends can comment. I hate doing this, but I was just getting too much Russian spam.

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