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201 pages, Kindle Edition
First published January 1, 1350
Siþen þe sege and þe assaut watz sesed at Troye, 1Grene Knyȝt is believed to have been written around the same time as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, i.e., sometime at the end of the 14th century. While the majority of the vocabulary is actually quite understandable to a modern reader fluent in the current form of English, the syntax is far more flexible, a relic of Germanic influence. (The German-style verb endings will also be noticeable; for example, “depreced” is the past-tense form of dēprecen, dēpressen, “to depress; to press down; to subjugate.”) Roughly translated, as literally as possible, this section reads as follows:
Þe borȝ brittened and brent to brondeȝ and askez,
Þe tulk þat þe trammes of tresoun þer wroȝt
Watz tried for his tricherie, þe trewest on erþe:
Hit watz Ennias þe athel, and his highe kynde, 5
Þat siþen depreced prouinces, and patrounes bicome
Welneȝe of al þe wele in þe west iles.
Since the siege and the assault was ceased at Troy,Words in brackets are the direct descendant of the Middle English word, but which have a different or obsolete meaning in Modern English; those in parentheses differ greatly either in meaning or context, and have therefore been replaced by loanwords.
The [burg/borough] [britted (destroyed)] and burnt to brands and ashes,
The [tulk] that the [trams (machinations)] of treason there wrought
Was tried for his treachery, the truest on earth:
It was Aeneas the [athel (nobleman)], and his [high (exalted)] kind* (*or kin),
That since depressed provinces, and [patrons (masters)] became
Well-nigh of all the wealth in the west isles.
Since Troy’s assault and siege, I trow, were over-past, 1Neilson (1917):
To brands and ashes burnt that stately burg at last,
And he, the traitor proved, for treason that he wrought,
Was fitly tried and judged,—his fortune elsewhere sought
The truest knight on earth, Æneas, with his kin, 5
Who vanquished provinces, and did, as princes, win
Of all the Western Isles, the wealth and worth alway;
1. After the siege and the assault had ceased at Troy, the city been destroyed and burned to brands and ashes, the warrior who wrought there the trains of treason was tried for his treachery, the truest on earth. This was Aeneas the noble; he and his high kindred afterwards conquered provinces, and became patrons of well nigh all the wealth in the West Isles.Stone (1959):
The siege and the assault being ceased at Troy, 1Borroff (1967):
The battlements broken down and burnt to brands and ashes,
The treacherous trickster whose treasons there flourished
Was famed for his falsehood, the foulest on earth.
Aeneas the noble and his knightly kin 5
Then conquered kingdoms, and kept in their hand
Wellnigh all the wealth of the western lands.
Since the siege and the assault was ceased at Troy, 1Raffel (1970):
The walls breached and burnt down to brands and ashes,
The knight that had knotted the nets of deceit
Was impeached for his perfidy, proven most true,
It was high-born Aeneas and his haughty race 5
That since prevailed over provinces, and proudly reigned
Over well-night all the wealth of the West Isles.
Once the siege and assault had done for Troy, 1Harrison (1983):
And the city was smashed, burned to ashes,
The traitor whose tricks had taken Troy
For the Greeks, Aeneas the noble, was exiled
For Achilles’ death, for concealing his killer, 5
And he and his tribe made themselves lords
Of the western islands, rulers of provinces,
After the battle and the attack were over at Troy, 1Merwin (2003; bilingual):
The town beaten down to smoking brands and ashes,
That man enmeshed in the nets of treachery—the truest
Of men—was tried for treason; I mean
Aeneas, the high-born, who, with his noble kinsmen, 5
Conquered many countries and made themselves masters
Of almost all the wealth of the Western Isles.
Since the siege and the assault upon Troy were finished, 1O’Donoghue (2006):
The city destroyed and burned down to embers and ashes,
And the man who made the decoys that deceived them
Was tried for his treachery, though no man on earth was more true,
It was the noble Aeneas and his high-born kin 5
Who came to conquer provinces and become the lords
Of almost all the wealth of the Western Isles.
When the war and the siege of Troy were all over 1Armitage (2007; bilingual):
and the city flattened to smoking rubble,
the man who’d betrayed it was brought to trial,
most certainly guilty of terrible crimes.
Then the noble Aeneas and his royal line 5
swept across Europe and lived as the rulers
of every country in the western world.
Once the siege and assault of Troy had ceased,My favourite is automatically Merwin’s because it’s bilingual and relatively well-translated, but I’d put Borroff’s at a close second, then Armitage’s right behind.
with the city a smoke-heap of cinders and ash,
the traitor who contrived such betrayal there
was tried for treachery, the truest on earth;
so Aeneas, it was, with his noble warriors
went conquering abroad, laying claim to the crowns
of the wealthiest kingdoms in the western world.
So summer comes in season with its subtle airs,P.S. Who else cannot wait for that upcoming Dev Patel adaptation? Ouh là là is a massive understatement.
when the west wind sighs among shoots and seeds,
and those plants which flower and flourish are a pleasure
as their leaves let drip their drink of dew
and they sparkle and glitter when glanced by sunlight.
Then autumn arrives to harden the harvest
and with it comes a warning to ripen before winter.
The drying airs arrive, driving up dust
from the face of the earth to the heights of heaven,
and wild sky wrestles the sun with its winds,
and the leaves of the lime lay littered on the ground,
and grass that was green turns withered and gray.
Then all which had risen over-ripens and rots
and yesterday on yesterday the year dies away,
and winter returns as is the way of the world
At Michaelmas the moon
stands like that season's sign,
a warning to Gawain
to rouse himself and ride.
Yes, he dozes in a daze, dreams and mutters
like a mournful man with his mind on dark matters-
how destiny might deal him a death-blow on the day
when he grapples with the giant in the green chapel;
of how the strike of the axe must be suffered without struggle.
But sensing her presence there he surfaces from sleep,
drags himself out of his dreams to address her.
Laughing warmly she walks towards him
and finds his face with the friendliest kiss.
In a worthy style he welcomes the woman
and seeing her so lovely and alluringly dressed,
every feature so faultless, her complexion so fine,
a passionate heat takes hold in his heart.
Speech tripped from their tongues and they traded smiles,
and a bond of friendship was forged there, all blissful
They talk with tenderness
and pride, and yet their plight
is perilous unless
sweet Mary minds her knight.
Then Gawain called as loudly as his lungs would allow,
'Who has power in this place to honour his pact?
Because good Gawain now walks on this ground. Whoever will meet him should emerge this moment and he needs to be fast - it's now or it's never.'
'Abide,' came a voice from above the bank.
'You'll cop what's coming to you quickly enough.'