Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Quotes
Quote 1: "And those who were standing watched, and walked
Carefully near him, not knowing what he'd do -
They'd all seen wonders, but nothing like this.
And some said he was witchcraft, a phantom,
And were afraid to answer him, then gasped at his voice
And trembled, sitting motionless in that noble
Hall, silent as stones, as corpses;
All speech was swept away as if sleep
From the sky - but some
Their tongues in courtesy, to do honor
To Arthur, whose words should come first." Part 1, lines 237-249
Quote 2: "'Hah! Is this Arthur's house, hailed
Across the world, the fabled court?
Where have your conquests gone to, and your pride,
Where is your anger, and those awesome boasts?
And now the round table's fame and its feasting
Are done, thrown down at the sound of one man's
Words - and you sit there shaking - at words!'
And he laughed so loud that Arthur winced,
His fair face flooded hot with shame,
And his cheeks;
He flared as angry as wind,
And all his people
Burned." Part 1, lines 309-322
Quote 3: "'Think of your bold knights,
Bursting to fight, as ready and willing
As men can be: defer to their needs.
And I am the slightest, the dullest of them all;
My life the least, my death no loss
- My only worth is you, my royal
Uncle, all my virtue is through you.
And this foolish business fits my station,
Not yours: let me play this green man's game.
If I ask too boldly, may this court declare me
The knights whispered, buzzed,
In a voice said it was
For Gawain; the king should halt." Part 1, lines 351-365
Quote 4: "And now, Gawain: think.
Danger is yours to overcome
And this game brings you
Danger. Can this game be won?" Part 1, lines 487-490
Quote 5: "And all these fives met in one man,
Joined to each other, each without end,
Set in five perfect points
Wholly distinct, yet part of one whole
And closed, wherever it end or begin.
And so the pentangle glowed on his shield,
Bright red gold across bright red stripes,
The holy pentangle, as careful scholars
Call it." Part 2, lines 656-665
Quote 6: "And the knights in that castle shouted with pleasure,
Proud to stand in his presence - Gawain,
Eternally praised, bearer of excellence,
Most able, most knightly, best on earth,
Most famous, most honored of men. And each of them
Whispered to his fellow: 'How sweet it will be
To see such easy, virtuous skill!
What lessons we will learn in noble speech,
What marvelous words, what practiced methods
Of converse, now that we welcome this model
Of perfect breeding! God has been good,
Truly, to grant us a guest like Gawain,
In this season when men sing and rejoice
In His birth.
This knight will lead us to the meaning
Of manners, will work
Miracles for us to see
In the soothing of lovers' hurts'" Part 2, lines 910-927
Quote 7: "'Lord!' said Gawain. 'How lucky I am,
Lady, not to be the knight you speak of:
To take that kind of honor on my own
Would be sinful; I know myself too well.
By God, I'd be glad, if it pleased you, to offer you
Some different service, in word or deed
To serve such excellence would be endless delight." Part 3, lines 1241-1247
Quote 8: "And seeing how beautiful she was,
And how dressed, and her face, and her body, and her flesh,
So white, joy swelled in his heart.
With gentle smiles they started to talk,
And their talk was of joyful things, they spoke only
Words came flowing free,
Each was pleased
With the other; and only Mary
Could Save him from this.
That beautiful princess pressed him so hard,
Urged him so near the limit, he needed
Either to take her love or boorishly
Turn her away. To offend like a boor
Was bad enough; to fall into sin
Would be worse, betraying the lord of the house.
'God willing,' he thought, 'it will not happen!'" Part 3, lines 1760-1776
Quote 9: "Gawain hesitated, his heart
Reached for protection, like a thief for a gem:
He could come to that chapel, and take that stroke,
And with this glorious device walk off
Unharmed." Part 3, lines 1855-1859
Quote 10: "But whether he slept or not I dare not
Say; he could have remembered many
Yet let him lie as he will,
His adventure ringing
In his ears. Sit still
A moment more, and I'll sing it." Part 3, lines 1991-1997
Quote 11: "'I'm grateful, fellow, for all your good wishes;
I believe you'd keep it a secret, I believe you.
But however loyally you lied, if I rode
Away, fled for fear, as you tell me,
I'd be a coward no knight could excuse.
Whatever comes, I'm going to that chapel,
And I'll meet that wild man: however it happens
It will happen, for evil or good, as fate
He may be,
God can see,
God can save.'" Part 4, lines 2127-2139
Quote 12: "'Gawain? You can't be Gawain, his name
Is too noble, he's never afraid, nowhere
On earth - and you, you flinch in advance!
I've heard nothing about Gawain the coward.
And I, did I flinch, fellow, when you swung
At my neck? I never spoke a word.
My head fell, and I never flinched.
And you, before it can happen your heart
Is quaking. Who doubts I'm the better
'I flinched,' said Gawain,
'I won't again.
And this much is plain:
My head, if it falls, won't talk in my hands.'" Part 4, lines 2270-2283
Quote 13: "'Perhaps, if my hands were quicker, I could have
Dealt you a better blow, and done harm.
I pretended one stroke, a threat, a joke,
But left you whole; I had the right,
Because of our other agreement, in my castle;
You kept it faithfully, performed like an honest
Man, gave me everything you got.
Except that you kissed my wife: I swung
For that reason - but you gave me back her kisses.
So all you got, for that, was a puff
An honest man
Need never fear.
But still, the third day, there
In my castle, you failed - and you felt that here.
'That belt you're wearing: it's mine, my wife
Gave it to you - I know it all, knight,
The kisses you took, and gave, and all
You did, and how she tempted you: everything.
For I planned it all, to test you - and truly,
Not many better man have walked
This earth, been worth as much - like a pearl
To a pea, compared to other knights.
But you failed a little, lost good faith -
Not for a beautiful belt, or in lust,
But for love of your life. I can hardly blame you.'" Part 4, lines 2343-2368
Quote 14: "'I'm false, now, forever afraid
Of bad faith and treachery: may trouble, may sorrow
Come to them!
Oh knight: I humbly confess
My faults: bless me
With the chance to atone.
I'll try to sin less.'" Part 4, lines 2382-2388
Quote 15: "'My lord,' said Gawain, lifting the belt,
'This band and the nick on my neck are one
And the same, the blame and the loss I suffered
For the cowardice, the greed, that came to my soul.
This sign of bad faith is the mark of my sin:
I'll wear it on my waist as long as I live,
For a man may hide an injury to his soul,
But he'll never be rid of it, it's fastened forever.'
The king consoled him, and all that court,
And they laughed and resolved, then and there,
That lords and ladies of Arthur's table
Would each of them wear a slanted belt
Around their waists, woven of green,
To keep company with their well-loved Gawain." Part 4, lines 2505-2518
Quote 16: "And so in Arthur's time this adventure
Took place, as the book of Brutus bears witness,
After that bold Brutus appeared
In Britain, when the siege and assault had done
And other adventures as well,
Of great and loyal
Knights. Now may the royal
King of the world keep us from Hell!" Part 4, lines 2522-2530
Quote 17: "HONY SOYT QUI MAL PENCE [shame to him who finds evil here]" Part 4, Inscription