Showing posts with label Gawain. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gawain. Show all posts

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Five by Five

Don't worry, we're sure to spot Faith first.
She's like this cleavagey slutbomb walking around going,
 "Ooh, check me out, I'm wicked cool, I'm five by five".

"Five by five?" 
Five what by five what? 

See, that's the thing! 

No-One Knows!!

"The Endless Knot - for ever Faith-full in five pointsand five times under each" :

5 X 5
Five by Five
Five Squared



We get some rules to follow,
That and this, these and those.

No-One Knows

We get these pills to swallow
How they stick in your throat
Tastes like Gold
Oh, what you do to me...

No-One Knows

And I realize you're mine
Indeed a fool am I
And I realize you're mine

Indeed a fool am I -Ahhh...!

I journey through The Desert of The Mind with no hope - I follow....

" He remained there that day, and in the morning got ready, asked early for his arms, and they all were brought him. First a carpet of red silk was arrayed on the floor, and the gilded gear in plenty there glittered upon it. The stern man stepped thereon and the steel things handled, dressed in a doublet of damask of Tharsia, and over it a cunning capadoce that was closed at the throat and with fair ermine was furred all within. Then sabatons first they set on his feet, his legs lapped in steel in his lordly greaves, on which the polains they placed, polished and shining and knit upon his knees with knots all of gold; then the comely cuisses that cunningly clasped the thick thews of his thighs they with thongs on him tied; and next the byrnie, woven of bright steel rings upon costly quilting, enclosed him about; and armlets well burnished upon both of his arms, with gay elbow-pieces and gloves of plate, and all the goodly gear to guard him whatever betide; coat-armour richly made, gold spurs on heel in pride; girt with a trusty blade, silk belt about his side. 

When he was hasped in his armour his harness was splendid: the least latchet or loop was all lit with gold. Thus harnessed as he was he heard now his Mass, that was offered and honoured at the high altar; and then he came to the king and his court-companions, and with love he took leave of lords and of ladies; and they kissed him and escorted him, and to Christ him commended. And now Gringolet stood groomed, and girt with a saddle gleaming right gaily with many gold fringes, and all newly for the nonce nailed at all points; adorned with bars was the bridle, with bright gold banded; the apparelling proud of poitrel and of skirts, and the crupper and caparison accorded with the saddlebows: all was arrayed in red with rich gold studded, so that it glittered and glinted as a gleam of the sun. Then he in hand took the helm and in haste kissed it: strongly was it stapled and stuffed within; it sat high upon his head and was hasped at the back, and a light kerchief was laid o’er the beaver, all braided and bound with the brightest gems upon broad silken broidery, with birds on the seams like popinjays depainted, here preening and there, turtles and true-loves, entwined as thickly as if many sempstresses had the sewing full seven winters in hand. A circlet of greater price his crown about did band; The diamonds point-device there blazing bright did stand. 

Then they brought him his blazon that was of brilliant gules with the pentangle depicted in pure hue of gold. By the baldric he caught it and about his neck cast it: right well and worthily it went with the knight. And why the pentangle is proper to that prince so noble I intend now to tell you, though it may tarry my story. It is a sign that Solomon once set on a time to betoken Troth, as it is entitled to do; for it is a figure that in it five points holdeth, and each line overlaps and is linked with another, and every way it is endless; and the English, I hear, everywhere name it the Endless Knot. So it suits well this knight and his unsullied arms; for ever faithful in five pointsand five times under each, Gawain as good was acknowledged and as gold refinéd, devoid of every vice and with virtues adorned. So there the pentangle painted new he on shield and coat did wear, as one of word most true and knight of bearing fair. 

First faultless was he found in his five senses, and next in his five fingers he failed at no time, and firmly on the Five Wounds all his faith was set that Christ received on the cross, as the Creed tells us; and wherever the brave man into battle was come, on this beyond all things was his earnest thought: that ever from the Five Joys all his valour he gained that to Heaven’s courteous Queen once came from her Child. For which cause the knight had in comely wise on the inner side of his shield her image depainted, that when he cast his eyes thither his courage never failed. The fifth five that was used, as I find, by this knight was free-giving and friendliness first before all, and chastity and chivalry ever changeless and straight, and piety surpassing all points: these perfect five were hasped upon him harder than on any man else. Now these five series, in sooth, were fastened on this knight, and each was knit with another and had no ending, but were fixed at five points that failed not at all, coincided in no line nor sundered either, not ending in any angle anywhere, as I discover, wherever the process was put in play or passed to an end. Therefore on his shining shield was shaped now this knot, royally with red gules upon red gold set: this is the pure pentangle as people of learning have taught. Now Gawain in brave array his lance at last hath caught. He gave them all good day, for evermore as he thought. 

He spurned his steed with the spurs and sprang on his way so fiercely that the flint-sparks flashed out behind him. All who beheld him so honourable in their hearts were sighing, and assenting in sooth one said to another, grieving for that good man: ‘Before God, ’tis a shame that thou, lord, must be lost, who art in life so noble! To meet his match among men, Marry, ’tis not easy! To behave with more heed would have behoved one of sense, and that dear lord duly a duke to have made, illustrious leader of liegemen in this land as befits him; and that would better have been than to be butchered to death, beheaded by an elvish man for an arrogant vaunt. Who can recall any king that such a course ever took as knights quibbling at court at their Christmas games!’Many warm tears outwelling there watered their eyes, when that lord so beloved left the castle that day. No longer he abode, but swiftly went his way; bewildering ways he rode, as the book I heard doth say."


" The most certain thing known about the author is that he also wrote PatiencePurity and Pearl, then we have in Sir Gawain the work of a man capable of weaving elements taken from diverse sources into a texture of his own; and a man who would have in that labour a serious purpose. I would myself say that it is precisely that purpose that has with its hardness proved the shaping tool which has given form to the material, given it the quality of a good tale on the surface, because it is more than that, if we look closer. 

The story is good enough in itself. It is a romance, a fairy-tale for adults, full of life and colour; and it has virtues that would be lost in a summary, though they can be perceived when it is read at length: good scenery, urbane or humorous dialogue, and a skilfully ordered narrative. 

Of this the most notable example is the long Third Part with its interlacing of the hunting-scenes and the temptations. By this device all three main characters are kept vividly in view during the three crucial days, while the scenes at home and in the field are linked by the Exchange of Winnings, and we watch the gains of the chase diminish as the gains of Sir Gawain increase and the peril of his testing mounts to a crisis. 

But all this care in formal construction serves also to make the tale a better vehicle of the ‘moral’ which the author has imposed on his antique material. He has re-drawn according to his own faith his ideal of knighthood, making it Christian knighthood, showing that the grace and beauty of its courtesy (which he admires) derive from the Divine generosity and graceHeavenly Courtesy, of which Mary is the supreme creation: the Queen of Courtesy, as he calls her in Pearl

This he exhibits symbolically in mathematical perfection in the Pentangle, which he sets on Gawain’s shield instead of the heraldic lion or eagle found in other romances. But while in Pearl he enlarged his vision of his dead daughter among the blessed to an allegory of the Divine generosity, in Sir Gawain he has given life to his ideal by showing it incarnate in a living person, modified by his individual character, so that we can see a man trying to work the ideal out, see its weaknesses (or man’s weaknesses). 

But he has done more. His major point is the rejection of unchastity and adulterous love, and this was an essential part of the original tradition of amour courtois or ‘courtly love’; but this he has complicated again, after the way of morals in real life, by involving it in several minor problems of conduct, of courtly behaviour to women and fidelity to men, of what we might call sportsmanship or playing the game

On these problems he has been less explicit, and has left his hearers more or less to form their own views of the scale of their values, and their relation to the governing value of sin and virtue. So this poem is made to be, as it were, all about Gawain. The rest is a web of circumstance in which he is involved for the revelation of his character and code. 

The ‘Faerie’ may with its strangeness and peril enlarge the adventure, making the test more tense and more potent, but Gawain is presented as a credible, living, person; and all that he thinks, or says, or does, is to be seriously considered, as of the real world. 

His character is drawn so as to make him peculiarly fitted to suffer acutely in the adventure to which he is destined. We see his almost exaggerated courtesy of speech, his modesty of bearing, which yet goes with a subtle form of pridea deep sense of his own honour, not to mention, we might say, a pleasure in his own repute as ‘this fine father of breeding (stanza 38). 

We note also the warmth of his character, generous, even impetuous, which by a slight excess leads him ever to promise more than necessary, beyond the consequences that he can foresee. 

We are shown his delight in the company of women, his sensitiveness to their beauty, his pleasure in the ‘polished play of converse’ with them, and at the same time his fervent piety, his devotion to the Blessed Virgin. 

We see him at the crisis of the action forced to distinguish in scale of value the elements of his code, preserving his chastity, and his loyalty on the highest plane to his host; finally rejecting in fact (if not in empty words) absolute worldly ‘courtesy’, that is complete obedience to the will of the sovereign lady, rejecting it in favour of virtue

Yet later we see him, in the last scene with the Green Knight, so overwhelmed by shame at being discovered in a breach of his laughing word, given in a Christmas game, that the honour he has gained in the great test is of small comfort to him. 

With characteristic excess he vows to wear a badge of disgrace for the rest of his life.

In a fit of remorse, so violent that it would be appropriate only to grievous sin, he accuses himself of GreedCowardice, and Treachery

Of the first two he is guiltless, except by a casuistry of shame. 

But how true to life, to a picture of a perhaps not very reflective man of honour, is this shame at being found out (especially at being found out) in something considered rather shabby, whatever in solemn conscience we may think of its real importance. How true also is this equality in emotion aroused by all parts of a personal code of conduct, however various in importance or ultimate sanctions each element may be. 

Of the last charge: disloyalty, troth-breach, treachery, all the hard things that he calls it, Gawain was guilty only in so far as he had broken the rules of an absurd game imposed on him by his host (after he had rashly promised to do anything his host asked); and even that was at the request of a lady, made (we may note) after he had accepted her gift, and so was in a cleft stick. 

Certainly this is an imperfection upon some plane; but on how high a plane, and of what importance? 

The laughter of the Court of Camelot – and to what higher court in matters of honour could one go? – is probably sufficient answer. 

But in terms of literature, undoubtedly this break in the mathematical perfection of an ideal creature, inhuman in flawlessness, is a great improvement. 

The credibility of Gawain is enormously enhanced by it. He becomes a real man, and we can thus really admire his actual virtue. 

We can indeed give serious thought to the movements of the English mind in the fourteenth century, which he represents, from which much of our sentiment and ideals of conduct have been derived. We see the attempt to preserve the graces of ‘chivalry’ and the courtesies, while wedding them, or by wedding them, to Christian morals, to marital fidelity, and indeed married love

The noblest knight of the highest order of Chivalry refuses adultery, places hatred of sin in the last resort above all other motives, and escapes from a temptation that attacks him in the guise of courtesy through Grace obtained by prayer. That is what the author of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was mainly thinking about, and with that thought he shaped the poem as we have it. 

It was a matter of contemporary concern, for the English. Sir Gawain presents in its own way, more explicitly moral and religious, one facet of this movement of thought out of which also grew Chaucer’s greatest poem, Troilus and Criseyde. Those who read Sir Gawain are likely to read the last stanzas of Chaucer’s work with a renewed interest.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

BreXit : Ask Not What Article 50 Can Do For You - Ask What You Can Do For Our Nation and Your People

“We’ve been praying, together, praying that God will save Our Town. 

And our prayers have been answered. 

God will save Alexandria - because God has GIVEN  Us the COURAGE to save it OURSELVES!”

“No one gets to clock out today. 

And Hell - This is a story people are gonna tell!”

Five to One, baby,
One in Five

No One Here Gets Out Alive

The narrator of Sir Gawain is very clear about what the pentangle (five-pointed star) on Gawain’s shield represents:

It is a symbol that Solomon designed long ago 
As an emblem of fidelity, and justly so; 
Therefore it suits this knight and his shining arms,
For always faithful in five ways, and five times in each case,
Gawain was reputed as virtuous,
(625-626; 631-633)

These five ways in which Gawain is virtuous are in 

  • The Dexterity of his 5 Fingers, 
  • The Perfection of his 5 Senses, 
  • His Devotion to the 5 Wounds of Christ, 
  • His Reflection on the 5 Joys of Mary in Christ and, finally, 
  • 5 virtues: 
    • Generosity, 
    • Fellowship, 
    • Chastity, 
    • Courtesy, and 
    • Charity. 



The pentangle is an appropriate representation of these five areas of virtue because each of the five sides of the pentangle transitions seamlessly into the next. This aspect of its geometry might represent the way in which the virtues are interrelated, each area feeding into and supporting the other.