Then commanded the lord in that hall to assemble the many,
Both the ladies on high to alight with their maids.
Before all the folk in the fortress, footmen he bids
Verily his venison to fetch him before;
And all goodly in gaming Gawain he called,
Teaches him the tally of the full-tined beasts,
Shows him the sheared flesh shorn from the ribs.
"How prize you this play? How Have I praise won?
Can I claim your thanks through my craft and skill?"
"You can," said that knight, "here is a fairer kill
Than I have seen these seven years in season of winter."
"And all I give you, Gawain," replied the great hunter,
"For by accord of covenant you claim it as your own."
"This is so," said the chevalier, "I say you the same:
What I have worthily won here in your home,
Shall with as good a will be given to you."
He holds his fair head his arms within,
And kisses him as comely as he could arrange:
"Take you there my achievement, I claimed little else;
I vouch it you freely, and would if were more."
"It is good," said the good man, "grant mercy therefore.
It may even be better, if you would bravely tell
Where you won this wonder by wit and by skill."
"That was not agreed to," said Gawain, "ask me no more;
For you have taken what is owed, nothing other
They laughed and made blithe
With words that were sweet;
To supper they hied,
With dainties to eat.
And so by the chimney in chamber they sat,
While the willing waiters brought them wine,
And joyful in their jesting they justly agreed
To fulfill the same forwards that they before made:
What chance so achieved, their prize to exchange,
What new thing they gained, next night when they met.
They accorded of their covenant before the full court -
The beverage was brought forth in a pledging-bowl -
Then they lightly took leave of each other at last,
Each bro to his bed slowly crawled.
By time the cock had crowed and cackled but thrice,
The lord was leaping from his bed, the servants too,
So that the meat and the mass was meetly delivered,
The boys bound to the forest before the day sprung,
Thence with hunt and horns
These players pass in space,
Hounds among the thorns
Baying, ran to race.