Then the knight called out full high:
"Who claims this place, to keep my meeting?
For now is good Gawain hanging right here.
If any one wants me, win hither fast,
Either now or never, you need to speed up."
"Abide," said one on the bank over and above his head,
"And you shall have all in haste that I thee might owe."
Still he ground with his gryndelstone, getting it done
Worked his whetting awhile, before he would come.
And then he crops up by a crag and comes from a hole,
Whirling out of a vent with a fell weapon,
A Danish axe new devised, to deliver the gift,
With a burnished bit bent to the haft,
Filed with a flint-wheel, four foot large -
It was no less than that lace that gleamed full bright.
And the guy in green was geared as before,
Both the look and the legs, locks and beard,
Save that fair with his feet he finds now the earth,
Sets the steel to the stone and stalks beside.
When he walks to the water, he would not wade,
He hopped over on his axe, and awfully strides,
Brutal and bold over a bank that broad was about,
Sir Gawain came that knight to meet
His bow was by no means low.
That other said, "Now Sir, sweet,
What they say of you may be true."
"Gawain," said that green guy, "God may you keep!
With good will you are welcome, wanderer, to my place.
And thou has timed thy travel as true men should,
And you know the covenant kept us between:
At this time twelvemonth past, to take what befell,
And I should at this New Year indemnify in full.
And we are in this valley, verily, on our own;
Here are no knights to come between us, keep as we like.
Have your helm off your head and have here your pay;
Speak no more debate than I served thee then
When you whipped off my head with one blow."
"No, by the God," said Gawain, "that me gave life,
I shall bear you no bitterness for returning the blow.
But stick to one stroke please, and I shall stand still
And take you no trouble but cut as you like,
He bent his neck and kneeled
And showed that skin all bare,
And let as he nought feared;
For dread he would not dare.