Tolkien Gateway

Gawain's Leave-taking

Gawain's Leave-taking is a translation into modern English by J.R.R. Tolkien of four stanzas of a medieval English poem. The translation contains the three first stanzas and the last stanza of a longer poem "Against my will I take my leave" in the "Vernon-manuscript" (Bodleian Libraries, MS. Eng. poet. a. 1, f. 407va-b).[1]

Christopher Tolkien added the poem to the last page of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl and Sir Orfeo, a collection of his father's other translations of medieval poems. The name of the translation was given by J.R.R. Tolkien. According to Christopher Tolkien, "clearly with reference to the passage in Sir Gawain where Gawain leaves the castle of Sir Bertilak to go to the tryst at the Green Chapel"; the original poem has nothing to do with Sir Gawain.[2]

References

  1. MS. Eng. poet. a. 1 (Medieval Manuscripts in Oxford Libraries; accessed 5.5.2020).
  2. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl and Sir Orfeo, Preface, p. vii.