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The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle

'Lady, forgive me! It is a shock! You are a beautiful lady now!'

'Ah, Sir Gawain, since I am now your wife,' said this hideous creature as they lay together, 'show me courtesy in bed. It is my right and you may not deny me. I know, Sir Gawain, that if I was beautiful you would be acting in another way entirely on this your wedding night. Yet for King Arthur's sake kiss me at least; I ask you this. Then let us see what may develop.'

Sir Gawain turned over to face her and saw the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, looking back at him. 'What do you desire?' she asked.

'Jesus! What are you?' Sir Gawain exclaimed.

'Sir, I am your wife,' she replied. 'Why do you stare at me?'

''Lady, I apologise. Forgive me! It is a shock! You are a beautiful lady, and yet earlier today you were the most disgusting sow I had ever set my eyes upon.

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'A, Sir Gawen, syn I have you wed,
Shewe me your cortesy in bed;
With ryghte itt may nott be denyed...'

The tale of The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle is found in a sixteenth century manuscript lying in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. The underlying story was widespread throughout the late Middle Ages and its principal 'heroine' made a dramatic appearance at one of the 'Round Tables' of King Edward I of England in 1299.
(read the full story in Modern English)

references

The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle – Middle English text at TEAMS

Sir Gawain – Sir Gawain and Lady Ragnell – www.timelessmyths.com

The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle – Wikipedia

Medieval Institute Publications – ShopWMU – Thomas Hahn (Ed) 1995. Sir Gawain: Eleven Romances and Tales. TEAMS Middle English texts

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