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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

by Pearl-Poet
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In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, I would like to know what the following passage means. "As I heard it in hall, I shall hasten to tell anew. As it was fashioned featly in tale do derring-do, And linked in measures meetly by letters tried and true.

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For this excerpt from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, this is how I translate it:

"As I heard it in the hall" means that the speaker heard something, and "I shall hasten to tell anew" means that the speaker wants to quickly tell what he has heard (in the hall).

For the next part, the three definitions below may help:

fealty: the fidelity [loyalty] of a vassal or feudal tenant to his lord

derring-do - daring action : daring

meetly - suitably; fittingly; properly; in a seemly manner

I take "As it was fashioned fealty in tale do derring-do" to mean that what he heard was a daring tale of loyalty and bravery. "And linked in measures meetly letters tried and true" means that the story's words and descriptions are "meetly letters," things that are proper and appropriate: words that are "reliable and true," having stood up to the test of time.

I would expect that in this, the storyteller is giving the qualifications of this story: presenting the story's credentials, in a way—saying that it is a true story, and the listeners can be sure that what they hear is the truth.


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