“If anyone here has the daring to try what I’ve offered, / Leap to me lightly, lad; lift up this weapon … And I will stand still for your stroke…” (lines 73-76).
“By heaven, sir, your request is strange; / But since you have come here for folly, you may as well find it … Give me your gisarme, then, for the love of God, / And gladly I’ll grant you the gift you have asked to be given” (lines 105-109).
“I beseech you, Sire … Let this game be mine” (lines 123-124)
“Come to the green chapel, I charge you, and take / A stroke the same as you’re given…” (lines 182-183).
A mysterious Green Knight arrives at King Arthur’s castle, and offers a challenge to the King and his knights.
“Listen. Little as it is, it seems less in value, / But he who knew what charms are woven within it / Might place a better price on it, perchance. / For the man who goes to battle in this green lace, / As long as he keeps it looped around him, / No man under Heaven can hurt him, whoever may try, / For nothing on earth, however uncanny, can kill him” (lines 230-235).
“My lady gay, I can hardly take gifts at the moment; / having nothing to give, I’d be wrong to takes gifts in turn” (lines 203-204).
Gawain, one of Arthur’s knights, bravely takes his King’s place in the challenge.
“Hit me, hero! I’m right up here with your threats! Is it you that’s the cringing coward after all?” (lines 292-293).
“Whoo! … He’s wrathful, too! No pauses, then; I’ll pay up my pledge at once, I vow!” (lines 294-295).
“That sash you wear by your scabbard belongs to me; My own wife gave it to you … It was I who sent her to test you … But you lacked a little, sir; you were less than loyal … But since it was not for the sash itself or for lust / But because you love your life, I blame you less” (lines 350-360).
Gawain succeeds in the challenge, and chops off the Green Knight’s head. To his horror, the Green Knight’s severed head issues a second challenge to him, and Gawain accepts.
“I can’t deny my guilt; / My works shine none too fair! / Give me your good will / And henceforth I’ll beware” (lines 377-380).
“… fortune be with you; / May He who gives all honors honor you well” (lines 401-402).
“Whatever harm I’ve had, I hold it amended…”
Gawain travels to meet the knight at the Green Chapel. While he’s there, the Green Knight’s wife tries to seduce him, and grant him gifts. Gawain refuses all, except a magical sash, in order to protect his life.
Gawain completes the challenge, by allowing the Green Knight to try and chop off his head. However, the blade only nicks him. Gawain believes the magic of the sash has saved him.
The Green Knight reprimands Gawain for his deceit. He admits that he had been testing Gawain, to see if he upheld the morales of a true knight. Gawain begs forgiveness, and the Green Knight graciously accepts, the two parting as friends.