845. From Gawain and the Green Knight, by Anonymous (Lines 498 - 535)

A year soon runs its length and never returns the same,
And the end seldom seems to belong to the beginning.
So this Christmas was over then, and the last of the year followed it,
And the seasons went by in turn one after the other.
After Christmas came crabbed Lent
That chastises the flesh with fish and plainer food.
But then the weather of the world makes war on winter,
Cold cringes downward, clouds lift,
The shining rain comes down in warm showers,
Falls on the fair meadow, flowers appear there,
Both the open land and the groves are in green garments,
Birds hurry to build, and they sing gloriously
With the joy of the soft summer that arrives
            on all the hills,
       And blossoms are opening
       In thick hedgerows, and then the noblest
       Of all songs ring
       Through the lovely forest.

Then comes the season of summer with the soft winds,
When Zephyrus breathes gently on the seeds and grasses.
Happy is the green leaf that grows out of that time
When the wet of the dew drips from the leaves
Before the blissful radiance of the bright sun.
But then comes harvest time to hearten them,
Warning them to ripen well before winter.
It brings drought until the dust rises,
Flying up high off the face of the field,
A fierce wind wrestles with the sun in the heavens,
The leaves fly from the lime tree and light on the ground,
And the grass is all withered that before was green.
Then all that was growing at first ripens and decays,
And thus in many yesterdays the year passes
And winter comes back again as the world would have it,
            in the way of things.
       Until the Michaelmas moon
       When first the days feel wintry
       And Gawain is reminded then
       Of his dread journey.

(trans W. S. Merwin)

Source: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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