Lines 444 through 466:
The Green Knight holds his head upright. The face pointed toward the dais. The eyes of his severed head open wide, and the mouth says, “Sir Gawain, forget not to go as agreed,” (448), as promised before “these proud knights” (450). The horseman informs him where to find him at “the Green Chapel,” (451), to take “such a dint as [he] has dealt” (452). He says it shall be “on New Year’s morn” (453). The word “morn” means the beginning of the day; dawn, sunrise. He tells Gawain that he is “The Knight of the Green Chapel” and “well-known to many” (454). Therefore, you shall be able to find me, “or be counted as a recreant knight” (456). The word “recreant” means to be designated a person who admits to having been defeated or overcome; that yields or surrenders; in a condition of surrender or defeat; defeated: Therefore, it means cowardly, faint-hearted, craven and afraid.
The Green Knight flings the reins of the horse around “With a roisterous rush” (457). The word “roisterous” is plural for roistering, and “roistering” means blustering, boisterous; associated with noisy reveling; uproarious, wild. He and his horse “Hurtles out .. the hall-door” with “his head in his hand” (458). A “flint-fire flew from the flashing hooves” (459). The words “flint” means a kind of hard stone, which must be the flooring in the hall, most commonly of a steely gray color, and the word “fire” is referencing its property of firing off sparks when struck with iron or steel of the horse’s hooves. When the Green Knight left, “The king and Gawain” were “gay” (463), and the guest were in “wonder past compare” (466). The people were in awe at what had just transpired, and King Arthur received his miraculous story and game.
Lines 467 through 490:
King Arthur turns to Guinevere and says, “Dear dame, on this day dismay you no whit,” (470), which means dear madam, today you are not dismayed a bit. Arthur continues by saying, “Such crafts are becoming at Christmastide,” (471), which means such magic is welcome at Christmas time. He states, “Laughing at interludes, light songs and mirth” (472). The word “interludes” used in this context means an interval in the performance of a play or a pause between acts. He provides evidence of activities, “dancing of damsels with doughty knights” (473). The words “damsels” during this time- period meant a young unmarried lady, one of noble or gentle birth, and “doughty” means able capable, worthy, virtuous, valiant, brave, stout and formidable. He explains that he has “met with a marvel,” (474), which mean he has met with a miracle.
Arthur tells Sir Gawain to “hang up [his] ax” (477). The phrase “hang up your ax” is a colloquial expression equivalent to “bury the hatchet,” but here it represents not only a figurative sense, but also a literal expression. He also tells Gawain that his ax “has hewn enough” (477). The word “hewn” means an action caused, such as a head being lobed off, by the swinging stroke of his axe. Arthur asks Gawain to hang the axe on the wall “over the high dais” (478). King Arthur and Sir Gawain then returned to the feast “With all dainties double” (483), which means they returned to the feast with double the delight, pleasure and joy of before. The feast also includes “all manner of meat and minstrelsy” (484). The word “minstrelsy” means the art or occupation of a minstrel. Originally, to be a “minstrel” meant a person that provides entertainment by singing, playing music, storytelling or juggling. All those who attended the Christmas feast were happy.
King Arthur warns Sir Gawain “That [his] courage wax not cold” (488). That is a clever usage of the word wax, which is a substance produced by bees. When it is hot, wax is liquid. When it is warm, wax may be molded into any shape. However, when it is cold, it is hard and brittle, and breaks. Thus, King Arthur is telling Gawain that he hopes that his courage does not break. Also, wax it yellow which signifies cowardice. It is Sir Gawain who must return to his “enterprise foretold” (490). The words “enterprise” used in that context means an undertaking and “foretold” means already mentioned. King Arthur ends Part 1 by mentioning to Gawain that he hopes he has the courage next year to find the Green Knight at the Green Chapel, and allow the Green Knight to lob off his head.