c. 1185 | England

Shopping Mall

Overwhelmed by overabundance.

Everywhere Gawain looked
He saw singularly beautiful people,
And those who dealt in gold
And silver, and their coin-covered tables,
And saw shops and streets
Crowded with all sorts of workers
Plying their different crafts,
Everything under the sun:
Mail coats over here, and helmets;
Lances over there, and coats
Of arms; and harnesses
And spurs, and lances and spears;
Weavers of cloth, and finishers,
Those who card, and those
Who shear; smelters of silver
And gold; makers of beautiful
Things, goblets and cups
And lovely enameled ware,
Rings and belts and clasps.
One could have said, and truly,
They held a fair every day,
So bursting with goods was the place—
Beeswax, and dyes, and pepper,
Squirrel fur, and fox, and whatever
Men made for other men.

© 1999 by Yale University. Used with permission of Yale University Press.

Contributor

Chrétien de Troyes

From Perceval: The Story of the Grail. Author of some of the earliest extant Arthurian romances, Chrétien wrote in vernacular French and was widely emulated, providing source material in the fourteenth century for Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.