By W. A. Davenport
Ranging from the belief taht 'Pearl', 'Purity', 'Patience' and 'Sir Gawain and the golf green knight' are by means of one poet, W.A. Davenport seeks to outline the character of his paintings. He makes a detailed research of every poem, contemplating the 4 now not lots of their
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Extra resources for Art of the Gawain-poet: New Edition
The return to the waking world is thus preceded by a return to personal feeling after poetry of heightened intensity; the effect is of a selfless giving of the senses by the Dreamer to the scene he is allowed to witness, but which he rashly, in an excess of emotion, tries to enter. We come back full circle at the end to the lonely narrator, bereft now not only of his pearl but also of his visionary experience and the glimpses it gave him of the immortal. The waking is dramatically satisfying, as is the current of subsequent thought from rueful acceptance of the Prince's right to cast him out, through sadness, moderated by his satisfaction that his pearl is 'to that Prynsez paye', to a recognition that he should have devoted him/ self in the past and should devote himself in the present and future to becoming a delight and satisfaction to his Lord.
The return to earth is an anticlimax, but also a withdrawal into a circumscribed area of thought, less adventurous than the vision's powerful imagery seemed to promise. The end of the poem completes a pattern by providing the refrain which the first line has, in a sense, been seeking, and this refrain/word, pay, 'satisfaction', itself emphasises the idea of completion. To begin a poem with a line which fits into an elaborate pattern visible only at the end inevitably gives to the poem a sense of limitation; the meaning is not simply given form, but fixed in a mould, trapped within a circle of emblems and sounds.
There are at least three distinct possible answers to the question of understanding these relationships. First, the poem is autobiographical and the poet is writing of his own personal experience of bereavement and of a real vision in which either a supernatural or an hallucinatory force dictated the Maiden's words to him. Pearl would then be a work similar in nature to the Revelations of Julian of Norwich, except that it is composed in an elaborate verse form and that it does not make its personal truth explicit; one would thus understand poet, narrator and Dreamer to be one.