Michael Delahoyde
Washington State University


This late 14th-century poem by the Gawain-poet (alternately called the Pearl-poet) has the expected northern linguistic and alliterative features, but is a masterpiece of elegiac dream-vision. If we can assume an autobiographical impulse behind the poem, the poet seems to have experienced the death of his two-year-old daughter and desperately needs consolation from his despair.

The poem moves from a terrestrial paradise to a conversation with a maiden to a vision of New Jerusalem.


Pearl. Medieval English Literature. Ed. Thomas J. Garbáty. Lexington, Massachusetts: D.H. Heath & Co., 1984. 721-753.

Pearl, Cleanness, Patience, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Ed. A.C. Cawley and J.J. Anderson. J.M. Dent and Sons, Ltd., 1976. 1-47.

Medieval Index