Friday, January 31, 2020

Sonnet 34 Amoretti

Sonnet 34 -

Like as a ship, that through the ocean wide,
By conduct of some star, doth make her way,
Whenas a storm hath dimmed her trusty guide,
Out of her course doth wander far astray:
So I, whose star, that wont with her bright ray
Me to direct, with clouds is overcast,
Do wander now, in darkness and dismay,
Through hidden perils round about me placed;
Yet hope I well that, when this storm is past,
My Helice, the loadstar of my life,
Will shine again, and look on me at last,
With lovely light to clear my cloudy grief.
Till then I wander careful, comfortless,
In secret sorrow, and sad pensiveness.

Languages used in England in Medieval Ages

Languages used in medieval documents

Three main languages were in use in England in the later medieval period – Middle English, Anglo-Norman (or French) and Latin. Authors made choices about which one to use, and often used more than one language in the same document. Eventually English emerged as the standard literary medium, but it was not until the eighteenth century that Latin disappeared from legal documents.

Hebrew and Aramaic were used by the medieval Jewish community in England.



Anglo-Norman had emerged as a distinct dialect of French after the Norman Conquest in 1066 established a French-speaking aristocracy in English. It was still dominant in the mid-thirteenth century when Robert of Gretham wrote his advice on moral conduct, the Mirur. For Robert the appropriate language for lay education was French, but by the late fourteenth century his book had been translated into English.

Detail from Robert of Gretham, Mirur, in Anglo-Norman (WLC/LM/4, f.57v)

Detail from Robert of Gretham, Mirur, in Anglo-Norman (WLC/LM/4, f.57v) 


Middle English

The earliest literary document in English in the University of Nottingham’s collections is a fragment from the life of St Bridget, from the South English Legendary, composed in the late thirteenth century. The scribe uses the Anglo-Saxon letters ‘yogh’ for ‘y’ or ‘g’ (ȝ) and thorn for ‘th’ (þ). He leaves a wide gap between the first capital letter of each line and the rest of the word.

See the words ‘This’ ('Þ  is') at the start of line 2, and ‘begat’ ('byȝat') in the middle of line 3.

Fragment of the Life of St Bridget (WLC/LM/38)


Fragment of the Life of St Bridget, in English (WLC/LM/38)


The author of the Speculum Vitae (The Mirror of Life), writing late in the fourteenth century, chose to use English and explained why.

Detail from Speculum Vitae, WLC/LM/9, ff. 1v-2r 

Detail from Speculum Vitae, WLC/LM/9, ff. 1v-2r

In englysch tonge I schal you telle 

Yif ye so longe with me wil dwelle 

Ne latyn wil I speke ne waste 

Bot englisch that men usen maste 

For that is youre kynde langage 

That ye have most here of usage 

That kan eche man understonde 

That is boren in engelonde 

For that langage is most schewed 

As wel among lered as lewed 

Latyn as I trowe can nane 

Bot thoo that have it at scole tane 

Somme kan frensch and no latyn 

That used have court and dwelled therin

And somme kan of latyn a party

That kan frensch ful febelly

And somme understonden englysch

That kan nouther latyn ne frensch

Bot lered and lewed olde and yonge 

Alle understonden englysch tonge

I’ll tell you in English

If you’ll stay with me long enough.

I won’t speak or waste Latin,

But I’ll speak English, that people use most,

Since that is your native language

That you have most in use here,

Which each person can understand

Who was born in England.

For that language is most in evidence

Both among the educated and the uneducated.

I believe no-one knows Latin

Unless they’ve taken it at school.

Some know French and not Latin

Who have frequented the court and lived in it.

And some know a bit of Latin

Who know French very poorly.

Some understand English

Who know neither Latin nor French.

But educated and uneducated, old and young,

All understand the English tongue.


His explanation concludes that everybody, both the educated (‘lered’) and unschooled (‘lewed’), old and young, can understand the English tongue. In contrast, Latin was only understood by those who learnt it at school, and French by those who attended court. These languages were used by particular communities and for specific purposes.



John Gower, a contemporary and friend of Geoffrey Chaucer in the late fourteenth century, wrote in all three languages. His ballades include the French poem Traitié pour les amantz marietz, promoting the virtues of married love. Shown here is a section headed by an introduction (rubricated in red ink) in which Gower apologises for any mistakes in his French. The introduction to the passage is in Latin, and reads 'Gower, qui Anglicus est, sua verba Gallica … excusat' ('Gower, who is English, makes excuse for his French words'). This followed a familiar convention of bilingual presentation. Gower’s great English work was known by its Latin title Confessio Amantis and included Latin running titles and section headings.

tail from John Gower, Traitié ..., in French with Latin headings (WLC/LM/8, f.203v)

Detail from John Gower, Traitié ..., in French with Latin headings (WLC/LM/8, f.203v) 


Although French remained familiar to Gower’s contemporaries at court and in educated or wealthy circles, the great days of Anglo-Norman as a literary medium were over. A form of French, known as 'Law French', continued to be used by English lawyers in written form until the seventeenth century. It became fossilized and degraded, because after the fourteenth century, most of those using the language did not fully understand it. Many legal terms still in existence today derive from French, such as 'attorney', 'bailiff' and 'defendant'.

Title deeds in French are rare after the early fifteenth century. This agreement relating to dower, made in 1417 (Ne D 742), is in fact the very last French deed known to exist in the University of Nottingham’s collection.

Detail from agreement relating to dower, in French, 1417 (Ne D 742)

Detail from agreement relating to dower, in French, 1417 (Ne D 742) 



Latin was still the preferred language for many purposes. With its fixed grammar and spelling, it was easy to abbreviate without misunderstanding. It remained the medium for international scholarship until the seventeenth century.

The Catholic church used Latin in its services, so all liturgical books were written in this language until the Reformation in the sixteenth century. The theologian John Wycliffe began to translate the Bible into English in the late fourteenth century, but the Lollard movement with which he was associated was persecuted by the authorities, so late medieval Bibles in English are rare.

Detail from Latin breviary with musical notation, c.1175-1225 (WLC/LM/1, f.37r)

Detail from Latin breviary with musical notation, c.1175-1225 (WLC/LM/1, f.37r)


English was slow to take over as the language of government, law and bureaucracy, despite the fact that by a law passed in 1362 all legal pleadings had to be in English. This bill of complaint (Pa L 2) dates from the late fifteenth century and is indeed in English.

Detail of bill of complaint of Elizabeth Whitfield, Pa L 2

Detail of bill of complaint of Elizabeth Whitfield, Pa L 2


However, most other types of official document continued to be written in Latin, such as the manor court roll (MS 66/1) shown on the previous page of this unit. It was not until the mid-sixteenth century that English began to appear in manorial records, and even then it was often only used to record presentments spoken in that language at the meeting of the manor court. It was a similar situation in the records of the Nottingham Archdeaconry court. In depositions written in 1610, the words spoken by ordinary people are written in English, as they said them, but the rest of the document explaining the case is in Latin. 

Rentals and accounts from landed estates are rare in English before the beginning of the sixteenth century. Most title deeds were also written in Latin until the sixteenth century and even later, although many fifteenth-century examples in English exist.

However, since Latin was not a living, spoken language, the scribes sometimes struggled to find suitable words and phrases to use. They often resorted to inserting English words where necessary, for instance a person's occupation in a title deed, or a description of a particular item in an inventory which could not be accurately identified using a Latin word.

Latin continued to be used as the language of some deeds and legal documents until the early eighteenth century. By Act of Parliament, 'Use of English Language in the Law Courts made Obligatory', 4 George II, c.26, 1731, it was enacted that English should be used to record all official information from 25 March 1733.

Detail from title deed in Latin, 1388, Ne D 4716

Detail from title deed in Latin, 1388, Ne D 4716


Sunne Rising

The Sun Rising 

               Busy old fool, unruly sun,
               Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains call on us?
Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run?
               Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
               Late school boys and sour prentices,
         Go tell court huntsmen that the king will ride,
         Call country ants to harvest offices,
Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

               Thy beams, so reverend and strong
               Why shouldst thou think?
I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink,
But that I would not lose her sight so long;
               If her eyes have not blinded thine,
               Look, and tomorrow late, tell me,
         Whether both th' Indias of spice and mine
         Be where thou leftst them, or lie here with me.
Ask for those kings whom thou saw'st yesterday,
And thou shalt hear, All here in one bed lay.

               She's all states, and all princes, I,
               Nothing else is.
Princes do but play us; compared to this,
All honor's mimic, all wealth alchemy.
               Thou, sun, art half as happy as we,
               In that the world's contracted thus.
         Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be
         To warm the world, that's done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere;
This bed thy center is, these walls, thy sphere.

Forbidding mourning

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning 

As virtuous men pass mildly away,
   And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say
   The breath goes now, and some say, No:

So let us melt, and make no noise,
   No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
'Twere profanation of our joys
   To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears,
   Men reckon what it did, and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
   Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers' love
   (Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
   Those things which elemented it.

But we by a love so much refined,
   That our selves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
   Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
   Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
   Like gold to airy thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so
   As stiff twin compasses are two;
Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show
   To move, but doth, if the other do.

And though it in the center sit,
   Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans and hearkens after it,
   And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
   Like th' other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
   And makes me end where I begun.


Word Meanings and Synonyms 

PeevishEasily irritated, testy or annoyedCranky, fractious, grumpy, snappy, waspish
AdageA proverb or bywordAxiom, maxim, dictum, aphorism, precept
MachinationTo plot evilly for personal gainConspiracy, skulduggery, scheme, ruse, manoeuvre
MountebankSomeone who deceives others especially to rob them of their moneyFraudster, impostor, hoaxer, trickster, charlatan
ApocryphalSomething whose authenticity is questionable irrespective of its wide circulationDebatable, fabricated, fictitious, dubious, unsubstantiated
ErsatzAn artificial substance used as a substitute to a natural one, often inferiorAdulterated, fabricated, spurious, unnatural, synthetic
ArchetypeA model on which all others in the same category are basedEpitome, prototype, standard, exemplar, paradigm, paragon
HyperboleAn extravagant statement not meant to be taken literallyAmplification, exaggeration, embellishment, magnification, overstatement
RedundantSurplus, more than what is requiredDisposable, dispensable, superfluous, inessential, expendable
HermitOne who has withdrawn to a solitary life or religious seclusionAscetic, saint, austere, puritanical, abstinent
CajoleTo persuade by buttering up or making promisesFlatter, tempt, beguile, sweet-talk, compliment
EspionageThe act of spying (by the government or otherwise)Intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, spying, tailing
RestiveUnable to remain still, especially because of boredom or dissatisfactionAgitated, anxious, fidgety, jittery, impatient, restless
BrazenShameless or impudentBlatant, unashamed, unabashed, barefaced, unrepentant
AccoladeAny honourAcclaim, award, commendation, laurel, laudation
HarbingerA person or thing which signals the approach of anotherAnnouncer, forerunner, forewarning, herald, prelude
BizarreVery strange or unusualEccentric, aberrant, ludicrous, peculiar, weird, odd
ParochialHaving a limited or narrow outlookConservative, myopic, intolerant, narrow-minded, illiberal
SanguineCheerfully positive and confidentBuoyant, enthusiastic, optimistic, animated, hopeful
MagnanimousLarge-hearted or forgivingAltruistic, generous, bounteous, philanthropic, liberal
SublimeExtreme and unparalleledElevated, exalting, magnificent, resplendent, splendid
RestraintA measure to keep something/someone under controlConstraint, inhibition, judiciousness, prohibition, temperateness
TrepidationTremulous fear or agitationAlarm, apprehension, foreboding, consternation, discomposure
ImperturbableIncapable of being upset or agitatedNonchalant, phlegmatic, relaxed, tranquil, undisturbed
CongenialAgreeable and pleasing in nature or characterComradely, friendly, companionable, hospitable, favourable
StridentMaking or having a harsh soundDiscordant, rasping, raucous, vociferous, clamorous, loud
EgalitarianAsserting equality for all peopleDemocratic, classless, equalitarian, unrestricted, uncensored
ConfluenceThe place where two or more water bodies meetConflux, convergence, junction, meeting


Tottel's Miscellany

Songes and Sonettes, usually called Tottel's Miscellany, was the first printed anthology of English poetry. First published by Richard Tottel in 1557 in London, it ran to many editions in the sixteenth century.

Richard Tottel

Henry Howard Surrey
Henry Howard, Earl Of Surrey is generously represented in the miscellany, and credited with creating the English (or Shakespearean) form of sonnet.

Richard Tottel was an English publisher with a shop at Temple Bar on Fleet Street in London. His main business was the publication of law textbooks but his biggest contribution to English literature would come in the form of the anthology of poetry. He also gave the public Surrey's translation of the second and fourth books of Virgil's Aeneid, which is the earliest known example of English blank verse.He is responsible too for the first edition printed of Cicero's De Officiis in 1556 by Nicholas Grimald, who would later contribute to the poetry anthology.

Tottel also published Thomas More's Utopia and another collection of More's writings, John Lydgate's translations from Giovanni Boccaccio, and books by William Staunford and Thomas Tusser. The majority of his publications were legal treatises, including a legal history of the reign of Richard III, and legal yearbooks covering parts of the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI.

Songes and Sonettes

The first edition of this work appeared on 5 June 1557 with the title Songes and Sonettes Written By the Ryght Honorable Lord Henry Howard, late Earle of SurreyThomas Wyatt the Elder and others. The volume consisted of 271 poems, none of which had ever been printed before. Songs and Sonettes was the first of the poetic anthologies that became popular by the end of the 16th century, and is considered to be Tottel's 'great contribution to English letters',as well as the first to be printed for the pleasure of the common reader.It was also the last large use of sonnet form for several decades, in published work, until the appearance of Philip Sidney's sonnet sequence Astrophel and Stella (1591) and the anthology The Phoenix Nest (1593).

Most of the poems included in the anthology were written in the 1530s but were only published in the first edition in 1557. Many of them were published posthumously.There are in total 54 actual sonnets in the anthology. These include nine from unknown authors, three from Nicholas Grimald, 15 from Surrey, and 27 from Wyatt.

The incorporated poetry had numerous comments on religion, covering CatholicismProtestantism, and the English Reformation. Later editors of the early modern period then took out many of these religious references.


Sir Thomas Wyatt
Sir Thomas Wyatt contributed 96 poems to Tottel's Miscellany.

The collection comprises mostly the works of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey and Thomas Wyatt the Elder. Both were heavily influenced by Italian poetry, although Wyatt's meter would be adapted to conventional English iambic stress by Tottel.

The star poet of Tottel's Miscellany, the Earl of Surrey, created the English sonnet form by modifying the Petrarchan sonnet. If the English sonnet is also called the Shakespearean sonnet, that can be attributed to Shakespeare's fame. The form which Surrey created (three quatrains in alternate rhyme and a concluding couplet) is easier to write in English than the Petrarchan form, with its more complex rhyme scheme.

Wyatt's inclusion in Tottel's Miscellany would mark the first time this poet's work was printed. (Two of Surrey's poems had appeared in print).Other contributors include Nicholas GrimaldThomas NortonThomas VauxJohn HeywoodEdward Somerset and other uncertain or unknown authors.Among these unknown authors, it is believed that Geoffrey Chaucer wrote at least one of the poems, titled in the anthology as, "To leade a vertuous and honest life." Although some of the wording has been altered slightly, this poem appears to be "a somewhat mutilated copy of Chaucer's ballad on "Truth."" 

Thomas Vaux
Thomas Vaux: one of his only two poems from the miscellany is misquoted in Shakespeare's Hamlet.

This is a sample of a poem found in the text by Sir Thomas Wyatt:.

They flee from me, that sometime did me seek,
With naked foot stalking within my chamber:
Once have I seen them gentle, tame, and meek,
That now are wild, and do not once remember,
That sometime they have put themselves in danger
To take bread at my hand ; and now they range
Busily seeking in continual change

(This poem refers to Elizabeth I's mother, Anne Boleyn. Wyatt wisely withdrew from the chase in favor of a more heavyweight suitor. Both had the problem of being already married, but the other suitor, Henry VIII, eventually solved that one).

The first edition of Tottel's Miscellany (1557) featured forty poems by Surrey, ninety-six poems by Wyatt, forty poems by Grimald, and ninety-five poems written by unknown authors. Tottel made note that of those anonymous poems, the authors were sure to include Thomas Churchyard, Thomas Vaux, Edward Somerset, John Heywood and Sir Francis Bryan. It has been decided definitely that of those ninety-five poems, two were written by Vaux, one by John Heywood, and one by Somerset. The only first edition left is in the Bodleian Library in England. A reprint, which was limited to sixty copies, was edited by John Payne Collier in 1867.

The second edition was also published in 1557; thirty of Grimald's poems were removed but thirty-nine additional ones were added to the "uncertain authors" category with a final tally of 281 poems. There are only two copies of this work in existence left, one in the Grenville Collection at the British Museum, the other at Trinity College, Cambridge.

The next seven editions were all printed between 1558 and 1586, with the final ninth edition being published in 1587.


It was so popular during the Elizabethan era it is considered the most influential of all Elizabethan miscellanies. It is generally included with Elizabethan era literature even if it was, in fact, published in 1557, a year before Elizabeth I took the throne.

Shakespeare uses some of its verses in The Merry Wives of Windsor and Hamlet, and directly quotes the anonymous poem, "Against him that had slaundered a gentlewoman with him selfe", in The Rape of Lucrece:

"To me came Tarquin, armed to beguild,
With outward honesty but yet defiled..."

In the Miscellany the quote is

"so was the house defiled,
Oh Collatiue: so was the wife beguilde."

Songes and Sonettes is also known as the most important English poetic collection in the 16th century and inaugurated a long series of poetic anthologies in Elizabethan England.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Riders to the Sea

Riders to the Sea

Sara Allgood as Maurya, photo taken by Carl Van Vechten, 1938

Riders to the Sea is a play written by Irish Literary Renaissance playwright John Millington Synge. It was first performed on 25 February 1904 at the Molesworth Hall, Dublin, by the Irish National Theater Society with Helen Laird playing Maurya. A one-act tragedy, the play is set in the Aran IslandsInishmaan, and like all of Synge's plays it is noted for capturing the poetic dialogue of rural Ireland. The plot is based not on the traditional conflict of human wills but on the hopeless struggle of a people against the impersonal but relentless cruelty of the sea.


Important characters

Plot synopsis

Maurya has lost her husband, and five of her sons to the sea. As the play begins Nora and Cathleen receive word from the priest that a body, which may be their brother Michael, has washed up on shore in Donegal, on the Irish mainland north of their home island of Inishmaan. Bartley is planning to sail to Connemara to sell a horse, and ignores Maurya's pleas to stay. He leaves gracefully. Maurya predicts that by nightfall she will have no living sons, and her daughters chide her for sending Bartley off with an ill word. Maurya goes after Bartley to bless his voyage, and Nora and Cathleen receive clothing from the drowned corpse that confirms it was Michael. Maurya returns home claiming to have seen the ghost of Michael riding behind Bartley and begins lamenting the loss of the men in her family to the sea, after which some villagers bring in the corpse of Bartley. He has fallen off his horse into the sea and drowned.

This speech of Maurya's is famous in Irish drama:

(raising her head and speaking as if she did not see the people around her) They're all gone now, and there isn't anything more the sea can do to me.... I'll have no call now to be up crying and praying when the wind breaks from the south, and you can hear the surf is in the east, and the surf is in the west, making a great stir with the two noises, and they hitting one on the other. I'll have no call now to be going down and getting Holy Water in the dark nights after Samhain, and I won't care what way the sea is when the other women will be keening. (To Nora) Give me the Holy Water, Nora; there's a small sup still on the dresser.



The pervading theme of this work is the subtle paganism Synge observed in the people of rural Ireland. Following his dismissal of Christianity, Synge found that the predominantly Roman Catholic Ireland still retained many of the folktales and superstitions born out of the old Celtic paganism. This play is an examination of that idea as he has a set of deeply religious characters find themselves at odds with an unbeatable force of nature (this being the sea). While the family is clearly Catholic, they still find themselves wary of the supernatural characteristics of natural elements, an idea very present in Celtic paganism.

Tradition vs. Modernity

Another main theme of the play is the tension between the traditional and modern worlds in Ireland at the time. While Maurya, representative of the older Irish generation, is immovably tied to the traditional world and inward-looking, Nora, representative of the younger generation is wiling to change with the outside world and therefore outward-looking. Cathleen, the eldest daughter struggles to bridge these two worlds and hold both in balance.


The characters of the play are at all times in contact with and accepting of the reality of death, the sea and drowning especially being a constant threat. They are caught between the dual realities of the sea as a source of livelihood and a fatal threat.[3] The objects and culture of death in the form of coffins, keening, and mourning are prevalent in the play and are closely based on Synge's observations of the culture of the Aran Islands.[1]



O moral Gower, this book I directe
To the and to the, philosophical Strode,
To vouchen sauf, ther nede is, to correcte,
Of youre benignites and zeles goode.

Troilus and Criseyde (Book 5, l. 1856-1859)

Richard II was a great patron of the arts and a literary culture flourished at his court in the second half of the Fourteenth Century. Chaucer was widely known amongst the literati of the day, and his circle included influential figures such as Sir Lewis Clifford, Sir Richard Stury and Sir John Montagu. He was also friendly with other contemporary writers, including Thomas Hoccleve, Henry Scogan, Ralph Strode and John Gower. He seems to have been particularly close to ‘Moral’ Gower, as he dubs him in Troilus and Criseyde, giving him power of attorney when he left for Italy in 1378. In the first version of his Confessio Amantis, Gower makes a flattering reference to Chaucer as composing ‘ditees and songes glad’ in the flower of his youth.

Often referred to as the ‘Father of the English Language’ Chaucer’s poetry and use of English inspired a whole generation of poets. The dominance of French following the Norman conquest of 1066 had impeded the growth of English as a literary language for hundreds of years, and it was not until the Fourteenth Century that the vernacular came once more to be used as the language of choice in all areas of society, including at court and in business. Nonetheless, most writers – such as Gower – still wrote fluently in French and Latin, as well as in their native tongue. Chaucer proved that English could be written with elegance and power and it is thanks to his works that its prestige grew as a medium for serious literature. His poetry naturally inspired praise and imitation from his contemporaries. Of these admirers, the prolific John Lydgate is probably one of the best known today. A monk at the great Benedictine Abbey of St Edmund at Bury, he emulated Chaucer’s style, and in the prologue to his Siege of Thebes even portrayed himself as meeting Chaucer’s pilgrims at their inn in Canterbury. Although Lydgate’s work has suffered from adverse criticism (the antiquarian Joseph Ritson famously dismissing him as a ‘voluminous, prosaick, and drivelling monk’) he played a crucial role in ensuring Chaucer’s popularity throughout the Fifteenth Century

John Gower Confessio Amantis
England: c.1425-1450
MS Hunter 7 (S.1.7)

The Confessio Amantis is Gower's most acclaimed English work. Completed in its first version in 1390, when Gower was about sixty, it is a lover's account of his confession to Genius, the priest of Venus, under headings supplied by the seven deadly sins. Like The Canterbury Tales, Gower uses this narrative framework to tell a series of tales which in this work explore the general nature of each sin together with the particular forms it may take in a lover. Chaucer undoubtedly knew the work well. According to the original prologue, Gower wrote the book for Richard II after the king asked him for a poem on the theme of love. Two or three years later, the reference to Richard was cut out, presumably because of his growing unpopularity. Gower then wrote another version of the prologue in which he says that the work was written for ‘Engelondes sake’.

The decorative scheme in this manuscript was for the beginning of each book to be marked by an illuminated and decorated page. The opening of the third book is displayed to the left; it is adorned by a spraywork border incorporating floral and leaf motifs. Several of these pages (including the beginnings of books one, two, six, seven and eight) are missing, and this may suggest that they originally included miniatures as well. There is a seventeenth century inscription in the book indicating that it was owned by the Benedictine Abbey of Bury St Edmonds: if this is correct, then this copy is likely to have been read by John Lydgate.

Ranulf Higden Polychronicon (translated by John of Trevisa)
England: c.1470
MS Hunter 367 (V.1.4)

Originally composed in Latin, this universal history is a chronicle of the period from the Creation to 1357. Its author was a Benedictine monk who arranged the work into seven books, in imitation of the seven days of Genesis. This translation was made by John of Trevisa (c.1330-1412) and completed in 1387. There was an increasing interest in history throughout the late medieval period, and Trevisa’s version was just one of several standard vernacular histories available. His translation is interesting for the additional comments that he makes to update the original text. Where Higden, for example, discusses the fact that children learn their lessons in French, Trevisa comments that the situation has changed by the time he is writing, and that lessons are now conducted in English. He acknowledges that this has its advantages for speed of learning, but points out rather disapprovingly that now children ‘know no more French than their left heel, and that is harmful for them if they should pass the sea and work in strange lands’.

This copy is one of some fourteen surviving manuscripts of the translation. It also includes Higden's preface to the work, the Dialogue of the Lord and the Clerk. The manuscript is well written on vellum and is skilfully decorated with illuminated initials and floreated pages. To the left is the opening of the first chapter of Book Five which deals with the reign of Vortigern in Britain and the arrival of the Saxons Hengist and Horsa.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Waiting for Godot

Summary Part 1

The setting is in the evening on a country road with a single tree present. Estragon is trying to pull off his boot, but without success. Vladimir enters and greets Estragon, who informs him that he has spent the night in a ditch where he was beaten. With supreme effort Estragon succeeds in pulling off his boot. He then looks inside it to see if there is anything there while Vladimir does the same with his hat.

Vladimir mentions the two thieves who were crucified next to Christ. He asks Estragon if he knows the Gospels. Estragon gives a short description of the maps of the Holy Land at which point Vladimir tells him he should have been a poet. Estragon points to his tattered clothes and says he was. Vladimir continues with his narrative about the two thieves in order to pass the time.

Estragon wants to leave but Vladimir forces him to stay because they are both waiting for Godot to arrive. Neither of the two bums knows when Godot will appear, or even if they are at the right place. Later it is revealed that they do not even know what they originally asked Godot for.

Estragon gets bored of waiting and suggests that they pass the time by hanging themselves from the tree. They both like the idea but cannot decide who should go first. They are afraid that if one of them dies the other might be left alone. In the end they decide it is safer to wait until Godot arrives.

Estragon asks Vladimir whether they still have rights. Vladimir indicates that they got rid of them. He then fears that he hears something, but it turns out to be imaginary noises. Vladimir soon gives Estragon a carrot to eat.

Pozzo and Lucky arrive. Lucky has a rope tied around his neck and is carrying a stool, a basket, a bag and a greatcoat. Pozzo carries a whip which he uses to control Lucky. Estragon immediately confuses Pozzo with Godot which gets Pozzo upset.

Pozzo spends several minutes ordering Lucky around. Lucky is completely silent and obeys like a machine. Pozzo has Lucky put down the stool and open the basket of food which contains chicken. Pozzo then eats the chicken and throws away the bones. Lucky stands in a stooped posture holding the bags after each command has been completed and appears to be falling asleep.

Estragon and Vladimir go to inspect Lucky who intrigues them. They ask why he never puts his bags down. Pozzo will not tell them, so Estragon proceeds to ask if he can have the chicken bones that Pozzo has been throwing away. Pozzo tells him that they technically belong to Lucky. When they ask Lucky if he wants them, he does not reply, so Estragon is given the bones.

Pozzo eventually tells them why Lucky hold the bags the entire time. He thinks it is because Lucky is afraid of being given away. While Pozzo tells them why Lucky continues to carry his bags, Lucky starts to weep. Estragon goes to wipe away the tears but receives a terrible kick in the shin.

Pozzo then tells them that he and Lucky have been together nearly sixty years. Vladimir is appalled at the treatment of Lucky who appears to be such a faithful servant. Pozzo explains that he cannot bear it any longer because Lucky is such a burden. Later Vladimir yells at Lucky that it is appalling the way he treats such a good master.

Pozzo then gives an oratory about the night sky. He asks them how it was and they tell him it was quite a good speech. Pozzo is ecstatic at the encouragement and offers to do something for them. Estragon immediately asks for ten francs but Vladimir tells him to be silent. Pozzo offers to have Lucky dance and then think for them.

Lucky dances for them and when asked for an encore repeats the entire dance step for step. Estragon is unimpressed but almost falls trying to imitate it. They then make Lucky think. What follows is an outpouring of religious and political doctrine which always starts ideas but never brings them to completion. The three men finally wrestle Lucky to the ground and yank off his hat at which point he stops speaking. His last word is, "unfinished."

The men then spend some effort trying to get Lucky to wake up again. He finally reawakens when the bags are placed in his hand. Pozzo gets up to leave and he and Lucky depart the scene. Vladimir and Estragon return to their seats and continue waiting for Godot.

A young boy arrives having been sent by Mr. Godot. Estragon is outraged that it took him so long to arrive and scares him. Vladimir cut him off and asks the boy if he remembers him. The boy says this is his first time coming to meet them and that Mr. Godot will not be able to come today but perhaps tomorrow. The boy is sent away with the instructions to tell Mr. Godot that he has seen them. Both Estragon and Vladimir discuss past events and then decide to depart for the night. Neither of them moves from his seat.

Waiting for Godot Summary of Act II

The setting is the next day at the same time. Estragon's boots and Lucky's hat are still on the stage. Vladimir enters and starts to sing until Estragon shows up barefoot. Estragon is upset that Vladimir was singing and happy even though he was not there. Both admit that they feel better when alone but convince themselves they are happy when together. They are still waiting for Godot.

Estragon and Vladimir poetically talk about "all the dead voices" they hear. They are haunted by voices in the sounds of nature, especially of the leaves rustling. Vladimir shouts at Estragon to help him not hear the voices anymore. Estragon tries and finally decides that they should ask each other questions. They manage to talk for a short while.

Estragon has forgotten everything that took place the day before. He has forgotten all about Pozzo and Lucky as well as the fact that he wanted to hang himself from the tree. He cannot remember his boots and thinks they must be someone else's. For some reason they fit him now when he tries them on. The tree has sprouted leaves since the night before and Estragon comments that it must be spring. But when Vladimir looks at Estragon's shin, it is still pussy and bleeding from where Lucky kicked him.

Soon they are done talking and try to find another topic for discussion. Vladimir finds Lucky's hat and tries it on. He and Estragon spend a while trading hats until Vladimir throws his own hat on the ground and asks how he looks. They then decide to play at being Pozzo and Lucky, but to no avail. Estragon leaves only to immediately return panting. He says that they are coming. Vladimir thinks that it must be Godot who is coming to save them. He then becomes afraid and tries to hide Estragon behind the tree, which is too small to hide him.

The conversation then degenerates into abusive phrases. Estragon says, "That's the idea, let's abuse each other." They continue to hurl insults at one another until Estragon calls Vladimir a critic. They embrace and continue waiting.

Pozzo and Lucky enter but this time Pozzo is blind and Lucky is mute. Lucky stops when he sees the two men. Pozzo crashes into him and they both fall helplessly in a heap on the ground. Vladimir is overjoyed that reinforcements have arrived to help with the waiting. Estragon again thinks that Godot has arrived.

Vladimir and Estragon discuss the merits of helping Pozzo get off the ground where he has fallen. When Vladimir asks how many other men spend their time in waiting, Estragon replies that it is billions. Pozzo in desperation offers to pay for help by offering a hundred francs. Estragon says that it is not enough. Vladimir does not want to pick up Pozzo because then he and Estragon would be alone again. Finally he goes over and tries to pick him up but is unable to. Estragon decides to leave but decides to stay when Vladimir convinces him to help first and then leave.

While trying to help Pozzo, both Vladimir and Estragon fall and cannot get up. When Pozzo talks again Vladimir kicks him violently to make him shut up. Vladimir and Estragon finally get up, and Pozzo resumes calling for help. They go and help him up. Pozzo asks who they are and what time it is. They cannot answer his questions.

Estragon goes to wake up Lucky. He kicks him and starts hurling abuses until he again hurts his foot. Estragon sits back down and tries to take off his boot. Vladimir tells Pozzo his friend is hurt.

Vladimir then asks Pozzo to make Lucky dance or think for them again. Pozzo tells him that Lucky is mute. When Vladimir asks since when, Pozzo gets into a rage. He tells them to stop harassing him with their time questions since he has no notion of it. He then helps Lucky up and they leave.

Vladimir reflects upon the fact that there is no truth and that by tomorrow he will know nothing of what has just passed. There is no way of confirming his memories since Estragon always forgets everything that happens to him.

The boy arrives again but does not remember meeting Estragon or Vladimir. He tells them it is his first time coming to meet them. The conversation is identical in that Mr. Godot will once again not be able to come but will be sure to arrive tomorrow. Vladimir demands that the boy be sure to remember that he saw him. Vladimir yells, "You're sure you saw me, you won't come and tell me to-morrow that you never saw me!"

The two bums decide to leave but cannot go far since they need to wait for Godot. They look at the tree and contemplate hanging themselves. Estragon takes off his belt but it breaks when they pull on it. His trousers fall down. Vladimir says that they will hang themselves tomorrow unless Godot comes to save them. He tells Estragon to put on his trousers. They decide to leave but again do not move.


The Ecstasy

Where, like a pillow on a bed
         A pregnant bank swell'd up to rest
The violet's reclining head,
         Sat we two, one another's best.
Our hands were firmly cemented
         With a fast balm, which thence did spring;
Our eye-beams twisted, and did thread
         Our eyes upon one double string;
So to'intergraft our hands, as yet
         Was all the means to make us one,
And pictures in our eyes to get
         Was all our propagation.
As 'twixt two equal armies fate
         Suspends uncertain victory,
Our souls (which to advance their state
         Were gone out) hung 'twixt her and me.
And whilst our souls negotiate there,
         We like sepulchral statues lay;
All day, the same our postures were,
         And we said nothing, all the day.
If any, so by love refin'd
         That he soul's language understood,
And by good love were grown all mind,
         Within convenient distance stood,
He (though he knew not which soul spake,
         Because both meant, both spake the same)
Might thence a new concoction take
         And part far purer than he came.
This ecstasy doth unperplex,
         We said, and tell us what we love;
We see by this it was not sex,
         We see we saw not what did move;
But as all several souls contain
         Mixture of things, they know not what,
Love these mix'd souls doth mix again
         And makes both one, each this and that.
A single violet transplant,
         The strength, the colour, and the size,
(All which before was poor and scant)
         Redoubles still, and multiplies.
When love with one another so
         Interinanimates two souls,
That abler soul, which thence doth flow,
         Defects of loneliness controls.
We then, who are this new soul, know
         Of what we are compos'd and made,
For th' atomies of which we grow
         Are souls, whom no change can invade.
But oh alas, so long, so far,
         Our bodies why do we forbear?
They'are ours, though they'are not we; we are
         The intelligences, they the spheres.
We owe them thanks, because they thus
         Did us, to us, at first convey,
Yielded their senses' force to us,
         Nor are dross to us, but allay.
On man heaven's influence works not so,
         But that it first imprints the air;
So soul into the soul may flow,
            Though it to body first repair.
As our blood labors to beget
         Spirits, as like souls as it can,
Because such fingers need to knit
         That subtle knot which makes us man,
So must pure lovers' souls descend
         T' affections, and to faculties,
Which sense may reach and apprehend,
         Else a great prince in prison lies.
To'our bodies turn we then, that so
         Weak men on love reveal'd may look;
Love's mysteries in souls do grow,
         But yet the body is his book.
And if some lover, such as we,
         Have heard this dialogue of one,
Let him still mark us, he shall see
         Small change, when we'are to bodies gone.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Prologue to the Canterbury Tales

Frankeleyn was in his compaignye.
Whit was his berd as is the dayesye;
Of his complexioun he was sangwyn.
Wel loved he by the morwe a sop in wyn;
To lyven in delit was evere his wone,
For he was Epicurus owene sone,
That heeld opinioun that pleyn delit
Was verraily felicitee parfit.
An housholdere, and that a greet, was he;
Seint Julian he was in his contree.
His breed, his ale, was alweys after oon;
A bettre envyned man was nowher noon.
Withoute bake mete was nevere his hous,
Of fissh and flessh, and that so plentevous,
It snewed in his hous of mete and drynke,
Of alle deyntees that men koude thynke,
After the sondry sesons of the yeer;
So chaunged he his mete and his soper.
Ful many a fat partrich hadde he in muwe,
And many a breem and many a luce in stuwe.
Wo was his cook but if his sauce were
Poynaunt and sharp, and redy al his geere.
His table dormant in his halle alway
Stood redy covered al the longe day.
At sessiouns ther was he lord and sire;
Ful ofte tyme he was knyght of the shire.
An anlaas, and a gipser al of silk,
Heeng at his girdel, whit as morne milk.
A shirreve hadde he been, and a countour;
Was nowher such a worthy vavasour.

An Haberdasshere, and a Carpenter,
A Webbe, a Dyere, and a Tapycer,—
And they were clothed alle in o lyveree
Of a solémpne and a greet fraternitee.
Ful fressh and newe hir geere apiked was;
Hir knyves were chaped noght with bras,
But al with silver; wroght ful clene and weel
Hire girdles and hir pouches everydeel.
Wel semed ech of hem a fair burgeys
To sitten in a yeldehalle, on a deys.
Éverich, for the wisdom that he kan,
Was shaply for to been an alderman;
For catel hadde they ynogh and rente,
And eek hir wyves wolde it wel assente,
And elles certeyn were they to blame.
It is ful fair to been y-cleped Madame,
And goon to vigilies al bifore,
And have a mantel roialliche y-bore.

A Cook they hadde with hem for the nones,
To boille the chiknes with the marybones,
And poudre-marchant tart, and galyngale.
Wel koude he knowe a draughte of Londoun ale.
He koude rooste, and sethe, and broille, and frye,
Máken mortreux, and wel bake a pye.
But greet harm was it, as it thoughte me,
That on his shyne a mormal hadde he;
For blankmanger, that made he with the beste.

A Shipman was ther, wonynge fer by weste;
For aught I woot he was of Dertemouthe.
He rood upon a rouncy, as he kouthe,
In a gowne of faldyng to the knee.
A daggere hangynge on a laas hadde he
Aboute his nekke, under his arm adoun.
The hoote somer hadde maad his hewe al broun;
And certeinly he was a good felawe.
Ful many a draughte of wyn hadde he y-drawe
Fro Burdeux-ward, whil that the chapman sleep.
Of nyce conscience took he no keep.
If that he faught and hadde the hyer hond,
By water he sente hem hoom to every lond.
But of his craft to rekene wel his tydes,
His stremes, and his daungers hym bisides,
His herberwe and his moone, his lode-menage,
Ther nas noon swich from Hulle to Cartage.
Hardy he was and wys to undertake;
With many a tempest hadde his berd been shake.
He knew alle the havenes, as they were,
From Gootlond to the Cape of Fynystere,
And every cryke in Britaigne and in Spayne.
His barge y-cleped was the Maudelayne.

With us ther was a Doctour of Phisik;
In all this world ne was ther noon hym lik,
To speke of phisik and of surgerye;
For he was grounded in astronomye.
He kepte his pacient a ful greet deel
In houres, by his magyk natureel.
Wel koude he fortunen the ascendent
Of his ymáges for his pacient.
He knew the cause of everich maladye,
Were it of hoot, or cold, or moyste, or drye,
And where they engendred and of what humour.
He was a verray, parfit praktisour;
The cause y-knowe, and of his harm the roote,
Anon he yaf the sike man his boote.
Ful redy hadde he his apothecaries
To sende him drogges and his letuaries;
For ech of hem made oother for to wynne,
Hir frendshipe nas nat newe to bigynne.
Wel knew he the olde Esculapius,
And De{"y}scorides, and eek Rufus,
Old Ypocras, Haly, and Galyen,
Serapion, Razis, and Avycen,
Averrois, Damascien, and Constantyn,
Bernard, and Gatesden, and Gilbertyn.
Of his diete mesurable was he,
For it was of no superfluitee,
But of greet norissyng and digestíble.
His studie was but litel on the Bible.
In sangwyn and in pers he clad was al,
Lyned with taffata and with sendal.
And yet he was but esy of dispence;
He kepte that he wan in pestilence.
For gold in phisik is a cordial;
Therfore he lovede gold in special.

A Good Wif was ther of biside Bathe,
But she was som-del deef, and that was scathe.
Of clooth-makyng she hadde swich an haunt
She passed hem of Ypres and of Gaunt.
In al the parisshe wif ne was ther noon
That to the offrynge bifore hire sholde goon;
And if ther dide, certeyn so wrooth was she
That she was out of alle charitee.
Hir coverchiefs ful fyne weren of ground;
I dorste swere they weyeden ten pound
That on a Sonday weren upon hir heed.
Hir hosen weren of fyn scarlet reed,
Ful streite y-teyd, and shoes ful moyste and newe.
Boold was hir face, and fair, and reed of hewe.
She was a worthy womman al hir lyve;
Housbondes at chirche dore she hadde fyve,
Withouten oother compaignye in youthe;
But ther-of nedeth nat to speke as nowthe.
And thries hadde she been at Jérusalem;
She hadde passed many a straunge strem;
At Rome she hadde been, and at Boloigne,
In Galice at Seint Jame, and at Coloigne.
She koude muchel of wandrynge by the weye.
Gat-tothed was she, soothly for to seye.
Upon an amblere esily she sat,
Y-wympled wel, and on hir heed an hat
As brood as is a bokeler or a targe;
A foot-mantel aboute hir hipes large,
And on hire feet a paire of spores sharpe.
In felaweshipe wel koude she laughe and carpe;
Of remedies of love she knew per chauncé,
For she koude of that art the olde daunce.

A good man was ther of religioun,
And was a povre Person of a Toun;
But riche he was of hooly thoght and werk.
He was also a lerned man, a clerk,
That Cristes Gospel trewely wolde preche;
His parisshens devoutly wolde he teche.
Benygne he was, and wonder diligent,
And in adversitee ful pacient;
And swich he was y-preved ofte sithes.
Ful looth were hym to cursen for his tithes,
But rather wolde he yeven, out of doute,
Unto his povre parisshens aboute,
Of his offrýng and eek of his substaunce;
He koude in litel thyng have suffisaunce.
Wyd was his parisshe, and houses fer asonder,
But he ne lafte nat, for reyn ne thonder,
In siknesse nor in meschief to visíte
The ferreste in his parisshe, muche and lite,
Upon his feet, and in his hand a staf.
This noble ensample to his sheep he yaf,
That first he wroghte and afterward he taughte.
Out of the gospel he tho wordes caughte;
And this figure he added eek therto,
That if gold ruste, what shal iren doo?
For if a preest be foul, on whom we truste,
No wonder is a lewed man to ruste;
And shame it is, if a prest take keep,
A shiten shepherde and a clene sheep.
Wel oghte a preest ensample for to yive
By his clennesse how that his sheep sholde lyve.
He sette nat his benefice to hyre
And leet his sheep encombred in the myre,
And ran to Londoun, unto Seinte Poules,
To seken hym a chaunterie for soules,
Or with a bretherhed to been withholde;
But dwelte at hoom and kepte wel his folde,
So that the wolf ne made it nat myscarie;
He was a shepherde, and noght a mercenarie.
And though he hooly were and vertuous,
He was to synful man nat despitous,
Ne of his speche daungerous ne digne,
But in his techyng díscreet and benygne.
To drawen folk to hevene by fairnesse,
By good ensample, this was his bisynesse.
But it were any persone obstinat,
What so he were, of heigh or lough estat,
Hym wolde he snybben sharply for the nonys.
A bettre preest I trowe that nowher noon ys.
He waited after no pompe and reverence,
Ne maked him a spiced conscience;
But Cristes loore and his apostles twelve
He taughte, but first he folwed it hymselve.

With hym ther was a Plowman, was his brother,
That hadde y-lad of dong ful many a fother;
A trewe swynkere and a good was he,
Lyvynge in pees and parfit charitee.
God loved he best, with al his hoole herte,
At alle tymes, thogh him gamed or smerte.
And thanne his neighebor right as hymselve.
He wolde thresshe, and therto dyke and delve,
For Cristes sake, for every povre wight,
Withouten hire, if it lay in his myght.
His tithes payede he ful faire and wel,
Bothe of his propre swynk and his catel.
In a tabard he rood upon a mere.

Ther was also a Reve and a Millere,
A Somnour and a Pardoner also,
A Maunciple, and myself,—ther were namo.

The Millere was a stout carl for the nones;
Ful byg he was of brawn and eek of bones.
That proved wel, for over-al, ther he cam,
At wrastlynge he wolde have alwey the ram.
He was short-sholdred, brood, a thikke knarre;
Ther nas no dore that he nolde heve of harre,
Or breke it at a rennyng with his heed.
His berd as any sowe or fox was reed,
And therto brood, as though it were a spade.
Upon the cop right of his nose he hade
A werte, and thereon stood a toft of herys,
Reed as the brustles of a sowes erys;
His nosethirles blake were and wyde.
A swerd and a bokeler bar he by his syde.
His mouth as greet was as a greet forneys;
He was a janglere and a goliardeys,
And that was moost of synne and harlotries.
Wel koude he stelen corn and tollen thries;
And yet he hadde a thombe of gold, pardee.
A whit cote and a blew hood wered he.
A baggepipe wel koude he blowe and sowne,
And therwithal he broghte us out of towne.

A gentil Maunciple was ther of a temple,
Of which achátours myghte take exemple
For to be wise in byynge of vitaille;
For, wheither that he payde or took by taille,
Algate he wayted so in his achaat
That he was ay biforn and in good staat.
Now is nat that of God a ful fair grace,
That swich a lewed mannes wit shal pace
The wisdom of an heep of lerned men?
Of maistres hadde he mo than thries ten,
That weren of lawe expert and curious,
Of whiche ther weren a duszeyne in that hous
Worthy to been stywardes of rente and lond
Of any lord that is in Engelond,
To maken hym lyve by his propre good,
In honour dettelees, but if he were wood,
Or lyve as scarsly as hym list desire;
And able for to helpen al a shire
In any caas that myghte falle or happe;
And yet this Manciple sette hir aller cappe

The Reve was a sclendre colerik man.
His berd was shave as ny as ever he kan;
His heer was by his erys round y-shorn;
His top was dokked lyk a preest biforn.
Ful longe were his legges and ful lene,
Y-lyk a staf, ther was no calf y-sene.
Wel koude he kepe a gerner and a bynne;
Ther was noon auditour koude on him wynne.
Wel wiste he, by the droghte and by the reyn,
The yeldynge of his seed and of his greyn.
His lordes sheep, his neet, his dayerye,
His swyn, his hors, his stoor, and his pultrye,
Was hoolly in this reves governyng;
And by his covenant yaf the rekenyng
Syn that his lord was twenty yeer of age;
There koude no man brynge hym in arrerage.
There nas baillif, ne hierde, nor oother hyne,
That he ne knew his sleighte and his covyne;
They were adrad of hym as of the deeth.
His wonyng was ful fair upon an heeth;
With grene trees shadwed was his place.
He koude bettre than his lord purchace;
Ful riche he was a-stored pryvely.
His lord wel koude he plesen subtilly,
To yeve and lene hym of his owene good,
And have a thank, and yet a cote and hood.
In youthe he hadde lerned a good myster;
He was a wel good wrighte, a carpenter.
This Reve sat upon a ful good stot,
That was al pomely grey, and highte Scot.
A long surcote of pers upon he hade,
And by his syde he baar a rusty blade.
Of Northfolk was this Reve of which I telle,
Biside a toun men clepen Baldeswelle.
Tukked he was as is a frere, aboute.
And evere he rood the hyndreste of oure route.

A Somonour was ther with us in that place,
That hadde a fyr-reed cherubynnes face,
For sawcefleem he was, with eyen narwe.
As hoot he was and lecherous as a sparwe,
With scaled browes blake and piled berd,—
Of his visage children were aferd.
Ther nas quyk-silver, lytarge, ne brymstoon,
Boras, ceruce, ne oille of tartre noon,
Ne oynement that wolde clense and byte,
That hym myghte helpen of his whelkes white,
Nor of the knobbes sittynge on his chekes.
Wel loved he garleek, oynons, and eek lekes,
And for to drynken strong wyn, reed as blood.
Thanne wolde he speke, and crie as he were wood.
And whan that he wel dronken hadde the wyn,
Than wolde he speke no word but Latyn.
A fewe termes hadde he, two or thre,
That he had lerned out of som decree,—
No wonder is, he herde it al the day;
And eek ye knowen wel how that a jay
Kan clepen "Watte" as wel as kan the pope.
But whoso koude in oother thyng hym grope,
Thanne hadde he spent al his philosophie;
Ay "Questio quid juris" wolde he crie.
He was a gentil harlot and a kynde;
A bettre felawe sholde men noght fynde.
He wolde suffre for a quart of wyn
A good felawe to have his concubyn
A twelf month, and excuse hym atte fulle;
And prively a fynch eek koude he pulle.
And if he foond owher a good felawe,
He wolde techen him to have noon awe,
In swich caas, of the erchedekenes curs,
But if a mannes soule were in his purs;
For in his purs he sholde y-punysshed be:
"Purs is the erchedekenes helle," seyde he.
But wel I woot he lyed right in dede.
Of cursyng oghte ech gilty man him drede,
For curs wol slee, right as assoillyng savith;
And also war him of a Significavit.
In daunger hadde he at his owene gise
The yonge girles of the diocise,
And knew hir conseil, and was al hir reed.
A gerland hadde he set upon his heed,
As greet as it were for an ale-stake;
A bokeleer hadde he maad him of a cake.

With hym ther rood a gentil Pardoner
Of Rouncivale, his freend and his compeer,
That streight was comen fro the court of Rome.
Ful loude he soong, "Com hider, love, to me!"
This Somonour bar to hym a stif burdoun;
Was nevere trompe of half so greet a soun.
This Pardoner hadde heer as yelow as wex,
But smothe it heeng as dooth a strike of flex;
By ounces henge his lokkes that he hadde,
And therwith he his shuldres overspradde.
But thynne it lay, by colpons, oon and oon;
But hood, for jolitee, wered he noon,
For it was trussed up in his walét.
Hym thoughte he rood al of the newe jet;
Dischevelee, save his cappe, he rood al bare.
Swiche glarynge eyen hadde he as an hare.
A vernycle hadde he sowed upon his cappe.
His walet lay biforn hym in his lappe,
Bret-ful of pardoun, comen from Rome al hoot.
A voys he hadde as smal as hath a goot.
No berd hadde he, ne nevere sholde have,
As smothe it was as it were late y-shave;
I trowe he were a geldyng or a mare.
But of his craft, fro Berwyk into Ware,
Ne was ther swich another pardoner;
For in his male he hadde a pilwe-beer,
Which that, he seyde, was Oure Lady veyl;
He seyde he hadde a gobet of the seyl
That Seinte Peter hadde, whan that he wente
Upon the see, til Jesu Crist hym hente.
He hadde a croys of latoun, ful of stones,
And in a glas he hadde pigges bones.
But with thise relikes, whan that he fond
A povre person dwellynge upon lond,
Upon a day he gat hym moore moneye
Than that the person gat in monthes tweye;
And thus with feyned flaterye and japes
He made the person and the peple his apes.
But trewely to tellen atte laste,
He was in chirche a noble ecclesiaste;
Wel koude he rede a lessoun or a storie,
But alderbest he song an offertorie;
For wel he wiste, whan that song was songe,
He moste preche, and wel affile his tonge
To wynne silver, as he ful wel koude;
Therefore he song the murierly and loude.

Now have I toold you shortly, in a clause,
Thestaat, tharray, the nombre, and eek the cause
Why that assembled was this compaignye
In Southwerk, at this gentil hostelrye
That highte the Tabard, faste by the Belle.
But now is tyme to yow for to telle
How that we baren us that ilke nyght,
Whan we were in that hostelrie alyght;
And after wol I telle of our viage
And al the remenaunt of oure pilgrimage.

But first, I pray yow, of youre curteisye,
That ye narette it nat my vileynye,
Thogh that I pleynly speke in this mateere,
To telle yow hir wordes and hir cheere,
Ne thogh I speke hir wordes proprely.
For this ye knowen al-so wel as I,
Whoso shal telle a tale after a man,
He moot reherce, as ny as evere he kan,
Everich a word, if it be in his charge,
Al speke he never so rudeliche and large;
Or ellis he moot telle his tale untrewe,
Or feyne thyng, or fynde wordes newe.
He may nat spare, althogh he were his brother;
He moot as wel seye o word as another.
Crist spak hymself ful brode in hooly writ,
And wel ye woot no vileynye is it.
Eek Plato seith, whoso kan hym rede,
"The wordes moote be cosyn to the dede."

Also I prey yow to foryeve it me,
Al have I nat set folk in hir degree
Heere in this tale, as that they sholde stonde;
My wit is short, ye may wel understonde.

Greet chiere made oure Hoost us everichon,
And to the soper sette he us anon,
And served us with vitaille at the beste:
Strong was the wyn and wel to drynke us leste.

A semely man Oure Hooste was with-alle
For to been a marchal in an halle.
A large man he was with eyen stepe,
A fairer burgeys was ther noon in Chepe;
Boold of his speche, and wys, and well y-taught,
And of manhod hym lakkede right naught.
Eek thereto he was right a myrie man,
And after soper pleyen he bigan,
And spak of myrthe amonges othere thynges,
Whan that we hadde maad our rekenynges;
And seyde thus: "Now, lordynges, trewely,
Ye been to me right welcome, hertely;
For by my trouthe, if that I shal nat lye,
I saugh nat this yeer so myrie a compaignye
At ones in this herberwe as is now.
Fayn wolde I doon yow myrthe, wiste I how;
And of a myrthe I am right now bythoght,
To doon yow ese, and it shal coste noght.

"Ye goon to Canterbury—God yow speede,
The blisful martir quite yow youre meede!
And wel I woot, as ye goon by the weye,
Ye shapen yow to talen and to pleye;
For trewely confort ne myrthe is noon
To ride by the weye doumb as a stoon;
And therfore wol I maken yow disport,
As I seyde erst, and doon yow som confort.
And if you liketh alle, by oon assent,
For to stonden at my juggement,
And for to werken as I shal yow seye,
To-morwe, whan ye riden by the weye,
Now, by my fader soule, that is deed,
But ye be myrie, I wol yeve yow myn heed!
Hoold up youre hond, withouten moore speche."

Oure conseil was nat longe for to seche;
Us thoughte it was noght worth to make it wys,
And graunted hym withouten moore avys,
And bad him seye his verdit, as hym leste.

"Lordynges," quod he, "now herkneth for the beste;
But taak it nought, I prey yow, in desdeyn;
This is the poynt, to speken short and pleyn,
That ech of yow, to shorte with oure weye
In this viage, shal telle tales tweye,
To Caunterbury-ward, I mene it so,
And homward he shal tellen othere two,
Of aventúres that whilom han bifalle.
And which of yow that bereth hym beste of alle,
That is to seyn, that telleth in this caas
Tales of best sentence and moost solaas,
Shal have a soper at oure aller cost,
Heere in this place, sittynge by this post,
Whan that we come agayn fro Caunterbury.
And, for to make yow the moore mury,
I wol myselven gladly with yow ryde,
Right at myn owene cost, and be youre gyde;
And whoso wole my juggement withseye
Shal paye al that we spenden by the weye.
And if ye vouche-sauf that it be so,
Tel me anon, withouten wordes mo,
And I wol erly shape me therfore."

This thyng was graunted, and oure othes swore
With ful glad herte, and preyden hym also
That he wolde vouche-sauf for to do so,
And that he wolde been oure governour,
And of our tales juge and réportour,
And sette a soper at a certeyn pris;
And we wol reuled been at his devys
In heigh and lough; and thus, by oon assent,
We been acorded to his juggement.
And therupon the wyn was fet anon;
We dronken, and to reste wente echon,
Withouten any lenger taryynge.

Amorwe, whan that day gan for to sprynge,
Up roos oure Hoost and was oure aller cok,
And gadrede us togidre alle in a flok;
And forth we riden, a litel moore than paas,
Unto the wateryng of Seint Thomas;
And there oure Hoost bigan his hors areste,
And seyde, "Lordynges, herkneth, if yow leste:
Ye woot youre foreward and I it yow recorde.
If even-song and morwe-song accorde,
Lat se now who shal telle the firste tale.
As ever mote I drynke wyn or ale,
Whoso be rebel to my juggement
Shal paye for all that by the wey is spent.
Now draweth cut, er that we ferrer twynne;
He which that hath the shorteste shal bigynne.
Sire Knyght," quod he, "my mayster and my lord
Now draweth cut, for that is myn accord.
Cometh neer," quod he, "my lady Prioresse.
And ye, sire Clerk, lat be your shamefastnesse,
Ne studieth noght. Ley hond to, every man."

Anon to drawen every wight bigan,
And, shortly for to tellen as it was,
Were it by áventúre, or sort, or cas,
The sothe is this, the cut fil to the Knyght,
Of which ful blithe and glad was every wyght;
And telle he moste his tale, as was resoun,
By foreward and by composicioun,
As ye han herd; what nedeth wordes mo?
And whan this goode man saugh that it was so,
As he that wys was and obedient
To kepe his foreward by his free assent,
He seyde, "Syn I shal bigynne the game,
What, welcome be the cut, a Goddes name!
Now lat us ryde, and herkneth what I seye."
And with that word we ryden forth oure weye;
And he bigan with right a myrie cheere
His tale anon, and seyde in this manére.

Metaphysical Poetry Characteristics

🎯Characteristics of Metaphysical Poetry 🌷Dr Mukesh Pareek  🌷15 NET, 3 JRF, 2 M. Phil 🌷Expert of Experts  👉Join online /offline Classes ...