vendredi, mars 30, 2007

"Whan that Aprill" Weekend

Gentil rederes,

Oones ayein ich must demaunde yower pardoun, for many dayes haue passid syn ich haue poosted heere. BSL, the humoures of my bodye and the accion of the yeeres hath doon me gret displesaunce, for whanne ich visited the physician and he did examyne myn uryne he did fynde gret amountes of "bad cholesterol" in my choler and not ynogh "good cholesterol" in myn phlegm. And thus he did avise wyth muchel wagging of the fingre that ich sholde keepe mesure in myn diete and ete no superfluitee of food, and also that ich sholde taak up sum maner of exercise. Whanne ich cam hoom, Philippe was in gret joye to lerne of this, for she seyd that ich was "blowing up lyk post-Kevin Britney."

So ich haue ben yiven up to sondry peynes and tormentes far more grevous than thos recorded in the helle of Dant -- many grim machines that doon twisten myn limbes this wey and that, and bicycles the which travel no wher (ywis, hym Sisyphus wolde haue a conveyance swich as thes 'stationary bicycles' which labor the legges but move nat oon paas forward), and large men who clamor at me to "feele the burn." Ywis, ich wolde rather feele the burne of the flaymes of sathanas than feele the burn of the gym! Ich wolde rather be on a desert island y-stranded wyth Johannes Gower than to jog thurgh Kente wyth a litel headband and sum sport shoon.

But for to coom to my mateere, savyng myn owene personal peynes, this is a tyme of celebracioun. Yt hath been moore than a yeere syn this blog hath been at blogspot. And eek it is a tyme of the yeere that bringeth me muchel joye. And thus, in the spirit of an poost from last yeere, ich wolde aske yow, my gentil rederes, to celebrate myn werkes:

...ich praye yow permitten me oon smal moment of sentimente.

This week-ende shall see the firste daye of Aprille. Bifor Aprille was the cruellest moneth (whatever that meneth!), it was a moneth of coloures and cries, and pilgrymages. Yt was, I sholde saye, myn favourite moneth.

Ich am nat oon to tooten myne owen horne, but this week-ende ich wolde asken yow to declaymen my tales. To yowrselves, to yowr frendes, or simplye in the marketplace or churchyarde. For charitees sake, ye coulde declaymen them to beggares, leperes, or humorlesse rogues who studien engineerynge. Wherever ye proclaymen them thogh, do yt so in loude voyse and cleere, for yt is only fooles who think a poeme lith on the page aloone.

Yf thou knowst nat this maner of Englyssh, be nat ashamed. Yf thou kanst reden thys blogge, thou kanst reden myn Englisshe. Talke to yt slowlie, as if it were an olde relative whom thou lovest verie muche, and yt shal talke back to thee.

I, Galfridus Chaucer, do invite all my rederes to poost yower contribuciouns as comments to this poost - ye maye make videoes for ye-tube of redynges of myn werkes or of adaptaciouns, ye maye poost linkes to mp3s, or to events, or to peyntures or animaciouns or what-evir ye wolde present to the othir rederes of myn blog to celebrate this joyous moneth. Thos who teche or studye myn werkes may leve testamentz of experiences in yower class roomes, or explain why or whan ye first began to studien myn writinges. May it plese yow to linke, quote, cite and pass this on!

Ye may fynde myn tales heere or on the websytes ich list on myn sidebar.

A very happy "Whan that Aprill" Weekend to yow.

And now, ich must go run for an hour.

vendredi, mars 23, 2007

Travel Tips from Sir John Mandeville

in whych gentil rederes write unto me, Sir John Mandeville, with questiouns of travel

Hi, Sir John:

My husband and I both grew up in the Southwest, and this summer we’d like to explore a different part of the country. One of my co-workers has offered us the use of her summer house in Upstate New York, near Cooperstown, so we’re going to spend three weeks there in July. Any suggestions on what to see or do? A quick Google search tells me about the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Ommegang Brewery, but I wonder if there are any out-of-the-way wonders I should see.

-Amy in Berkeley

Deere Amy:

Ah, the southe-weste! I knowe of yowre village, Berkley, the which place is in Somerset. Or scholde I seye Zomerzet? I drynke zyder in Zomerzet! Whirr be gwain to? Tiz getting dimpsey, zo cummin yer an wet thee's whistle. Yer, which o they jars is owern? Thicky ones yourn, inner? Dang I if there ain’t a gurt big wapse innun.

O, forgyve me myne japerie! The speeche of Somerset is swete to myne eeres, and I do love to here yt. Any-waye, I trowe that yow are drynkynge a draught of moist and swete cyder—there beeth nat no towne of coopers in York-shire! Ymagine thatte, a whole towne of barrel-makeres! Whatte nexte? A towne in whych all the folke brewe cyder? As for oddities, I have two: the grave of Charles Piazza Smyth in Sharow, the whych thing is y-shaped lyke unto the pyramid in Aegypte, and the work-shoppe of Robert Thompson, the Mouse-Manne, in Kilburn.

My Dear Sir John:

With the introduction of European Union pet passports I am at long last able to travel abroad with my darling baby, Reginald, a five-year-old spaniel mix. Where might a gentleman and his beloved canine relation find welcome over the summer?

-Clement of Soho

Sire Clement, am I to understond that yow have unto yow a child who ys a mix of manne and dog? Verily, I have y-seen swich creatoures before, yn the isle of Nacumera, in the whych place all the folke have the heads of dogs and the verray bodies of men. Yow will be welcome there.

Dear Sir John:

I’m being posted to Mozambique on a diplomatic assignment. Anywhere I should eat in the capital?

-Nelson, Johannesburg

Nelson: Costa do Sol, a seafood restaurant on the Marginal. But drynke nat the greene wyne, for yt is lyke unto turpentine.

Dear Sir John:

I’m a big Elvis fan, and I’m planning a pilgrimage to Graceland this August, on the thirtieth anniversary of the King’s death. Any suggestions?

-Elmo in San Jose


Verily, myne suggestioun is to buye myne booke, in the wych noble tome yow may easily fynde the waye to Jerusalem, the destinacioun of any pilgrimage to grace-land. And get your historie ryght: the laste kynge of Jerusalem was nat a Saxoun yclept Elvis, but was Henry, secounde of that name, who passed thys lyf sixty or mo yeeres ago.

My Dear Sir John:

Norma and I wanted to thank you for your excellent travel advice. I found Adelaide’s Museum of Economic Botany every bit as thrilling as you described! Too bad there weren’t any Little Chefs in Australia, but we fared well enough at Red Rooster, thanks again to your advice. We look forward to having you round for dinner soon—and, of course, seeing you at the Oval.


Sir John Major, KG, CH

Dear Sir John:

I’ve always wanted to visit my ancestral homeland, Ireland, and it looks like now I finally have the chance. My visit will start in Dublin, and I wonder if you can recommend a clean, inexpensive hotel.

-Mike Hogan, Cleveland


All lodging in Yrlonde is inexpensive. Though that I have nat crossed the Yrysshe See, my freende, Henry Crystede, a gentil equerry to Kynge Richarde, accompanyed our tres puissant lorde to that isle, and he hath no goode thereof to sey. Henry telleth me that the Yrish lyve in holes in the grounde, lyke animales, and that they weareth nat no breeches and have rude maneres atte borde. Go thither if yow plese, but neglect nat to brynge with yow a tente, or at leeste a sleeping bagge, as yow will, sans doubte, slepe uppon the grounde.

vendredi, mars 09, 2007

Buy Myn Anthologie!

O myn gentil rederes, yt hath ben a ful loonge tyme syn ich haue had a moment to wryte a good long poost for myn blog. Loong agoon ich did retourne fro parliament to myn hous in Kente, to fynde litel Lowys in a staat of gret distres upon the roofe! Ich did thynke that sum yonge ladye had raft his herte in twayne, but it turneth out that his Exboxe CCCLX had, as he seyde, “bricked out.” The which was a thing of tristesse for me als wel, for the thynge was al tobroke and wolde nat playe eny games of video. Whan Philippa and ich had talked hym off of the roof ("the warrantie yet stondeth" she seyde), ich entrid my hous to fynde that Kyng Richard had sent a gret quantitee of thinges for me to wryte for hym, the which had mad a gret pyle lyk unto the towir of Babil. And half-wey thurgh myn first night of werke, Philippa did leve the bath on and the house flooded and we haue had a gret sucessioun of carpet-makeres and carpenteres in and out -- sum dayes, ich thinke ich might as wel be the Clerk of the Kinges Werkes, so much construction do ich oversee alredy in this hous! And thus, my goode felawes, ich haue been wyth werke y-swamped, myn fingres wyth ink y-caked, myn shoon wet, myn litel woolen hat y-dusted with sawe-dust, and quilles on my floore as yf an whole parlement of fowles hath y-murdered ben.

Yet oon idea for a project hath in myn herte taken root. Ywis, ye remembren that ich bought many a book whan in Londoun. And yet, for everich book that Ich did buye, yet myn desir for to rede did growe. Ich went from autobiographie, to self-helpe, to westernes, to poetrye – and rederes, whan ich to poetrie y-cam, ich found that ther was no collecioun of poetrye the which had all the beste poemes yn it. For trewely, al the colleciouns of contemporarye poetrye are but poore thin thinges – even the mighti Northon anthologie hath but litel poesie yn it – ywis, even the lerned anthologie of Doctour Treharne hath but fewe of the poemes that ich have y-heard and y-lovid.

And thus, at the prompting of Philippa, who seeth shillinges undir every mannes foot, ich haue taken up the businesse of sellinge myn owene anthologie of poetry:


Ich am in negociaciouns wyth several scrybes and scryveneres to produce thys fyne book. Ye maye look for it at booke-stores neare yow, or contact Hippolyta on-lyne and haue it delivered to yow by warrior-women of the Land of Femenye.

Heere ys what thei call a smal “pre-viewe” of the gret poemes ye shal fynde in myn anthologie. Ye shal see that thys gret book containeth poemes by cherles and kynges, the wel-knowen and the anonymous; poemes of hard livinge and beere and poemes of gret beautee. And nat oon single lyne of that Beowulf thing that is everywhere else. THE CHAUCER ANTHOLOGIE: Poemes that no oothir anthologie of middle englysshe hath evir dreamt of!


by Carolus de Bois-Quasqué

I was goinge somewhere
like chirche
but I got round to Betties
and she had sum ale going
and spices and al that maner merde
and ich seyde to myself
“Swyve this”
Good beere, and sat ther
Cess and Watt, elde buggere Tim Tinkere,
Clarice Cokkeslane – helle, ich hadde a thinge
a couple yeeres ago wyth her
back whan ich was deep yn to the horses.
Had a beere.
Clement and Hikke had sum bull-merde thing up
wyth ther cloke and hood
sum men aren alweys thinkinge money
or mayhap thei wantid to swyve ech oothir.
Moore beere, lyk continuous blood-
And the sonne-set red lyk an appel.
Belly rumblinge lyk a swyving bulle
Up to goon
Pissid on the bar-walle, long ynogh to singe sum opera-
Fell around swyve-all y-blente.
Sum oon carryed me hom-ward
Sleped for dayes yt semed, al blak;
Ich here myn wyfes voys
“Hank, ‘tis Sonday”
and ich seye
“Where is the bolle?
Ich want a drynke.”


by Nostre Trespuissant Kynge Richard II

We haue had y-slayn
the knightes
that were in

And which
ye were probablie
vs to pardoun

The lawe of Engelonde is ower will and lieth in ower breest, knave.


by Sir John Mandeville

In Xanade a mighti soudan yclept Kublai Khan has ther ymaad a place of leysure neer the watir ycleped Alph the which is heeld hooly by the saracens and is neer to greet cavernes. The walles and toures of that place do mesure an greet span, that is to say x myles, and ther are also many fayre gardyns right plenteous of fruyt. And ther was als wel an crevyce the which ran doun the hill toward trees of cedar, at whos bottom was a well, noble and faire, and at several houres of the daye it wolde yive spoute and russhe with watir. I, Iohn Mandeville, saw this, al thogh ich had nat bathed for mony dayes and thus myn hair did float in a maner and myn eyen did flash for ich had no thyng to eten of ther but honeydew melons and sum horses milk. And al folk did daunce thryce around me in their pagan maner. Weirdoes.


by Anonymous

Whan Adam delf, and Eve span,
Who had to write two bookes to get tenure?


by Sir John Clanvowe

Yt is terce in Londoun a Tuesday (or peraventure a Wednesday)
Two dayes bifor the Feest of the Exaltacioun of the Holy Crosse, aye,
Yt is MCCCLXVIII or peraventure MCCCLXIX and ich go to get my bootes shyned
for ich will ryde my palfrey toward Northampton
by vespers and then go right to sup
and ich knowe nat thos folke who shal me feede
Ich walke up the strete, thikke of air, the sunne gynneth shynen
and haue a blancmanger and sum corny ale and buye
an ill-fauored pamflet of NEW BOHEMIAN WRITINGE to seen what the poetes
in Bohemia aren doynge thes dayes
I go on to the exchequer
and Mayster Stondecart (firste name Laurence oones ich herde)
looketh nat at the posicioun of myn accounte stones on the felt for oones in hys lyf
and yn MAYSTER PYNKHURSTES shoppe ich get a litel Machaut
for Geoffrey wyth illuminaciouns by sum Parisian, yet ich do
thynk of Boece de Consolatione, translatid Jean de Meun or
Langlandes newe A-Text Piers or Yvain or Lancelot
of Chrestien, but ich do nat, ich am stedfast to Machaut
aftir well nigh fallynge a-swoun wyth quandarynesse
and for Gower ich just repaire to the CHEPESIDE
tavenrer and ask for a botel of god rhenishe wyn, and
than ich go back whence ich cam to Soperes Lane
and the grocer nere the Pageant Wagon and
lightli demaunde a carton of spyces of pepir and oon
of galyngale, and a PROCLAMACIOUN wyth her visage upon it
and ich sweate muchel nowe and ich thynke upon
leaning on the chambre door at the palais of Sheene
whil she did daunce so comlily, carole and synge so swetely
that my lord Duk John and al and mynself brethed nat


by Dame Julian of Norwich

Hethen slaye yow;
Ovens are hotte;
Inquisitores flaye yow;
And plague-sik haue snotte.
Abbesses growe fatter;
Prechours moote wirche,
Pilgrims oft chatter:
Wall me in a chirche!

lundi, mars 05, 2007

Sir John in Nuneaton!

Benedicitee, good sires and ladyes alle! Thisse daye I am in Nuneaton, in the Warwickshirre, returnyng from Scotteland and Northumberlond, in they wiche contrees I have yspent the laste monthe. (Mine belye, of whych I sore complayned, ys nowe muchel bettre, and I thanke alle who were concerned for mine digestioun.)

Verily, readeres myne, I have ycome uppon verray stinkynge treasoun here in Nuneaton, and I am embroiled in falsnesse and perfidee! Ah, but I lose my waye, and I schal telle yow of howe I came ynto Nuneaton.

I am on my waye to Leamington Spa, in thatte place to see to the kynges privee busynesse, and yesternyght I came ynto Nuneaton. Methoughte yt was a pleasaunt towne, and I hadde heerd telle of a fyne market heere. Yt plesede me to stoppe at a taverne, there to have a draughte to drynke and to ete. (I prefer the Lytel Chef, of course, but I koude nat fynde one.) So I came unto the Chicago Rock Cafe, the wych taverene announced on a boarde outsyde a speciale on "garlic pizza bread", the wych sounded good to myne palate. So ynne I wente, and I gat for mynself thys garlyk breede and a delicious draughte knowne as a Long Islande Iced Tee. Tee I have nat hadde synce I was in the realme of Prester John, eeste of Ynde and atte the begynnyng of the daye, and I was of greet good cheere to fynde it in Nuneaton. (Butte thys tee ys nat wholly lyke the tee of Prester Johnnes realme; thys tee hath muchel spirit and ys sweete without sugre. Mayhap thys longe isle ys a place in the tropicale Yndes that hath by nature sweete, potente tee.)

As I partooke me of myne pizza breede and tee I looked rounde aboute me, and I espyed three gentils atte board, two menne and a fayre ladye. Manye an emptye botle of J2O was aboute that ladye, and the menne were drynkynge a beere knowne in Allmanne, yclept lager. I ordered anothre tee. The gentils, yt semed me, myght provide good companye, so I bidde them good cheere and presented myne-self as Sire John Mandeville, knyght, though that I unworthi am.

Readeres all, they semed nat impressed. I tolde them of myne booke, the whych ys a "best-sellere". They semed nat impressed agayne. I tolde them of the tee that I hadde in the realme of Prester John, and I ofred that lyke to procure for us alle. Thys impressed them.

O, the perfidee! The menne wyth whom I fell in companye were y-plotting verray treasoun! Readeres, there ys in Nuneaton a ladye who ys, by eleccioun, the Nuneaton Carnival Queene, who ys enthroned in glorie atte the carnivale, whyche ys in the fayre summre, in June. "But the girls who get to be queen, who are in the running, see, they're a bunch of stupid slags, and every year I lose," sayde the ladye--who, readeres, was nat no ladye at alle, and no gentil neyther! She sayde moore: "So we's going to make sure that I win. We's gonna bribe the jury. Plus the usual threats and intimidation to the other girls, a course." The two menne made punchynge gestures wyth their fystes.

O, gentils, I knewe nat whatte I scholde do! As yt was, I was a lytel dronke from the tee, and I excused myne-selfe. "Y have y-cutte myne foote, and myne boote is fillynge wyth blode," I sayd. "Good to meete yow, though." And thenne I lymped awaye.

I muste warne the Nuneaton Carnival Queene of thys foul treasoun that ys being plotted agaynst hir successours! Off, thenne, I go!

dimanche, mars 04, 2007

Dark Ages? Saith Who?

Alas, mesemeth that this shewe of television may nat be worth an hogges toord. For what was the derknesse but the lack of lerninge in Latin, and the gret werres and disastres? And lo, even in this tyme in which we think owerselves to be modern, ther beth but litel lerninge (long it hath been sith an Austyn or a Bonaventure walked among us) and ther beth manye werres, swich as the gret werre bitwene Fraunce and Engelonde that mesemeth shal enduren for C yeeres or moore. If thos ages were derke, then oweres are derke als wel, and yet ich kan see clearly. Wel, actuallye ich haue astigmatism and haue to squint to see who maye be coming up my driueway, but ye get my poynte.