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:GALFRIDUS CHAUCERES ANTHOLOGIE OF POETRIE IN PROPER (MIDDLE) ENGLISH
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! THE FORTNIGHTS RUN AWAY LYK DRAUGHT-OXEN BEHINDE THE BARNby Carolus de Bois-Quasqué
I was goinge somewhere
but I got round to Betties
and she had sum ale going
and spices and al that maner merde
and ich seyde to myself
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.” THYS IS JUST TO SAYEby Nostre Trespuissant Kynge Richard II
We haue had y-slayn
that were in
ye were probablie
vs to pardoun
The lawe of Engelonde is ower will and lieth in ower breest, knave. KUBLAI KAHN (OR, MARCO POLO LIETH THURGH HYS TEETH)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.WHAN ADAM DELFby Anonymous
Whan Adam delf, and Eve span,
Who had to write two bookes to get tenure?THE DAYE LADYE BLAUNCHE PERISSHYEDby 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
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 natJESU MEby Dame Julian of Norwich
Hethen slaye yow; Ovens
Inquisitores flaye yow;
And plague-sik haue snotte.
Abbesses growe fatter;
Prechours moote wirche,
Pilgrims oft chatter:
Wall me in a chirche!