Nota bene: Make melodye today

Yet oon more smal matir for yow. And ich praye yow permitten me oon smal moment of sentimente.

Todaye ys the firste daye of Aprille. Bifor it was the cruellest moneth (quatever 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 todaye ich wolde asken yow to declaymen my tales. To yowrselves, to yowr frendes, or simplye in the marketplace or churchyarde. For charitees sake, yow coulde declaymen them to beggares, leperes, or humorlesse rogues who studien engineerynge. Wherever yow proclaymen them tho, 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 yt. Talke to yt slowlie, as if it were an olde relative whom thou lovest verie muche, and yt shal talke back to thee.

1: Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
2: The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
3: And bathed every veyne in swich licour
4: Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
5: Whan zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
6: Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
7: Tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
8: Hath in the ram his halve cours yronne,
9: And smale foweles maken melodye,
10: That slepen al the nyght with open ye
11: (so priketh hem nature in hir corages);
12: Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages...

(as yf Gowere koude ever wryte anythynge halfe as goode!)

44 comment "Nota bene: Make melodye today"

  1. I wishest thee a happye Apryl Fool's Daye!
    'Tis said it coombes from France whenst goode King Henri (or perhap's twas Louis?) Decreed the Fyrst of January be the New Yeer. But backwyrd folke celebrayted yon Apryl and thus the others Mocked them crewelly. "Ye Foole, the New Year t'was three months hence!" April fool's daye parjured whilest other days (such as fetching the naybor's goat daye) becayme hystory.

  2. Yt remindeth mine harte that Eliots and others of thate ilke werre ever border reivers and gyvenne to pillage of swate thinges.

  3. Of alle thine verses, this ys myn favourite. Yet I also didde lyke the passagen aboute the Cook and hys blancmange.

    And Gowere ys butte a punke compared to thee.

    Happie Aprille Fooles Daye, sir!

  4. The shoures sote permit me not to hie about the markytplace reding and declayminge thine worthy verses. This daye, withal, unto thinges queynte shall ich goe.

  5. Ma Cher Ivie,

    Of alle thine verses, this ys myn favourite. Yet I also didde lyke the passagen aboute the Cook and hys blancmange.

    For matirs sadde and derke, myne owen favourite verse ys the spech of saturne in the knighte his tale. For matirs lighte and fayre, ich do favoren myn verses in descripccioun of alisoun in the miller his tale. And for the qualitee of lyric, ich do muche enjoye the begynnge of myn parliamente of foules. Ich am no mayster Dant, no grete tellere of tales lyk Boccacio, no Vergil nor Ovid, but in myn smal maner ich haue tryede to gladen the hertes of folke.

    Ars longa, vita brevis.

    Le Vostre


  6. Myn swate-tongede Chaucere of the litel worstedde hatte,

    Tooten thyne hornes at bothe endes nowe, for redynge thyn flourye bloggespotte blogge hath eftsone to this madde me to declaymen by herte thyn wordes, and to reden of merye pilgrimmages and Rosamonde (thatte pyk in sowse y lovve!)

    And thatte ys nat Aprille Foolerye or feyned flaterye but Goddes verye owne trewthe.

  7. For those of us who read your master-work 35 or more years ago, could you identify the figures in the wonderful illustration M. Linkferste has put up with your latest entry? Sorry for the lean, unlovely English...

  8. Myn owene gentil Geoffrie:

    Knowe yow thatte I have nott lovede thee so muche evene upon the daye I myn mastere's thesis fynisshe thatte I did love thee and eek thy flayme werre with thatte moder-swyvere Gowere.

    BSL! Myn mentore, he dide love that same Gowere with a love thatte passyth thatte of womyn, and manye a wearie daye did I spende atte hys fete, lystening me thereof. Ne gladly did I lerne, for evene of thatte tyme did I thinke me Gowere was wankere.

    Forsooth, when Aprille hath his course yronne, I shalt make my pilgrimage to th' uncouthe towne of Kalamazoo, and the 41st International Medieval Congress thereatte, there to alle my fellaw scoleres ytell my litel knowlegge. Woe; yt semeth me thatte theye finde my knowlegge litel indede.

    Nathelesse, atte sayd parliamente, in gatherynge of felawscipe, there shal sitte the GOWERE SOCIETEE, wyth myn oon-tyme mentor presyding.

    Myn owene Geoffrie, yt ys my purpose, an I notte chykeneth oute, to weare unto thatte gatherynge in Kalamazoo al mannere of thy liverie. And unto the syttinge of the GOWERE SOCIETEE, I shal weare "I APPEALE THEE JOHN GOWERE THAT THOU ART A WANKER." Lo, yt ys only faire that them I pwn, nowe thatte I their testes and condiciouns I al passe, and I joine their fayre compainye in myn propre degre.

    Sholde I survyve, I shal reporte bakke anon. Shalt I dye, yow mote notifye my nexxte-of-of kyn.

    Wyth myn herte's devocioun,

    --Alisoun of le Pynne-Spruce

  9. This blog is rocking my world.

    I spent two semesters in a Chaucer class, but you can forget the Middle English. :) I am sticking to Bronte's time...

    Thank you for an awesome post.

  10. Ma Cher Alisoun de Pine-Spruce,

    Thatte devyce of thyne ys of goode counsel. Ich praye thee, tho, be nat vntowarde nor boystous towardes thes gentil scholars. For tho ich and Gowere are rivales, treweli yn this fals worlde ther aren fewe who do rede of eithir of vs, and thus yt wolde be reuthe to causen overmuch dissensioun in an armee thatte ys alredi right smale.

    But yay, showe the bastardes a litel cheke, as longe as thou dost yt politiquely.

    Lude seriose

    Le Vostre


  11. Mon cher Geoffroi:

    Thys -- Talke to yt slowlie, as if it were an olde relative whom thou lovest verie muche, and yt shal talke back to thee. -- hath min herte gretely moved. Therefor have y proclaymed some fewe lines of thyn verse upon myn owene blogge, in thin honoure. May Aprille never be a crewel monethe unto thee!

  12. Myn dere Geoffrie:

    Yea, I see wel why yow counsele me to humblesse. Yow are ful wys. For yt ys knowne to me alreadie thatte these scoleres may nat approve of my jolitee, for they are of grete subtletee and quicke to angere.

    Alas, yt semeth to me betimes that grete witte ofte leveth no time or space for levitee or jollinesse, lest thou countest monye scoleres' inordinate fondnesse for wyn and eek dronkenesse, which may ledeth hem to behaven lyk beestes in fielde, though on the morrow, they knowe it nat, to see hem scowle.

    But wot ye thatte I wol nat bayte hem unduly, and lest these scoleres be so swifte they be taken wroth at ones whan that they rede legendes upon t-shirtes, they wol fynde ne quarel wyth me, for I shal be softe yspoken, and if theye putte me to the questioun, I shal poynte oute th'increse in thyn rederscipe thatte greteth thy blogge, and I shal eek poynte out the gentil humour withinne, which blendth olde with newe. I shal shewe hem laste of al how thy flayme werre increseth Goweres rederscipe withal, for divers memberes of thy posse become curious, and goeth overe and checketh out what Gowere hath yscriven.

    Yow need have no feere, for myn mentor hath occasioun to knowe my sense of humoure of olde, ande he doth nat take excepcioun to yt, lest thatte I give hem helle for that he nat watcheth The Simpsones.

    (He sayeth these Simpsones are nat of grete worthe, such as wolde fitte whatte he wil watche. I saye fie upon him, Geoffrie! Didst yow knowe the gentil harlot Homere hath an acquaintance with St. Augustine of Hippo? For upon the baptisme of his sonne, he did make referaunce to thatte seinte's conversioun by Ambrose of Milan. And eek, Homere's knowlegge aboute eech Justys of the Courte Supreme impresseth alle. Yow knoweste wel the worthe of propre and prudent acquaintaunce wyth those atte courte, I wot.

    And yette, my mentor hath no herte for jollitee of this moderne kynde; he wil nat wattche hem. Yt maketh me sadde.)

    Perauenture thy liverie wil touche close hys and to al scoleres' fancie, for yt semeth to me wys to leaven seriousnesse eek with plesaunce.

    Butte I muste close nowe, lest I waste youre tyme, upon whicche ther are divers demandes in ful measure, I deme.

    Wyth fondnesse,

    --Alisoun of le Pynne-Spruce

  13. God bless you good sir, for the works that thou hast wrought some 600 years ago. It has, in the past three years, inspired two songs, written one year (almost exactly) apart from each other.

  14. I was thinking about that cruelest month proverb the other day and could come to no conclusion one way or the other (unless it's England-specific, in which case I know exactly what it's talking about: the weather fluctuates between springlike and lingering winter more quickly than you can say BSL!).

  15. Ich wol declameth thine worthie tale of the "Wyfe of Bathe" - ich praye that the gap-toothed hussie wol maketh them alle stonde vp and taketh notice of thine brilliaunce!

    from anothir (not-so-gap-toothed) medievale woman

  16. Noble Chaucer, of makaris flour, greete felicities descende upon thee frae Scotteland for thy webbe-site.

  17. Anither flour of Makaris Dunbar!

    Timor mortis conturbatne te? Ich am richt glad to se the heir!

  18. Simpele foole I, I knowest not of John Gowere nor the jape or myschefe which hath thy ire areisen so wrothfully...

    So I loeked the wankere up.

    Anoon, myn hede is grately impondered. Wiki sayeth yon wankere sind "buried in St. Mary Overies, in Southwark"

    He beeth "buried in St. Mary Overies"? By alle the Lords greene and fuzzy provender, what manner of buryal be that??

  19. He beeth "buried in St. Mary Overies"? By alle the Lords greene and fuzzy provender, what manner of buryal be that??

    Trewely, a cause of muchel confusion. But let it be knowne this fyne churche, the which ys now ycleped Saint Saviour, bereth nat its name from the internale femynyne organes of generacioun. Yt was foundede manye a daye bifor my tyme by a ladye namede Mary Overye. A ferryman hir fadir was, and her surname doth signfie 'ferrye' or peraventure 'ovir the watir.'

    'Tis juste lyke the case of St. Wylliam Penis in Austria.

    Rideo non derideo

    Le Vostre


  20. Wilte thow nat telle of the case of Willynge Penis of Austrye? Y lie in righte muchel of a confucioun and a derkenesse on thilke mattere.

  21. Leve Mairi

    My stait dois change and vary,
    Now sound, now seik, now blith, now sary,
    Now dansand mery, now like to dee.

    It is y-cleped "beinge Scotisshe", and cometh with the territorie.

  22. Where in Austrie ben this chyrch of William Penis? Beth it neere unto the ville of Fucking?

  23. Gower kanst never scriven finer. And Apryl has hadst showeres swete thys year.

  24. A povre widwe, somdeel stape in ageApril 4, 2006 at 9:54 AM

    Thou art trewely fortunate Aurelius, in Kente thisse yeare ye palmeres maken their pilgrimage threwe parched lande, with use of hosen-pipe alreadie banned.

  25. Il est venu a mon attention que je dois regretter quelques mots lesquels je dis pendant une soiree qu’on passa a la taverne.* Il n’etoit point mon intention de faire illusion a votre liaison avec le poete des marguerites quand je mentionna des culs.** J’avois l’intention seulement d’insulter la sale biere des angleis. Margot la Grande, ma douce, ma belle, ma tres chiere amie (qu’est-ce je ferais sans elle?***) m’expliqua qu’il ne faut pas ni insulter les offrands de son hote ni montrer son opinion des sales habitudes des angleis, qui ont (disa-t-elle, je ne sais pas comment elle le sait, je ne veut pas le scavoir) des maitres pedos dans les escoles, donc ce n’est pas la faute des petits qui se croiscent dans ce mal aire. Je ne voulois pas vos faire de mal, ni vos ni votre mignon poete, et j’espere que la prochaine fois qu’on boit ensemble que vos y emmene votre Philippa, la connaissance de laquelle Margot a grant envie de faire.**** Quant a notre ami Jehan Goire, il me donne un miroir pour m’enseigner des habitudes des bons gens; bien que je sois trop debauche pour repentir, c’estoit gentil en lui de se soucier de mon ame et je ne puis ouir de mal contre lui.*****

    *C’est a dire, Margot me menace les coillons si je ne vos offre pas mes regrets. Je crois qu’elle montra a vos garcons d’estable ce que vos angleis appellent sa “belle chose.” Comme j’aime votre usage de notre belle langue. D’ailleurs, il semble qu’ils le trouverent beau.

    **Honi soit qui mal y pense, hein?

    ***J’irois en pelerinage a Nice, ou j’ouie qu’il y a un diable nomme a peu pres Grimalkin qui tempt le Saint Nicolas avec ses jeux de des et des cartes et de la roue de Fortune. Et c’est moins froid la-bas en hiver . . . .

    ****Eh bien, c’est peut-etre mieux d’emmener sa soeur, elle a plus en commun avec Margot.

    *****Enfin, il me trouve amusant et il a des histoires de sa jonece que me faire tordre les cheveux. Vieux saint, jone diable.

  26. Good maistre Chaucer, seeinge that this frenshman hath used thee, and the entyre Englisshe nacioun, with swych insolence, I am sore ytemptit to summone a parliamente and raise therefrom the monnies necessaire to makyn warre on the fowle frensshe.

    Thys manne Villon, ou Vilain, yt seemith mee, would look well as ane ornament on ye ende of ane hempen rope.

  27. I woulde be faine to aske the widwe ladye in what mannere beth banned the pipe that alle menne carry in thir hosen? Tis a thinge passing strange that a droghte shulde provoke the kynge in parliament to forbide the marke and signe of manhood. O welawaye.

  28. Mastire Chaucer,

    Ich hav a Quondrye und yt wold honur me yff thee mayst ansyr et.

    Y am butte a tendre Maide of V und X und ich finde miselfe in luve wit an oldder marrid Manne. Y do notte want to bringe disgrayce ore shayme ontoo mine Vather's House, butte the goode Lorde wille not purge mee of mine eville pacion. Ich thinke pyrhap to kille mynselfe, as the goode Ovide's Virse advyse, butte oure goode Lorde sayth selbstmord ist wronge. Y kannot loov this Manne, butte mi harte ist tornne.

    Perhayp, thou, vise und lernd Poit, knoweth whatt y am to do.

    --Conflictede in Chelsee

  29. and palmeres for to seken straunge strondes, to ferne halwes kowthe in sondry londes; and specialli from every shires ende of Engelond to Canterbury they wende...

    Ich skile thate fele tales of Chaucer ben good. Of bem all yfeere ich ywis not ne wot which to chose as favourite. Al ich wax merry ofte in lust ynough whan yread hir tale of miller.

  30. 'Tis well with my soul, but thou doest cause a wee bit of straineth on the eyeth....hehe...good blog, ye merry gentlman. Good blog.

  31. This blog be noght bad but full bettre may thow fare,
    If ye wrote no wordes in woeful royal rhyme
    From foreign felds - know this in theyn herte,
    And bad me noght go pissen with myn plowgh.

  32. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  33. Mayster William,

    This blog be noght bad...

    Lerned leode of longe lande, longe maye thou lyven,
    And wisely, witterly, enditen dremes of Will.
    Neuer I bad thee wyth plough to pissen - ich praye thou mightst profiten,
    And righten wyth thy reson worldes wronge --

    Myn love to thyn wyf and doghter, eftsoones ich and thee shal drynken togedir in chepe! Worrye nat, ich shal fotten the bille. Wel I wot that thy job as a chantrye-priest maketh myn custoume worke look lyk a carnival cruise.

  34. Wal, it ain't old Engl, but maybe it derived - they say it did. Yer bloggin is the beste thing since white bread and the wheel all rolled into one! Had to put my head down on my desk to catch the tears and to keep from rolling into the floor. I'll be back.

  35. Mon cher GC,

    Ywriten to thee bifore ich have, but now I endite - perforce in mochel haste - this epistel but smal, al forto tellen thee how moche thou hast wyth thyn blogge newe ygladen the hertes and soules of manye a freende and manye a clerk of myn acqueyntance. It semeth me that thou standest for to chaunge thys worlde here a-doun, atte leeste for us who studien youre subtil werkynges and makynges.


  36. Ma cher Geoffrey, bel amy,

    Ich wryte for to speke myn wondre, for that Ich ordred clothyng fram thyn marchaunts on Wednesday nighte and yt was delyvered by Sext thys verray daye. Ichulle weare my fyn t-shirte to the grete feste of Kalamazoo, and proclaime myn geekerie to alle and sondrie.

  37. Ma treschere LHC,

    Thyn spellynge al oon is reson enow to proclayme thee as a genius, but thy good taste also doth recommende thee.

    Ich am yet gratefulle for thyn loane to me of giles of romes de regimine, nowe so longe agoon.

    May alle go wel with thee!

    Le Vostre Ami


  38. Mon cher GC,

    For the boke of *de regimine*, the whiche i did yow lend, it nedeth nat to speke as naught. in sooth, thou hast wyth thys thyn blogge fayre wel apayed thy dette and, ytrowe, manye an othere. nat to maken mencioun of thyn wondrous te-shirtes, the whiche are al ful mervelous; may thou sownest alwey th'increes of thy wynnynges!

    Fare the wel in thyn enditynges, blogge-wyse and oother-wyse.


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  40. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  41. From oon wight to an oother, I saye unto thee that thou hast a simple and pure gift wyth word. I congratulate yow on yowr success and wysh yow the beest of fortynes in the complicioun of yowr tales.
    Best of dais
    ~A. R.

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