Chaucer the Holy-Wood Scabbe

Yf ye wonder, lordinges and ladyes, wher Galfridus Chaucer hath been synce September, the answer is: in a verray purgatorie of busynesse. It pleseth me litel to labour as clerk of the kinges werkes, and yet labor ich muste, for Philippa forever addeth to our hous yn Kent and litel Lowys is beginning to speke of applyinge to Universitee next yeere (the whiche surpriseth me gretely – paraventure it is the ale of Oxford that lureth hym, not the bookes).

My lord Kyng Richard is a man of muchel ymaginacioun and many needes. Ich had thoghte that beinge clerk of the kinges werkes wolde involve sum smal calculaciouns of repaires to palaces and castles, or perchaunce sum litel arrangement of walls to be buylt and an odd tournament heere and there. By Seynt Barbara, not in eny way! Kyng Richard and hys fauorites Robert de Vere, Justice Tresilian, Bishop Neville, Nicholas Brembre and Michael de la Pole (the which clepen themselves the “brat packe”) alwey asken me to arrange sum project of construccion that semeth a thing of fayerye. Fountayns of red and whit wyn in Hull? Chekke. An reenactement of the battel of Hastinges wyth dogges and cattes in armour? Chekke. A monster trukke rallye the which involveth a trukke that transformeth yn to a dinosaur? Chekke. Makinge a giant elephaunt walk the stretes of Londoun? Chekke. A Carolingian Renaissance fayre? Chekke (thogh that was prety esy, for it was miniscule). Mesemeth yf thes counsellors to the kyng do not get their spendinge and extravagaunce under control, sum thyng bad myght happen.

But thys weekend my lord the Kyng and the brat packe haue gone to the Malvern hilles for sum maner of mystique ritual in which thei shal "fynde themselves." And so wyth a litel fre tyme, ich haue returnid hoom to relax and watch sum television. No thyng wolde plese me moore than to sit yn myn slothful-knave chayre wyth a caipirinha and catch up on sum muste-see tv. Or so thoghte I.

Yet allas, allas, the Lex Murphiae holdeth alwey trewe. In that gret and magique land ycleped Holy-Wood, from which cometh many a joieful showe of televisioun, the poetes and scrybes haue putte down their pennes in protest of the avarice of large corporaciouns. Al the gret tales and comedyes and shewes of talk haue y-ground to an halt and are no thyng but reruns.

Ich do thynk that the writers of Holy-Wood are goode folk and trewe and sholde continue their protest, but Philippa hath toold me that thys coud be an greet opportunitee for myn owene writinge (for alwey ich am scribling sum poem or anothir or having some idea). So ich am going ayeinst myn owene conscience to propose sum shewes of televisioun. Peraventure the mightie corporaciouns and compaignynes of produccion wil choose me to be an writere of televisioun ones see my wondirful conceptes heere on thys poost of blog. (It peyneth me soore to be an scabbe and an protest-lyne crosser, but my sone wisheth to goon to Oxford and my wyf desireth a patio. Forgive me, o ye merveillous writers of Holly-Wood: Chaucer nedeth a newe payre of shoes!)

Ich haue purchasid sun-glasses for my meetinges and ich haue practiced swich importante phrases as “Wayt for it...wayt for it...” and eek “This will blowen yower mind...” and eek “Ich wolde absolutely love to heare what revisions the sponsor hath suggestid for my script.” Myn experience at court shal serve me wel.

Heere, withouten further delaye, O Executives of Entertaynment, are myn proposales for shewes.

The Televisioun Lyne Up of Galfridus Chaucer, Clerke of the Kinges Werkes:

Sectes in the Borough: This hot and explicit showe wil handle religious dissent yn a more free and open way than evere bifor. Carrie Baxter is an underground writer of Lollard tractes in Norwich and the oonly thynge she loveth moore than questioning the validitie of the institucional church is her III best freendes: sexie Samantha, who seduceth many a preeste, intellectuale Charlotte, who speketh out ayeinst women being unable to preche, and Miranda Kempe, who receiveth visiouns from God. Thei meet every week to rede of the Bible in Ynglisshe and talke smacke about pilgrymage sites. Carrie is alwey resistinge the temptaciouns to submit to the orthodoxie of the Church, personifyed by Archbishop Thomas Arundel, whom she clepeth “Mr. Big.” (Paraventure for a cabel network, by cause main-streme audiences aren not redi for frank depicciouns of heretical practice?)

The Gower Report: Thogh Johannes Gower ys an horrible wankere, yet hys churlish maners and hys gret pryde and surquidrie aren ful amusinge to watch. Yn this showe, Johannes Gower wolde speke to the audience of hys writinges and hys gret feare of beares. He may weare hys robe of a man of lawe wyth its striped sleeves and shal stand in front of peyntures of hymself.

Flight of the Lombardes: In this syde-splittinge comedic satyre, two yonge Lombard marchauntz, named Brentano and Germano, comen to Londoun to make their fortune wyth trading and finaunce. Thei aren also makeres of songes, ditees, roundels, and ballades, the which thei singe as commentarie to their aventures in love and businesse in a mildly self-deprecatinge maner. Their gretest ballade ys cleped “Tyme of Busynesse,” and gooth sum thing like this:

”Ywis, it is tyme of Busynesse. Aw yeah. 
How knowe I this, askest thou? 
For yt ys Wednesday,
a day not forbidden for tradinge and bargaininge by the lawe of Holy Churche.

Yea, for al is right, condicciouns are perfect
for Busynesse,
for thou hast sheeldes thou wishest to selle in exchaunge
for merchaundise thou hast bought in Flaundres.
And ich haue soore nede of thy merchaundise.
Aw yea. And ich am yn my red hose, the which aren cleped
Busynesse hose. 
Doinge exchaunge and bargainynge.
Doinge exchaunge and bargainynge for two.
Doinge exchaunge and bargainynge for two
Florins profit. For two florins profit is better
than the profit of one shilling. I schal put it on thy taille.”

Hawk the Bountie Hunter: Thys showe shal deele yn the materes of kinges and gret affayres of state, and thus shal be ycleped a roialtee showe. Ich shal arrange for many cameras of televisioun to followe the gret mercenarie Johannes Hawkwood, who hath risen from lowe birthe to serve as a puissant man at armes in Italye and hath y-weddid the fayre dogther of Bernabo Visconti.

The Privy Seel Offyce: Thys offyce of clerkes and scrybes produceth manye documentz and eek muchel laughter. An hilarious ensemble cast of quirkie folk shewe the dailye japeries and jolitee of roial bureaucracie. The privy seel offyce is run by Michael Scot, who doth gret deedes of magique and yet kan nat conjure good fortune for hymself. Yonge clerk Tristram Canterbury soore loveth the receptioniste Ysolde Beesley, but sche ys to be marryed to an oothir man. Yet Tristrames loue sickenesse preventeth hym not from makinge an ape of the haughtie clerke Gareth de Schrute, who oftymes findeth hys quill and ink put ynto a jello mold. Both Tristram and Ysolde mocke Gareth, callinge hym “Beaumains.” (Ywrit in collaboracioun wyth Mayster Thomas Occleve)

Doctor Hwaet: Thys showe doth chronicle the aventures of a solitarye one who must wander the wayes of water on the rime-cold waves, mindful of miseries, yn a large device ycleped the TOWAERDES (the which ys a grete magique ship disguised as a burial mound) that alloweth hym to travel in tymes to come and also yn the places that ben past and the far landes of fantaysye. Alwey he sercheth out and protecteth a poem ycleped Beowulf the whiche he saveth from a fyre and also turneth yn to several filmes in order that the beautee of Angeline Joly may drawe newe rederes to thys tale. “That ys fanTASTick,” he saith yn the rare tymes whan he ys of good chiere. He fighteth many enemyes, includinge the Cybermonks, the Daneleks, and folk who thinke that “Geats” is pronouncid “geetz.”

44 comment "Chaucer the Holy-Wood Scabbe"

  1. Maistre Chaucer, thyn shewes plesen me gretely. Hastow considred a televisioun show starrynge thes people? Thou might calle it Heroes.

  2. Argh! Minuscule! The peyne, it smarteth sore.

  3. "A Carolingian Renaissance fayre? Chekke (thogh that was prety esy, for it was miniscule)."


  4. Goode sirre, muchel doe I likke your tayles proposed for televsioun. Howe'er, what shaltow to do whann the studios do y-posste theyse werkkes of entertainmaunt to the webbe, making of monies on advertisment, whilsetow receeve naught, for thyse new medium doth so confusse these executivves of netwerkke that they cannow understaund how you mightt be y-paid?! Standow wythe these fellow scrivveners, and the tyde when 'tis arisen shall yr ownn boat raiseth also!

    Aund, for to vissit

  5. t-shirte if it plese thee

    surely: an it plese thee

  6. Me can has Chauceburger??

  7. Thank you for putting a smile on my face.

  8. Gode sirre Chaucer, magister meus

    Thy poste doth y-sette me to wenand. Long haue ich wisshed for a shewe devysing the tales of a learned clerke of medycyne, yclept Hous, who is sikerly the moste konnyng of alle menne atte healyng the syke, and yette outrely an arsehole.

    Rymenhlid doth sparke in me anouther idee: the tales of a motley folk, who do dyscovere onne day thatte they hast giftes beyonde the runne of mannekynde, to wit: onne can runne so faste as to yclypse the winnde, onne has conseil beyonde the ken of man, etc., and how these menne do pryvely seke others, of giftes similar yet seueral, and undertayke to sayve the worlde; til they are caughte and yslawen all, for havyng solden theyr soules to the Deuil.
    Nat a shewe of hilaritie, ywis, nat a solas for a nice yvynyng, but certes morall and sounde.

  9. Nnicole,

    Yower secounde idea cometh right clos to a concept ich was y-werkinge upon. Many ladyes from classical mythologie do fynde that thei haue special poweres the which thei use to cacche the men who haue mistreted them. Swich folk as Dido (who kan control the see), Penelope (who kan slow textile produccion to a crawl), and Deinara (who kan make shirtes explode).

    The showe shal be ycleped:


  10. Gode sirre, ye do shew me muchel honour withen yowre kinde reponse. Ich shal bidde mine pippel to y-call thine pippel, that we may luncheon togethyr anon.

  11. I nominated you for a Shameless Lions award for powerful writing. You can see what I had to say at

  12. Gode Sire Geoffroi, ich hadde notte thoughten thee an blakke legge. Yette, lo, thou beest the veriest scabbe in alle Engelond.

    Thou shouldst with thine brethren, the scribes and poetes common cavse maken, to cry defiaunce like unto chauntecleer.

  13. Good sire John Balle, ich haue herde of yower sermones:

    Whan Adam dalf and Eve spanne
    Who gat money from the webisodes, manne?

  14. Ich to thee saien, bi the Hooli Rode,
    The writer must goold gete per episode.

  15. Glad I'm not the only one who caught "miniscule" and came here to complain about it. ;-)

    Wonderful blog!

  16. Just happened upon yr blog. Ah, the CT. I must admit that all I remember is Neville Coghill's translation of the ending:

    Thus Absalom was branded on the bum
    And God bring all of us to Kingdom Come.

    Yrs in pervery, Adrian

  17. Yea indeed, Doctor Hwaet be one o my plays most favorite. His fight with the Daneleks be legendary

  18. Dere frekynge Laird, telle me nott that ich haue yyt anouthr plac to whiche myne mynd and thine humores maye dragge mee...ARGGHHH! Soo litel tyme and ever soo muche bookes and other wordes to reade...

  19. Thy pardon pls for posting so farre off the topique, however methought this shoulde be reported at once:
    Presumably this is how like was first bleached semantically into a mere hedge (in some uses), and then re-interpreted syntactically as a particle that can be inserted almost anywhere to "signal a possible slight mismatch between words and meaning". The semantic bleaching has certainly been around long enough for Pat Robertson to be familiar with it: the OED cites "1500-20 DUNBAR Poems xix. 19 Yon man is lyke out of his mynd."

  20. I would most certainly watch Doctor Hwaet. Does he get a hydroponic screw driver?

  21. Gode sirre, ich haue trauelled manie leagues upon the informacioun highwaye and haue but newlye discourered thy blogge. Hit maketh myn herte to swelle with mirthe and ioye.

    Forgiue me myn uncouthe ynglysshe, for ich am of a farre contrye.

  22. 'Hey-Zeus pity Ovid'!

    Methings.....errrrrrr, no, moi knows other than that.

    Hence moi's wee YouTube films on the subject

  23. Maistre Chaucer, I hath stumbleth upon thyn blog by linke from an uther. Forgiveth myne lack of skille en scribyng, for 'tis many a yeare since I hath so done.

    Howsomeever, I hath enjoied thyn post. By jingo, I reade the lingo, with nary a querye! Now that's scarye.

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

  25. Miglior Scabor,

    Peradventure thou canst writen us newe scriptes ycomprised of _Dexter_? For the secound season ys yfinisshed ond min herte braste in longygne for ferther punysshments of wikked souls and the pretty sprayes of hir blood... Yt is also hotte in Miamie and cold heere in the londe were the tongue of Newe Frenyssh findeth flour. The cokkles of min herte haben nede of the warm applicacioun of justicia...

    Mony thankkes ond gret suckcess in thine scabbery.

  26. go chauser, you ol' fruit!

  27. Prithee Sir Geoff leave us not sans worde!

  28. For having turned scab on the Hollywood writing strike, you're doing an awfully good job of remaining absolutely silent! lol

  29. Maistre Chaucer, that, lately, ye bloggeth not ys the cause of myne grete sorwe. I preye, for Goddes love, that yow scrivven eft ful soone.

  30. Methinks someone challenges Maistre Chaucer...

  31. Thou hast blog bling at mine site.
    Look under 'E for excellent'.

  32. Go see Iowahawk

  33. "Methinks someone challenges Maistre Chaucer..."

    The verses of the hawk plesen me nat.

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

  35. May I just send you love love LOVE for your wonderful site?

  36. Dieu gard le compaignon galloys et vous envoye bonne sepmaine!
    Maistre, mille et mille mercis. Ce blogue là me duit, remply de science moult fructueuse et salutataire.
    Autant qu'on feroit de ce jour à boire chopine de vin. Je suis en hait. La salive me vient à la bouche.
    Adieu toute ceste assemblée. Dieu gard la belle compaignie de mal.

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