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December 7, 2006

Le Vostre Geoffrey Chaucer (update)
Posted by Teresa at 03:30 PM *

Master Geoffrey is still at it. Naturally, I like everything he writes. Some notable recent pieces: No Japery Todaye, a brief serious homily for World AIDS Day:

Agayns this horrible synne of Accidie … ther is a vertu that is called fortitudo or strengthe, that is an affecioun thurgh which a man despiseth anoyouse thynges. …
And two digressiouns from his Parlement Journale: a description of a work of science ficcion ycleped Battlestar Ecclesiastica, and the Harley Lyrics, whereof one follows:
Maketh motor for to runne
Shoopen vs to to heigh-waye
No aventure shal we shunne
In what-evir cometh ower waye

Yn the smok and lightening
Blastes of hevy metal
Wyth the wind goon racing-
The felinge is so goode

An hendy happe ichabbe hent,
From nature pure we aren sent
Vndyinge we kan make ascent
For borne we are to wexen woode

BOOOOOORNE TO WAXEN WOODE (refrain repeateth)

The last verse may not make you pass thinly-sliced cucumber through your nose if you read it while eating lunch, the way it did me; but that’s your loss.
Comments on Le Vostre Geoffrey Chaucer (update):
#1 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2006, 04:45 PM:

Beer, yes, primo Erdinger Weissbier. For thinly sliced cucumber I'd have to check the fridge, slice it (thinly), and then repeat the experiment.

#2 ::: Stephen G ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2006, 04:46 PM:

I've been happily following his newer writings since you pointed them out a while back. The Battlestar Ecclesiastica is his finest work since the Ocks Menne.

#3 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2006, 05:06 PM:

If he doesn't stop all this blogging, he'll never finish "Canterbury Tales".

#4 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2006, 05:15 PM:

On the other hand, after just reading about "Kalamazoo" of "The Ocks Menne" ... Geoffrey, forget about those pilgrims.

#5 ::: handrummer ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2006, 06:44 PM:

Does anyone know how to unaspirate a milkshake? A little help here, please.

#6 ::: Lea ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2006, 07:00 PM:

BSL, I love Chaucer, and his brilliant blog posts, and his litel woolen hatte, with al myn herte. ;)

I do wish he'd get back to the Parlement Journale though! Oh, the suspense!

(I love Mandeville's contributions, too. He is downright cuddly.)

#7 ::: RedMolly ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2006, 07:31 PM:

Not thinly-sliced cucumber, but a chunk of very fine aged Gouda. Ow, ow, ow.

#8 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2006, 07:35 PM:

Well, let's see:

Chavcer his uuritinges myn herte and minde impresse,
farre fro the uuorlde in holie sothfastenesse,
bot ich uuolde asken alle ye gentille folke
uuho clamovren for ease fro hethene ioke
uuether tis trewe thatte euille-sovning uuorde
thatte swich rhyming ben nat worthe an torde?
For myn parte it ben trewe that Chavcer bin
Ovre greetest rhymer, to saie else war sinne.

#9 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2006, 07:36 PM:

In the immortal words of Doctor Johnson, cucumber should be thinly sliced, soaked in vinegar and then thrown away as good for nothing.

#10 ::: Kristen Chew ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2006, 08:35 PM:

Involuntary laughter and a desire to email all the medievalists I know (and they are legion), but no cucumber.

#11 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2006, 09:06 PM:

My Shift key was stuck for two days until the keyboard dried out after I read this: Ther shal be a child, cleped Henri le Potier. [...] He then recyves worde forto scoleye so he maye lernen the wayes of wicches. [...] There be two childeren, Hermesie who hath muchel wit, so myche that she is to be taughten with the menn, and a melancholic felawe named Rinaldo delle Donole. Henri le Potier cwelleth hem al for being wicches, and then atte fin he becometh a prest.

#12 ::: Darice Moore ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2006, 09:55 PM:

And hendy happe ichabbe ihent
Ichot from hevene it is me sent
From alle wommen my love is lent
And licht on Alisoun!

I'll never read that the same way again. Hee. (No cucumber here, but chocolate hurts.)

#13 ::: colin roald ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 12:35 AM:

Argh. Could somebody please explain "hendy happe ichabbe hent", and where the heck "waxen woode" comes from? I feel so dense.

#14 ::: Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 12:43 AM:

And hendy happe ichabbe ihent is Middle English, and it means, crudely, "I'm about to get lucky" more politely "a lucky chance I have received".

Waxen, means "grows," as in a waxing moon; wood means "mad," as in mad with love.

#15 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 01:25 AM:

Colin, #13: The lyrics are a Middle English semi-filk of Steppenwolf's "Born To Be Wild". If you had already clocked that, sorry to belabor the obvious; if not, don't feel bad -- I didn't get it until the 3rd time I looked, and I like that song!

#16 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 02:24 AM:


The last verse may not make you pass thinly-sliced cucumber through your nose if you read it while eating lunch, the way it did me; but that’s your loss.

It didn't, but that's mainly because I was smart enough to put the coffee down before I got that far...

(If you see strangely accented letters where there should be none, that's because this computer I'm using is locked down to provide a $%^&* Dutch keyboard, which does Strange Things with ' and " keys.)

#17 ::: Eimear Né Mhealoid ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 07:15 AM:

Niall, can you get the Erdinger Schneeweisse ("Das Winterbier!") where you are? It's particularly tasty. My local Dublin off-licence gets it every year but last night I saw it in a pub/venue in Camden St. so it must be fairly widely distributed now.

#18 ::: Eimear Ní Mhéalóid ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 07:16 AM:

Oops, name all messed up there.

#19 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 07:28 AM:

Eimear: No, I've seen their Oktoberfest special brew but no Winterbier. Maybe the new O'Brien's has it, I must check.

The big trend around here has been all the Polish beer, but I'm not impressed so far.

#20 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 10:19 AM:

#9: In the immortal words of Doctor Johnson, cucumber should be thinly sliced, soaked in vinegar and then thrown away as good for nothing. So true! I can't abide the stuff.

As for that delightful filk, my subconscious started supplying the accompanying tune before my forebrain had quite picked up on what he was doing. (I guess my brief acquaintance with Middle English back in college helped.)

Such doings seem like an offshoot of the "mash up" thread elsewhere, and coincidentally they also relate to some CDs I got yesterday. While I expect to be sneered at for this purchase, I went for Sting's Dowland lute music CD "Songs From the Labyrinth" -- though uneven, it's also a lot of fun, and part of that fun is seeing how an Elizabethan/Jacobean songster could have lyrics just as mopey and quasi-suicidal as the last few decades of emo bands (with some flashes of wit thrown in for good measure). And dissonant lute, thank's to Sting's collaborator Edin Karamazov [I kid you not] ... cool!

Then there's Richard Thompson's "1000 Years of Popular Music". Haven't watched the DVD yet, but he starts with a rowdy "Sumer is Icumen In", and towards the end transfigures Britney's "Oops! I Did it Again" so it not only sounds great but briefly diverges into an instrumental that Dowland fans could dance to. While he lets one of the ladies in the band sing "Night and Day" and "Cry Me a River", he makes "Shenandoah" all his own, and roars to a finish with "Sam Hall" (which used to be a pirate song till it took that later form). Of course, none of this will come as any surprise to rabid RT fans who bought the thing months ago....

#21 ::: colin roald ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 11:09 AM:

Lisa, #14: thanks! i couldn't figure out how he got from "being wild" to surf-waxing.

Lee, #15: thanks as well, though I had that part.

#22 ::: Nic_C ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 01:04 PM:

Oh, genius. And once again I vow not to read this blog while consuming heated beverages...

#24 ::: Thomas Nephew ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 01:16 PM:

(spent a while trying to see if it was some kind of fingers--wrongly-positioned keyboard thing.)

#25 ::: Zeynep ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 01:28 PM:

The whole poem brought me _this_ close to forcefully expelling a mouthful of rice, does that count?
Simply beautiful.

#26 ::: Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 03:50 PM:

Alisoun, the Middle English version, is frequently sung and read aloud in Midddle English. I started to post links, but honestly, Google it. It's dead easy.

#27 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 05:18 PM:

Faren #20

Between this and some stuff on the latest Open Thread, I may have to buy *more* CDs for gifts. Oh, drat.

#28 ::: Leslie in CA ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 06:36 PM:

Those who are in gift mode may also want to peruse Geoffrey's t-shirt offerings. Beverage and thinly-sliced cucumber warnings apply.

#29 ::: Lea ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 02:02 AM:

Faren Miller wrote:

While I expect to be sneered at for this purchase, I went for Sting's Dowland lute music CD "Songs From the Labyrinth" -- though uneven, it's also a lot of fun

I for one not going to sneer at you: I thought I was the only person in the entire world who actually likes this album! And I have a huge collection of early music, so I probably have no excuse. But that's the only recording I've heard of "In Darkness Let Me Dwell" that actually sounds like it's about depression rather than just being Sad and Pretty.

I also love 1000 Years of Popular Music, but I don't think that will earn as many sneers. ;) (My favorite track on that one is "Remember O Thou Man." Guh.)

#30 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 09:51 AM:

Lea: according to the Amazon reviews, the audience is fairly evenly divided between lovers and haters of that Sting CD (though with enough raves to give it a pretty good rating overall). I didn't scroll through everything, but between the negative rants there were others who gave it three or four stars. One of the things I like is a more natural voice, as opposed to classically trained -- probably more like what the composers of that day would have sounded like when they peddled their own wares, though court musicians may have had a lot more polish.

#31 ::: Anton P. Nym ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 02:18 PM:

I was particularly taken with Chaucer's take on my favourite pass-time, "Ich pwne noobs!" Being a hard-core fan of "Auriole" myself, despite not having an "Eccebochs CCCLX" (making do with the aulden model at least until the new year), I found his observations profound.

Now to take a peek at his review of "Serpentes on a Shippe". I wonder if Chaucer's a fan of Samuel, son of Jack?

-- Steve

#32 ::: Anton P. Nym ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 04:07 PM:

Or maybe I should have used "Ecce Bacchus CCCLX", considering how closely the online environment resembles a bacchanalia sometimes.

-- Steve

#33 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 07:56 PM:

Sting was on a MusicCares tribute to James Taylor the other night on PBS (recorded in February 2006, I think), playing a Taylor song on lute. It sounded just fine. He played a hurdy gurdy at the 2004 Academy Awards, too.

I've heard Richard Thompson's version of that Britney Spears song (on Fresh Air) and I was amazed at how he reclaimed it from its former place in a dustbin of stupid pop music.

#34 ::: Anarch ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 11:52 AM:

Lea: you've found the musical accompaniment to your next excursion into the exciting realm of Finger-Puppet Shakespeare?

#35 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 04:16 AM:

OK, I found Erdinger Schneeweiss (Das Winterbier!) over the weekend, but wasn't impressed. Chritmassy labels and top, a warmer, slightly darker amber colour, but rather less flavoursome than the regular stuff, and a lot less than their Dunkelwiess. I'll stick to their regular offerings.

#36 ::: Eimear Né Mhealoid ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 05:17 AM:

Ok, it's one of those personal preference things so, the beer guy in my off-licence and I both like it better than the Hefeweissen (I don't go for the Dunkelweissen). The Oktoberfest stuff OTOH I've always found bland.
These days I drink more Czech and Belgian beers, too.

#37 ::: meredith ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 11:48 PM:

Erdinger Dunkel-Weiss is my favorite beverage on earth.

The regular Erdinger Weissbier is my second favorite beverage on earth.

I am now craving both, and in a place where there's no chance in hell I'll be able to get either. Sigh.

Guess I'll have to console myself by reading Geoffrey Chaucer's blog and laughing hysterically. :)

#38 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 12:28 PM:

Choking on goose-egg quiche here! (Our goose egg supplier has a silly goose that's still laying. Yum!)

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