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MR-Disc: Lak of Stedfastnesse

Poster: edh@ascc01.ascc.lucent.com

Somtyme the world was so stedfast and stable
That mannes word was obligacioun,
And now it is so fals and deceivable
That word and deed, as in conclusioun,
Ben nothing lyk, for turned up-so-doun
Is al this world for mede and wilfulnesse,
That al is lost for lak of stedfastnesse.

What maketh this world to be so variable
But lust that folk have in dissensioun?
For among us now a man is holde unable,
But if he can by som collusioun
Don his neighbour wrong or oppressioun.
What causeth this but wilful wrecchednesse,
That al is lost for lak of stedfastnesse?

Trouthe is put doun, resoun is holden fable,
Vertu hath now no dominacioun;
Pitee exyled, no man is merciable.
Through covetyse is blent discrecioun.
The world hath mad a permutacioun
Fro right to wrong, fro trouthe to fikelnesse,
That al is lost for lak of stedfastnesse.

      Lenvoy to King Richard

O prince, desyre to be honourable,
Cherish thy folk and hate extorcioun.
Suffre nothing that may be reprevable
To thyn estat don in thy regioun.
Shew forth thy swerd of castigacioun,
Dred God, do law, love trouthe and worthinesse,
And wed thy folk agein to stedfastnesse.

I think that this ballade is so full of words
that happen to have changed very little that
it doesn't have to be updated to be understandable
to speakers-of-modern-English (nuperanglophones?).

* Is it easy enough to read, as is?

* Would you understand it if you heard someone recite it?

* Even if the reader did things like making "stable"
sound like "stobble" and "hate extorcioun" sound like
"hot ex-tor-see-oon"?

* Are the observaciouns in this poem still valid?

* Were they valid then?

* Is the last stanza good advice for a king?

BTW, I didn't type in the poem; I glommed it
(if that's the right term) off the WWWeb at

-- Alfredo
Alfredo el Bufon
Elvegast, Windmaster's Hill, Atlantia

Facilis descensus Averni;                |The descent to Avernus is easy;
Noctes atque dies patet atri janua Ditis;|Night and day Pluto's gates are open;
Sed revocare gradum,                     |But to recall your steps,
    superasque evadere ad auras,         |    and climb to the upper air,
Hoc opus, hic labor est.                 |That is the toil, that is the work.
          -- Publius Vergilius Maro      |                  -- Virgil

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