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Re: MR-Disc: Lak of Stedfastnesse

Poster: "Sharon Henderson" <sharon@intercon.com>

Alfredo comments on Master Chaucer's poesy:

> 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?

For those of us who have studied Middle English, sure!  For those of us who 
have not, er, possibly with a little practice.
> * Would you understand it if you heard someone recite it?

Yup.  Been there, heard that.  I was absolutely blessed in my formative years 
to have a High School English teacher who had taken the minor of his degree in 
Middle English and Chaucer; he was a part-time actor to boot, and to hear him 
recite this stuff was heaven.  (well, it was to me.... <g>)
> * Even if the reader did things like making "stable" sound like 
> "stobble" and "hate extorcioun" sound like "hot ex-tor-see-oon"?

Yup.  No problem.
> * Are the observaciouns in this poem still valid?

I think they are to a certain extent.  La plus ca change, and all that....

But then one has to take into account the fact that there are folks like us in 
the world: people who want to take others at their word, who want to believe 
in the Good, and strive toward it.  Look at what the SCA tries to live up to!  
And frequently manages to succeed at!  While the rest of the world struggles 
with being "so fals and deceivable", SCAdians will take one another into their 
homes at the drop of an email message that someone from elsewhere needs crash 
space.  Tell the Merry Rose list or the Red Dragon tavern list that a fellow 
SCAdian is in need, or sick, or hurting, or upset; or needs assistance with 
something; or needs a fact, or a footnote.... and suddenly the needs are met.

<gee, we're pretty nice people after all! G>

Still, the world can be an icky place.... So it is nice to know there are 
still places of refuge.
> * Were they valid then?

Chaucer wrote this while King Richard II was holding sway.  The sweet little 
boy depicted in the Wilton Diptych with his patron saints, and angels wearing 
Plantagenet livery, had grown up into a well-meaning but self-indulgent young 
man, with decided ideas on how things were Going To Be.  A coup was looming 
ever larger, and History was setting the stage for the Conquest of France and 
later the Wars of the Roses.  Oh ja, these words were quite valid then!
> * Is the last stanza good advice for a king?

IMHO, Yes.  Yup.  You Betcha.  Damn Straight.  Oh-kay.  Definately....  :-)

My goodness, Meli is Waxing Philosophical this afternoon....

(And yes, she'll get around to waxing other things later.  The furniture, the 
car, Wroth, Eloquent....  <g>)


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