Posts tagged ‘12th century’

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Hymn to Saint Nicholas by Godric of Finchale

Saint Nicholas, God’s servant dear,
Build us a hall, shining and clear,
So when we travel from birth to death
And move beyond this earthly breath,
Saint Nicholas, you can lead us there.

From: Williamson, Craig (ed. and transl.), The Complete Old English Poems, 2017, University of Pennsylvania Press: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, p. 1109.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=yZkFDgAAQBAJ)

Date: 12th century (original); 2017 (translation)

By: Godric of Finchale (c1065-1170)

Translated by: Craig Williamson (1943- )

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Thursday, 18 May 2017

Lines 1-40 from “Merlin” by Robert de Boron with approximate translation into modern English by flusteredduck

Now gyneth the devel to wraththen him sore
(as aftir scholen ȝe herkene & here wel more),
whanne that oure lord to helle wente,
and took owt Adam with good entente,
and also Eve, and ek others mo,
þat with him he likede forto han tho.
and whanne þe develis behelden this,
moche drede and merveille they hadden, i-wis.
So, as aftyrward longe be-felle,
to-gederis they conseilled, the develis, ful snelle,
and token hem to-gederis in parlement,
the maister-develis, be on assent,
and seiden: “what mester man is he, this,
that doth us here al this distress?
we mown not aȝens him maken defens,
whanne he is owht in owre presens,
and bynemeth us that we scholde have,
and for hym non thing mowen we kepen save.
For we supposede, ful verrayly,
that non man scholde he bom of wommans body,
that alle owre they weren be ryht,
but he hem benemeth us be his myht.
Sey, how was this ȝoman bore,
be whom owre ryht is thus forlore?”
thanne answerede anothir devel,
and, as him thowhte, he answerede wel:
“we haven herd, sein be prophecye
that God in Erthe here scholde dye
Forto saven the Synneris here,
that of Adam and Eve come in fere.
Anon wenten we thanne hem to prove,
and evere weren they stedfast jn goddis love,
and the more turment we diden hem do,
Evere the ferthere they weren us fro,
So that evere in here moste peyne
To hem aperede he, in certeygne,
and hem comforted so wondirly wel,
that owre tormentes greved hem nevere a del,
and evere in here moste distresse
he hem deliverede to Sikirnesse.”

Lines 1-40 from “Merlin”

Now began the devil to be sore wrathful
(as after you should listen and hear well more),
when that our lord to hell went,
and took out Adam with good intent,
and also Eve, and many similar others,
that he liked to struggle with,
and when the devils beheld this,
much dread and terror they had, I assume.
So, as afterward long befell,
together they counselled, the devils, full eagerly,
and arranged them together in parliament,
the master devils, by agreement,
and said: “what kind of man is he, this,
that causes us all here such distress?
we are unable to overcome him despite our defences,
when he is ever in our presences,
and takes away from us that we should have,
and no strike we deliver or anything we do overcomes him.
For we supposed, full truly,
that no man born of woman’s body,
that were not over us all by right,
but he overcame us by his might.
Say, how is this human born,
by whom our right is thus forfeited?”
then answered another devil,
and, as he thought, answered well:
“have not we heard, and has since be prophesised
that God on Earth should die
For to save the sinners here,
that since Adam and Eve come in fear.
Again and again they came here to be punished.
and even if they were steadfast in god’s love,
and the more we tormented them,
Ever the further they resisted us.
So that ever here in the most pain,
To them appeared he, in certainty,
and them comforted so wonderfully well,
that our torments grieved them never a deal,
and ever in here most distress,
he them delivered to tranquillity.”

From: Lovelich, Henry and Kock, Dr. Ernst A. (ed.), Merlin, A Middle-English Metrical Version of a French Romance, by Henry Lovelich, Skinner and Citizen of London (ab. 1450 A.D.), Part 1, 1904, Early English Text Society: London, pp.
(https://archive.org/details/merlinamiddleen00lovegoog)

Date: 12th century (original in French); 15th century (translation in English)

By: Robert de Boron (late 12th-early 13th century)

Translated by: Henry Lovelich (15th century)

Monday, 6 June 2016

Ode IV by Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd

My choice, a slim, fair, comely girl,
tall, lovely in her heather-coloured gown.
My chosen experience, to look at womanliness
when it quietly utters a seemly thought.
My choice is to share with and be with a girl
privately, with secrets and with gifts.
My choice, fair colour of the wave,
wise one in your country, is your elegant Welsh.
You are my choice. How do I stand with you?
Why are you silent, my pretty silence?
I’ve chosen a girl of whom I’ll not repent:
it’s right to choose a lovely girl of choice.

From: Williams, Gwyn (tr. & ed.), Welsh Poems: 6th Century to 1600, 1974, University of California Press: Berkeley and Los Angeles, p. 42.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=GzYawdzshXAC)

Date: 12th century (original); 1974 (translation)

By: Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd (c1120-1170)

Translated by: David Gwyn Williams (1904-1990)

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

My Eyes Have Seen and Chosen by Meinloh of Sevelingen

My eyes have seen and chosen     for me a handsome youth
And other women envy     my fortune but, in truth,
I only seek to show him     that I am sweet and kind
and to this end give over     my heart and all my mind.
Whoever held his favor     before he was my own
has lost him with good reason,
yet I’ll feel only sorrow     to see her stand alone.

From: Walsøe-Engel, Ingrid (ed.), German Poetry from the Beginnings to 1750, 1992, Continuum: New York, p. 21.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=zB7K9EVCqfkC)

Date: 12th century (original); 1992 (translation)

By: Meinloh of Sevelingen (12th century)

Translated by: J. W. Thomas (19??- )

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Prologue to “Lais” by Marie de France

Whoever gets knowledge from God, science,
and a talent for speech, eloquence,
Shouldn’t shut up or hide away;
No, that person should gladly display.
When everyone hears about some great good
Then it flourishes as it should;
When folks praise it at full power,
Then the good deed’s in full flower.
Among the ancients it was the tradition
(On this point we can quote Priscian)

When they wrote their books in the olden day
What they had to say they’d obscurely say.
They knew that some day others would come
And need to know what they’d written down;
Those future readers would gloss the letter,
Add their own meaning to make the book better.
Those old philosophers, wise and good,
Among themselves they understood
Mankind, in the future tense,
Would develop a subtler sense
Without trespassing to explore
What’s in the words, and no more.

Whoever wants to be safe from vice
Should study and learn (heed this advice)
And undertake some difficult labor;
Then trouble is a distant neighbor–
From great sorrows one can escape.
Thus my idea began to take shape:
I’d find some good story or song
To translate from Latin into our tongue;
But was the prize worth the fight?
So many others had already tried it.
Then I thought of the lais I’d heard;
I had no doubt, I was assured
They’d been composed for memory’s sake
About real adventures–no mistake:
They heard the tale, composed the song,
Sent it forth. They didn’t get it wrong.
I’ve heard so many lais, I would regret
Letting them go, letting people forget.
So I rhymed them and wrote them down aright.
Often my candle burned late at night.

In your honor, noble king,
Whose might and courtesy make the world ring–
All joys flow from you or run to you,
Whose heart is the root of every virtue–
For you these lais I undertook,
To bring them together, rhymed, in this book.
In my heart I always meant
To offer you this, my present.
Great joy to my heart you bring
If you accept my offering–
I’ll be glad forever and a day!
Please don’t think that I say
This from conceit–pride’s not my sin.
Just listen now, and I’ll begin.

From: http://people.clas.ufl.edu/jshoaf/files/prologue.pdf

Date: 12th century (original); 1992 (translation)

By: Marie de France (12th century)

Translated by: Judith P. Shoaf (19??- )