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Armin Quast
03-09-2007, 02:30 AM
Chaucer's great - but sometimes hard to understand because he used a kind of language not spoken today anymore. For example, who would still be using the words "thou, thee, thy, thine" except in prayers?

One of my favorite texts in Olde English is the marine hymn : "God Father Of The Seas" or better known by its first words: "Eternal father, strong to save".

Armin Quast
03-14-2007, 01:33 PM
Eternal Father, strong to save
/ John B. Dykes
US Navy Hymn (civil marine)

1st Verse
Eternal Father! strong to save,
Whose arm doth bind the restless wave,
Who bids the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea.

2nd Verse
O Saviour, whose almighty word,
The winds and waves submissive heard,
Who walkedst on the foaming deep,
And calm amid its rage did sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea!

3rd Verse
O sacred Spirit, who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
Who bad'st its angry tumult cease,
And gavest light, and life, and peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea!

4th Verse
O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger's hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe'er they go,
Thus ever let there rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

Rupert Atkinson
03-15-2007, 01:13 AM
[QUOTE=Armin Quast;171169] For example, who would still be using the words "thou, thee, thy, thine" except in prayers?
QUOTE]

I guess you haven't been to the North of the UK where I grew up. They use these words daily, with a few more thrown in for good measure.

DaveS
03-15-2007, 11:43 AM
The only Middle English I've read is Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. But it's ace -
Sithen the siege and the assaut was cesed at Troy
The burg brittened and brent to brondes and askes
The tulk that the trammes of tresoun there wroght
Watz tried for his tricherie, the trewest on erthe
and so on.

Josh Reyer
03-15-2007, 01:14 PM
I love the poignancy of this passage from "Pearl".

'My blysse, my bale, ye han ben bothe,
Bot much the bygger yet watz my mon;
Fro thou watz wroken fro uch a wothe,
I wyste never quere my perle watz gon.
Now I hit se, now lethez my lothe.
And, quen we departed, we wern at on;
God forbede we be now wrothe,
We meten so selden by stok other ston.'

Going further back to true Old English, this is another masterful, piercing piece of poetry from the Beowulf poet:

...Ne waes thaet ethe sith,
thaet se maera maga Ecgtheowes
grundwong thone ofgyfan wolde;
sceolde ofer willan wic eardian
elles hwergen, swa sceal aeghwylc mon
alaetan laendagas.

George S. Ledyard
03-21-2007, 04:51 PM
Chaucer's great - but sometimes hard to understand because he used a kind of language not spoken today anymore. For example, who would still be using the words "thou, thee, thy, thine" except in prayers?


When I was a "new boy" at boarding school, the seniors had a sort of hazing ritual which required you to memorize the first 15 lines of the Canterbury Tales and say them in front of the whole school. Failure to do so resulted in some unnamed draconian punishment... I can still remember them to this day (that was 1967); who says negative reinforcement isn't effective?

Mark Uttech
03-21-2007, 08:48 PM
Good grief!

In gassho,

Mark

hapkidoike
03-21-2007, 09:58 PM
When I was a "new boy" at boarding school, the seniors had a sort of hazing ritual which required you to memorize the first 15 lines of the Canterbury Tales and say them in front of the whole school. Failure to do so resulted in some unnamed draconian punishment... I can still remember them to this day (that was 1967); who says negative reinforcement isn't effective?

There was this English prof. at my university, she was old as dirt and really got off on Chaucer. I never had her, but she would let the students skip her final, if they would memorize the prologue in middle english and recite it for the class. Needless to say most folks took the final. Much less work to prepare. I did have one friend who actually did it, he would do anything to get out of writing an exam, and he could recite it 8 yrs later

Kevin Leavitt
03-22-2007, 12:56 AM
They still speak some Elizabethan English on Tangier Island Virginia, in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. I had a friend from there once (not many actually leave the island for the mainland). She was a trip...right out of a Shakesphere play!

Still some traces of it around the outer banks North Carolina as well, but thee must listen carefully!

Armin Quast
03-22-2007, 12:01 PM
And here are the first lines of the Edda's Havaml. Also a great text but this time one in the language that's called "Norrn" (old norwegian) and it was written long before Chaucer was born.

1.
Gttir allar,
r gangi fram,
um skoask skyli,
um skyggnast skyli,
v at vst er at vita,
hvar vinir
sitja fleti fyrir.

2.
Gefendr heilir!
Gestr er inn kominn,
hvar skal sitja sj?
Mjk er brr,
s er brndum skal
sns of freista frama.

3.
Elds er rf,
eims inn er kominn
ok kn kalinn;
matar ok va
er manni rf,
eim er hefr um fjall farit.