Thursday, March 04, 2010

Sir Degare in Translation

Degare leaves the hermit to seek his parents. He rescues an Earl from a dragon (with blows of his staff) and then gets a bevy of beauties paraded in front of him as he tries to find the woman whose hands will fit his gloves.
He knelede adoun al so swithe,
And thonked the ermite of his live,
And swor he nolde stinte no stounde
Til he his kinrede hadde ifounde.
For in the lettre was thous iwrite,
That bi the gloven he sscholde iwite
Wich were his moder and who,
Yhif that sche livede tho,
For on hire honden hii wolde,
And on non other hii nolde.
Half the florines he gaf the hermite,
And halvendel he tok him mide,
And nam his leve an wolde go.
"Nai," seide the hermite, "schaltu no!
To seche thi ken mightou nowt dure
Withouten hors and god armure."
"Nai," quad he, "bi Hevene Kyng,
Ich wil have first another thing!"
He hew adoun, bothe gret and grim,
To beren in his hond with him,
A god sapling of an ok;
Whan he tharwith gaf a strok,
Ne wer he never so strong a man
Ne so gode armes hadde upon,
That he ne scholde falle to grounde;
Swich a bourdon to him he founde.
Tho thenne God he him bitawt,
And aither fram other wepyng rawt.
Child Degarre wente his wai
Thourgh the forest al that dai.
No man he ne herd, ne non he segh,
Til hit was non ipassed hegh;
Thanne he herde a noise kete
In o valai, an dintes grete.
Blive thider he gan to te:
What hit ware he wolde ise.
An Herl of the countré, stout and fers,
With a knight and four squiers,
Hadde ihonted a der other two,
And al here houndes weren ago.
Than was thar a dragon grim,
Ful of filth and of venim,
With wide throte and teth grete,
And wynges bitere with to bete.
As a lyoun he hadde fet,
And his tail was long and gret.
The smoke com of his nose awai
Ase fer out of a chimenai.
The knyght and squiers he had torent,
Man and hors to dethe chent.
The dragon the Erl assaile gan,
And he defended him as a man,
And stoutliche leid on with his swerd,
And stronge strokes on him gerd;
Ac alle his dentes ne greved him nowt:
His hide was hard so iren wrout.
Therl flei fram tre to tre -
Fein he wolde fram him be -
And the dragon him gan asail;
The doughti Erl in that batail
Ofsegh this child Degarre;
"Ha! help!" he seide, "par charité!"
The dragoun seth the child com;
He laft the Erl and to him nom
Blowinde and yeniend also
Als he him wolde swolewe tho.
Ac Degarre was ful strong;
He tok his bat, gret and long,
And in the forehefd he him batereth
That al the forehefd he tospatereth.
He fil adoun anon right,
And frapte his tail with gret might
Upon Degarres side,
That up-so-doun he gan to glide;
Ac he stert up ase a man
And with his bat leide upan,
And al tofrusst him ech a bon,
That he lai ded, stille as a ston.
Therl knelede adoun bilive
And thonked the child of his live,
And maked him with him gon
To his castel right anon,
And wel at hese he him made,
And proferd him al that he hade,
Rentes, tresor, an eke lond,
For to holden in his hond.
Thanne answerede Degarre,
"Lat come ferst bifor me
Thi levedi and other wimmen bold,
Maidenes and widues, yonge and olde,
And other damoiseles swete.
Yif mine gloven beth to hem mete
For to done upon here honde,
Thanne ich wil take thi londe;
And yif thai ben nowt so,
Iich wille take me leve and go."
Alle wimman were forht ibrowt
In wide cuntries and forth isowt:
Ech the gloven assaie bigan,
Ac non ne mighte don hem on.
He tok his gloven and up hem dede,
And nam his leve in that stede.
The Erl was gentil man of blod,
And gaf him a stede ful god
And noble armure, riche and fin,
When he wolde armen him therin,
And a palefrai to riden an,
And a knave to ben his man,
And yaf him a swerd bright,
And dubbed him ther to knyght,
And swor bi God Almighti
That he was better worthi
To usen hors and armes also
Than with his bat aboute to go
In gratitude he did kneel
And thanked the hermit for his weal,
Swearing to search far aground
Until his father and mother were found.
For in the letter was written thus
That by the gloves know he must
His mother's true identity.
If she were alive he would see
That her hands those gloves would fit,
And on none other's could they sit.
He gave the hermit half his wealth
The remainder he kept for his health
And took his leave with his lot.
"No," said the hermit, "you shall not!
Your quest for kin would go off course
Without good armor, without a horse."
"No," he replied, "by Heaven's King,
I'll start out with a simple thing!"
He cut down, gnarled and great
To carry as he sought his fate,
A good sapling of an oak;
With this weapon, such a stroke
He gave that even the strongest man
With good arms could not withstand
The blow and crumbled to the ground;
Such a pilgrim's staff he found.
Then the hermit blessed the boy
And he departed in sorrow, not joy.
Young Degare made his way
Through the forest all that day.
No one was present with him to commune,
Until the hour was well past noon;
Then he heard in a valley below
The awful noise of a great blow.
Toward the sound he rode eagerly:
Wondering what there was to see.
An earl of that land, aggressive and strong,
And the nobles who had ridden along,
Had hunted deer at some cost:
For all their hunting dogs were lost.
There stood a dragon most ugly
Filled with venom, a creature unholy,
Of wide throat and fangs so great,
His long tail was a fearsome trait.
Bitterly his wings did beat
As he trampled with lion's feet.
His nostrils blew smoke to the skies
As from a chimney fires rise.
The noblemen he had torn apart
Both men and horse felt death's dart.
The dragon began to attack the Earl
Who defended himself, and fought to hurl
Stiff strong strokes with his sword:
On dragon-hide, these were scored.
But every blow came to nought:
The dragon's skin was as iron wrought.
The Earl scrambled from tree to tree
Hoping that he could run free—
And that dragon challenged the mettle
Of the Earl in that battle.
All this young Degare did see;
He said, "I'll help, for charity!"
Seeing Degare's approach,
The dragon left the Earl to broach
Great yawns and a rumbling bellow
As if he would Degare swallow.
But Degare was so strong
That with his staff, great and long,
That monstrous forehead he battered:
And every forehead bone was shattered.
In an instant the dragon fell down
But by whipping his tail around
He struck with a blow so fleet,
That it swept Degare off his feet;
But Degare quickly rose again
And with his cudgel blows did rain
On the fiend, smashing each bone,
Till the dragon lay dead, still as stone.
On humble knees the Earl now gave
Thanks to him who had fought to save
His life. Degare followed this lord
Back to his castle for his reward.
The Earl made Degare his guest,
Offering him all he possessed,
Rents, treasure and even lands,
Were placed into Degare's hands.
To this answered Degare
"If you will, put on display
This land's ladies for me to behold
Maidens and widows, young and old,
And other noble damsels sweet.
If these gloves happen to meet
The lady whose hands they will fit
I'll take your lands and my quest quit;
But if an exact fit is not found
Then I'll leave and not stay around."
Before him were many women brought
From far-flung countries they were sought:
Each one tried the gloves to don
But none was able to put them on.
Retrieving the gloves, Degare
Prepared to continue on his way.
The Earl did what a nobleman should
And gave Degare a steed that was good
And noble armor, of rich design
Which Degare wore and looked fine,
And a palfrey for to ride
And a servant to take his side,
And gave to him a sword most bright,
And dubbing him made him a knight,
Swearing by Almighty God
That Degare should be a lord,
Worthy to employ arms and horse
Instead of using his staff's crude force.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Videos for College Admission

So Tufts is now allowing applicants to supplement their applications with short YouTube videos. I watched most of these and they're pretty painful, though there were one or two clever ones. Too much song and dance to get into the school of one's choice or great alternative to standardized testing? Here are two of the better ones ... but more links (if you want to watch more shameless self-promotion) here:

Then there's that hilarious sequence in Legally Blonde where Elle Woods' admissions video for Harvard Law is assessed by a stuffy admissions committee (starts at 4:59):

Sunday, February 07, 2010

More Sir Degare in Translation

The hermit takes Degare to be fostered by his sister in the city for the more nurturing environment but takes him back after ten years to provide him ten years of solid grounding in unmarketable knowledge. Degare, in the meantime, has grown up into a comely young lad who is strong of arm. All is revealed to Degare about his past.

The heremite held up bothe his honde
An thonked God of al His sonde,
And bar that child in to his chapel,
And for joie he rong his bel.
He dede up the gloven and the tresour
And cristned the child with gret honour:
In the name of the Trinité,
He hit nemnede Degarre,
Degarre nowt elles ne is
But thing that not never what hit is,
Other thing that is neggh forlorn also;
Forthi the schild he nemnede thous tho.
The heremite that was holi of lif
Hadde a soster that was a wif;
A riche marchaunt of that countré
Hadde hire ispoused into that cité.
To hire that schild he sente tho
Bi his knave, and the silver also,
And bad here take gode hede
Hit to foster and to fede,
And yif God Almighti wolde
Ten yer his lif holde,
Ayen to him hi scholde hit wise:
He hit wolde tech of clergise.
The litel child Degarre
Was ibrout into that cité.
The wif and hire loverd ifere
Kept his ase hit here owen were.
Bi that hit was ten yer old,
Hit was a fair child and a bold,
Wel inorissched, god and hende;
Was non betere in al that ende.
He wende wel that the gode man
Had ben his fader that him wan,
And the wif his moder also,
And the hermite his unkel bo;
And whan the ten yer was ispent,
To the hermitage he was sent,
And he was glad him to se,
He was so feir and so fre.
He taughte him of clerkes lore
Other ten wynter other more;
And when he was of twenti yer,
Staleworth he was, of swich pouer
That ther ne wan man in that lond
That o breid him might astond.
Tho the hermite seth, withouten les,
Man for himself that he wes,
Staleworht to don ech werk,
And of his elde so god a clerk,
He tok him his florines and his gloves
That he had kept to hise bihoves.
Ac the ten pound of starlings
Were ispended in his fostrings.
He tok him the letter to rede,
And biheld al the dede.
"O leve hem, par charité,
Was this letter mad for me?"
Ye, bi oure Lord, us helpe sschal!
Thus hit was," and told him al.
Both his hands he did raise
The hermit, thanking God with praise,
Into the chapel bore the boy,
And rang the holy bells for joy.
Putting the gloves and treasure away,
He christened with child without delay:
In the name of the Three-in-One
"Degare" he named this son,
For "Degare," this name of his,
Means "One who knows not who he is"
Or "Something that was almost lost";
Thus, with this name the child was crossed.
A holy life the hermit led.
He had a sister who was wed
To a merchant and they did dwell
In a city where they lived quite well.
Shortly the child to her was sent
With the silver that was meant
To care for it. He told her there
To feed and raise the child with care,
And if God the child allowed
Ten years of life, the hermit vowed
That he himself the child would raise,
Instructing him in holy ways.
Brought into the city with care
Degare now grew up there.
The hermit's sister with her loved one
Brought him up as their own son.
By the time he was ten-years old,
He was a child fair and bold,
Courteous, kind, and nourished well;
The best that did in that region dwell.
He well believed, that his father
Was the merchant and his mother
The merchant's wife, the hermit too
He assumed to be his uncle true.
For ten years he with them sojourned,
Then to the hermit's house returned,
Who received the child with joy,
For fair and noble was the boy.
As ten more winters passed them by,
The hermit taught him doctrine high;
And when the boy reached twenty years
Stronger he was than all his peers,
Indeed, no one in all the land,
Against his blows could make a stand.
Then the hermit, the truth did speak
That the boy might his fortune seek:
For strong of arm and a sage
Scholar he was for his age.
The hermit returned the gloves and gold
That he had guarded in his household
Except for the sum of ten pounds sterling
Which had been spent on the fostering.
The letter he gave the boy to read
And thus he found out all, indeed.
"For the sake of charity,
Dear uncle, was this letter for me?"
"Yes, by our Lord, who helps us so!"
All he told so the boy would know.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Slow Progress on Degare

The child is left at a hermit's door. The hermit finds the child.
The maiden tok the child here mide,
Stille awai in aven tide,
Alle the winteres longe night.
The weder was cler, the mone light;
Than warhth she war anon
Of an hermitage in a ston:
An holi man had ther his woniyng.
Thider she wente on heying,
An sette the cradel at his dore,
And durste abide no lengore,
And passede forth anon right.
Hom she com in that other night,
And fond the levedi al drupni,
Sore wepinde, and was sori,
And tolde hire al togeder ther
Hou she had iben and wher.
The hermite aros erliche tho,
And his knave was uppe also,
An seide ifere here matines,
And servede God and Hise seins.
The litel child thai herde crie,
And clepede after help on hie;
The holi man his dore undede,
And fond the cradel in the stede;
He tok up the clothes anon
And biheld the litel grom;
He tok the letter and radde wel sone
That tolde him that he scholde done.
The maiden took the child away
Stealing into the evening gray,
Long she journeyed through wintry night.
The weather turned with morning light
Then soon she was made aware
Of a hermit's house of stone and there
A holy man his dwelling made.
With great haste, the lad she laid
In his cradle at this door,
And staying not a moment more,
Toward home she took flight.
Arriving back the next night,
She found her mistress in spirits low,
Weeping and crying, filled with woe,
And told her all there was to share
Of how she had proceeded and where.
The hermit rose to morning's glow
And up with him his servant also,
Together, then, Matins they prayed:
To God and his saints, honor they made.
Then they heard a baby's yelp
The child, it seemed, cried for help.
The holy man unlocked the door
And found the cradle on the floor;
Stripping all the cloths away
He looked upon the boy that day.
The letter's instructions he carefully read
Taking note of all that was said.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


So, in yesterday's lesson, we read three short articles from a reader put out by the Great Ape Project. My favorite of the three was Douglas Adams' piece on encounter a mountain gorilla. Apart from being the science-fiction writer that he was, Adams was also a keen activist for conservation, and his legacy is continued by his friend, the ever-present polymath, Stephen Fry.

I thought we had a decent discussion on the value and problems with anthropomorphism and that worked nicely with the way anthropomorphism is essentially a rhetorical strategy, one that shapes the world in our image through language. My favorite bit comes at the end of Adams's piece, when he re-thinks the encounter with the gorilla:
I began to see how patronising it was of us to presume to judge their intelligence, as if ours was any kind of standard by which to measure. I tried to imagine instead how he saw us but of course that's almost impossible to do, because the assumptions you end up making as you try to bridge the imaginative gap are, of course, your own,and the most misleading assumptions are the ones you don't even know you're making.... And then I pictured myself beside him festooned with the apparatus of my intelligence--my Gore-Tex caguole, my pen and paper, my autofocus matrix-metering Nikon F-4, and my inability to comprehend any of the life we had left behind us in the forest. But somewhere in the genetic history that we carry with us in every cell of our body was a deep connection with this creature, as inaccessible as last year's dreams, but like last year's dreams always invisibly and unfathomably present.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Degare is Born

More Degare. The child is born and left to Fortune's whims.
On a dai, as hi wepende set,
On of hire maidenes hit underyet.
"Madame," she seide, "par charité,
Whi wepe ye now, telleth hit me."
"A! gentil maiden, kinde icoren,
Help me, other ich am forloren!
Ich have ever yete ben meke and milde:
Lo, now ich am with quike schilde!
Yif ani man hit underyete,
Men wolde sai bi sti and strete
That mi fader the King hit wan
And I ne was never aqueint with man!
And yif he hit himselve wite,
Swich sorewe schal to him smite
That never blithe schal he be,
For al his joie is in me,"
And tolde here al togeder ther
Hou hit was bigete and wher.
"Madame," quad the maide, "ne care thou nowt:
Stille awai hit sschal be browt.
No man schal wite in Godes riche
Whar hit bicometh, but thou and iche."
Her time come, she was unbounde,
And delivred al mid sounde;
A knaveschild ther was ibore:
Glad was the moder tharfore.
The maiden servede here at wille,
Wond that child in clothes stille,
And laid hit in a cradel anon,
And was al prest tharwith to gon.
Yhit is moder was him hold:
Four pound she tok of gold,
And ten of selver also;
Under his fote she laid hit tho, -
For swich thing hit mighte hove;
And seththen she tok a paire glove
That here lemman here sente of fairi londe,
That nolde on no manne honde,
Ne on child ne on womman yhe nolde,
But on hire selve wel yhe wolde.
Tho gloven she put under his hade,
And siththen a letter she wrot and made,
And knit hit with a selkene thred
Aboute his nekke wel god sped
That who hit founde sscholde iwite.
Than was in the lettre thous iwrite:
"Par charité, yif ani god man
This helples child finde can,
Lat cristen hit with prestes honde,
And bringgen hit to live in londe,
For hit is comen of gentil blod.
Helpeth hit with his owen god,
With tresor that under his fet lis;
And ten yer eld whan that he his,
Taketh him this ilke gloven two,
And biddeth him, wharevere he go,
That he ne lovie no womman in londe
But this gloves willen on hire honde;
For siker on honde nelle thai nere
But on his moder that him bere."
Upon a day as she sat weeping
One of her ladies, this perceiving,
Said, "For the sake of charity,
Why do you cry, please tell me?"
"Ah! Gentle maid, chosen one,
Help me or my life is done!
Ever I have been meek and mild:
But look, now I'm quick with child!
If this news to any man leaks,
Tongues will wag in the streets:
They'll say it's fathered by my father
For I've been close to no other!
And if my father this rumor hears,
He'll be wrecked by grief and tears
And happy again he'll never be,
For all his joy resides in me."
Thus she did her story trace,
How she got pregnant and in what place.
"Fear not, Madam," her lady did say,
"In secret the child will be brought away,
And no one else will have a clue
Of its origins, but me and you."
When her time had come around,
She delivered the child safe and sound;
A boy it was and at his birth
She was filled with joy and mirth.
The lady, who the secret kept,
In swaddling clothes, the child wrapped
And laid it in a cradle low,
Making ready at once to go.
Yet his mother, faithful to him,
Carefully placed under his limbs
Four pounds of gold, of silver ten,
She hid into the cradle then,
That it of aid might one day be;
A pair of gloves then took she
Which from Fairyland were sent,
By her lover and were meant
On no one else's hands to sit:
Her's alone would they fit.
These gloves she put under his head.
A letter she'd written she did thread
Around his neck with silken strands:
Thus she carried out her plans.
Whoever found the child would read
These lines with which she did plead:
"For charity's sake if you find
This helpless child, be of good mind
And have him christened by a priest,
And care for him ten years at least.
From noble blood he descends
So aid him at his own expense:
Under his feet there's silver and gold.
And when he is ten-years old,
Make sure to give him these gloves two
And tell him that wherever he's due
No single woman must he love
Unless her hands fit the glove;
In truth, these gloves may none wear,
Except the mother that him did bear."


Continuing with the "Animal Encounters" section of the course, we're reading a longish article, "Buzzards" by Lee Zacharias. Zacharias actually used to teach at UNCG but she's retired now. Anyway, this is a wonderful piece: the most moving thing you'll read about ugly birds.

Thoughts on "Buzzards"

Quiz 5 mins

I was attracted to this piece because it employs "non-fiction" writing about buzzards in a very unique way, by placing these factual / experiential paragraphs that go into the entire scientific description of vultures as well as how these birds have been regarded by culture / human history, next to the author's meditations / remembrances of her deceased father.

Structurally – there are three "time" frames going on. 1. Zacharias is in an empty parking lot in the Everglades 2. There are the scientific / cultural / literary : encyclopedic references to the vultures 3. Memories of her father.

Overall interpretation: (5 mins)

Why does Zacharias do this? Why "pair" her exploration of vultures with father?

Stylistic analysis (15 mins)

Group discussion [Assign passage pairs]
Each passage contains a paragraph dealing with the vulture (from some perspective) and then with her father.
How are the passages on the vultures stylistically different from the parts describing the father? In terms of content, do they connect or not connect? Are they simply placed randomly next to each other or can you discern a pattern in the structure? Do they reinforce or challenge each other in terms of meaning?
As they share findings (15 min), introduce some of the vocabulary for discussion from the rhetorical reading: such as DICTION / SYNTAX / METAPHOR / SYMBOL. Read closely at the sentence level for examples.

Final paragraph (5 mins) – becoming-vulture: studying the vulture becomes a way of expressing herself / of engaging her feelings toward her father. [Transitional object]

Tell them that this piece should be a model for assignment one.

For next lesson: we will practice more 30 sec words.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sir Degare in Drips

A short passage that took a lot of time.
Thi knight passede as he cam.
Al wepende the swerd she nam,
And com hom sore sikend,
And fond here maidenes al slepend.
The swerd she hidde als she mighte,
And awaked hem in highte,
And doht hem to horse anon,
And gonne to ride everichon.
Thanne seghen hi ate last
Tweie squiers come prikend fast.
Fram the Kyng thai weren isent,
To white whider his doughter went.
Thai browt hire into the righte wai
And comen faire to the abbay,
And doth the servise in alle thingges,
Mani masse and riche offringes;
And whanne the servise was al idone
And ipassed over the none,
The Kyng to his castel gan ride;
His doughter rod bi his side.
And he yemeth his kyngdom overal
Stoutliche, as a god king sschal.
Ac whan ech man was glad an blithe,
His doughter siked an sorewed swithe;
Here wombe greted more and more;
Therwhile she mighte, se hidde here sore
The fairy knight then disappeared.
She headed back, much afeard,
With sword in hand, still she wept,
Returning to where her ladies slept.
The sword she hid as she thought best
And woke the ladies from their rest.
Each was ordered on her horse
And away they rode as a matter of course.
Then two squires they saw at last
Sent from the King, riding fast,
Whose charge it was to find out
His precious daughter's whereabouts.
Led by them, back rode she
Till safe she arrived at the abbey,
And there performed the required rites,
Offering masses into the night,
Rituals well-ordered from first to last.
After the appointed time had passed,
Back to the castle the King did ride
With his daughter by his side.
He ruled the land as any king should:
With boldness and courage his reign stood.
Although all men were blithe and glad,
This daughter sickened, was gravely sad,
As her womb grew day by day:
With heart most sore she hid away.

Thoughts on the Feast of Tongues

Structure of the Fable – repetitive in two parts.
Seems to be a fool – but really ends up using the occasion to engineer a clever rhetorical discourse: Theme – appearance / reality / foolishness – deeper wisdom
So – using the strangeness of the tongues- Aesop – a slave – gains a "voice" in a community where he wouldn't otherwise have the power or right to speak. In this sense, the animal tongues, dead and prepared – afford him a voice.

The communion of the meal – a gathering that isn't as "formal" as a philosophical discourse or a scholarly gathering (like class). The meal symbolizes hospitality / communion / fellowship / the opportunity for Exantus to show his wealth – and thus, Exantus is able to dictate the terms of the feast – first order the "best meat" and then the "worst meat". Yet this gathering turns into a philosophical discourse- where questions of value "what is good" and who gets to evaluate – a slave in this case – comes to the fore. So food, is used, as the site for discussion about abstract values: and indeed, we often evaluate food and build systems of value around food.

Yet what of the animals? In all this speaking, the most prominent symbol – the disembodied tonges that are themselves mute symbols that are interpreted BY Aesop (to his own gain), that cannot speak because they are dead, that cannot be EXPECTED to speak because they are "animal" force their way into the tale. They are the strange centerpiece of a fable that features animal (parts) without giving the animal voice. And in this tale about speech, and how speech is itself slippery and creative, the silent animal tongues appear to be mute witnesses to the cleverness of human speech. In speaking about the tongues, does Aesop speak on behalf of animals? For it is HUMAN nobility and mischief that he speaks about. How can an animal tongue, sold as meat in the market represent the human tongue, which is, in Aesop's own speech so demonstrably different from the mute tongue that IS meat. Indeed, Aesop never "bites his tongue" while presenting these animal tongues for food (the scholars commend or condemn the tongues but do they eat it?) – the occasion to consume meat allows him to transform these animal tongues into metaphors for human tongues.

LOGOS – Aesop's "cleverness" – his "logic" on display.
ETHOS – the "fable" – does it show us a deeper moral truth? Does it refer to something culturally identifiable and significant?
PATHOS – do we find it in how Aesop the slave, becomes the protagonist? Or can we find it in the disembodied tongues of silent animals – does that move us?

Some post lesson thoughts: While most students seemed to understand the main thrust of the fable, very few were willing to venture thoughts about how animal tongues feature in complicated ways in the passage. I had to do some heavy-handed explication given this unwillingness, although my leading questions did, on a few occasions open up the text a little for the kids. It occurred to me that while we often speak about food from a "human" perspective - ie does this taste good etc, or if you're Guy Fieri, "This is money!" - the "Feast of Tongues" suggests how food can become the basis for philosophical speculation, without departing too far from the embodied presence of the dead animal parts in front of you.  Anyway, while I'm not sure what the intellectual impact of all this was, they kids certainly were enthusiastic about the speaking activity.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sir Degare Goes On

Then a fairy knight, a rape, and a prophecy.
Than segh hi swich a sight:
Toward hire comen a knight,
Gentil, yong, and jolif man;
A robe of scarlet he hadde upon;
His visage was feir, his bodi ech weies;
Of countenaunce right curteis;
Wel farende legges, fot, and honde:
Ther nas non in al the Kynges londe
More apert man than was he.
"Damaisele, welcome mote thou be!
Be thou afered of none wihghte:
Iich am comen here a fairi knyghte;
Mi kynde is armes for to were,
On horse to ride with scheld and spere;
Forthi afered be thou nowt:
I ne have nowt but mi swerd ibrout.
Iich have iloved the mani a yer,
And now we beth us selve her,
Thou best mi lemman ar thou go,
Wether the liketh wel or wo."
Tho nothing ne coude do she
But wep and criede and wolde fle;
And he anon gan hire at holde,
And dide his wille, what he wolde.
He binam hire here maidenhod,
And seththen up toforen hire stod.
"Lemman," he seide, "gent and fre,
Mid schilde I wot that thou schalt be;
Siker ich wot hit worht a knave;
Forthi mi swerd thou sschalt have,
And whenne that he is of elde
That he mai himself biwelde,
Tak him the swerd, and bidde him fonde
To sechen his fader in eche londe.
The swerd his god and avenaunt:
Lo, as I faugt with a geaunt,
I brak the point in his hed;
And siththen, when that he was ded,
I tok hit out and have hit er,
Redi in min aumener.
Yit paraventure time bith
That mi sone mete me with:
Be mi swerd I mai him kenne.
Have god dai! I mot gon henne."
Then she saw such a sight:
Coming toward her was a knight,
A young man, noble and comely;
A scarlet robe upon his body;
Fair were his form and face;
He appeared with such charm and grace;
With well-shaped legs, feet and hands:
There was no other in the King's lands
More attractive than was he.
"Damsel, welcome you must be!
Be not afraid of any of us:
As a fairy knight, I've come thus:
It's in my nature with arms to appear
To ride a horse with shield and spear.
Therefore, be you not afraid
No weapon have I but sword displayed.
I have loved you many a year
And now alone I find you here,
We will make love before you go,
Whether it brings you joy or woe."
Then, nothing could she have done
But weep and scream and try to run;
Her body, at once, he began to seize,
And did his will just as he pleased.
Thus he snatched her of maidenhood,
And afterwards above her stood.
"Beloved," he said, "gentle and mild,
I know that you will be with child;
Indeed, you will give birth to a boy;
So take my sword in your employ.
When he's all grown and has the might
To wield it: Give it as his right,
So that he with sword in hand
May seek his father in every land.
The sword is good and well-wrought
Once, when I a giant fought,
I broke the point in his head;
And later, after he was dead,
I took it out—and so I vouch—
I have it here in my pouch.
Perhaps in the future there will be
A moment when my son meets me:
By my sword, him I'll know.
Have a good day! I now must go."