Here begins the discussion of
... Aprille shoures, tendre flours, smale foweles maken melodye - a time for renewal, a time for a pilgrimage to Canterbury!
The Merchant (Gen'rl Prlg)|
The Merchant's Prologue
The Merchant's Tale
Epilogue to the Merchant's Tale
7-10 ~ 7/18
#1. What can be learned in the General Prologue and in the Merchant's Prologue that might help explain the knight in the tale?
Complete On-line Text || Middle/Modern Translation (ELF)||Chaucer background links|| Chaucer's life/times||Murder of Thomas Becket||Thomas Becket's Remains|| Map- Medieval England|| Audio reading of Prologue (Middle Eng-female v.)||Audio-Tm Hanks!|| Chaucer Resource Page||The Great Schism||Summary/Analyses of the Tales||
Your Discussion leaders are Maryal & Joan P.
Canterbury Pilgrims-33/29 palfreys and counting!
Complete On-line Text || Middle/Modern Translation (ELF)||Chaucer background links|| Chaucer's life/times||Murder of Thomas Becket||Thomas Becket's Remains|| Map- Medieval England|| Audio reading of Prologue (Middle Eng-female v.)||Audio-Tm Hanks!|| Chaucer Resource Page||The Great Schism||
Your Discussion leaders were Maryal & Joan P.
Canterbury Pilgrims-34/29 palfreys and counting!
Til we Meet Again
Journeys With Charlotte end;
Leaving wisdom and joy
Along the path, she went ahead
WE'RE LOOKING FOR YOU IN
Canterbury Part II (click)
- My thinking says,
- there is too much work in the land this spring
- my heart says,
- on to the pilgrimage, strengthen my bowstring.
- on this journey spiritual
- I will humbly share the ritual
- I'll among twenty nine be, wiling away til Maying
Make a pious pilgrimage to one of the Patriarchal Basilicas, namely, the Basilica di S. Pietro in the Vatican, the Archbasilica of the Most Holy Savior at the Lateran (S. Giovanni in Laterano), the Basilica di S. Maric Maggiore and the Basilica di S. Paolo on the Ostian Way, and there take part devoutly in Holy Mass or another liturgical celebration;...."
and a list of other sites and expressions of participation in services and prayers follows....
Chaucer Quiz questions and answers The journey not knowing the answers is wonderful with links to all sorts of information and photos.
COW'S MEAT Anthimus p. 11
Cow's meat however, steamed and cooked in a casserole should be eaten, in a gravy. First, it should be put to soak in one water, and then it should cook in a reasonable quantity of fresh water, without adding any water as it cooks, and when the meat is cooked, put in a vessel about a half mouthful of vinegar, and put in the heads of leeks and a little pennyroyal, parsley root, or fennel, and let it cook for an hour; then add honey to half the quantity of the vinegar, or sweeter according to taste. Then let it cook on a slow fire, shaking the pot frequently with the hands, and the sauce will well season the meat. Then grind: pepper fifty grains; costum and spikenard, a half solidus each; cloves, one tremissis. All these grind well in an earthen mortar, add a little wine, and when well ground, put into a vessel and stir well, so that before it is taken from the fire it may warm up a little and put its strength into the gravy. Moreover, where there is honey, or must, or caroenum, put in one of these as it says above, and do not let it cook in a copper kettle, but in an earthen vessel; it makes flavor the better.
- 1 3/4 lb beef
- 3 c water
- 3 leeks: 1 1/2 lb as bought, 3/4 lb used
- 1 t fennel seed (or pennyroyal or parsley root)
- 4 t vinegar
- 2 t honey
- 1/2 t pepper
- spikenard: 1 t dried lavender measured uncrushed
- 1/2 t cloves
- 2 T wine
Cut beef into 1" pieces. Bring beef and water to a boil, turn down heat to low and cook covered 45 minutes. Wash and slice leeks, using only the half starting at the white end. Grind fennel seed and add vinegar, honey, leeks and fennel to stew. Cook uncovered on moderate heat one hour. Grind pepper, cloves, and lavender together, add wine and grind some more. Put this with stew and cook ten minutes and serve.
Barbara St. Aubrey I did enjoy the Quiz but did not do verey good. LOL Ginger
the axe was sharp the iiii yere of king Richard.
Take nine pints of warm fountain water, and dissolve in it one pint of pure White-honey, by laving it therein, till it be dissolved. Then boil it gently, skimming it all the while, till all the scum be perfectly scummed off; and after that boil it a little longer, peradventure a quarter of an hour. In all it will require two or three hours boiling, so that at last one third part may be consumed. About a quarter of an hour before you cease boiling, and take it from the fire, put to it a little spoonful of cleansed and sliced Ginger; and almost half as much of the thin yellow rind of Orange, when you are even ready to take it from the fire, so as the Orange boil only one walm in it. Then pour it into a well-glased strong deep great Gally-pot, and let it stand so, till it be almost cold, that it be scarce Luke-warm. Then put to it a little silver-spoonful of pure Ale-yest, and work it together with a Ladle to make it ferment: as soon as it beginneth to do so, cover it close with a fit cover, and put a thick dubbled woollen cloth about it. Cast all things so that this may be done when you are going to bed. Next morning when you rise, you will find the barm gathered all together in the middle; scum it clean off with a silver-spoon and a feather, and bottle up the Liquor, stopping it very close. It will be ready to drink in two or three days; but it will keep well a month or two. It will be from the first very quick and pleasant.
11 pints water 1 T peeled, sliced fresh ginger (~1/4 oz) 1/2 t yeast 1 pint honey = 1 1/2 lb 1/2 T orange peel
Dissolve the honey in the water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Let it boil down to 2/3 the original volume (8 pints), skimming periodically. This will take about 2 1/2 to 3 hours; by the end it should be clear. About 15 minutes before it is done, add the ginger. At the end, add the orange peel, let it boil a minute or so, and remove from the heat. The orange peel should be the yellow part only, not the white; a potato peeler works well to get off the peel. Let the mead cool to lukewarm, then add the yeast. The original recipe appears to use a top fermenting ale yeast, but dried bread yeast works. Cover and let sit 24-36 hours. Bottle it, using sturdy bottles; the fermentation builds up considerable pressure. Refrigerate after three or four days. Beware of exploding bottles. The mead will be drinkable in a week, but better if you leave it longer.
This recipe is modified from the original by reducing the proportion of honey and lengthening the time of fermentation before bottling. Both changes are intended to reduce the incidence of broken bottles. Using 2 liter plastic soda bottles is unaesthetic, but they are safer than glass.
Dissolve 4 cups sugar in 2 1/2 cups of water; when it comes to a boil add 1 cup wine vinegar. Simmer 1/2 hour. Add a handful of mint, remove from fire, let cool. Dilute the resulting syrup to taste with ice water (5 to 10 parts water to 1 part syrup). The syrup stores without refrigeration.
The swedish drink is spelled even different. You are so kind not to correct me as I have now looked into my dictionary.Thank you for your kindness. Ginger
I can see the wait for the Books to return has you all on your snorting palfries, ready to set out! I also see that Maryal, Inkeeper Extraordinaire has done her level best to quiet you down with all the spirits on her shelf - to no avail! What a marvelous job, Maryal! I intended to prevail upon you to continue through the pilgrimage as our innkeeper/guide, until I got to the part about BEACH WEEK!!! Beach Week! Listen, I've got four sons and I know all about Beach Week!!! You take care! How long will you be gone, luv?(I just got back from England, luv!) May I publicly prevail upon you to continue when you return? Is that putting you on the spot? You are a natural for the job!???
Good idea to get a start on The Knight's Tale - the longest by far. Note that the discussion table that we present is only that...and that's the only parameter we put on the discussion - that you stick to it and don't go beyond. But you can always read ahead. Don't need anyone's permission for that! We don't want to spoil anything for those who haven't read the pages yet, that's the reason for that. All of the Pilgrims have not yet assembled by my count? They do have until the "IDES" to get here to Southwark. A message will go out this evening to the rest of the Bookies and we should round out the group by Wednesday...
ALF, I notice that you have been keeping count - our numbers don't match! I fear that maybe there was a blip on the screen and I don't have everyone...will you all check and see if your name appears on the roster? I'd hate to leave someone asleep on the floor when we ride off! Make some noise if you see anyone missing...
What??? former proprietor??? That sounds like a "no"??? When will you be back? Listen, I don't take rejection well! Ask Ginny! I pout, sulk, whine...
I have read every single post here! You guys are ready to ride!!! I however would like the opportunity to respond, comment, as well as unload this throbbing head of Canterbury images all over these pages - until we begin the discussion on Wednesday...
Did Petrarch know of Chaucer...I can't remember the exact dates...I told you my head was throbbing...in overload!
Try this link and check for your name...will add Jim's in a sec!
Okay, off to do some errands and then will spew Canterbury factoids all over the room! Nobody should be having so much fun!
Jeryn, we were all waiting for you! Will add your name to the roster right now! And you can ride on my horse! The roads are great! Those Romans knew how to build them...you can still see them (in places) on the road to Kent. They would have been in excellant shape in Chaucer's time. They say that the trip on horseback - from Southwark,London to Canterbury would have taken 4 days, but that Chaucer's troup made it in one day...no checking into inns or camping along the way! So you'd better ride. The vineyard lady seems to have room on her horse.
Check the roster and see if all of your names are here?
Charolotte! Thank you so much for sharing your notes from Lee Patterson. I put the note in the heading reading the importance of not separating the teller from the tale. Let's try that and see how it works? On Monday, we'll discuss the Knight's part in the prologue together with his tale and see how they connect! Great idea. Thanks again!
April is the cruellest month, breedingFrom T.S.Eliot's The Wasteland Sound familiar?
Lilacs out of the dead land,mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Uh Joan, your last link to a list is-n't work-ing! [Post #121]
We stayed in Arles for several days in a hotel very near the Rhone River, and my customary early morning walks along the Chippewa were replaced with walks along the Rhone.
These walks were the source of some of my darker thoughts while on our trip. The river is canalized throughout much of its route and completely through Arles, its banks lined with stone and concrete, its flow regulated by several dams upstream, and the contrast with my more natural Chippewa disturbed me.
One day as I walked along trying to imagine what the Rhone might have been like centuries ago before man had captured it and taken its freedom away, I noticed a dying fish swimming slowly upstream against the current. It would swim for a moment or two, and then turn belly up, its light colored underside reflecting the morning sun in sharp contrast with the dark water. Then it would float downstream, only to regain control again, right itself and swim ahead, until once again floating back.
. . . . . . . . . .
I imagine these darker thoughts have some purpose in the larger scheme of things, and I can turn them into some useful end somewhere along the line. I was, however, happy to end those thoughts on a trip from Arles to a mountain stream that sprang from a large artesian pool at the foot of a mountain and cascaded through rapids down to the valley floor and on to join the Rhone.
It was here along this stream that Petrarch sat and poured out his heart to a woman he idealized from a distance. He dedicated 5,000 verses of Platonic love verse to her without ever having spoken to her. He did sometimes find his way back to Avignon where he decried the earthy pleasures and other wicked ways of courtly life, but while there managed to partake of them enough to produce an illegitimate child by a servant girl- well within the poetic tradition of the time.
I was also happy to share the same wild river that inspired him, knowing that it probably is still as free as when he sat there (with fewer other tourists around) and watched the tumbling waters and the trout fisherman. The wild flowers that lined the stream when he was there are still there, making the walk up the valley to the pool a delightful walk and providing excuses for pausing along the way to rest old limbs and joints. Trout are still there and many end up on the menus of several of the restaurants that overlook the stream. Having a pleasant lunch in one of them certainly helped improve my mood.
I also reflected on the happy thought that I had chosen only five line poetry to express my thoughts.
May I/we call you YiLi? Have you located the on-line text in the heading? You can read it there, but to save your eyes and your neck, read small bits at a time. There is a searchable text there too.
Let me warn you about Maryal's grog by the way! At least it's fresh!
Ah Dewey Beach! Evening strolls along the sandy beach down to Rehoboth for the boardwalk and a seafood dinner! We will miss our Innkeeper who has publicly promised to return to her exalted position (yaaaaay). Have a well-deserved grand time, good friend!
Several have asked, Jeryn being the latest, for a description of the real which I just visited last week. There is so much, I don't know where to start. And of course, there's always the risk of putting you to sleep if I post it all. I thought of dribbling out little descriptions from time to time. I have found several sites, which would save typing too, (lazy) and thought I'd try pasting in some sections and commenting. Let's see if that works, or if you find it overwhelming and not worth the time. I have a healthy ego and can seek another way if that's the case!
One of the favorite pastimes for this new group of people was to take a pilgrimage, which served the same function for Medieval man as does a vacation to the beach or Disneyland serves modern man. Although there were many popular spots - the pilgrimage center of Glastonbury being one example - the favorite of all was the cathedral in Canterbury that housed the remains of the beloved St. Thomas á Becket. The second centenary of the death of St. Thomas occured in Chaucer's lifetime, and for the jubilee thousands of people took to the road, and there was even free food and drink for the traveler all the way from London along the south road to Canterbury.
haucer has his pilgrims gather at the Tabard Inn in Southwark, a disreputable area across the Thames from London. There actually was a Tabard Inn in Chaucer's day, and its innkeeper was Harry Baily, who is named in Canterbury Tales. And just as there was a real Harry Baily, so too was the character of the cook, Hodge of Ware, an actual person. A London cook named Roger Ware (Hodge is a nickname of Roger) was known at that time, and Chaucer obviously intended for some of his London readers to recognize Bailly, Ware, and perhaps even others.
Southwark was the normal starting point for all pilgrimages, and although it is uncertain how individuals and small groups were organized into suitable companies, it seems certain that the Church also played the role of travel agency. A Canterbury pilgrimage was so popular and common that the route held few curiousities for Englishmen, and a written account of such a journey did not need descriptions of places or sights. Chaucer only mentions his pilgrims and their discussions; along the trip he barely names the towns they passed or where they stopped.
After leaving the Tabard he throws in an occasional poetic signpost, enough to maintain the illusion of a journey. He has the pilgrims stop at a site called the Watering of St. Thomas (an unidentifiable location), but other spots are barely mentioned, and when they are, merely in passing: "Lo Greenwich, there many a shrewe is inne." Chaucer does not even write of Blackheath, or Dartford, the place where most pilgrims spent their first night out. In the Monk's prolouge the town of Rochester is mentioned, Sittingbourne is cited in the Wife of Bath's prolouge, and the Blean Forest is where the Canon's Yeoman joins the group.
At Boughton-under-Blee there were two approaches to Canterbury, and Chaucer has his company stop to decide which path to take
Beside the body of St. Thomas, Canterbury had a lot to offer, enough to satisfy any pilgrim: the whole arms of eleven saints, the bed of the Blessed Virgin, some wool of Her own weaving, a fragment of the rock at Calvary, a piece of rock from the Holy Sepulchre, Aaron's Rod, a piece of the clay from which Adam was made, and other incredible exhibits.
It is ironic to note that a Bishop Simon Sudbury of London once overtook a band of merry-makers on their way to Canterbury and berated them by saying:
"Plenary indulgences for your sins by repairing to Canterbury? Better hope might ye have of Salvation had ye stayed at home and brought forth fruits meet for repentance!"
Even though Chaucer does not tell us how the pilgrims traveled, it is easy to trace the way they must have gone. The street leading from Southwark is an old Roman road and today is known as Old Kent Road, and eventually becomes New Kent Road. In Chaucer's day it was called Watling Street, and it can still be followed to Canterbury or to Dover. (Interestingly, Chaucer writes of Watling Street in his poetry, but only in its usage as a common Medieval nickname for the Milky Way.) Leaving Southwark, the travelers would have passed through Deptford, Greenwich, and ended their first day in the town of Dartford. From Dartford they would have traveled to Rochester, crossed the river Medway, then gone on to Sittingbourne, Ospring, and Boughton-under-Blee. From here they would have either continued on Watling Street straight to Canterbury, or would have taken a southerly shortcut through Bob-up-and-down, depending on which road was in the best condition. Once they had reached Canterbury, the pilgrimage was over, for to Medieval man the pilgrimage was a symbolic journey that represented the course of human life, from one's home on earth to one's true home in the universal order. A pilgrimage was therefore declared over at its destination, and the return home was not part of the ritual act.
It would've taken at least four days to complete a trip such as this, but Chaucer has his pilgrims seemingly do it in one day. They leave Southwark in the morning, pass through certain towns during the day, then arrive in sight of Canterbury as the sun is setting. Nothing is said of stops for meals or overnight, and the trip seems to pass in a strange way from morning to night - much is made of the sun's position, the length of the shadows, and such.
Critcs argue that Chaucer meant the story to be more realistic than it is, that he just didn't have time to do it right, but this way of interpreting Canterbury Tales means that it must be read for what is missing and not for what is there. That is not the case. Canterbury Tales is not a work of realism, and the ending comes exactly where it does. Even those tales that remain unfinished do so for a purpose, such as the Squire's. The Squire is fresh and young, not yet through with life, and his incomplete story represents that.
We are all pilgrims, Chaucer says, and all of us have many tales to tell, some finished and others still in the making. And what was true in Chaucer's time is still true today, six hundred years later. We are, all of us, pilgrims on the journey through life.
"This world nis but a thoroughfare full of woe, And we been pilgrims passing to and fro."
May I/we call you YiLi? Have you located the on-line text in the heading? You can read it there, but to save your eyes and your neck, read small bits at a time. There is a searchable text there too.
Let me warn you about Maryal's grog by the way! At least it's fresh!
Ah Dewey Beach! Evening strolls along the sandy beach down to Rehoboth for the boardwalk and a seafood dinner! We will miss our Innkeeper who has publicly promised to return to her exalted position (yaaaaay). Have a well-deserved grand time, good friend!
And our ALF off to Florida! For how long? Is this an unexcused absence? Your sunny smile will be missed! Hurry back to us!
Oh, by the way, we're going to move up into the Current discussions on the B&L menu page this afternoon in case you've been coming in that way...to be ready for opening day tomorrow!
Several have asked, Jeryn being the latest, for a description of the real Canterbury which I just visited last week. There is so much, I don't know where to start. And of course, there's always the risk of putting you to sleep if I post it all. I thought of dribbling out little descriptions from time to time. I have found several sites, which would save typing too, (lazy) and thought I'd try pasting in some sections and commenting. Let's see if that works, or if you find it overwhelming and not worth the time. I have a healthy ego and can seek another way if that's the case!
Chaucer has his pilgrims gather at the Tabard Inn in Southwark, a disreputable area (near where the Globe theatre was to be built! Yes, disreputable...the inns, theatre and houses of ill-repute were located on this site) across the Thames from London. There actually was a Tabard Inn in Chaucer's day, and its innkeeper was Harry Baily, who is named in Canterbury Tales. ( When I went through the rebuilt Globe theatre last week, I noticed a sign that said "Tabard Inn" - I'm sure it isn't standing today, maybe something marking the spot? My boys were in a hurry for the next event and wouldn't humor me on this one. Ginny, Ginger, PatW, you must promise to find whatever is there!) And just as there was a real Harry Baily, so too was the character of the cook, Hodge of Ware, an actual person. A London cook named Roger Ware (Hodge is a nickname of Roger) was known at that time, and Chaucer obviously intended for some of his London readers to recognize Bailly, Ware, and perhaps even others.
Even though Chaucer does not tell us how the pilgrims traveled, it is easy to trace the way they must have gone. The street leading from Southwark is an old Roman road ("font color=crimson face="comic sans MS"> t'is amazing the longevity of the Roman roads and fortifications...still standing after all this time...the Pilgrims had those wonderful roads in Chaucer's time to get to Canterbury!) and today is known as Old Kent Road, and eventually becomes New Kent Road. In Chaucer's day it was called Watling Street, and it can still be followed to Canterbury or to Dover. (Interestingly, Chaucer writes of Watling Street in his poetry, but only in its usage as a common Medieval nickname for the Milky Way.) Leaving Southwark, the travelers would have passed through Deptford, Greenwich, and ended their first day in the town of Dartford. From Dartford they would have traveled to Rochester, crossed the river Medway, then gone on to Sittingbourne, Ospring, and Boughton-under-Blee. From here they would have either continued on Watling Street straight to Canterbury, or would have taken a southerly shortcut through Bob-up-and-down (love that name!), depending on which road was in the best condition. I did visit Greenwich a different day, but did not see it on the way to Canterbury. Took a train through the countryside and did see Sittingbourne - very picturesque, except for the newly built townhouses!
Once they had reached Canterbury, the pilgrimage was over, for to Medieval man the pilgrimage was a symbolic journey that represented the course of human life, from one's home on earth to one's true home in the universal order. A pilgrimage was therefore declared over at its destination, and the return home was not part of the ritual act.
It is ironic to note that a Bishop Simon Sudbury of London once overtook a band of merry-makers on their way to Canterbury and berated them by saying:
"Plenary indulgences for your sins by repairing to Canterbury? Better hope might ye have of Salvation had ye stayed at home and brought forth fruits meet for repentance!"
I did remember someone asking about indulgences and asked about that there. Plenary indulgences...(as opposed to Partial) were granted for those on the Pilgrimage...full remission of punishment for capital sins!
It would've taken at least four days to complete a trip such as this, but Chaucer has his pilgrims seemingly do it in one day. They leave Southwark in the morning, pass through certain towns during the day, then arrive in sight of Canterbury as the sun is setting. Nothing is said of stops for meals or overnight, and the trip seems to pass in a strange way from morning to night - much is made of the sun's position, the length of the shadows, and such.
You are going to have lots of questions to answer and pictures to take after we get started here! I want a photo of what Canterbury Cathedral looked like in Chaucer's time, not this huge gothic church on my photos and postcards! Why didn't I think of that????? I was trying so hard to be a Pilgrim!
Ale Ale, an alcoholic beverage similar to but more bitter than beer. Ale was an important drink in the Middle Ages and was enormously popular. It was drunk as was, or was mixed with other drinks, honey, or spices.
- "His breed, his ale, was always after oon." - Prologue to The Canterbury Tales
- "Wel koude he knowe a draughte of Londoun ale." - Prologue to The Canterbury Tales
- "With breed and chese, and good ale in a jubbe." - The Miller's Tale
- "For ale and breed, and rosted him a goos." - The Reeve's Tale
- "As ever mote I drynken wyn or ale." - The Wife of Bath's Prologue
- "As ever mote I drynke wyn or ale." - Prologue to The Canterbury Tales
- "Our Hooste saugh that he was dronke of ale." - Prologue to The Canterbury Tales
References to Ale are found throughout much of Chaucer's writings, too numerous to list.
Ale Stake A long pole projecting horizontally in front of a tavern, over the heads of passerbys. It was the regular sign of an alehouse, and was frequently hung with large, round garlands.
- "As greet as it were for an alestake" - Prologue to The Canterbury Tales
Barel Ale A barrel of ale.
- "I hadde levere than a barel ale" - Prologue to The Monk's Tale
Berme Yeast Yeast was the primary leavening agent used in making ale, beer, mead, & other fermented drinks,
Bragot A drink made of ale and honey fermented together; a spiced ale drink, sweetened with honey. Receipts are found in Forme of Cury (as braggot) and in Goud Kokery (as brakkat). Judging by the prices paid by Alice de Bryene in 1419, the spice quantities would be 2/3 oz. pepper & 1/4 oz. cloves.
- "Hir mouth was sweete as bragot or the meeth" - The Miller's Tale
Brewhous A Brewhouse; an Alehouse.
- "In al the toun nas brewhous ne taverne" - The Miller's Tale
Vernage A sweet Italian wine, sometimes red but generally white; the Italian vernaccia is a white wine.
- "He drynketh ypocras, clarree, and vernage" - The Merchant's Tale
- "And eek another, ful of fyn vernage" - The Shipman's Tale
Wyn Wine. Universally known and loved, wine was one of the most vital food items of the Middle Ages. Its production and trade was a major commerce, and it was used daily by nearly everyone, from kings to commoners. Qualities of wine ranged from superior to barely consumable, and hundredes of types and varieties existed. In addition, a muititude of beverages were made from wine, such as ypocras and clarree. Doctors and physicians recommeded it, and its uses in cooking were endless. To mention all the roles this substance played in Medieval culture would take far more space and time than allowed here; needless to say, wine was probably the most important beverage in the Middle Ages, if not in all of history itself.
- "Wel loved he by the morwe a sop in wyn;" - Prologue to The Canterbury Tales
- "As ever moote I drynken wyn or ale" - The Wife of Bath's Tale
- 'And brynge us breed and wyn ful prively." - The Pardoner's Tale
- "No wyn ne drank she, neither whit ne reed;" - The Nun's Priest's Tale
- "And for to drynken strong wyn, reed as blood;" - Prologue to the Canterbury Tales
- "And eek the wyn, in al this melodye" - The Squire's Tale
- "Strong was the wyn, and wel to drynke us leste" - Prologue to The Canterbury Tales
- "The spices and the wyn is come anoon" - The Squire's Tale
Wyn Ape Ape-wine; wine that makes a monkey out of the drinker, wine that makes one foolishly drunk.
- "I trowe that ye dronken han wyn ape" - The Manciple's Tale
Ciser Strong drink; siceram in the Vulgate.
- "This Sampson nevere ciser drank ne wyn" - The Monk's Tale
Clarree Wine flavored with honey and spices; the second most popular flavored wine after Hipocras, not to be confused with the modern Claret, a medium-red variety of wine. Medieval claret is a spiced wine. Forme of Cury has a sort of basic Clarrey made from white wine with cinnamon, galingale, grains of paradise, pepper and honey; a "Lord's Claret" from a 14th c. medical manuscript contained cinnamon, ginger, pepper, long pepper, grains of paradise, cloves, galingale, caraway, mace, nutmeg, coriander, brandy, and honey. A common serving sauce for eel was made from Claret mulled with powdered dry spices and salt.
- "Of a clarree maad of a certeyn wyn" - The Knight's Tale
- "He drynketh ypocras, clarree, and vernage" - The Merchant's Tale
- "And thanne he taketh a soppe in fyn clarree" - The Merchant's Tale
Clarree was wine to which honey and spices were added; the name comes from the Latin vinum claratum, which means "clarified wine." The name survives today as claret, a dry, red wine.
- 1 bottle (750 mll) of an inexpensive, sweet white wine
- 1 -2 cups honey
- 1 tbs. each cinnamon, galingale (or substitute ginger), & cardamon
- 1 tsp. white pepper
Bring the wine and honey to a boil; reduce heat & skim off the scum as it rises. Taste for sweetness; add honey as necessary. Remove from heat, stir in spices, and allow to sit covered for 24 hours. After sitting, the spices will create a thick residue which will settle to the bottom. Using a ladle, pass the wine into another container through a strainer lined with 2 or 3 layers of cheesecloth to remove the spices, being careful to leave as much of the spice residue in the pot as possible. Bottle. Make at least 1 month before serving. A good Clarree aged for a year or more is exquisite!
Galiones another spiced wine drink named after a famous physician, the Greek anatomist Claudius Galen.
Ypocras A spiced drink, spiced wine; known today as hippocras. In the Middle Ages, a variety of wine-based drinks were prepared that included a sophisticated combination of ingredients designed for a multitude of conditions and purposes. The most popular of these spiced drinks was hippocras, known by that name throughout all of Europe. It had the distinct honor of being titled after the Greek "Father of Medicine" Hippocrates, who was purported to have devised the first recipe for this beverage. Because of Hippocrates' almost mythical reputation for healing in the Middle Ages, this drink was accepted as a sort of magic elixer for digestion and general health. The spicy and sweet nature of this drink meant that it was used as an apertif, usually at the beginning but more often at the end of a meal, to aid digestion. Physicians recommended that meals should end with a compound of sugar & spice, from a liquid like hippocras to the spiced candies known as dragée. It must have been very satisfying to drink a spiced and mulled hippocras after dinner with the excuse that it was good for you!
Recipes for hippocras varied from place to place and time to time, but its use remained constant and international.
A hippocras could be made out of either red or white wine, but the warmer and moister properties of red wine were usually preferred for good digestion and other health aspects.
- "Thyn ypocras, and eek thy galiones" - The Physician-Pardoner Link
- "He drynketh ypocras, clarree, and vernage" - The Merchant's Tale
LONEX, we are so happy to have you join us!!! You make #19 of the 29! Please don't worry about catching up! Do you have a copy of the Tales? If not, we have the on-line link in the heading above, your choice, either in the Middle or Modern English version. Some of us are trying them both, Middle for the poetry, Modern for help with the meaning. Both are available above. Now listen up everyone! We travel at a very slow trot in Great Books and there is never a problem catching up.
Between today and Monday, we will be discussing the first 40 lines or so of the Prologue and then the last 115 lines of the Prologue, the conditions of the contest. That leaves plenty of time for reading the Knight's tale - that discussion starts on Monday!
AM raring to go, the paltries are pawing and panting and straining at the bit! Did anyone learn the opening lines?
There are several different stories of what happened to the remains of Thomas Becket when Henry VIII destroyed the contents of his coffin. The "official" version is that his body remains were burned and scattered in the Thames or somewhere. But there are many other indications that the monks knew Henry's men were on their way, so they substituted the remains and hid Thomas' bones somewhere else - some say on the same location I visited last week in Canterbury. Let me find a link where I read something about that.
All I do know for sure is that I will recognize my mother immediately! She has assured me of that. Have you ever read Life After Life? Or heard any of those accounts of those who died, officially died on operating tables, but came back to relate their death experiences? Fascinating stuff.
The reason for the move up to the more important area in "The Trinity Chapel was because of the growing importance of this new (at the time) Saint and because of the increasing numbers of miracles that were attributed to visits to his Tomb. Certainly, the monks in those days were not backward in marketing practices. It is said that a piece of a bone plate from the top of Becket's cranium was edged with silver and shown to the visiting pilgrims. Whether this piece of bone was actually from the head of the Saint is certainly open to doubt."
Alf have you left yet? I've been meaning to ask if you are expecting an "arduous trip" or did you really mean "ardorous"?
Joan's contrasting the opening lines of the prologue with Eliot's Wasteland and their different views of April made me think about the roles poets play in supporting, rejecting or questioning the social and political status quo.
Chaucher it seems to me fits in with the supporters, bending his poetic vision to see a heirarchy of nature and man consistent with the age he represented.
He could not have written as Blake did later:
" Tyger, tyger, burning bright In the forests of the night, . . . Did he who made the lamb make thee?"
Like Shakespeare, however, he could use the prevailing order of things as a base for his poetry and still with his universal view of that order to aspects of the human condition that transcended the present.
I think that is one of the reasons we enjoy having him take us to Canterbury and why the trip is both culturally nostalgic and comtemporary.
Besides, of course, getting a chance to don our attire for the trip.
Canterbury Cathedral was the scene of a major project by the Canterbury Archaeological Trust from January to April 1993 Excavations, revealing a remarkable sequence of structures and restricted to the removal of eighteenth century deposits, before the laying of a new floor in 1786.
Only limited traces of Romano-British layers were found, but sufficient to indicate a pebbled street running beneath the cathedral. Fronting onto the street were timber-framed buildings and a masonry structure, as yet undated.
The most important find was the remains of the Anglo-Saxon cathedral, just 0.20m below the 1786 floor.
The earliest, Phase I, is represented by foundations cut into post Roman `dark earth' deposits which sealed the Romano British deposits. They may well be part of the original church of St Augustine constructed soon after his arrival in A.D. 597. The foundations were of re-used Roman stone with mortared stone and Roman bricks above. The plan and scale of the building are similar to the early church of St Peter and St Paul at St Augustine's Abbey .
Phase II consisted of a partly subterranean masonry structure with a tile floor 1.2 m. below contemporary ground surface. Its function remains uncertain, but it might have been a mausoleum.
During the ninth or tenth century the early church was demolished and a larger structure was built (Phase III). It is ascribed this phase possibly to Archbishop Wulfed (805-32), and a subsequent rebuild, to Archbishop Oda (942-58).
Phase IV saw the demolition of the western end and its replacement with (the Oratory of St Mary). A substantial part of this west-work was uncovered. The Archbishop's cathedra or throne would have been sited to the rear of the apse with the altar to the Virgin set in front. At the same time towers were added, one of which may be the tower of St Gregory. These remains may have been built by Archbishops Lyfing (1013-20) or Æthelnoth (1020-38) after a Danish army, led by Thorkell the Tall and his brother Hemming, plundered and burnt the city and cathedral in 1011.
The excavated remains of Phase IV was a large ring crypt, possibly housing the remains of St Dunstan. The original church may have been the fragments of masonry found below the crypt floor in 1895. Undoubtedly the cathedral in the early years of the eleventh century would have ranked among the largest in Northern Europe.
Possible Inn our pilgrims stayed at in Canterbury.Roman Road at No 2 High Street location of the former `Cheker of the Hope Inn', built for Christ Church Priory in 1392-5
Late medieval Canterbury had a large number of inns, taverns and lodging houses, the most famous of which was the great courtyard inn, known as the `Cheker of the Hope'. Begun in 1392 the work took three years, and cost £867 14s 4d to complete. The inn was being erected during the last few years of Geoffrey Chaucer's life and is mentioned in an early fifteenth century continuation of the Canterbury Tales (not written by Chaucer), The Prologue to the Tale of Beryn.
Most of the eastern side of this inn survives, though approximately half of the total structure was destroyed in a great fire on 22nd August 1865. The inn itself, a large three storeyed, jettied building, with galleried internal court, incorporated an impressive stone arcade on the ground floor which still survives at the corner of Mercery Lane and the High Street.
A few notes, before we get going on our spring break (don't you miss Maryal already?) I hope the weather is nice for her! Yes, it was a pleasant break for the Canterbury pilgrims, making the trip for spiritual reasons, some much more serious than others. But it was a merry band as opposed to a somber penitential group!
Have you read the lines out loud? Have you read the Middle English lines out loud? IN the heading, in ELF there is both the Middle and the Modern version. Try the first few lines in each! Can you hear the poetry in the Middle English (sound the silent "e" at the end of the line...) Isn't it grand?
Sir Jim, you have provided the start for our conversation, which will hopefully get started in earnest today. We were too concerned with getting to know one another, admiring our costumes and saddling up for the ride yesterday. I think we're ready to begin now!
Okay, there's a prize for the first person to find a Canterbury Tales glossary on-line! Elf is good to search the lines, but not a glossary!
Later! Can't find my sunscreen!
You certainly may walk, but gather up that broomstick skirt and watch where you are stepping! We promise to move at a nice slow pace
Sister, you win the prize for the first to present some glossaries, but because of your vow of Poverty, we shall add it (it was monetary!) to our joint kitty for expenses along the way.
And although you did provide us with three glossary sources, none of them helped with the meaning of the word weal as used in the Knight's tale -"Who helped them when they lay so ill and weal." The first found nothing, and the second two I couldn't figure out how to use...So the prize is still there for a workable glossary. Can anyone get the second or third URL provided in Post #176 to operate? Otherwise we will put the first one in the heading by default, and the meaning of the word "weal" in this context will remain a mystery!
Shall we begin? The others will surely catch up with us! What better place than the first fifteen lines of the Prologue to set the scene and give us an idea of the Medieval view of man's position in the cosmos!
Look where Chaucer begins the reawakening with the four basic elements of life: Aprill shoures (water), droghte and the dry land (earth), Zephirus and the wind (air) and the yonge sonne (fire). Then what???...Watch him build this pyramid from the bottom up!
Oh, I am so happy that you have found us!
And YiLi, that's why I like to go to work too! The monitor screen is so much larger than mine......and everything loads in lightening speed. I get to go in this evening and use it!!!
HAHAHAHAHABarbara! What you find when launching an all out search! I couldn't slow her voice down..."Everybody.....this place is haunted?" What did Nell say?
Lonex nobody's doing any bone crunching until you get here...don't worry you won't miss anything! Just get that Netscape glitch straightened out before we leave! Does anyone have a map, or are we just going to follow the guys in front of us? What if they're going to the Beach?
Once on a time, afore we do all fuss
If weather's a fluke and trial dubious.
Of mind we be bawd and yes curator
Foreign my rhyme a real sternutator
But that a tasimeter was not neath the sun
Full many a cold body was undone.
What with cloudbursts and no hostelry
Be gained in the nearby vicinity
A place to finish this epopoeia
As we all suffer the skill logorrhoea
Prompts full speed ahead with all zealotry
The Knight's glory before I use a dolorimetry
And to my seniornet proximity
Before contradictory rainy threnody
Let this noble group to á Beckett ride
With hostess Joan marching as our guide.
And truly a very long tankard of beer
Will keep Lenox and I from the bier
While our blood filled with salinity
Will escape being chopped into alkalinity.
I was so happy yesterday to see our own Carolyn Andersen indicate that she will be joining us on this expeditions! Many of us know Carolyn, a regular Great Books member. She lives in Norway and has a wonderful grand-daughter...we feel as if she belongs to all of us! Please be sure to give her a big WELCOME when she gets here! So now, we have saddled up 23 of our 29 waiting paltry palfries/palfreys??? Ginny, what does your Oxford say about the plural of palfrey?
For those of you who couldn't see London on the map, maybe this will help...Medieval Map of LOndon
"Now I have told you shortly, in a clause,
The rank, the array, the number and the cause
Of our assembly in this company
In Southwark..." (Page 22, half way down the page - to the end of the prologue.)
Off to walk/run the dog! - Later!
Today I've been puzzling through the I'm differences between Chaucer's Medieval man and modern man - us.
Charlotte, when speaking of Courtly Love as expressed - perhaps - in the Knight's Tale remarked, "We must be reminded to read the tale in the spirit in which Chaucer conceived it. Nor must we attempt to give it a modern interpretation." Okay, now remember that we are also warned by Prof. Patterson not to separate the teller from the tale, the knight from the characters/virtues....It seems to me that if wer are to avoid giving the tale a modern interpretation, we should be aware of what that is...The question has come up here several times regarding the nature of the trip- Was this a religious pilgrimage for the purpose of atonement - or something fun to do after a long winter - Beach week? I'd say it was largely the former and a wee bit of the latter. And to understand that, I think we have to look closely at Medieval man and how he regarded himself in relation to God and the universe. This seems to be what the opening lines of the prologue are telling us...My question is how does this relationship differ from how man regards himself today. It is this difference that we will have to accept and refrain from applying our modern interpretation to appreciate what Chaucer has accomplished here.
Previously, JimO tells us that Chaucer was a man of his time, but his universal view as to the human condition transcends his time. His universal view is perhaps what strikes the chord with YiLi, Phyll & the rest of us!
The point made over and over is that the tales actually develop the personalities of the narrators. The quarrels and diverse opinions of the tellers are specific to each recital. As CHAROLOTTE has pointed out, let us not seperate teller from tale. That will be the fun part.
NELLIE" Welcome to this motley crew. Pick yer poison, but DO try the grog. The scholar you wish to be? the Oxford Cleric? Though a philosopher, as I have told, He had not found the stone for making gold. A tone of moral virtue we will need on this journey, so saddle up yer mare.
Lonex: don't believe a word JOAN is telling ya. Hary Bailley
lies as drunk as a skunk---- somewhere ~
WHOA, horsey. Noone told me that it was going to drop to the 40s at night. I may have to reconsider this trip.
CAROLYN: no self propelled vehicles allowed on this travel. Nice try--- no dice. Suffer with the rest of us. Be sure to pad the fanny well. these beast here are tough on the derriere.
ppppPHYLL: Can I move next door to you? A Borders and a
B& N nearbyl Oh Lordie, let me die there. Bless you./
Who is William Balake? I said many of those same things only yesterday
( not nearly as well as he di.d) Every age is a Canterbury Pilgramage.
Alas, it is true. How else could this have survived 600 years????
ALF, I'm trying to be serious here for a minute...trying to make the point that the pilgrimage was primarily, for every one, a religious journey to improve chances for salvation. Of course, our band is made up of mortals prone to weakness and faults, "cracks" as Ginger would put it...but all of these Christians are concerned about their relationship with God.
If there is one word that would characterize the Medieval period it would have to be "Christianity" - not so much the pious aspect, but the intellectual and moral journy towards God and salvation. Chaucer lived in what would have to be called the golden age within the Middle Ages. His contemporaries - the Pearl Poet...(last year we read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - and loved it), and William Langland who wrote Piers Plowman provide portraits of the people and temper of the period - both of these had as basic theme of salvation and its obstacles.
The Canterbury Tales will be a moral struggle to find the balance between Personal reponsibility and the need for individual liberty...does this sound familiar? But how does all of us differ from our way of thinking? Why do we insist that this was merely a spring break for these people? Is it because we can not understand Medieval man's belief system?
LONEX, the purpose of the trip was to improve one's chances of salvation...and these Pilgrims understood from Church teaching that they would receive a Plenary (full!) indulgence or pardon for their sins...so the purpose of the trip was not so much as solemn and pious - but rather a belief that the veneration of Thomas' bones at Canterbury would bring them salvation. So, yes, they were jovial and in high spirits - they are about to earn salvation and they also wish to give thanks for their good health. (Remember the Plague - do we need numbers of those who died of the plague to understand how concerned these people were about death - and beyond!) But they were well, they were gaining salvation, and yes, in very high spirits!
The prologue opens with a hierarchy that begins with the water (rain), fire (sun), air(wind) and drought (earth), the four basic elements necessary for life >, then the floures (flora), the fowles (fauna) and finally man at the center. But THAT'S NOT ALL! Chaucer's characters are well aware of their relationship with God and the necessity of achieving salvation while on earth.
"Then people long to go to Canterbury...to seek the holy blissful martyr quick to give his help to them when they were sick...I will agree - this is not a holy band of angels on the way...but I'm convinced they had a motive other than fun - (or they would have gone to the beach!) They believed they were doing something to save their souls...a pilgrimage is a journey to a sacred place to get something, to petition something, not just to give thanks. You don't need to touch a relic to give thanks.
Ready to go on pilgrimage and start for Canterbury, most devout at heart"
Chaucer seems to be using a hierarchy as he describes his characters...even though the Knight begins the round of storytelling by chance, by drawing straws...the Knight is the most virtuous, the most worthy, the one having the least trouble battling with the universal problem of the human condition - finding a balance between personal responsibility and the need for freedom. He is more......saintly than human.
Then the Nun, fastidious, but "coy" and little false- less saintly than what she would have people think...
I'm willing to bet that as the tales are told, we have more human imperfections as we move down the line. Funny, that the Knight drew straws and won the privilige of telling his story first!
I'm sorry if I sound like I'm preaching, but I feel quite strongly about the importance of getting into the mindset of the Christian mindset of the this period of time, without putting a modern interpretation on it! Yet, at the same time, marveling at the universality of the struggle between responsibility and liberty. One of the links, there was a monk or a man of the Church who scolded the Pilgrims for their joviality on the way to Canterbury. It could have been Chaucer's group - our group! I'll find that now!
"Bishop Simon Sudbury of London once overtook a band of merry-makers on their way to Canterbury and berated them by saying:
"Plenary indulgences for your sins by repairing to Canterbury? Better hope might ye have of Salvation had ye stayed at home and brought forth fruits meet for repentance!"
A young Squire from Kent, Thomas of Aldon, angrily spoke back:
"My Lord Bishop, for that you have thus spoken evil of St. Thomas and are minded to stir up the minds of the people against him, I will give up mine own salvation if you do not die a most shameful death!"
I've got some questions for you? Who is the narrator of the prologue? Is it Chaucer? Is he one of the 29 - in other words, do we saddle him a horse...or is he invisible?
Back in a sec!
And welcome to you, SHASTA (-$1.00), Pilgrim #27...and counting! I think we'll offer a wee prize for #29. <
Speaking of prizes, can we all look a bit more closely at the storytelling contest proposed by our innkeeper/guide, Harry Bailly - before agreeing to anything? As Phyll noticed earlier, Harry is not promising to foot the bill for the free meal he's offering for the best story (that which amuses himself? He's the judge, right? )...He's offered the dinner to be paid for - by us? By the losers? Do we all put our pounds into a pot before we start, or does he propose that we pay up afterwards...There's another "clause" in the contest rules. I think we'd better reread the fine print before agreeing to anything!
ps.Charlotte, thanks for your careful response to my earlier question...and those of you who added comments! I think I'm ready for the journey now- still can't get over Carolyn's description of the roads though!
Harry! - sooo glad you are back...what would we have done without your guidance through the slough?
Was about to shut down my computer, and see these two notes I had copied on Notepad earlier this morning - rather than save them, I'll post here and save room on the old hard drive!
"Once they had reached Canterbury, the pilgrimage was over, for to Medieval man the pilgrimage was a symbolic journey that represented the course of human life, from one's home on earth to one's true home in the universal order. A pilgrimage was therefore declared over at its destination, and the return home was not part of the ritual act."Where's that jenny, Pat!!!
"When Chaucer introduces the pilgrims, he arranges them so that we can better see their social relationships
First came the Knight and his small retinue, the Prioress and hers, and the Monk and the Friar; then followed the Merchant, the other members of the merchants class, and those pilgrims of "middle" rank; and in last came the commoners, the "churls," those freemen of the lowest rank, the same category in which Chaucer wryly includes himself."
This trip certainly reminds me of a pilgrimage that our local church group took to Israel. We went with all good intentions of reverence, prayer, and meditation. But I'm sure we spent more time gawking at the modern sites in Jerusalem, buying gifts for everyone back home, selecting goods to feature at our next church bazaar, and taking photos of everyone standing in front of whatever looked different from what we saw at home, than we did paying our tribute and respect to the religious shrines. (what a terrible sentence.)
Daily life needs a diversion from the humdrum.. The pilgrims could make this journey and make points with the church and their own conscience, but also enjoy the company and companionship of the other pilgrims.
Martyr, Archbishop of Canterbury, born at London, 21 December, 1118 (?); died at Canterbury, 29 December, 1170.
St. Thomas was born of parents who, coming from Normandy, had settled in England some years previously. In after life his humble birth was made the subject of spiteful comment. His parents were people of some mark, and from his earliest years their son had been well taught and had associated with gentlefolk. He learned to read at Merton Abbey and then studied in Paris. On leaving school he employed himself in secretarial work, first with Sir Richer de l'Aigle and then with his kinsman, Osbert Huitdeniers, who was "Justiciar" of London. Somewhere about the year 1141,he entered the service of Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury. Theobald recognized his capacity, made use of him in many delicate negotiations, and, after allowing him to go for a year to study civil and cannon law at Bologna and Auxerre, ordained him deacon in 1154, after bestowing upon him several preferments, the most important of which was the Archdeaconry of Canterbury
When King Stephen died the young monarch Henry II became master of the kingdom. He took "Thomas of London", as Becket was then called, for his chancellor, and Thomas at the age of thirty-six became, with the possible exception of the justiciar, the most powerful subject in Henry's wide dominions. The chroniclers speak with wonder of the relations which existed between the chancellor and the sovereign, who was twelve years his junior. People declared that "they had but one heart and one mind". Often the king and his minister behaved like two schoolboys at play. Both were hard workers, and both, had the prosperity of the kingdom deeply at heart. Whether the chancellor, the elder man, was the true originator of the administrative reforms which Henry introduced cannot now be clearly determined. In many matters they saw eye to eye. The king's love of splendour were shared by his minister and when Thomas went to France in 1158 to negotiate a marriage treaty, he traveled with such pomp that the people said: "If this be only the chancellor what must be the glory of the king himself?"
In military operations Thomas, a Deacon, took a leading part, unhorsing many French nights, he lead the most daring attacks, laid waste the enemy's country with fire and sword. His principles did not differ from those of the other commanders of his time. No word was ever breathed against his personal purity. Foul conduct, foul speech, lying or unchastity were hateful to him, and on occasion he punished them severely.
He had clear principles regarding the claims of the Church, and even during his chancellorship he more than once risked Henry's grievous displeasure. But to the very limits of his conscience, Thomas identified himself with his master's interests; served Theobald well, served King Henry well as Chancellor, and finally served well the Church.
Archbishop Theobald died in 1161. In the next year Henry prepared the way for further schemes of reform by securing the advancement of his chancellor. Thomas was ordained priest on Saturday in Whitweek and consecrated bishop the next day, Sunday, 3 June,1162.
It was St. Thomas who obtained for England the privilege of keeping the feast of the Blessed Trinity on that Sunday, the anniversary of his consecration, and more than a century afterwards this custom was adopted by the papal Court, itself and eventually imposed on the whole world.
A great change took place after his consecration as archbishop. In view of the struggle he clearly saw before him he gave himself to fasting and discipline, hair shirts, protracted vigils, and constant prayers. Before the end of the year 1162 he stripped himself of all signs of the lavish display. On 10 Aug. he went barefoot to receive the envoy who brought him the pallium from Rome.
"Early next morning at the spring of day
Up rose our Host and roused us like a cock."
Would it be worth it to try to second-guess ole Harry and choose the best tale ourselves. It is tricky, the winning tale has to reveal the storyteller's character!
Phyll! Another contest idea! Yet another prize! (don't you love to award prizes when someone else is paying for them!)
How about a prize for the best tale told by one of our Pilgrims here? Same rule? The tale would have to reveal the storyteller's own character traits! Let's do it! Open to all...an impartial judge! Details on the road tomorrow!
To bed! We have to be up at dawn in the morning - and our innkeeper has turned out the lights!
Barbara: Excellant post re. HenryII's kinship with Thomas. Yikes,
friends like him, we don't need. Wasn't it his mother who
was French? Gilbert a` Becket, the father, was an Eng. merchant and
a one time sheriff of London.
PHYLL: Absolutely correct, me thinks. Even though we have great "breakthroughs", new developments and advancements we tend to repeat the "cycles" of history. Just as you said : " THINGS." The seperation of church/state is centuries old. These tales are 800 years old and here we are facing the same dillemas today.
KAY: Rise and shine, yer merry sel
JOAN: Good idea. Have the 2 London wanderers meet us along
SO! Joan, you much prefer an impassioned intensity, hey? You zealous little imp, you. NAH! I am expecting a difficult, strenuous burden travelling with these louts. Please, tho do not tell them I said that
SPRING has sprung-- the grass has riz and THIS is where the voyagers IS>.
Barb, I've been thinking about your earlier question - about how difficult it was to hear the tales if all those people were on horseback.. Perhaps they all weren't listening as closely as we are. The only person who really has to hear them is Harry, as he is the judge? He'd have to be riding very near to the speaker. Or perhaps the Knight is projecting, verging on shouting his lines over the clippety-clops! I read somewhere that as he was growing up, Chaucer lived on a route to Canterbury and very well could have overheard this very sort of thing - the storytelling on the way - as soldiers often sing along as they march along?
The story of Theseus is really helpful, Alf! The pieces are coming together. Charlotte's earlier reminder that Hippolyta and sister Emilye were Amazons have made me look upon this maiden with different eyes! No wonder her appearance had such a shocking effect on Palamon...
Woman or Goddess, which, I cannot say.A few months ago, I reread Midsummer Night's Dream before attending the play. We all remember the fairies and their orgy that summer night, little tiny elves (Puck!), but the framework for the story, the revelry is the marriage celebration in Athen's between Theseus and his Amazon bride, Hypolyta. You know, I'd be willing to bet that a few hundred years into the future, Will Shakespeare would read Chaucer's Canterbury Tales as his inspiration for MSND! More his style the myths! I'll see if I find anything about this...perhaps in a Shakespearean site? Isn't it amazing how everything seems to be coming together the more we read? YiLi, I'm glad to be reading this again too...you! SO much richer an experience than going it alone!
I guess she may be Venus - well she may!"
In my mind, I don't see anyone writing anything on this trip. I see oral storytelling, and then I see Chaucer the poet, writing them out in verse, long after the trip is over????
So, Harry Bailey doesn't get it! I don't have much confidence in his ability to choose the best tale! He won't choose the knight's tale, I'll tell that you right off. The knight is using too many references to Greek mythology and history that would be lost on Harry. And I don't think he'll be able to relate to the virtuous knight or Palamon's virtues either for that matter.
Charlotte's Prof. Patterson has warned us against seperating the teller from the tale...I don't think Harry will be guilty of that! He will dismiss the tale, as he will dismiss the teller. What do you think?
Do you see the Knight's virtues evident in Theseus? I can't figure out if it was a compassionate or a perverted act, generous or honourable to spare the lives of these two young men, but then give them the life sentence in the tower....
On the other hand, Chaucer, the writer, may have based some of these tales on old legends and myths, as well as historical fact - just as Shakespeare later. Have you ever heard the tale of Arcita and Palamon before, or is this a Chaucer original? Perhaps we need our research team to investigate Chaucer's sources for Canterbury Tales!
Theseus seems to be a "parfit" example of chivalry. He has chosen to save the two young knights, dying on the battlefield. Isn't that generous? He saves their lives and locks them in the tower in the woods for the rest of their lives!!!! Then, as another example of his generosity and chivalry, he builds this elaborate stage for the battle between the cousins for the hand of the beloved Emily! This is the only fair way to handle the unfortunate triangle. His sister-in-law is the prize. Does Emily have anything to say about this? Is this a love story, courtly love? Charlotte uses the word 'ridiculous'! I believe that's exactly what Chaucer is doing here...ridiculing chivalry, courtly love...and he's doing it all with such a straight face!
But I think we should all be assured that Chaucer is not merely retelling tales he has heard. He is influenced by them, yes. But he is applying ideas from those sources to his work in a totally new - imaginative way to create something brand new for his time. He is satirizing that which has long been revered! And he is doing it in such a clever fashion that it can go undetected at first!
Ah yes, we French majors spent time with Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur - (we spent time with Chaucer's Roman de la Rose too - I must confess I remember NOTHING but the lovely title! I promise to look that up tomorrow..especially Chaucer's attitude towards women!) The Death of King Arthur I do remember...It was written shortly after Canterbury Tales - courtly love - women on s pedestal-I'm having trouble placing the women of the the Arthurian legends in the same period as the holocaust, the murder and torture of women that you have just described, Charo-latte !!!
There's another woman of from this period, one I can't read enough about - Jeanne d'Arc. Please say that someday, someday soon you all might be interested in reading together GBShaw's St. Joan together? I'd love that! I can't understand this woman in her time ...early 1400's...who led the armies of France and then was burned at the stake as a witch!!!
I came in with some thoughts on Arcita and Palamon... which was the nobler knight and at what point I knew that Palamon would get the girl, but it's late! Shasta's question is also begging to be answered...why did Chaucer spend so much time describing the arena Theseus built? But there's always tomorrow! Night all...
This is from a book on Southwark, regarding the Tabard and neighborhood...
So perhaps ye Spring pilgrims, Ginger, Ginny, Fran, Pat, Kay...may find some time to find Talbot Yard in Southwark and soak in some of the spirit of the time and place, can it and bring it back to us!
Historic SouthwarkAll London life, high born or low, had to cross London Bridge to the southbank of the Thames to trade, to travel, to be entertained, or imprisoned for debt, death or martrydom.
It was the Romans with their engineering skills, who created Southwark. They came and found three separate, sandy islands bordered by a riverside of mud and marsh.
Their road-builders bridged the gaps between the islands - built a stong wooden bridge. They occupied Britain for some 350 years.
Wealthy Romans came to live in this suburb across the river from the city of Londinium...
The Dark Ages took their toll on Southwark. The bridge broke down and was rebuilt several times before being pulled down. Marauding Danes had occupied the City and had a stong position on the bridge. KIng Olaf of Norway made roofs for his ships and sailed them under the brige where his men tied ropes to the piers...on command, they rowed hard and pulled down the bridge with the Danes on it. London was saved and a rhyme was born:
"London Bridge has fallen down, fallen down..."
In medieval times London Bridge was rebuilt of stone It lasted 600 years and was the only crossing point over the Thames for all the travellers, pilgrims, clergy, merchants, ordinary folk, kings and princes, rebels and traitors drawn to the great city...
Because so many travellers used the bridge, the Borough inns grew in number and reputation to provide them with food, drink and a bed for the night. Most of the inns were three-sided around a courtyard with an entrance directly onto Borough High Street. The most famous was the Tabard, where the Canterbury pilgrims gathered; the George, the White Hart, the Queen's Head and many others contributed to Southwark's reputation for providing hospitality and entertainment.
Throughout the medieval period there were twenty two inns situated along the length of Bankside. Southwark had a great fire in 1676, ten years after the Great Fire of London. The only remaining evidence of these inns is the names of some of the alleyways off Borough High St. - Talbot Yard (a later name for the Tabard)
Back later...time goes so fast here! So much to think about!!!
Great pomp and circumstance surround the tournament:
"<That never since the day the world began In all God's earth, wide seas and reach of land, Had so few men made such a noble band."<
What a crazy day... a roller coaster ride! Started off just fine and dandy and then around noon, one thing after another - now Duke is losing by three points with 30 seconds to go........back in a minute! OOOOOEEEEE! Duke lost to Florida! In shock! How often does Duke not make it to the final four? Ooops! Wrong discussion!
"Just as upon a Friday, truth to tell
It shines one moment, on the next rains fast;
For thus can whisical Venus overcast
The spirits of her folk, just as her day,
Friday is changeable, and so are they,
Seldom is Friday like the rest of the week."
But Theseus arrives just in time, furious because they are fighting thusly without a judge! Without a referee to determine the winner. They explain to him that the loser doesn't want to live..."What is so foolish as a man in love", Theseus asks. (I know the answer to that one, do you?) Theseus had arrived "bathed in happiness and bliss" with the fair Hippolyta, his lovely queen" (wedded bliss?) Emily comes a' hunting too...
Now both ladies weep, begging Theseus to spare the young men. Kill me...kill me, kill him, cries Palamon!
I thought Theseus' plan was interesting for two reasons...
The two cousins are to come back in one year. This will give them time to prepare for battle. Does this sound familiar? Sir Gawain gets a year to prepare for almost certain death at the hands of the Green Knight. The Pearl poet was writing at the same time as Chaucer. Sir Gawain was given this time to prepare himself to meet his maker...redemption - salvation - a Christian message.Here's a question...why don't they fight it out right on the spot, Why do they need all that time to arm? Why not a duel in the woods. Theseus would make a fine judge, don't you think? I think Chaucer consciously wanted to emphasize the difference between the Christian belief in salvation, life after death - and the Greek gods, depicted here more as fallible, blundering humans...
The cousins are given a year to assemble a armies to fight one another to the the death - the winner to get an earthly reward - the hand of the disinterested maiden.
And none of this is what I came in to say! Used up all my bytes for tonight...back tomorrow! And please...give that miller some coffee - he's up next! (Barb, do we have coffee yet?)
850 - Legend has it that an Ethiopian shepherd noticed how his sheep stayed awake all night after grazing on wild coffee cherries. The shepherd noticed that this mysterious fruit had the same effect on him. He told the local monks of the strange effect of the berries, whereupon the monks used coffee to keep them awake through their long devotionals.
Ninth Century--First record of coffee drinking by the Mufti people of Aden The bean made its way to Yemen from Ethiopia by traveling merchants through trade routes across the Gulf of Aden.
1100 - The coffee first trees are cultivated on the Arabian peninsula. Coffee is first roasted and boiled by Arabs making "qahwa" --- a beverage made from plants. Coffee was utilized during the classical period of Arabian medicine. Various curative properties were claimed for coffee, and it spread over several centuries Mecca, Aden, Medina, and Persia.
1475 - The world's first coffee shop opens in Constantinople. Coffea arabica was believed to have been introduced to Yemen from Ethiopia by traveling merchants through the trade routes across the Gulf of Aden.
The establishment of two coffee houses in Constantinople in 1554. In the 16th century the Ottoman empire expanded its power through the Balkins, and the north coast of Africa bringing along the Turkish coffee house.
1600 - Coffee enters Europe through the port of Venice. The first coffeehouse opens in Italy in 1654. The Merchant communties of Venice and Genoa imported the turkish lounge, altered to their own style of coffee house. The priests in Rome wanted it banned as atheist drink, but instead Pope Clement VIII gave it his blessing stating: "This Satan's drink is so delicious that it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it. We shall cheat Satan by baptizing it."
1600 - By the mid-1600's, tea had been introduced to Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Scandinavia, Russia and America. Tea's popularity has been credited for playing a major role in opening the Orient to Occidental commerce.
The Dutch held a near monopoly on trading for some time, it wasn't long before Britain importated, what would become the nation's most popular beverage of all time. Tea replaced Gin as the drink of choice creating an unprecedented health trend due to the consumption of purified boiling water in place of alcohol. (Looks like we pilgrims will be drinking alcohol all the way to Canterbury, no wonder the tales get so bawdy!)
After much bloodshed and some compromises, the British East India Trading Company wrestled control of much of the tea trade from the Dutch and began importing enough tea that Britain's public had access to the delicious new drink. Before that, tea was limited to the upper-class and consumed at only the most elite gatherings, costing six to ten British pounds per pound of tea. (Tea was kept in chest under lock and Key)
1650's - French travellers brought coffee into Paris society
1652 - The first coffeehouse opens in England. Coffeehouses are called "penny universities" (a penny is charged for admission and a cup of coffee).
1657 - Thomas Garway, an English proprietor got the bright idea of offering tea to the public and the beverage quickly became the drink of choice, far outpacing wines and liquors. Taverns became deserted in favor of "coffee houses" (which were so named because the public sale of coffee pre-dated the sale of tea by a few years).
Unfortunately for those in power, Britain was losing all the taxes that accompanied liquor sales. But the government quickly remedied that situation by imposing a tea tax. (And we in the USA know where that lead)
1674 - Women's Petition Against Coffee established in London.
1688 - Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse opens. It eventually becomes Lloyd's of London, the world's best known insurance company. Coffee houses in London were important as meeting places for businessmen. Financial institutions like Lloyd's and the stock exchange grew from coffee houses.
The word “TIPS” is coined in an English coffee house: A sign reading “To Insure Prompt Service” (TIPS) was place by a cup. Those desiring prompt service and better seating threw a coin into a tin.
1675 - The coffee houses wielded so much power that a threatened King Charles II shut them down, calling the selling of tea a virtual act of sedition. A month later, the King had to recant his edict when tea, coffee and chocolate dealers rose up in protest. Of course, the fact that the King's wife, Queen Catherine of Braganza, was a tea drinker didn't help his cause, as she set an example for all of Britain's subjects to indulge in the new fashionable drink.
1686 - First cafe serving coffee is opened in Paris (Le Procope--it's still in business!) It is believed that sugar was first used as an additive in the court of Louis the XIV.
1690 - The Dutch become the first to transport and cultivate coffee commercially. Coffee is smuggled out of the Arab port of Mocha and transported to Ceylon and East Indies for cultivation. Export of seed was illegal. But Muslims making the pilgrimage from India to the Holy Land managed to take coffee seeds back with them to Mysore where cultivation was begun. Dutch botanists were establishing plantaions in Java.
1714 - Louis the XIV arranged to have a young coffee plant which had been raised on a plantation in the East indies sent to Paris. His plans to establish commercial coffee plantaions in Martinique failed. But five years after his death, a French military captain managed to transport a healthy seedling which became the ancestor of most of the coffee growing in Central and South America.
1727 - The Brazilian coffee industry gets its start from seedlings smuggled out of Paris. The colonization of the Americas increased the demand which the new plantations of Brazil and Central America now supplied.
1750 - One of Europe's first coffeehouses, Cafe Greco, opens in Rome. By 1763, Venice has over 2,000 coffee shops.
1900 - Kaffeeklatsch, afternoon coffee, becomes popular in Germany.
1905 - Although the first commercial espresso machine is manufactured in Italy, (just prior to WWI) the prototype of the first espresso machine was created in France in 1822. and in 1945, (post WWII) Achilles Gaggia perfects the espresso machine with a piston that creates a high pressure extraction to produce a thick layer of crema.
1995 - Coffee is the worlds most popular beverage. More than 400 billion cups are consumed each year. It is a world commodity that is second only to OIL!
For men are slain as much as other cattle, Arrested, thrust in prison, killed in battle, In sickness often and mischance and fall, Alas too often, for no guilt at all Where is right rule in your foreknowledge, when Such torments fall on innocent, helpless men.
As I read this last line, it makes me wonder why the knight has turned the Amazons into helpless, innocent women. It’s true that they have been conquered, but that should not make them the compliant, subservient people he describes. Even in captivity, given their reputation, one would think they would fight viciously to regain their freedom.
Though the knight does not give any evidence of Amazon rebellion against their new circumstances, he does say that Emilye has gone to plead with Diana:“Thou knowest well, O chaste omnipotent, That I would be a virgin all my life And would be neither mistress, no, nor wife. I am thou knowest of thy company A huntress , still in my virginity, And only ask to walk the woodlands wild, And not be a wife or go with child, Nor would I know the company of man, O help me Goddess, for none other can.”
font color=blue size 5 Palamon had already gone to Venus to plead for help“Consider this, have pity on my pain As I shall ever struggle to maintain Thy service, in so far as it shall be Within my power to combat chastity.”So during the battle “See what a miracle happened thereupon! The fierce Arcite with no helmet on, Riding his courser round to show his face Cantered the whole length of the jousting-place Fixing his eye on Emily aloft; And her returning gaze was sweet and soft, For women, speaking generally are prone (double entendre?) To follow Fortune’s favours once they’re known.”
When Arcite dies “His spirit changed it’s house and went away.” (What a lovely way to describe a death.) Palamon howls and Emilye shrieks. We know nothing of her inner thoughts now that she realizes she must marry. She faints and the knight says we do not need to tarry on her tears or how long she wept. At the funeral, which is described in great detail, she is the most sorrowful of all. Yet she is compliant when Theseus tells her that after grief there should be bliss., that Palamon would be worth considering. Of course there is no problem in getting Palamon to agree. So they espoused. Since we are aware of Emilye’s heritage as an Amazon, I can only predict that this will be a disfunctional marriage.
Charley we miss you. Why have you abandoned us? <
Maryal (Toots!) Did you love Newmarket? Did you buy anything in that antique Mecca? Please tell! Barb brings bad news - no coffee for that Miller...but mentioned something about Arabian qahwa. Could you try to import some of that (Fed Ex?)...special request, hmmm TOOTS? Someone's got to do something about that miller! Have you read some of the things he's saying? How are we ever going to discuss this - on the air???
ALF! Are you still here! I'm sorry to have missed you! You cut right to the heart of it! A bore, the Knight's Tale...no prize for him? (I agree with you, Lonex, perfection is boring - who can relate? It makes me uncomfortable to be around that type...I feel surely they can't help but notice my own imperfections!)
I'm one of the oddballs here, I wasn't bored...I thought it was a wonderful piece of satire - but we still have some disagreement among us about whether this really is satire or simply a reflection of the times which appear to be satire to us today. We'll have to wait and see. We are told again and again that Chaucer's audience understood his references and what he was intending. We'll just have to try to get into their shoes as we hear more! The same with his attitude toward women. To be honest, I see Chaucer pointing out the weaknesses, the foibles of both men and women, equally, Charlotte, but will certainly keep your position in mind as we continue on our way.
Shasta, I think the elaborate description of the arena Theseus has prepared for the "contest" serves two purposes in the tale. The constant Greek references remind that this is a form of Olympics? An athletic contest...between athletes who have been in training for a year. A sporting event. Even the bleachers are described! Unlike the Roman "games" where people came for bloodshed. This was no fight to the death. There was even a penalty box (thanks for that, Pat!) This was more about chivalry and honor, and anti-war sentiments - all the knightly virtues the Knight exhibits. There's even a trophy for the best athlete!
But you know what I really liked! This is ancient Greece, right? All the descriptions make sure we notice that! But! But! We have armour...mail, lances, we have all the accoutrements of Medievel warfare...in Ancient Greece. Would they ever have seen or imagined such a sight??? Did Chaucer's readership appreciate this? What do you think?
There, cleaned the desk top!!! Oh, by the way, I have exhausted all my search ability to find a good reference page...line-by-line notes, more than a glossary for the Tales. There are so many references that make no sense. I remember when we read The Odyssey we had a grand reference in the heading. Surely something like that exists for Canterbury? My notes for the Coghill edition are truly inadequate for my needs. Are any of you reading a text with really good notes and explanations? It would sure help to know if you have such a resource. The Miller's Tale has so many obscure references. Have you read it? I don't know how we'll discuss it on the air? Air? HaHa!
Enjoy the tale! ENJOY the ROAD!
Do you imagine the Canterbury pilgrims were aghast - or was this type of a "tavern" story well known? My guess is that they were able to appreciate the humor, the ironies, without dwelling on the bawdy aspects. I'm trying to imagine the Knight's reaction - the quiet Nun's?
Charlotte! That Dorothy Wordsworth's young family could enjoy it on that level means that we can too! Interesting!
ps How about you post the URL here and I'll make it clickable and link it our collection in the heading too?
How topical! Thanks LONEX and Mary Page for the heads up. By the way, lurkers are counted and you've just been palfreyed, Mary ! Now we are 28/29 and counting!!!!
A Whiter Shade of Pale (Brooker / Reid)*
We skipped the light fandango
turned cartwheels 'cross the floor
I was feeling kinda seasick
but the crowd called out for more
The room was humming harder
as the ceiling flew away
When we called out for another drink
the waiter brought a tray
And so it was that later
as the miller told his tale
that her face, at first just ghostly,
turned a whiter shade of pale
She said, 'There is no reason
and the truth is plain to see.'
But I wandered through my playing cards
and would not let her be
one of sixteen vestal virgins
who were leaving for the coast
and although my eyes were open
they might have just as well've been closed
She said, 'I'm home on shore leave,'
though in truth we were at sea
so I took her by the looking glass
and forced her to agree
saying, 'You must be the mermaid
who took Neptune for a ride.'
But she smiled at me so sadly
that my anger straightway died
If music be the food of love
then laughter is its queen
and likewise if behind is in front
then dirt in truth is clean
My mouth by then like cardboard
seemed to slip straight through my head
So we crash-dived straightway quickly
and attacked the ocean bed
And so it was that later
as the miller told his tale
that her face, at first just ghostly,
turned a whiter shade of pale
And I love our proper Charlotte enumerating the number of young people who have read the tale in school. Everything is fine! We are going to be able to discuss this to our hearts content! We are quite a mature group of pilgrims!!! Here's my favorite line from Whiter Side of Pale
"and likewise if behind is in front
then dirt in truth is clean."
Now tell me again this is not the Miller's Tale!!!!
Phyll, the Miller really went out of turn, didn't he? If we had waited for the tales in social order, I don't think the Miller's would have been as shocking! The Miller said he was going to repay the Knight...how similar were the tales, once we get over the shock of how different they were?
ps. Lonex, you have great insight into human nature - first on the perfect people and now on the reason we (with our Puritan residuals look upon such a tale as "shocking"! Please stick around and keep telling it like it is!
pps. Charlotte! Great site. Will put it up now! Thanks!
We's love to have your voice as we try to figure out just what Chaucer's readers understood him to be saying back then, as they nodded their heads up and down in recognition. He was quite popular in his time! Although most of his tales are 'twice told', he reworked them to suit his purposes...the Knight's Tale was Boccaccio's, with a twist.
Alcite did not hit his head in the fall from his horse after the battle in the original, but rather had his chest crushed in battle and died instantly!
I will check the Amazons, but I think they were Boccaccio's. I did read that Chaucer's originality was the inclusion of so many different characters, personalities in one work - not seen before.
I just did a quick check and found that Boccaccio referred to the Amazon's quite frequently in his work- here it is...Chaucer just repeated the Amazons: Boccaccio/Amazons
What did you think of the "lecherous" Alison in the Miller's Tale? I'm comparing her to Emilye of the Knight's Tale...when looking for similarities between that and the Miller's Tale. Triangles - "love" triagles- Palamon, Arcite and Emily/Niclolas, Adsalon, Alison!!!
ps.I neeeed an annotated Canterbury Tales The names are driving me crazy!!! Is this supposed to be "Absalom"? I see a biblical connection! The meaning or derivation of "Philostrate"? Please! There's got to be an on-line annotated version somewhere!!!
Have a great day, everyone!
Our latest Pilgrim...EllenM!!! Welcome!!!! I know from Alice in that you will bring your own interesting perspective to this discussion. I'm off to the heading to saddle your palfrey - and readerdoc's too. Also another surprise for you all - watch the HEADING!
Back in minutes...don't go away!
Later...There! Look in the heading? See the stained glass KNIGHT??? Our own Nellie's original contribution!!! I love it! Wait till you see the other's she's done! She loves to illustrate stories and aren't we fortunate that she has joined us on our Pilgrimage??? Many thanks for brightening our day, Nellie!!!
I'm going to try to stay with just one of the many interesting groups of pilgrims and pursue just one of the snippets overheard today.
ALF!, I've been looking for one of many Chaucer sites that I've scrolled through recently - without success. There was an interesting scholarly essay which stated that Chaucer would not have criticized or poked fun at the Church or religion at that time. Granted, this was one article, one person's opinion, but it was convincing when describing reasons why Chaucer would not have jeopardized his position, which was closely linked to the Church, even if he felt so inclined. Rather, he pointed to the weaknesses and foibles of people, including those who were members of the clergy. His favorite target appears to be the most self-righteous and those who feel they have fulfilled the letter of the law, if not the spirit. Commandment Christians.
(Who was St. Friedswide? I have a feeling that this saint was non-existent! Still looking for an annotated CT! - the search goes on! My guess at the derivation of the name, Philostrate - philo- love; stratum-layer, stratus. Remember this is Arcite's alias. Love of layering... Well, what's your guess? ) This butterfly would like to know where PPP finds ingredients for tisane at this time of year? How does your garden grow??? Hmm?
Maryal! Our scholar and researcher (what an exquisite contrast to Harry!) So St Friedswide did exist...buried at Christ Church in Oxford! (I visited the very place a month ago! Barb - thought of you while there, as this is where Lewis Carroll and Alice lived when he wrote Wonderland) Interesting the Oxford connection as this is where the Miller's Tale takes place!!! The saint was much revered by the students of Oxford as well!
With some digging, we are finding out much about women and the position of women at the time. Chaucer's ear for detail has provided many links! Do you know what I'm thinking? We should make a list and publish our own on-line annotated Canterbury Tales - as such a thing is so very difficult to find!!!
Kay, does your old college edition of CT have good annotations? We've been asking everyone who is using other than the Coghill translation to share whatever information is provided in the copy they are using...Kay is my sister, did you know? An English major. I can remember when she was reading CT all those years ago - in Middle English. (How come I remember that and not so many other important things?)
I just want to add that Chaucer was something of a psychologist and seemed to enjoy presenting his characters, warts* and all, without comment (as I think it was PPP mentioned yesterday, leaving it to others to judge. I think he even let them judge themselves. I really don't get the feeling that Chaucer held women or the Church in contempt, but rather presents a picture of individuals at the time. Remember, he did not write the Knight's Tale, or the Miller's Tale. He did create the tellers of the tales and the tales he has them tell reveal the real teller. That is where we get to know the real Chaucer and his attitude toward women...and men!
Vessels of charity and cheerfulness,
"The core of the manuscipt comprises the Hours of the Virgin: a standard series of prayers and psalms intended to be used in honour of the Virgin Mary at each of the canonical hours of the day. These are Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline. It is because of these that the text is called a 'Book of Hours.'"
"Fabliau, short, ribald tale in
octosyllabic verse, realistic in
detail, that burlesques human
weaknesses and shows savage
disrespect for authority.
Fabliaux, composed and recited
by wandering minstrels,
flourished in France in the 13th
and 14th centuries.
Of the enormous number of fabliaux produced, about 150 survive, and approximately 20 of the authors are known. The fabliaux strongly influenced French writers of prose narrative of the 14th to the 16th century. The form was used by many Middle English writers, including Geoffrey Chaucer, whose masterpiece The Canterbury Tales contains six fabliaux, notably The Miller's Tale. In later times, such writers as Giovanni Boccaccio, Shakespeare, and Molière made use of material from the fabliaux in their works. Because of its characteristic brevity and emphasis on plot and climax, the fabliau is considered a forerunner of the modern short story."
I came in late so must catch up on the competition. Who is to win WHAT? As for now......well.....I'll have to go back and see. .
We have lots more to talk about this Miller. Let's start with his warts! No one has talked about his description from the prologue, or how the tale reflects on him...or how unlikely the elaborate description of Alison's attire from this "mouth like a furnace". That could have been a description of the bride's dress in the nuptials in the newspaper!
We haven't talked about how the Miller's tale resembles the Knight's! Each tale is supposed to be a response to the one before.
Then there's the contrast between this Noah and the biblical Noah and finally how this old Miller sees himself in the tale. Did he have a speaking part? We are not finished, Harry!!! !!
I do understand that most people had no books, no Bible and relied on
the Church for whatever education they would ever get...
That was interesting reading about the illuminated books, printing and wood cuts. I think that there was a lot of illuminating going on AFTER the printing process was done. I hope some of our Spring Pilgrims to England will stop into the British Museum...and look at the wonderful pages from Canterbury Tales...and tell me what I was looking at last month!!! The same exhibit contains illuminated pages from the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Book of Kells!
Let's pursue the medieval plays, particularly the Noah story, shall we?
Thank you MaryP for continuing to drive home that which was Chaucer's true art. I see him clearly now - holding his mirror over his own society - inviting us to look into that mirror to witness their virtues, and particularly their shortcomings...to find that these same are still present in our own time - and gasp! - in ourselves!!!
Thanks, Charlotte! I hadn't thought about that difference between the two tales. I did note how Chance played a big part in both of them though. We've talked about that in the Knight's Tale, but it was also very much at the heart of the Miller's Tale as well. I'll be watching for the way Chance determines the action in the upcoming tales...
Kay writes that she has a well-annotated Riverside version of CT - full of descriptive notes and explanations! Now I've come across an on-line Riverside, but can't figure out how to use it! If I brought it here is there anyone who has a bit of time to tinker with it? It would be invaluable to take along in the bola bagge, (that's the ME, <Lonex)!
And I have palfreyed both Why & Marj, which brings our number to 32! I was able to snare a few more palfreys so poor Anna is no longer on foot!
I did come in this morning to talk about WARTS...
Back in a few...minutes!
He's a big stout fella - and strong! (He could heave any door off its hinge and post. Or he could take a run at it and break it with his head! - have you ever looked closely at a medieval door?)
Now look at his NOSE! How can you miss that? At the tip there is a WART on which there stood a tuft of red hair!!! A tuft growing from one single wart? This is some kind of WART! Sounds as if it needs some medical attention - healing. Sounds like a good reason to go to Canterbury!
What else do we learn about him in the Prologue to keep in mind when reading the Tale he tells? The man is a DISHONEST miller, stealing grain with that "thumb of gold". He puts that heavy old thumb on the scale and makes the grain weigh 3X its worth!
He plays the bagpipes - that requires a lot of air...a lot of HOT AIR? He likes to entertain...
He has a MIGHTY MOUTH LIKE A FURNACE...hot like a furnace (Trenchmouth, Barb?) - out of which comes a store of filthy tavern stories...
What a poor specimen of humanity, we think to ourselves. Already, we're not expecting much out of that mouth in response to the Knight's tale (we're told that when telling these tales, that one was intended to match the preceding - claire, you read them out of order!) "I've got a noble story I can tellee...", he promises. Did you believe him?
One more thing, we learn this Miller has a NAME . Says Harry, "hold on, Robin, dear old brother..."
...and a WIFE. Can he be happily married (can she?)? He does say he wouldn't do it again, adding, "A man's no cuckold if he has no wife."
To be fair, he does say too..."There are many good wives - a thousand good for one that's bad" I can hear you wondering what odds the wives of the day would give to good husbands...
Okay, HOW DOES THE TALE THE MILLER TELLS REFLECT ON HIM?
What riches we have at our fingertips here! Thank you all for all you bring!
Both tales have to do with love only one is romantic love and the other is earthy love. The miller probably doesn't think much of romantic love. He can TOP that with something more meaningful to him =LUST.
Speaking of the Miller, did you all notice the new Robin up in the heading...that's Nellie's - she did the Knight! Where else in Books do you find original illustrations in the heading, changing weekly. We're lucky to have Nellie brightening our days!
About the "palfrey", not sure what he looks like - these are virtual horses we're talking about. Didn't I give you one? What does he look like? (Will refer your question on the mulled wine to our able innkeeper!).
Charlotte! Valuable information on the mystery plays! Thank you so much! Such spectacles would attract quite a crowd! For many, then, this constituted their religious education? No wonder the Church Fathers looked down on them! But did they attend I'm wondering?
Mary P, your sources are providing so much on motivation to go on a pilgrimage...the Miller, for example might well have gone for the economic reasons - tax relief!
Sir Jim - "I don't mean to say that Chaucer was breaking new ground.." - Oh, but I think he was! Is their a record of these "tavern stories" anywhere before Chaucer included them in his tales? what a different picture of medieval life we get from these bawdy tales! Even the French fabliaux did not come near to what we find here! Also the number of characters from the ranks appearing in one story - this is "groundbreaking", isn't it?
Maryal, yes, the line is from a proverb and it was Dryden:
" 'Tis sufficient to say, according to the proverb, that here is God's plenty."
That's how the poet John Dryden described The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer's 14th-century masterpiece in which pilgrims, representing a cross-section of English society, take turns telling tales as they travel together from London to a saint's shrine in Canterbury.
And out of our Miller's mouth, we get
A husband must not be inquisitive Of God, nor of his wife, while she's alive. So long as he may find God's plenty there,
I read too that "God's plenty" was an oath often heard in the taverns...
They still put on Passion plays all over the world at Easter time...saw one once in St. Augustine, FL and I can't spell it...Oberamag....well, in Germany in a town that starts with the letter "O". I understand that such performances dated way back to medieval time...
Oh yes, I know that Geoffrey didn't originate the tales, but he was the first, well one of the first to include them, to raise them to the level of "literature", right?
MaryP, I like the contrast between the quote from Durant:
"If history had been as careful to note instances of obedience to conventual rules as to record infractions, we should probably be able to counter each sinful lapse with a thousand examples of fidelity."
"There's many virtuous wives, all said and done,Now that was a nice, positive upbeat thing to say, but when he added,
Ever a thousand good for one that's bad."
"A man's no cuckold if he has no wife."...Is he uncomfortable that his own wife may not be one of the virtuous? I just read the Reeve's Tale for Monday's discussion and I think this may be significant...
Mary Page and Harold,you are taking us right back to the 14th century! Thanks so much! I got back my Canterbury pictures on Friday - wish the scanner wasn't broken! I took closeups of the tiles which the pilgrims wore down - on their KNEES!
I read that the Pilgrimage was considered to be the trip TO Canterbury - not the return...and wonder if the groups who came together, went home together. Ours might...they want a chance at that free meal back at the Tabard! Our trip to Canterbury is moving quite slowly. We are only to Greenwich when the Reeve begins his tale. I think the whole of Canterbury Tales is accomplished in one day, isn't that right? And there's something about the position of the sun in the tales...well, that's for tomorrow. I have a few more thoughts on the Miller before the clock strikes 12!
Mary P., how about THIS MILLER Is he heading in the right direction to Canterbury? He's nice and bright???
I like reading the first names of these pilgrims. Alison and John Alan, Nicholas...Robin, the Miller. What a wonderful record of the names of the time! Am I the only one who is intrigued that the Miller, named Robin, put himself as a character into his tale? He was the "strong lad who could take a door off its hinges" - sound familiar? The same words that were used to describe the MILLER in the prologue. And his name is ROBIN too. Niclolas tells the carpenter NOT to tell Robin about the disaster. Robin is to remain in the dark. I'm seeing some connection here between the two...and I think it will become clearer after reading the Reeve's tale!
My hoary top-knot writes me down for old Unless I be like them there medlar-fruit, Them that get rottener as they ripen to't Till they be rotted down in straw and dung. That's how we get to be, no longer young.
Your palfrey awaits!
I have a funny story to tell you all about Jerry, but will wait until he successfully posts! Jerry, just type in a message, and press,"Post my Message. That's really all there is to it!
Oswald, our Reeve, begins his story at 9am - near Greenwich and Deptford. I was interested to read your accounts of the way to Canterbury. Remember passing the towns of Sittingbourne and Faversham on the train last month. Spent a day in Greenwich too. Our party has not traveled very far! Greenwich is a borough of London...and we left a dawn. This means we have listened to the Knight's Tale and the Miller's Tale over a three hour period (if you take this literally!)
Well, let's get on with this "fabliau", this "light-hearted tale with a bawdy twist" - and in this case, a mean-spirited undertone, a societal criicism...
Will look at the medieval clothing look this evening, Marj. I wonder if the British Heritage article is on-line?
There's a nice prize - from Canterbury (not from the Huntington Library!!! ~~Mary Page, where is the library located? Huntington Beach? Where is that? Near LA? San Francisco? Phyll! LOL! I think we should start a shopping list and ask Marcie to check it out for us! One costly Ellesmere manuscript repro and one Pilgrim tie on that list so far. (How much is the tie, oh penurious one? I may just have to order one of those!)
I'm such a sound sleeper, that I haven't experienced such a scene as took place at the Reeve's. Once, late at night a hotel desk clerk gave me the wrong key to a room already occupied. I unlocked the door and moved my luggage in without turning on the light switch. (Couldn't find it near the door.) I took off my coat and went to the bathroom (that light worked). By the light from the bath, I made my way to the night lamp between the beds. Of course when I turned it on and wakened the slumberer, we sorted it all out...sort of. Let's just say I was out of there faster than went in...
ALF! Will be looking for you tomorrow. Sorry about the flu! Bummer. Interesting points about the Reeve's characters! You put your finger right on it... - the bleak physical aspects of "love'...strong contrast to the previous tales. I think the noises were even worse than snoring in that small crowded room! No wonder the "boys" couldn't sleep!
Sir Jim - I too am curious about the fragments...were they sketches for tales Chaucer intended to develop or did he simply decide that a tale like the Cook's was not worth expanding upon once he had fleshed out the Miller and the Reeve's Tale? I'm off to look at that more closely and see how it compares or differs from the others. And how the tale reflects back on the teller, the Cook. Remembering the Cook is delighted- "tickled" that the Reeve put the Miller in his place, so he must share something in common with the sour Reeve!
"It is from the leisurely gait of the Canterbury pilgrim's horse that we gain our term to
our ambling 'saunter' was used to describe the progress of pilgrims to the "Sainte Terre" or
and our modern 'roaming' refers to those who made their visit to the city of St. Peter a pleasurable outing rather than a hurried tour."
I checked out the tie ...very dark on my screen too! Don't see a scarf either, Maryal...surely they could sell you a square of the silk fabric used for the tie and we could all help you roll the edges...of course if it's dark like the tie, you may change your mind about your order?
Marj, I've been thinking about the tales recited by the Canterbury pilgrims - especially the fabliaux, "tavern stories" of the Miller, the Reeve and the Cook. These were twice-told tales and most of the party were familiar with them. Of course the teller is the one who makes the tale interesting with his own little embellishments...But the point is that everyone knew what was coming next. Perhaps Chaucer felt that his portrayal of the Cook was all that he needed to do and that it was unnecessary to write out the whole tale. That his listeners would know the rest and how it would reflect back on the teller??? Hmmm..let's see what the rest of the "fragments" look like as we move through the tales...
Isn't it fascinating to witness the part that CHANCE plays in each of the stories! After so many tales, you begin to expect it to the point you don't even think it strange anymore! Chance becomes predictable! Predictable chance! Isn't that an "oxymoron"?
I've spent a bit of time looking at the "boy pairs" in the three completed tales so far...
Back in five!
Palamon and Arcite, you are close cousins and yet you are willing to kill one another for the hand of the fair Amazon! Your defense? You really don't want to kill your cousin, but rather, you will fight to your death because you do not want to live without her love?
Love? Do you even know her? You will fight to your death for someone who looks good to you? Is that admirable? Reasonable? We leave that to the jury to decide!
Absalom, please help poor Nicholas up to the witness box...those were indefensible things you did to a fellow Oxford student! Are you in the same college? Did you know one another before laying eyes on the wanton Alison? You both knew she was a married woman? What were your intentions? Love? Certainly neither of you had honorable intentions. You inflicted insult and injury on your fellow classmate for - LUST! You have no defense as do Palamon and Arcite...This is one of the seven capital sins! Capital punishment for you both!
John and Alan, fellow Bible students at Cambridge, as close as "brothers" - unhappily spending the night in that miller's cramped quarters. You two did not even suspect the miller had cheated you at that point or that he had let loose your horses. How do you defend your actions that night? You simply drank too much and then helped yourself to your host's wife and daughter. Certainly not love, not even lust! Just base animal instinct! And you are Bible students!!! Aha! Your defense is POETIC JUSTICE which you discovered after the fact! Boys, we sentence you to further study of the Bible...the actual words you attribute to that old proverb:
"A curse, said John, on the day that I was born! Now we'll be in for ribbing and for scorn. Our meal is stolen, men will call us 'fool', Yes, both the provost and our friends at school,"
This was said on their way back from having caught their horse.
"Our corn is stolen; that we can't gainsay, And we've been in a bad fix this whole day. Now since my loss is past all cancellation, I will accept instead some compensation,"
Yes, yes, Man of Law! An abrupt 180 from these bawdy fabliau! Thanks for the reminder...will put it up in the heading right now!
I did see that very episode Barb described (she's in real estate too and must have gotten a real kick out of it!) and you know she's right! There is a direct connection between the spirit and the low humor found in the tavern stories of Canterbury Tales and the British productions we see today. Oh Mary Page I think you'd laugh at Fawlty Towers even if you don't like slapstick! There's so much else going on...You know, you can buy video tapes of the FT episodes? I almost got them for my very correct, conservative husband who adored the show years ago....If anyone is interested, I've kept the mailing address somewhere! I am having trouble reconciling my stereotype of the British as "correct" - rigidly correct - and this form of humor which has amused them throughout the ages...
There is an underlying resentment against university students in these tales. We have one pair from Cambridge and another from Oxford. I wonder if there were strong differences between the two universities as there are today. It might be interesting to know what the universities were like back then...who attended, etc... Hey, I have a great site about week-long study programs for adults at Cambride and Oxford if anyone is interested?
This resentment may be the same as exists today against college kids by hard-working blue collar workers. (Today it's the college kids who are "properly pasted and pale drunk"!)
The Man of Law's Tale is an abrupt departure from the rowdy, randy characters we have been reading....
Good morning, Charo-latte! Interesting stuff on the cook. Hmm...the Cook and the apprentice the same. The cook with a serious infection. The apprentice...a reveller with the ladies. Hmm...you're right, He shouldn't have been around food. Don't let him touch my burgers, Harry!
The Cook..."he was brown, brown as a berry - black hair." Is he a black man? Is he tanned? Why does Chaucer mention this? A dancer, revelling Peterkin, full of love and full of sin. (love? I don't see any love story yet, do you?)
Whenever a "pageant" or "procession" came down Cheapside...this sounds like the traveling dramatic morality presentations we
ve been hearing about...but Revelling Peterkin takes them as an opportunity for ...revelling, hardly religious edification! And when he gets fired, his replacement has a working wife, a prostitute!
I'm trying to imagine the general reaction to these stories...had they all heard these tales before? Were any of them shocked? Did they all laugh? Or were they ready for a change of pace, just as we are?
I notice that there is a lot of sport made of university learning...Were any of the party alums? How about Chaucer himself? Did he attend Cambridge or Oxford? I'd be willing to bet he writes from experience. But what about his characters? The Knight? Perhaps the Lawyer. Yes, the lawyer.
It will be interesting to note. If I can squeeze in a few minutes, I'll try to find something on Chaucer's education and something on Cambridge and Oxford at this time...
Have a great day! It's lovely in Arlington - Cherry Blossom parade today (even though the blossoms have finished blooming ten days ago!)
Meanwhile, in Europe, the first universities were being formed. The first of the great medieval universities was established in 1088 at Bologna. This school specialized in teaching Roman Law, which is the paradigm for all modern western codes of law. In 1119 the University of Paris was founded. This school became the model for most of the schools in northwestern Europe. The various colleges of Oxford opened between 1167 and 1185, but Cambridge was not established until 1209 Each university, though affiliated with the church, was self-governing and democratic (Barnett 19). They were basically communities of scholars implanted into a host town, and relations between the host community and the scholars were not always congenial. An argument between the students and towns people in Oxford, for instance, escalated into a riot, and forced some of the students and faculty to flee the town, in fear for their lives. This incident precipitated the founding of Cambridge University. Nevertheless, the idea of community and collaboration was central to the formation of the schools which have evolved into modern universities
Oxford University is organized into a series of residential colleges that began as residence halls for students who were in the city to study with the professors who were there. Eventually, the masters of these colleges formed a guild that became the university. By 1300, Oxford was second only to Paris in importance.
Cambridge University got its start as a result of a murder at Oxford. In 1209, a student killed a local woman. Townspeople raided the college he was part of and hanged two or three students. The guild of masters (i.e., the university) suspended classes, and some 3,000 students and teachers left Oxford to take up residence in Cambridge. In 1228, a crowd of students from Paris joined those already in Cambridge, thus helping to create the university.
Oxford University, in England, got its start perhaps as early as 1117, but no one can say with certainty when the university began. Certainly it had reached that status by the end of the twelfth century, and, by 1209, it is estimated there were 3,000 students and teachers associated with it. Unlike Bologna and Paris, law wasn't taught in the universities. Rather, students studied law at the Inns of Court in London.Off tomorrow! See you all Monday for a real change of pace!
" There was an Oxford Student too, it chanced, Already in his logic well advanced."
Admittedly, there is little known about where WS was educated. He left Ann in the country with his family while he spent much of his life in London. That's true. What he did there, other than stage "his plays" is not documented - but that doesn't mean he didn't write the plays. There simply is no credible evidence to prove that he did not and that someone else did!
There is little known where Chaucer was educated either! I wonder if Morrison drew conclusions from Canterbury Tales??? The Man of Law refers to him as if he knows him ..."law wasn't taught in the universities. Rather, students studied law at the Inns of Court in London!" Hmm, Morrison concludes that Chaucer may have been educated here too.
Yes!, we do have an Oxford student in our party...on his way to Canterbury to do penance for his dalliance with the Oxford town ladies, no doubt!
PPP, you've got me thinking about St. Friedswide at Oxford. And wondering just where she was...was she protected from these wild youth, the students of Oxford, or did they just go for the town girls?
Looking forward to a change of pace in the morning...another saint?
Jim notes the strong link between contracts/obligation. That's what this tale is really all about, isn't it? Good/Evil - Power/Submission - Christianity/Non-believers - Parents/Children - Male/Female.
Constance (I missed the "constant" in there ) - is not the crusader saint out to convert the world to a better way, to Christianity, but as Maryal points out, a "stick figure" (a very attractive one, so let's give her a few more curves) - an instrument (a thrall?), sailing the world within the ship - the Church (thanks, ALF).
I'm wearing the robes of the medieval pilgrim now, trying to imagine the reaction of the tale on our band of pilgrims...(as opposed to a roomful of 20th century feminists - <<BG>>)
Will reread the prologue - on poverty. As I recall I liked it - something in there about the value of Time. As PPP mentions - some things never change!
Abelard. Parisian Scholastic philosopher Peter Abelard (1079-1142?) wrote: "by doubting we come to inquiry; and through inquiry we perceive truth," he was echoing that Hellenic spirit of Human Reason -- what we call humanism -- as well as foreshadowing the future life of the skeptical mind. French theologian, sensualist and monk lived, wrote and taught during "12th Century Renaissance."
Abelard's studied under "radical" theologians, he also studied under the very orthodox William of Champaux (1070-1121). But Abelard was an odd man and nobody's fool. Instead of becoming either unorthodox or dogmatic, he worked out his own philosophy. Abelard was a restless, vain and contentious man who got into trouble with the medieval Church not so much for his views -- which by today's standards seem rather innocuous -- but for the way in which he stated his views. And if the way he stated his views caused uneasiness with the Church authorities at Paris, a cathedral city, his romance with Heloise, the niece of the canon Fulbert caused downright scandal.
Heloise (1101-1164), barely seventeen, and Abelard, then thirty-eight, met as intellectual equals in the home of Fulbert and fell passionately in love. They were secretly married. Against the protests of Heloise, had a son whom they called Astrolabe, and were constantly hounded by the authorities of Notre Dame. Subsequently, Heloise was sent to a nunnery and Abelard to a monastery, but not before he was castrated for his sins against Fulbert's niece. Despite all of this and constant complaints from the Church authorities at Paris, Abelard attracted students from all over Europe. In an age when there were only a handful of universities across Europe, Abelard nearly acquired the title of "The Philosopher," a label medieval philosophers were to eventually ascribe to Aristotle. Heloise and Abelard continue to meet and share their rules of order and how they re-organized their monastery and nunnery where Heloise become the prioress.
Abelard admired classical philosophy but lived at a time when Latin translations were minimal and difficult to obtain, even for a professor of theology at Paris. However, in what Abelard did have of Greek thought, he found all the essential doctrines of Christianity -- and here's where he really got into trouble.
Abelard had the audacity to declare that the distance between ancient paganism and the Scriptures was not that great. For this reason, he did not condemn the ancients -- as would Dante -- simply because they did not know Christ. Abelard was disgusted with those people who hastily accepted any doctrine before seriously considering its merits. His most famous work, SIC ET NON, quoted the Church Fathers -- Origen, Augustine, Jerome and Eusebius -- on various issues and showed they were by no means in agreement when it came to interpreting the Scriptures.
Abelard supplied 158 problems in the form of general statements, intended to be disputed by anyone who cared to enter the debate. The ultimate answer -- truth -- was left to the individual reader to surmise. This technique shocked Abelard's contemporaries. Scripture, for these men, was truth. There was no need to meddle in what was considered absolute. But Abelard wanted men to think for themselves. Reason and Logic were the answers for Abelard -- his faith in the power of Reason was perhaps exaggerated but important nonetheless. Reason has taken different shapes at different times. Abelard is the transitional figure.
Doubt, inquire and perceive truth, underlying this simple statement -- "by doubting we come to inquiry; and through inquiry we perceive truth" -- is an optimistic faith. This faith is secular and religious at one and the same time. Reason and faith, for a man like Abelard, are two roads which lead to the same truth. In Abelard's case, that truth is God.
Marj Those mothers-in law from hell really puzzle me! Just can't understand how they did in their own flesh and blood - for religious or for any other reason! I know, I wasn't there. And the fact that it happened twice indicates that it was a natural response to the "conversions", which is beyond my comprehension.
Why did Dunegild murder her own people, yet send Constance and her grandson to sea? Why not murder her with the others?
This is a marvelous discussion. I thank all of you for what you are putting into it! Imagine reading this alone?
There was something there that got me thinking - about time. I found it striking a chord (especially at tax time where you may find Harry tonight!):
Bewail time's loss more than the loss of gold:I find that I put more value on time these days than ever...more than wealth definitely, more that food, appearance, more than sex perhaps, (but I guess I won't go so far as to put health on this list). It is a priority now more than ever before. Perhaps I am more aware now that it is running out! Those lines never would have jumped out at me years ago when reading them in school...
"Lost money is not lost beyond recall,
But loss of time brings on the loss of all."
Is this what motivates the man o' law?
Spite of thy will thou must, for indigence,
Go steal, or beg, or borrow thine expense.
Thou blamest Christ, and thou say'st bitterly,
He misdistributes riches temporal;
Thy neighbour dost thou censure, sinfully,
So she is an example that the M O'Law is using to preach his little sermon on poverty - do not blame Christ because of unfairness on earth. Now here's the question - to whom is he preaching? To those in the party who may be expressing some sort of resentment toward the well-heeled lawyer? To others who resent court decisions. or the fees he collects with very little effort? (I'm still wondering where the "he was less busy that he seemed to be" is all about - as well as his reason for this sermon-tale??
What precisely is it about Christianity's distinction from Islam that makes the Sowdanesse claim that Christian law will bind Islamic people to a thralldom to their bodies (and penance) which they do not already have and suffer from? One can understand how betraying Mohammed will condemn Islamic people to hell if they convert to Christianity, from their perspective at least. What is considerably less clear is why the Sowdanesse argues that Christian law will convert them to a slavery to their bodies if they accept Christianity. Christ's law, after all, is supposed to be just as otherworldly in its orientation as Islamic belief claims to be. Both are concerned primarily with the beatific afterlife and how one must behave to have any hope of achieving it. The Sowdanesse's addition of only three words ("to oure bodies") curiously amplifies and transforms Custance's earlier complaint to her father, where she is responding to being sent away to the land of the infidels, into a statement that seems "nowadays" to be slightly off the mark of how Christianity is generally perceived.Is there something here about binding law that will help? You know, this is the first time I remember Constance (Custance???) complaining about anything? Will have to read that part again!
Chaucer's journey to Canterbury is undertaken in an age of Schism. That a sense of profound doom hangs over his Tales of Canterbury can be read in the fact that the church has abandoned its concern for the cure of souls and has taken up instead the art of protecting the property and revenue rights of its vast material holdings. That single schismatic issue has become so intensely con tested by the end of the century that one pope raises an army of Christian soldiers to fight a real war against the other pope's army of Christian soldiers. One point that can be drawn from this observation is that Chaucer may have perceived the Schism itself as God's second judgment against sinful man, a judgment he ties to Noah's flood through association with the traditional first day of its beginning.
"There is no historical evidence to show that a majority of pilgrims went on their journeys in the spring ; indeed, the major pilgrimages to Canterbury were undertaken in July and December" (166). When Chaucer says that "And specially from every shires ende/ Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende" (I.15-16), he suggests that a considerable number of English people took to the road in April to make the pilgrimage. If nothing else, the historical fact reported by Wood suggests that Chaucer's original audience, and we can assume most such people were aware of major traditions associated with Becket's shrine, may ha ve wondered why Chaucer asserts that a significant number of people longed to go on pilgrimages in April, when more likely months for the journey were July and December. Wood takes note of the fact that it rains heavily in the spring and, "although April is a nice time of year for a trip, who wants to go riding in all that rain?" (166). He answers this question by suggesting that the traditional, biblical date for the beginning of Noah's "journey on the ark" was April 17, which is the same day he determin es from Chaucer's astronomy for the beginning of the Canterbury pilgrimage (162-163). Wood also acknowledges the fact that Chaucer's reference to the sun's position in the constellation of Aries is ambiguous and not nearly precise enough to fix a date with total confidence. The issue may be moot, since the Man of Law's Prologue contains a specific reference to April 18 (II.5).
"The opening passage of the Canterbury Tales must also be considered in the light of that same issue. "Whan that Aprill," therefore, can be taken as a reference to the beginning of Noah's flood, on the one hand, which initiated God's first punishment of a sinful world, and to April 8, 1378, on the other, as a point in time when God might consider a second destruction of the world because of the sin that was ushered into His creation by the beginning of the Great Schism, since April 8 was the day Gregory XI's college of cardinals elected Bartolomeo Prignano as the pope who took the name Urban VI. In answer, then, to the question of how soon Chaucer engages the issues of the Great Schism in the Canterbury Tales, one can argue that he does so from the very first words of his literary production."
I hope it wasn't me...that I didn't dump a bucket of cold water on this fun-loving bunch - by suggesting that this wasn't a real spring-break kind of pilgimage? That they didn't used to make the pilgrimage in April, but rather December or July...those roads were barely passable from the spring rains.
Putting your disappointment aside for a minute, weren't you the least bit excited about learning of the Great Schism within the Church(April 8 1378) and the effect that the schism had on the western world at the time...Chaucer included, who began writing Canterbury Tales at the same time?
" a sense of profound doom hangs over his Tales of Canterbury can be read in the fact that the church has abandoned its concern for the cure of souls and has taken up instead the art of protecting the property and revenue rights of its vast material holdings."You don't think Chaucer is criticizing the excesses, the zealots within the church who have forgotten the true mission of the Church, the concern for souls and has become more interested in property and revenue...everything the man o'law is interested in? Don't you think the ENTIRE CANTERBURY TALES is a reaction to the excesses of the Church? I do. I think it's the Schism within the Church that Chaucer is writing about and will no longer say I think that this is a mistake, that Chaucer didn't know what he was doing when he put this tale into the mouth of the Man of Law. I think it's exciting! I'll give him an A! And maybe the free meal! There! I said it and I'm glad! But I am really sorry about spring break! N wonder you're all sulking!
I don't think I can look at these tales again, without thinking about the major upheaval the Schism is causing in Chaucer's world...
Mary Page, I think you would be surprised if you saw the story you think Chaucer just put into verse for the this tale. He did far more than rhyme it!!! He rewrote it! I'll link it here and you can see for yourself...and maybe when you see what he did with the original, you'll agree that he was up to something...
Barbara, those links are wonderful! You are right, there is a lot going on during this period - but the Schism was huge and shook the foundation the Medieval Society was based on...Why do you think that during this period, when there was hatred and bloody wars going on against the East, the Saracens, Constance would have been given in marriage to the "enemy"? What did her father stand to gain? The link on women and the law that Barb brings us states at length the laws regarding the dowery. This wasn't explained in the tale, or was it? Did I miss something about the reason the unhappy Constance was sent to marry the Islamic prince?
"The dowry (Mahr) is a technical term denoting the money which must be given to the woman in the marriage contract in exchange for enjoying her."
Geez...what does this sound like to you????
the silly husband has to pay, He has to clothe us, he has to array Our bodies to enhance his reputation, While we dance round in all this decoration. And if he cannot pay, as it may chance, Or won’t submit to such extravagance, Thinking his money thrown away and lost, Then someone else will have to bear the cost.
Some writers suggest that Chaucer really intended this tale to be told by a woman, but perhaps forgot to change it. I suggest a tint of homosexual jealousy on the part of the MOL. What do you think?
What about the conversation between the monk and the wife? He tells her:
I cannot but imagine our good man Has been at work with you since night began: You really ought to go and take a rest.’ And he laughed merrily at his little jest, And for his private thoughts his face turned red.
The pretty wife says:
In all the realm of France there is no wife that has less pleasure in that sorry play.
The wily monk sees his own opportunity.
Unfold your grief It may be I can give you some relief.
And then he tells her that he is not really the merchant’s cousin but insists that he only says this so he can see the wife more often because he is love with her.
She tells him that her husband is very mean to her and :
To me at any rate, since the world began. It’s unbecoming, since I am his wife, To tell a soul about our private life, Whether in bed or any other place.
In the SN generation this idea used to hold true. But it seems to have changed to more openess in generations following. Is this better for women? Does it lead to more satisfactory marriages?
The story then turns pretty raunchy when the merchant starts to embrace his wife:
And up he went and made it pretty tough. “No more!” she said. “By God, you’ve had enough!”
And he says such things in the company of women! Women of the church, no less!
When the merchant and the wife quarrel about the money she tells him: “I’ll never pay except in bed.” He tells her that she must economize. But why? He can afford to pay for her fripparies.
In Middle English, the Shipman concludes the tale with a very crude pun in the final couplet:
Thus endeth now my tale, and God us sende Taillyng ynough until our lyves end. Amen.
Albert Silverman suggests that there is a double entendre in the use of the word “Taillynge.” He says that the Shipman means not only tallying or paying debts, but also sexual intercourse. “Only a few lines before there is a clear pun when the wife says: ‘I am your wfe, score it upon my taille.’ This was a slang word prevalently used for pudendum in Chaucer’s day.
Neville Coghill ends the tale more gently with:
And now story’s done, and may God send us Plenty of entries until death shall end us! Amen.
But in both ME and in Modern English, it is still a double entendre. We know what both Chaucer and NC’ s translation really meant. And it is strictly from the male point of view.
Not only does such knowledge help to understand the particular tale, and what Chaucer very well may have intended, but future tales as well...
On the other hand, Chaucer's insight, understanding of human nature is universal in the portrayal of the tellers of the tale. He uses the satires, the tales to bring out the nature of the teller.
Yes, on to the Shipman's Tale, by all means, but with a new perspective - gained from the Man Of Law's tale. This is another one easily dismissed if considered in a vacuum........
Okay, first the Shipman's tale...did you think it funny? Irritating? True? Satire? Do you really think it was a mistake on Chaucer's part, when he changed the pronouns, the perspectives of the husband and the wife in the opening, or contrived?
“My gold is yours whenever you think best. And not my gold alone, but all my stuff: Take what you please, be sure you take enough.”
Chaucer is aware of the commercialization of the married state. In order to get needed money, the wife has to give herself to the monk as well as to her husband.
She is essentially the victim, though the husband is cuckolded.
Bring on the tale!
Maryal, ALF, you got that right! The only one who comes alive is the man of the church, the monk, Sir John - "well-made and bold"; 30 winter's old..."delightful face" and oh "so free in spending!" Out to the country to inspect Church property and collect "revenue", bearing the malmsey wine and a brace of birds...presents for all the "faithful" too...of course he is center stage here, with the spotlight shining on him - do the other characters even have names? The wife, the husband, the merchant, the little girl, the cousin...
The satire on the Church is clear, and also biting. The Shipman without conscience - helping himself to the merchant's wine, the man of the cloth who will offer the Mass and then take his host's wife- without any qualms of conscience!
The Schism, the blurred vision of the Church ~ administering to the spiritual or to the temporal...all right! I won't get into the Schism!
I think the fact that this is a French fabliaux, with the droll double entendre and sarcastic irony makes this very different from the slapstick comedy and chance occurences of the English fabliaux we have seen so far? Where is your taste? Which appeals more? Do you think Chaucer chose this type of tale, because of the subject? A satire about the excesses, the sacrilige, the lack of conscience of a man of the Church deserved a more cynical approach, rather than the hilarity of the students in the Miller's and the Reeves's tales???
"Well told, by the Lord's body!" said our Host. "Long may you voyage up and down the coast, Noble Sir Skipper, and anchor in the roads! God give this monk bad years, a thousand loads! Aha, good people! Look out for such a scrape! This monk, he turned the man into an ape, And, by St. Augustine, his wife as well! Let no more monks come in, wherever you dwell!"
"Well said, by Corpus Dominus!" cried our Host. "Long life to you! And may you sail the coast In safety, noble skipper! Don't get sunk. A load of lousy luck upon that monk! Hey, fellows, watch your step for such a jape! He took the merchant's hood and put an ape Inside, by St. Augustine, and what's more Into his wife's hood too! Well, shut your door Against all monks! ... What next? ... Well, let me see; Who else shall entertain the company?"
Did you think it was funny? Or even entertaining? What about the guys down at the tavern? Do you think they roared at it? What about it did they enjoy do you suppose?
Have you noticed the discussion schedule up top??? Tomorrow we will begin one of the Classic characters of Canterbury Tales - the Prioress!! Read up and don't forget to reread the PROLOGUE which is precious!!!
We'll leave the Shipman up through tonight in case there is someone out there doing additional research on him. (THERE really is a lot more to him and to this tale that we have discussed but attention is fadinggggggggg)
Let us not make light of the merchants wife's enjoyment of our monk: Nor should we make much ado over the "poor" womans plight with what here has been called female bashing.
"And to go shortly to the point
this lovely woman readily agreed
to take his hundred francs and to requite
Sir John by lying in his arms all night."
As we read at the end of this humorous tale (tail) (taile) ??? our host bids the shipman "long life.~" and says Don't get sunk (to the shipman????)
"A lot of lousy luck upon that monk!
...He took the merchant's hood and put an ape
Inside, by St. Augustine, and what's more
Into his wife's hood too.
Well shut your door Against ALL monks!
Marj, it seems that these fabliaux have all been told by the lower echelon, doesn't it? The Shipman, the Skipper, could have been "middle class", but as you point out, his brown serge gown - and then that "farm horse" he's riding immediately put him back with the Miller, the Reeve and the Cook, even before he opened his mouth!
It's true, we don't seem to have any wives in this party, do we? Very few women, actually. There is a Widow and some nuns... I wonder if this is unusual for the pilgrimages, or did wives generally stay home? Charlotte's note about the female population at the time may be part of the explanation...
Well, here comes our Prioress now! Let's see if her portrayal is any more favorable to women than those we've seen in the preceding tales. How does she compare to our poor beleagured Constance? Her opening lines set the tone, perhaps to put down the Shipman?
"O Lord, our Lord, how marvellous Thy Name...The portrayal of the Prioress is my favorite! Her tale, another story!
Nor only are Thy precious praise and fame
Found in the mouths of men of dignity,
For in the mouths of children... The bounty of thy ways can be declared..."
The Prioress: Madame Englantyne. We know from the prologue that pity ruled her tender heart. WHY I ask is she here? the Prioress is the head nun! She is responsible for assisting in the running of the abbey. She is needed to maintain internal affairs and is the one responsible for the contacts in the outside world. The prioress is charged with the duty of discipline and organization in her convent. She travels with another nun and 3 priests, as well. Why is she going to Canterbury? For absolution or penance? Is it a devotional trip? Why has she absented herself from her abbey? I thought nuns were forbidden to go on pilgimages then.
She begins with Domine, dominus noster
(psalm viii) which is The Glory of the Lord in Creation - the psalm of
David showing the littleness of physical MAN and the greatness of God.
She goes on to beseech the blissful Queen Mary. "Guide thy song
that I shall sing for thee."
Mary remains the most complex of the holy Family. she fullfills all roles: protector, tender sister, indulgent mother. Miracles of the Virgin portray Mary as protecting those who are dedicated to her, including criminals who have no other virtue except devotion to Mary; they show her rebuking and punishing those who harm her favorites; they show her as a nurturing mother who heals the ills of her earthly offspring by tenderly
suckling them with the miraculous milk from her breasts. She came to represent, in popular piety, the mutually exclusive ideals of the infinite mercy of a mother for her offspring (as well as an eternally chaste lover.)
She also lacks the faults of ordinary women; there is no deceit, no cunning, no duplicity, trickery or falsehood in her. (Available on CD, Gautierde Coincy: Les Miracles de Nostre-Dame, France-Telecom Foundation)
I suppose that's what you'd have to call her transparent mannerisms, her belief that the way she wishes others to see her is what they do in fact see! "...straining to counterfeit a courtly kind of grace" - straining to appear worldy, but all the time unworldy? How complicated!
But this is not the naive childishness of the young boy in her tale. His age is clearly stated as seven. What is the significance of this? At the age of seven, a child is considered in the eyes of the Church to be old enough to make his first communion, to have reached the age of reason. Our child is seven, but so unworldly, so ignorant of the ways of his world and the effect his hearty song would have on Jewish ears. Apparently, he has been brought up, by his widowed mother, who never exposed her son to bigotry. Apparently, we are to conclude, that this was never communicated to him through his Church or his school either!
So we have an interesting contrast between the teller and the subject of the tale. Both "unworldly", both "childish" and yet both so different. Is Chaucer making a point that the Lady has no excuse for her pretention? No excuse for telling such a tale, for acting as if her bigotry is not transparent in choosing the tale in the first place? Is Chaucer satirizing the Church's attitude toward the Jews (as Mary Page) describes, or is he too much a man of his time to even be seeing the Church persecution of the Jews for what it was?
Will read again, this time paying more heed to the "poetry."
At the coronation of Richard I, a bitter dispute erupted over the admission
of Jews to the coronation ceremony, a
dispute that was followed several months later by the massacre of 150 Jews at York and the despoliation of their
houses and goods.
Later on, Richard's brother John also issued a charter to the Jews which confirmed the privileges and protections
they had had under Richard, including the right to their own justice and special exemptions from taxes and tolls. The
reason for this is clear: the Jews paid John the sum of 4,000 marks for the confirmation of this charter.
Jews were finally expelled from England in 1290, as a concession by Edward I in exchange for a new tax.
Popular culture in the fourteenth century was thoroughly imbued with
antisemitism, and popular literature, such as
Miracles of the Virgin, or the stories of blood libel (the belief that Jews would kidnap, torture, and murder Christian
children in the Passover season) portrayed Jews as agents of the devil, figures of almost supernatural malevolence, a
superstition that was aided by the fact that no Jews lived in England (at least openly). The story the Prioress tells was
well known in the fourteenth century, one of the most popular versions of the infamous blood libel stories. Another
popular story with the same them is that of Little William of Norwich, which the Prioress mentions.
Charolotte: Why do you think the prioress was on this trip? She probably came from a proper, aristocratic family. Perhaps she was from a large aristocratic family, with many females, which would have increased her ineligibility for marriage, if she was at the bottom rung of that ladder. Do you believe, perhaps, that that is WHY she was hypocritical in Chaucers depiction of a holy woman?
Isn't this a coincidence that we are discussing this particular tale on Good Friday?
I have a Biblical question for you. Do we know anything about Mary and Joseph at the time of the Crucifixion? She seems so alone and vulnerable throughout the Passion, that I've often wondered where Joseph is at the time. He was much older than she was at the time of the Nativity; I've concluded that Mary is a widow at this time?
Is Chaucer telling the story of the Passion on an April Good Friday? The timing is right? There seems to be no rancor against the Jews...it's as if "they know not what they do" when they react to the new song that they are hearing.
The grain of wheat upon his tongue...the bread of life -eternal life.
I think this is a very religious tale coming from the Prioress, sobering to our gay party on Good Friday.
" Detroit Bishop Michael Gallagher refused to discipline Fr. Coughlin, saying: "Until a lawful superior rules otherwise, I stand steadfastly behind this priest."
Archbishop Edward Mooney, newly arrived as Detroit's first archbishop in 1937, was that superior. Fr. Coughlin was maneuvered out of the limelight and eventually silenced.
Fr. Coughlin continued to serve as pastor of the Shrine of the LIttle Flower until his retirement in 1966. He died in 1979 at the age of 88.
...I looked up St. Hugh and find he is a cannonized saint, know for his defense of the Jews
"He was one of the leaders in denouncing the persecution of the Jews that swept England, 1190-91, repeatedly facing down armed mobs and making them release their victims" - and died of poor health. He clearly is not the one mentioned in the Prioress's tale!
St Hugh of Lincoln
Look what more search reveals!!!
Among the calendared records of the royal chancery in England, there isdocumentation for the death of a boy supposed to have been killed by Jews at Lincoln in 1255, the year in which "little" St Hugh was martyred--at least there are royal pardons granted to the alleged culprits. This does not, of course, prove that he was really killed by them, only that they were charged with culpability in the crime. These pardons were probably extended to those not *directly* implicated in the murder. Other than these few references, contemporary chronicles are our chief sources for the murder of 1255.
Little St. Hugh of LIncoln
This was not an isolated case...this site lists similar incidents:
Little St. Hugh of Lincoln
Tomorrow we hear from Chaucer on Chaucer! A riot! Except for the second tale Harry forces him to tell, the Tale of Melibee - that one is 1000 lines long and most editions do not even cover it. Many of us have the Coghill edition which includes a short summary of that tale. Ginny has scanned these pages and there is a link to them up in the Discussion schedule in the heading if you do not have the Coghill edition.
I am curious as to whether the other editions we are reading here carry the complete tale?
Have a JOYful day, everyone!
Chaucer shows that the people with religious vocation as their career are not to be adored and venerated. They have horrible chinks in their life just as every human. In the past I know people have looked to their clergy as above other humans; and there are people who do that still today. Not so says Chaucer in the descriptions and tales.
Maryal brings up the irony of the two names...St. Hugh, the defender of the Jews, Little St. Hugh, the victim (Little St. Hugh was beatified by the Church, but never really sainted and the whole story downplayed hundreds of years later. But the question remains - what did Chaucer believe at the time? How much of this is satire?
More questions - the answers may provide a clue to the answer. The Prioress refers to Herod, also Rachel and St. John of Patmos in her tale.
Oh cursed folk of Herod come again. Herod had every two year old child killed in an attempt to kill the Christ-child.
What of Rachel? The mother, "a second Rachel weeping for her child." What happened to Rachel's child?
St. John of Patmos? "There they don white robes before that Lamb and sing afresh that never have known woman in the flesh." Do these references simply reinforce the belief that the Church accepted the murder by the Jews as true, or is there further example of irony here?
boys who are playing football are joined by Sir Hugh, who kicks the ball throught the Jew;s window. Sir Hugh sees the Jew's daughter looking out of the window, and asks her to throw down the ball. She tells him to come and get it; this he is afraid to do, for fear she may do to him "as she did to his father." The Jew's daughter entices him in with an apple, leads him throught nine dark doors, lays him on a table, and sticks him like a swine; then rolls him in a cake of lead, and throws him into a draw-well fifty fathoms deep, Our Lady's draw-well. The boy not returning at eve, his mother sets forth to seek him; goes to the Jew's castle, the Jew's garden, and the the draw-well, entreating in each case Sir Hugh to speak. He answers from the well, bidding his mother go make his winding-sheet, and he will meet her at the back of merry Lincoln the next morning. His mother makes his winding-sheet, and the dead corpse meets her at the back of mery Lincoln: all the bells of Lincoln are rung without men's hands, and all the books of Lincoln are read without man's tongue.
In version G
The Jew's daughter lays the Bible at the boy's head, and the Prayer-Book at his feet(how come these in the Jew's house?) before she sticks him.
In version O there is a jumble;
- Oh lay a bible at my head,
- And a Prayer-Book at my feet,
- In the well that they did throw me in...
In 1255 the Annals of Waverly have the story that a boy in Lincoln named Hugh was crucified by the Jews in contempt of Christ with various preliminary tortures. to conceal the act from Christians, the body when taken from the cross, was thrown into a running stream; but the water would not endure the wrong done its maker, and immediately ejected it upon dry land. The body was then buried in the earth, but was found above ground the next day. The guilty parties were now very much frightened and quite at their wit's end; as a last resort they threw the corpse into a drinking-well. Thereupon the whole place was filled with so brilliant a light and so sweet an odor that it was clear to everybody that there must be something holy and prodigious in the well. The body was seen floating on the water, and, upon its being drawn up, the hands and feet were found to be pierced, the head had, as it were, a crown of bloody points, and there were various other wounds: from all which it was plain that this was the work of the abonimable Jews. A blind woman, touching the bier on which the blessed martyr's corpse was carrying to the church, recieved her sight, and many other miracles followed. Eighteen Jews, convicted of the crime, and confessing it with their own mouth, were hanged.
In this same year 1255 Alfonso the Wise recorded in the Siete Partidas, that Jews were wont to crucify on Good Friday children that they had stolen or waxen images when children were not to be had and this was one of the most effective grounds offered in justification of the expulsion of the Jews under Ferdinand and Isabella. In San Diminguito de val, a choir-boy of seven, was said to have been stolen and crucified at Saragossa in 1250. in the text there are a great collection of stories with dates of supposed boy child kidnappings and than crucified all over Europe, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Munich, Baden, Colmar, in the Tyrol on and on. The Anglo-French version of this Ballad has 92 stanzas.
In another version written in the Annals of Burton, continues with the King on his way to Scotland stopping at Lincoln, agrees with the charges and lockes all the Jews in their houses which are stormed. John of Lessington promises Jopin, the head of the Jews and the priests who it was believed to be at the botton of the whole transaction, that he would save their lives. Jopin delighted, expecting to be able to save the other Jews by the use of money confessed to everything. Considering the disgrace to the majesty of the King if he escaped punishment he was tied to the tail of a horse, dragged throught the streets, over sticks and stones and hung. The Dominicans in the area are bribed and they save the lives of the others. Richard of Cornwall, the king's brother, to whom the king has pledged all the Jews in England as security for a loan, stimulated also by a huge bribe, withstood this violation of vested rights and further executeions was stayed.
And still another version has the Jews of Lincon steeling the boy Hugh, who is eight years old on Peter and Pual's day, June 29 feeding him properly for ten days, assembled were Jews from all over Great Britian, with a curcifixion that includes an appointed judge, a Pilate. The boy is scourged till the blood ran, crowned with thorns, spit upon, pricked with knives, made to drink gall, mocked and scoffed at, hailed as a false prophet, finally crucified with a lance thrust into his heart. Taken down he is disembowelled for magical purposes. The mother called Beatrice made dilligent search for her lost child, neighbors say he was playing with the Jewish children, the town officers is sent for, draws the body from the well, the mother shrieks drawing a great concourse to the place among whom was Sir John of Lexinton a long-headed and scholarly man, a priest of the cathedral declaring he never heard of the Jews doing such a thing and lays hands on the Jews. The Jew, Copin by name, encouraged to confess by Sir John is in custody when the King comes through and blames Sir John for the promise made to save the Jews. Copin seeing he had no chance for life volunteered to complete his testimony saving Sir John. The inquisition made by the king's justices showed that the crime was the common act of the Jews of England and with the mother's appeals to the King, on St. Clement's day eighteen of the richer and more considerable Jews of Linclon were hung.
This week we get to look closely at Chaucer on Chaucer! Now this is fun! From the very first opening lines (we also get a look at Harry's wife here too!) - we get a physical rendering of Chaucer! I'm goin g to say right off that I think that he looks quite the opposite of the elfish fellow with the waist of a poppet! What do you think? Why is he staring at the ground? Is he listening intently, deep in thought, depressed, tired, bored, composing?
One more thing and then I will be quiet. Two hundred years later, Shakespear will write The Merchant of Venice, a play that demonstrates the humanity of Jews,
Did you read Chaucer's own description of himself, his physical appearance? Why do you suppose he makes such a point of describing his "eyes to the ground" as if searching for a hare?
Has anyone come across a picture of Chaucer? The one above is from the Ellesmere manuscript, but it is my understanding that all of those illustrations were created from the Canterbury Tales text. I'd love to see something from an actual portrait, or woodcut created in his lifetime. Can you tell where you found it and we'll link it here? Do you think his portrayal in the prologue to Sir Topaz is accurate?
"He's shaped about the waist the same as me;
He'd be a likely poppet to embrace
For any woman, small and fair of face!
There's something elvish in his countenance..."
...with face like bread of whitest grain.
His lips were red as rose,
And his complexion like a stain
Of scarlet red, and I maintain
He had a seemly nose.
He was chaste...as bramble-flower
Where red the berries creep."
Sir Thopas is at once a parody and a celebration of English popular romances.
What else did he write...I mean, did Chaucer write anything serious? With a straight face? I know he's known for Canterbury Tales...and his wicked sense of humor, ability to write verse and satire is evident here. But what I'm asking...is this the extent of his talent? If so, we must take seriously what he is doing with his own tale. Is he telling us that this Is what he does? He is not about creative writing, but about parody? This is the only thing that he does and yet Harry doesn't like it? Is this how he thinks the public feels about him? He is clearly laughing at himself here.
Another question...in the Coghill version, the tale of Sir Topaz is made up of two parts, the "first fit" and the "second fit"...any ideas? Any notes in the Wright version?
He is not about creative writing, but about parody? This is the only thing that he does and yet Harry doesn't like it? Is this how he thinks the public feels about him? He is clearly laughing at himself here.
Certainly the silly doggerel verses found in the tale of Sir Topaz are his own - though parodies of the story line of other tales. What did you make of the Elf queen? Chaucer is described as elf...sought by the ladies, though "chaste" - he fled "lechery." Does the elf queen suggest a fairy-tale love, without the reality of sexual love as portrayed in the fabliaux told so often before? Clearly this fairy tale does not please Harry. Clearly he does not see the humor in the parody! Is it the doggerel verse, or the subject matter not living up to the anticipation that comes with this type of verse? Sounds a lot like the romantic tale of Sir Gawain & the Green Knight, written at the same time, but certainly not in doggerel...
Harry laughed heartily at the Miller, the Reeve and the Cook, remember? I'll bet no one was laughing at Chaucer! I think they were expecting to be entertained with a down and dirty tale that made them laugh, had a moral and perhaps maybe even made them feel they were not as bad as the folks in the fabliaux! The tale of Sir Topaz didn't do that...so Chaucer turned to his prose tale of Melibee...Was this any better received?
Well, it says something that it is not even included in most editions...a long sermon, debate about whether a man should avenge his little daughter's assault by some burglars who broke into his house while he was away. His wife, DamePrudence argues that this is wrong...and after 1000 lines of examples, Biblical, Papal, Roman orators...convinces him to let them off and forgive them. How do you think this goes over with the pilgrims? What is the moral...(sort of obvious - turn the other cheek)...but do the pilgrims accept this? Again, I'm going to guess NOT!
So Chaucer tells two unsatisfying tales to the group...WHY? To entertain the court? Us? Or is he really drawing everyone's attention, including ours, to the teller of the tale and holding that person's shortcomings up for examination...in this particular case, his, Chaucer's own. He spends his life translating silly tales with questionable messages and morals - to entertain the crowd, (the Court)- for what purpose? I'm guessing that rather than mocking the tales, he's mocking the tellers, he's mocking himself!
And yes, I like a man who can laugh at himself...no fragile male ego here to pussyfoot around - unlike the fragile males in these two tales...
You are too much!!! Do you sit there with a thesaurus as we go on and you run out of P's - or are they all from your HEAD? I'm impressed!!!
But I digress...have you notice the pretty-faced Monk riding along at the back of our group? Well-fed and cared for too! What lovely children he would have if allowed to procreate! What's his name? Sir John?, asks Harry. A man of the world too - prosperous...hmmm. Sir John...doesn't this sound familiar? I wonder how our Monk reacted to the Shipman's Tale? Did anyone see his face? Was he laughing - blushing?
"she screams...and it's a caterwaul...and that's how the evenings end and days begin. (She wants vengeance - "if any neighbor when in church fails to acknowledge her or bumps against her") 'I've married a milksop or a cowardly ape,' she tells him (our Harry?)- ' and won't stand up to back his own wife!' ...She turns me out of doors at night...I'm an ugly customer. I can't stand up to her..but now let's drop the subject and move on..."And he does...he procedes to tell the Monk that it's too bad he's wearing the habit - that he should have a wife...and why? Because laymen have hardly a groat between them...but the clergy, well-fed and prosperous would be better able to satisfy the "debts of Venus" and of course procreate stronger seedlings to build the nation compared to the slender feeble children laymen engender!!! Harry! Is he speaking the truth? From his own experience?
Surely Harry is expecting something uplifting from the Monk after just suffering through Dame Prudence's lengthy diatribe -against her husband's desire for vengeance?
Will the Monk buoy the good humor of our crowd?
There's a note in the Riverside edition that indicates Chaucer may have had a reason for mentioning Rochester at this point. There is a cathedral in Rochester - at this time it was a monastic house - probably not a coincidence that the Monk is mentioned - AND the cathedral was famous for a huge wall hanging of the WHEEL OF FORTUNE! Interesting information on the goddess, Fortuna, Marj! We've seen that chance happenings ~ coincidence have played a part in quite a few of the tales we've read...often hilarious...but this is something different, I think.
I keep forgetting that this is the Middle Ages where magic and superstition are accepted beliefs! Our Monk gives us a choice...a tale on the life of St. Edward the Confessor OR some "tragedies"...quite a few tragedies!!! Notes say that tragedy was not a familiar form at this time, which is why Chaucer feels it necessary to have the Monk go on and define it - that tragedy tells of those who once stood in great prosperity and and fell from glory.
But these go farther than a just an unfortunate fall; as Marj found, the "gruesome goddess", Fortune is behind the fall - acting independently of a DIVINE plan. (Notes say the this fatalistic view is not evidenced in Chaucer's other works) The worldly Monk's warning to the crowd...
Day traders- oh my how I love & enjoy your comments. Always the comic, dear Joan.
I have returned from visiting my "honeys" and will post re. the Monk later on today. Carry on ye mery fools.
the Monk is a practical and competent business administrator whom Chaucer has humanized by his failings
is an example of this problem as I see it.
The Monks Tale considers social and political consequences of sin. Like the parsons tale, sin is disorder. It is impossible to know, for sure, whether this Tale pertains to any specific historical fact but, we can assume.
This is about ecclesiastical law (Monk) and royal law (the stories themselves) meant to provide a commentary on the struggles of the English monarchy following 1386. Chaucer's monk is one who perverts precisely the most important ideals of the monastic orders, such as the ideal of poverty, or reverence for learning. Critics also say, the Monk himself is evocative of Nimrod who was commonly associated with hunting, confused reason, and lordly aspriations. The monk is both a a hunter and a "multiplier of horses," engaged in pursuit of personal wealth and "delicacye" rather than "commune profit.."
One danger in permitting priests to marry and have children was the possibility of church lands being inherited by the sons of clergy.44 The Council of Clermont in 1095 forbade the ordination of priests' sons unless the sons had professed monastic vows. In 1160, a priest named Daniel gave the church of St. Edmund to the canons of St. Paul's Church in London on the condition that his son Ismael would hold St. Edmund's for life in exchange for an annual payment of 12d.45
The popes of the middle ages were for the most part staunchly against clerical marriage. Pope Leo IX took action against clerical marriage and simony in 1049. Gregory VII said that married priests were to be barred from celebrating Mass. In 1075, the pope banned fornicators from the priesthood. In 1079, people were banned from hearing Mass being said by fornicators. The Council of Troyes in 1107 decided that married priests should be deprived of their office. The same principle was to apply to simoniacs.46
At the Council of Winchester in 1076, the Archbishop Lanfranc of Canterbury said that priests would be forbidden from marrying in the future, but those who were already married were allowed to remain so.47 At the Council of London in 1102, Anselm demanded celibacy throughout all ranks of the clergy, from the archbishops down to and including subdeacons. Gerard, Archbishop of York, made an attempt to carry out the decrees on celibacy. Henry used the council decrees to tax married clergy and canons.48
At the Council of Rheims in 1049, priests were forbidden to take wives or bear arms. In most, if not all, cases, they were much more reluctant to give up women.49 The clergy must have felt an extremely strong need for female companionship for the next eighty years. The First Lateran Council of 1123 declared that priests were forbidden to live with their concubines or wives. The Second Lateran Council was held in 1139. It summarized and codified many of the decisions made by earlier popes and councils. Married priests were now required to separate from their wives and to do penance for this sin. The people were not allowed to hear masses from married priests. Sons of priests who were in the priesthood themselves were removed from office unless they were under monastic rule. The marriages of clergy were finally declared invalid because those marriages broke canon law.50
The Second Lateran Council was called in 1139. In part, this Council discussed clerical marriage and celibacy. Canon 7, part of the decisions agreed upon at this Council, said that no one was allowed to attend the Mass of any priest who was either married or enjoyed the company of a concubine. Those who were in sacred orders who were married were to be separated from their wives. Both the husband and his wife or mistress were to do penance "commensurate with such excesses."51
An Icelandic Penitential of the thirteenth century viewed celibacy as a very important responsibility. Failure to remain celibate was equated with murdering another human being. As with the Second Lateran Council, serious punishments were recommended for offenders. A monk or canon found breaking the vows of celibacy would incur the same penance for that act as he would for committing homicide.52
As time went on, the church's position on clerical marriage and celibacy may have relaxed a bit. In 1311-12, the Council of Vienne was convened. It suggested that the church might consider adopting the Greek practice of clerical marriage. They believed that if Western women married Eastern clergy, the women might convert their husbands to Catholicism. In what might be seen as a reward for the men for converting, they would be allowed to remain married if they became priests in the Western church.53
Clerical marriage and celibacy, lay investiture, and simony were issues that had a lasting effect on the church. Even though simony seemed to have been extinguished by the Fourth Lateran Council, attitudes were still in place at the beginning of the fourteenth century when Pope Boniface was charged with simony. Lay investiture did end with the Concordat of Worms in 1122, but its ties with simony went on. Clerical marriage and celibacy continues as a controversial issue in the Roman Catholic Church today, where except in extremely rare cases involving priests converting to Catholicism after being ordained in another denomination, church leaders are forbidden from enjoying the company of a woman in an intimate setting. Though these controversies corrupted the medieval church, the leaders of that time worked their way through it. If these controversies had not arose, the Christian church would not exist in the form we know it today.
Catch this-- sheeesh as they say!!
Johanna of NaplesIn 1343 Queen Johanna of Naples married Andrew a Hungarian royal with a proboscis the size of Budapest, she had high hopes that the old alchemical formula "as above, so below" would hold true. Alas, there turned out to be nothing else about Andy that would match the nose in majesty. Deeply peeved, she had him strangled-- a faux pas that got her kicked out of her comfy kingdom of Italy.
The ex-queen took her entrepreneurial spirit and interst in things sexual to Avignon, where she set up Europe's glitziest brothel on property family owned. By coincidence the headquarters for one of the two popes...
Her first goal was to make point with the female entrepreneurs who were already freelancing their sexual wares in Avignon. They wanted their own version of the Teamsters' Union... Bravo said Johanna, and gave the ladies their own association and membership ensignia-- a bit of red braid on the shoulder. With that she filled her luxury bordellow with the highest quality flesh artistes.
To maintain cathouse cashet, Johanna set up house rules, including Saturday STD exams and in-house quarantine for women found contagious or in the family way. Johanna ran her business according to good Catholic guidelines--no birth control, no abortions, and guaranteed care for any offspring her ladies brought forth.
After managing her Gold Card establishment for a year or so Johanna sold it to a salivating buyer-- none other than local Pope Clement VI, who continued to run Johanna's joint under the name "The Abbey." In addition to the cash, Johanna finessed a parden from the pope for all past sins-- including the impetuous murder of poorly endowed Andy. The only trick she missed... a papal pardon for the numerous fleshly sins fun-loving Johanna went on to commit.
Eleanor Rummyngeran a pub at Leatherhead, later a favorite watering place for John Skeleton, poet Laureate of England and first tutor to Henry VIII. During Eleanor's time in the late 1300s a pub served food, drink, lodging, acted as an information center, provided entertainment and medical services, arranged credit for customers and pub keepers served as a pawnbroker and a mediator.
This was also a time when the beer versus ale controversy began. In the monasteries European monks discovered that adding hops kept the beer from spoiling so quickly and balanced the sweetnes of the drink. Ale, however, remained the traditional English drink of choice and Eleanor's rated among the best. Her unforgettable mug was celebrated in a ditty called "The tunning of Eleanor Rummynge."
Catherine of SienaIn the Middle Ages, the church tried to clean up pagan fascination with Fascinum or penis worship. It didn't succeed. By Catherine of Siena's day in 1350, hundreds of churches bragged about owning Christ's foreskin or part of it as a holy relic.
Catherine went them one better. Her own claim, Jesus had given his holy foreskin to her as a wedding ring! With this statement, this Italian visionary and member of the Dominican Sisters of Penance, a lay order active in the community, had a huge following in no time at all. Lots of devotees were female since aspiring mothers in medieval times believed that the holy foreskin was a sure-fire fertility charm...
The rest of her story is gross which includes; self-flagellation three times daily, once for the Father, one for the Son and one for the Holy Ghost. At one point she gives up all food, merely chewing bitter herbs and drinking water which she 'brings' back up. She survives the inquisition and because she manifests sincerity, courage and radical holiness in her insane anorexia she is made a Saint.
A self-taught reader she writes a book and does get Pope Gregory XI to close the Avignon branch, only to reopen two years later upon his death. She is one of 22 children and the twin who got nursed. Her weaker twin sister is sent out to be wet nursed and died--guilt, guilt that she sustains with fasting and eating filth, including the pus from the scabs of the sick she tends. She died at age 30.
Well, it seems Harry is falling off his horse out of sheer boredom with the MONK's lectures...(Notice the mud he's almost fallen into...Spring rains are flooding our path! Watch you step, fellow pilgrims!)
Why is the MONK telling these tales of Doom and Loss? IN response to the Shipman's Tale of the promiscuous Sir John? Is he saying that all Monks (the Benedictine Monks) are not disobeying their vows? For all his good looks and worldliness, his tales are warnings that all the world's wealth can be lost in a flash...strictly by chance - and there's not a thing in the world that man can do to protect himself.
Now, the Knight interupts! He doesn't like this idea! He prefers to believe that his knightly virtues would stand him well in the face of adversity...that his Fate is not predetermined. (Are we listening to religious debate going on in Chaucer's time? It would seem so!) The Knight adds that he does like the opposite sort of tale where by sheer luck, a man strikes it rich!
Harry agrees...that's the kind of tale he wants to hear too...and asks the Monk for one of those! But he's "not in the mood"! Does that mean he doesn't know any of those? That his tales are strictly warnings to put aside the wealth of the world (maybe donate it to the local monastery?)
Harry spots the Priest riding his poor, thin. horse (in contrast to the Monk's), who agrees to tell a tale to perk up the spirits of our group....
I love the tale he tells...the widow's little cottage in the meadow sounds delightful, even though she has to do without sauce piquante for her veal! How does one subsist without sauce piquante? I love the many little details of the tale so far...but haven't finished, so won't say more now till you've had your say...
A widow poor, somewhat advanced in age,
Lived, on a time, within a small cottage
Beside a grove and standing down a dale.
She kept herself and her young daughters twain.
A temperate diet was her whole physic,
And exercise, and her heart's sustenance.
The gout, it hindered her nowise to dance,
I liked it because of the emphasis on dreams and their meaning... have always been fascinated with dreams. Years ago we read The Odyssey here in Great Books (that took a year!) and there was a discussion of Dreams of Ivory and Dreams of Horn...if the dream came through the ivory, it was a warning...horn, well just ignore it! I never know when to heed them...they are often very real...though mine are not in color as the red and yellow fox. Mine are always black and white, like old movies...~ and I can't read in my dreams. If someone hands me a note of warning or any text, I think to myself that it's too bad I can't read it because I'm dreaming!!!
I thought it was very interesting that the two dreams that Chanticler related concerned two sets of men! In both cases, the dreamer was ignored by the non-dreamer, whether he was the ill-fated subject or not. Then the same thing happened to Chanticler...his dream was ignored by Perdetote...only this time he says that a woman's counsel is cold.. when she tells him his dream is foolish. How so? He's just told too tales where men don't believe the dreamer ..
Oh course, the most delicious part is when the fox does come and fulfill the dream ~ destined to happen? Except Chanticler is able to use his own free will to outwit that fox and defy FATE!
Okay, now to read the experts to see what I was really reading and why I liked it so much!!!
<P. ps. Either the Nun's Priest was her escort and/or her confessor?
Alf, I've been playing with the names too...I'm looking at them from the French...
~Chanticler - French chanter, to sing and cler, clearI'm forgetting already...what did happen to Pertelot? Did she burn up? Was it suicide? Will I have to go back and read that all over again? Help!
~Pertelot - perdre, pert lost and lot, lot, portion, prize, fate
When they beheld the rape of Chanticleer...As I reread I see that we are speaking of the wife of Hasdrubal and not our Pertelot...
Dame Pertelot emitted sovereign shrieks
That echoed up in anguish to the peaks
Louder than those extorted from the wife
Of Hasdrubal, when he had lost his life
And Carthage all in flame and ashes lay.
She was so full of torment and dismay
That in the very flames she chose her part
And burnt to ashes with a steadfast heart.
So Pertelot just shrieks and Chanticleer spends the rest of his days as the "hen-pecked" husband? I love it! Harry the Hen-pecked husband and now Chanticleer...
I found some interesting tidbits on our Pertelote in the Riverside...first of all, the name means "one who confuses"...
the colors of these birds suggest an actual breed - the Golden Spangled Hamburg as described in My Gentle Cock??? (Will hunt that up later..)
According to Riverside, Pertelote's represents the practical, unimaginative scientist and Chanticleer the imaginative, pompously self-conscious philosopher, and a student of the occult. Her refusal to accept his dream as his fate shows her practical side, and her dismissal of the whole idea of pre-destination.
Chanticler defies everything but his own conclusions. It's a good thing too. If he had listened to Pertelot's confused diagnosis, and he had followed her perscriptions...for all those hot, dry herbs, which taken together would increase his dryness and hotness and would have certainly endangered his life and he'd have been overmedicated to death!!!
Had he believed his dream, that the fox would do him in, he would have let himself be carried away - certain that he was fated to die - he'd have been eaten for sure. No, he has control over his own destiny! He fights back and outwits the fox!
More, but that's enough for now...gonna go find My Gentle Cock
Here's something else...azure legs! Golden Spangled Bantam
It is Chaucer's placement and manipulation of genres that intrigues me - pull back from the amusing Chaunticleer and Pertilote, Chaunticleer and Daun Russell, the Fox - and watch Chaucer applying his "layers" and what he achieves...
*He pairs the Nun's Priest's Tale with the Monk's Tale...the long list of "tragedies" describing the Fall of Man (which puts the crowd asleep and the Nun's Priest is called upon for a merry tale more to the liking of the crowd.)So clever, so many "layers"...doesn't it make you wonder how much of this was grasped by Chaucer's readers, if not by our own Harry and, no offense, Harry, the other common folk of our party ? I'm going to guess that they appreciated it even more than WE do!
By pairing the two, he ridicules the excess of rhetoric - "sermonizing", and demonstrates the growing distance betweem the common man against the clergy.
* He includes two genres in this tale-~ first, the simple "moral fable" of the Fox and the Cock found in the verse of Marie de France that Alf posted earlier. Such fables were considered a controversial means of preaching at the time - controversial between the SECULAR CLERGY and the FRIARS (Chaunticleer, the cock priest and the Fox, the beguiling Friar).* Then there's something interesting going on between the tellers of the two tales...Shouldn't the Nun's Priest Tale be told by the wily Monk,instead of that "sermon" he delivered? Have to think about that some more...
The fables were practical homey bits of wisdom about how things ought to be...here, the foolish deceived by flattery...
~ Chaucer has included a second genre here - the AMORAL " BEAST EPIC" from another French source - Le Roman de Renard! This is quite different from the simple, gentle message found in Marie de France's little moral verse. In these we see animals operating outside of morality - the hens are both "sisters and paramours", i.e. Chaucer's placement of both of these genres within the Nun's Priest Tale and the clever portrayal of animals as human beings, makes it a tale beyond the norm of accepted Church teaching, but more within the understanding of the common folk listening to this sort of "sermon" coming from the clergy - the same clergy that they also see "operating outside of the morality they preach!"
So clever, so many "layers"...doesn't it make you wonder how much of this was grasped by Chaucer's readers, if not by our own Harry and, no offense, Harry, the other common folk of our party ? I'm going to guess that they appreciated it even more than WE do!
I thought we had established that there were none- the Tales being published after his death and few readers even then.
I'm interested in Chaucer's use of word play and puns.
Unfortunately, I am not reading the original version.
Maybe someone who is could develop this idea a little more than it has been already in previous posts.
While it is true that Chaucer "retracted" Canterbury Tales as a form of repentance, and left them incomplete (many think on purpose), that didn't stop his ardent supporters from including them in collections of all of his works following his death. There are fifty five surviving manuscripts that contain the complete tales...and 28 more that contain one or more individual tales. The earliest manuscript is preserved in the National Library of Wales, the Hengwrt, copied at about the time of Chaucer's death and is said to contain the best text, the nearest to what Chaucer apparently wrote. That same scribe is thought to have written the Ellesmere manuscript which is now in the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA. Of the earliest "complete" works, there are two in the Cambridge U. library and one in Corpus Christi College, Oxford...all from the early years of the 15th century
When I referred to Chaucer's readers in an earlier post, I was referring to the people of his time who would recognize the historical, social and religious references immediately -unlike ourselves...
Was there a particular "play on words" that got your attention, that led to your question, Jim? Do you feel that the punning and wordplay are lost in the translations to Modern English?
Excerpt form Dante's letterOn the surface this story of Rooster and his 'harem of wives' gave me an uncomfortable feeling that I 'should' have admiration for the cock's actions saving himself, while I would have been just as happy if he bit the dust. The nature of the story had me put my shield up and not want to deal with this story until I started to see the symbolism-- here goes:
be it known that comedy is derived from comus, 'a village,' and oda, which is, 'song.' whence comedy is, as it were, 'rustic song.'
- So comedy is a certain kind of poetic narration differing from all others. It differs, then, from tragedy in its content.
- tragedy begins admirably and tranquilly, whereas its end or exit is foul and terrible;
- it derives its name from tragus, which is a 'goat' and oda, as though to say 'goat-song,' that is fetid like a goat, as appears from Seneca in his tragedies;
- whereas comedy, introduces some harsh complication, but brings its matter to a prosperous end, as appears from Terence, in his comedies.
- And hence certain writers, on introducing themselves, have made it their practice to give the salutation: 'I wish you a tragic beginning and a comic end.'
- They likewise differ in their mode of speech,
- tragedy being exalted and sublime,
- comedy lax and humble,
- as Horace has it in his Poetica, where he gives comedians leave sometimes to speak like tragedians
"When he is hungry and finds nothing to eat, he burrows in red soil so that he looks as if he were spattered with blood, then drops to the ground and holds his breath. The birds see him lying there, covered in what appears as blood, his tongue hanging out, and they believe he is dead. They come to rest upon him, and the fox catches and eats them. The devil acts in the same way: to the living, he pretends to be dead, until he can get them in his jaws and devour them"
- "Just as the mother hen protects her brood
Lets nothing near which to them harm might bring,
So can we too, the children of the Rood,
Be touched not by life's care, life's woe, life's sting"
SEVEN! So many times we have questioned the number...remember the little 7 yr.old murdered by the Jew (allegedly?) A perfect number, containing both the temporal and the spiritual. We have a another murdered 7 yr. old in this tale...St. Kenelm, who dreamed of his murder, his nurse dismissed it, and sure enough...
So practical women dismiss dreams. Men believe them. We're not hearing of any women having dreams, are we? Why is that? Maybe if they saw themselves being murdered in a dream, they would not be so dismissive!
What I really liked about Chaunticleer...he used the dream to free himself! He didn't accept his death as something pre-ordained. No, he knew he could change the outcome, change the gruesome dream...and used his abilities to affect his fate! Yes, I really liked that. I also believe dreams should be closely examined and not dismissed outright!
And I really liked the link between eggs and Easter! The Golden Egg and the Resurrection!
Do you think the Nuns, the Prioress feel the same way as they listen to the secular tales?
There are so many other things going on...the names, the dates - these were familiar to everyone at the time. Some of them are significant. That's what I love about reading along with all of you. You help fill in the blanks! Here's the latest one I've been puzzling over...May 3
We are told that the Fox seized our Chanticleer on May 3 (but he freed himself that same day too!)
We are told that May 3 is the date that Palamon escaped from prison.
May 3 is also the date that Richard II was fatally wounded. What is the connection to this date?
And another question ~we are told that God created man in March? Is that based on astonomy? Had you ever heard that before? Why is Chaucer mentioning that here?
I'm looking for Marj this morning...were you able to convert that site into a link? I'm going to post the formula here again for the rest of you so if you find something of interest, you'll know how to link it in a post...
Oh, oh, oh, I just noticed something about the Latin "Malius est hominus confusio" translates Chaunticleer to dear little Pertelot, as "Woman is man's delight and all his bliss" !!! This, he translates to her just as he mentions Adam's fall from Paradise...and the real kicker is that the real translation of these words is "Woman is man's downfall.", which of course is lost on Pertelot...and us? I think that one of you may have pointed this out in an earlier post, but it went over my head at the time! And remember the translation of her name...Pertelot="one who confuses fate"?
Then I suddenly remembered something....THE GENERAL PROLOGUE!!! Eureka! I had not read over that before beginning the tale, had you? I think it is VERY telling and suddenly, this tale DOES reflect on the teller. First we have to know something about him!
My first thought when reading the tale had been the irony - that a doctor would be taking life as a solution to a physical emergency and wondered about the Hippocratic oath... was Chaucer familiar with Hippocrates? Did doctors take that oath in Chaucer's time and if so, would death for his own daughter be his only choice?
That description in the GEN. Pro. is quite revealing - if you haven't read it yet...I won't go any further.
Back this afternoon with some thoughts on the good doctor described in the General Prologue...
First the garden beckons...
I am intrigued with what was considered an outstanding doctor in Chaucer's time...still ambiguous. Lots of references to science, but then there is the matter of astronomy and those little effigies in wax made to resemble the patient. Like little voodoo dolls, aren't they? The book notes says they were hung on the neck of the patient and when his horoscope was favorable, virtue descended and healed the patient. "Faith the Great Healer." Is this scientific? Is Chaucer laughing at the idea here?
And the man made a lot of money in his practice...a very successful doctor he was, lots of gold for himself and for the pharmacists who filled his orders.
We are told he was "the perfect practicing physician" of his time!
The fact that people listened to him when he spoke...extremely well-read for his time, wasn't he? I recognized Galen and Hypocrates on the list of doctors and scientists. (didn't read the Bible much though) There was no man alive who could talk as he could. Does this sound like a man who would buckle before the lecherous judge without speaking out?
Look at him...well dressed in that red taffeta-lined robe, and very diet-conscious too! Is he drinking from the kegs has anyone noticed? We're told that although he dresses well and watches his diet, he indulges in no superfluities for pleasure...rather close with his expenses" ...a bit tight even though he has pockets full of gold...
Does Chaucer admire him, or is he laughing at him? Does Chaucer comment on medicine or doctors here, or is he merely describing and we are smiling from our 20 c. viewpoint?
Okay, how does the tale he tells reflect back on himself? Does the physician in his Roman tale bear any resemblance to himself?
Here's the source of the Physician's tale...from the Lays of Ancient Rome
Perhaps we are as unlikely a group to be discussing this together...from learned professors, poets and first-timers who don't understand the references either!!!
But, we are here, and Chaucer has put these fascinating characters on the route together - to present assorted levels of Medieval society and winds up giving us not only a glimpse into the history of the time, but a psychological presentation which seems to confirm that human beings have the same failings and virtues and aspirations, no matter what the period in history!
So, we'll keep suspending credibility as we make our way...
We get a good picture of Medieval medicine and doctors in this tale.
I thought the Lay of Ancient Rome was interesting too, Mary Page...I don't think that Chaucer's Roman source mentioned the fact that Virginius was a doctor, did it? Just a heartbroken father who committed a ....mercy killing?
It would appear that Chaucer added the Physician to the old legend...and this after the introduction in the General prologue that portrays Virginius as a rather cynical, greedy character. That is the doctor-father that enters into the tale, and so we see more than we would have seen had we just read the tale, not the description of the teller.
If we have a greedy doctor who is father to a beautiful virtuous daughter, surely he is aware that she will make a fine wife for a rich man...he must be outraged that he will be denied this "honor" as she is taken from him, as if she is stolen goods! Am I being too cynical? Reading too much into this? Have I been hanging out with Harry too long?
What is the moral of this tale? I suppose it is history, but it is also supposed to be an exemplum...what is the example it teaches? I'm wondering what effect tale had on our virtual band of pilgrims...What did they(we) come away with?
More head-scratching here too, Alf!
The moral, the purpose of the Physician's Tale...the tantalizing thing is that we are given so many clues - but they lead in different directions and it's hard to know what Chaucer was intending! In my mind, I have come up with something, but only after stitching together a patchwork of clues from several different places.
First there's the General Prologue...in which we learn the Doctor is quite skilled,(and likes to talk about it), but also loves the gold he gets for his services, and that he is loathe to spend it - a tightwad. Possessive.
Then, in looking at Livy's account - by the way, I read this morning that Chaucer probably didn't read the original Lays of Ancient Romans by Livy, but rather the contemporary Roman de la Rose by Jean de Meun...which was widely read during Chaucer's time. I found the De Meun account of Virginia/Virginius on the Web and intended to bring it here to you, but on reading it, I found that it was exactly the same as Livy's...so there didn't seem to be any reason. In both, Virginius is the loving father who fears for his daughter. Chaucer embellishes the ancient tale...making Virginius a doctor in the tale, thereby linking him to the Physician of the prologue!.
Soooooo, combining the description of the greedy. possessive doctor in the prologue and the doctor in the tale, I'm seeing a man determined to hold on to all that is his, including his prized Virginia, a man who will stop at nothing to keep anyone else from "stealing" from him. Even if it means he will lose it himself!
Marj's link provides scholarly approaches to this tale, which confirms my conclusion...and takes it a step further...
We were told that the Physician was not a man who read the Bible...not a religious man. Not at all concerned with an afterlife. Death is simply a termination of life...as a scientist would measure it.
~567. TROWER, KATHERINE B. "Spiritual Sickness in the Physician's and Pardoner's Tales: Thematic Unity in Fragment VI of the Canterbury Tales." American Benedictine Review 29 (1978):67-86.
Argues for a "symbolic" connection between the Physician and the Pardoner. Both are "potential healers'; both seek wealth "by capitalizing on human sickness"; and both tales "focus on the process of dying as a terminal rather than a transcendental event."
So the moral comes down to a rather simple warning against greed - holding on too tightly to earthly possessions will only cause you to lose them ALL - not in the afterlife, but here on earth...
Katherine Trower adds:
"The Physician's Tale is a "prelude to the Pardoner's entire performance."Shall we move on and take a look?
I love the way this
begins as he admits to his "haughty" speech and demeanor. Radix
malorum est cupiditas.
Ya gotta love him,
he flaunts his papal seal to warrant his protection. He puts a saffron
tinge on his preaching, cram full of bones, relics for a cure-all. I love
"Whoever wears this mitten on his hand will multiply his grain"( providing he offers pence or groats). He admits freely to being a charlatan, "and tell a hundred lying mockeries more" using the same old text- radix malorum est cupiditas. He boldly recounts how with his hands and tongue together he spins his yarn. He does NOT care and asks."Once dead what matter how their souls may fare?"
that he preaches against the vice he makes his living out of--avarice.
After Harry serves the sot a draught of ale he affirms the fact "I am a wholly vicious man --don't think I can 't tell moral tales. I can." Now! The beginning of greed and avarice as we all know it and recognize it.
Sounds like Air to me...let's ask the doc!
A Pardoner: As the name implies, one who has authority (from the Pope) to sell pardons and indulgences, though not necessarily in holy orders.Now this blows my mind! Maryal, I'll be back this afternoon with more about indulgences, plenary and partial(purgatorial), but for the moment, is our Pardoner an ordained priest? Or just a salesman along for the ride with some prospective Canterbury-bound buyers?
Here's something else the Pardoner shares with the Physician...neither express a belief in the hereafter. ALF posted this yesterday...
RÓNÁN (Rownun): A legendary king of Leinster who was deceived by his second wife into killing his first son. Rónán - (ROH-nawn) Old Irish=ron "seal" + dim. suffix -an; or "a pledge." Ten saints, including Ronan of Lough Derg and Ronan of Lismore had this name. Ronan.No Apius either but, found apis in Latin translates to 'bee' Apis: a sacred bull of ancient Egypt. Both inferring aggression.
An early deity, probably the best known Egyptian deity represented only as an animal, and never as a human with an animal's head. Apis was most closely linked with Ptah, and his cult center was Memphis. He was primarily a deity of fertility. He was represented as a bull crowned with the solar disk and uraeus-serpent. A sacred Apis bull was kept in Memphis, and there is a great mass burial of Apis bulls, the Serapeum, located there.Now Claudius of course we have two that especially fit.
Claudius 41-54Claudius of our story is a hanger-on in town, is a bold and crafty fellow. I see our Claudius as a second class anti-hero much like our crippled Claudius with the twist that Chaucer's Claudius is crafty like the wife,Aggripena.
Caligula was to last only four years, at the end of which he was assassinated in a plot hatched by the praetorian guard Cassius Charrea. The rest of the Praetorians went looking for the murderer and found poor crippled uncle Claudius hiding behind a curtain in the palace. What would you do if you found a lame old coward trembling and drooling behind a hanging bolt of fabric? Right! You'd make the gimp an Emperor. It wasn't so bad, though. He turned out to be one of the best. He was deified after his death.
Claudius ruled for 13 years. In 54 ad he was murdered by his wife Agrippina the younger who fed him a poison mushroom. She did it to get her own son, Domitius Ahenobarbus or "Nero" on the throne. Now Rome went back to being governed by a madman. A young one, too. He was 16 when he took over.
He murdered his mother and probably slept with her. It was kind of an all in one Oedipal adventure since he couldn't kill his father: both of them were already dead. He poisoned his brother, Claudius' natural son Britannicus, at dinner one evening. He alienated the entire senate with his Greek artisitic tastes and his overt loathing of them. He was blamed for the big fire that wiped out most of the area around the forum. He blamed it on the Christians, though, and used them as human torches to light up his parties.
He was to be the last of the Julio-Claudians to be Emperor.
Walsingham Priory stood a few miles from the sea in the northern part of Norfolk, England. Founded in the time of Edward the Confessor, the chapel of Our Lady of Walsingham was confirmed to the Augustinian Canons a century later and enclosed within the priory. From the first this shrine of Our Lady was a famous place of pilgrimage.
Hither came the faithful from all parts of England and from the continent until the destruction of the priory by Henry VIII in 1538. To this day the main road of the pilgrims through Newmarket, Brandon, and Fakenham is still called the Palmers' Way. Many were the gifts of lands, rents, and churches to the canons of Walsingham, and many the miracles wrought at Our Lady's shrine. Henry III came on a pilgrimage to Walsingham in 1241, Edward I in 1280 and 1296, Edward II in 1315, Henry VI in 1455, Henry VII in 1487, and Henry VIII in 1513.
Erasmus wrote his colloquy on pilgrimages, wherein the wealth and magnificence of Walsingham are set forth, and some of the reputed miracles rationalized.
In July, 1538, Prior Vowell assented to the destruction of Walsingham Priory and assisted the king's commissioners in the removal of the figure of Our Lady, of many of the gold and silverornaments and in the general spoliation of the shrine. For his ready compliance the prior received a pension of 100 pounds a year, a large sum in those days, while fifteen of the canons received pensions varying from 4 pounds to 6 pounds. The shrine dismantled, and the priory destroyed, its site was sold by order of Henry VIII to one Thomas Sidney for 90 pounds, and a private mansion was subsequently erected on the spot. The Elizabethan ballad, "A Lament for Walsingham," expresses something of what the Norfolk people felt at the loss of their glorious shrine of "Our Lady of Walsingham."
Hereticswere religious groups whose beliefs did not wholly conform with the medieval Church's doctrines. While the groups themselves ranged in beliefs, their commonality was their rejection of and peresecution by the Church. Many of the groups still thought of themselves as Christians despite the Church's rejection. Some felt that the Church had changed too much and that it, in fact, was heretical. In this way, heretics were both within and outside the Church.
The existence and persecution of heresy became more prominent during the period 1100-1500. Why did heretical beliefs become problematic at this time? it is important to note that this was a time in which the medieval Church was defining itself and unifying its identity. Did heretics arise at this time because their exclusion helped to define the Church? The groups are: the Beguines, the Cathars, the Hussites, the Joachimites, the Lollards, and the Waldensians.
The English words 'sects' and 'heresy' usually convey a negative meaning.
In other words, 'sects' and 'heresies' are religious groups and doctrines of which we disapprove...A sect must be small enough to be a distinctive part of a larger religious body.
- A 'sect'is a group that 'deviates' from the norm and separates from the church; a 'denomination,' by contrast, is an 'official' or legitimate subgroup of a church.
- A 'heresy' is an 'inauthentic' or 'illegitimate' doctrine; a 'tenet,' by contrast, is an 'official' or 'essential' doctrine.
Studying medieval heresy also entails study of secular governments. It is important to note that the Church never executed anyone for heresy. Rather, the Church turned heretics over to secular governments for execution. Therefore, heresy was also part of political self-definition and exclusion.
Execution of heretics-- the French kings burned heretics to the left is the Bastille, later to become the famous prison for political prisoners.
The LollardsIn the fourteenth century, John Wyclif, educated at Oxford, gave "learned heresy" a common audience. Like the Waldensians, the Lollards translated the Bible into their vernacular language, English. The Lollards were the most significant heretical group in England before the Reformation. Wyclif's teachings were influential for John Hus in Bohemia, the leader of another great medieval heretical group, the Hussites. Wyclif was condemned by popes Gregory XI and Urban VI on several occasions. After his death, Wyclif's heretical teachings were addressed at the Council of Constance in 1415.
Followers of Wyclif came to be known as "Lollards." Perhaps the name was derived from the Dutch term lollaerd, meaning mumbler. The sect was driven out of Oxford in 1382, but some devout members circulated Wyclif's teachings as well as the 1394 "Lollard Conclusions." Wyclif on Indulgences
We have the daughter, the pseudo Mary-- Hail Mary and the father, Virginius, the Pater Noster. Claudius is to be hung-- a rope around the neck like a rosery around the neck and Pater Noster pleads for him.
Medieval Devotion to the Virgin MaryIt was at this period that such famous places of pilgrimage arose as Roc Amadour, Laon, Mariabrunn near Klosterneuburg, Einsiedeln etc., and in England, Walsingham, Our Lady Undercroft at Canterbury, Evesham, and many more.
These shrines, which as time went on multiplied beyond calculation in every part of Europe, nearly always owed their celebrity to the temporal and spiritual favours which it was believed the Blessed Virgin granted to those who invoked her in these favoured spots. The gratitude of pilgrims often enriched them with the most costly gifts; crowns of gold and precious gems, embroidered garments, and rich hangings meet us at every turn in the record of such sanctuaries. Perhaps the commonest form of votive offerings took the shape of a gold or silver model of the person or limb that had been cured. For example Duke Philip of Burgundy sent to Halle in Belgian two silver statues, one representing a knight on horseback, the other a foot-soldier in gratitude for the cure of two of his own bodyguard. Often again the special vogue of a particular shrine was due to some miraculous manifestation which was believed to have occurred there. Blood was said to have flowed from certain statues and pictures of Our Lady which had suffered outrage. Others had wept or exuded moisture. In other cases, the head had bowed or the hand been raised in benediction.
Without denying the possibility of such occurrences, popular devotion to the Blessed Virgin was often attended with extravagance and abuse, it is impossible to deny. Nevertheless we may believe that the simple faith and devotion of the people was often rewarded in proportion to their honest intention of paying respect to the Mother of God. And there is no reason to believe that these forms of piety had on the whole a delusive effect, and fostered nothing but superstition. The purity, pity, and motherliness of Mary were always the dominant motive, even the "Miracle" of Max Reinhardt, the wordless play which in 1912 took London by storm, persuaded many how much of true religious feeling must have underlain even the more extravagant conceptions of the Middle Ages.
The most renowned English shrines of Our Lady, that of Walsingham in Norfolk, was in a sense an anticipation of the still more famous Loreto. Walsingham professed to preserve, not indeed the Holy House itself, but a model of its construction upon measurements brought from Nazareth in the eleventh century. The dimensions of the Walsingham Santa Casa were noted by William of Worcester, and they do not agree with those of Loreto. Walsingham measured 23 ft. 6 in. by 12 ft. 10 in.; Loreto, 31 ft.3 in. by 13 ft. 4 in.
In any case the homage paid to Our Lady during the later Middle Ages was universal. Even so unorthodox a writer as John Wyclif, in one of his earlier sermons, says: "It seems to me impossible that we should obtain the reward of Heaven without the help of Mary. There is no sex or age, no rank or position, of anyone in the whole human race, which has no need to call for the help of the Holy Virgin." So again the intense feeling evoked from the twelfth to the sixteenth century over the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is only an additional tribute to the importance which the whole subject of Mariology possessed in the eyes of the most learned bodies of Christendom. To give even a brief sketch of the various practices of Marian devotion in the Middle Ages would be impossible here -- for example the Rosary, the Angelus, the Salve Regina etc. and the more important festivals -- are discussed under separate headings. It will be sufficient to note the prevalence of the wearing of beads of all possible fashions and lengths, some of fifteen decades, some of ten, some of six, five, three, or one, as an article of ornament in every attire; the mere repetition of Hail Marys to be counted by the aid of such Pater Nosters, or beads, was common in the twelfth century, before the time of St. Dominic; the motive of meditating on assigned "mysteries" did not come into use until 300 years later. Further, we must note the almost universal custom of leaving legacies to have a Mary-Mass, or Mass of Our Lady, celebrated daily at a particular altar, as well as to maintain lights to burn continually before a particular statue or shrine. Still more interesting were the foundations left by will to have the Salve Regina or other anthems of Our Lady sung after Compline at the Lady altar, while lights were burned before her statue.
~the tale is taken from Livy's history, the Lays of Ancient Rome, later repeated in Jean de Meun's Roman de la Rose...a n historical account - Jean do Meun was the first to shorten the names, Appius Claudius to simply Appius and Marcus Claudius to Claudius, so perhaps we shouldn't read too much into the meaning of the names?I thought that was interesting and perhaps important in revealing the more personal vindictive nature of the execution...V. would rather die than have what is his taken from him...
~ Notes indicate that many critics are disturbed by the account of Virginia's death which is original in Chaucer; instead of killing his daughter instantly and publicly under extreme pressure, as in Livy and Roman de la Rose, Virginius deliberately plans and announces the exection, which is carried out at home.
You were right - Virginius is the father of Virginia...Claudius Apius and Marcus Claudius were Romans - Claudius Apius was one of the 10 Tribunes, NOT the Emperor Claudius - in Livy's history...the judge and perhaps the one who claimed Virginia was his...I'm fuzzy as to the second. I'll post the Livy history again...it's back a few posts...
I did come in to comment on the Pardoner. Want to know a little more about him! Chaucer has the narrator describe him in the prologue as a mare or a gelding. Isn't a gelding a castrated horse? And a mare, well a mare is a female. By describing him as both, we have the suggestion of a sexual abnormality of some sort.br>
I checked around and in the Riverside Chaucer, I read that it was customary at the time for the pardoners to be clerics (though not necessarily). The Pardoner's participation in the Mass suggests that he may have been a cleric, but the Riverside says that a eunuch (if that's what he in fact was) was ineligible for Holy Orders at the time. One critic concludes whether he was a eunuch or no, a cleric or no, The Pardoner is both spirtiually and morally sterile.
He relates the story of 3 men, wallowing in the vices of the day (also todays I trust.) Gambling, carousing, gluttony, greed and drunkeness. He cites examples from the Bible which to him "is most express that lust is bred of wine and drunkenness", ie. Lot Herod, Adam. I thought Adams sin was one of pride.
But let's look at this particular pardoner. We all hate him. Harry doesn't like him at all...says something about wanting to grab him by the ballocks to make him scream with pain..."I wish I had you by your ballocks in my hand - I'd cut 'em off!" Now this makes Pardoner angry! Is he reacting to the implied insult, that he doesn't have any? Or is he upset because Harry wasn't influenced by the tale (sermon) sufficiently enough to go first and "unbuckle his purse"...if Harry won't start the collection basket going, then no one will follow!
But here's my question - is Pardoner (the poor fellow doesn't even have a name, does he? Does he have a friend? Is anyone sympathetic?) is Pardoner the one really lost soul on the pilgimage? Is anyone worse than he is? I would have said yes, but on second thought, I'm not so sure...
He admits right out..."I am a wholly vicious man." Is this a form of confession? Is he one step up the moral ladder...the stairway to Paradise, if he first admits his sin? We have several on the road with us who seem to be oblivious of their sins and therefore unrepentant...even if they were willing to part with a shilling or two to assure a place in the hereafter! At least the Pardoner realizes that without true repentance, purchased indulgences will not guarantee life in the hereafter. He really mocks the intelligence of "the faithful." But where does that leave him? Roaming the earth, falsly pardoning the foolish sinners, knowing that it is futile. You know, he reminds me of the old fellow in the tale who just doesn't die...knocking on the ground, begging death to take him! Pardoner can't die! He has no hope, no place to go, no idea where to turn for counsel on how to achieve salvation. Yeah, I sympathize with pardoner. Am I alone?
"However, in this pre-university era--Oxford was founded in 1167 and Cambridge in 1209--monasteries were the seats of more learned medicine. To the clerical practitioners there, medicine was as much a literary enterprise as an empirical one. Research as we know it today did not exist, and much was made of the wisdom of long-dead authorities. The fact that "Treatises on Medicine" consists primarily of Latin translations of Greek and Byzantine texts reflects that tradition.
"Some of the passages look to set up a reliable way of diagnosis. How can we detect what you have before we offer you a pithy saying? There are remedies, but there is also a great concern about getting the correct name of the ingredient, and making sure they use the right measure."
~ Chaucer's source for this tale is unknown as there were many versions in cirulation at the time. His is the only known version in which the three "vile" young men are not described in great detail - other than the fact that they were "young". Does Chaucer not wish to "humanize" them?
~ The same with the "old" man. In various other versions, the figure who directs the young men to the treasure have ranged from philosophers, hermits, Christ, Satan...and old men.
~One critic believes that "Chaucer makes this old man deliberately vague to embody the Pardoner's contradictions."
The Pardoner is definitely a man of contradiction! (Although he is crystal clear to our Alf! Is he a "wholly vicious man" as he says, or is he a master preacher, using himself as his own best example of greed personified?
I'm looking for some more ideas on the young/old idea that Death only wants the Young - and the old wander the earth searching for Death! Let's start with the basics here...was it a fact that the young were more susceptible to the plague? I would have thought the reverse...that children and the elderly would have been the first claimed and that the hardy young men would have escaped? Is this story a contradiction? What am I missing? Are the hardy young men more apt to sin - drinking and reckless behaviour, putting them at greater risk? Why does the old man point them to the treasure?