27 January 2014


I am struck with how little poetry we are exposed to. I think I've had pretty good lit courses, from high school through my undergrad days. At one point, as late as my senior year of college, I thought maybe I'd change course and finish a degree in English lit rather than music. (Some days, I wish I had!) Good teachers, from junior high on, made me read great literature, and much of that was poetry.

Still, I imagine I'm not alone in this: When I think "Chaucer" I think . . .
Canterbury Tales
and . . .

Nope, that's pretty much it. Chaucer = Canterbury Tales. End of that unit.

So this was a nice surprise in my first few days of reading through The New Oxford Book of English Verse.

Love Unfeigned

    O YONGE freshe folkes, he or she,
    In which that love upgroweth with your age,
    Repeyreth home from worldly vanity,
    And of your heart up-casteth the visage
    To thilke God that after his image
    You made, and thinketh all n'is but a fair
    This world, that passeth soon as flowers fair.

    And loveth him, the which that right for love
    Upon a cross, our soules for to buy,
    First starf, and rose, and sit in heaven above;
    For he n'ill falsen no wight, dare I say,
    That will his heart all wholly on him lay.
    And since he best to love is, and most meek,
    What needeth feigned loves for to seek?

 repeyreth: repair ye
 starf: died

It's not too late for me to benefit from Mr. Chaucer's good counsel!

No comments: