‘In a droupnynge before the day’

So, it’s Halloween, that great introduction of our kids to begging, and when we remind ourselves how women like to be lusted after. Or something, like just plain fun. So how about a fall poem (scary, but not a Halloween one, really) from The Clerk of Oxford.

As I lay in winter’s night.
In a droupnynge before the day, [in uneasy sleep, before the dawn]
Methought I saw a selly sight, [marvellous vision]
A body, where it on bier lay,
That had been a comely knight,
And little served God to pay. [Who had done little to serve God]
Lost he had this life’s light;
The ghost was out and would away.
And when the ghost him should go,
It turned again, and yet with stood, [stood beside him]
Beheld the flesh where it came from,
So sorrowfully with dreary mood,
And said, ‘Alas and wailawo!
Thou fickle flesh, thou false bold,
Why liest thou now stinking so

That whilen were so wild and wood? [Who once was so wild and bold]

The ghost of the knight continues to address the body:

Thou that were wont to ride
So high on horse in and out,
So queynte a knight and kud so wide, [So skilful a knight, and so widely known]
As a lion fierce and proud,
Where is now all thy mickle pride,
And thy leete that was so loud? [?honour that was so loudly proclaimed]
Why liest thou there so bare thi syde, [naked]
Pricked in so poor a shroud? [wrapped]
Where be now all thy worthy weeds? [rich clothes]
Thy somers with thy bourliche bed? [packhorses with your noble bedding]
Thy palfreys and thy noble steeds,
That thou about in destre led? [which you led by the hand]
Thy falcons that were wont to grede, [call]
And thy greyhounds that thou fed?
Methinketh thy good is thee full gnede; [your possessions are very scanty now]
Now all thy friends be from thee fled.
Where be thy castles and thy towers?
Thy chambers and thy high hall,
That painted were with fair flowers,
And thy rich robes all?
Thy quiltes and thy covertoures, [expensive bedding and coverlets]
That sendel and that purple pall? [silks and rich fabrics]
Lo, wretch, where is now thy bower?
Tomorrow shalt thou therein fall.

Where be now all thy cooks snell, [skilled]
Who would dress thy meat
With rich spiceries for to smell,
That thou were greedy for to frete, [gobble up]
To make thy foul flesh to swell,
That now will foul worms eat?
And in the pot and pan of hell [with a pun with ‘pit and pain’]
With thy gluttony hast thou gete. [you’ve got yourself]

Thou wretch that in all thy sight
Were never of worldes wynne sad, [sated with any worldly pleasures]
Now hast thou neither land nor light,
But seven foot, and hardly that…
But tomorrow when it is day,
Out from kith and all thy kin
Bare shalt thou wend away.
And leave all this world’s wyn. [joy]
In proud palace though thou here lay,
With worms is now become thine inn; [dwelling-place]
Thy bower is built so cold in clay,
The roof to rest upon thy chin.

There’s more, and the Clerk will tell you all about it, here. A fascinating and terrifying vision which seems quite appropriate for the day.

Sleep well, and

 

 

 

 

 

 

And don’t forget to vote, or Nancy Pelosi may haunt your dreams for two years.

The Pirates of Penzance – Wichita

Since it’s the weekend after Halloween, I think we need a pirate story, so here you go

Enjoy

 

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