Тетради по истории английской литературы

Пособие для учителей и учащихся. Часть II

The Norman Conquest

It’s widely known that the Norman Conquest in England in 1066 begins a new chapter in the history of the English language and literature.

The Norman was the last in the long procession of conquering races. From a time before the beginning of the recorded history the island appears to be swept by waves of successive invasion of the Iberian, Celt, Roman, the Englishman and the Dane. Finally, with the coming of the Norman, a new ingredient was added to the mixture of character and culture.

The Normans were originally a mixed horde of piratical adventures from Scandinavia and Denmark who had won the country for themselves in the North of France – Normandy (911). They belonged to a restless race, which terrorised Western Europe for three hundred years. Yet they had been so changed by their contact with the Southern civilisation that when they conquered England they spoke a language of Southern origin – the corrupt Latin then spoken in Normandy – raising it to the dignity of a literary language. They became Christians. They built splendid castles and cathedrals. They encouraged learning. They were foremost in instituting chivalry. Their poets, or trouveres, chanted long poems of battle and knightly deeds. But when they became masters of England in 1066, for the English they were strangers, proud, un-English in speech, in dress, in taste, and in character. Now foreigners held the chief offices, the land owning class was nearly all composed of Normans. The hated foreign rule was everywhere. But in the end Normans did not destroy the elements which had existed in the England of Alfred but they greatly modified them by contributing something new to English life and literature. In the end Normans, too, were to be absorbed in comparative unity of the nation.

Diversities in Language and literature. So it happened that for some time after the Conquest there were two races in England, the Norman and English, separate, and yet forced into daily contact; there were two languages, Norman-French and English; there were three literatures, in Norman-French, in Latin, and in English.

Latin Chronicles

Among the most important books in the mass of Anglo-Latin literature are those that deal with English history. During the twelfth century, history ceases to be a dry chronicle, and becomes an orderly narrative, told with some literary skill and showing attention to the portrayal of character.

William of Malmesbury (d.1143?) was one of the best Latin historians. His history of England is his most important work – Gesta Regum Anglorum.

Another of these monastic historians was Matthew Paris (d. 1259), who has been called the greatest of all. He was a monk in the ancient and splendid Abbey of St. Albans, which was noted at that time for its art and learning. Matthew Paris brought his history down to 1259, the year of his own death.

A little apart from these historians stands a writer whose fictions, put forth as history, produced more effect on literature than the sober history. This was Geoffrey of Monmouth (d. cir. -1154), whose fabulous history of the early kings of Britain – Historia Britonum - gave Europe new subjects for romance, and thus made an epoch in literary history. He tells us how Brutus, the descendant of the Trojan Aeneas, came to Albion, or Britain, and how he built a new Troy by the river Thames. In Geoffrey’s account of the kings which succeeded Brutus, occur names and stories which were destined to become a part of the world’s literature. We find the story of Sabrina, the nymph of the Severn; the story of King Lear and his daughters; above all we find the story of King Arthur. This story was reserved for others to lift it into the magical world of romance and to elevate Arthur into heroic pattern of medieval knighthood.

Geoffrey wrote in popular and entertaining style. He put those stories into Latin, the common language of the educated, and so gave them to Europe. The more so, via its Latin form, the original Historia Britonum was made available for the Russian reader in a splendid translation. This is how it starts:

“Часто и помногу о многом про себя размышляя, я наткнулся мыслью и на историю королей Британии и подивился тому, что, помимо упоминания об их правлении в давние времена, которое содержится в обстоятельных трудах Гильдаса и Беды, я не нашел ничего о королях, живших до воплощения Иисуса Христа, ничего об Артуре и многих других после воплощения Христова, хотя совершенные ими деяния достойны славы во веки и многие народы их помнят и о них повествуют, как если бы они были тщательно и подробно описаны.

И вот когда я думал об этом и стремился доискаться причины этого, архидиакон Оксенфордский Вальтер, муж отменно сведущий в искусстве красноречия и в иноземной истории, предложил мне некую весьма древнюю книгу на языке бриттов, в которой без каких-либо пробелов и по порядку, в прекрасном изложении рассказывалось о правлении всех наших властителей, начиная с Брута, первого короля бриттов, и кончая Кадвалларом, сыном Кадваллона. Поддавшись его увещеванию и не собирая в чужих садах сладкозвучных слов, но довольствуясь деревенским слогом и собственным пером, я постарался перевести сочинение это на латинский язык. Ведь, заполнив страницы высокопарными выражениями, я нагнал бы на читающих скуку, поскольку им пришлось бы дольше задерживаться на раскрытии значения слов, чем на понимании хода событий.

Итак,…” (перевод с лат. А. С. Бобовича)

One of the poets who worked on Arthurian story in French was a remarkable poet Chretien de Troye, who wrote five romances about the knights of King Arthur.

Wace, a trouvere, retold the story of Arthur and his knights with sundry additions (1155), and presented his book to Queen Eleanor, the wife of Henry II.

The Arthurian romances do not show knighthood as it was, - it was often brutal and cruel, - but they do show us the ideal of chivalry, the pattern of the true knight. We find Launcelot and Tristram setting an early passion before anything else in life, but we find also the soldier-saint Sir Percival; we find men whose trade is war starting in search of the Holy Grail (the cup used at the Last Supper), the mystical sign of the Divine presence. With such strangely contrasted elements there are mingled fragments of ancient heathenism, of the old magic and mystery of the Celt; - the white-bearded enchanter Merlin, the magic sword wrought by the Lady of the Lake, the mysterious land of Lyonesse, and Avalon where Arthur awaits the hour of his return.

Notwithstanding that Sir Thomas Malory was a writer of a later period, we comment upon his work here for his closest connection with the Arthurian legend allows us of doing so.

Sir Thomas Malory

Sir Thomas Malory is the author of the most famous and influential prose version of the legends of King Arthur, about whom little personal information is known. The title, "Le Morte D'arthur," is taken from the epilogue of William Caxton's landmark illustrated edition of 1485. The epilogue tells us that "this book was ended the ninth year of the reign of King Edward the Fourth (either 1469 or 1470), by Sir Thomas Maleore (one of the variant spellings of Malory), knight."

"Le Morte D’arthur" was written in English and consists of eight tales in 507 chapters in 21 books, so arranged by Caxton, for clarity of understanding. It is the basis of most modern tellings of the Arthurian story and was the inspiration for Tennyson's "Idylls of the King."

Early in the text of "Le Morte Darthur", the author refers to himself as a knight-prisoner. In reaction to this statement, it has been suggested that perhaps some or all of "Le Morte Darthur" was written while Malory was in prison. Certainties about Malory's life are few, although there has been some intelligent speculation centering around a Sir Thomas Malory of Newbold Revel in Warwickshire. This knight had some difficulties with a local priory (and possibly some misadventures caused by the swirling tides of Lancastrian-Yorkist politics) resulting in a period of imprisonment (there are records confirming several periods of confinement for Malory in London's Newgate Prison).


Of the birth of King Arthur and of his nurture.

THEN Queen Igraine waxed daily greater and greater, so it befell after within half a year, as King Uther lay by his queen, he asked her, by the faith she owed to him, whose was the child within her body; then she sore abashed to give answer. Dismay you not, said the king, but tell me the truth, and I shall love you the better, by the faith of my body. Sir, said she, I shall tell you the truth. The same night that my lord was dead, the hour of his death, as his knights record, there came into my castle of Tintagil a man like my lord in speech and in countenance, and two knights with him in likeness of his two knights Prastias and Jordanus, and so I went unto bed with him as I ought to do with my lord, and the same night, as I shall answer unto God, this child was begotten upon me. That is truth, said the king, as ye say; for it was I myself that came in the likeness, and therefore dismay you not, for I am father of the child; and there he told her all the cause, how it was by Merlin's counsel. Then the queen made great joy when she knew who was the father of her child.

Soon came Merlin unto the king, and said, Sir, ye must purvey you for the nourishing of your child. As thou wilt, said the king, be it. Well, said Merlin, I know a lord of yours in this land, that is a passing true man and a faithful, and he shall have the nourishing of your child, and his name is Sir Ector, and he is a lord of fair livelihood in many parts in England and Wales; and this lord, Sir Ector, let him be sent for, for to come and speak with you, and desire him yourself, as he loveth you, that he will put his own child to nourishing to another woman, and that his wife nourish yours. And when the child is born let it be delivered to me at yonder privy postern unchristened. So like as Merlin devised it was done. And when Sir Ector was come he made fiaunce to the king for to nourish the child like as the king desired; and there the king granted Sir Ector great rewards. Then when the lady was delivered, the king commanded two knights and two ladies to take the child, bound in a cloth of gold, and that ye deliver him to what poor man ye meet at the postern gate of the castle. So the child was delivered unto Merlin, and so he bare it forth unto Sir Ector, and made an holy man to christen him, and named him Arthur; and so Sir Ector's wife nourished him with her own pap.

Of the death of King Uther Pendragon.

THEN within two years King Uther fell sick of a great malady. And in the meanwhile his enemies usurped upon him, and did a great battle upon his men, and slew many of his people. Sir, said Merlin, ye may not lie so as ye do, for ye must to the field though ye ride on an horse-litter: for ye shall never have the better of your enemies but if your person be there, and then shall ye have the victory. So it was done as Merlin had devised, and they carried the king forth in an horse-litter with a great host towards his enemies. And at St. Albans there met with the king a great host of the North. And that day Sir Ulfius and Sir Brastias did great deeds of arms, and King Uther's men overcame the Northern battle and slew many people, and put the remnant to flight. And then the king returned unto London, and made great joy of his victory. And then he fell passing sore sick, so that three days and three nights he was speechless: wherefore all the barons made great sorrow, and asked Merlin what counsel were best. There is none other remedy, said Merlin, but God will have his will. But look ye all barons be before King Uther to-morn, and God and I shall make him to speak. So on the morn all the barons with Merlin came to-fore the king; then Merlin said aloud unto King Uther, Sir, shall your son Arthur be king after your days, of this realm with all the appurtenance? Then Uther Pendragon turned him, and said in hearing of them all, I give him God's blessing and mine, and bid him pray for my soul, and righteously and worshipfully that he claim the crown, upon forfeiture of my blessing; and therewith he yielded up the ghost, and then was he interred as longed to a king. Wherefore the queen, fair Igraine, made great sorrow, and all the barons.

How Arthur was chosen king, and of wonders and marvels of a sword taken out of a stone by the said Arthur.

THEN stood the realm in great jeopardy long while, for every lord that was mighty of men made him strong, and many weened to have been king. Then Merlin went to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and counselled him for to send for all the lords of the realm, and all the gentlemen of arms, that they should to London come by Christmas, upon pain of cursing; and for this cause, that Jesus, that was born on that night, that he would of his great mercy show some miracle, as he was come to be king of mankind, for to show some miracle who should be rightwise king of this realm. So the Archbishop, by the advice of Merlin, sent for all the lords and gentlemen of arms that they should come by Christmas even unto London. And many of them made them clean of their life, that their prayer might be the more acceptable unto God. So in the greatest church of London, whether it were Paul's or not the French book maketh no mention, all the estates were long or day in the church for to pray. And when matins and the first mass was done, there was seen in the churchyard, against the high altar, a great stone four square, like unto a marble stone; and in midst thereof was like an anvil of steel a foot on high, and therein stuck a fair sword naked by the point, and letters there were written in gold about the sword that said thus: -- Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone and anvil, is rightwise king born of all England. Then the people marvelled, and told it to the Archbishop. I command, said the Archbishop, that ye keep you within your church and pray unto God still, that no man touch the sword till the high mass be all done. So when all masses were done all the lords went to behold the stone and the sword. And when they saw the scripture some assayed, such as would have been king. But none might stir the sword nor move it. He is not here, said the Archbishop, that shall achieve the sword, but doubt not God will make him known. But this is my counsel, said the Archbishop, that we let purvey ten knights, men of good fame, and they to keep this sword. So it was ordained, and then there was made a cry, that every man should assay that would, for to win the sword. And upon New Year's Day the barons let make a jousts and a tournament, that all knights that would joust or tourney there might play, and all this was ordained for to keep the lords together and the commons, for the Archbishop trusted that God would make him known that should win the sword.

So upon New Year's Day, when the service was done, the barons rode unto the field, some to joust and some to tourney, and so it happened that Sir Ector, that had great livelihood about London, rode unto the jousts, and with him rode Sir Kay his son, and young Arthur that was his nourished brother; and Sir Kay was made knight at All Hallowmass afore. So as they rode to the jousts-ward, Sir Kay lost his sword, for he had left it at his father's lodging, and so he prayed young Arthur for to ride for his sword. I will well, said Arthur, and rode fast after the sword, and when he came home, the lady and all were out to see the jousting. Then was Arthur wroth, and said to himself, I will ride to the churchyard, and take the sword with me that sticketh in the stone, for my brother Sir Kay shall not be without a sword this day. So when he came to the churchyard, Sir Arthur alighted and tied his horse to the stile, and so he went to the tent, and found no knights there, for they were at the jousting. And so he handled the sword by the handles, and lightly and fiercely pulled it out of the stone, and took his horse and rode his way until he came to his brother Sir Kay, and delivered him the sword. And as soon as Sir Kay saw the sword, he wist well it was the sword of the stone, and so he rode to his father Sir Ector, and said: Sir, lo here is the sword of the stone, wherefore I must be king of this land. When Sir Ector beheld the sword, he returned again and came to the church, and there they alighted all three, and went into the church. And anon he made Sir Kay swear upon a book how he came to that sword. Sir, said Sir Kay, by my brother Arthur, for he brought it to me. How gat ye this sword? said Sir Ector to Arthur. Sir, I will tell you. When I came home for my brother's sword, I found nobody at home to deliver me his sword; and so I thought my brother Sir Kay should not be swordless, and so I came hither eagerly and pulled it out of the stone without any pain. Found ye any knights about this sword? said Sir Ector. Nay, said Arthur. Now, said Sir Ector to Arthur, I understand ye must be king of this land. Wherefore I, said Arthur, and for what cause? Sir, said Ector, for God will have it so; for there should never man have drawn out this sword, but he that shall be rightwise king of this land. Now let me see whether ye can put the sword there as it was, and pull it out again. That is no mastery, said Arthur, and so he put it in the stone; wherewithal Sir Ector assayed to pull out the sword and failed.

How King Arthur pulled out the sword divers times.

Now assay, said Sir Ector unto Sir Kay. And anon he pulled at the sword with all his might; but it would not be. Now shall ye assay, said Sir Ector to Arthur. I will well, said Arthur, and pulled it out easily. And therewithal Sir Ector knelt down to the earth, and Sir Kay. Alas, said Arthur, my own dear father and brother, why kneel ye to me? Nay, nay, my lord Arthur, it is not so; I was never your father nor of your blood, but I wot well ye are of an higher blood than I weened ye were. And then Sir Ector told him all, how he was betaken him for to nourish him, and by whose commandment, and by Merlin's deliverance.

Then Arthur made great dole when he understood that Sir Ector was not his father. Sir, said Ector unto Arthur, will ye be my good and gracious lord when ye are king? Else were I to blame, said Arthur, for ye are the man in the world that I am most beholden to, and my good lady and mother your wife, that as well as her own hath fostered me and kept. And if ever it be God's will that I be king as ye say, ye shall desire of me what I may do, and I shall not fail you; God forbid I should fail you Sir, said Sir Ector, I will ask no more of you, but that ye will make my son, your foster brother, Sir Kay, seneschal of all your lands. That shall be done, said Arthur, and more, by the faith of my body, that never man shall have that office but he, while he and I live Therewithal they went unto the Archbishop, and told him how the sword was achieved, and by whom; and on Twelfth-day all the barons came thither, and to assay to take the sword, who that would assay. But there afore them all, there might none take it out but Arthur; wherefore there were many lords wroth, and said it was great shame unto them all and the realm, to be overgoverned with a boy of no high blood born. And so they fell out at that time that it was put off till Candlemas and then all the barons should meet there again; but always the ten knights were ordained to watch the sword day and night, and so they set a pavilion over the stone and the sword, and five always watched. So at Candlemas many more great lords came thither for to have won the sword, but there might none prevail. And right as Arthur did at Christmas, he did at Candlemas, and pulled out the sword easily, whereof the barons were sore aggrieved and put it off in delay till the high feast of Easter. And as Arthur sped before, so did he at Easter; yet there were some of the great lords had indignation that Arthur should be king, and put it off in a delay till the feast of Pentecost.

Then the Archbishop of Canterbury by Merlin's providence let purvey then of the best knights that they might get, and such knights as Uther Pendragon loved best and most trusted in his days. And such knights were put about Arthur as Sir Baudwin of Britain, Sir Kay, Sir Ulfius, Sir Brastias. All these, with many other, were always about Arthur, day and night, till the feast of Pentecost.

How King Arthur was crowned, and how he made officers.

AND at the feast of Pentecost all manner of men assayed to pull at the sword that would assay; but none might prevail but Arthur, and pulled it out afore all the lords and commons that were there, wherefore all the commons cried at once, We will have Arthur unto our king, we will put him no more in delay, for we all see that it is God's will that he shall be our king, and who that holdeth against it, we will slay him. And therewithal they kneeled at once, both rich and poor, and cried Arthur mercy because they had delayed him so long, and Arthur forgave them, and took the sword between both his hands, and offered it upon the altar where the Archbishop was, and so was he made knight of the best man that was there. And so anon was the coronation made. And there was he sworn unto his lords and the commons for to be a true king, to stand with true justice from thenceforth the days of this life. Also then he made all lords that held of the crown to come in, and to do service as they ought to do. And many complaints were made unto Sir Arthur of great wrongs that were done since the death of King Uther, of many lands that were bereaved lords, knights, ladies, and gentlemen. Wherefore King Arthur made the lands to be given again unto them that owned them.

When this was done, that the king had stablished all the countries about London, then he let make Sir Kay seneschal of England; and Sir Baudwin of Britain was made constable; and Sir Ulfius was made chamberlain; and Sir Brastias was made warden to wait upon the north from Trent forwards, for it was that time the most party the king's enemies. But within few years after Arthur won all the north, Scotland, and all that were under their obeissance. Also Wales, a part of it, held against Arthur, but he overcame them all, as he did the remnant, through the noble prowess of himself and his knights of the Round Table.

Looking at this Anglo-Norman literature as a whole, whether in Latin or in Norman-French, we must remember that while it is un-English in language, a part of it was written by Englishmen. In this way each literature supplied something to the other; and all through this confused period of borrowing and adapting, of translating and retranslating, the foreign poetic forms were being appropriated by the English, making a part of the literary wealth of the whole nation. Politically the Norman conquered England; but in act, during the two centuries that followed Hastings, England conquered the Norman absorbing his good qualities without losing her own.

At the opening of the thirteenth century there are signs that the English language is beginning to win back its literary importance. Layamon, a parish priest in North Worcestershire, retold in English the legendary history of Britain. His Brut was based mainly on Wace’s Brut, as Wace’s Brut was based on the history of Geoffrey of Monmouth with the effect that Wace was Norman, using French; Geoffrey – the Welshman, using Latin; until finally the work is taken up by the Englishman: “Layamon laid down these books and turned the leaves, he beheld them lovingly. May the Lord be merciful to him! Pen he took with his fingers and wrote a book skin, and the true words set together, and the three books compressed into one.”

Layamon’s Brut is almost like a voice from the England of Caedmon. Its vocabulary is almost wholly English, hardly fifty words of French origin are to be found in its thirty thousand lines.

As we look back to the beginnings of the literature, we see that the Latin, French and English Saxon elements combined in this composite England. By virtue of this union English can be rugged, strong, simple, direct, or it can be sonorous, flowing, majestic, or melodious. Now the way was made clear for a great poet who should record the capabilities of the plastic language, and whose genius should express this union of diverse elements. This poet was Geoffrey Chaucer.

Geoffrey Chaucer

(Cir. 1340 - 1400)

England had produce a long succession of poets before Chaucer’s time, but Geoffrey Chaucer was the first great poet who wrote in an English which presents but little difficulty to the modern reader.

The poet was sprung from the Norman stock of a well-to-do family of the merchant class. The poet, who was to leave behind him such lively and brightly coloured pictures of mediaeval life, dress and manners, was born in the nation’s capital, the focus of England’s political, social, and commercial life. Chaucer was to be the lover of nature as well as the poet of man. His training was that of a gentleman’s son. When he was about seventeen, he was made page to Elizabeth, Countess of Ulster, so his world was that of chivalry, of romance, and of the court. For while the native English spirit was beginning to assert itself throughout the country, the tone of the court at this time was still foreign with French singers ‘menestrels’ and French tastes.

Chaucer gained a knowledge of books, he learned Latin and knew French. His poems are almost always founded upon books with reminiscences of his reading. He studied the Latin literature of the 12th and 13th centuries, – Monmouth’s Historia Britonum, he knew Vergil’s AEneid and Ovid’s Metamorphoses and other classical works.

To be in touch throughout his life with the best French poets of the day was much for Chaucer. The most direct example of Chaucer's French studies is his translation of Le Roman de la rose, a poem written in some 4000 lines by Guillaume Lorris about 1237 and extended to over 22,000 by Jean Clopinel, better known as Jean de Meun, forty years later. We know from Chaucer himself that he translated this poem. The strength of French influence on Chaucer's early work may be illustrated from the first of his poems the Book of the Duchesse, or, as it is alternatively called, the Deth of Blaunche. Here the whole machinery of the poem are taken over from contemporary French conventions. But some of the lines in the Deth of Blaunche are among the most tender and charming he ever wrote.

But it was his great good fortune to add to this continuing French influence, lessons in plot and construction derived from Boccaccio's Filostrato and Teseide, as well as some glimpses of the Divina Commedia. He shows acquaintance also with one of Petrarch's sonnets. Doubtless his busy life in the service of the crown had taught him self-confidence, and he uses his Italian models in his own way and with the most triumphant success..

He found other materials in popular Latin books. Among his lost works are renderings of "Origenes upon the Maudeleyne," and of Pope Innocent III on "The Wreced Engendring of Mankinde" (De miseria conditionis humanae).

Chaucer wrote his most important prose work, the translation of the De Consolatione Philosophiae of Boethius. Reminiscences of this helped to enrich many of his subsequent poems, and inspired five of his shorter pieces (The Former Age, Fortune, Truth, Gentilesse and Lak of Stedfastnesse), but the translation itself was only a partial success. To borrow his own phrase, his "Englysh was insufficient" to reproduce such difficult Latin. The translation is often barely intelligible without the original, and it is only here and there that it flows with any ease or rhythm.

It is believed that he started work on “The Canterbury Tales” in the early 1380s. Chaucer is best known as the writer of “The Canterbury Tales” which is a collection of stories told by fictional pilgrims on the road to the cathedral at Canterbury; these tales would help to shape English literature. "The Canterbury Tales” contrasts with other literature of the period in the naturalism of its narrative, the variety of stories the pilgrims tell and the varied characters who are engaged in the pilgrimage. Many of the stories narrated by the pilgrims seem to fit their individual characters and social standing, although some of the stories seem ill-fitting to their narrators, perhaps as a result of the incomplete state of the work. Chaucer drew on real life for his cast of pilgrims: the innkeeper shares the name of a contemporary keeper of an inn in Southwark, and real-life identities for the Wife of Bath, the Merchant, the Man of Law and the Student have been suggested. The many jobs Chaucer held in medieval society—page, soldier, messenger, valet, bureaucrat, foreman and administrator—probably exposed him to many of the types of people he depicted in the Tales. He was able to shape their speech and satirize their manners in what was to become popular literature among people of the same types.


Chaucer wrote in continental accentual-syllabic metre, a style which had developed since around the twelfth century as an alternative to the alliterative verse of Anglo-Saxon poetry. Chaucer is known for metrical innovation, inventing the rhyme royal, and he was one of the first English poets to use the five-stress line, a decasyllabic cousin to the iambic pentameter. The arrangement of these five-stress lines into rhyming couplet, first seen in his "The Legend of Good Women", was used in much of his later work and became one of the standard poetic forms in English.


The Canterbury Tales : Prologue

Here bygynneth the Book
of the tales of Caunterbury

Here begins the Book
of the Tales of Canterbury

1: Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
2: The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
3: And bathed every veyne in swich licour
4: Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
5: Whan zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
6: Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
7: Tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
8: Hath in the ram his halve cours yronne,
9: And smale foweles maken melodye,
10: That slepen al the nyght with open ye
11: (so priketh hem nature in hir corages);
12: Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
13: And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
14: To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
15: And specially from every shires ende
16: Of engelond to caunterbury they wende,
17: The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
18: That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.

When April with his showers sweet with fruit
The drought of March has pierced unto the root
And bathed each vein with liquor that has power
To generate therein and sire the flower;
When Zephyr also has, with his sweet breath,
Quickened again, in every holt and heath,
The tender shoots and buds, and the young sun
Into the Ram one half his course has run,
And many little birds make melody
That sleep through all the night with open eye
(So Nature pricks them on to ramp and rage)-
Then do folk long to go on pilgrimage,
And palmers to go seeking out strange strands,
To distant shrines well known in sundry lands.
And specially from every shire's end
Of England they to Canterbury wend,
The holy blessed martyr there to seek
Who helped them when they lay so ill and weal

19: Bifil that in that seson on a day,
20: In southwerk at the tabard as I lay
21: Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage
22: To caunterbury with ful devout corage,
23: At nyght was come into that hostelrye
24: Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye,
25: Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle
26: In felaweshipe, and pilgrimes were they alle,
27: That toward caunterbury wolden ryde.
28: The chambres and the stables weren wyde,
29: And wel we weren esed atte beste.
30: And shortly, whan the sonne was to reste,
31: So hadde I spoken with hem everichon
32: That I was of hir felaweshipe anon,
33: And made forward erly for to ryse,
34: To take oure wey ther as I yow devyse.

Befell that, in that season, on a day
In Southwark, at the Tabard, as I lay
Ready to start upon my pilgrimage
To Canterbury, full of devout homage,
There came at nightfall to that hostelry
Some nine and twenty in a company
Of sundry persons who had chanced to fall
In fellowship, and pilgrims were they all
That toward Canterbury town would ride.
The rooms and stables spacious were and wide,
And well we there were eased, and of the best.
And briefly, when the sun had gone to rest,
So had I spoken with them, every one,
That I was of their fellowship anon,
And made agreement that we'd early rise
To take the road, as you I will apprise.

35: But nathelees, whil I have tyme and space,
36: Er that I ferther in this tale pace,
37: Me thynketh it acordaunt to resoun
38: To telle yow al the condicioun
39: Of ech of hem, so as it semed me,
40: And whiche they weren, and of what degree,
41: And eek in what array that they were inne;
42: And at a knyght than wol I first bigynne.

But none the less, whilst I have time and space,
Before yet farther in this tale I pace,
It seems to me accordant with reason
To inform you of the state of every one
Of all of these, as it appeared to me,
And who they were, and what was their degree,
And even how arrayed there at the inn;
And with a knight thus will I first begin.

The Knight's Portrait


43: A knyght ther was, and that a worthy man,
44: That fro the tyme that he first bigan
45: To riden out, he loved chivalrie,
46: Trouthe and honour, fredom and curteisie.
47: Ful worthy was he in his lordes werre,
48: And therto hadde he riden, no man ferre,
49: As wel in cristendom as in hethenesse,
50: And evere honoured for his worthynesse.
51: At alisaundre he was whan it was wonne.
52: Ful ofte tyme he hadde the bord bigonne
53: Aboven alle nacions in pruce;
54: In lettow hadde he reysed and in ruce,
55: No cristen man so ofte of his degree.
56: In gernade at the seege eek hadde he be
57: Of algezir, and riden in belmarye.
58: At lyeys was he and at satalye,
59: Whan they were wonne; and in the grete see
60: At many a noble armee hadde he be.
61: At mortal batailles hadde he been fiftene,
62: And foughten for oure feith at tramyssene
63: In lystes thries, and ay slayn his foo.
64: This ilke worthy knyght hadde been also
65: Somtyme with the lord of palatye
66: Agayn another hethen in turkye.
67: And everemoore he hadde a sovereyn prys;
68: And though that he were worthy, he was wys,
69: And of his port as meeke as is a mayde.
70: He nevere yet no vileynye ne sayde
71: In al his lyf unto no maner wight.
72: He was a verray, parfit gentil knyght.
73: But, for to tellen yow of his array,
74: His hors were goode, but he was nat gay.
75: Of fustian he wered a gypon
76: Al bismotered with his habergeon,
77: For he was late ycome from his viage,
78: And wente for to doon his pilgrymage.

A knight there was, and he a worthy man,
Who, from the moment that he first began
To ride about the world, loved chivalry,
Truth, honour, freedom and all courtesy.
Full worthy was he in his liege-lord's war,
And therein had he ridden (none more far)
As well in Christendom as heathenesse,
And honoured everywhere for worthiness.
At Alexandria, he, when it was won;
Full oft the table's roster he'd begun
Above all nations' knights in Prussia.
In Latvia raided he, and Russia,
No christened man so oft of his degree.
In far Granada at the siege was he
Of Algeciras, and in Belmarie.
At Ayas was he and at Satalye
When they were won; and on the Middle Sea
At many a noble meeting chanced to be.
Of mortal battles he had fought fifteen,
And he'd fought for our faith at Tramissene
Three times in lists, and each time slain his foe.
This self-same worthy knight had been also
At one time with the lord of Palatye
Against another heathen in Turkey:
And always won he sovereign fame for prize.
Though so illustrious, he was very wise
And bore himself as meekly as a maid.
He never yet had any vileness said,
In all his life, to whatsoever wight.
He was a truly perfect, gentle knight.
But now, to tell you all of his array,
His steeds were good, but yet he was not gay.
Of simple fustian wore he a jupon
Sadly discoloured by his habergeon;
For he had lately come from his voyage
And now was going on this pilgrimage.

Chaucer's English

Although Chaucer's language is much closer to modern English than the text of "Beowulf", it differs enough that most publications modernise it. Following is a sample from the prologue of the "The Summoner's Prologue and Tale” that compares Chaucer's text to a modern translation:




This frere bosteth that he knoweth helle,

This friar boasts that he knows hell,

And God it woot, that it is litel wonder;

And God knows that it is little wonder;

Freres and feendes been but lyte asonder.

Friars and fiends are seldom far apart.

For, pardee, ye han ofte tyme herd telle

For, by God, you have ofttimes heard tell

How that a frere ravyshed was to helle

How a friar was taken to hell

In spirit ones by a visioun;

In spirit, once by a vision;

And as an angel ladde hym up and doun,

And as an angel led him up and down,

To shewen hym the peynes that the were,

To show him the pains that were there,

In al the place saugh he nat a frere;

In the whole place he saw not one friar;

Of oother folk he saugh ynowe in wo.

He saw enough of other folk in woe.

Unto this angel spak the frere tho:

To the angel spoke the friar thus:

Now, sire, quod he, han freres swich a grace

"Now sir", said he, "Do friars have such a grace

That noon of hem shal come to this place?

That none of them come to this place?"

Yis, quod this aungel, many a millioun!

"Yes", said the angel, "many a million!"

And unto sathanas he ladde hym doun.

And the angel led him down to Satan.

--And now hath sathanas,--seith he,--a tayl

He said, "And Satan has a tail,

Brodder than of a carryk is the sayl.

Broader than a large ship's sail.

Hold up thy tayl, thou sathanas!--quod he;

Hold up your tail, Satan!" said he.

--shewe forth thyn ers, and lat the frere se

"Show forth your arse, and let the friar see

Where is the nest of freres in this place!--

Where the nest of friars is in this place!"

And er that half a furlong wey of space,

And before half a furlong of space,

Right so as bees out swarmen from an hyve,

Just as bees swarm from a hive,

Out of the develes ers ther gonne dryve

Out of the devil's arse there were driven

Twenty thousand freres on a route,

Twenty thousand friars on a rout,

And thurghout helle swarmed al aboute,

And throughout hell swarmed all about,

And comen agayn as faste as they may gon,

And came again as fast as they could go,

And in his ers they crepten everychon.

And every one crept back into his arse.

He clapte his tayl agayn and lay ful stille.

He shut his tail again and lay very still.

Middle English

The poetry of Chaucer, along with other writers of the era, is credited with helping to standardize the London Dialect of the Middle English language from a combination of the Kentish and Midlands dialects. This is probably overstated; the influence of the court, Lord Chancellor and bureaucracy—of which Chaucer was a part—remains a more probable influence on the development of Standard English. Modern English is somewhat distanced from the language of Chaucer's poems owing to the effect of the Great Vowel Shift some time after his death. This change in the pronunciation of English, still not fully understood, makes the reading of Chaucer difficult for the modern audience, though it is thought by some that the modern Scottish accent is closely related to the sound of Middle English. The status of the final -e in Chaucer's verse is uncertain: it seems likely that during the period of Chaucer's writing the final -e was dropping out of colloquial English and that its use was somewhat irregular. Chaucer's versification suggests that the final -e is sometimes to be vocalised, and sometimes to be silent; however, this remains a point on which there is disagreement. When it is vocalised, most scholars pronounce it as a schwa. Apart from the irregular spelling, much of the vocabulary is recognisable to the modern reader. Chaucer is also recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary as the first author to use many common English words in his writings. These words were probably frequently used in the language at the time but Chaucer, with his ear for common speech, is the earliest manuscript source. Acceptable, alkali, altercation, amble, angrily, annex, annoyance, approaching, arbitration, armless, army, arrogant, arsenic, arc, artillery and aspect are just some of those from the first letter of the alphabet.

William Caxton

In the troubled reign of Edward IV (1461-1483), the new invention of printing books from movable type was brought into England. William Caxton (1422-1491), who had learned this wonderful art of printing in the Low Countries, returned to England in 1470 and set up his press in a house near Westminster Abbey. Here he published the Dictes and sayings of the Philisophers (1477), translated from French by Lord Rivers, the first book printed in England. Caxton was no mere tradesman; he had a genuine love for literature. His press gave England the best he knew – Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Gower’s Confessio Amantis, Malory’s Morte d’Arthur, and an English translation of Vergil’s AEneid. He was himself an industrious translator, and the prefaces which he wrote for a number of his publications are clearly and simply written.

© Все права защищены http://www.portal-slovo.ru

Rambler's Top100

Веб-студия Православные.Ру