Monday, March 1, 2010

Spring Dreams

Did anyone else have to memorize and recite the prologue to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales as part of the English major requirements in college?
It was one of my favorite requirements and had a lasting impression; when the snow begins to melt and sunlight overcomes darkness, I walk around with Chaucer's Middle English echoing in my mind.
Whan that aprill with his shoures soote The droghte of march hath perced to the roote, And bathed every veyne in swich licour Of which vertu engendred is the flour; Whan zephirus eek with his sweete breeth Inspired hath in every holt and heeth Tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne Hath in the ram his halve cours yronne, And smale foweles maken melodye, That slepen al the nyght with open ye (so priketh hem nature in hir corages); Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages, And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes, To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes; And specially from every shires ende Of engelond to caunterbury they wende, The hooly blisful martir for to seke, That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.

I know it's March first, and not April. But any hints of spring fling me into Chaucer's world. I love Chaucer - the courses I took on his work opened my eyes to so much about the evolution of language (Old and Middle English are amazing!) and how wrapped up the medieval world was in ancient lore and magic - each physical description, each tiny reference was a secret code revealing both plot and character in his tales. That mixture of history, myth, and magic stayed with me, finding a new home in Nightshade.

Now that February is behind us and March, though tempestuous, flings open the door to spring I can't help but be excited. Spring is coming at last.


  1. Love Chaucer! And I'm dying for spring--longer days and warmer temps. I'm sooo ready. =)

  2. My favorite class in college was a night class all on Chaucer. It was taught by this totally crazy professor. She used to make us memorize passages. I still have my Riverside Chaucer all filled with her notes.

  3. Yay - fellow Chaucer fans; and hooray for Riverside Chaucer, such an awesome edition.