BYTUENE Mershe ant Averil

Last year Pipsqueak and JennyAnyDots began reading through the Oxford Book of English Verse. Our hard copy was my grandmother’s, and I always think there’s something special about using the same books she used.

They chose one of the older poems and tried to rewrite it into modern English.

Their ‘translation’ is further down. This is the original, but don’t give up on it- keep scrolling down for their translation:

BYTUENE Mershe ant Averil
When spray biginneth to spring,
The lutel foul hath hire wyl
On hyre lud to synge:
Ich libbe in love-longinge

For semlokest of alle thynge,
He may me blisse bringe,
Icham in hire bandoun.
An hendy hap ichabbe y-hent,
Ichot from hevene it is me sent,
From alle wymmen my love is lent
Ant lyht on Alisoun.

On heu hire her is fayr ynoh,
Hire browe broune, hire eye blake;
With lossum chere he on me loh;
With middel smal ant wel y-make;
Bote he me wolle to hire take
For to buen hire owen make,
Long to lyven ichulle forsake
Ant feye fallen adoun.
An hendy hap, etc.

Nihtes when I wende and wake,
For-thi myn wonges waxeth won;
Levedi, al for thine sake
Longinge is y-lent me on.
In world his non so wyter mon
That al hire bountè telle con;
Hire swyre is whittore than the swon,
Ant feyrest may in toune.
An hendy hap, etc.

Icham for wowyng al for-wake,
Wery so water in wore;
Lest eny reve me my make
Ichabbe y-yerned yore.
Betere is tholien whyle sore
Then mournen evermore.
Geynest under gore,
Herkne to my roun—
An hendy hap, etc.

There is a small glossary on the page with the poem, which helped them make some sense of it. We also looked at the Luminarium site for a little more help.

I suggested they try to translate just one stanza into more modern usage. They ended up spending most of their day on the project, because they decided to try their hand with the entire poem. I was pleased that they were interested enough in the project that they went far beyond my original suggestion, although I wonder if I ought not to have insisted that the lay aside the poetry and complete other tasks.

There were some slightly archaic words that they didn’t update. I think this was because they didn’t realize how uncommon those words are, being rather familiar with what some would consider archaic word usage.

Here’s what they came up with (typos are probably mine):

Between March and April
When rain cometh with spring
The little fowl have their will
in their language to sing:

I live in love-longing for the lovliest of all creatures
May she bring me delight
For I am her serf.
of a Gracious chance I have caught
I know it is from Heaven sent.
From all women my love has went
and lighted on Alison.

In hue her hair is fair enough
Her brow is brown, her eyes are black.
In lovesome cheer she with me laughs.
Her middle is small and well-made.
Unless she will take me for to be her own mate
The longing to live I will forsake
And like to die falling down
A gracious chance I have enjoyed (etc)

Nightly when I turn and wake
On that acount my cheeks grow wan
Lady, for your sake,
Longing has come upon me
In this world is none so wise a man
That all her excellence can tell
Her neck is whiter than the swan
An fairest maid in the town
A gracious chance etc.

I am for worrying always awake
Weary as water in a weir lest anyone rob me of my mate
I have long been distressed
Better to endure while still sore than
Mourn evermore
Fairest in woman’s clothes,
Harken to my tale.
A gracious chance I have enjoyed.

As I said, I wonder about whether I did the right thing by allowing them to set aside all their other work to work on this one poem. On the one hand perhaps that was a poor lesson in pacing, in diligence, in self discipline. On the other hand, they closeted themselves together in my room, cheerfully and happily spending hours devoted to medieval poetry. What mother could complain about that?
Hendy hap, etc!
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The Birds Formerly Known as Extinct


The Equuschick was going to write a long, thoughtful, and no doubt, very profound post on the “rediscovery” (what kind a word is that, anyway) of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker.

It is indeed a fascinating subject, one that raises many of the usual questions about the veracity of science in general, and one day in the near future she hopes to provide more on the subject than the following links-

Ivory Billed Woodpecker Rediscovered in Arkansas
Extinct Woodpecker Rediscovered (DHM: Well it isn’t very extinct then, is it? What a silly headline)
Rare Woodpecker’s Home Remote, Dangerous

But the Equuschick has a head-cold of immense proportions and was having trouble concentrating on above articles, so instead she drank Alka-Seltzer, fell asleep, woke up, and watched “The Man From Snowy River” on the couch while her jaw hung slack and drool ran down her chin.

She suspects also that her brain was fried, but she awaits documentation.

Lest any of you should be concerned, the Equuschick is aware that “The Man From Snowy River” is the Original Movie Without a Plot, with Mediocre Dialogue and Similar Acting, and PC Themes Galore.

But the Equuschick is the Equuschick for a reason, and if time would permit, she would watch “The Man From Snowy Rider” once daily just to watch those Hottie Aussies ride.

*reads Hottie Aussie phrase*

DHM, raising her eyebrows: Do you mean the Aussies are hot, or do you mean the horses are hot?

Equuschick (sniffling, sneezing, and talking through a very stuffy nose): I don’t know. You choose.

The documentation we’ve all been waiting for is in, and the Equuschick’s brain is fried. Very fried.


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I Never Saw A Moor

I never saw a moor,
I never saw the sea;
Yet know I how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.

I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the chart were given.

Emily Dickenson

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Did you miss the Crocheted Doll Post?

JennyAnyDots blogged earlier about crocheting a doll. But she saved it in the drafts for me to proofread (shh, don’t laugh, I proofread other people’s work much better than my own).

I didn’t get to that until just now, and that means that when we clicked ‘publish’ her post was inserted into the space where it would have been if she’d published it when she wrote it- about five or six posts down. So if you missed it, go ahead and click HERE, and that should take you right to her post.

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Trackbacks and Other Puzzlements

Mrs. Squirrel of Dewey’s Treehouse posted a request in one of the comments below. She wants to know what trackbacks are. I know somebody else is wondering about that, too.

I learned about trackbacks from these two posts:

Mudville Gazette’s Everything You Wanted to Know About Blogging But Were AFraid to Ask.

La Shawn Barber’s post on her pet peeves about bloggers.

You can get the same information by clicking on those hyperlinks and reading the posts. LaShawn explains the why of trackbacks and gives a couple links to trackback enabling downloads. Grayhawk at Mudville tells how, and he has a simple little tutorial walking you through a trackback, and gives another link or two to some downloads to permit trackbacking. Those links are both great resources for new bloggers, but some of us still won’t be sure what a trackback is and when we should use them. That’s what I’ll try to cover in this post. Then if you want to know more, click on the above links. They are both great sites that should be in your favorites, anyway.

A little while ago JennyAnyDots wrote a post about the regency dresses she made. Kathryn at Suitable for MIxed Company liked that post, and she mentioned it in her blog. She took the time to post in our comments section, and she told us that she was going to link to our blog, which pleased JennyAnyDots very much (btw, you can see pictures of her dresses here, just below the picture of Clark, our late and unlamented spider).

We like to know when other blogs are paying attention, when they have something to say about one of our posts, and when they send visitors our direction. It’s just… nice. Trackbacks can also send extra traffic to a blog. Blogs that have trackbacking enabled automatically list those sites that have trackbacked to a post. Readers interested in pursuing a topic can look at the list of blogs tracking back to that post and click on any link that interests. Basically, Kathryn took the time to give us a hand-made trackback. REgular trackbacks automate the process. If we had trackbacking enabled, it would have been simpler for her to let us know she’d linked to our post.

Not every blog has comments enabled, and not every blogger likes to comment or has time to post comments. Trackbacks are an automated way to notify a blogger that you have linked to one of his posts. Blogs with trackbacking automatically ‘ping’ each other when the trackback program is used.

Better blogs than ours have trackbacking enabled, but not all blog services have a trackbacking program set up. Blogspot doesn’t have trackbacking yet, and since we are blogspot site, we don’t either. You can download a program to provide trackbacks from Haloscan. Haloscan will handle the comments section and allow trackbacking. I haven’t done that yet because, well, I just haven’t gotten around to doing that yet. Also, I understand that when you download Haloscan, you lose all the old comments made before you had Holoscan. I’m not sure I want to do that, but eventually, we probably will, just because we like the concept of trackbacking so well.

Meanwhile, there is no way to trackback to one of our posts. We only find out that a blog has linked to one of our posts if somebody takes the time to notify us, we read it while reading that blog, or, in the case of larger traffic blog, our tracking system tells us we have had one thousand visitors coming to us from Hugh Hewitt’s blog (yes, that happened one day, and it was very exciting!).

However, we can give trackbacks to other blogs that have trackbacking enabled, and I like to do that (so we give rather than receive trackbacks for now). I use Kalsey’s Simple Tracks, which I learned about from LaShawn Barber. Mudville mentions at least one other.

If you are interested in pursing this topic, you can click on the links to their sites which I gave at the beginning of this post. Incidentally, if you came to our blog from a link on another website, our tracking system tells us which website that was. So when Samantha, for instanced, referenced us in her blog, I knew something was up without even reading her blog, because we had so many visitors come to us from Eclectic Domestic that day. So when you click on one of the links in one of our blog entries, you are notifying the owners of *that* blog that you came from The Common Room, and if enough people do that, the other blogowner just might click back over here to see what we’re about.

Now we blog because we like to. It’s a fun family activity for us, and some of us like to write very much and all of us like to air our opinions on just about everything under the sun (There Are Limits, However, which is why we have not permitted the first year students to post to the blog!) We started it for fun.

I knew that large blogs like instapundit and others bring in blogmoney- but I didn’t think ours would ever be a financially profitable venture. I still don’t know if it will, but I’m dreaming. Since we started our blog we’ve learned that there are ways that even blogs like ours can bring in some income, too, and we’re rather hopeful that one day our blog can help the Headmaster cut back on his outside work schedule. Increasing our traffic is one of the steps toward that goal. I presume other bloggers wouldn’t mind an increase in traffic, either, so that they might also one day work toward a blog that brings in at least a little income (for those interested, so far I have earned approximately five dollars on Amazon purchases linked to from here, so we won’t be growing rich on Amazon links, but we already knew that). This is one of the reasons I like to link to other blogs that I think have quality content- I’d like to help them out if I can. It’s also one of the reasons I appreciate it when our readers share our blog with others.

So that about sums up everything I can tell you about trackbacks, with plenty of extra information you never knew you wanted to know.

There will not be a quiz. However, let’s consider this as a practicum class. I’d like to see other bloggers new to this medium put into practice what you’ve learned today- comment more on the blogs you read, link to other blogs, use trackbacks when you can, and share the blogs you like with your friends. Enter a few of your blogposts in one of the many Carnivals. Help other bloggers you like by sending one of their posts to the Smarter than I Carnival. Share the love.

Until next time… class dismissed.:-)

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