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Monday, December 06, 2004

Sir Orfeo - a portion for the mind


We often read and written find,
as learned men do us remind,
that lays that now the harpers sing
are wrought of many a marvelous thing.
Some are of weal, and some of woe,
and some do joy and gladness know;
in some are guile and treachery told,
in some the deeds that chanced of old;
some are of jests and ribaldry,
and some are tales of Faerie.
Of all the things that men may heed
'tis most of love they sing indeed.

In Britain all these lays are writ,
there issued first in rhyming fit,
concerning adventures in those days
whereof the Britons made their lays;
for when they heard men anywhere
tell of adventures that there were,
they took their harps in their delight
and made a lay and named it right.

Of adventures that did once befall
some can I tell you, but not all.
Listen now, lordings good and true,
and 'Orfeo' I will sing to you.

Sir Orfeo was a king of old,
in England lordship high did hold;
valour he had and hardihood,
a courteous king whose gifts were good.
His father from King Pluto came,
his mother from Juno, king of fame,
who once of old as gods were named
for mighty deeds they did and claimed.
Sir Orfeo, too, all things beyond
of harping's sweet delight was fond,
and sure were all good harpers there
of him to earn them honour fair;
himself he loved to touch the harp
and pluck the strings with fingers sharp...

There dwelt his queen in fairest bliss,
whom men called Lady Heurodis,
of ladies then the one most fair
who ever flesh and blood did wear;
in her did grace and goodness dwell,
but none her loveliness can tell.

It so did chance in early May,
when glad and warm doth shine the day,
and gone are bitter winter showers,
and every field is filled with flowers,
on every branch the blossom blows,
in glory and in gladness grows,
the lady Heurodis, the queen,
two maidens fair to garden green
with her she took at drowsy tide
of noon to stroll by orchard-side,
to see the flowers there spread and spring
and hear the birds on branches sing.

... isn't it lovely? That is just the beginning!

Ahhh, lovely literature to fill the mind - I have my mint for the day.

Warmly,

SofH

(From this version.)



2 comments:

Karen said...

I can definitely say you've quickened my interest in this piece.

Karen

P.S.: As I looked around your blog, one thought that popped in my head was, "This could have been written by me." Well, except for discussing theonomy and reconstructionism. I don't know what those terms refer to but I'm going to go find out. :-)

Student of History said...

I thought it would to see it in print! Sir Orfeo is truly a beautiful read.

:+)
SofH