Lend Me Thine Ears: Medieval Poetry

Are you a "poet and don't know-et?" This week, Dame Aoife takes us on a poetic journey through this fine art that has been the choice of lovers, leaders, and lechers since time immemorial.

Greetings My Faithful Readers! This week's Links List is about Medieval Poetry. Not a Poetry fan? Read on:

A Sonnet for the Reader
Aoife Finn

Sweet to read and sweeter yet to hear,
Or, sour and fusty, as grapes too long aripe;
Bring your selves in, and lightly please draw near
but not to doze nor even yet to gripe;

Poetry is color to the mind,
Spirits to thy lips, which taste compares
To the Hell-bound and to the Divine,
and brings to thee my passion and despair.

Do not nap whilst I still serenade!
Well I know that Bards do prate and preach.
But some will speak and cause us to be glad,
Wouldst you run in fear, as from the Leech?

There's naught to fear but sweet perfection's grace,
Inspired by thy dear, familiar face.

Adieu,

Aoife

Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon
Riverouge
Endless Hills
Aethelemarc


MEDIAEVAL POETRY AND HOW TO WRITE IT
Alisoun MacCoul of Elphane
http://www.tirbriste.org/dmir/BardicArts/0308/0308.html
(Site Excerpt) To us poetry is a technical art best left to the experts, to scholars and men of genius in the mundane world, to ambitious minstrels and wordsmiths in the Society. To them poetry was merely another way of speaking, not necessarily set apart from other modes of speech by content or context (and indeed it was extremely common throughout much of the Middle Ages for the same writer to render the same saint's life or battle description or romantic tale in prose or verse as the audience of the moment preferred).

Medieval Welsh Poetry
http://www.webexcel.ndirect.co.uk/gwarnant/
(Site Excerpt) Gwarnant has the texts of poems by the famous (and the obscure) from the earliest surviving works up to the fifteenth century. Mostly in the original Welsh with notes on the manuscript sources, but with many translations as well.

Medieval Irish Poetry
http://www.dnaco.net/~mobrien/irishptr/index.html
(Site Excerpt) I invoke the land of Eire:
much coursed by the fertile sea.
Fertile is the fruit-strewn mountain
fruit strewn by the showery wood showery is the river of waterfalls
of waterfalls by the lake of deep pools ...

Regia Anglorum: Music and Verse in Anglo-Saxon and Viking Times
http://www.regia.org/music.htm
(Site Excerpt) Often these poems were composed to record a particular event such as 'The Battle of Maldon', others, such as 'Widsith' and 'Deor' appear to be fiction or folklore. Much history and custom was passed on by word of mouth. It is easier to remember things exactly when in the form of poetry than as prose. Therefore history was often recorded in the form of poetry.

Viking Answer Lady: Norse and Finnish Poetry
http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/meters.htm
(Site Excerpt) You are suffering from a misapprehension that is, alas, all too common. Kalevala is NOT a "saga." By definition, a saga is a prose form. Kalevala is poetry, set in unrhymed, non-strophic trochaic tetrameter, which is now referred to by scholars as "Kalevala meter". Outside of Finland, this type of verse is most familiar from Longfellow's Hiawatha.

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages
An international project to edit the corpus of medieval skaldic poetry.
http://skaldic.arts.usyd.edu.au/bin/skaldic.cgi?f1=~edited
(Note: The above link is not to the front page, but to the texts and historic authors. Site Excerpt) It is not possible to be precise about either the dates of Bragi's floruit or about the details of his life. Some of the latter are almost certainly legendary. Old Icelandic sources would put Bragi's birth-date at c. 830, his primary location in Norway and his floruit in the mid-ninth century and perhaps a little later. Skáldatal associates Bragi with three patrons, Ragnarr loðbrók, Eysteinn beli and Bjõrn á Haugi. SnSt considered him to have composed Bragi, Rdr for Ragnarr loðbrók, the legendary Viking, who was active in France and Britain between 830-45 according to European sources.

Italian and English Madrigals of the 16th century
http://mdmd.essortment.com/italianenglish_rjnf.htm
(Site Excerpt) The Italian madrigal of the 16th century consisted of a refined four to six parts, offering twelve lines of lyric verse with love, desire, humor, satire, politics, or pastoral scenes as the theme. Madrigals were Renaissance in thought and feeling, a secular expression of an aristocratic age. In some instances, the top part was sung while contrasting parts were played on instruments. Other performances gave all the lines to singers. Italian madrigal form was partial to overlapping cadences and one-time through performances with no repeats.

Dante, Chaucer, and the Currency of the Word: Money, Images, and Reference in Late Medieval Poetry
R. A. Shoaf
http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/rashoaf/dccw.html\
(Site Excerpt) They sin who make discord between wisdom and eloquence, but what is all eloquence without wisdom except, as Cato says, glossaries of the dead? We are able to live without language, although not comfortably, but without wisdom we are not able to live at all. He is perhaps not humane who is unfamiliar with polite letters, but he who is deprived of philosophy is no longer even a man. (Pico della Mirandola)

Troubadour & Early Occitan Literature
http://globegate.utm.edu/french/globegate_mirror/occit.html
(Site Excerpt) This page contains nearly 100 links to Old Provençal or Occitan troubadour culture, language and songs. It is designed to give patrons access to most of the corpus of troubadour poetry. Since this is the lyric poetry of the South of France in its languages of "Oc", it should probably be considered and contrasted with that of the languages of "Oïl" to the North, which Globe-Gate has covered in Medieval French Lyric Poetry (through the 14th century) http://www.utm.edu/~globeg/lyric.shtml and since music is an important consideration for troubadour literature, patrons may wish to consult Andy Holt Virtual Library Early Music Periodicals
http://www.utm.edu/vlibrary/earlymus.shtml

Stefan's Florilegium: Poetry
http://www.florilegium.org/files/PERFORMANCE-ARTS/poetry-msg.html
(Site Excerpt from ONE message) Anglo-Saxon poetry is structured around stresses and alliteration rather than the syllable-counting that characterized Latin poetry of the same time. The number of syllables in any given line is less important than the number of stresses; each line consists of two half-lines separated by a caesura (pause), and each half-line contains at least two stresses.

Medieval Poetry
(A series of notes and information)
http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Hills/7985/medieval.htm
(Site Excerpt) ALLITERATIVE REVIVAL.- Long poems written in an alliterative metre. N & W. It's an alternative to the continental form or syllabic rhyming verse. ALLEGORICAL : PIERS PLOWMAN.- How people understood their religion. William Langland. Presented with colloquial & non-decorated language. Complex variety of religious themes.

Medieval Spanish Poetry
http://www.spanisharts.com/books/literature/poetrymed.htm
(Site Excerpt) Spanish medieval poetry covers four centuries. This assumes a considerable amount of texts of different natures: narrative poetry, almost Provençal lyrics, Castilian texts written in Arabic characters -aljamiado-, etc. For this reason, it is convenient to split them into distinct sections. We offer the following five headings: PRIMITIVE LYRICS, THE EPIC, MESTER DE CLERECIA, COLLECTION OF VERSE (Cancionero), THE SPANISH BALLADS

Medieval Sourcebook: Selections from the legends and Poetry of the Turks
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/turkishpoetry1.html
(Site Excerpt) All the universe, one mighty sign, is shown;
God hath myriads of creative acts unknown:
None hath seen them, of the races jinn and men,
None hath news brought from that realm far off from ken.

Elizabethan Poetry
http://ise.uvic.ca/Library/SLT/literature/poetrysubj.html
(Site Excerpt) Blank verse, the basic pattern of language in Shakespeare's plays, is (in its regular form) a verse line of ten syllables with five stresses and no rhyme (hence "blank"). It was first used in England by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey* in his translation of the Æneid (c.1554).

Cariadoc's Miscellany: Poetry by David Freidman and Elizabeth Cook
http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/cariadoc/misc_poetry.html
(Site Excerpt) They wrote a song, and another song
And another two or three;
They held not back from any sin
They spared them neither kith nor kin
Nor their good lord sweet Laurelin
From scorn and mockery.

Portuguese Medieval Literature
http://www.geocities.com/correia72/medieval.htm
(Site Excerpt) The songs of the troubadours were of three types: cantigas de amor, or plaintive love songs; cantigas de amigo, or songs about suitors, put into the mouths of women in delightful native forms still alive in oral folk tradition; and cantigas de escarnho e de mal dizer, or mocking and slanderous songs. More than 2000 songs of the troubadours survive.

Berekely: Online Medieval and Classical Library
http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/OMACL/
(Site Excerpt) The Online Medieval and Classical Library (OMACL) is a collection of some of the most important literary works of Classical and Medieval civilization.

Amazon Listmania: Medieval Poetry--Not for the Faint-hearted!
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/listmania/list-browse/-/18NVPHFW6R7...

Luminarium: Anthology of Middle English Literature
http://www.luminarium.org/medlit/

The Passionate Shepherd to his love (Marlowe)
http://historymedren.about.com/library/poetry/blshepherd.htm
(Site Excerpt) Come live with me and be my Love,
And we will all the pleasures prove,
That hills and valleys, dales and field,
Or woods or steepy mountain yields.
ALSO SEE Sir Walter Raleigh's Response poem: Her Reply
http://historymedren.about.com/library/poetry/blraleigh.htm
(Site Excerpt) If all the world and love were young,
And truth in every shepherd's tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with thee and be thy Love.

Intro to Old English Poetic Style
http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/research/rawl/IOE/postyle.html (Site Excerpt ) Here, for example, are the first two stanzas of Thomas Gray's Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard:
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.....

A Brief Collection of Middle High German Poetry
http://sps.k12.mo.us/khs/gmcling/medpoet.htm
Site is in German

Medieval French Lyric Poetry
http://www.utm.edu/staff/globeg/lyric.shtml
This site is the jackpot of links on the subject. Too many links to count!

Words without Borders: Three Hebrew Poets from Medieval Spain
http://www.wordswithoutborders.org/article.php?lab=Hebrew
(Site Excerpt) Moshe Ibn Ezra (c. 1055-1135) is considered the finest craftsman of the Andalusian period and in many ways its representative poet, as he fulfilled the classical ideal of biblical purity of diction and made exemplary use of the rhetorical ornaments that he and his contemporaries adapted from the Arabic tradition.

About: Medieval Poets
http://poetry.about.com/od/medievalpoets/

Decameronweb
http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Italian_Studies/dweb/dweb.shtml Boccaccio's masterpiece, in its entirety

Harvard: Chaucer
http://www.courses.fas.harvard.edu/~chaucer/

Digital Dante
http://dante.ilt.columbia.edu/

William Langland (author of Piers Plowman)
http://www.luminarium.org/medlit/langland.htm

Francesco Petrarch
http://petrarch.freeservers.com/

Classical Japanese Poetry
http://www.classical-japanese.net/Poetry/index.html

If you wish to correspond with Aoife directly, please send mail to: mtnlion at ptd dot net.