Thursday, January 14, 2016

McClure's Chaucer



The occasion (unlikely occasion) - The Band's Thanksgiving, 1977, "Farewell Convert" at San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom (subsequently immortalized in Martin Scorcese's 1978 film, The Last Waltz
The reader (similarly, perhaps?, unlikely) - Michael McClure reading the opening lines (from the Prologue) of Chaucer's classic "The Canterbury Tales".

















We continue with Old English and Middle English this week on the Allen Ginsberg Project  




WHAN that Aprille with his shoures soote 
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth       
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne,
And smale fowles maken melodye,
That slepen al the night with open ye,        
(So priketh hem nature in hir corages:
Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmers for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, couthe in sondry londes;
And specially, from every shires ende        
Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
The holy blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seke


[Bar border and initial 'W'(han) with foliate and spray decoration at the beginning of the Prologue of the Canterbury Tales - Harley ms 1758 - Courtesy of the British Library]

Michael in glorious color, reading (from the Scorcese film) can be glimpsed here 

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