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Solstice

December 22, 2011

And this was, as thise bookes me remembre,
The colde, frosty seson of Decembre.

Phebus wax old, and hewed lyk laton,
That in his hoote declynacion
Shoon as the burned gold with stremes brighte;
But now in Capricorn adoun he lighte,
Where as he shoon ful pale, I dar wel seyn.
The bittre frostes, with the sleet and reyn,
Destroyed hath the grene in every yerd.
Janus sit by the fyr, with double berd,
And drynketh of his bugle horn the wyn;
Biforn hym stant brawen of the tusked swyn,
And “Nowel” crieth every lusty man.

Aurelius in al that evere he kan
Dooth to this maister chiere and reverence,
And preyeth hym to doon his diligence
To bryngen hym out of his peynes smerte,
Or with a swerd that he wolde slitte his herte.

Geoffrey Chaucer, The Franklin’s Tale

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 22, 2011 10:54 am

    The Oxford English Dictionary identifies this as the first noel. Of course, it derives from French and further from the oldest Latin, nātālis. Chaucer’s tale in sonnet-like form would speak for everyman, at least for every lusty one.

    (Theophrastus: Timely post today. Did you intend to mark various phrases as underlined upon mouseover?)

  2. December 22, 2011 12:11 pm

    Kurk — sorry about that mouseover effect — it should be gone now.

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