Tuesday, July 26, 2005

MC Geoff

A guy named Baba Brinkman has created a rap version of The Canterbury Tales. He strikes an Eminem pose on his home page. While Chaucer was always a man of the people, I'm going to take the stodgy academic stance and admit that I fear something is lost in bringing the Tales to the masses in quite this way. The lyrics below are from The Wife of Bath's Tale. You can listen to a clip here.

And from his steel prison the knight was brought

To the Queen, who said, “boy, you’re in a tight spot.
Your guilt is certain, but your life is not.
Your head might head right to the chopping block,
Or you might just walk, and get clemency,
If you can tell me what women need.
Answer me what it is every woman’s tendency
To want, and I’ll suspend sentencing.
Now let your penance bring you some cheer;
Come here again after one year,
And then I want to hear from you some clear
Response. Now, I suggest you run, dear.”

Here's a slightly less modern translation from the Middle English:

The queen thanked the king with all her might;
And, after this, thus spake she to the knight,
When that she saw her time upon a day.
"Thou standest yet," quoth she, "in such array,
That of thy life yet hast thou no surety;
I grant thee life, if thou canst tell to me
What thing is it that women most desiren:
Beware, and keep thy neck-bone from the iron
And if thou canst not tell it me anon,
Yet will I give thee leave for to gon
A twelvemonth and a day, to seek and lear
An answer suffisant in this mattere.
And surety will I have, ere that thou pace,
Thy body for to yielden in this place."

And, finally, the original:

The queene thanketh the kyng with al hir myght,
And after this thus spak she to the knyght,
Whan that she saugh hir tyme, upon a day,
"Thou standest yet," quod she, "in swich array
That of thy lyf yet hastow no suretee.
I grante thee lyf, if thou kanst tellen me
What thyng is it that wommen moost desiren.
Be war and keep thy nekke-boon from iren!
And if thou kanst nat tellen it anon,
Yet shal I yeve thee leve for to gon
A twelf-month and a day to seche and leere
An answere suffisant in this mateere;
And suretee wol I han, er that thou pace,
Thy body for to yelden in this place."

On another note, even British computers are afraid of The Wife of Bath's libido.

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