June 17, 2015

WWW: Canterbury Tales

In AO year 7, the Canterbury Tales is one of the literature books scheduled.  But not the original!  Oh, no.  You can almost always count on Ambleside Online to schedule the full, unabridged versions of classics, but this is one of the *very* few exceptions.  Chaucer for Children or A Taste of Chaucer are the options in this case due to the bawdy nature of several of the original Tales.

Over at the AO Forum, we have been working our way through some year 7 books in the book discussion area, and today we finish Chaucer.  I found a good deal on Malcolmson's A Taste of Chaucer, so have been reading it.  It is written in verse, and is a fairly literal translation of the old English.  I enjoyed the introduction and prologue in particular, as I didn't learn much about Chaucer or the Tales in my own schooling.

I think my favorite story was Chanticleer and the Fox (The Nun's Priest's Tale), as its about the only one that doesn't have men and women being mean to each other!  A couple of the stories are incomplete  for brevity's sake, or to avoid unnecessary cruelty in this children's edition.  Chaucer's Tale: The Ballad of Sir Thopas was left incomplete in the original.

Here are the last two stanzas of Chanticleer's tale:
Lo, thus it is with those who are remiss
And negligent and trust in flattery.
But ye who think this tale a vanity
Told of a fox, or of a cock and hen,
Take to your hearts the moral, my good men.
For Saint Paul says that any written tale
Is for our guidance, is a parable.
Take you the wheat, and let the chaff lie still. 
Now, God above, if that it be Thy will,
As prayed my Lord, so make us all good men 
And bring us to His heavenly bliss. Amen! 

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