Sunday: Hili Dialogue

July 12, 2015 • 6:03 am

Good morning to those of you on the western end of the Atlantic, good evening to those of you on the western end of the Pacific. Today is the day King Richard II appointed Geoffrey Chaucer to the position of chief clerk of the king’s works in Westminster. Yes, that Chaucer, the one who wrote:

Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;

It seems that even in 1389 writers needed a day job to make ends meet.

Over in Dobrzyń the furry queen of Poland is engaging in some perplexing activities.

Hili: When the days are chilly I prefer to sleep in clothes.
A: But why in mine?
Hili: Guess.


In Polish:

Hili: W chłodne dni wolę spać w ubraniu.
Ja: Ale dlaczego w moim?
Hili: Zgadnij.

Małgorzata explains: The temperature plummeted. It’s between 15 and 20C now.

13 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili Dialogue

  1. From my limited experience, they will take your chair, your clothes, your time, your bed and your attention. That is why I sit here typing with one hand and will be referred to as staff.

  2. Although Richard II isn’t one of a certain local writer’s better plays, it still has one or two cracking pieces. The most famous bit, by far, is the Sceptered Isle speech …

  3. Perhaps Chaucer is a good example of non-Religious work. Sure, I know the whole story is set against pilgrims going to Canturbury, but the stories told aren’t always religious and some of them are downright anti-church.

  4. I had to memorize that Whan that Aprill prologue eons ago and, surprisingly, still remember it. Would that I could remember other much more important stuff…

  5. The Wife of Bath’s Tale was one of the set works in my Year 12 English course back in ’81, but I haven’t read any Chaucer since then – until (fortuitously) three days ago, when I started on the full Tales (Uni of Oxford text, free, on my phone). Not stopping to look up words, but mostly getting the gist and occasionally laughing out loud either at the descriptions in the Prologue, or the way that whole lines of text can read either exactly like modern English, or like a completely other (frenchified Germanic) language depending on the way spelling, vocabulary and syntax have shifted less or more. It’s just occurred to me that there must exist ‘translations’ into modern, but where’s the fun in that?

    1. I’ve just been thinking about reading The Canterbury Tales in their entirety recently – useful to know they’re available from Oxford.

      I usually have to read passages a few times, then suddenly my brain seems to click into Middle English mode, and I’m good until I stop. Each time I go back I have to start by reading passages several times until I’ve got it again, then they’re really enjoyable.

      1. Chaucer is nice too because it is in a London accent. Northern accents seem to be much harder.

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