Monday, March 21, 2011

A Middle English Purim Poem

by KARL STEEL

[PLEASE CONTINUE to read the AVMEO posts below, but also indulge me here]

One of my favorite students (and not only for the gifts!) today gave me an enormous Purim box (honey, cookies, booze, tea, kazoo, the whole kit and kaboodle) and this wonderful Purim poem in Middle English (note the bob and wheel!). I'll transcribe it here:
I bere þis gyfte of fyn fode for þou to frete
For sake of þe halyday, the Purim hyz seysous
As hit is breued in termez wyterly in þe boke of Esther:
'Make myry with lykkerwys lykores and kerve lyttel kakez of mele.
Poruay yourseleun with plesaunt pyes, smachande of savour sete.
Feche fresche fryte, farande and fereles
And gyven this fettled gyfte for frendes, fela3, and professyrez.'
As says þe holy-wryt, I wherfore clayme this costoum for chaunce
To exprowne with sympelnesse and with no fage --
Me mynez þou is þe grattest bok-lered mon
Nawehre or quatsoever con þis goude be fonde.
Forsoþe
þonkke trwely for your dedes
þe gayne of connyng þow me gef pur3out,
You haf þe alþer-fynest techer ways,
As 3e ar knowen by oute.
Now, I would claim to be only the greatest book-learned man in my office (which I share with a woman), but I can claim to be among the happiest of professors, being so honored to receive such gifts. THANKS!

5 comments:

Eileen Joy said...

What a wonderful gift; you are *charmed* and, obviously, also charming.

irina said...

Oh, how lovely! If I were you, I'd carry that around to every conference... I'd attach it to every job and fellowship application... I think I'd probably have it inscribed on my tombstone!

Karl Steel said...

I'm glad to have given the student the inspiration, unknowingly or not, to write this! I'm so proud of [x].

And Irina, when (because I'm sure it will happen) a student writes you a tribute in Old English, by all means share it here! We'd be honored.

irina said...

Karl -- let us hope. I can say that when a very close friend and I took Old English at Toronto, we would leave the class inspired by David Klausner and, in our most sonorous voices, declare:

Þæt wæs god lareow!

Karl Steel said...

! Wonderful!