Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Cherries, Untimely Ripeness


This morning, I came across this tweet from Mike Becker, with a photo perhaps taken in Heidelberg:

That is, "The cherry tree is blooming. Just in the nick of time for Christmas Eve."

Middle English scholars, like me, will be immediately reminded of another set of Christmas Eve cherries, from the "lay" (if we can call it that) Sir Cleges, summarized here
As he knelyd oune hys kne
Underneth a chery tre,
   Makyng hys praere,
He rawght a bowghe in hys hond,
To ryse therby and upstond;
   No lenger knelyd he ther.
When the bowghe was in hys hond,
Gren levys theron he fond
   And ronde beryes in fere.
He seyd: "Dere God in Trinyté,
What maner beryes may this be,
   That grow this tyme of yere?
[As he kneeled on his knee underneath a cherry tree, making his prayer, he grabbed a bough in his hand to rise thereby and stand up; he no longer kneeled there. When the bough was in his hand, he found green leaves on it, and round berries together. He said, "Dear God in Trinity, what kind of berries could these be, that grow at this time of year?"]

Untimely ripeness: the former a miracle, the latter a horror. Or, as I say here:

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