scroll to top
Stuck on your essay?
Get ideas from this essay and see how your work stacks up
Word Count: 2,754
Blazing canonEnglish poetry begins whenever we decide to say the modern English language begins and it extends as far as we decide to say that the English language extends Some people think that English poetry begins with the Anglo-Saxons I dont because I cant accept that there is any continuity between the traditions of Anglo-Saxon poetry and those established in English poetry by the time of say Shakespeare And anyway Anglo-Saxon is a different language which has to be learned Anglo-Saxon poetry may be extremely exciting and interesting but it excites and interests me in much the same way as do the Norse sagas It is somebody elses poetry What then of poems written in a language that is semi-comprehensible as English the language for instance of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight which was written some time around 1375 What about the poems of Geoffrey Chaucer c1343-1400 Surely these count as English poetry My answer is that they do indeed if you wish But they fall slightly outside the limits I would propose The language of the Gawain poem comes and goes baffling and comprehensible by turns Queme quyssewes then that coyntlych closed His thik thrawen thyghes with thwonges to tachched And sithen the brawden bryn of bryght stel rynges Umbeweved that wyy upon wlonk stuffe And wel bornyst brace upon his both armes With gode cowters and gay and gloves of plate lines 578-83 A part of the meaning of this can be guessed But who without specialist help could arrive at the conclusion that someone is here putting on his armour and who could guess the meaning of queme quyssewes pleasing thigh-pieces or wlonk noble glorious fine Who could guess their pronunciation With Chaucer we are much nearer home both linguistically and in terms of poetic practice Owt of thise blake wawes for to saylle - O wynd O wynd the weder gynneth clere - For in this
@Kibin is a lifesaver for my essay right now!!
- Sandra Slivka, student @ UC Berkeley
Wow, this is the best essay help I've ever received!
- Camvu Pham, student @ U of M
If I'd known about @Kibin in college, I would have gotten much more sleep
- Jen Soust, alumni @ UCLA