English 201B
Chaucer: Dream Visions


Assignment for Wednesday, January 21:


Go to http://www.courses.fas.harvard.edu/~chaucer/teachslf/less-0.htm (the Harvard Chaucer Page); do lessons 1-5, which should take about an hour if you do them carefully. Pay special attention to lesson 4, on Chaucer's Vocabulary (and don't miss the link to "Common Chaucerian Words"), and lesson 5, on Grammar. Explore other links if you like.

Now try your hand at translating the "Proverbs" (RC p. 657) into modern English, line by line. Use the notes at the bottom of the page, and also the Glossary in the back of the text.

Proverb 1:

What shul these clothes thus manyfold,



Lo this hote somers day?



After grete hete cometh cold:



No man caste his pilche away.





Explain the boldfaced words. What part of speech are they? Manyfold is not in the glossary. Can you conjecture what it means?








Proverb 2:

Of al this world the large compass



Yt wil not in myn armes tweyne;



Who so mochel wol embrace,



Litel therof he shal distreyne.



Again, explain the boldfaced words. What parts of speech are they? What's the difference between wil and wol?





Once you have done this, read the two short poems, "Chaucer's Wordes unto Adam, His Owne Scriveyn" and "Against Women Unconstant." Again, remember to use the Glossary.


This assignment will not be graded, but please bring it to class on Wednesday.