Thursday, 11 September 2014

The start of the Flemish medieval beast epic 'Vanden vos Reynaerde'.

Willem, who did Madoc write,
often till very late at night,
was so disgruntled by the thought
that Reynard’s deeds remained unwrought
in our mother tongue to date
(for Aernout found the task too great)
that from French accounts he gleaned
what of Reynard’s life he weened
in our language folk might read.
This mighty task we wish godspeed! [...]

Whitsuntide had clothed in green
both shrub and wood, a perfect scene
for King Nobel’s summoned court
to which all subjects had to report,
it was, he thought, the perfect chance,
throughout his kingdom to enhance
his glory and his royal fame.
The animals to his court then came
great and small in a single line,
but of Reynard – not a sign.
He’d at court done so much wrong
that he was loath to come along.
He had everything to fear
and his guilt was all too clear,
so he shunned the royal court
where his standing was as nought.
When the assembly was complete
all called Reynard an evil cheat,
except for the badger, and did crave
justice for the red-bearded knave.

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