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• A POOR widow, some deal ystept in age,
Was whilom dwelling in a poor cottage,
Beside a grove, standing in a dale :
This widow, of which I telle you my tale,
Since thilke day that she was last a wife,
In patience led a full simple life.'—CHAUCER.

(a) Notice any points in which the above passage differs from the English we speak now.

(6) Analyze the lines.
(c) Parse the words in italics.

[These lines form the opening passage of the Nun's Tale, one of the Canterbury Tales, a series of stories told by the various members of a party of pilgrims on their way from London to Canterbury to visit the shrine of Thomas à Becket. The Chaucer Memorial, a beautiful stained glass window in the 'Poet's Corner' of Westminster Abbey, represents the cavalcade of pilgrims who are supposed to tell the Canterbury Tales.]

(a) The phrase some deal has given place to a good deal' or 'very much.'

Ystept is the complete participle of the verb “to steep.' In some editions it is stope. In ystept we have the initial y as it occurs in a large class of Old English verbs. Examples—ycleped (called), y-blent (blinded), ycorowned (crowned). This initial y is the softened sound of the German ge. The Normans could not sound the hard guttural, hence the initial ge became y, and was afterwards discarded.

Whilom is almost obsolete; it means 'once upon a time.' The adverb 'whiles,' still used in some parts of England instead of sometimes,' is related to 'whilom.'

The demonstrative adjective thilke has given place to 'that,' as the old form whilk' has changed to which.'

(6) A. Simple sentence. 1. A poor widow

subject ?. some deal

adverbial adjun. of deg. to 3 3. ystept

adjective adjun. to I 4. in age

adverbial adjun. to 3 5. was dwelling

predicate 6. whilom

adverbial adjun. of time to 5 7. in a poor cottage

adverbial adjun. of place to 5 8. beside a grove

adver.adjun. of place to (standing)

understood 9. standing

adjec. adjun. to 8 10. in a dale

adverbial adjun. to 9

B. Principal clause. 1. This widow

subject 2. since thilke day

adverbial adjun. of time to 4 3. in patience

adverbial adjun. of manner to 4 4. led

predicate 5. a full simple life

object C. Subordinate adjective clause to B 1. I. Of which

connecting phrase 2. I

subject 3. telle

predicate 4. my tale

object 5. to you

adver, adjunct of limitation to 3 D. Subordinate adjective clause to B 2. 1. That

connecting particle 2. she

subject 3. was a wife

predicate 4. last

adverbial adjunct of time to 3 Clauses B, C, and D form a complete sentence. (c) Someadverb of degree, modifying the adverb 'deal.'

deal-adverb of degree, modifying 'ystept.' dwelling-partl., imperf., of the verb 'to dwell,'forming with was

a compound verb of the active voice, and past progressive

form of past tense. standing—partl., comp., of irreg. verb 'to stand,” used as an

adjec., attributive to 'grove.' whichsimple rel. pronoun, 3d pers., sing., fem. gen., objec.

case, gov. by 'of.'

since—preposition, equal to 'from,' governing day.' day—noun, com., 3d pers., sing., neut. gen., objec. case, gov.

by since.' that—simple rel. pronoun, referring to ‘day,'used conjunctively. last-adverb of time, modifying was a wife.'

'But now help, God, to quenchen all this sorrow !

So hope I that He shall, for He best may,
For I have seen of a full misty morrowl

Followen oft a merry summer's day.

And after winter cometh greenë, may
Folk see all day, and eke men read in stories

That after sharpë stourës 2 be victories.'—CHAUCER. (a) What is an inflection? Point out some inflections that have passed out of use, in the above passage.

(6) Write out the sense of the above in modern English.
(c) Analyze the lines.
(d) Parse the words in italics.

(e) Have you anything to remark in relation to the change of pronunciation in the word victories?

[The above lines form the 145th verse of the poem Troylus and Crysede. The time to which the story refers is that of the Trojan war, described by Homer in the Iliad. Troylus is the son of Priam, king of Troy, and Crysede a beautiful lady whom he loves.]

(a) Inflections are changes made in the form of words to express some change of meaning. Examples—boy, which is changed into boys when we wish to indicate more than one; brown, changed into browner in order to indicate a different degree of brown colour; sing, changed into sang to indicate a difference of time in regard to the act of singing.

The inflection en in quenchen and followen is almost obsolete. It is retained in our present translation of the Scriptures. Examples—'He hath holpen His servant Israel.' 'He is not here, He is risen.' It has not altogether passed out of use in Modern English. Examples-chosen, stolen, eaten. A large class of verbs in the Anglo-Saxon stage of the language formed their past participle by the termination en. Examples-gifen (given), grafen (dug), hafen (had), shapen (shaped), waescen (waxed or grown), molten, fohten (foughten), clumben (climbed). 1 Morrow=morning.

2 Stourës=struggles.

(6) [An exercise in paraphrasing.

Ascertain the full meaning and force of each word and phrase, so that every idea intended by the writer may be expressed.

The conjunction but is here very forcible. It implies a breaking off from all that has gone before, a complete turning away; because of this force, the term disjunctive is applied to such conjunctions.

The paraphraser's reasoning must be exactly the same as the reasoning in the original passage; thus, 'I hope He shall, because He is able. I hope for brighter days, because I have seen dark mornings followed by sunshine ; so sorrow such as this may be followed by joy. After winter comes spring. After struggles victories. The natural world that we can see teaches us by analogy regarding those things we can only perceive by the mind and spirit.'

Having carefully ascertained the full meaning, proceed to render it into smooth flowing clauses and sentences. ]

But now I turn to God in my sore need. May He aid me to overcome this grief! In Him I trust, for I know that He is almighty. Nature and the experience of others alike encourage me to look beyond this present trouble, and believe that happiness may follow it; for a very unpromising morning often precedes a brilliant summer day. The merry spring-time follows the dark winter; and we constantly see, both in our own lives and in the lives of others, that the joys of victory succeed the toils of battle.

(c) In order to rhyme with 'stories' the word 'victories' must be accented on the two last syllables, and not on the two first.

(d) Help is a verb of the imperative mood.

Followen is equal to followed'; ‘from a misty morning followed a merry summer's day.'

Cometh is equal to 'comes.'
All qualifies . day.'

Day, governed by on'understood ; men see upon all days or at all times.'

All day, is an adverbial phrase, and means 'always,' or 'constantly,' or 'all their lives.'


What maketh this worlde to be so variable,

But luste, that folk han ? in dissensioun ? 3
For amonges 4 us now a man is holde unhable,5

But 6 yf he kan, by some collusyoun?

Do his neighbour wrong or oppressioun.
What causeth this, but wilful wrecchednesse
That alle ys loste for lakke of stedfastnesse?

Truth is put down, resoun 8 is holden 9 fable;

Vertu hathe now noo dominacioun;
Pitee exiled, noo man is merciable ; 10

Thurgh 11 covytyse 12 is blente 13 discrecioun ; 14

The world hath made permutacioun
Fro ryght to wrong, fro trouthe to fikelenesse, 15
That alle ys loste for lakke of stedfastnesse.

O prince, desire to be honourable,

Cherysshe 16 thy folke, and hate extorsioun;
Suffre 17 nothing that may be reprovable 18

To thyn estate, 19 doon 20 in thy regioun ; 21

Shew forth the swerde 22 of castigacioun;
Drede God, do law, love trouthe and worthinesse,
And wedde thy folk ayeyene 23 to stedfastnesse.

1 Luste, pleasure or delight; as still used in German. Contraction of 'haven' (AS.). 3 Strife. Example of a preposition inflected. Incapable, of no repute ; an able man is a man of ability. (Nor.-French, habile; L. habilis, skill — from L. habere, to have or hold.) Except, from AS. butan, without ; as the "butt' end of a gun. ? Deceit, allurement. 8 Just judgment. Past tense of "held.' 10 Deals mercifully. 11 Through ; the o is transposed as it is in "bird,' which was 'bridde,' 'burn,' 'brun' (its old place is shown in 'brunt '), as pretty' changed in Ireland to purty.' 12 Covetousness. 18 Blinded or deceived. 14 Discretion, sound judgment, prudence is blinded. 15 Instability. 16 Comfort=give them cheer. '17 See 11. is Worthy of reproof or censure. 19 Condition or state. 20 To be done. 21 Kingdom. 22 Fear not to punish evil. 23 Notice the softening of the hard & into y, then into i; see 'yf' (if).

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