18 June 2015

Poetry Thursday - something medieval

Following on from yesterday's involvement with medieval paintings, here's a short medieval poem -

Whan the turuf is thy tour,
And thy pit is thy bour,
Thy fel and thy whitë throtë
Shullen wormës to notë.
What helpëth thee thennë
Al the worildë wennë?

 The explanation given is: " ‘Whan the turuf is thy tour’ (i.e. when the turf is your tower) is a memento mori lyric reminding the listener or reader that s/he will die. When the grass lies over you, your skin and white throat shall (‘Shullen’) be good for worms. What use then are all the world’s pleasures? We’re guessing this was an early seduction lyric addressed to a woman (‘thy whitë throtë’): the poet is basically trying to persuade the woman to go to bed with him (or so we reckon)."

Read nine more short medieval poems at interestingliterature.com

1 comment:

The Idaho Beauty said...

Those medieval poets knew how to turn a phrase, that's for sure. Here's a favorite of my own from the 1400's, snipped from some article so I don't have any info except the general date and that it is just part of the whole, but it amuses me so:

Love is a toy, some say a boy
That shoots a fiery dart:
What ere he be it seemes to me
That boy has hurt my hart.