Some time ago I read an English Literature test done by a friend of mine.
He had to analyse a poem and answer to some questions.
I just loved this poem, but I can't remember the title nor the author.
I hope somebody can help me, I can tell you all I remember about it.
- It is divided in stanzas
- It is about a man whose beloved maiden's dead
- It's about he still loving her
- It may say something about her breathe (not sure, sorry)
I'm now going to say something that will make you want to me:
I'm not sure when it was written but I think it was a period between Beowulf's era and Canterbury Tales. I remember I told this guy: "This poem was rewritten in Modern English, wasn't it?", hence it was written before XV-XVI Century.
I hope someone knows something, for I've been looking for it for about 5 months.
Don't think it's that, because I cannot remember it talking about seas or "daughters" (dochter) or Southland lords.
another user (abaka) suggested Alison (but then he deleted his own post) which seems to be the closest one.
Yet I'm not sure it's the right one but maybe having a Modern English version would be helpful.
Alison", but then realized it's a lyric of spring love, and Alison is almost certainly still very much alive, despite the slightly ambiguous "Bettere is tholien while sore // Than mournen evermore." in the last stanza. I would think you're thinking of one of the ballads, but there are so many of them... I should be able to, but I can't, think of anything before Shakespeare among the major poets -- although Romeo's soliloquoy over Juliet's (supposed) body, and for that matter Lear's over Cordelia's (real one), fit, except for the stanzas.
PS Of the true lyrics, perhaps try from the Harley MS: perhaps "Weeping haveth mine wonges wet"? (also here, simplified, in the middle of the page) These are wretchedly difficult without annotation; if you want to try making head or tails of them, remember that u/v are interchangeble, þ=th, and "3" = "g" or "y" at the beginning of a word, and "y" or "w" in the middle.
Last edited by abaka; 05-Feb-2009 at 23:39. Reason: added ps
Oh, that's why you deleted that post.
I've checked "Weeping haveth mine wonges wet" and I don't think it was that.
I think that maybe in this poem the sad lover talked about a tombstone (not sure, like for the breathe)
I'VE FOUND IT!
(MY TEACHER GAVE ME THE TEXT)
It was The Unquiet Grave.
Cold blows the wind to my true love,
And gently drops the rain
I never had but one true love
And in greenwood she lies slain.
I'll do as much for my true love
As any young man may;
I'll sit and mourn all on her grave,
For a twelve-month and a day.
When the twelve-month and one day was past
The ghost began to speak;
"Why sit you here all on my grave
And will not let me sleep?"
"There's one thing that I want, sweetheart,
There's one thing that I crave,
I want one kiss of your lily-white lips
Then I'll go from your grave."
"My breast it is as cold as clay,
My breath is earthly strong;
And if you kiss my cold clay lips
Your days they won't be long."
"O down in yonder grove, sweetheart,
Where you and I did walk;
The first flower that I ever saw
Is wither'd to a stalk.
The stalk is wither'd and dead, sweetheart,
And the flower will never return;
And since I lost my own sweetheart,
What can I do but mourn ?
When shall we meet again, sweetheart,
When shall we meet again ?"
"When the oaken leaves that fall from the trees
Are green and spring up again,
Are green and spring up again."
Thank goodness! It's been niggling at me.