minstrel: Not about tuning or filk.

Christopher Gregory krummhorn at hotmail.com
Sat Mar 25 19:30:30 PST 2000

Well, it's time I wrote in about something other than the volatile subjects
of authenticity, tuning, or modern music in the SCA.  This time, it's about
Medieval music, or more specifically, translation of the Agincourt Carol,
from c. 1430.
I have looked online (forgive me, but I can't remember the specific site,
perhaps Cantaria?) and found a translation of the Carol, "Deo gratias
anglia," and I have several questions.  The original text is from Curtis
Clark's page of Early Music MIDI files (boy, that's an anachronism) and I
strongly suggest you visit there for some really interesting tunes and the
lyrics from them.  What better way than to as my questions verse by verse?

Agincourt Carol 

2. He sette a sege, the sothe for to say,
To Harflu toune with ryal aray;
That toune he wan and made a fray
That Fraunce shal rywe tyl domesday;
Deo gracias. 

Did he set a siege, or a sage?  A siege would certainly tell the truth, but
he hasn't gotten to Harflu yet.  A sage is a soothsayer, and so would say
the sooth.

5. There dukys and erlys, lorde and barone
Were take and slayne, and that wel sone,
And summe were ladde into Lundone
With joye and merthe and grete renone;
Deo gracias. 

Is it there or their, referring to the Dukes and Earls?  There would refer
to Agincourt, but their would refer the the French.  And what is "wel sone?"
Well sown?  Well done?

6. Now gracious God he save oure kynge,
His peple, and alle his welwyllynge;
Yef hym gode lyfe and gode endynge,
That we with merth mowe savely synge;
Deo gracias. 

Ah, the finale.  Welwyllynge seems to be well-willing, so that's alright.
"Yef hym gode lyfe and gode endynge" is absolutely confusing.  I think,
"Grant him good life and good ending," but is that right?  "Mowe" seems to
be 1430's English for "Moe" which is more, but referring to numbers rather
than volume.  More beer, moe cattle.  But "savely?"  I just copied that
letter for letter in my rough translation.  But is that right?

Anyway, my spell checker is having a fit with the Middle English, so I'll
just thank you in advance, and sign off.

Richard Crowder (the Sickly) of Burnham
"My fingers, my fingers, my fingers are on fire!"

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