I enjoyed this epic poem in a very peculiar way. I had at first thought not to try and "review it" (read: Pass it along) since it's but a long work of poetry, but as I'm in the midst of yet another classic poem I know I *will* want to review , I thought what the heck. Beyond any doubt, I am no expert; and shall give due advance apologies for any disservice I do to the art Chaucer's work represents. Nonetheless, I thought it appropriate that no collection of classic reviews be without at least its mention.
Troilus and Criseyde
Middle English Version
: From "The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer",
Oxford University Press. Modern English Version
: Translation by Phillip Krapp, Copyright 1932, Random House Publishing. Side-by-Side printing From "Great Books of the Western World"
Publisher: Encyclopedia Britannica
Online for Viewing in many places (One is here
OVERVIEW: For anyone not familiar with Geoffrey Chaucer, he was a poet who lived in England from about 1340 to about 1400. Having led a very interesting life, he is perhaps more popularly-known for his Canterbury Tales
. Having read both, I enjoyed this the more. The story is ostensibly a love story between a man and woman, of opposing lineage, during the siege of Troy (Troilis himself cast as Priam's son). I found it a graceful read, although I must admit to some difficulty - at times - understanding the middle English "rhyme" style. Without this, it's not much more than a romance poem about conflicting loyalties and the harsh reality of what can happen in love during wartime. In fact, Shakespeare did an adaptation play, based on this some time later.
But to give you a flavor of what middle English is, I'd like to contrast them below (given the work I read from, I enjoyed the pleasure of being able to read both side by side; the middle English and modern), here's an excerpt from the work Book 1, #35:
Excerpt in the Original Middle English Rhyme
[INDENT]"That this be sooth, hath preved and doth yit;
For this trowe I yet knowen, alle or some,
Men reden not that folk hath gretter wit
Than they that han be most with love y-nome;
And strengest folk ben therwith overcome,
The worthiest and grettest of degree;
This was, and is, and yet men shal it see"
[/INDENT]Same Excerpt from Modern English Translation
[INDENT]"That this is true hath oftentimes be proved,
For well you know, and in wise books may read,
That men of greatest worth have deepest loved,
And none so powerful in word or deed,
But he the greater power of love must heed,
For all his fame or high nobility;
Thus hath it been and ever shall be"
[/INDENT]So yea; this is soaring, grand talk given by one who weaves some extremely creative methods of spelling, rhyme and cadence together to convey particular emotions and themes. He does well and I'd recommend this to anyone who has the both patience and interest in love-poetry of the finest ancient Anglican tradition.
- Graceful prose with deep undertones of vast emotion
- Masterfully crafted poetry
- Each scene's setting was cleverly in tune with the direction of the scene's progression.
- Intimate thoughts of characters were often compared and contrasted; nice touch
- The rhythm of the word kept flowing - though in no strict compression - throughout the work
- Either you can sense the beauty in such a style, nowadays, or not. It's not for everyone
- Many themes, as they struck me, came as banal
- One needs a sense of the historical context for it to have much value; or to be very much open minded.
- I didn't like the ending; I was bummed, thusly.
- Illustration of Love's Power (pp5, 8)
- Beauty Defined (pp 6)
- Learning from the Mistakes of Others (pp 13)
- Full of Sorrow and Dispair (pp 14, 124)
- Suffering in Solitude (pp 15)
- From the Femme, '...shall I trust?' (pp 35)
- Foolish Things (pp 38)
- The Pain of Love's Anticipation (pp 40)
- Stewing in one's own Grief (pp 126)
- 'Nothing Ventured' quote (pp 135)
(given in the "modern English" style for clarity):[INDENT]Book 2, #91: "A whetstone is no carving instrument,
And yet it maketh sharp the carving tool;
And if you see my efforts wrongly spent,
Escheew that course and learn out of my school;
For thus the wise may profit by the fool,
And edge has wit, and grow more keen and weary,
For wisdom shies opposed to its contrary"
Book 5, #32: "...Where are her arms and where her eyes so clear,
Which yesternight were solace to my care?
Now I must weep alone in dark despair,
And blindly grope, but nothing in this place,
Except a pillow, find I to embrace?"
[/INDENT][INDENT]Book 5, #112, "... She seemed to carry something on her mind,
Some loss to which she could not be resigned,
"But still, " he said, "to try is worth the pains,
For he who nothing ventures, nothing gains"
 Paradise Lost, John Milton