The Grail Code 
One sentence from “Lancelot of the Laik”

I was looking through old files today, and I came across this translation I did eight years ago. It’s a translation of one sentence, the first sentence in the medieval Scots poem Lancelot of the Laik. I did it mostly to illustrate how incredibly involved a middle-English sentence could be, and I offer it here with no better excuse than that:

On a soft morn, in lusty April mild,
The winter past, and all its storms exiled;
When the bright, fresh, and new-returned sun,
In fiery chariot his hot course to run,
Upriseth early in the orient,
And from his sphere his golden streams hath sent
Upon the ground as messages to make
The heart of every living thing awake
That Nature hath the rule of in her might,
Both grass and flower, and every lusty wight
(Especially the ones who love’s touch feel),
And May’s returning calends to reveal
Through bird songs sung with open voice on high
That cease not down on lovers for to cry,
Lest they forget, through ignorance or sloth
Love’s old observances, and Love grow wroth;
And from the time I can the bright face spy,
It helpeth me no longer for to fly,
Nor that in me love any sloth should find;
I must walk forth, bewailing in my mind
That dreadful life endureth all too long,
Suffering in love from sorrowful harms strong,
The vexing days, and eke the heavy years
While Phoebus thrice hath passed through all his spheres,
Without a hope my sorrow would abate—
So in such wise allotted was my fate.

One Response to “One sentence from “Lancelot of the Laik””

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(C) 2006 Mike Aquilina and Christopher Bailey