There's a poetry reading thing, not of our own poetry, but of bits of famous or other poetry, and I've been asked to read some Middle English poetry. We are asked to read up to maybe 40 lines. (Shorter is better!)
So, I need suggestions, please!
If you were asked to read UP TO 40 lines of Middle English verse, what would you read?
Okay, folks, I obviously wasn't clear. I'm wondering exactly which 40 lines.
So far, I'm thinking of the description of Chaunticleer and Pertolet from the NPT, or maybe a description of spring; there's a nice one in the Parliament of Fowles. I also thought about the entry in Gawain, or part of the ax swinging part.
I enjoy the sexy stuff plenty, but I don't want to read some leering, sexist stuff as most people's sole experience with Middle English literature. Nor, to be honest, do I have a lot of interest in reading something overtly Christian in a way that sounds pious. (I did consider a bit of the annunciation stuff from the N-Town plays, because it blows me away that the fate of the world waits on Mary.) Nor, do I have time to contextualize a fart joke about Christianity.
I know that limits things.
I know this reveals the depths of my fakery about medieval stuff, but I don't actually own an ME edition of Piers Plowman. And I also must admit that I never really got into it.
I'm also not sure I can pull off Gawain well, since what poor ME I do have tends to have been learned via Chaucer stuff. So I don't think I get the dialect at all, really. And I don't want to make more of a fool of myself than necessary in front of colleagues (the regular folks might not know the difference, but a few colleagues will).