A Middle English Purim Poem

IMG_2795One of my favorite students (and not only for the gifts!) today gave me an enormous Purim box (honey, cookies, booze, tea, kazoo, the whole kit and kaboodle) and this wonderful Purim poem in Middle English (note the bob and wheel!). I’ll transcribe it here:

I bere þis gyfte of fyn fode for þou to frete

For sake of þe halyday, the Purim hyz seysous

As hit is breued in termez wyterly in þe boke of Esther:

‘Make myry with lykkerwys lykores and kerve lyttel kakez of mele.

Poruay yourseleun with plesaunt pyes, smachande of savour sete.

Feche fresche fryte, farande and fereles

And gyven this fettled gyfte for frendes, fela3, and professyrez.’

As says þe holy-wryt, I wherfore clayme this costoum for chaunce

To exprowne with sympelnesse and with no fage —

Me mynez þou is þe grattest bok-lered mon

Nawehre or quatsoever con þis goude be fonde.

Forsoþe

þonkke trwely for your dedes

þe gayne of connyng þow me gef pur3out,

You haf þe alþer-fynest techer ways,

As 3e ar knowen by oute.

Now, I would claim to be only the greatest book-learned man in my office (which I share with a woman), but I can claim to be among the happiest of professors, being so honored to receive such gifts. THANKS!

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