On Sunday, Shelby finally won his sixth game after 24 consecutive winless starts. Trying to worry out the Shelby conundrum it has occurred that perhaps Chaucer might show him and us the way to redemption, to at least a deeper understanding of what is going on.
After all, he created a Miller, a famous one, and then when one of his fellow travelers on the road to Canterbury – our ‘gentle, parfitt Knyghte’ – invited the Monk to add his tale to what had just been told…
The Miller, drunk, preempted him and told his bawdy tale of a carpenter and his young wife.(This link includes a short crib helping to translate new to old and vice versa. Here’s another, much fuller transliteration help where the original line has the modern translation immediately underneath) Had we been among the journeying throng we might have then tried to add ours, in a parody of the English of the time, addressing the issue we knew to be burning him up, his W/L record.
Have a go. The way this likely will pan out will not exactly be a thynge of beautie. see below..so what!
now telleth thee sir Miller if that ye konne
for treweley now the game is well begonne
thine enemie confuunded by thine trickerie
they do ascribe to devill in the dickerie
zounds, why so monny battiles were they loste
so monny balles demolished at what coste
so often had his mighty archers slept
the haughtie one, Sir Shelby was he yklept,
he asked why fail to air their powerful quills
with that it was ever likely all down hills
i cannot win quoth he without thy score
as this goes on forsooth i’m pressing more
and when i presse for fear of no reprisall
my balles they feel they be made of sisal
and at the end the gods amount the score
‘y tel me there was nonne lost battiles more
to counseling will be my faite ‘a winter
but also several sessions with my vintner
a toaste a toaste to dearest sweete sir Miller
in seasonne freshe y new hande on the tiller.