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Alein, the clerk, that herde this melodic, He poked John, and said slepist thou 1
Herdist thou ever swilk * a SANG er now t Lo swilk a complynt is betwixt them all,
A wildfire t mote on ther bodies fall. — CHAUCER. * Such. t Evening song, ...
Theyt give ther almig to the riche, To mayntenovrst and men of lawe, For to lordis
they wol be liohe, An HABLOTTK'S SONBB$ not worth a haw." " Sothfastnesse
alle suche ban slawe. Thei hembe ther crokettes \\ with crystal], And drede of God
They takin to ferme ther sompnours* To harme the peple what they may ; To
pardoners and false faitours, They sell ther seles I dare well say. And all to holdin
grete arraie To multiplie 'hem more metall, They drede ful littil dom'is day. When
Like conquerours thei ben araied, The proud pendauntes at ther ars pent ||
Falsely the trueth f thei han betraied. " Shrift silver soche wollin ** askeis, And
wollin men crepe to the crouch ft None of the sacramentes save ASMS;,'
Withoutin mede ...
And as the birdis, when the sonne SHENE* Delitin in ther son ge, in levis grene, •
Right so the wordis, that thei spake ifere t Delitin them, and made ther hertis
chore." CHAUCER. TOOTH. I believe to be as teeth in the collective sense ; the
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Anyone who has enjoyed the mad book of "French" nursery rhymes, "Mots d'Heures: Gousses, Rames" by Luis van Rooten will love this account of the "Dutch" origins of, not only old English nursery rhymes, but also common phrases like "Raining cats and dogs", expressed in real Dutch words that sound like the original, but translate as something quite different!
It's a long read, and probably more meaningful if you speak Dutch, but good for a straight-faced laugh, if you know what I mean!
I was also impressed by some of the nursery rhymes that haven't survived into modern English, because they are so politically incorrect.