|When the Anglo Saxon social order collapsed before the
Norman invasion a language and a literature died with it. What arose to fill the vacuum
was different in spirt and kind from its predecessor. An amalgamation of the old elements
with new customs, language, and prosodic forms from the continent, Middle English poetry
began a career that led to William Langland, the Pearl Poet, and Geoffry Chaucer. Their
work is not the only gems from the period between 1100 and 1400, however.
I have attempted in these adaptations to bring the poems to life. But in
saying this, I acknowledge that poetry--even poetry in a parent language--cannot be
translated. Therefore, I have included the originals. The reader will find that I have
been at times free with my translation. I have done this only to interest the reader
enough to attempt the poem in the original.
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