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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