Twite

Follow
Tom White's photo

“Here ends the Book of the Duchess.” It’s Latin y'all.

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

Show other contributors +

And well you know, against nature
It is to live like this;

The narrator’s in an unnatural state, which is bound to lead to unnatural outcomes. Outcomes like trippy dreams about hunting and chess. “And wel ye wite” is an appeal to the reader’s common sense, and is characteristic of Chaucer: we’re always assumed to be at least as intelligent as he is, which is quite flattering considering he’s the father of English poetry.

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

Show other contributors +

By what light? On one level this is just a ‘tag’, or pretty much meaningless formula slapped onto the end of a line to make it rhyme (it means ‘by the light of heaven’ or ‘by God’); but the theme of light actually recurs throughout the Book of the Duchesse, and the “lighte” of this line also refers to the light which we later see streaming through a stained glass window onto the narrator’s bed. Chaucer’s tricking us by introducing light in the very first line of the poem, while making it look unimportant.

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

Show other contributors +

A proem is an introduction or preface to a text. The Book of the Duchesse is a dream narrative, so the proem tells how the narrator came to have his dream. Chaucer’s just getting warmed up. The dream itself comes later.

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

Show other contributors +

In his commentary on the Dream of Scipio, the fifth-century writer Macrobius described something called a visum, which is Latin for ‘vision’ and which refers to hallucinatory, meaningless visions which appear between waking and sleeping. Macrobius was a major source for Chaucer, particularly in the Nun’s Priest’s Tale; critics following Douglas Kelly have identified the “fantasies” here with Macrobius' visions.

Chaucer’s telling us that we’re in for a dream. And it’s gonna be a good one.

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

Show other contributors +

Book I of the Jonniad was written in Spenserian stanzas, a stanza form popularised by Edmund Spenser in the Faerie Queene. That’s a poem about knights an' chivalry an' stuff; but Jonny’s better than that.

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

My local pub. I can never get a seat in there, but when I do it reminds me of high school because they serve the beer I always used to drink when I was doing my A levels. They also have a collection of ties.

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

My favourite Oxford pub. Jude the Obscure gets drunk here and recites the Apostle’s creed in Latin.

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

I think I might have made this one up. Still, I’m gonna stick with it.

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

This one actually does really good cheesy chips.

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

"DA" (T.S. Eliot – The Waste Land) | accepted

It’s Sanskrit for “give”.

"Who is the third who walks always beside you?" (T.S. Eliot – The Waste Land) | accepted

It’s also often read as a reference to the Road to the Damascus Luke 24:13-35, where two disciples on the way home bump into the risen Christ and don’t recognise him.

"THE WASTE LAND" (T.S. Eliot – The Waste Land) | accepted

It’s “He Do the Police in Different Voices”.

“resign or quit” should be “resign and quit”.

"Tried to rob a man who was a D.T. undercover" (Slick Rick – Children's Story) | accepted

D.T. is street slang for a detective.

No, it means that the offender might get five years or more in jail.

"Good girls gone bad, the city's filled with 'em" (Jay Z – Empire State of Mind) | accepted

Also a self-referential quotation from “Song Cry”, off The Blueprint, where Jay-Z tells us that “once a good girl’s gone bad, she’s gone forever”. This line inspired Rihanna’s song “Good Girl Gone Bad”, and the album of that title.