Category Archives: parody

A Nonsense Carol

Yet more nonsense in this post.  But in my defence, looking at parody is a good way of finding out about literary form (and we all  need cheering up after the fifteenth-century misery…).  As Eric Stanley writes in a very good article on parody in Middle English, ‘for literary parody established literary forms are needed’ (Poetica, 27 (1988)).  Today’s lyric (scroll down for a text, somewhat modernised, and a translation) is a Tudor nonsense carol, surviving in a collection in the Huntington Library in a compilation of mid-sixteenth-century printed texts.  We don’t know its exact date or who printed it.  But it is an ingenious parody of the late medieval carol.  It also features a monkey…

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Sick as a bit of Chaucerian doggerel?

This morning lots of us will be waking up with Christmas party hangovers (not me, our Christmas Dinner at St Edmund Hall isn’t till next weekend…).  To help distract those so afflicted from their throbbing headache, this post  translates the beginning of a little-known fifteenth-century poem called Colyn Blowbol’s Testament.  The poem is a piece of mock-Chaucerian entertainment, featuring a character called Colin Belch-bowl who has drunk so much that he is really really suffering.  His confessor tells him to make his last will and testament, and so the main part of the poem is Colin’s will.  He leaves his body to the temple of Bacchus and bequeaths money for the setting up of a Drunks’ Institute.  The first section (and a Modern English translation) can be found if you scroll down the page, and the whole poem can be read here (starting on p. 22).

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