Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Robert Burns Day : A Fiddler in the North

A Fiddler in the North 

Amang the trees, where humming bees,
At buds and flowers were hinging, O,
Auld Caledon drew out her drone,
And to her pipe was singing, O:
'Twas Pibroch, Sang, Strathspeys, and Reels,
She dirl'd them aff fu' clearly, O:
When there cam' a yell o' foreign squeels,
That dang her tapsalteerie, O.

Their capon craws an' queer "ha, ha's,"
They made our lugs grow eerie, O;
The hungry bike did scrape and fyke,
Till we were wae and weary, O:
But a royal ghaist, wha ance was cas'd,
A prisoner, aughteen year awa',
He fir'd a Fiddler in the North,
That dang them tapsalteerie, O.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Muck! : Bring Back the Plain Old Words


 I've been reading a biography of Tolkien and wanted to share an funny passage that I think is worth exploring in our everyday life.

 In chapter 2 of the book, Tolkien's schooling is being discussed. As Tolkien began to discover language, his English literature focused mostly on Shakespeare of who Tolkien was not much of a fan.

 Luckily for Tolkien his teacher, a Mr. Brewerton had something else up his sleeve.

 " But if Shakespeare failed to please him there was other meat more suited to his taste. By inclination his form-master Brewerton was a medievalist. Always a fierce teacher, he demanded that his pupils should use the plain old words of the English language. If a boy employed the term 'manure' Brewerton would roar out: "Manure? Call it muck! Say it three times! Muck, muck, muck!" He encouraged his pupils to read Chaucer, and he recited the Canterbury Tales to them in the original Middle English. To Ronald Tolkien's ears this was a revelation, and he determined to learn more about the history of the language."

 I would love to be able to add some middle and old English in my vocabulary.

 I have run across some vocabulary sites I will post below.

 Middle English Vocabulary

 Old English Vocabulary

 Old English Translator

Monday, November 21, 2016

Tam Lin - Child Ballad 39

  1. O I forbid you, maidens a',
    That wear gowd on your hair,
    To come or gae by Carterhaugh,
    For young Tam Lin is there.
  2. There's nane that gaes by Carterhaugh
    But they leave him a wad,
    Either their rings, or green mantles,
    Or else their maidenhead.
  3. Janet has kilted her green kirtle
    A little aboon her knee,
    And she has broded her yellow hair
    A little aboon her bree,
    And she's awa to Carterhaugh
    As fast as she can hie.
  4. When she came to carterhaugh
    Tam Lin was at the well,
    And there she fand his steed standing,
    But away was himsel.
  5. She had na pu'd a double rose,
    A rose but only twa,
    Till upon then started young Tam Lin,
    Says, Lady, thou's pu nae mae.
  6. Why pu's thou the rose, Janet,
    And why breaks thou the wand?
    Or why comes thou to Carterhaugh
    Withoutten my command?
  7. "Carterhaugh, it is my own,
    My daddy gave it me,
    I'll come and gang by Carterhaugh,
    And ask nae leave at thee."
  8. Janet has kilted her green kirtle
    A little aboon her knee,
    And she has broded her yellow hair
    A little aboon her bree,
    And she is to her father's ha,
    As fast as she can hie.
  9. Four and twenty ladies fair
    Were playing at the ba,
    And out then came the fair Janet,
    The flower among them a'.
  10. Four and twenty ladies fair
    Were playing at the chess,
    And out then came the fair Janet,
    As green as onie glass.
  11. Out then spake an auld grey knight,
    Lay oer the castle wa,
    And says, Alas, fair Janet, for thee,
    But we'll be blamed a'.
  12. "Haud your tongue, ye auld fac'd knight,
    Some ill death may ye die!
    Father my bairn on whom I will,
    I'll father none on thee."
  13. Out then spak her father dear,
    And he spak meek and mild,
    "And ever alas, sweet Janet," he says,
    "I think thou gaest wi child."
  14. "If that I gae wi child, father,
    Mysel maun bear the blame,
    There's neer a laird about your ha,
    Shall get the bairn's name.
  15. "If my love were an earthly knight,
    As he's an elfin grey,
    I wad na gie my ain true-love
    For nae lord that ye hae.
  16. "The steed that my true love rides on
    Is lighter than the wind,
    Wi siller he is shod before,
    Wi burning gowd behind."
  17. Janet has kilted her green kirtle
    A little aboon her knee,
    And she has broded her yellow hair
    A little aboon her bree,
    And she's awa to Carterhaugh
    As fast as she can hie.
  18. When she came to Carterhaugh,
    Tam Lin was at the well,
    And there she fand his steed standing,
    But away was himsel.
  19. She had na pu'd a double rose,
    A rose but only twa,
    Till up then started young Tam Lin,
    Says, Lady, thou pu's nae mae.
  20. "Why pu's thou the rose, Janet,
    Amang the groves sae green,
    And a' to kill the bonny babe
    That we gat us between?"
  21. "O tell me, tell me, Tam Lin," she says,
    "For's sake that died on tree,
    If eer ye was in holy chapel,
    Or christendom did see?"
  22. "Roxbrugh he was my grandfather,
    Took me with him to bide
    And ance it fell upon a day
    That wae did me betide.
  23. "And ance it fell upon a day
    A cauld day and a snell,
    When we were frae the hunting come,
    That frae my horse I fell,
    The Queen o' Fairies she caught me,
    In yon green hill do dwell.
  24. "And pleasant is the fairy land,
    But, an eerie tale to tell,
    Ay at the end of seven years,
    We pay a tiend to hell,
    I am sae fair and fu o flesh,
    I'm feard it be mysel.
  25. "But the night is Halloween, lady,
    The morn is Hallowday,
    Then win me, win me, an ye will,
    For weel I wat ye may.
  26. "Just at the mirk and midnight hour
    The fairy folk will ride,
    And they that wad their true-love win,
    At Miles Cross they maun bide."
  27. "But how shall I thee ken, Tam Lin,
    Or how my true-love know,
    Amang sa mony unco knights,
    The like I never saw?"
  28. "O first let pass the black, lady,
    And syne let pass the brown,
    But quickly run to the milk-white steed,
    Pu ye his rider down.
  29. "For I'll ride on the milk-white steed,
    And ay nearest the town,
    Because I was an earthly knight
    They gie me that renown.
  30. "My right hand will be gloved, lady,
    My left hand will be bare,
    Cockt up shall my bonnet be,
    And kaimed down shall my hair,
    And thae's the takens I gie thee,
    Nae doubt I will be there.
  31. "They'll turn me in your arms, lady,
    Into an esk and adder,
    But hold me fast, and fear me not,
    I am your bairn's father.
  32. "They'll turn me to a bear sae grim,
    And then a lion bold,
    But hold me fast, and fear me not,
    And ye shall love your child.
  33. "Again they'll turn me in your arms
    To a red het gand of airn,
    But hold me fast, and fear me not,
    I'll do you nae harm.
  34. "And last they'll turn me in your arms
    Into the burning gleed,
    Then throw me into well water,
    O throw me in with speed.
  35. "And then I'll be your ain true-love,
    I'll turn a naked knight,
    Then cover me wi your green mantle,
    And hide me out o sight."
  36. Gloomy, gloomy was the night,
    And eerie was the way,
    As fair Jenny in her green mantle
    To Miles Cross she did gae.
  37. At the mirk and midnight hour
    She heard the bridles sing,
    She was as glad at that
    As any earthly thing.
  38. First she let the black pass by,
    And syne she let the brown,
    But quickly she ran to the milk-white steed,
    And pu'd the rider down.
  39. Sae weel she minded what he did say,
    And young Tam Lin did win,
    Syne covered him wi her green mantle,
    As blythe's a bird in spring
  40. Out then spak the Queen o Fairies,
    Out of a bush o broom,
    "Them that has gotten young Tam Lin
    Has gotten a stately-groom."
  41. Out then spak the Queen o Fairies,
    And an angry woman was she,
    "Shame betide her ill-far'd face,
    And an ill death may she die,
    For she's taen awa the bonniest knight
    In a' my companie.
  42. "But had I kend, Tam Lin," said she,
    "What now this night I see,
    I wad hae taen out thy twa grey een,
    And put in twa een o tree."

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Kingdom of Culture

As a person who holds the political position of monarchy, it's very hard to imagine that monarchy will ever take a legitimate hold again. As much as I long for it and see it's potential to correct some of the insanity in today's political realm, I don't see much hope for it.

 On the same front as a traditionalist who would love to see us return to our pre-industrial traditions and folk culture, it is also hard to imagine that my Anglo and Northern European heritage and culture will ever stay completely preserved in the age of globalism and forced multiculturalism. There is nothing wrong with multiculturalism, and I think that it always happens, but organically, not forced. I love other cultures, my favorite being that of Japan and China. That doesn't mean however that I wouldn't feel very out of place in Japan say around Christmas time. It wouldn't feel right without the traditions I am accustomed to.

 I recently came across an article in National Geographic. The title instantly grabbed me. "A Fairytale Kingdom Faces-Real Life Troubles" with the sub text "On the border of Estonia and Russia, the Setos struggle to create a modern identity from ancient beliefs."

 As the 20th century loomed and the political atmosphere changed, the Seto people created a cultural Kingdom to stave off modern threats to their cultural identity.

 Their religion, traditional dress and their unique singing is protected under this Kingdom. It is not politically independent, but rather culturally independent. A real firm stance against modernity

 They are represented by a council of elders and every year they select a steward of the King. My understanding is the King, is not a physical personage but a figure from their folklore and the person selected becomes the steward of this invisible King, looking after the interests of the people in a ceremonial way.

 This article fascinated me and I am very glad to see a group of people banding together to fight the modern world and maintain their cultural identity and I hope to take some inspiration from it.

 I think this sort of cultural Kingdom could be a model for those of us who wish to separate ourselves from the modern consumerist and industrial culture.

 I look forward to thinking more about this.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Tolerance in Christianity

 'Tolerance is not a Christian virtue. 
Charity, justice, mercy, prudence, honesty; these are Christian virtues'

 -Archbishop Charles Caput 

 In the modern age of tolerance, one often hears that the Christian world should be tolerant. That Jesus preached a message of tolerance and love. 

 Jesus did indeed preach a message of love, but tolerance? One must do some digging. 

 First, lets observe his most famous sermon, the sermon on the mount. In this he gives a brilliant outline for how we are to conduct our life here on the earth. Jesus seems to be intolerant of several behaviors. 

 -Laying up Treasures on Earth
 -Judging others

 Now, the tolerant man today seems only to pick up on a couple of these. Social behavior seems to be overlooked and hate, anger and greed seem to be condemned very harshly. Divorce and Lust are forgotten about and judging others becomes the only thing one should be intolerant of. After all, judging someone for getting divorced would clearly by wrong, right? Or a person that has a lustful thought? Those are private and personal matters and none of our business. 

 The speck in the eye is always quoted. Get the speck out of your own eye! Don't worry about other peoples sins, worry about your own! This becomes some blanket justification for other people being allowed to sin and to never question it. 

 However, let us look at the rest of the verse that often goes unquoted. 

 Verse 5  'You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brothers eye.' 

 Clearly, Jesus never meant for us to be completely silent about the sin of others. Instead, examine ones self, confess your own sin, repent and then with a clear conscience, go to your brother with love. 

 An example of Christ being intolerant comes to us in the story of the woman at the well. In John chapter 4, we see clearly Jesus being intolerant of this woman for having 5 husbands. In the age of the sexual revolution, it's hard to imagine anyone condemning something like that. If Jesus was all loving and preached only a message of love and tolerance, why would he condemn this woman's practise? Why would he "judge" her for this? 

 Only when we except that we are created beings who are sacred in the eyes of God can we begin to understand the true love of Christ's message on ALL it's levels and that true freedom lies in his perfect will. 


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Friendship, Farming and a Recommitted Life

 In the late winter of 2014 I began working for a farmer in Owen County Kentucky. I had recently moved with my family back into parents home and had been looking for work. It came at an opportune time. It would turn out that this job would change my life and steer my spiritual life in unexpected directions.

 I began to work full time by early spring as the work of farming began to increase. My employer, Todd , I began to find out was a very well read fellow and we began a wonderful friendship based around our love of history, in particular that of the British Isles, theology and farming. We differed greatly on several social and political issues and sometimes let it come between us, but never longer than a few hours. After the smoke cleared we were back to pleasant subjects. 

 It was during this time that I was out of church. I hadn't been in a church for several years and considered myself a non-denominational Christian who didn't need anyone one or any church to teach me about what the bible said. The bible was my complete authority. I found out that Todd was an Episcopalian. This was a new perspective as I had never known an Episcopalian. All I knew was that they were something like Catholics. 

 We began to have many talks about theology and spirituality. I would always appeal to scripture, Todd always to tradition and scripture. This combination of scripture and tradition intrigued me and I began to delve deep into early church history and writings. At some point he introduced me to the Book of Common Prayer, which I see looking back as the single most important moment for me as a Christian (aside from accepting Christ) that has happened to me. I began to use it for my personal prayer time which was WAY out of practice. I found it as a great anchor in scripture reading and in prayer. As time went on I became attracted to this form of liturgical Christianity that I began to discover was very much closer to the early Church than anything I had previously been a part of. 

 I soon began to seek out a church. Todd had taken me to his church several times, but due to certain theological and social issues, I just couldn't attend with him. I was so afraid of losing him as a friend over it I was literally sick to my stomach when I went to work after having visited the Anglican church in Frankfort, many of whose core members had split from his Church. I was so relieved when he said it was alright and he was just glad that I became Anglican. During this time we began to pray the Angelus at noon as often as we could and tried to close our day with prayer from the prayer books we stashed in the barn. 

 I write this mainly to say, despite our differences, my time spent in the fields of Todd's little farm in Owen County Kentucky was a pivotal time in my life. A time when I recommitted my thoughts and intentions towards Christ in a way I hadn't in a long time. The prayer book became a hand rail towards a deeper and more regular prayer life and the liturgy of the church began to form and guide me and my family in ways I could have never hoped. His part in that was no small part. For that I thank him, and I hope our friendship will continue for many years to come. 

Thank you, Todd. 

 Your friend, 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

"Not one of Free Enterprise, Neither was it Socialism."

I think it is common for us in the post industrial world to think of anything before that as a toiling and grinding life that only brought relief at night when a person laid down on his straw ticking and went to sleep only to awake the next morning hours before daylight and repeat the whole process.

 Especially in Medieval times, the common belief is that the subjects of a local lord were nothing more than slaves.

 In their book "Life in Medieval Village", Francis and Joseph Gies do a wonderful job of offering a very balanced and in some cases a downright contrary view to the position above.

 They write of the Lord of the Manor :

 " The Lord could have little objection to village autonomy. What he wanted was was the certainty of rents and dues from his tenants, the efficient operation of demesne, and good prices for wool and grain." 

 "The once popular picture of the lord as "an omnipotent village tyrant" was, in George Homan's words, "an unrealistic assumption". 

 Now, shifting our focus to the medieval villagers themselves, we see an autonomy of the individual, while also seeing the complete cooperation of the community.

 " The open field system was thus not one of free enterprise. It's practitioners were strictly governed in their actions and made to conform to a rigid pattern agreed on by the community, acting collectively. 

"Neither was it socialism. The stips of plowed land were held individually, and unequally. A few villagers held many strips, most held a few, some held none. Animals, tools, and other movable property were divided unequally."

 The community was separated into several class of tenants and the poorer tenants would usually work for the more well off villagers or the lord himself in order to make their living.

 What strikes me is, poor or rich, there doesn't seem to be much idleness. The community seems to have pulled it's weight no matter what end of the monetary spectrum you landed.

 In our modern world, the Amish are the only ones who come remotely close to living this kind of autonomous but equally communal life. But even they fall short of my ideal.

 I hope someday, I get to see this sort of system come back into operation complete with a Lord of the Manor.