Highlands Ranch High School - Mr. Sedivy
From The Middle Ages
Vintner's son, veteran of French campaigns, diplomat, civil servant, member of Parliament-- Chaucer knew all levels of English society and portrayed them with earthy humor and vigor. The tales are told by pilgrims bound for Becket's shrine. We meet the friar, "a very festive man":
A friar there was, a wanton and a merry...
The Ballad of Dead Ladies
Born the year Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, Villon studied at the University of Paris--then turned to a life of crime, haunting alleys, taverns, brothels. He wrote of the degradation of life and the cruelty of death, themes appropriate to his time, when chivalry itself was dying:
Tell me where, in what country,
Romance of the Rose
Twenty thousand lines, a work spanning forty years, the Romance enjoyed immense popularity. In the First part William devised an allegory of courtly love peopled by Mirth, Fair-Welcome, Danger, and such. In the second part the bourgeois, sometimes cynical John often digresses to display his encyclopedic mind or to offer advice:
Woman should gather roses ere
Piers The Plowman
Welling up from the peasantry comes a cry of suffering-an allegorical poem attributed to a cleric who may have known poverty in London with wife and child. It extols the simple life, warns the heartless rich of retribution in hell:
The needy are our neighbors, if we note rightly;
Natural son of a Tuscan merchant and a Parisian woman, Boccaccio won fame at Florence as a poet and diplomat. His prose classic, a collection of tales told by gentlefolk who have fled to a country estate to escape the Black Death, aims only to entertain. Many of the 100 stories, like the sampling below, dwell on affairs of the heart:
There were once two noble knights of Provence, one of whom was named Messer Guglielmo Rossiglione and the other Messer Guglielmo Guardastagno. Both were valiant men-at-arms and therefore loved each other. It happened that Messer Guglielmo Guardastagno fell deeply in love with Messer Guglielmo Rossiglione's beautiful and charming wife. She fell in love with him too, and they often came together.
The husband found it out. He was so much enraged that his old love for Guardastagno changed to mortal hatred. He armed, and laid an ambush in a wood through which he knew Guardastagno had to pass. When he came up, Rossiglione rushed at him furiously, lance in hand, shouting: "You are a dead man," and so saying thrust his lance through the knight's chest. Rossiglione cut open Cuardastagno's breast with a dagger, tore out his heart with his own hands, and then remounted his horse and returned to his castle.
Rossiglione dismounted and called for the cook, to whom he said: "Take this boar's heart and make the best and most delicious dish of it you can." The cook sent him the dressed heart and he had it set before his wife. The lady had a good appetite, tasted the dish and thought it good; and therefore ate it all up. "What you have eaten," said the knight, "is verily the heart of Messer Guglielmo Guardastagno, whom you loved so dearly. And you may be certain it is he, because I tore the heart from his breast with these hands."
No need to ask whether the lady was in anguish. After a little time she said: "You have acted like a base and treacherous knight. But, please God, no other food shall ever follow a food so noble." And jumping to her feet she ran to a window and threw herself out of it. This window was high above the ground so that the lady was not only killed by her fall but smashed to pieces.
Historical Periods of
| Mesopotamia & Phoenicians |
Highlands Ranch High School 9375 South Cresthill Lane Highlands Ranch, Colorado 80126 303-471-7000
Mr. Sedivy's History Classes
| Colorado History | American Government | Modern European History | Advanced Placement European History | Rise of England | World History |
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