Friday, May 29, 2009

Robert Henryson

Seamus Heaney has recently translated some of Robert Henryson's poems. Heneryson lived in Dunfermline in the second half of the fifteenth century. Here's one of Henryson's poems:
The Taill of the Cok and the Iasp (translation not by Heaney)

Ane cok . . Flew furth upon ane dunghill . .
To get his dennar . .
Scraipand amang the as
He fand ane jolie jasp


This . . jasp . .
Betakinnis perfite prudence and cunning . .
Quha may be hardie, riche and gracious?
Quha can governe ane realme, cietie or hous
Without science?
It is riches that euer sall indure . .
Ga seik the jasp . . .

A cock . . Flew out onto a midden
To get his dinner . .
Scraping among the dirt
He found a pretty jewel
of great value, precious

This . . jewel . .
Signifies perfect wisdom and knowledge . .
Who can be bold, wealthy and kind?
Who can avoid danger . .
Who can govern a kingdom, city or house
Without knowledge?
Knowledge is the sort of wealth that will
last forever . .
Go and search out the jewel (of knowledge)


Blogger kinglear said...

Ah, that'll be Blair's " Education education education will it? Shame they did nothing about it....

11:32 am  
Blogger Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I never heard of Henryson before. Heaney must have had quite a job on his hands!

7:37 pm  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

Hi WL - I hadn't heard of him either.

Do you know his poetry, KL?

1:03 pm  

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