Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Feb 28
Whan the turuf is thy tour
anonymous Middle English poem, circa the 13th century AD
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When the turf is your tower
and the pit is your bower,
your pale white skin and throat
only sullen worms shall note.
What help unto you, then
was all your worldly hope?

*

Original Middle English text:

Whan the turuf is thy tour,
And thy pit is thy bour,
Thy fel and thy whitë throtë
Shullen wormës to notë.
What helpëth thee thennë
Al the worildë wennë?

“Whan the turuf is thy tour” may be one of the oldest carpe diem (“seize the day”) poems in the English language, and an ancestor of Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress” with its virginity-destroying worms. Keywords/Tags: Middle English, translation, medieval, anonymous, rhyme, rhyming, medieval, lament, complaint, lamentation, turf, tower, pit, bower, skin, throat, worms, note, help, worldly, hope
Written by
Michael R Burch  62/M/Nashville, Tennessee
(62/M/Nashville, Tennessee)   
127
 
Please log in to view and add comments on poems