|Star Wars the Saga (or, who needs Joseph Campbell anyway?)
||[Mar. 13th, 2010|02:12 am]
You've probably seen the Star Wars = Harry Potter post, which has gone on to become an internet meme. This rather different interpretation of Star Wars is just as funny, a touch less waspish for those offended by such things, and matches my previous Votan/The Long Ships post rather nicely.
I'm two weeks late on picking it up, but with something this good, better late than never.
If you know the slightest thing about Old Norse, Viking literature or our little-known but very exciting Icelandic saga (obligatory nod to M. Python) then unless a new keyboard and monitor are at the top of your shopping list, do not have a mouthful of mead - or anything else - while reading it...
This is by the Martin Best Medieval Ensemble, in a rather good English translation; it's not on any of the CDs I have, but was caught almost 40 years ago from BBC Radio 3. It's a lot of fun to play for the unsuspecting, because the beginning -
I love the joyful time of Easter,
For it makes the leaves and flowers come forth,
And it pleases me to hear the mirth of the birds
Who make their song resound through the woods*
- is all typical troubadour tirra-lirra, a bit like Fotherington-Thomas skipping along going "Hello clouds, hello sky, hello pretty flowers!" Then it degenerates until by this -
And I hear them scream “Help! Help!”
And I hear them fall among the ditches,
Little men and great men on the grass,
And I see, fixed in the flanks of the corpses,
Stumps of lances with silken streamers.**
- I'm watching the faces of the listeners, who usually look like they've had a serious Twilight Zone moment. I had my own Twilight Zone moment a few years back, because while there are many places you might reasonably expect to see this particular little ditty, the back of a Kellogg's Cornflakes packet
is not one of them...
Occitan is an odd language: if you know a little French, then it's a bit like the equivalence of Dutch/Flemish and English: if the mental needle would only jump, you're sure you'd understand it. Of course you won't, it's not that simple - but take a look and you'll see what I mean.
*Be.m plai lo gais temps de Pascor,
Que fai fuoillas e flors venir!
E plai me qand auch la baudor
Dels auzels que fant retintir
Lo chant per lo boscatge!
**Et auch cridar, “Aidatz aidatz!”
E vei cazer per los fossatz
Paucs e grans per l’erbatge,
E vei los mortz qe pels costatz
Ant los tronchos ab los cendatz.
I know it well, but wasn't aware they'd ever performed it. I love Bertran's work: he wrote a couple of songs (well, one song in 2 drafts) about one of my long-term historical hunks, Conrad of Montferrat.
I know Occitan, too: I've performed songs in it myself. It's a beautiful language, and still used. Modern Catalan is basically another dialect of it. Mediæval Piemonteis was, too (though not modern Piemonteis, which has more French and Italian influences).