Hear ye! Hear ye! Sir Percival hath written another sonnet!

As always, it may be subject to further editing and your comments and interpretations are welcome. Just as a warning: some of my verses have a lot of inversion in them in order to preserve fluid iambic pentametre throughout the sonnet, so if you need help with certain lines, you may ask me.

What skill or ken can break the stealthy craft,
Of th’ eight swift rods of quick a loom full light,
That strong in silken strings as steel can pight,
A wingèd beast in haste on summer draught?
Forsooth eke Wit well blessed that windy raft,
Whose captain, taught in highest ken, a wright,
May sail how so him list a-day or night,
And wherefore bind about of life a shaft.
If greater worlds be bound of ilk in withe,
Then I well ween a master first hath reign,
From middle siege, who willeth taut and weak.
If fools as midges them bind in ropes, then nithe
Must fall upon their heads that durst them deign.
The web of time hath lord ne mild ne meek.

-Archaic Word Explanations, etc…-

skill = reason
ken = ability, knowledge
quick = alive
light = agile
pight = tie down (a modernisation of Middle English pi3ten)
forsooth = indeed
eke = also
wright = craftsman (hence cartwright, wheelwright, etc…)
him list = it pleases him
about = around
of ilk = in the same manner, likewise
ween = believe, think
siege = seat (often used to denote chairs or seats for important persons)
bind them = bind themselves
nithe = evil, troubles (a modernisation of Middle English nithe, from Old English niþ)
durst = dared (archaic preterit)
ne…ne = neither…nor
mild = merciful

This poem is Copyright 2003 Sir Percival

Very nice, Percival. :slight_smile:

That was cool… how long did that one take you?

I Had a Hard Time Reading That…

Nice One Again, Perc.

Originally posted by Omega12
That was cool… how long did that one take you?

To write? I composed the octave and the first two lines of the sestet on Tuesday afternoon, sitting above a grassy cliff on an island which I visited for a few days. I completed yesterday afternoon as I rode the ferry back into town. I had, however, been contemplating the ideas of this particular poem for several years, although the words and rhymes only came to me recently.

Some my antitheses may be somewhat obscure to those who are unfamiliar with traditions in renaissance poetry.

sounds of hands clapping

Just a little question… what’s with the è in wingèd? I thought English didn’t have the symbol `(whatever it’s called)

Well done Sir Percival!

I felt this one flowed smoothly and was pleasing unto the ear. The mind itself soared with the majesty of the phrases.

Well done, say I!

Originally posted by Ren
Just a little question… what’s with the è in wingèd? I thought English didn’t have the symbol `(whatever it’s called)

That is a grave accent (è). Accents are used in English poetry to alter pronunciation and stress. In this case, the grave accent makes the word winged be pronounced with two syllables (stressed, then unstressed) “wing-ed”, instead of one, as it is commonly pronounced. In doing so, the line remains iambic pentametre. Thus:

A (unstressed)
wing- (stressed)
-èd (unstressed)
beast (stressed)
in (unstressed)
haste (stressed)
on (unstressed)
summ- (stressed)
-er (unstressed)
draught (stressed)

Other accents are used as well. The acute accent (é) is often used to denote a lengthened vowel where normally the vowel would be short. Tolkien uses it frequently, as well as the circumflex accent (ê) for the same purpose. The umlaut (ë) is used at the end of words ending over the letter e, which is normally silent, giving it the sound ‘eh’. The umlaut is only used over e in English to my knowledge; I have never seen it in use over other vowels.

I am surprised that no one has bothered me about the letters 3 and þ in my section on word explanations.