Spencerian Verse, Anyone?

I was having a discussion on my Facebook wall about Chaucer.  I’m in the middle of (finally) writing my paper and a friend suggested that I should write it in Middle English to earn “moxie” points with the professor.  If you’ve ever read Middle English, you will know why I have no intention of doing such a thing.  I do have an end of semester project coming up where I have to write my own tale for the Canterbury tales, and I’ll be writing that in iambic pentameter and in heroic couplets the way Chaucer wrote his tales.  I figured if I could write my own spin on the book of Genesis in Spencerian verse, this will be a piece of cake.  I thought it might be fun to share a snippet of it.  It’s by no means complete, and there are some gaps, so I’m only sharing the first three stanzas of the epic (which, even in its current state is 3 pages and 900 words long).




I sat to sup with family, friends, and more

With plates o’erfilled and goblets full of wine

When suddenly the host, to me, implored

That wouldn’t it be wonderful to dine

Amused by such a tale you tell so fine

Regale us with a story, make it true

Recount to us whilst we feast on this swine

And refill all our chalices with brew

And suddenly which story I should tell I knew.


Good Sirs, said I, and Wondrous Ladies fair

Our host has begged a tale, and I comply

With such a tale, make comfortable your chair

This tale I tell is long, but I shall try

To tell its ending ‘ere the sun is high

To light your way from table to your bed

To slumber deep as though in death do lie

With stomach full and wine imbibèd head

With generosity your gullets our host fed.


I tell with truth this story as it hap’d

So long ago while I was still a boy

And bored, I was, for I was freshly napped

I made myself a world to be my toy

And this new world I truly did enjoy

It started out as nothing, black and stark

And so some light I knew I must employ

To come and sweep away all that was dark

And “Let there be some light” was my only remark.


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