Out and About: October 2006 Archives

The Deception of Parliament


Don't miss the discussion of the subtleties and dangers of Parliament as revealed at Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog. To wit:

Parlement Journale, Parte the Firste: Decepcioun!

O straunge worlde, for the dayes are fulle of selcouthes and no thyng is as it semeth. Alwey in my fantasie syn ich was a yonge man, ich thoghte Parlement to be a grete and noble assemblee, wher the wisdam of the reaume was spoken in the presence of oure sovereyn kynge for the sake of the commun good. But al thing in this worlde adoun is lyk vnto a cake fulle of beares– on the outsyde, it appeareth delicious and plesaunte, but inside yt is crawlinge wyth beestes that wisshe to clawe thee to deeth. For nowe ich see that Parlement is fulle of thretes and secretes, and matirs derke.

On Sundaye night, the daye bifor the grete openinge of parlement, ther was a speciale recepcioun for folk lyk myself who had come to parlement to speke for the shires. Yt was held in the halle of the exchequer, wyth the tables of rekynynges laden wyth metes and drinke. Michel de la Pole, the Earl of Suffolk and Chancellor of the reaume, frende of Kyng Richard, was ther, and he did shake the handes of al who were presente, and callid vs by oure names and bad vs drinken depe of the ale and maken murye. He yaf vs alle small billes, the whiche contayned the poyntez which we were to speken of for the good of the reaume, and he avised vs to keep the smalle billes secure.

The small billes were covered wyth thys text:

Whanne a felawe comoner of parlement or a cronicler or othir member of the media doth aske yow of the business of parlement, ye shal saye the following

[and later]

“Fayre mayde, mene ye the meetinge at the exchequer wher the talkinge poyntez weren yiven vnto vs?”

“The, uh, talking points. Yeah, exactly. Good. I’m the handmaid for Sir...Roland...de Quelquechose. He was at the meeting and he, uh, well, he got a little drunk.”

“Goddes curse on men who are dronkelewe and guzzleres of ale,” ich sayde, and then burpid in a maner uncouth and my face wexed reede wyth shame. And yet the fayre wenche spoke further.

Oh, the horror, oh the shame.

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