"On satiry and fawny more and lesse" - Troilus and Criseyde
"Of founes, sowres, bukkes, does" - The Book of the Duchess
"N'yn him desir noon other fownes bredde" - Troilus and Criseyde
"Nymphes, fawnes and amadrides" - The Knight's Tale
An amadride was a wood nymph.
"This seyd by hem that ben nought worth two fecches" - Troilus and Criseyde
"Nought worth two fecches" is an expression which means worthless, or worth nothing - in other words, not worth two beans.
"Palladiones feste for to holde." - Troilus and Criseyde
"Ye, bothe for the seson and the feste." - Troilus and Criseyde
In these two quotations, "feste" means a religious festival.
"And of the feste that was at hir weddynge" - The Knight's Tale
"And I shal swich a feeste and revel make" - The Man of Law's Tale
"And but thou make a feeste on thilke day" - The Wife of Bath's Tale
A feast in these instances is what the word is normally expected to mean: a festive dinner party or a celebration with food.
"And fully heeld a feeste dayes three" - The Knight's Tale
While a three day feast would be an enjoyable, though gluttonous, experience, here the word means a festival or celebration and not a dinner.
"Who myghte tellen half the joie or feste" - Troilus and Criseyde
"For syn we yet may have namore feste" - Troilus and Criseyde
Another usuage of the word, this one meaning joy or rejoicing.
"And with his wyf he maketh feeste and cheere" - The Shipman's Tale
"Maketh feeste" - to make merry; to be full of cheer.
"And every wight hire joye and feeste maketh" - The Clerk's Tale
The Chaucerian scholar Albert Baugh translates this version of the word as "makes much of."
"And Antenor he kiste, and made feste." - Troilus and Criseyde
"Daun John hym maketh feeste and murye cheere" - The Shipman's Tale
Once again, here is the expression "maketh feeste;" however, in both of these quotations it means "welcome" or "welcomed."
"For with his hed he maketh feste" - The Book of the Duchess
"Maketh feste" was obviously a phrase with many meanings: in this case, it means to show respect, to flatter, or to pay a compliment. This line from the Book of the Duchess is referring to a scorpion, a "fals, flaterynge beste; For with his hed he maketh feste" - in other words, it appears to be harmless - but "al amydde hys flaterynge With hys tayle he wol stynge."
"But only that ye make hym bettre chiere
Than ye han doon er this, and moore feste" - Troilus and Criseyde
Albert Baugh tranlsates these lines as "But only show more pleasure in seeing him than you have done before this, amd more encouragement." In this usage, the definition of feste has expanded to also mean "to encourage."
"But in hirre lettre made she swich festes" - Troilus and Criseyde
"Made swich feestes" means "what pleases," or "was so pleasant." This line would translate as "But her letter was so pleasant."
A B C D E G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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© James L. Matterer
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