Chapter: English Literature During The Middle Ages
Alright, I'll admit that I can't prove it was written this way in the original text by Marie de France, but here's what the Norton's translation looks like:
Their clothes were in expensive taste, / Close-fitting tunics, tightly laced, / Made of deep-dyed purple wool. / Their faces were most beautiful. / The elder bore a well-made pair / Of basins.
Seriously, is that the greatest line break ever, or what? For the briefest handful of seconds, your mind is instantly fooled into thinking that Marie is describing the handmaiden's exceptionally well-formed breasts. And then, almost like a punchline, with perfect comedic timing, the poem adds "...of basins." There's really no way that isn't intentional, given how sexy the previous lines already were.
Sure, maybe it was just the translator having a laugh. But Marie was clearly already a little hot on the collar herself, so I wouldn't put it past her to slip that gag in. I'd try tracking down the original version, but if I can't read old English, I sure as hell can't read old French.
Author: Marie de France • Year: c. 1170 • Info:Wikipedia
Lit Brick is a comic started by Jodie Troutman in an effort to read the entire Norton Anthology of English Literature. Having eventually succeeded in that goal, it now features comics about all manner of random literature. For more of Jodie's work, visit longtalljodie.com!