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 "males drowen hem to males"

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ComicMonster
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PostSubject: "males drowen hem to males"   Thu 14 Dec 2017, 11:46

Here I am again. Middle English is giving me a hard time, I am afraid.

There's a quote from a late fourteenth century poem I can only understand in what I would call it's "first level" (not to say "literally", and assuming there may be a "second level" here.

This literal comprehension would render something like that: "men stitched a cuff to other men". Should I be tempted to see here a reference to a specific sexual position? I am in no position (of any kind) to know for sure wether this is so or not. Suspect


This is the problem-sentence: "In Vision of Piers Plowman (1370–90) William Langland writes of the period when, after heterosexual intercourse, ‘males drowen hem to males’".



All my searches in the Net have proven unsuccessful.



Thanks for your help,


CM
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PostSubject: Re: "males drowen hem to males"   Thu 14 Dec 2017, 13:53

As I read it it's nothing to do with stitching/sewing (the ME 'hem' is just a plural of him, ie them), so the verse is simply a statement that while all animals are attracted male-to-female, in mankind alone sometimes males are attracted to males, and females to females.

The verses are as follows - though it depends on which edition/transcription one follows:

As whan þei hadde ryde in Rotey tyme anoon reste þei after;
Males drowen hem to males al mornyng by hemselue,
And femelles to femelles ferded and drowe.
Ther ne was cow ne cowkynde þat conceyued hadde
That wolde bere after bole, ne boor after sowe;
Boþ hors and houndes and alle oþere beestes
Medled noȝt wiþ hir makes saue man allone.
 ...

So I read that as roughly something like this (and bear in mind that the original construction is probably a bit forced as it had to rhyme):

As when they had ridden [mated?] in Rotey [correct/right?] time [manner?] before they rest thereafter,
[... OK I'll admit I'm flumoxed and completely guessing with this entire line, but the rest is much clearer ...]
Males are drawn [ie attracted] to males all morning by themselves
And females to females are ferded[?] and drawn together.
There never was a cow nor cattle conceived
That would not bear [ie go] after bull, no boar after sow;
Both horses and hounds and all other beasts
Meddled naught with their make [same kind - ie the same gender, although this distinction is only implied] save man alone.


Last edited by Meles meles on Thu 14 Dec 2017, 19:28; edited 8 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: "males drowen hem to males"   Thu 14 Dec 2017, 14:01

Meles meles: thanks a lot for the explanation. I had found the poem in Middle English, but made no clear sense to me at all.

It was obvious that the "stitch" stuff was by no means accurate, but quite the opposite: my worryingly single guess…

Is there, by the way, a good Middle to Modern English dictionary online? This would surely reveal a most useful tool for that job.

With sincere gratitude,

CM
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PostSubject: Re: "males drowen hem to males"   Thu 14 Dec 2017, 14:11

It's not that clear to me either ... and there may be some clever allusions that only 14th century readers understood, but it does just seem to be a statement that, while all animals show restraint in sexual matters, humans often don't (and bear in mind that the above verse is, I think, actually part of a dream, so it could all be allegorical and not strictly 'true').

I'm not an expert in Middle English by any means, nor even a linguist (hence the question-marked guesses in the above) ... but I have learned to understand it a bit through reading old cookery books (an interest of mine).

The only online ME dictionary I've found is the  Michigan University Middle English Dictionary

I've also found it useful, for all your enquiries, to do a google search to find the sentence or verse in the original poem etc. That way you can see the words in context (like in the above with the comparison to animals: boar to sow, cow to bull, etc.)


Last edited by Meles meles on Thu 14 Dec 2017, 15:09; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: "males drowen hem to males"   Thu 14 Dec 2017, 15:03

Hello again,

this is very informative. I hope the link you've just included in your last post will allow for a less blurred vision under deep ME waters. It's very kind of you. It's just that I feel scared at the idea of being constantly knocking at RH door, but I see no other way.

[A curious interest indeed; mine is connected with several months long overlanding 4x4 trips to remote, rare, gorgeous places… And that includes eating what's in someone else's cookery bible…]

Thanks again, with sincere friendliness,

CM
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PostSubject: Re: "males drowen hem to males"   Thu 14 Dec 2017, 15:19

I wouldn't worry about asking here ... I find your challenges interesting and, as I say, not having studied English language or literature in any great depth, at least not since high school, your queries have got me reading things I wouldn't usually have done. And as you'll have noticed, your questions have prompted some further debate and discussion from others too.

So ask away ... at worst you might just not get any response if none of us have an answer or maybe just because nobody is around. But, blowing our own trumpet as it were, between us here there are people with all sorts of different knowledge, experiences, interests, languages and cultures ... like say, Temp, who is on holiday at the moment but who used to teach English literature and so has certainly studied Chaucer in more depth than I, and who I know has also read Ackroyd's book. She might well chip in here once she returns after Christmas..

PS

I meant to add, regarding Middle English, to remember that spelling was never standardized and so people at the time just wrote how it sounded to them: but there were strong geographic differences in accent and dialect throughout the country. Also then as now, homophones and double meanings were common, and could be readily used to create humour and sub-texts. So all in all reading Middle english is often guesswork, informed guesswork but still with a large degree of uncertainty.


Last edited by Meles meles on Thu 14 Dec 2017, 18:16; edited 4 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: "males drowen hem to males"   Thu 14 Dec 2017, 15:40

That's good to know. Smile

I am myself a doctor in philosophy, which, as you surely know, is the most inutile of knowledges nowadays… (even if I wouldn't barter it for anything, except perhaps history and, maybe, sociology —not sociometry, please).

Happy cooking…
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PostSubject: Re: "males drowen hem to males"   Thu 14 Dec 2017, 16:12

I too am a doctor in philosophy (PhD) though mine was in materials' science. Certainly not useless - but when, at least in Britain, an engineer is popularly thought to be the man who comes to mend your washing machine, where industry and manufacturing are looked down on and the pay is peanuts, where almost nobody in the government have any qualifications in science or engineering, and after personally having been made redundant three times as companies closed or moved operations to other countries - I now run my own very small chambres d'hôtes business in the tranquility of the French Pyrenées, about 30km from the Spanish border and 60km from the Mediterranean. I used to be head of quality and laboratory manager (for UK operations of a big multi-national) with a staff of 20 scientists and technicians ... now there's just me, the dog and two cats. Hey ho.

Happy off-piste driving Wink
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PostSubject: Re: "males drowen hem to males"   Thu 14 Dec 2017, 16:42

That sounds nice!

I think you have taken the right decision. Having peace and being one's own boss —what's best!

Take care,

CM
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PostSubject: Re: "males drowen hem to males"   Thu 14 Dec 2017, 22:38

What a deep going exchange these last three messages. I learned from it.

Sparked by the text:

"As when they had ridden [mated?] in Rotey [correct/right?] time [manner?] before they rest thereafter,
[... OK I'll admit I'm flumoxed and completely guessing with this entire line, but the rest is much clearer ...]
Males are drawn [ie attracted] to males all morning by themselves
And females to females are ferded[?] and drawn together.
There never was a cow nor cattle conceived
That would not bear [ie go] after bull, no boar after sow;
Both horses and hounds and all other beasts
Meddled naught with their make [same kind - ie the same gender, although this distinction is only implied] save man alone."

And not to divert the thread..otherwise we can discuss it in another thread...
As I have seen cows mounting on cows, even once seen a tomcat rubbing (frotting?) his "genetalia" against a branch of a bush seemingly with pleasure I dare to distrust the above text...
And see only two minutes research on the net:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexual_behavior_in_animals
https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/07/0722_040722_gayanimal.html


Kind regards to both from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: "males drowen hem to males"   Fri 29 Dec 2017, 17:52

Homosexuality in medieval literature has been well mined - "queer theory" has had a field day with the topic, I believe, but it's not something I know anything about, I'm afraid. Would be interesting to read a bit more though - that's why I bought the Ackroyd book a while ago.

Have a look here, Monster - some hopefully useful links.

http://www.medievalists.net/2011/07/same-sex-relations-in-the-middle-ages/

Even a study of Medieval Arab lesbians - good grief - just what's needed to while away the time in this limbo period between Crimbo and the New Year Festivities.

Seriously - Chaucer, Langland and others possibly considered (even if they did not approve) that gay sex - between men that is , not sure about the girls - was actually the norm, certainly within Court and Church circles.

I don't have a doctorate, so MM - and you -  probably know more than me I!


Last edited by Temperance on Sat 30 Dec 2017, 06:33; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: "males drowen hem to males"   Fri 29 Dec 2017, 19:31

Hi Temperance!

I've just filed your link in the "Favourites" stuff of my browser (and I've done the same with the general link of this page for future reference with the other links). This will prove deeply instructive. Thanks for your help.

CM Smile
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PostSubject: Re: "males drowen hem to males"   Fri 29 Dec 2017, 19:39

Hello, Monster,

I rather suspect the Christians (male) have been having a good laugh at us all for the last 2000 years. "Christianity" was possibly a gay club. I'm not joking - some serious research needed here.


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PostSubject: Re: "males drowen hem to males"   Fri 29 Dec 2017, 19:43

Temperance, a quick before going to Wilhelm II...

"I don't have a doctorate, so MM - and you -  probably know more than me I!"

Of course it has to be "I"...probably know more than I (know).
Even we, in our local West-Flemish dialect, use it:
"en je kent er meer van of ik"

As for the two doctorates of the guys...for me: only six years "humaniora" and some chemical studies...I tried to explain to MM "met handen en voeten" (no translation found in the dictionary: with hands and feet?) what "humaniora" was, as indeed it don't exist in French or in Dutch, only in Belgium...(that's now something typical Belgian...apart from the frites and the steak as everybody knows...)

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: "males drowen hem to males"   Fri 29 Dec 2017, 19:56

study


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PostSubject: Re: "males drowen hem to males"   Fri 29 Dec 2017, 20:12

Paul, it's suddenly come to me ... isn't "humaniora" what in English is usually known as "humanities"?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanities


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PostSubject: Re: "males drowen hem to males"   Fri 29 Dec 2017, 20:13

Temperance,

I thought that it would be an easy one to seek for the translation of "met handen en voeten uitleggen" or "zich met handen en voeten verstaanbaar maken"...
but forget it...it can be as our dictionaries and even on the net are Northern Dutch and that differs a bit from our Southern Dutch...so I had to seek a bit:
https://ennl.dict.cc/?s=zich+met+handen+en+voeten+tegen+iets+verzetten
here they translate with: "with all one's might and main"
But I am not pleased with that too...
in fact it is a picture of to explain with a kind of mime especially of the hands and even making examples with the feet to someone not understanding you or speaking not your language...to explain with the mimicking of the hands and the feet...

I feel with Comic Monster, as it is already that difficult to translate "sayings" of modern Dutch into modern English...

Kind regards to both from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: "males drowen hem to males"   Fri 29 Dec 2017, 20:25

@Meles meles wrote:
Paul, it's suddenly come to me ... might not "humaniora" be what in English is usually known as "humanities"?


Meles meles,

of course you are right and you have such a memory...with esteem...

in Belgian Dutch: humaniora and in Belgian French: humanités (originated in the Middle Ages)

Kind regards from your friend Paul.

PS, but now as we get "anglicized", it are all English words as PhD and all that...btw the grandson goes perhaps to Stockholm for a post-doctorate in cancer research (Karlinski...does that "says" something to you?)
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PostSubject: Re: "males drowen hem to males"   Fri 29 Dec 2017, 21:43

Surely most degree titles like LLB, PhD, BA, ChB etc are actually Latin not English? - the only two that are distinctively English that come to mind are MBA (awarded today to one of the "ten famous Belgians", Vincent Kompany) and BEd and even there the M might be Magister and the B Baccalaureus, though the Latin I studied would render that last as Caelebs. My own doctorate - DACFD - is Doctoris Adamus Cum Flabello Dulce.
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PostSubject: Re: "males drowen hem to males"   Fri 29 Dec 2017, 22:20

@Gilgamesh of Uruk wrote:
Surely most degree titles like LLB, PhD, BA, ChB etc are actually Latin not English? - the only two that are distinctively English that come to mind are MBA (awarded today to one of the "ten famous Belgians", Vincent Kompany) and BEd and even there the M might be Magister and the B Baccalaureus, though the Latin I studied would render that last as Caelebs. My own doctorate - DACFD - is Doctoris Adamus Cum Flabello Dulce.


Sorry Gil...as many times in a haste and not looking in depth... Embarassed
Yes now I see from your own doctorate...

Your friend Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: "males drowen hem to males"   Sat 30 Dec 2017, 08:08

@PaulRyckier wrote:
@Meles meles wrote:
Paul, it's suddenly come to me ... might not "humaniora" be what in English is usually known as "humanities"?


Meles meles,

of course you are right and you have such a memory...with esteem...

in Belgian Dutch: humaniora and in Belgian French: humanités (originated in the Middle Ages)

Kind regards from your friend Paul.

PS, but now as we get "anglicized", it are all English words as PhD and all that...btw the grandson goes perhaps to Stockholm for a post-doctorate in cancer research (Karlinski...does that "says" something to you?)

Paul,

You also find humaniora in German and the Scandinavian languages.

When you mentioned 'Karlinsky' I suppose you mean Karolinska Institutet - https://www.karolinska.se/en
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PostSubject: Re: "males drowen hem to males"   Sat 30 Dec 2017, 17:03

Thanks Nielsen for your message about "humaniora" in German and the Scandinavian languages...

And indeed it is the Karolinska Institutet
https://www.karolinska.se/en


Kind regards from your friend Paul.
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