Tuesday, 3 July 2007

A daye in the lyf of a Chauncery clerke

Ryght derke beeth the heuenes aboue, and a storme brewyth ouer Westmynstre. The blakke cloudes been ydrawen togidir lyke unto grete hostis preparid to doon bataille. My chaumbres been but smale and my table coueryd with all maner of documentys that nedeth duplicacioun. And Ich by myseluen sitte behinde the mountaigne of papure, seying to myselue: "Forwhy dwelles thou here lyk unto a sack of mele whyle thy lyf is in a staat of consternacioun, moeuynge noght from the spotte". Yslumped in my chaire, myn hede bobbed up and doun and doun ayene til hyt restyd on my breste.

Ryght then Ich felle into a depe sweuene when a uoice clepyd me: "Awak, Thomas, awak! Lift up thin hede and awak! Nys no tyme to slepyn now; your lyfe is a merueillous tale forto prechyn unto the pres and all to improvyn here lyfes and fyndyn consolacioun." This uoice, make no mistak, is ryght in myn hede. Anon Ich answerde hyt: "Who art thou, ghoostly presence in myn mynde?" "Certeynly, thou shalt knowen hyt. My naam is Thomas Occleue, thy Yorkshyre selfe", the uois returnyd. "I am comyn to urgyn thyn herte to pacen resonably, I am a leche to thyn mynde, a physicien to thin maladyes, and a remedie to your nyghtly dredys. For to speken sothly, I am ysent to counseil and cumfortyn you, and to schawen unto thee the artes of redynge of myndes, of diagnosticacioun of feble braines and how to mendyn thy lyf: I am thy shrynke. On Wednesdayes, at tweyne aftir none (sharpe), we bath sall metyn for a session. Your fyrste gatherynge wyll be to-morwe (but yif thou kanst nat wayte, thou kanst clepyn me by daye and nyghte whethir thou slepyst or wakyst)."

"This is a ryght wondrous tale", Ich herde myseluen seye and awak withalle. "Heu! A brothir, a uery copye of myseluen, crouwded in myn hede. And a leche of myn troublid mynde!" And Ich openyd my engyne and began these wordys on my fontysborde to typen, euir thinkyng of to-morwe, of my myn fyrste consultacioun with myseluen.

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