Dr. Michael Delahoyde
Washington State University
For those of you who could not wait any longer, here’s a prize-winning “Effusion on Chaucer” by Dame Smyth-Tethers (Surrey Catch-All, June 1883). This is not presented as a model for your own writing (I beg of you).
Geoffrey Chaucer, sturdy son of English soil, a skylark soaring over the plodding mind of man, casts his joyous essence on Britannia’s bosom! His was a spirit unrestrained by the world ever too much with us. His cool breath transpired like Zepherus sweetly over meadows, dales and forests, like the cuckoo at first sign of spring. Oh to have been in England then, when April was there! His tales of merry innocent rustics and knights, merry widows from Bath and holy nuns and monks, gay squiers of a romantic age long gone, ambling and cavorting ahorse to Canterbury, calling stories to each other, have ever held those young at heart with a poetic — as our beloved Mr. Tennyson would say — “glittering eye!” Ah Geoffrey, ever wear your heart upon your sleeve, remain thou ever, in the words of Mr. Pope, “a sylvan bridegroom of happiness and Joy”! Let the critical curfew never toll your passing day, for if it did, t’would take with it, a piece of me!