DWJ list songbook

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Thu Oct 21 18:08:25 EDT 2004


DWJ's husband, who is something of an expert on such things as *Sir Gawain
and the Green Knight* and *Piers Plowman* and Ricardian poetry in general,
recently suffered a bereavement: the computer he has used since 1984
finally turned up its toes and said "goodbye".  After considerable search
and sorrow, it was established that it just ain't possible to buy a machine
that would run Word 5.5 out of DOS in the way he was used to, and all human
aid was despaired of until someone cunning convinced an innocent Linux
machine that it could simulate the necessary stuff to give him a set-up
that behaved exactly as he was accustomed to his computer behaving.

The new computer's name is Bertilak.  It is not green.

There is just one problem.




NO OLD ENGLISH CHARACTERS!



<panic>


I don't know if this fits into a DWJ songbook; I suspect it does so about
as much as Helen's lovely thing, really, but it's sort of slightly
DWJ-related.  It's to Peter Bellamy's setting of Rudyard Kipling's "A Tree
Song":




Of all the things a font's without
    Whose absence leaves us forlorn
Worst to miss out, we have no doubt,
    Are yogh and aesc and thorn.
Sing yogh and aesc and thorn, good sirs!
    All of a midsummer's morn --
We should be glad if all keyboards had
    A yogh, an aesc, a thorn.

Yogh out of Eire's wond'rous fair,
    Though mighty hard to explain;
Aesc we won't cede to fill a need,
    Lest Alfred we spell in vain.
Thorn ye will find bemuses one kind
    Of teashoppe open to scorn...
English must use, or else we'll lose,
    Our yogh, and aesc, and thorn.

No point to tell Bill Gates our plight,
    For he'll just bluster and frown,
So -- we must go out on the web all night
    A-hunting Old English down,
And we bring you news by word of mouth
    Good news that comes with the dawn:
We've found a font that has no want
    Of yogh, and aesc, and thorn!

Sing yogh, and aesc, and thorn, good sirs!
    All of a midsummer's morn --
Now there's a choice, we'll all rejoice
    In yogh, and aesc, and thorn!

(Dubious voice in the background: "Yes, but what about Our Wynn and Our 'Eth?")



The only trouble is, it isn't quite true.  He is still, as he mentions at
regular intervals, the owner of a Rose without a Thorn.

Minnow


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