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MIDDLE ENGLISH POETRY

After the Normans invasion, French became the language of the Norman ruling class and English was the language of the common people. French literature influences the poetic form too: the rhymed line began to develop side by side with alliterative line, while the number of syllables per line acqired more and more importance. The poems speak about the heroic adventures of bobles knights and including intricate love stories and all sorts of wonders. From the Norman invasion French and English to 1350 French an English amalgated; there was a tendency from about 1400 onwards for the written language to conform to the Est Midland dialect of English used in London, Owford and Canbrindge, because of the importance of these places as centres of education, law, trade and government. This dialect came to be known as Middle English. At the end of the 14th century, poetry was no longer anonymous. Various types of poems began to emerge: the narrative-descriptive poem and the ballad. The Canterbury Tales (probably written from 1387) by Geoffrey Chaucer, is an example of a narrative-descriptive poem. The stucture of the work, that was incompleted, is ingenious. A group of 29cpilgrims settin off on a pilgrmage to Canterbury are the tellers of the tales. In the poem we have continually refernces to the feudal, ecclesistic and urban classes of the periiod. Chaucer is considered as "the father of English poetry". He imported from France the 10 syllables per line and the pentameter. He made the line in pairs and used allitteration only occasionally. Chaucer wrote in Middle English in a period where poetry is in French language. From the the common people of England and Scotland came the traditional ballad. The origins are a mistery. I is was born to entertain the people and it was intented with musical accompaniment. Balla was transmitted in oral form. The story line is simple. The subject was based on situations pf everyday life of the common people. The form was also simple and regular: each stanza has 4 lines wich rhyme "abcb"; between each stanza there was a refrain or chorus, where was higly used repetition.

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