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Filthie Olde Seth

This is a poem written in the style of Chaucer, an English poet who died in 1400. It’s fun writing in the style of another poet, using the same rhyme patterns and attitude. Chaucer poked fun at all sorts of people and especially enjoyed mocking the priests, who were very powerful at the time. He is famous for his ‘Canterbury Tales,’ which is about a group of pilgrims travelling to Canterbury from Southwark in London. Going on Pilgrimages was almost the equivalent of going to Glastonbury Festival at the time – lots of fun, on the whole, although it was mean to be religious.

Look up the names that were in fashion during the era your poet lived, and make sure your vocabulary is also of that time.

Filthie Olde Seth was published in the Christmas Special of the Spectator Magazine, 2023. Try sending you poems to magazines – you never know, they might accept them, but they won’t if you don’t!

Here is some of it, but as it’s quite long, I’ll only put in the introduction. You can see that I have made the words mediaeval, and later in the poem, I introduce a few ancient words such as ‘bresten,’ which means broken.

Filthie Olde Seth

Seth, Seth, the servile serf

Earned his cruste by plowing earthe.

Thick filthe lay on his every limbe.

The Stynke of Seth was foule and grimme.

When summer came with azure skye

And barleycorne was ripe and drye,

Seth leapt at dawne, uncleane from bedde,

To shake the dandruffe from his hedde.