Wednesday pastiche.

Good poets can imitate other good poets. A good pastiche is worthy, and Kipling knew what he was doing.

I do think it is the guiding light of current traffic-planners, who hate cars, despise horses, and only love bicycles and public transport, preferably rationed.

The Consolations of Memory
Circa 1904

Done out of Boethius by Geoffrey Chaucer
— The Muse Among the Motors (1900-1930)

Blessed was our first age and morning-time. Then were no waies tarren, ne no cars numberen, but each followed his owne playinge-busyness to go about singly or by large interspaces, for to leden his viage after his luste and layen under clene hedge.
Jangling there was not, nor the overtaking wheele, and all those now cruel clarions were full-hushed and full-still. Then nobile horses, lest they should make the chariots moveable to run by cause of this new feare, we did not press, and were apayed by
sweete thankes of him that drave. There was not cursings ne adventure of death blinded bankes betweene, but good-fellowship of yoke-mates at ignorance equal, and a one pillar of dust covered all exodus…. But, see now how the blacke road hath
strippen herself of hearte and beauty where the dumbe lampe of Tartarus winketh red, etc.

Rudyard Kipling

Kipling gets a better sense of this in pastiche than the scholars, trying to make a translation from middle English. Here is the Harvard Translation of the consolations.

‘To pleasant songs my work was erstwhile given, and bright were all my labours then; but now in tears to sad refrains am I compelled to turn. Thus my maimed Muses guide my pen, and gloomy songs make no feigned tears bedew my face. Then could no fear so overcome to leave me companionless upon my
way. They were the pride of my earlier bright-lived days: in my later gloomy days they are the comfort of my fate; for hastened by unhappiness has age come upon me without warning, and grief hath set within me the old age of her gloom. White hairs are scattered untimely on my head, and the skin hangs loosely from my worn-out limbs.
‘Happy is that death which thrusts not itself upon men in their pleasant years, yet comes to them at the oft-repeated cry of their sorrow. Sad is it
how death turns away from the unhappy with so deaf an ear, and will not close, cruel, the eyes that weep. Ill is it to trust toFortune’s fickle bounty, and while yet she smiled upon me, the hour of gloom had well-nigh overwhelmed my head. Now has the cloud put off its alluring face, wherefore without scruple my life drags out its wearying delays.
‘Why, O my friends, did ye so often puff me up, telling me that I was fortunate? For he that is fallen low did never firmly stand.’

Book 1 Metrum 1 Consolations of Philosophy, Chaucer (Botheus) transl. Harvard

I prefer the Kipling. It has humour, and refers to an earlier, more muddy time.