August 27, 2019 by phicks2012
Years ago I decided to create verses in each of the Medieval poetic forms I found on a rather long list, and to include them to illustrate articles for our monthly SCA Newsletter, The Equinox. As I recall, there were over 27 of them in total, and I don’t think anyone in my SCA group was wildly impressed. In the SCA, I’m noted for “service” rather than for “art” and I’m not sure most people have any idea that I even WRITE poetry. 😉
Be that as it may, this was article #26:
Medieval Verse: The Enuig
According to Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enuig
The enuig, enueg or enuech (Old Occitan [e’n?it?]; “complaint, vexation”) is a genre of lyric poetry practiced by the troubadours. Somewhat similar to the sirventes, the enuig was generally a litany of complaints, few of them connect topically to the others. The word “enuig” appears frequently in such works. The Monge de Montaudon was the first master of the enuig.
Raymond Hill defined an enueg as “the enumeration in epigrammatic style of a series of vexatious things”. He finds the genre continued in later medieval Catalan, Italian, French, and Galician-Portuguese literature. Ernest Wilkins considered William Shakespeare’s Sonnet LXVI an example of an English enuig, citing also example from Petrarch. Richard Levin considers the anonymous English poem beginning “Whear giltles men ar greuously opreste” to be an enuig.
According to http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?/topic/680-enuig/ William Shakespeare’s Sonnet LXVI (shown below) is an example of an English enuig.
Tired with all these, for restful death I cry,
As, to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimm’d in jollity,
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
And guilded honour shamefully misplaced,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgraced,
And strength by limping sway disabled,
And art made tongue-tied by authority,
And folly doctor-like controlling skill,
And simple truth miscall’d simplicity,
And captive good attending captain ill:
Tired with all these, from these would I be gone,
Save that, to die, I leave my love alone.
Armed with that information, I naturally set forth to create an Enuig of my own, and chose as my topic “Waste”.
Behold the wastrel, evening’s candle lit
As dawn approaches and the night is done,
And sparing not the taper, leaving it
To gutter there, it’s flicker serving none.
The fire burns bright upon a summer hearth
Where no spit turns, nor simmering pot awaits,
And tinder wanes as Luna sinks to earth,
And candles all are gone like squandered fates.
He offers not a penny’s recompense
Nor hatchet lifts the kindling to replace.
She leaves the meal to spoil, and insolence
Leaves marks of scorn upon a sullen face.
They that spare not to serve a later grace,
Leave those to learn the consequence of waste.
[21 October, 2014]