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Sunday, August 29, 2021

Illuminated Manuscript Parody

Recently Erica posted a clever song parody on her blog (go check it out), and it seemed bizarrely coincidental since I had just done a parody of my own merely a week before in preparation for the upcoming RenFaire. I was going to wait until after the Faire to post it and then realized there was no reason I had to do that. It's not like it gives away anything clue-oriented for the games that day. It's just an added "acquisition" for the Azurton-Ochershire Museum. 

This is an older shot of the museum. There have been a few acquisitions since this was taken with this year's 'discovery' merely the latest.

And here......for the first time......as curator of the Azurton-Ochershire Museum, I am proud to present a significant historical discovery:


A Single, Unbound Page containing the lyrics to “Loopy in the Soup with Dumplings”, transcribed and illuminated by an unknown monk, circa 1483. (Ink, egg tempera, and gold leaf on linen paper)


While the original lyrics to ‘Loopy in the Soup with Dumplings’ were tragically lost to the rigors of digestion, it turns out that a monk with great recollection, who must have also been present for its premiere performance, or knew the song well from its later popularity, did what any good monk would do and went back to his monastery and secretly transcribed the lyrics onto an illuminated manuscript from memory. Naturally, given the bizarre, secular nature of the piece, he kept it well hidden. Only during a recent restoration to the monastery, was the page found, perfectly preserved, in a cavity behind a loose stone in what was likely that monk’s cell. It is also notable that the older, cheaper linen rag paper was used rather than vellum, further suggesting this particular project was done in secret and personally-motivated. 


We know from other accounts that the song contained other stanzas besides this one, and we do not know why only this single page was completed and no others. Perhaps the monk could not find enough private time to risk transcribing more, or perhaps he became ill or died before he could continue? It is also unfortunate that this particular monk was apparently not gifted musically, and therefore was unable to include the notes. We can still only guess at the melody, but at least whoever he was, he possessed the wisdom to understand the importance of a piece that would have otherwise been lost completely. 


With this find, we are closer to understanding the influence of ergot on those four minstrels from Liverpool and the song’s influence on those who heard it, and are therefore grateful not only to those minstrels for writing it, but this unknown brother who had the foresight to transcribe it.


Here is a closer view so you can read the lyrics more easily:




The obvious intent here is to parody the Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds". A while back I wrote a fake history explaining how this came about and also how the original had been lost when subsequent musicians ate the soup-stained document in order to share in the psychedelic vision (remember "blotter acid"?) .


The illustrations depict a musician with a bowl of soup whose rising steam appears like something from a Medieval Peter Max. The top scene depicts the mean fellow being showered, and yes, there is some double entendre here because the shower is tinted with gold. It's not meant to be literally a golden shower though....just a little playful ambiguity to those comically inclined. And just to be clear to those who might easily assume the whacky wheat is doing some whacking to the "buns of great size".......it's not. The curvy wheat was only meant to parody the common use of scrolling vegetation in actual manuscripts and offer the bared maiden a bit of modesty. (While naughty, the RenFaire IS a family venture and exposed female genitals are a bit too much in my opinion). If anything, given the lyrics, the fellow cooking for her is obviously trying to please her or appease her, not beat her, only to be abandoned ("and she's gone") with his soup. There is also a little implied desire for analingus rather than spanking, which touches on a rather comical scene from Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales". Sorry to disappoint.


The middle illustration is simply the ghastly green peas, liver, and pie mentioned at the beginning. The last inset at the bottom right is not directly related to the lyrics but refers to a lute.....a reference to "John the Lutist" one of the Liverpool minstrels, the ergot-tainted wheat which prompted the whole thing, and a bizarre birdlike creature which, frankly was just supposed to be a kind of Boschian hallucination and nothing literal.


I did use gold paint for some accents, but unfortunately the photos don't convey its shimmer all that well, and the gold accents just look light yellowish-brown.

 

8 comments:

  1. Did this document not originate from the Abby Rohad?

    Prefectdt

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    1. I wish I had thought of that! I think I may have to steal that. Thanks!

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  2. BWAHAHAHAHAHA! I love this! I'll never hear that song the same again. The transcription is extra special.

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    1. Thanks, dear! I was hoping you of all people would like it. ;-)

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  3. Oh, funny! "Buns of great size" -- HA!

    A delightful flight of fancy. :)

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    1. Thanks. I left a note on your blog before I saw this. Let me know what you think of a post-edit?

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  4. I'll never think of that song quite the same way again! The illustrations are cool!

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    1. Thanks, dear. I was hoping you'd get to see it.

      The RenFaire is just about a week away!!!!!!!!!!! Yay!!!!

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