Sælige gyrele

from by Boreas

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A song demonstrating W.V.O. Quine's "indeterminacy of translation," across time.

For the one who gives me an exhaustive list of the problems with my composition, usage, spelling, pronunciation and translation, I will buy a bottle of scotch.

Bonus points for pointing out why my musical settings are not idiomatic to English music from the various periods implied by the text.


ſǣliȝe ȝyrele
ðæt ſƿāt þū þe tȳndeſt
for lufe mid mē
ðæt bið hālig þinȝ.

mē lyſteð þīn blusc on mē
nelette mē tō cumenne nēar þē.

(O blessed child,
that life-blood which you lost
in a covenant with me:
that is a holy matter.
Your gaze on me delights me;
do not hinder me from coming nearer to you.)

O ſely gyrl, þyn eyȝe a tere ſwettynge,
Þy loues for me ben vere holy þynges.
I luſte þat þu bluſche on me,
Ne lett me to comen near to þe.

(O helpless girl-child, your eye exuding a tear,
Your kindnesses to me are truly virtuous things.
I delight that you would blushingly look at me.
Prevent me not from becoming close with you.)

Silly girl -
Your sweat I can almost taste.
Your love for me is too holy a thing.
I lust for you when you blush for me.
Don't let me come near you.


from Kickstarter Songs, released February 23, 2012
Concept & commission: Ben Harper


all rights reserved



Boreas Tucson, Arizona

Boreas was a classically-trained rock band with lush vocal harmonies, a fierce DIY streak and a willingness to plunge into a wide range of musical styles. Described by local radio station KXCI as “baroque pop,” their music resounds with echoes of the Beach Boys, Animal Collective, Paul Simon, Radiohead and Steve Reich. ... more

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