m. c. de marco: To invent new life and new civilizations...

Eth and Ash and Thorn

©2017 M. C. DeMarco

Of all the letters oh so fair
  Old Engerlish that adorn’d,
Better were none for reading from
  Than Eth and Ash and Thorn.

For Eth and Ash and Thorn, good Sirs
  Only the gentlefolk mourn!
So let us sing of three little things,
  The Eth and Ash and Thorn…

Eth was a D crossed like a T,
  The sound in thee and thine to be;
Ash of the Futhark became an a-e,
  To render Caesar easily;

Thorn was a b on top of a p
  That looked like a Y, and “the” turned to “ye”;
Of such is ye olde tragedy
  Of Eth and Ash and Thorn!

For Eth and Ash and Thorn, good Sirs
  Only the gentlefolk mourn!
So let us sing of three little things,
  The Eth and Ash and Thorn.

Now we make do with letters two,
  In places where we had one;
A Latin pair twas plucked from the air
  To replace the old and homespun.
But if you’re a linguist then two won’t do,
  For sounds come by the tonne;
Back ye must speed for the spares that ye need,
  To Eth and Ash and Thorn!

For Eth and Ash and Thorn, good Sirs
  Only the gentlefolk mourn!
So let us sing of three little things,
  The Eth and Ash and Thorn.

Yogh was an e writ backwardsly, in loch
  And Bach and clachan went he.
OE was a ligature fine and free
  That lives on in phoenix aeternally;
And never a lad were dyslexic so bad,
  That he couldna still read along;
T’were simpler signs for happier times,
  The Eth and Ash and Thorn!

For Eth and Ash and Thorn, good Sirs
  Only the gentlefolk mourn!
So let us sing of three little things,
  The Eth and Ash and Thorn.

Oh, do not spell to teacher with eth,
  Speak not of the ash or the thorn
Though you read them in old Beowulf
  To her it’s no better than porn!

But whisper of them when her back is turned—
  And remember when wheat was called corn—
Though now be the Sun set for good and all,
  On Eth and Ash and Thorn!

For Eth and Ash and Thorn, good Sirs
  Only the gentlefolk mourn!
English shall bide till Judgement Tide,
  Sans Eth and Ash and Thorn!

Liner notes

This is a filk of Oak and Ash and Thorn, probably inspired by Catherine Faber’s Yogh and Ash and Thorn, which I thought got pretty far off-topic.