Ne me nis nothing leef nor loth

From: HÃ¥kan Lindgren
Message: 4085
Date: 2000-09-29

How about reading some 14th century English? Try the following part of a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer. I find his texts surprisingly easy to understand and the way things are spelled always brings a smile to my face.
Often, I can use my own language, Swedish, to decipher him; Chaucer's English is in some ways more like Swedish (or other Germanic languages) than modern English. For example: "there was a duc that highte Theseus..." - this verb, "highte", which means "was called", is lost in modern English, but it corresponds to Swedish "hette" or German "hiess". Or words that corresponds to Swedish words are used with a slightly "twisted" meaning - like "lustihede". The only thing I don't get is "a mased thing". That's enough; here he is -
I have gret wonder, by this lighte,
How that I live, for day ne nighte
I may nat slepe wel nigh noght;
I have so many an ydel thoght
Purely for defaute of slepe,
That, by my trouthe, I take kepe
Of nothing, how hit cometh or goth,
Ne me nis nothing leef nor loth.
Al is yliche good to me,
Joye or sorowe, wherso hit be,
For I have feling in nothing,
But, as it were, a mased thing,
Alway in point to falle adoun;
For sory imaginacioun
Is alway hoolly in my minde.
And wel ye wite, agaynes kinde
Hit were to liven in this wyse
For nature wolde nat suffyse
To noon erthely creature
Not longe tyme to endure
Withoute slepe, and been in sorwe;
And I ne may, me night ne morwe,
Slepe; and thus melancolye,
And dreed I have for to dye,
Defaute of slepe, and hevinesse
Hath sleyn my spirit of quiknesse,
That I have lost al lustihede.
Suche fantasyes ben in myn hede
So I not what is best to do.
(The beginning of The Book of the Duchesse)