29/03/08

500 years of fucking in print

London’s a great city to walk around; reading an anthology of London poetry before embarking on another epic city walk, I came across a couple of gems from the Scottish poet William Dunbar. Here’s Dunbar’s description of courtship, in a modern translation:

“His pretty beard was combed and trimmed, but it was spattered with broth, and he was a towny, pushy and foolish. He held her fast, he kissed her and fondled her, as if he were overpowered by passion. Yet what he was doing showed that he wanted to fuck.”

Preening boy lets his lust get the better of his table manners. It is exactly 500 years since Dunbar became the first person to use the f-word in print, but it seems that little has changed.

(Translation from London: A collection of Poetry of Place, edited by Barnaby Rogerson).

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