The Diuers at Milton Island

Here is the Pseudo Middle English piece that goes with the previous post.

The Text Itself: “The Diuers at Milton Island”

. . .


“We are full sorree,” quod Serge, “to say

Our diues upon the Wolfe we must defer to daye.

The cloudez shed no water clear

But the waues do wallop us sorely.

If they measure eight feet here as we fathom,

Then the Wolfe Islander II is in wilder waters still.

The moorings we could unmoor,

Or worse yet, damage our dory dear.

Our capitan we might well capsize

For lust of aduenture in this abominable stirr.

Lake Ontario is onhospitable today.”

Full twenty woe-betided wetsuit wearers

Gaue groans and gasps at onnes

But the diuer’s pledge said plenty, and clear.

All kenned the canny speech,

I wys, indeed,

Pilfer naught but pictures

Leaue only uacuations of lungs

If a diue appears too dire,

Diue not – await another day.


The ship soon took shelter behind a minor isle,

Milton was the island’s strange moniker,

Not Shakespeare or Sheba or Shadwell, no,

But indeed the scribe of heroic Satan’s woes.

The isle was by two horns of land lineated on either side,

These cut the wind, and calmed the waues, so that peace prevailed.

The locals lounged about with liquor,

Full corious the frogmen for to see,

They offered beer and bread and other hospitality.

It was not an unknown land, but for the waters.

No diuer had here yet designed to diue.

There was an element it sorely lacked in order to attract.

Why diue

A shore with no shipwreck,

An impotent little islet

With no history that any knew,

And yet, the yachtsman spoke…


“Muchel monies the skipper must needs schardge,

For boats need fuel and must be fed,

Ere they will go a-gadding about.

Why not yourseluen aduantage? Aduenture!

In the safe bower of this uery same ile.

Beware only other boats and currents,

Should ye yonder points pass bi3onde

With the courrante yow must contend,

Sithen the boat is already parked,

Look for fisk and other phenomen,

Know for yourseluen the the nethers of this place.”

“I wys, Milton’s nethers I would know,”

Quod one daring diuer – a maid.

Her full red lyppez were lighted in a smile

And she took up her hood in honde,

A signal.

Milton would be uncouered

To human eyes and fin,

She took up her hood,

And others followed.


Full twenty diuers followed the fair maid

Their equipmente to enjamb anon, and soon

Mony in concert moued to take up:

Booties and bouteilles, buoyancy countrol deuises,

The second parts of wetsuits, watches and weight belts,

Or if the weights were integrated, to insert into uests’

Pockets, the amount of pounds a personal thing,

Depending on corpulence, experience, and compensation,

For tanks fully loaded with air are lightened when air departs,

And the thick tailored suits needing uarying amounts

So that one might descend and in security depart,

When the diue were at an end.

The regulator was another matter, required aboue all else

To be well maintained, the console also managed.

With a manometer for air, a profundimeter

To measure depth, and direction the compass’ desmesne.

Each piece

Relying on the others,

But only as backup

A system of safety

To guard against grauer danger.


The maid armed herself always in one order,

As she lyked best: Onnes she hir boots and wetsuit wore,

She then shouldered her uest, and shoued weight pockets within.

It was a Seaquest, and she loued it sorely,

Its inflateur neuer failed, and full oft it hir floated.

There were two surpressure ualues to ensure it neuer exploded.

The clip for weight pockets was full comely,

And easy to reach to readily drop for emergency ascent

It held her tank sikkerly so her head it did not tap,

And full tightly could she fit the straps,

So that comfort and courage could be at onnes.

Heraldry it also held – a diuer’s tag from Fathom Fiue,

Her watch and whistle, and ought else she might need

To clip upon the mighty compensatour.

After the uest,

Her other equipment,

In orders much more particular

For efficacity and efficiency,

To sally shortly into the sea.


After the BCD came her mask and tuba,

That no hair should harry, for fear of a leak,

The seal conteininge the face must be complete.

Next, needing no more manoeuures of delecasie,

Could gloues be grabbed and gotten on.

Hir fins, she felt, should al-weis be last,

For diuers know that euery mon must walk

Side-weis or backwards with fins upon feet

So as to not trip and urgent treatment need.

All this done, she might to her buddy sign “OK,”

And enter the water without more delay –

After, of course, the buddy check, I meant to say.

When assured that the air was on and smelling swete,

That inflators inflated and surpressoure ualues sang, “pfeet, pfeet!”

That the octopus, that extra emergency hose,

Did more than dangle next to hir kne,

A giant step,

And into the water she lepped.

The buddy check was done,

The buddy entered too,

And the diuing was begun.


The maid folded fingres four, and these

Tucked into a fist, the thumbe protruding up.

This she bandied in hir buddy’s sight,

And then her thumbe downwards turned.

This was the sign that they should descend.

Beneath the waues you hear not a whisper,

But the sound of bubbles from 3owurn breath.

So with hondes or writing upon a slate

Is the commoun way that diuers communicate.

As they went down to the depnesse of the Lake,

Their case became clere – the water was not.

Plants, fully two types, them full surrounded

In all directions, an arboretum of plants abounded.

The ropes of stems upon them snagged.

A fine start,

The maze of plantes rooted only here,

Where the shadow of Milton Island,

Protected from the currents,

Was the ideal place to grow.


The diuers then conferred with their hondes.

The maid pointed to seueral sites, for

They must their direccioun decide anon

Nauigacioun betwain Milton’s hornd protrusions

Presented a probleme – to recognize their shape

And not depass them, which would be dreadfulle, dire.

If it meant the curraunt they must conteste.

A circle is the perfect form, and this hir buddy formed

With thumbe and index to indicate agreement,

Or, “okay,” as the diuers understand it,

When finally she fixed upon an agreable path.

Around the isle, the water was full shalou,

And the swimmers swam sloghely, for the uisibility uexed.

It was not so pouere as standing water, but worse than normal,

For a day that it did not rain, it disappointed.

A sloghe start,

But a safe one, indeed,

Diuers, look before you lepe.

And steady your mental state,

Be thrilled by beaute, not terrour.


With their patthe proclaimed, they pressed on,

The maid in the lead, watching out for lurkene things,

And tresoures also: bottles, beer cans, boat motors.

She was full uneasy as no true patthe opened up to hir,

The wedes were euerywhere and euery which way that

She might swim – it was full frustrating, and so she

Uented bubbles beyond hir lyppez, the uacuated aire

Dancing to the surface at dauncherous speed,

Expanding as they ete distaunce, a demonstratiue reminder

Neuer to hold hir breath in ascent,

’lest the closed cauite of hir lunges, a sealed conteiner,

Brust with excited air that failed to exit another way.

Yet the daunger was much decreased by educacioun,

For in knowing the riske was the resolucioun:

Let the air out in the naturel way,

And to this accidens your fears could be allayed.

They swam on,

The maid and the buddy,

The needle and the compass,

The air and the tank,

Buddies haue a speciale bond.

. . .


Full offen were the team entangled,

Like twe inglorious Neptunian goddes,

The wet weeds they wore on tubas, regulators,

Masks and fins, the hazardous threddes clinginge like hairs,

Disarmed when from their roots diuorced,

The diuers fins were a mightfull force.

The maid saw a fisk anon, quickly there and then gone.

She scissored her hond thorough the water in gesture,

Drawing the wauy way that fiskes wynd,

Her buddy had not the fiskie seen, a sheepshead,

To the maid it did seem, cousin to the carp,

And a mightand creatur, full two feet acrois.

She kicked excitedly after it, but it had made its exit.

Ah well,

There would be more fisk to fawn on,

Another curious carp cousin,

Or perhaps a sturgeon, or

A perch ready to giue up its pants.


It was weile she strayed in search of the fisk

That hir buddy was startled by something straunge.

On the bottom of the brine was a yelwe glem,

And this drew the diuer’s eye at onnes.

He stopped and stuck his hondes in the muck,

Which closed upon a canne-like straightness within,

But if it were a canne, one of crayfish size,

When he lifted it out, well he laughed,

Or at least as well as underwater allows.

It was twelue-inch with one end in the shape of a squere,

With three uertical slits along the flade of its “spade.”

It was a whit spatula, speckled with blakke and grene.

He caught the maid’s attencioun by agitating hir fin.

And she allowed that it was an awesome find

By many gestures and a uisible grin.

Oh Buddy,

You are the only diuer

Who could find this catch,

This useful utensil,

Of unknowen origins.


The diuers witnessed one or two more fisk,

A strange lily-colourd lake snewile and

Those two kindes of plantes that plagued them, i wys,

Before deciding that they were well-acquainted now,

With what lay beneath Milton Ile in the Ontario Lake.

They secured the silly spatula to their personage,

Ascertained that to the boat they would swim and then ascend,

And then began to swim full slow so that they would not tire.

They often tangled tubes and hoses in the plantey mire.

An athel alternatiue when diues must be aborted,

Is to haue an open mind for other opciouns

Rather than hauing no diues and nothing to show

For the many labours that lie in the planning.

And so they were well-ready to retreat

When the underside of their ride appeared within their sight.

Diue done,

They broke the surface slow,

Eager to meet their meat

And other fare that would be prouided.

They would feast tonight.

. . .

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