Art. 35, In a fryht as Y con fare fremede


ABBREVIATIONS: AND: Anglo-Norman Dictionary; ANL: Anglo-Norman Literature: A Guide to Texts and Manuscripts (R. Dean and Boulton); BL: British Library (London); Bodl.: Bodleian Library (Oxford); CCC: Corpus Christi College (Cambridge); CUL: Cambridge University Library (Cambridge); IMEV: The Index of Middle English Verse (Brown and Robbins); IMEV Suppl.: Supplement to the Index of Middle English Verse (Robbins and Cutler); MED: Middle English Dictionary; MWME: A Manual of the Writings in Middle English, 1050–1500 (Severs et al.); NIMEV: A New Index of Middle English Verse (Boffey and Edwards); NLS: National Library of Scotland (Edinburgh).

4 gome. The word is normally specific to men. The MED lists this line as the only seeming application of the word to a woman. See gome (n.(1)), sense 4(b).

5 kenede. The narrator’s wondering involves curiosity as to her kinship and family relations, with the sense being “who in the world gave birth to, or engendered, her?” The girl’s initial golden, glistening appearance (as perceived by the narrator) and her final musings about her own ordinary mortality play off a recurrent, inquisitive examination of what her origins are, fairy or mortal, noble or low.

21 Of munnyng ne munte. For these verbs, see MED, moninge (ger.), “remembering,” and minten (v.), sense 2(a), “to think.”

25–26 These lines highlight the brief transience of the encounter. He asks her why she does not believe him any longer than the time in which he has fixed his “love” on her. The comparison underlines the flighty casualness of his feelings and the falseness of his pledges.

37–40 The word “yet” is added to the translation of line 37 because here there is a shift in the girl’s thinking, a shift that corresponds with the opening of a new stanza. Turville-Petre assigns lines 37–40 to the man, emending the pronoun me in line 40 to þe (1989, p. 26).

43–44 The man’s cavalier attitude toward troth-making is that, despite a verbal promise, no one can change or foresee what God decrees. His attitude evades honor and future responsibility for his own actions.

45 ashunche. “Be altered.” The word is attested here only, and the MED defines it as “frighten”: ashunchen (v.). But compare shunchen (v.), sense (b), “to cause (something) to turn aside.”


ABBREVIATIONS: As: Aspin; Bö: Böddeker; Bos: Bossy; Br: Brook; BS: Bennett and Smithers; BZ: Brandl and Zippel; B13: Brown 1932; B14: Brown 1952; DB: Dunn and Byrnes; Deg: Degginger; Do: Dove 1969; Gr: Greene 1977; Ha: Halliwell; Hal: Hall; Hol: Holthausen; Hor1: Horstmann 1878; Hor2: Horstmann 1896; Hu: Hulme; JL: Jeffrey and Levy; Ju: Jubinal; Kel: Keller; Ken: Kennedy; Le: Lerer 2008; Mc: McKnight; Mi: Millett; MR: Michelant and Raynaud; Mo: Morris and Skeat; MS: MS Harley 2253; Mu: H. M. R. Murray; Pa: Patterson; Pr: Pringle 2009; Rei: Reichl 1973; Rev1: Revard 2004; Rev2: Revard 2005b; Ri1: Ritson 1877; Ri2: Ritson 1885; Ro: Robbins 1959; Sa: Saupe; Si: Silverstein; St: Stemmler 1970; Tr: Treharne; Tu: Turville-Petre 1989; Ul: Ulrich; W1: Wright 1839; W2: Wright 1841; W3: Wright 1842; W4: Wright 1844; WH: Wright and Halliwell.

8 henyng. So MS, W3, Br, BS, St, Tu. Bö: heþyng.

18 be. So MS, W3, Bö, Br, Tu. BS, St: beþ.

31 tho. So MS, W3. Bö, Br, BS, St, Tu: þou.

33 hongren. So Bö, Br, BS, St, Tu. MS, W3: hengren.

36 clevyen. So MS, Br, BS, St, Tu. W3, Bö: clenyen.

37 yclothe. So MS, W3, Bö. Br, St, Tu: y cloþe. BS: ycloþed.

39 ywedded. So MS, W3, Bö, Br, St, Tu. BS: Y wedded.

40 me. So MS, W3, Bö, Br, BS, St. Tu: þe.
myht I. So BS. MS, W3, Bö, Br, St: myhti. Tu: myhtu.

44 mey non . So MS, Br, BS, St, Tu. W3: me y-nou. Bö: mey.

45 ne mey hit. So MS, W3, Br, BS, St, Tu. Bö: me mey.

47 that. So MS, W3, Bö, Br, BS, St. Tu: þah.
ofthunche. So MS, W3, Bö, St, Tu. Br, BS: ofthuncheþ.

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Art. 35, In a fryht as Y con fare fremede












¶ In a fryht as Y con fare, fremede,
Y fonde a wel feyr fenge to fere;
Heo glystnede ase gold when hit glemede;
Nes ner gome so gladly on gere.
Y wolde wyte in world who hire kenede,
This burde bryht, yef hire wil were.
Heo me bed go my gates lest hire gremede;
Ne kepte heo non henyng here.

“Yhere thou me nou, hendest in helde,     [Man]
Nav Y the none harmes to hethe.
Casten Y wol the from cares ant kelde;
Comeliche Y wol the nou clethe.”

“Clothes Y have on forte caste,     [Maid]
Such as Y may weore with wynne;
Betere is were thunne boute laste
Then syde robes, ant synke into synne.
Have ye or wyl, ye waxeth unwraste;
Afterward, or thonke be thynne;
Betre is make forewardes faste
Then afterward to mene ant mynne.”

“Of munnyng ne munte thou namore;     [Man]
Of menske thou were wurthe, by my myht;
Y take an hond to holde that Y hore,
Of al that Y the have byhyht.
Why ys the loth to leven on my lore
Lengore then my love were on the lyht?
Another myhte yerne the so yore
That nolde the noht rede so ryht.”

“Such reed me myhte spaclyche reowe     [Maid]
When al my ro were me atraht;
Sone tho woldest vachen an newe,
Ant take another withinne nyye naht.
Thenne miht I hongren on heowe,
In uch an hyrd ben hated ant forhaht,
Ant ben ycayred from alle that Y kneowe,
Ant bede clevyen ther Y hade claht.

“Betere is taken a comeliche yclothe,
In armes to cusse ant to cluppe,
Then a wrecche ywedded so wrothe
Thah he me slowe, ne myht I him asluppe!”
“The beste red that Y con to us bothe     [Man]
That thou me take, ant Y the toward huppe;
Thah Y swore by treuthe ant othe,
That God hath shaped mey non atluppe.”

“Mid shupping ne mey hit me ashunche —      [Maid]     
Nes Y never wycche ne wyle.
Ych am a maide — that me ofthunche!
Luef me were gome boute gyle!”
¶ In a wood as I, a stranger, did walk,
I found as companion a very fair prize;
She glistened as gold when it gleams;
Never was a creature so splendid in clothes.
I wished to know who in the world created her,
This bright maiden, if she were willing.
She told me to go away lest she grow angry;
She didn’t wish to hear any lewd proposal.

“Hear me now, most gracious in grace,     [Man]
I bear no insults by which to mock you.
I will rescue you from hardships and cold;
Beautifully will I clothe you now.”

“I have clothes to put on,     [Maid]
Such as I may wear with propriety;
It’s better to wear thin items blamelessly
Than ample robes, and sink into sin.
Should you have your will, you’ll prove inconstant;
Afterwards, your gratitude will be thin;
It’s better to make binding pledges
Than afterwards to be sorry and mindful.”

“Don’t think any more about remembering;     [Man]
You're worthy of honor, by my power;
I pledge to be faithful until I grow gray,
By everything that I’ve promised to you.
Why are you reluctant to trust my advice
Any longer than my love has settled on you?
Another might entreat you for a long time
Who wouldn’t ever advise you so well.”

“Such advice I may soon regret     [Maid]
When all my peace is taken from me;
Soon you will fetch a new love,
And take another within nine nights.
Then I might starve within my own family,
In every household be hated and despised,
And be separated from all I’ve known,
And told to cling there where I’d embraced.

“Yet it’s better to accept one beautifully clothed,
To kiss and to embrace him in arms,
Than be wed to a wretch so ill-tempered
That were he to beat me, I might not escape!”
“The best advice that I know for us both     [Man]
Is that you take me, and I skip toward you;
Even were I to swear by truth and oath,
None may evade what God has shaped.”

“It can’t be altered for me by shape-shifting —      [Maid]     
I was never a witch or a sorceress.
I’m a virgin — that vexes me!
Dear to me would be a man without guile!”

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