Art. 36, A wayle whyt ase whalles bon

ART. 36, A WAYLE WHYT ASE WHALLES BON: EXPLANATORY NOTES


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).

incipit Wose wole of love be trewe, do lystne me. Omitting this line from his text, Degginger explains it as a heading to the song when it was inscribed on a single leaf. This explanation makes sense. The line ought to be included with the poem, however: as the incipit, it demonstrates how a minstrel expected to call out to his audience, commanding silence and attention, even before the opening Herkneth me of his song.

burden In form, this poem is a carol. As reconstructed here, the first five unnumbered lines constitute the burden, that is, the carol’s external refrain, which was sung at the beginning of each stanza. See also art. 46.
threstelcok. The bird named is a male song thrush. See MED, throstel-cok (n.), and also Spring (art. 43), line 7. The translation here is “throstle-cock” to retain the playful pun. The female of the species is named in Annot and John (art. 28), line 23.

38 ybrad. Here translated “entangled,” but the meaning “tormented” is also possible. The line is cited under both senses in the MED; see breden (v.(1)), sense 2, and breiden (v.(1)), sense 9(d).

48 thryven ant thro. “Excellent one.” For this expression, see MED, thriven (v.), sense 1(e).

84 Ne half so freo. Degginger omits this line in his reconstructed poem, but an extra-metrical line in a final stanza is not uncommon in the lyrics of MS Harley 2253. They reveal how jongleurs liked to close a musical or declamatory performance with a rhetorical flourish.


ART. 36, A WAYLE WHYT ASE WHALLES BON: TEXTUAL NOTES


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.

incipit Wose. So MS, BS. W3, Bö, Br, St: Whose. Mi: Wo-se. Deg’s reconstruction omits this line.

burdenA wayle whyt ase whalles bon / A grein in golde that godly shon / A tortle that min herte is on / In tounes trewe / Hire gladshipe nes never gon / While Y may glewe / When heo is glad / Of al this world namore Y bad / Then beo with hire myn one bistad / Withoute strif / The care that Ich am yn ybrad / Y wyte a wyf / A wyf nis non so worly wroht / When heo ys blythe to bedde ybroht / Wel were him that wiste hire thoht / That thryven ant thro / Wel Y wot heo nul me noht / Myn herte is wo / Hou shal that lefly syng / That thus is marred in mournyng / Heo me wol to dethe bryng / Longe er my day / Gret hire wel that swete thing / With eyenen gray / Hyre heye haveth wounded me ywisse / Hire bende browen that bringeth blisse / Hire comely mouth that mihte cusse / In muche murthe he were / Y wolde chaunge myn for his / That is here fere / Wolde hyre fere beo so freo / Ant wurthes were that so myhte beo / Al for on Y wolde geve threo / Withoute chep / From helle to hevene ant sonne to see / Nys non so yeep / Ne half so freo / Wose wole of love be trewe do lystne me / Herkneth me Y ou telle / In such wondryng for wo Y welle / Nys no fur so hot in helle / Al to mon / That loveth derne ant dar nout telle / Whet him ys on / Ich unne hire wel ant heo me wo / Ych am hire frend and heo my fo / Me thuncheth min herte wol breke atwo / For sorewe ant syke / In Godes greting mote heo go / That wayle whyte / Ich wolde ich were a threstelcok / A bountyng other a lavercoke / Swete bryd / Bituene hire curtel ant hire smoke / Y wolde ben hyd.

24 godly. So MS, W3, Br, Deg, BS, St, Mi. Bö: goldly.

61 eyenen. So MS (e3enen), W3, Bö, BS, Mi. Br, Deg, St: e3en.

84 Ne half so freo. Deg’s reconstruction omits this line.

 
Print Copyright Info Purchase

Art. 36, A wayle whyt ase whalles bon

67r]   











5




10





15




20





25




30





35




40





45




50




55





60




65





70




75





80




85




 
Wose wole of love be trewe, do lystne me!     

Ich wolde ich were a threstelcok,
A bountyng other a lavercoke,
        Swete bryd!
Bituene hire curtel ant hire smoke
        Y wolde ben hyd!

Herkneth me! Y ou telle,
In such wondryng for wo Y welle!
Nys no fur so hot in helle
       Al to mon
That loveth derne ant dar nout telle
       Whet him ys on.
              Ich wolde ich were a threstelcok,
              A bountyng other a lavercoke,
                      Swete bryd!
              Bituene hire curtel ant hire smoke
                      Y wolde ben hyd!

Ich unne hire wel ant heo me wo;
Ych am hire frend and heo my fo;
Me thuncheth min herte wol breke atwo
       For sorewe ant syke.
In Godes greting mote heo go,
       That wayle whyte!
              Ich wolde ich were a threstelcok,
              A bountyng other a lavercoke,
                      Swete bryd!
              Bituene hire curtel ant hire smoke
                      Y wolde ben hyd!

¶ A wayle whyt ase whalles bon;
A grein in golde that godly shon;
A tortle that min herte is on,
       In tounes trewe!
Hire gladshipe nes never gon
       While Y may glewe!
              Ich wolde ich were a threstelcok,
              A bountyng other a lavercoke,
                      Swete bryd!
              Bituene hire curtel ant hire smoke
                      Y wolde ben hyd!

When heo is glad,
Of al this world namore Y bad
Then beo with hire, myn one, bistad
       Withoute strif.
The care that Ich am yn ybrad
       Y wyte a wyf.
              Ich wolde ich were a threstelcok,
              A bountyng other a lavercoke,
                      Swete bryd!
              Bituene hire curtel ant hire smoke
                      Y wolde ben hyd!

A wyf nis non so worly wroht!
When heo ys blythe to bedde ybroht,
Wel were him that wiste hire thoht,
       That thryven ant thro!
Wel Y wot heo nul me noht;
       Myn herte is wo.
              Ich wolde ich were a threstelcok,
              A bountyng other a lavercoke,
                      Swete bryd!
              Bituene hire curtel ant hire smoke
                      Y wolde ben hyd!

Hou shal that lefly syng,
That thus is marred in mournyng?
Heo me wol to dethe bryng
       Longe er my day!
Gret hire wel, that swete thing
       With eyenen gray.
              Ich wolde ich were a threstelcok,
              A bountyng other a lavercoke,
                      Swete bryd!
              Bituene hire curtel ant hire smoke
                      Y wolde ben hyd!

Hyre heye haveth wounded me ywisse,
Hire bende browen that bringeth blisse!
Hire comely mouth that mihte cusse —
       In muche murthe he were!
Y wolde chaunge myn for his
       That is here fere.
              Ich wolde ich were a threstelcok,
              A bountyng other a lavercoke,
                      Swete bryd!
              Bituene hire curtel ant hire smoke
                      Y wolde ben hyd!

Wolde hyre fere beo so freo,
Ant wurthes were, that so myhte beo,
Al for on Y wolde geve threo,
       Withoute chep!
From helle to hevene, ant sonne to see,
       Nys non so yeep,
       Ne half so freo.
              Ich wolde ich were a threstelcok,
              A bountyng other a lavercoke,
                      Swete bryd!
              Bituene hire curtel ant hire smoke
                      Y wolde ben hyd!
 
Who would of love be true, do listen to me!     

I wish I were a throstle-cock,
A bunting or a laverock,
        Sweet bird!
Between her kirtle and her smock
        I would be hid!

Hearken to me! I tell you,
In such anxious distress I suffer!
There’s no fire so hot in hell
       As burns for him
Who loves in private and dares not say
       What afflicts him.
              I wish I were a throstle-cock,
              A bunting or a laverock,
                      Sweet bird!
              Between her kirtle and her smock
                      I would be hid!

I wish her well and she wishes me woe;
I am her friend and she’s my foe;
I think my heart will break in two
       For sorrow and longing.
In God’s favor may she go,
       That beauty white!
              I wish I were a throstle-cock,
              A bunting or a laverock,
                      Sweet bird!
              Between her kirtle and her smock
                      I would be hid!

¶ A beauty white as whale’s bone;
A gem in gold that radiantly shone;
A turtledove my heart’s set on,
       Truest one in town!
Her blissfulness will never be gone
       While I can sing!
              I wish I were a throstle-cock,
              A bunting or a laverock,
                      Sweet bird!
              Between her kirtle and her smock
                      I would be hid!

When she is blissful,
Of all this world I ask no more
Than to be with her, my own, lodged
       Without argument.
The distress I’m entangled in
       I blame upon a woman.
              I wish I were a throstle-cock,
              A bunting or a laverock,
                      Sweet bird!
              Between her kirtle and her smock
                      I would be hid!

No other woman’s so splendidly formed!
When she’s merrily brought to bed,
He’s well who knows her thought,
       That excellent one!
I know well she doesn’t want me;
       My heart is woeful.
              I wish I were a throstle-cock,
              A bunting or a laverock,
                      Sweet bird!
              Between her kirtle and her smock
                      I would be hid!

How shall a desirous lover sing,
Who’s so marred by grief?
She’ll bring me to death
       Long before my day!
Greet her well, that sweet thing
       With eyes of gray.
              I wish I were a throstle-cock,
              A bunting or a laverock,
                      Sweet bird!
              Between her kirtle and her smock
                      I would be hid!

Those eyes have certainly wounded me,
Her curved eyebrows bringing bliss!
Her comely mouth that might kiss —
       He’d be in ecstasy!
I would change my lot for his
       Who is her companion.
              I wish I were a throstle-cock,
              A bunting or a laverock,
                      Sweet bird!
              Between her kirtle and her smock
                      I would be hid!

Would that her companion be so generous,
And worthy were, that it might happen,
All for one woman I’d give three,
       Without haggling!
From hell to heaven, from sun to sea,
       There’s no one so beguiling,
       Nor half so gracious.
              I wish I were a throstle-cock,
              A bunting or a laverock,
                      Sweet bird!
              Between her kirtle and her smock
                      I would be hid!
 
(see note); (t-note)

(see note); (t-note)






























(t-note)














(see note)










(see note)













(t-note)
























(see note); (t-note)






Go To Art. 37, Gilote e Johane, introduction
Go To Art. 37, Gilote e Johane, text