Art. 44, In May hit murgeth when hit dawes

ART. 44, IN MAY HIT MURGETH WHEN HIT DAWES: 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).

9 With love. This phrase points two ways: ladies who are bright with love, and the poet who would bind one of them with love.

17 lastes bed. “Offer them vices, that is, tempt them to sin.” See MED, last (n.(3)), sense (c), for the phrase.

30 Lounde . The place is either Lound or London.

33 stevenyng. “Tryst.” This line is the only instance attested in the MED; see stevening (n.(2)), “an assignation, appointment.”

35 yeynchar. “Turning back”; see MED, yenchar (n.).

41 ou. “You,” as accepted by all editors except Wright 1842. Wright’s reading, on, “one,” is also plausible, both in sense and as a reading of the manuscript.

44 liht byleyn. “Lies deflowered.” The repeated word liht recalls the nature opening, especially lines 3–4.

45 that he lahte. The phrase seems to mean “what she got,” but it may have a double sense as well: “what he took.” See MED, lacchen (v.(1)), sense 4.(a).

47–48 The last two lines seems to be male sweet talk that aims to have the lady ignore the poet’s own advice and be won over by his advances.


ART. 44, IN MAY HIT MURGETH WHEN HIT DAWES: 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.

8 bour. So MS, Ri1, Bö, B13, Br, BS, St, Tr. W3: boure.

21 tricherie. So MS (ri abbreviated), W3, Bö, B13, Br, BS, St, Tr. Ri1: trecherie.

22 trichour. So MS (ri abbreviated), W3, Bö, B13, Br, BS, St, Tr. Ri1: trechour.

31 trichour. So MS (ri abbreviated), W3, Bö, B13, Br, BS, St, Tr. Ri1: trechour.

34 levedis. So MS, W3, Bö, B13, Br, BS, St, Tr. Ri1: levedies.
onwar. So MS, W3, Bö, B13, Br, BS, St, Tr. Ri1: ou war.

39 trichour. So MS (ri abbreviated), W3, Bö, B13, Br, BS, St, Tr. Ri1: trechour.

41 me. So MS, W3, Bö, B13, Br, BS, St, Tr. Ri1: men.
ou. So MS, Ri1, Bö, B13, Br, BS, St, Tr. W3: on.

43 send. So MS (seind with i deleted), W3, B13, Br, BS, St, Tr. Ri1: seind. Bö: lend.

45 lahte. So MS, W3, Bö, B13, Br, BS, St, Tr. Ri1: hahte.

47 levely. So MS, Ri1, Bö, B13, Br, BS, St, Tr. W3: lovely.

 
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Art. 44, In May hit murgeth when hit dawes

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¶ In May hit murgeth when hit dawes
In dounes, with this dueres plawes —
   Ant lef is lyht on lynde,
Blosmes bredeth on the bowes!
Al this wylde wyhtes wowes,
   So well Ych underfynde.
Y not non so freoli flour
Ase ledies that beth bryht in bour,
   With love, who mihte hem bynde.
So worly wymmen are by west;
One of hem Ich herie best
   From Irlond into Ynde!

Wymmen were the beste thing
That shup our heye hevene kyng,
   Yef feole false nere;
Heo beoth to rad upon huere red
To love ther me hem lastes bed
   When heo shule fenge fere.
Lut in londe are to leve,
Thah me hem trewe trouthe yeve,
   For tricherie to yere;
When trichour hath is trouthe yplyht,     
Byswyken he hath that suete wyht,
   Thah he hire othes swere.

Wymmon, war the with the swyke,
That feir ant freoly ys to fyke;
   Ys fare is o to founde;
So wyde in world ys huere won,
In uch a toune untrewe is on
   From Leycestre to Lounde.
Of treuthe nis the trichour noht
Bote he habbe is wille ywroht
   At stevenyng, umbe-stounde.
Ah, feyre levedis, be onwar —
To late cometh the yeynchar
   When love ou hath ybounde!

Wymmen bueth so feyr on hewe,
Ne trow Y none that nere trewe,
   Yef trichour hem ne tahte.
Ah, feyre thinges, freoly bore,
When me ou woweth, beth war bifore
   Whuch is worldes ahte!
Al to late is send ageyn
When the ledy liht byleyn
   Ant lyveth by that he lahte!
Ah, wolde lylie-leor in lyn
Yhere levely lores myn,
   With selthe we weren sahte!
¶ In May it makes us merry when it dawns
In hillsides, with these frolicking animals —
   And leaf is light on linden tree,
Blossoms flourish on the boughs!
All these wild creatures woo,
   As well I perceive.
I know no flower so excellent
As ladies who shine bright in bower,
   With love, whoever might bind them.
Such splendid women live to the west;
One of them I praise the most
   From Ireland to India!

Women would be the best thing
Created by our high heaven’s king,
   If many were not false;
They are too hasty in their counsel
To love where men offer them vices
   When they should take a mate.
Few in land may be believed,
Though men give them a true pledge,
   Too ready for treachery;
When traitor has plighted his troth,
Deceived he has that sweet creature,
   Though he swears oaths to her.

Women, guard yourself from the dissembler,
Who fair and freely comes to flatter;
   His conduct’s ever to be tested;
So prevalent in the world is their manner,
In every town there’s one untrue
   From Leicester to Lounde.
Truth means nothing to the traitor
Provided he has performed his will
   In tryst, for a brief time.
Ah, fair ladies, be on guard —
Too late comes the turning back
   When love has bound you!

Women are so fair in appearance,
I know of none who are not true,
   Unless a traitor taught them.
Ah, fair creatures, nobly born,
When men woo you, be well warned
   About the world’s peril!
It’s all too late to turn back
When the lady lies deflowered
   And lives by what she got!
Ah, were the lily-cheeked in linen
To listen lovingly to my advice,
   With bliss we would be joined!







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Go To Art. 45, Heye Louerd, thou here my bone, introduction
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