Art. 55, Dum ludis floribus


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).

1 lacivia. The traditional reading lacinia, “border or fringe of a garment,” has led to many difficulties in translating this line. Stemmler 1970 and Lerer 2008 prefer the reading lacivia, which I accept here; velud lacivia means “as in wantonness.” The poem’s opening line seems to address a male friend who loves many women (“flowers”), while the speaker loyally pines for his beloved, a peerless flower (line 12). Lerer adopts this reading as better than lacinia, yet advocates emendation to luscinia, “nightingale” (2008, pp. 245–48).

17 Scripsi. All editors emend the manuscript word Scripsit, “he has written,” to Scripsi, “I have written.”

19-20 Compare the similar surprise effect of affective English in Gilote and Johane (art. 37), line 245.


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.

1 lacivia. So MS, St (considers lacinia) W3, Br, Ken (considers lacivia), JL, Mi: lacinia. Le: luscinia.

17 Scripsi. So W3, Br, Ken, St, JL, Mi, Le. MS: Scripsit.

18 ostel. So MS, W3, Br, St, JL, Mi, Le. Ken: hostle.

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Art. 55, Dum ludis floribus





¶ Dum ludis floribus velud lacivia,
Le Dieu d’Amour moi tient en tiel angustia,     
Merour me tient de duel e de miseria,
Si je ne la ay quam amo super omnia.

Eius amor tantum me facit fervere
Qe je ne soi quid possum inde facere;
Pur ly covent hoc seculum relinquere,
Si je ne pus l’amour de li perquirere.

Ele est si bele e gente dame egregia,
Cum ele fust imperatoris filia;
De beal semblant e pulcra continencia,
Ele est la flur in omni regis curia.

Quant je la vey, je su in tali gloria,
Come est la lune celi inter sidera!
Dieu la moi doint sua misericordia,
Beyser e fere que secuntur alia.

Scripsi hec carmina in tabulis.
Mon ostel est enmi la vile de Paris.
May Y sugge namore, so wel me is;
Yef Hi deye for love of hire, duel hit ys!
¶ While you play in flowers as if in wantonness,    
The God of Love binds me in such anguish,
Holding for me a mirror of sorrow and misery,
Since I don’t have her whom I love above all.

Love of her makes me burn so fervently
That I don’t know what I can do about it;
For her I must give up this world,
If I can’t be worthy of her love.

She’s a lady so superbly beautiful and refined,
As if she were an emperor’s daughter;
Of lovely appearance and beautiful demeanor,
She’s the flower in every king’s court.

When I see her, I’m in such ecstasy,
Like the moon among the stars of heaven!
May God grant her to me by his mercy,
To kiss and do the other things that follow.

I’ve written these songs on a tablet.
My lodging’s amid the city of Paris.
I may say no more, as seems best;
Should I die for love of her, sad it is!
(see note); (t-note)

(see note); (t-note)
(see note)

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