Art. 63, Nou skrinketh rose ant lylie-flour


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).

6 byglyde. “Steal away, pass away”; see MED, bigliden (v.), which cites this line as the only instance.

40 sete. “Content, at ease”; see MED, sete (adj.), sense c.

46 On the theme of the Five Joys in the Harley manuscript, see the English Five Joys of the Virgin (art. 67) and the French Joys of Our Lady and Prayer on the Five Joys of Our Lady (arts. 49, 104).

55–56 The order of the lines is reversed in the manuscript. The emendation follows Brown 1952.

59 us. The rhyme scheme indicates that a line is missing. Lines 54–56, 58–60 are written at the base of a column in a crowded fashion. Brook emends us to me, reading the last stanza as a 9-line variant with a rhyme scheme requiring this restoration: aa4b3a4b3a4b3a4b3. Brook’s emended pronoun maintains the speaker’s inward penitential musings, while the manuscript reading (retained here) directs the thought outward in a pastoral fashion. Brown 1952 suggests that a copyist transposed lines 55–56 and left out the next line, which rhymed with us. A few Harley poems conclude with variant stanzas, for example, A Beauty White as Whales Bone and When the Nightingale Sings (arts. 36, 65).


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 skrinketh. So Bö, Pa, Br, Sa, Mi, Tr. MS, Si: skrnke3. W3: skruketh. B14: skrynke3.

27 o. So MS, W3, Br, Si, Sa, Mi, Tr. Bö, Pa, B14: a.

29 Whe. So MS, W3, Si. Bö, Br, Pa, B14, Sa, Mi, Tr: we.

55–56 These lines are transposed in the MS. The emendation follows B14.
bryth. So MS, W3, B14, Si, Sa, Mi, Tr. Bö, Pa, Br: bryht.

57 The rhyme scheme indicates that a line is missing. See explanatory note.

59 us. So MS, W3, Bö, Pa, B14, Sa, Mi, Tr. Br, Si: me.

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Art. 63, Nou skrinketh rose ant lylie-flour














Nou skrinketh rose ant lylie-flour
That whilen ber that suete savour
   In somer, that suete tyde;
Ne is no quene so stark ne stour,
Ne no levedy so bryht in bour,
   That ded ne shal byglyde.
Whose wol fleysh lust forgon
   Ant hevene blis abyde,
On Jesu be is thoht anon,
   That therled was ys side.

From Petresbourh in o morewenyng,
As Y me wende o my pleyyyng,
   On mi folie Y thohte;
Menen Y gon my mournyng
To hire that ber the hevene kyng,
   Of merci hire bysohte:
“Ledy, preye thi sone for ous,
   That us duere bohte,
Ant shild us from the lothe hous
   That to the Fend is wrohte!”

Myn herte of dedes wes fordred
Of synne that Y have my fleish fed,
   Ant folewed al my tyme,
That Y not whider I shal be led
When Y lygge on dethes bed,
   In joie ore into pyne.
On o Ledy myn hope is,
   Moder ant virgyne;
Whe shulen into hevene blis
   Thurh hire medicine.

Betere is hire medycyn
Then eny mede or eny wyn;
   Hire erbes smulleth suete!
From Catenas into Dyvelyn,
Nis ther no leche so fyn
   Oure serewes to bete.
Mon that feleth eni sor
   Ant his folie wol lete,
Withoute gold other eny tresor
   He mai be sound ant sete.

Of penaunce is his plastre al.
Ant ever serven hire Y shal,
   Nou ant al my lyve;
Nou is fre that er wes thral,
Al thourh that Levedy gent ant smal:     
   Heried be hyr joies fyve!
Wherso eny sek ys,
   Thider hye blyve!
Thurh hire beoth ybroht to blis,
   Bo mayden ant wyve.

For he that dude is body on tre
Of oure sunnes have piete,
   That weldes heovene boures!
Wymmon, with thi jolyfte,
Thah thou be whyt ant bryth on ble,
   Thou thench on Godes shoures!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
   Falewen shule thy floures.
Jesu, have merci of us,
   That al this world honoures.
Now wither rose and lily-flower
That once bore such sweet scent
   In summer, that sweet season;
There’s no queen so mighty or strong,
Nor any lady so beautiful in bower,
   Whom death will not steal away.
Whoever will forego fleshly lust
   And wait for heaven’s bliss,
On Jesus is forever his thought,
   Whose side was pierced through.

From Peterborough one morning,
As I took my way for pleasure,
   I reflected on my folly;
I began to utter my lament
To her who bore the heaven’s king,
   I besought her for mercy:
“Lady, pray to your son for us,
   He who bought us dearly,
And shield us from the loathsome house
   That’s made for the Devil!”

My heart was terrified of deeds
Of sin by which I’ve fed my flesh,
   And pursued all my time,
So I don’t know which way I'll be led
When I lie on death’s bed,
   In joy or into pain.
On one Lady is my hope,
   Mother and virgin;
We will go into heaven’s bliss
   Through her medicine.

Better is her medicine
Than any mead or any wine;
   Her herbs smell sweet!
From Caithness to Dublin,
There’s no physician so excellent
   To assuage our sorrows.
The one who feels any grief
   And will abandon his sin,
Without gold or other treasure
   He may be sound and content.

His whole remedy consists of penance.
And always I shall serve her,
   Now and all my life;
Now he’s free who once was thrall,
On account of that Lady noble and delicate:
   Praised be her five joys!
Wherever one is sick,
   Hasten there quickly!
He’ll be brought to bliss through her,
   Both maiden and wife.

May he who set his body on tree
Have mercy of our sins,
   He who rules heaven’s bowers!
Women, with your joyfulness,
Though you be fair and lovely of face,
   Think on God’s afflictions!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
   Wither shall your flowers.
Have mercy on us, Jesus,
   Whom all this world honors.

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