I-blessyd Be Cristes Sonde

I-BLESSYD BE CRISTES SONDE: NOTES

Refrain This poem has music. "The burden and first stanza are first written for two voices; then the last line and whole first stanza are repeated for three voices" (RHR).

4 goth. So MS, Greene, and RHR; Stainer and Chambers gothe (interpreting the flourish as final e; also makethe in line 8). Chambers considerably normalizes the spelling. I do not record his normalizations in these notes.

10 Browne, Morel and gore. I accept Greene's reading of the first two as names for oxen. "'Browne' and 'Morel' (dark-coloured) seem to be the names of the plough-oxen. 'Gore' has presented difficulty to previous editors. Neither Stevens's 'dark-coloured' nor Robbins's suggestion of 'gray' meets the case. It is more likely that it is a dialect word for 'goad' and that the meaning is either 'Brown, Morel, and the goad' or alternatively, with 'Brown' as an adjective, 'Brown Morel and Gore,' the second ox being named for the goad" (pp. 464-65).

14 shefe. The clerk begs "a shef of corne" in God Spede the Plough line 22. A "sheaf" is an arm-load bundle, tied.
 
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I-blessyd Be Cristes Sonde

[God Speed the Plough]

(Oxford Univ., MS Archbishop Selden B. 26 fol. 19r)

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
5   
   
   
   
   
   
   
10   
   
   
   
   
   
15   
   
   
   
   
   
   
20   
   
   
   
   
   
   
25   
   
   
      The merthe of alle this londe
      Maketh the gode husbonde,
        With erynge of his plowe.

   
I-blessyd be Cristes sonde,
That hath us sent in honde
   Merthe and joye y-nowe.
   
The plowe goth mony a gate,
Bothe erly and eke late,
   In wynter in the clay.
   
A-boute barly and whete,
That maketh men to swete,
   God spede the plowe al day!                           
   
Browne, Morel, and gore
Drawen the plowe ful sore,
   Al in the morwenynge.
   
Rewarde hem therfore
With a shefe or more,
   All in the evenynge.
   
Whan men bygynne to sowe,
Ful wel here corne they knowe
   In the mounthe of May.
   
Howe-ever Janyuer blowe,
Whether hye or lowe,
   God spede the plowe all way!
   
Whan men bygynneth to wede
The thystle fro the sede,
   In somer whan they may,
   
God lete hem wel to spede,
And longe gode lyfe to lede,
   All that for plowe-men pray.
(see note)
   
plowing
   
dispensation
   
   
   
course; (see note)
also
soil
   
barley; wheat
sweat
May God always bless the plow
   
(see note)
   
morning
   
them
(see note)
   
   
   
their wheat
   
   
However January
   
   
   
weed out
seed
summer
   
let them prosper well
lead
who
   


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