Art. 23, Sitteth alle stille ant herkneth to me

ART. 23, SITTETH ALLE STILLE ANT HERKNETH TO ME: 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).

2 bi mi leaute. “On my honor; by my word.” For this idiom, see MED, leaute (n.), sense (e). The Kyng of Alemaigne refers to Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall (1209–1272), brother of Henry III, who was crowned German king from 1257. He joined King Henry in fighting against Simon de Montfort’s rebels in the Second Barons’ War (1264–67).

7 trichard. “Traitor.” As Brown notes, “It was charged that Richard broke the oath which he had taken at Canterbury to abide by the provisions of the Statutes of Oxford” (1932, p. 223).

11 Walingford. After Richard of Cornwall was captured at Lewes, he was imprisoned in his own castle of Wallingford.

12 A proverbial phrase: “to drink as one brews.” See MED, drinken (v.), sense 3.

13 Wyndesore. That is, King Henry III, brother of Richard of Cornwall.

19 grounde the stel. “Secured their position.” For this figurative meaning, see MED, stele (n.(3)).

26 mulnepost. The supporting shaft of a windmill. After the decisive royalist defeat at Lewes, Richard took refuge in a windmill, was discovered, and imprisoned until September 1265.

33 synne. Cannon notes the moral quality of this word: “the projection of ‘synne’ (rather than merely wrong) onto the other side follows the logic [of partisanship]. . . . This poem is . . . keen to embrace the various sorts of passion — the self-satisfaction as well as the threats — licensed by the insistence that virtue lies only on one side” (p. 88).

34 Erl of Warynne. John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey (1231–1304). Warenne started as a strong supporter of the king, switched to support for the barons from 1260 to 1263, and then returned to the royalist party. After the battle, which was fought near his castle at Lewes, he fled to the Continent, where he remained for about a year. He returned to fight in the campaign culminating in the Battle of Evesham and the siege of Kenilworth Castle.

41 Sire Simond de Mountfort. Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, charismatic leader of the barons against royalist forces during the Second Barons’ War (1264–67). His victory at the Battle of Lewes (May 14, 1264) is here celebrated; his defeat at Evesham in 1265 is mourned in art. 24.

50 Sire Hue de Bigot. Hugh Bigot was chief justice of England from 1257 to 1260 and one of the original seven rebels. He and Warenne escaped from Lewes to France.

51 scot. “Royal tax.” See MED, scot (n.(2)), sense 2.(a).

52 with his fot pot. Literally “kick with his foot,” but with the broader implication of inflicting violent force. See MED, poten (v.), sense 1.(a), “push, shove, cast (oneself).”

57 Sire Edward. Lord Edward, who was later King Edward I. Here he is attacked in direct terms. Elsewhere in MS Harley 2253, Edward is named in Lament for Simon de Montfort (art. 24), line 29, and in The Execution of Sir Simon Fraser (art. 25), lines 232–33. His death is mourned in The Death of Edward I (art. 47).

58 sporeles o thy lyard. The terms here mock Lord Edward’s public shame. As Scattergood notes, “The giving of spurs was part of the institution of knighthood and to be deprived of them was axiomatically a disgrace. And ‘lyard’ was a derogatory term for a horse — certainly not the sort of mount a ‘kyng’ ought to have” (2000a, p. 183).

59 Dovere-ward. Along with Richard of Cornwall, Lord Edward was captured at the Battle of Lewes. First imprisoned at Wallingford Castle, he was moved to Dover in early 1265. Lines 57–59 “fix the composition of the poem after Jan. 1265” (Brown 1932, p. 223).

63 Forsoke thyn emes lore. Simon de Montfort was Lord Edward’s uncle by marriage. As Scattergood comments: “The allusion to ignoring an uncle’s teaching takes one back to the traditional notion in heroic society of a close relationship between uncles and nephews” (2000a, p. 183).


ART. 23, SITTETH ALLE STILLE ANT HERKNETH TO ME: 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.

2 Kyng. So Ri1, Bö, BZ. MS, W1, B13: kyn.

15–16 ever trichard . . . nevermore. So MS, Bö, B13. W1, Ri1, BZ: ever &c.

22–24 MS, W1, Ri1, Bö, BZ, B13: Richard &c.

27 prude. So MS, W1, Bö, BZ, B13. Ri1: pride.

28 mony. So MS, W1, Bö, BZ, B13. Ri1: moni.

30–32 MS, W1, Ri1, Bö, BZ, B13: Richard &c.

34 over. So W1, Ri1, Bö, BZ, B13. MS: ever.

35 the fenne. So W1, Ri1, BZ, B13. MS, Bö: þ fenne.

38–40 MS, W1, Ri1, Bö, BZ, B13: Richard &c.

46–48 MS, W1, Ri1, Bö, BZ, B13: Richard &c.

49 top. So MS, Bö, B13. W1, BZ: cop. Ri1: fot.

51 quite. So MS, W1, Bö, BZ, B13. Ri1: grant.

52 fot. So MS, W1, Bö, BZ, B13. Ri1: sot.

54–56 MS, Ri1, W1, Bö, BZ, B13: Richard &c.

63 Forsoke So MS, W1, Ri1, Bö, B13. BZ: Forsake.

64–66 MS, W1, Bö, BZ, B13: Richard &c. Ri1: omitted.



 
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Art. 23, Sitteth alle stille ant herkneth to me

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Sitteth alle stille ant herkneth to me!
The Kyng of Alemaigne, bi mi leaute,
Thritti thousent pound askede he
Forte make the pees in the countre,
     Ant so he dude more.
             Richard,
     Thah thou be ever trichard,
     Tricchen shalt thou nevermore!


Richard of Alemaigne, whil that he wes kyng,
He spende al is tresour opon swyvyng,
Haveth he nout of Walingford o ferlyng;
Let him habbe ase he brew, bale to dryng,
     Maugre Wyndesore.
             Richard,
     Thah thou be ever trichard,
     Tricchen shalt thou nevermore!


The Kyng of Alemaigne wende do ful wel,
He saisede the mulne for a castel,
With hare sharpe swerdes he grounde the stel.
He wende that the sayles were mangonel
     To helpe Wyndesore.
             Richard,
     Thah thou be ever trichard,
     Tricchen shalt thou nevermore!


The Kyng of Alemaigne gederede ys host,
Makede him a castel of a mulnepost,
Wende with is prude ant is muchele bost,
Brohte from Alemayne mony sori gost
     To store Wyndesore.
             Richard,
     Thah thou be ever trichard
     Tricchen shalt thou nevermore!


By God that is aboven ous, he dude muche synne
That lette passen over see the Erl of Warynne;
He hath robbed Engelond, the mores ant the fenne,     
The gold ant the selver, ant yboren henne
     For love of Wyndesore.
             Richard,
     Thah thou be ever trichard
     Tricchen shalt thou nevermore!


Sire Simond de Mountfort hath suore bi ys chyn,
Hevede he nou here the Erl of Waryn,
Shulde he never more come to is yn,
Ne with sheld, ne with spere ne with other gyn,
     To help of Wyndesore.
             Richard,
     Thah thou be ever trichard,
     Tricchen shalt thous nevermore!


Sire Simond de Montfort hath suore bi ys top,
Hevede he nou here Sire Hue de Bigot,
Al he shulde quite here tuelfmoneth scot;
Shulde he nevermore with his fot pot
     To helpe Wyndesore.
             Richard,
     Thah thou be ever trichard
     Tricchen shalt thou nevermore!


Be the luef, be the loht, Sire Edward,
Thou shalt ride sporeles o thy lyard
Al the ryhte way to Dovere-ward;
Shalt thou nevermore breke foreward!
     Ant that reweth sore!
Edward, thou dudest ase a shreward,
     Forsoke thyn emes lore!
             Richard,
     Thah thou be ever trichard,
     Tricchen shalt thou nevermore!

 
Sit very still and listen to me!
The King of Germany, on my honor,
Thirty thousand pounds he asked
To make the peace in the country,
     And thus he did more.
             Richard,
     Though you’re forever a traitor,
     You’ll never more betray!


Richard of Germany, while he was king,
He spent all his treasure upon whoring,
He has no more than a farthing from Wallingford;
Let him have as he brews, evil to drink,
     In spite of Windsor.
             Richard,
     Though you’re forever a traitor,
     You’ll never more betray!


The King of Germany thought to do very well,
He seized the windmill for a castle,
With their sharp swords they secured their position.
They thought that the windsails were catapults
     To help Windsor.
             Richard,
     Though you’re forever a traitor,
     You’ll never more betray!


The King of Germany gathered his host,
Made him a castle of a windmill post,
Marched with his pride and his great boast,
Brought from Germany many wretched souls
     To supply Windsor.
             Richard,
     Though you’re forever a traitor,
     You’ll never more betray!


By God that’s above us, he did much sin
To allow the Earl of Warenne to pass over the sea;
He has robbed England, the moors and the fen,
The gold and the silver, and borne it away
     For love of Windsor.
             Richard,
     Though you’re forever a traitor,
     You’ll never more betray!


Sir Simon de Montfort has sworn by his chin,
That were he now to have here Sir Earl of Warenne,
He should never again come to his lodging,
With shield nor with spear nor with more craft,
     Come to help Windsor.
             Richard,
     Though you’re forever a traitor,
     You’ll never more betray!


Sir Simon de Montfort has sworn by his head,
That were he now to have here Sir Hugh of Bigot,
He would entirely repay their twelvemonth’s royal tax;     
He would never again kick with his foot
     To help Windsor.
             Richard,
     Though you’re forever a traitor,
     You’ll never more betray!


Be you loved, be you hated, Sir Edward,
You’ll ride spurless on your poor horse
All the straight way toward Dover;
You’ll never again break a vowed contract!
     May you bitterly regret that!
Edward, you acted like a scoundrel,
     Abandoned your uncle’s teaching!
             Richard,
     Though you’re forever a traitor,
     You’ll never more betray!

 

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