Art. 25, Lystneth, Lordynges! A newe song Ichulle bigynne
ART. 25, LYSTNETH, LORDYNGES! A NEWE SONG ICHULLE BIGYNNE: 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).
1 newe. According to Scattergood (2000a, pp. 174–75), this adjective refers to not only the national “news” reported in the poem but also to the new method of execution used against the Scots. See explanatory notes to lines 18–21 and 185–89.
10 The heads are those of both Wallace and Fraser, foreshadowing the content of the poem. Fraser’s capture and execution are recounted in the poem’s second half (lines 105–216). Compare lines 201–02.
18-21 Sir William Wallace was executed on August 23, 1305, by the particularly gruesome method detailed here. It was a new technique, used by the English for the first time on this occasion (Scattergood 2000a, p. 175). Robbins 1959, p. 253, lists contemporary accounts and provides Stow’s 1615 historical description.
19 Al quic. See note to line 186.
25 Sire Edward. Edward I (1239–1307), king of England from 1272 to 1307.
27 The four quarters of Wallace’s body were sent to Newcastle, Berwick, Perth, and Aberdeen (Robbins 1959, p. 253).
36 res. See MED, res (n.), sense 4.(c), “an occasion, ?also, a crisis, an emergency,” citing this line.
37 Thrye. “At all times,” literally, “three times.” Robbins calls the word an intensive and translates it “in every respect” (1959, p. 253), a definition not listed in the MED.
39 temed. “Tamed, brought under control, restrained”; see MED, tamen (v.(1)), sense 2. The word is used ironically.
49 The Bisshop of Glascou. “Robert of Wishart (d. 1316), who swore allegiance to Edward I, but later supported Bruce” (Robbins 1959, p. 253).
50 The Bisshop of Seint Andre. “William Lamberton (d. 1328), swore repeated fealty to Edward, but assisted in the coronation of Bruce” (Robbins 1959, p. 253), as mentioned in line 65.
51 The Abbot of Scon. Identified only as “Thomas” by Robbins 1959, p. 253.
65-80 Kyng Hobbe in the mures. These stanzas mock Robert Bruce, king of Scotland, as a weak, unimpressive ruler, “really just a temporary, holiday king from a summer game. . . . Despite his coronation, says the poet, ‘Kyng Hobbe’ is a fugitive, living a hunted and marginalized existence on the ‘mures’ (lines 73–74), which is derogative in a punning way — ‘Hobbe’ being both a familiar diminutive form of Robert and a generic name for a rustic or clown and a hobgoblin or sprite” (Scattergood 2000a, p. 176). See also the note by Robbins 1959, p. 254.
76 on Englysshe to pype. This line recalls the linguistic distance and likeness between the Scots and the English. For a discussion of this line in terms of English national identity, see Turville-Petre 1996, pp. 21–22.
80 O brede ant o leynthe. “Far and wide, everywhere”; see MED, brede (n.(2)), sense 5.b.
81 Sire Edward of Carnarvan. Edward, Prince of Wales (1284–1327), later Edward II, King of England from 1307 to 1327. Robbins notes that “Since Edward I was ill, he entrusted the task of suppression to his son, whom he had knighted on Whitsunday” (1959, p. 254). See also The Death of Edward I (art. 47), line 73, and The Flemish Insurrection (art. 48), line 133 (and the explanatory notes to those lines).
82 Sire Emer de Valence. Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke (ca. 1275–1324), who defeated Bruce at Methven in 1306. He was loyal to Edward I and Edward II throughout his career.
84 false contree. That is, Scotland.
87 alast. “On the last occasion, lastly”; see MED, a-last (adv. (& phrase)), sense (b).
89 Robbins calls this the line of a professional minstrel (1959, p. 253).
91 batayle of Kyrkenclyf. This term refers to the Battle of Methven, near Perth, June 1306, where Aymer de Valence defeated Robert Bruce, and Simon Fraser (here called Frisell) was captured.
99 Sire Johan of Lyndeseye. “John Lindsay, later bishop of Glasgow (1323–35), active in church and politics” (Robbins 1959, p. 254).
105 Seint Bartholomeus Masse. August 25, 1306.
107 Sire Thomas of Multoun. The judge for Fraser’s trial, a noble from Cumberland; on his pedigree, see Robbins’s note (1959, p. 254).
108 Sire Johan Jose. Another noble active in the custody and execution of Fraser; see Robbins (1959, pp. 254–55).
129 Sire Herbert of Morham. A knight of French origin. Robbins provides a contemporary Latin account of his ill-fated wager (1959, p. 255).
137 anon-ryht. “At once, instantly, immediately”; see MED, anon-rightes (adv. & conj.).
141 So Y bate. “So my courage ends.” See MED, baten (v.(1)), sense 4, “?To stop, come to the end (of one’s story),” with this line cited, but see also sense 3.(b), “lose one’s courage or composure.” Robbins (1959, p. 255) provides an idiomatic definition: “So I assure (you).”
145 Oure Levedy Even. September 7, 1306.
148 Sire Rauf of Sondwyche. “Ralph of Sandwich (d. 1308), knight and judge, Constable of the Tower on several occasions under Edward I” (Robbins 1959, p. 255).
149 Sire Johan Abel. A name not recorded elsewhere.
162 lordswyke. “Traitor, perjurer,” a somewhat archaic term that “looked backward to an heroic past” (Green 1999, p. 209).
185-89 The description of Fraser’s execution on September 7, 1306, is virtually identical to the stanza on Wallace’s execution (lines 18–21). As Scattergood notes, “the poet uses the same rhymes and much of the same vocabulary. But the repetition is part of the point: it establishes the pattern of shame (‘shonde’) and humiliation to which the ‘traytours of Scotland’ (lines 2, 225) are subjected” (2000a, p. 175).
186 Al quic. The pun in this phrase (latent possibly in line 19 too) is made explicit by the second half of the line. It means both “still alive” and “very quickly.” Still conscious, Fraser felt his beheading, and to him it did not seem quick.
196-200 Scattergood calls these lines “a revealing passage” in which “the poet tries to define the appropriate public reaction, that is, to define the response of his audience under the guise of describing it,” and he concludes that “the triumphalism of this poem may be qualified by a degree of anxiety” about “an English populace that was becoming increasingly lawless and restive” (2000a, p. 177).
201 tu-brugge. “Drawbridge”; see MED, tou (n.(2)). Lines 201–02 return to the opening image of two heads displayed on London Bridge (line 10), thereby “closing the circle of the poem’s action” (Scattergood 2000a, p. 175).
209-33 Scattergood characterizes the final lines as three “triumphalist stanzas on more general political matters” (2000a, p. 175).
218 the Erl of Asseles. John de Strathbolgie (or de Asceila), who was also judged a traitor; because he was related to Edward I, his execution involved only hanging and beheading, not drawing and quartering. He too was captured after the Battle of Methven, and his head was also placed on London Bridge. See Robbins’s note (1959, p. 256).
227 Charles of Fraunce. Charles the Fair (1294–1328), later Charles IV, king of France from 1322 to 1328.
229 This line is sarcastic. Charles’s help and support for the Scots will amount to nothing.
230 Tprot. An exclamation of contempt.
230-32 The rhyme on strif, knyf, and lyf will be repeated in the opening lines of the next item. This is a common device used by the Ludlow scribe to link juxtaposed works.
233 longe shonkes. A popular name for Edward I. Scattergood notes the historical circumstance in 1306: Edward I “was ill when this poem was written (he dies the following year) — hence, perhaps the stress given to the achievements of Edward of Caernavon, Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, and others. The poet appears to be trying to persuade himself and his audience that even without Edward I England would have war leaders capable of destroying its enemies and of securing it against foreign aggression” (2000a, pp. 176–77). For other instances of Edward I named in MS Harley 2253, see explanatory note to A Song of Lewes (art. 23), line 57.
ART. 25, LYSTNETH, LORDYNGES! A NEWE SONG ICHULLE BIGYNNE: 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.
20 wes. So MS, W1, Bö, BZ. Ri1: was. Ro: wos.
23 wes. So MS, W1, Bö, BZ, Ro. Ri1: was.
37 Thrye. So MS, W1, Ri1, Bö, BZ. Ro: þryes.
40 Weht. So MS, W1, Ri1, Ro. Bö, BZ: whet.
54 Hii. So MS, W1, Bö, BZ, Ro. Ri1: Hu.
66 ne. So MS, W1, Ri1, BZ. Ro. Bö: no.
75 gripe. So MS, W1, Bö, BZ, Ro. Ri1: grype.
84 contree. So MS, W1, Ri1, Bö, BZ. Ro: contre.
91 wes. So MS, W1, Bö, BZ. Ri1, Ro: was.
107 Multoun. So MS (n abbreviated). W1, Ri1, Bö, BZ, Ro: Multone.
116 ydyht. So MS, W1, Ri1, BZ, Ro. Bö: wes ydyht.
129 Morham. So MS, W1, Ro. Ri1, Bö, BZ: Norham.
132 smhyte. So MS, W1, Ri1, Ro. Bö, BZ: smyte.
133 Wat. So MS, W1, Ri1, BZ, Ro. Bö: what.
134 So MS, W1, Ri1, Bö, BZ. Ro: wos.
147 Multoun. So MS (n abbreviated). W1, Ri1, Bö, BZ, Ro: Multone.
148 told. So MS, W1, Bö, BZ, Ro. Ri1: hold.
pris. So MS, W1, Bö, BZ, Ro. Ri1: prys.
166 Wickednesse. So MS, W1, Ri1, Ro. Bö, BZ: Wikednesse.
177 todrawe. So MS, W1, Bö, BZ, Ro. Ri1: todrowe.
196 loketh. So MS, Bö, BZ, Ro. W1, Ri1: laketh.
204 Wet. So MS, W1, Ri1, BZ, Ro. Bö: whet.
211 gaste. So Ro, Bö, BZ. MS, W1, Ri1: garste.
212 tuenti. So MS, Ri1, Bö, Ro. W1, BZ: twenti.
Go To Art. 25a, Lord that lenest us lyf, introduction
Go To Art. 25a, Lord that lenest us lyf, text