Select Secular Lyrics of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries

SELECT SECULAR LYRICS, FOOTNOTES


1 For "had I known" comes too late in order to loosen it (the nuptial bond)

2 She thought she had "honored" all her "family"


Notes to In Praise of Women


Abbreviations: Ro: Rossell Hope Robbins; Gr: Richard Leighton Greene; C&S: E. K. Chambers and F. Sidgwick; L&H: Maxwell S. Luria and Richard L. Hoffman; MS: British Library MS Harley 4294, fol. 81a; Ty: William Tydeman; Ut: Francis Lee Utley; Wr: Thomas Wright and James Orchard Halliwell.

1-2 I am as lyght as any roe / To preyse women wher that I goo. The first two lines constitute the burden or refrain which is customarily repeated after every stanza. As many scholars suggest, the burden marks a generic relation of lyrics to carols, both of which were sung as well as accompanied by dance. Secular lyrics often emerge from the oral tradition, though, as Ro notes, "there are a few literary pieces which have had some influence on the shaping of a literary corpus. These include pieces found in MS Harley 2253, the Vernon MS, two items in St. John's College Cambridge MS 259, Cambridge University MS Addit. 5943, Sloane MS 2593, and pieces in two late Scottish texts" (p. 237), many of which are listed in Robbins' Index (see above). Gr notes a similar text from the Vernon MS called Deo Gracias II, edited by Carleton Brown in Religious Lyrics of the Fourteenth Century, second edition (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957), p. 138:
Though I beo riche of gold so red,
And liht to renne as is a ro. (Lines 9-10)
3 To onpreyse women yt were a shame. The poet takes an apparent stand against the anti-feminist slander more typical of popular lyrics and folk song, arguing that everyone is born of woman, including saints. Ro remarks: "The tendency seems to have been to divert the praise of women in general to the particular praise of the Blessed Virgin as the exemplar of women. The poems praising a mistress have little to do with these general praises - 'they do the wash and do the wring' is a conception not known in courtship and wooing" (p. 237). Ty sees the lyric as representing "the other side of the anti-feminist debate," and notes that "as is usual in this kind of retort, the virtues of the Virgin Mary are advanced to strengthen woman's claim to respect from her husband and men in general" (p. 187). Ut is somewhat skeptical about the poet's sincerity and points out the ambiguity of line 8: "They do the washe and do the wrynge." He explains: "the" may be the article, it may mean "for thee," or it may be accusative and mean simply "thee" (p. 272). It may be possible to read the three instances as dative forms: "do thee washe . . . do thee wringe . . . [and] do thee singe" (in each instances the MS reads "the"); the sense being, women "do the washing for you and the wringing, and she sings lullabies to/for you." This maintains the syntactic parallels where the article does not, in that the syntactic shift to "she does the singing" in line 9 otherwise makes little sense. L&H read the first two instances as articles (p. 40) and the third as the pronoun "thee," which breaks the syntactic parallel. The syntactic parallel is already broken, however, by the shift from "they" in line 8 to "she" in line 9. The woman's doing the wash and the wringing makes good sense, though the tone of the poem certainly suggests that the lines are being addressed to a somewhat jaded male, as the dative pronouns would make more clear.

8 They do the washe and do the wrynge. The domestic economy suggested here is of the lower classes and offers support for claims of the lyrics' "popular" origin. That women do laundry, both the washing and the wringing, challenges contemporary stereotypes of medieval people as disinterested in personal hygiene. There may also be an echo of Lydgate's "A Mumming at Hertford" printed in The Minor Poems of John Lydgate, ed. Henry Noble MacCracken, EETS o.s. 192 (London: Oxford University Press, 1934), p. 680:
Whoo cane hem wasshe, who can hem wring alsoo?
Wryng hem, yee, wryng, so als God us speed.
Til that some tyme we make hir nases bleed,
And sowe hir cloothes whane they beothe to-rent,
And clowte hir bakkes til somme of us beo shent. (Lines 190-94)
Ut notes that: "when Chaucer's Clerk concluded his counsel to archwives with 'And lat hym care, and wepe, and wrynge, and waille' he touched the spark of the Merchant's married discontent, and the great debate over marriage began to rise to the status of a holocaust" (p. 272). See also note to line 3.

9 Lullay, lullay. The woman's singing belies the hard life she lives which is acknowledged by the lyricist in the next line: "And yet she hath bot care and woo." The allusion to song is another means by which the genre announces its intrinsic link to popular song. As Gr suggests: "The burdens of the lullaby carols form a class by themselves. Their characteristic feature is a free use of the soothing onomatopoeia 'lullay.' This is, of course, in imitation of real folk lullabies" (p. cxlii).

11 A woman ys a worthy wyght. Despite the implication of strength conveyed in the word wyght, the rhyme of "myght" (line 13) with "nyght" (line 12) suggests that a woman's energy seems to be directed toward sexual service.

12 She servyth man. Ro adds an indefinite article before man to render it singular. However, since the woman here represents all women such a distinction is not needed.

nyght. MS: nygh. I have followed Ro's emendation to restore the end rhyme.


Notes to Abuse of Women


Abbreviations: Dy: Roman Dyboski; Gr: Richard Leighton Greene (1962); L&H: Maxwell S. Luria and Richard L. Hoffman; MS: Bodleian Library MS Engl. Poet. e. I (SC 29734), fols. 55b-56a; Ro: Rossell Hope Robbins; Ut: Francis Lee Utley.

2 Cuius contrarium verum est. "Of whom the contrary is true." This refrain or burden, repeated after every stanza, negates what precedes. Ro notes: "As with poems attacking marriage and poems treating of love in a mocking fashion, so here in poems of attacks on womankind, there are two main classes: popular poems and sophisticated poems. In the minstrel collection, Bodl. MS Eng. Poet. E. I, a MS containing the popular songs of the day, collected to meet a genuine popular demand, and not collected because they appealed to the interests of a single literate poetaster, there are many attacks on women. . . .These poems quickly developed stereotyped conventions, and the sophisticated attacks parallel the set descriptions of the beloved and of the routine love epistle" (p. 239). Gr's comment is also worth noting: "[T]he regular return of the constricting or 'destroying' burden makes the carol-form a good one for the employment of this particular type of humour. One can see the possibilities of mirth raised by its performance before women who might not at first understand the Latin of the burden" (p. 240). Ut calls the work an "ironic defense" (p. 165).
    The Latin line employed here recalls Chaucer's Chanticleer whose assertion to Pertelote is made under the assumption that neither hens nor women could understand Latin:
For al so siker as In principio,
Mulier est hominis confusio
-
Madame, the sentence of this Latyn is,
"Womman is mannes joye and al his blis." (VII[B2] 3163-66)
To this Pertelote might respond: Vir est feminae confusio. There were women who could read and write Latin well in the Middle Ages. Hildegard of Bingen and Heloise are among the better-known examples.

4 tirtyll. The reference is to the turtledove, a symbol of fidelity and affection used frequently in courtly literature.

5 Not lyberall in langage. That women could not keep a secret or that they gossiped at every opportunity is a stereotype, reiterated frequently in anti-feminist literature. The counter-stereotype based upon the ideal of the Virgin Mary, i.e., that women are patient, meek, silent, soft, and innately circumspect, seems to be negated by the repetition of the burden after every stanza.

secree. MS: secrete. Ro's emendation retains the end rhyme as well as the sense.

25 curtes Gryzell. If these secular lyrics derive from the oral, popular tradition as Ro suggests, then the reference to patient Griselda suggests that the negative feminine stereotype is culturally predetermined.

33 list to smater. See Chaucer's The Parson's Tale for a similar sentiment: "[T]hise olde dotardes holours, yet wol they kisse, though they may nat do, and smatre hem" (X[I]857).

34 Or agaynst ther husbondes for to clater. The rhetorical question is answered in the next line. The stereotype of woman as gossip resonates in Mirk's Festial: "A mayden ys lytyll worthe that . . . ys a claterer, a jangular, a flyter" (lines 229-33).

38 paciens. A virtue thought to be feminine.

43 To the tavern. Women were cautioned not to go to taverns since they were imagined to be places of iniquity and prostitution. See How a Goode Wife Taught Hyr Doughter. Gr notes that "[T]he love of women for the ale-house and the conversation there is one of the most frequent objects of derision among their satirical critics" (p. 240). Perhaps a more sympathetic view may be found in A Talk of Ten Wives on Their Husbands' Ware, also known as "The Gossips' Meeting," included in this volume.

49 fyne kyrchers. The admonition against ostentatious dress, particularly for women, is commonplace. Sumptuary laws of the time imposed dress codes on the general population in order to define people by class. The puritanical tone evinced here is typical of much homiletic material of the time.


Notes to The Trials of Marriage


Abbreviations: Ro: Rossell Hope Robbins; Wr: Thomas Wright.

1 thou wynk whan thou a wyf toke. The wink is significant, setting up the subject of marriage; the rhetorical question constructs a silent dialogue between the married man and the speaker. Ro notes that the first printing of this brief admonitory lyric appears in Wright's Songs and Carols "as part of a 'carol' with the burden 'man be war or thou knyte the fast'" (p. 239).

2 ned brodde to loke. The implication that the man about to be married needs to enter into the relationship with his eyes wide open is consistent with the sentiment of other admonitory pieces cautioning men to prudence, which, as a symbolic figure, has three sets of eyes, looking simultaneously to the past, the future, and the present. There is an analogous passage printed in Reliquiae Antiquae which is included in a longer, macaronic poem Wr entitles "Memorial Verses" (vol. 1, p. 289):
I winked, I winked whan I a woman toke,
Sore me for-thinked, that I so moche wynked,
For had I never more nede than nowe for to loke.
4 wonder me thynketh. The sense may be the speaker's own wonderment as well as a "marvel" or "amazing happening." The wink of an eye suggests that what is being undertaken is not to be understood as a binding, serious event.


Notes to Against Hasty Marriage, I


1 Know or thow knytte. Like the proverbial axiom, "look before you leap," the opening line suggests caution. Likewise prove or thow preyse yt suggests that the relationship should be experienced, the potential bride known before the bridegroom consents rendering the nuptial ceremony legal and binding. Compare the Wife of Bath's amusing tripping up of her old husband as she puts her wares out for trial, according to the principles of premarital "use" of the wares, as advocated by the "olde dotard shrewe" (CT III[D]291) himself. See CT III(D)285-92.

5 had y wyst. The narrator seems to speak from experience. The sense is that foresight is too often missing before irreversible mistakes are made. Hence "had I only known beforehand" becomes a wistful lament.


Notes to Against Hasty Marriage, II


1-2 Man, bewar of thin wowynge / For weddyng is the longe wo. The burden, repeated after every stanza, reinforces the cautionary sentiment. Because marriage was considered to be a monogamous, lifetime commitment, it was not to be entered into without careful forethought.

6 Knet up the heltre. The verb knet, in this line, means to hang or put aside. The heltre is a common piece of saddlery used to restrain large farm animals.

11 Wedowis be wol fals, iwys. The admonition against widows is based upon the assumption that widows seeking remarriage were doing so under false pretenses, i.e., not for love, but for other reasons, such as financial security or sexual satisfaction. Chaucer's Alisoun of Bath is a good example of the widow who has made her living by marrying older men for their wealth and younger men for their sexual stamina, while the widow of The Nun's Priest's Tale suggests that a widow's life could be autonomous yet subject to poverty. Widows had more freedom under the law than wives since they were not bound to obey a husband (see Dunbar's The Tretis of the Twa Mariit Wemen and the Wedo), but their financial status was often tenuous and dependent on the charity of others. For several perspectives on this matter, see Sue Sheridan Walker, ed. Wife & Widow in Medieval England (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993), and Louise Mirrer, ed. Upon My Husband's Death: Widows in the Literature & Histories of Medieval Europe (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992).

15 Of madenys. The description - "bothe fals and fekyl" (line 16) - marks another feminine stereotype of the deceptive, lascivious female.


Notes to A Young Henpecked Husband's Complaint


Abbreviations: Gr: Richard Leighton Greene (1962).

1-2 How! Hey! It is non les, / I dar not seyy quan che seyst "pes." The burden repeats after every stanza, giving the henpecked husband the last word.

2 che. The scribe writes ch for the "sh" sound throughout the poem. N.b. "fleych," "dych," "reych" ("flesh," "dish," "rush") in lines 8, 15-17.

seyst. MS: sey3t. The scribe uses 3t for st in the refrain throughout the poem.

4 Elde wywys. This refers both to the age and status of the potential spouse. While society ridiculed May/December marriages, i.e., older men and younger women, such unions were tolerated, even sought out. Two of Chaucer's most memorable characters - January of The Merchant's Tale and John the Carpenter of The Miller's Tale - have younger wives who cuckold them. The idea of an older woman with a younger man, according to Gr was probably more common in the Middle Ages than in modern times: "[T]he frequency of early widowhood and the great importance of marriage in relation to matters of property were contributing causes" (p. 24). See also Chaucer's The Wife of Bath's Prologue, where her three good husbands are wealthy, old, and at death's door.

7 plow at non. This reverses the sentiment of the Ballad of a Tyrannical Husband. Both works are oriented toward the concerns of working classes, however.

12 brekit myn hed. There are depictions of the husband-beating wife in various other venues, such as misericords and the margins of manuscripts, the Luttrell Psalter, for instance.

17 Boy, thou art not seyn woryth a reych. According to Gr this phrase is a "common expression of worthlessness" (p. 241). See A Selection of English Carols.


Notes to A Young and Henpecked Husband's Complaint


Abbreviations: MS: Bodleian Library MS Engl. Poet. e. I (SC 29734), fols. 23a-23b; Ro: Rossell Hope Robbins.

1-2 Care away, away, away - / Care away for evermore. The burden depicts a carefree sentiment that contrasts sharply with what follows. Many scholars have placed this work in the category of chanson de mal marié.

3 All that I may swynk or swet. The sense is that everything the husband works for will be squandered and/or consumed by his wife at the local pub.

10 Carfull ys my hart therfor. MS: carfull. Ro adds the rest of the refrain - ys my hart therfor! - in the last line of this and subsequent stanzas.

11 gud ale ryd. The restrictions against respectable women frequenting taverns are many. See the Wycliffite treatise, Of Weddid Men and Wifis and of Here Children Also, and How the Goode Wife Taught Hyr Doughter.

20 judicare. Latin verb meaning "to judge, condemn, sentence, pronounce." The Latin term is functioning idiomatically as a noun - thus the nominal forms of my gloss.


Notes to Old Hogyn's Adventure


Abbreviations: Gr: Richard Leighton Greene, The Early English Carols; Ty: William Tydeman.

The rhythms of song resonate in the regularity of repeated lines. In the absence of a burden, this lyric is in closer generic alignment with a chant or litany. Gr sees the omission as an indication of shifting genres: "Omission of the burden, while fundamentally more serious in that it changes the piece from a carol to an ordinary poem or song, yet may be superficially less noticeable, for no rime-pattern stanza is affected thereby" (p. cxxxiv).

1 Hogyn cam to bowers dore. As Ty notes, "the word 'bower' has many senses but they are usually associated with sexual encounters of this kind" (p. 190). The title of the piece in Ty's edition of songs and carols - "Old Hogyn and His Girl" - reminds us that titles are often editorially determined and vary among the many anthologies of medieval works.

2 The repeated lines have a choric, performative effect, like lining in a congregational (or tavern) meeting, as the leader pronounces a line and the audience repeats it. I have indented such lines.

4 Hum, ha, trill go bell. In the absence of a burden this line, repeated throughout the poem, retains the sonorities of minstrelsy. The bell perhaps refers to the lock cylinder in which the pin resides.

5 He tryld upon the pyn for love. The courtly serenade depicts the lovesick Hogyn rattling the latch of the door while singing his love song for admittance to his lady's chamber. This action parodies the conventional lover who trills upon his stringed instrument in an attempt to persuade his lady to admit him. Chaucer's Absolon in The Miller's Tale is a good example:
This parissh clerk, this joly Absolon,
Hath in his herte swich a love-longynge
That of no wyf took he noon offrynge;
For curteisie, he seyde, he wolde noon.
    The moone, whan it was nyght, ful brighte shoon,
And Absolon his gyterne hath ytake;
For paramours he thoghte for to wake.
And forth he gooth, jolif and amorous,
Til he cam to the carpenteres hous
A litel after cokkes hadde ycrowe,
And dressed hym up by a shot-wyndowe
That was upon the carpenteris wal.
He syngeth in his voys gentil and smal,
"Now, deere lady, if thy wille be,
I praye yow that ye wole rewe on me,"
Ful wel acordaunt to his gyternynge. (I[A]3348-63)
9 She had a-went she had worshipped all her kyn. Ty notes that Hogyn must be "a person of some worldly substance, like old January" (p. 190).

13-18 The humor of the stanza lies in its irony. Though the old churl gains entry into his beloved's bedchamber he cannot gain entry elsewhere - The old chorle he cowld do nowght (line 17).

19 Go ye furth to yonder wyndow. Ty sees the motivation as not quite clear "Is the girl offering a farewell kiss through the window?" (p. 190). Given the lover's impotence in line 15, perhaps this is sweet revenge for the lady.

27 She torned owt her ars and that he kyst. The motif of the misplaced kiss is most famously captured by Chaucer in The Miller's Tale:
Derk was the nyght as pich, or as the cole,
And at the wyndow out she putte hir hole,
And Absolon, hym fil no bet ne wers,
But with his mouth he kiste hir naked ers
Ful savourly, er he were war of this. (I[A]3731-35)3

 

Notes to I Have a Gentle Cock


AbbreviationsDa: R. T. Davies; Du: Thomas Duncan; L&H: Maxwell S. Luria and Richard L. Hoffman; MS: British Library MS Sloane 2593; Si: Theodore Silverstein.

1 I have a gentil cok. MS: cook. L&H use this poem as the title piece for their section on erotic love, pp. 77-91. The lyric parodies love songs usually directed toward a lady. Da points out the relation of this poem to a popular nursery rhyme, "Goosey, goosey gander": "this rhyme includes the words 'in my lady's chamber', and the earliest record of it does not include the last four lines of the rhyme, as generally known, with their reference to the old man" (p. 334):
Goosey, goosey, gander,
Whither shall I wander?
Upstairs, downstairs
And in my lady's chamber.
See The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, ed. Iona and Peter Opie (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952; rev. ed. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).

4 matyins. Early morning devotions.

5-8 The description of the rooster is in the manner of effictio, the conventional head to toe assessment usually of a lady. Chaucer uses a similar device to describe Chanticleer in The Nun's Priest's Tale:
His coomb was redder than the fyn coral,
And batailled as it were a castel wal;
His byle was blak, and as the jeet it shoon;
Lyk asure were his legges and his toon;
His nayles whitter than the lylye flour,
And lyk the burned gold was his colour.
This gentil cok. . . . (VII[B2]2859-65)
Si notes the similarity to Latin description of gallus in works such as Alexander Neckam's De Natura Rerum (p. 129).

11 corel. MS: scorel.

12 inde. Indigo was originally a blue dye from India.

15 Du notes that "in the Sloane lyrics the variation of 3- and 4-stress lines is not uncommon" (p. 246).

His spores arn of sylver qwyt. The rooster seems to wear the "spurs" of a knight.

19-20 And every nyght he perchit hym / In myn ladyis chaumbyr. The last two lines function as a couplet would in one of Shakespeare's sonnets, adding information that both clarifies and contradicts the sentiment expressed in preceding lines. Du points out the sexual innuendo in comparison to the nursery rhyme.


 
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20   
In Praise of Women

I am as lyght as any roe
To preyse women wher that I goo.

To onpreyse women yt were a shame,
For a woman was thy dame;
Our Blessyd Lady beryth the name
Of all women wher that they goo.

A woman ys a worthy thyng -
They do the washe and do the wrynge:
"Lullay, lullay," she dothe thee synge,   
And yet she hath bot care and woo.

A woman ys a worthy wyght,
She servyth man both daye and nyght,
Therto she puttyth all her myght,
And yet she hathe bot care and woo.


Abuse of Women

Of all creatures women be best:
Cuius contrarium verum est.

In every place ye may well see,
That women be trewe as tirtyll on tree,
Not lyberall in langage, but ever in secree,
And gret joye amonge them ys for to be.
Cuius contrarium verum est.

The stedfastnes of women will never be don,
So jentyll, so curtes they be everychon,
Meke as a lambe, still as a stone,
Croked nor crabbed fynd ye none!
Cuius contrarium verum est.

Men be more cumbers a thowsandfold,
And I mervayll how they dare be so bold,
Agaynst women for to hold,
Seyng them so pascyent, softe and cold.
Cuius contrarium verum est.

For tell a women all your cownsayle,
And she can kepe it wonderly well;
She had lever go quyk to hell,
Than to her neyghbowr she wold it tell!
Cuius contrarium verum est.

For by women men be reconsiled,
For by women was never man begiled,
For they be of the condicion of curtes Gryzell
For they be so meke and mylde.
Cuius contrarium verum est.

Now say well by women or elles be still,
For they never displesed man by ther will;
To be angry or wroth they can no skill,
For I dare say they thynk non yll.
Cuius contrarium verum est.

Trow ye that women list to smater,
Or agaynst ther husbondes for to clater?
Nay, they had lever fast bred and water
Then for to dele is suche a mater.
Cuius contrarium verum est.

Thowgh all the paciens in the world were drownd,
And non were lefte here on the grownd,
Agayn in a woman it myght be fownd,
Suche vertu in them dothe abownd!
Cuius contrarium verum est.

To the tavern they will not goo,
Nor to the ale-hows never the moo,
For, God wot, ther hartes wold be woo,
To spende ther husbondes money soo.
Cuius contrarium verum est.

Yff here were a woman or a mayd,
That lyst for to go fresshely arayed,
Or with fyne kyrchers to go displayed,
Ye wold say, 'they be prowde!' It is yll said.
Cuius contrarium verum est.

Explicit


The Trials of Marriage

What, why dedyst thou wynk whan thou a wyf toke?
Thou haddest never mor ned brodde to loke!
A man that wedyth a wyfe whan he wynkyth,
But he star afterward, wonder me thynkyth!


Against Hasty Marriage, I

Know or thow knytte; prove or thow preyse yt.
Yf thou know er thou knyt, than mayst thou abate;
And yf thou knyt er thou knowe, than yt ys to late.
Therfore avyse thee er thou the knot knytte,
For "had y wyst" commeth to late for to lowse yt.1


Against Hasty Marriage, II

Man, bewar of thin wowynge
For weddyng is the longe wo.

Loke er thin herte be set;
Lok thou wowe er thou be knet;
And if thou se thou mow do bet,
Knet up the heltre and let her goo.

Wyvys be bothe stowte and bolde,
Her husbondes aghens hem durn not holde;
And if he do, his herte is colde,
Howsoevere the game go.

Wedowis be wol fals, iwys,
For they cun bothe halse and kys
Til onys purs pikyd is,
And they seyn, "Go, boy, goo!"

Of madenys I wil seyn but lytil,
For they be bothe fals and fekyl,
And under the tayle they ben ful tekyl;
A twenty devel name, let hem goo!


A Young and Henpecked Husband's Complaint

How! Hey! It is non les,
I dar not seyy quan che seyst "pes!"

Yyng men, I warne you everychon:
Elde wywys tak ye non;
For I myself have on at hom -
I dar not seyn quan che seyst "pes!"

Quan I cum fro the plow at non,
In a reven dych myn mete is don;
I dar not askyn our dame a spon -
I dar not seyn quan che seyst "pes!"

If I aske our dame bred,
Che takyt a staf and brekit myn hed,
And doth me rennyn under the bed -
I dar not seyn quan che seyst "pes!"

If I aske our dame fleych,
Che brekit myn hed with a dych,
"Boy, thou art not seyn woryth a reych!"
I dar not sey quan che seyst "pes!"

If I aske our dame chese
"Boy," che seyst, al at ese,
"Thou art not worth half a pese!"
I dar not sey quan che seyst "pes!"


A Henpecked Husband's Complaint

Care away, away, away -
Care away for evermore!

All that I may swynk or swet,
My wife it wyll both drynk and ete;
And I sey ought she wyl me bete -
Carfull ys my hart therfor!

If I sey ought of hyr but good,
She loke on me as she war wod,
And wyll me clought abought the hod -
Carfull ys my hart therfor!

If she wyll to the gud ale ryd,
Me must trot all be hyr syd;
And whan she drynk I must abyd -
Carfull ys my hart therfor!

If I say, "It shal be thus,"
She sey, "Thou lyyst, charll, iwous!
Wenest thou to overcome me thus?"
Carfull ys my hart therfor!

Yf ony man have such a wyfe to lede,
He schal know how judicare cam in the cred;
Of hys penans God do hym med!
Carfull ys my hart therfor!


Old Hogyn's Adventure

Hogyn cam to bowers dore -
Hogyn cam to bowers dore,
He tryld upon the pyn for love,
Hum, ha, trill go bell -
He tryld upon the pyn for love,
Hum, ha, trill go bell.

Up she rose and lett hym yn -
Up she rose and let hym yn,
She had a-went she had worshipped all her kyn,2
Hum, ha, trill go bell -
She had a-went she had worshipped all her kyn,
Hum, ha, trill go bell.

When thei were to bed browght -
Whan thei were to bed browght,
The old chorle he cowld do nowght,
Hum, ha, trill go bell -
The old chorle he cowld do nowght,
Hum, ha, trill go bell.

Go ye furth to yonder wyndow -
Go ye furth to yonder wyndow,
And I will cum to you within a throw,
Hum, ha, trill go bell -
And I will cum to you withyn a throw,
Hum, ha, trill go bell.

Whan she hym at the wyndow wyst -
Whan she hym at the wyndow wyst,
She torned owt her ars and that he kyst,
Hum, ha, trill go bell -
She torned owt her ars and that he kyst,
Hum, ha, trill go bell.

Ywys, leman, ye do me wrong -
Ywis, leman, ye do me wrong,
Or elles your breth ys wonder strong,
Hum, ha, trill go bell -
Or elles your breth ys wonder strong,
Hum, ha, trill go bell.
Explicit


I Have a Gentle Cock

I have a gentil cok,
Crowyt me day;
He doth me rysyn erly,
My matyins for to say.

I have a gentil cok,
Comyn he is of gret;
His comb is of reed corel,
His tayil is of get.

I have a gentyl cook,
Comyn he is of kynde;
His comb is of red corel,
His tayl is of inde.

His legges ben of asor,
So gentil and so smale;
His spores arn of sylver qwyt,
Into the wortewale.

His eynyn arn of cristal,
Lokyn al in aumbry;
And every nyght he perchit hym
In myn ladyis chaumbyr.


swift; deer; (see note)
wherever

unpraise; (see note)
mother




do the wash; wringing; (see note)
sing to/for you; (see note)
woe

person; (see note)
(see note)






are
Of whom the opposite is true; (see note)


turtledove; (see note)
excessive; secrecy; (see note)




each and every one

Cross; crabby


burdensome


seeing; patient


counsel

rather go alive





courteous Griselda; (see note)





have



Believe you; like; gossip; (see note)
chatter noisily; (see note)
fast [on]



(see note)
on earth




(see note)

God knows; woeful




desired; smartly dressed
kerchiefs; (see note)








(see note)
eyes wide open; (see note)

stares; (see note)




before; wed; praise; (see note)
stop
too
yourself before
(see note)




your wooing; (see note)
woe

before
woo; you wed
may do better
Tie; halter; (see note)

strong
Their; dare

However

Widows; for sure; (see note)
can; embrace; kiss
one's purse picked


(see note)
fickle
ticklish (loose)
them




lie; (see note)
I dare not speak when she says "peace!"; (see note)

Young
Old wives (i.e., widows); (see note)
one
when she

When; noon; (see note)
filthy dish; food
[for] a spoon


[for] bread
She; breaks; (see note)
makes; hide (run)
speak when she says

[for] meat (flesh)
dish
rush; (see note)


[for] cheese

pea





(see note)


work for; sweat; (see note)
eat
If; anything to the contrary; beat
Full of care

anything; her
as [if] she were crazy
clobber; head
(see note)

good ale[house] ride; (see note)
I; by her side
wait



You lie, churl, certainly
Do you expect; oppose


deal with
sentencing (condemnation); (see note)
penance; reward





bedchamber door; (see note)
(see note)
wiggled up and down; latch-pin
(see note)
(see note)




(see note)




(see note)

could; nothing




(see note)






When she realized he was at the window

kissed; (see note)




Truly, my love

breath








noble, well-bred; (see note)
[Who] crows for me in the morning
causes me to rise early
matins; (see note)

(see note)
He comes from a great lineage
red
tail; jet [black]


good birth
(see note)
indigo; (see note)

azure
graceful; slender
spurs; bright (white) silver; (see note)
Up to the root

eyes; crystal
Set; amber
perches himself; (see note)
lady's chamber

Bibliography
Select Bibliography to In Praise of Women

Manuscript

British Library MS Harley 4294, fol. 81a (early sixteenth century).


Printed Editions

Adamson, Margot Robert, ed. A Treasury of Middle English Verse. London: J. M. Dent & Sons, 1930. [A modern translation.]

Chambers, E. K., and F. Sidgwick, eds. Early English Lyrics: Amorous, Divine, Moral and Trivial. New York: October House, 1966; rpt. 1967.

Davies, R. T., ed. Medieval English Lyrics: A Critical Anthology. London: Faber & Faber, 1963. [Listed under the title "Women are Worthy."]

Greene, Richard Leighton, ed. The Early English Carols. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1935; rpt. 1977.

Kaiser, Rolf, ed. Medieval English: An Old and Middle English Anthology. West Berlin: Rolf Kaiser, 1954. [Listed under the title "To Onpreyse Wemen yt were a Shame."]

Luria, Maxwell S., and Richard L. Hoffman. Middle English Lyrics; Authoritative Texts, Critical and Historical Backgrounds, Perspectives on Six Poems. New York: W. W. Norton, 1974.

Robbins, Rossell Hope, ed. Secular Lyrics of the XIVth and XVth Centuries. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952.

Tydeman, William, ed. English Poetry 1400-1580. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1970.

Wright, Thomas, and James Orchard Halliwell, eds. Reliquiae Antiquae. Scraps from Ancient Manuscripts, Illustrating Chiefly Early English Literature and the English Language. 2 vols. London: John Russell Smith, 1845. Vol. 1, p. 275.


Indexed in

Cutler, John L., and Rossell Hope Robbins, eds. Supplement to the Index of Middle English Verse. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1965.

Utley, Francis Lee, ed. The Crooked Rib: An Analytical Index to the Argument about Women in English and Scots Literature to the End of the Year 1568. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1944.


Select Bibliography to Abuse of Women

Manuscripts

Balliol College Oxford MS 354, fol. 250a (early sixteenth century).

Bodleian Library MS Engl. Poet. e. I (SC 29734), fols. 55b-56a (c. 1480).


Printed Editions

Davies, R. T., ed. Medieval English Lyrics: A Critical Anthology. London: Faber & Faber, 1963. [Entitled "What Women are Not."]

Dyboski, Roman, ed. Songs, Carols and Other Miscellaneous Poems, from the Balliol MS. 354, Richard Hill's Commonplace-Book. EETS e.s. 101. London: K. Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., 1908; rpt. 1937.

Flügel, Eward. "Liedersammlungen des XVI. Jahrhunderts, Besonders aus der Zeit Heinrichs VIII." Anglia 26. Halle: Max Niemeyer, 1903. Pp. 94-285.

Greene, Richard Leighton, ed. The Early English Carols. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1935; rpt. 1977.

---. A Selection of English Carols. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962.

Kaiser, Rolf, ed. Medieval English: An Old English and Middle English Anthology. West Berlin: Rolf Kaiser, 1954.

Luria, Maxwell S., and Richard L. Hoffman. Middle English Lyrics; Authoritative Texts, Critical and Historical Backgrounds, Perspectives on Six Poems. New York: W. W. Norton, 1974.

Robbins, Rossell Hope, ed. Secular Lyrics of the XIVth and XVth Centuries. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952.

Wright, Thomas, ed. Song and Carols: Now, First Printed, from a Manuscript of the Fifteenth Century. London: Printed for the Percy Society by Richards, 1847.


Indexed in

Brown, Carleton, and Rossell Hope Robbins, eds. The Index of Middle English Verse. New York: Columbia University Press, 1943. [Index #1485]

Utley, Francis Lee, ed. The Crooked Rib: An Analytical Index to the Argument about Women in English and Scots Literature to the End of the Year 1568. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1944. [Index # 136]


Select Bibliography to The Trials of Marriage

Manuscript

Bodleian Library MS Engl. Poet. e. I (SC 29734), fol. 26a (c. 1480).


Printed Editions

Luria, Maxwell S., and Richard L. Hoffman. Middle English Lyrics; Authoritative Texts, Critical and Historical Backgrounds, Perspectives on Six Poems. New York: W. W. Norton, 1974.

Robbins, Rossell Hope, ed. Secular Lyrics of the XIVth and XVth Centuries. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952.

Wright, Thomas, ed. Songs and Carols: Now, First Printed, from a Manuscript of the Fifteenth Century. London: Printed for the Percy Society by Richards, 1847.


Indexed in

Brown, Carleton, and Rossell Hope Robbins, eds. The Index of Middle English Verse. New York: Columbia University Press, 1943. [Index # 2049, 3919, 2056, 1354]


Select Bibliography to Against Hasty Marriage, I

Manuscript

Bodleian Library MS Digby 196 (SC 1797), fol. 20a (late fourteenth century).


Printed Editions

Greene, Richard Leighton, ed. The Early English Carols. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1935; rpt. 1977.

Luria, Maxwell S., and Richard L. Hoffman. Middle English Lyrics; Authoritative Texts, Critical and Historical Backgrounds, Perspectives on Six Poems. New York: W. W. Norton, 1974.

Robbins, Rossell Hope, ed. Secular Lyrics of the XIVth and XVth Centuries. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952


Indexed in

Brown, Carleton, and Rossell Hope Robbins, eds. The Index of Middle English Verse. New York: Columbia University Press, 1943. [Index #1829]


Select Bibliography to Against Hasty Marriage, II

Manuscript

British Library MS Sloane 2593, fol. 9b (c. 1440).


Printed Editions

Greene, Richard Leighton, ed. The Early English Carols. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1935; rpt. 1977.

Luria, Maxwell S., and Richard L. Hoffman. Middle English Lyrics; Authoritative Texts, Critical and Historical Backgrounds, Perspectives on Six Poems. New York: W. W. Norton, 1974.

Robbins, Rossell Hope, ed. Secular Lyrics of the XIVth and XVth Centuries. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952.

Wright, Thomas, ed. Songs and Carols: Now, First Printed, from a Manuscript of the Fifteenth Century. London: Printed for the Percy Society by Richards, 1847.


Select Bibliography to A Young and Henpecked Husband's Complaint

Manuscript

British Library MS Sloane 2593, fols. 24b-25a (c. 1440).


Printed Editions

Chambers, E. K., and F. Sidgwick, eds. Early English Lyrics: Amorous, Divine, Moral and Trivial. New York: October House, 1966; rpt. 1967.

Greene, Richard Leighton, ed. A Selection of English Carols. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962.

---. The Early English Carols. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1935; rpt. 1977.

Luria, Maxwell S., and Richard L. Hoffman. Middle English Lyrics; Authoritative Texts, Critical and Historical Backgrounds, Perspectives on Six Poems. New York: W. W. Norton, 1974.

Wright, Thomas, ed. Songs and Carols: Now, First Printed, from a Manuscript of the Fifteenth Century. London: Printed for the Percy Society by Richards, 1847.


Indexed in

Brown, Carleton, and Rossell Hope Robbins, eds. The Index to Middle English Verse. New York: Columbia University Press, 1943. [Index #4279]

Utley, Francis Lee, ed. The Crooked Rib: An Analytical Index to the Argument about Women in English and Scots Literature to the End of the Year 1568. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1944. [Index #401]


Select Bibliography to A Henpecked Husband's Complaint

Manuscript

Bodleian Library MS Engl. Poet. e. I (SC 29734), fols. 23a-23b (c. 1480).


Printed Editions

Auden, W. H., ed. The Oxford Book of Light Verse. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1938.

Chambers, E. K., and F. Sidgwick, eds. Early English Lyrics: Amorous, Divine, Moral and Trivial. New York: October House, 1966; rpt. 1967.

Fitzgibbon, H. M., ed. Early English and Scottish Poetry, 1250-1600. London: W. Scott, 1888.

Greene, Richard Leighton, ed. The Early English Carols. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1935; rpt. 1977.

Luria, Maxwell S., and Richard L. Hoffman. Middle English Lyrics: Authoritative Texts, Critical and Historical Backgrounds, Perspectives on Six Poems. New York: W. W. Norton, 1974.

Masters, J. E., ed. Rymes of the Minstrels. Shaftsbury: High House Press, 1927.

Robbins, Rossell Hope, ed. Secular Lyrics of the XIVth and XVth Centuries. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952.

Wright, Thomas, ed. Songs and Carols: Now, First Printed, from a Manuscript of the Fifteenth Century. London: Printed for the Percy Society by Richards, 1847.


Indexed in

Brown, Carleton, and Rossell Hope Robbins, eds. The Index of Middle English Verse. New York: Columbia University Press, 1943. [Index #210]

Utley, Francis Lee, ed. The Crooked Rib: An Analytical Index to the Argument about Women in English and Scots Literature to the End of the Year 1568. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1944. [Index # 20]


Select Bibliography to Old Hogyn's Adventure

Manuscript

Balliol College Oxford MS 354, fol. 249b (early sixteenth century).


Printed Editions

Dyboski, Roman, ed. Songs, Carols and Other Miscellaneous Poems, from the Balliol MS. 354, Richard Hill's Commonplace-Book. EETS e.s. 101. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., 1908; rpt. 1937.

Flügel, Eward. "Liedersammlungen des XVI. Jahrhunderts, Besonders aus der Zeit Heinrichs VIII." Anglia 26. Halle: Max Niemeyer, 1903. Pp. 273-74.

Greene, Richard Leighton, ed. The Early English Carols. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1935; rpt. 1977.

Luria, Maxwell S., and Richard L. Hoffman. Middle English Lyrics; Authoritative Texts, Critical and Historical Backgrounds, Perspectives on Six Poems. New York: W. W. Norton, 1974.

Robbins, Rossell Hope, ed. Secular Lyrics of the XIVth and XVth Centuries. Second edition Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1955.

Tydeman, William. English Poetry 1400-1580. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1970.


Select Bibliography to I Have a Gentle Cock

Manuscript

British Library MS Sloane 2593, fol. 10b (c. 1440).


Printed Editions

Chambers, E. K., and F. Sidgwick, eds. Early English Lyrics: Amorous, Divine, Moral and Trivial. New York: October House, 1966; rpt. 1967.

Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Nun's Priest's Tale. Ed. Kenneth Sisam. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1927.

Cook, Albert Stanburrough. A Literary Middle English Reader. Boston: Ginn & Co., 1915; rpt. 1943.

Davies, R. T., ed. Medieval English Lyrics: A Critical Anthology. London: Faber & Faber, 1963.

Duncan, Thomas, ed. Medieval English Lyrics 1200-1400. London: Penguin Books, 1995.

Luria, Maxwell S., and Richard L. Hoffman. Middle English Lyrics; Authoritative Texts, Critical and Historical Backgrounds, Perspectives on Six Poems. New York: W. W. Norton, 1974.

Robbins, Rossell Hope, ed. Secular Lyrics of the XIVth and XVth Centuries. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952.

Silverstein, Theodore, ed. Medieval English Lyrics. London: Edward Arnold, 1971.

Tydeman, William. English Poetry 1400-1580. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1970.

Wright, Thomas, ed. Songs and Carols: Now, First Printed, from a Manuscript of the Fifteenth Century. London: Printed for the Percy Society by Richards, 1847.


Indexed in

Brown, Carleton, and Rossell Hope Robbins, eds. The Index of Middle English Verse. New York: Columbia University Press, 1943. [Index #1299]