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Art. 27, Middelerd for mon wes mad


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).

3 Hedy. See MED, edi (adj.), sense 2.(b), “Blessed One (God or Christ).”

4 hem. That is, mankind.

14–15 These lines rephrase the proverbial sentiment of Carnal Love Is Folly (art. 24a) and What Allures Is Momentary (art. 24a*).

24 Yef. “So that”; see MED, if (conj.), sense 3., introducing a clause of purpose.

31 fyve. That is, the five senses, with Flesh representing touch.

39 under felde. “Under earth, underground,” though some editors gloss the phrase “on earth.” The idea seems to be that there are men now dead (and also living?) who endured (and endure?) life mated to their worst enemy, their wife — just as body and soul are yoked, forever and often in contention. Translation of lines 39–40 is difficult because of shifts in tense and pronoun number.

41 gelde. Other editors translate the word as “destitute, deprived, lacking,” but the blatant sense “gelded” suits the bitter tone.

57 sully. “Extremely; also, wondrously, strangely”; see MED, selli (adv.).

58 meint. Emended from meind for rhyme. See MED, mengen (v.), sense 1.(c), “blend, temper, alloy, moderate, combine, taint.”

67–77 Revard characterizes this stanza as the “moving finale” of all of quire 6 (2007, p. 112).

72 umbe throwe. “At times, sometimes”; see MED, umbe (prep.), sense (b), ~ throu.

74 bonnyng. “Summoning” ; see MED, banning (ger.).


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.

3 Hedy hath. So MS, W3, B13, Br. Bö: hendy hap.

14 I telle. So MS, B13, Br. W3, Bö: itelle.

18 liveth. So MS, Bö, B13, Br. W3: livith.

19 hete. MS, W3, B13, Br. Bö: hede.

21 thrivene. MS, W3, B13, Br. Bö: vn þriuene.

25 brotherli. So B13, Br. MS: broerli. W3, Bö: broerh.

26 best. So MS, W3, B13, Br. Bö: beþ.

28 Is. So MS, W3, B13, Br. Bö: ist.

29 Fyth. So MS, W3, B13. Bö, Br: fyht.
darth. So MS (darþ), W3, Bö, B13. Br: darf.
fleo. So Bö, W3, B13. MS, Br: floe.

30 faunyng. So MS, W3, Bö, Br. B13: fannyng.
foreode. So MS, W3, Bö, Br. B13: fortode.

37 belde. So MS, Bö, B13, Br. W3: bel.

38 Y sugge. So MS, W3, B13, Br. Bö: ysugge.

39 beeth. So MS. W3, Bö, Br, B13: beoth.

48 Y tolde. So MS, W3, B13, Br. Bö: ytolde.

57 sully. So MS, Br. W3, Bö, B13: fully.

58 meint. So MS, W3, Bö, B13, Br: meind.

70 lustes. So MS, W3, B13, Br. Bö: lastes.

74 bonnyng. So MS, Br. W3, Bö, B13: bounyng.
him. So MS, W3, B13, Br. Bö: hem.

















¶ Middelerd for mon wes mad.
Unmihti aren is meste mede.
This Hedy hath on honde yhad
That hevene hem is hest to hede.
Icherde a blisse budel us bad
The dreri Domesdai to drede,
Of sunful sauhting sone be sad.
That derne doth this derne dede,
      Thah he ben derne done,
  This wrakeful werkes under wede
      In soule soteleth sone.

Sone is sotel, as Ich ou sai,
This sake, althah hit seme suete
That I telle a poure play
That furst is feir ant seththe unsete.
This wilde wille went awai
With mone ant mournyng muchel unmete.
That liveth on likyng out of lay
His hap he deth ful harde on hete
      Ageyns he howeth henne —
  Alle is thrivene thewes threte
      That thenketh nout on thenne.

Ageynes thenne, us threteth thre:
Yef he beth thryven ant thowen in theode,     
Ur soule bone so brotherli be
As berne best that bale forbeode.
That wole wihtstonden streynthe of theo,
Is rest is reved with the reode.
Fyth of other ne darth he fleo
That Fleishshes faunyng furst foreode —
      That falsist is of fyve!
  Yef we leveth eny leode,
      Werryng is worst of wyve.

Wyves wille were ded wo,
Yef he is wicked forte welde;
That burst shal bete for hem bo:
He shal him burewen thah he hire belde.
By body ant soule, Y sugge also
That some beeth founden under felde
That hath to fere is meste fo!
Of gomenes he mai gon al gelde
      Ant sore ben fered on folde,
  Lest he to harmes helde
      Ant happes hente unholde.

Hom unholdest her is on —
Withouten helle — ase Ich hit holde:
So fele bueth founden monnes fon!
The furst of hem biforen Y tolde.
Ther afterward: this Worldes won
With muchel unwynne us woren wolde;
Sone beth this gomenes gon
That maketh us so brag ant bolde
      Ant biddeth us ben blythe;
  An ende he casteth ous fol colde
      In sunne ant serewe sythe.

In sunne ant sorewe Y am seint,
That siweth me so sully sore.
My murthe is al with mournyng meint,
Ne may Ich mythen hit namore.
When we beth with this world forwleynt
That we ne lustneth lyves lore,
The Fend in fyht us fynt so feynt,
We falleth so flour when hit is frore,
      For folkes Fader al fleme.
  Wo him wes ywarpe yore
      That Crist nul nowyht queme.

To queme Crist we weren ycore,
Ant kend ys craftes forte knowe.
Leve we nout we buen forlore
In lustes thah we lyggen lowe;
We shule aryse ur Fader byfore
Thah fon us fallen umbe throwe:
To borewen us all, he wes ybore!
This bonnyng when him bemes blowe,
      He byt us buen of hyse,
  Ant on ys ryht hond hente rowe
      Wyth ryhtwyse men to aryse.
¶ Middle-earth was made for men.
Puny are its best rewards.
Blessed God has brought this about
That heaven is essential for them to heed.
I heard a herald of joy hearken us
To dread the terrifying Doomsday,
To grow weary soon of sinful pursuit.
Those who secretly do these hidden deeds,
      Though they be privately performed,
  These wicked deeds under cover
      Are exposed soon in the soul.

Soon is exposed, I say to you,
This sin, although it seems sweet
I judge it a poor pleasure
Which first is fair and then later repulsive.
This unruly willfulness passes away
With highly extreme lament and grief.
He who lives in unlawful desire
Will violently cry out against his fate
      When he goes from here —
  All his good virtues will rebuke
      Whoever fails to think on what comes later.

Regarding later, three threaten us:
So that they may thrive and flourish among men,
Our souls’ slayers act as brotherly
As the best men who forestall harm.
Any who’d withstand the strength of them,
His rest is disturbed like the swaying reed.
He need not flee the assault of any other
Who’s first withstood the Flesh’s caressing —
      That one is falsest of five!
  If we believe any man,
      The worst is war-crafty woman.

A woman’s will is a deadly peril,
Especially if she’s hard to control;
He must fix the damage for them both:
He must save himself though he shelter her.
By analogy to body and soul, I say also
That some are found under earth
Who have as his worst enemy a wife!
Of idle games he ought to stay gelded
      And be very fearful on earth,
  Lest he fall to harm
      And seize a disastrous outcome.

The most disastrous home is here —
Not counting hell — as I assert:
So many are found to be man’s foes!
The first of them I already told you about.
The next: this World’s riches
Would disturb us with deep sorrow;
Soon are gone these idle games
That make us so boisterous and bold
      And cause us to be merry;
  In the end they cast us very cruelly
      To sin and time of sorrow.

In sin and sorrow I am sunk,
They pursue me so exceedingly hard.
My mirth's all mingled with mourning,
Nor may I conceal it any more.
When we become so proud with this world
That we don’t listen to life’s advice,
The fighting Fiend finds us so feeble,
We fall as a flower when it is withered,
      Fully exiled from mankind’s Father.
  Woe was assigned to him long ago
      Who wishes not to please Christ at all.

To please Christ we were chosen,
And taught to know his power.
We ought not believe that we are lost
Even though we lie sunk in desires;
We shall arise before our Father
Even though foes defeat us at times:
To save us all, he was born!
When trumpets blow this summons for him,
      He will bid us be among his,
  And at his right hand take position
      With righteous men to arise!

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Go To Art. 28, Ichot a burde in a bour ase beryl so bryht, introduction
Go To Art. 28, Ichot a burde in a bour ase beryl so bryht, text