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Art. 33, Weping haveth myn wonges wet


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 Dunprest. This word is written to the right of the line, in the manner of a speech marker. It could be the name of the poet or the assumed persona of a performer. Hall suggests that the name, which he reads dimprest, is that of the compiler (p. viii).

2 wone. “Absence, lack, deficiency, shortage”; see MED, wane (n.(1)).

4 Bruches broken. “Broken breaches”; see MED: bruche (n.), “transgression, offense, sin.” In a phrase such as this, a breach is doubly broken. On this lyric’s slippery language, see Margherita, pp. 71–75.

13 a wyf. That is, Eve.

16 The allusion is to a popular legend in the Middle Ages, wherein Aristotle allowed himself to be saddled and bridled like a horse so that a girl he loved foolishly could ride on his back. See Brook, p. 77.

17 stythye. “Excellent one,” that is, Mary; see MED, stithie (n.(2)).

27 last of lot. “Blameful conduct.” See MED, last, (n.(3)), sense (c), “grounds for blame,” and lote (n.), sense 2, “virtuous or vicious behavior.”

38 teme. “Vouch, warrant (something)”; see MED, temen (v.(2)), sense 2.

48 warp. “Casts out, expels, drives out (something)”; see MED, warpen (v.), sense 4.(a).

62 Rykening. “Paragon”; see MED, rekeninge (ger.), sense 4.(a), “moral discernment, also ?judgment, standard.”

68 thin hap is on. “Follows your fortune,” literally, “in on your fortune.”


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.

1 Dunprest. So MS, written in right margin in the manner of the speaker names in art. 21.

13 wyf. So MS, W3, B13, Br, St, Tu, Mi. Bö: wif.

16 durthe. So MS, W3, Tu. Bö: durste. B13: durre. Br, St, Mi: durfte.

28 hake. So MS (e abbreviated), W3, Bö. B13, Br, St, Mi: hauk. Tu: hauke.

31 fleishe. So MS (e abbreviated), W3. Bö, B13, Br, Tu, Mi: fleish. St: fleisch.

32 feld. So MS, W3, B13, Br, St, Tu, Mi. Bö: fold.

40 Our. So Bö, B13, Tu. MS: or (stroke over r). W3, Br, St, Mi: Or.

41 roune. So MS, W3, Bö, B13, Br, St, Mi. Tu: to roune.

42 hem. So MS (m abbreviated), Bö, B13, Br, St, Tu, Mi. W3: he.

44 mene. So B13, Br, St, Tu, Mi. MS, W3: me ne. Bö: ne.

70 hendelec. So MS, B13, Br, St, Tu, Mi. W3: hende let. Bö: hendelek.

71 him. So Bö, B13, Br, St, Tu, Mi. MS, W3: hem.
















¶ Weping haveth myn wonges wet   Dunprest     
For wikked werk ant wone of wyt!
Unblithe Y be til Y ha bet
Bruches broken, ase Bok byt,
Of levedis love, that Y ha let,
That lemeth al with luefly lyt.
Ofte in song Y have hem set,
That is unsemly — ther hit syt!
   Hit syt ant semeth noht,
   Ther hit ys seid in song:
   That Y have of hem wroht,
   Ywis, hit is al wrong!

Al wrong Y wrohte for a wyf
That made us wo in world ful wyde:
Heo rafte us alle richesse ryf,
That durthe us nout in reynes ryde!
A stythye stunte hire sturne stryf,
That ys in heovene hert in hyde.
In hire, lyht on — ledeth lyf —
Ant shon thourh hire semly syde:
   Thourh hyre side he shon
   Ase sonne doth thourh the glas.
   Wommon nes wicked non
   Seththe he ybore was!

Wycked nis non, that Y wot,
That durste for werk hire wonges wete;
Alle heo lyven from last of lot,
Ant are al hende ase hake in chete.
Forthi on molde Y waxe mot
That Y sawes have seid unsete —
My fykel fleishe, mi falsly blod! —
On feld hem feole Y falle to fete:
   To fet Y falle hem feole
   For falsleke fifti-folde,
   Of alle untrewe on tele
   With tonge ase Y her tolde!

Thah told beon tales untoun in toune
(Such tiding mei tide, Y nul nout teme),
Of brudes bryht with browes broune,
Our blisse heo beyen, this briddes breme!
In rude were roo with hem roune,
That hem mihte henten ase him were heme;
Nys kyng, cayser, ne clerk with croune,
This semly serven that mene may seme:
   Semen him may on sonde,
   This semly serven so,
   Bothe with fet ant honde,
   For on that us warp from wo.

Nou wo in world ys went away,
Ant weole is come, ase we wolde,
Thourh a mihti, methful mai,
That ous hath cast from cares colde.
Ever wymmen Ich herie ay,
Ant ever in hyrd with hem Ich holde,
Ant ever, at neode, Y nyckenay
That Y ner nemnede that heo nolde:
   Y nolde ant null yt noht,
   Y nolde ant null yt noht,
   Soth is that Y of hem ha wroht,
   As Richard erst con red.

Richard, rote of resoun ryht,
Rykening of rym ant ron,
Of maidnes meke thou hast myht!
On molde Y holde the murgest mon,
Cunde comely ase a knyht,
Clerk ycud, that craftes con,
In uch an hyrd thyn athel ys hyht,
Ant uch an athel thin hap is on:
   Hap that hathel hath hent,
   With hendelec in halle!
   Selthe be him sent
   In londe of levedis alle!
¶ Weeping has made my cheeks all wet     Dunprest     
For wicked deed and lack of wit!
Unhappy I am till I’ve atoned
For broken breaches, as the Book commands,
Regarding ladies’ love, which I have hindered,
Who shine entirely with a lovely hue.
Often in song I have described them,
In an unseemly way — there it stands!
   It stands and is not seemly,
   Where it is said in song:
   What I've written about them,
   Indeed, it is all wrong!

All wrongly I acted because of a woman
Who caused us grief in the very wide world:
She robbed us all of abundant wealth,
Who needed not to ride us on reins!
An excellent one stopped her fierce strife,
Who dwells in heaven’s heart in flesh.
In her, one alighted — he who leads life —
And shone through her seemly side:
   Through her side he shone
   As does the sun through the glass.
   No woman has ever been wicked
   Since the time that he was born!

There’s none who’s wicked, of whom I know,
Who must for sin dampen her cheeks;
They all live free of blameful conduct,
And are all as gracious as hawk in hall.
Therefore on earth I grow sorry
That I have unbecomingly spoken words —
My deceitful flesh, my false blood! —
On ground before them I fall oft at their feet:
   At their feet I often fall
   For falsehood fiftyfold,
   For all falsehoods in slander
   With tongue as I’ve here told!

Though wanton tales be told in public
(Such a thing may happen, I won’t vouch for it),
About fair ladies with brown brows,
They restore our bliss, these lovely ladies!
To share secrets with them is peace mid discord,
For he might obtain from them what befits him;
There’s no king, emperor, or clerk with tonsure,
Who’d seem small for serving these seemly ones:
   It may become him to do an errand,
   These fair ones so to serve,
   Both with feet and hands,
   For one who casts us from woe.

Now woe in the world has gone away,
And joy has arrived, as we wish,
Through a mighty, gentle maiden,
Who’s released us from cruel concerns.
Always I praise women continually,
And always in public I defend them,
And always, when necessary, I deny
That I ever said anything they didn’t like:
   I didn’t and wouldn’t say anything,
   For nothing now, necessarily,
   Is true that I’ve written of them,
   As Richard was first to point out.

Richard, source of good sense,
Paragon of verse and poetry,
Over gracious maidens you hold sway!
On earth I consider you the most pleasing man,
Of parentage as fine as a knight,
Scholar of fame, versed in skills,
In every household your excellence is mentioned,
And every man follows your fortune:
   Fortune has that man obtained,
   With courtesy in hall!
   Happiness be sent to him
   In the land of ladies all!
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Go To Art. 34, Most I ryden by Rybbesdale, introduction
Go To Art. 34, Most I ryden by Rybbesdale, text