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Art. 43, Lenten ys come with love to toune


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).

7 threstelcoc. See explanatory note to A Beauty White as Whale’s Bone (art. 36), burden.

36 This line can be read different ways depending on whether wyht is seen as a noun (“creature, man”) or an adverb (“quickly”); fleme as a noun (“fugitive”) or a verb (“be banished”); and wode as “woods” or “madness.” An alternate meaning is: “And be banished as a madman.”


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.

11 wynter. So MS, W3, Mo, Bö, B13, St, Si, Tr. Br, Mi: wynne.

22 doh. So MS, W3, B13. Bö: doht. Mo, Br, St, Si, Mi, Tr: doþ.

28 Deawes. So MS, Mo, Bö, B13, Br, St, Si, Mi, Tr. W3: Deowes.

29 with. So MS (wiþ), W3, Mo, Bö, B13, Br, St, Mi, Tr. Si: wis’th (i.e., wiseth).









¶ Lenten ys come with love to toune,
With blosmen ant with briddes roune,     
   That al this blisse bryngeth.
Dayeseyes in this dales,
Notes suete of nyhtegales —
   Uch foul song singeth!
The threstelcoc him threteth oo;
Away is huere wynter wo,
   When woderove springeth.
This foules singeth, ferly fele,
Ant wlyteth on huere wynter wele,
   That al the wode ryngeth!

The rose rayleth hire rode;
The leves on the lyhte wode
   Waxen al with wille.
The mone mandeth hire bleo;
The lilie is lossom to seo,
   The fenyl ant the fille.
Wowes this wilde drakes;
Miles murgeth huere makes,
   Ase strem that striketh stille.
Mody meneth, so doh mo —
Ichot, Ych am on of tho —
   For love that likes ille.

The mone mandeth hire lyht;
So doth the semly sonne bryht,
   When briddes singeth breme.
Deawes donketh the dounes;
Deores with huere derne rounes
   Domes forte deme;
Wormes woweth under cloude;
Wymmen waxeth wounder proude,
   So wel hit wol hem seme,
Yef me shal wonte wille of on,
This wunne weole Y wole forgon
   Ant wyht in wode be fleme.
¶ Springtime comes with love to town,
With blossoms and birds’ secret tunes,
   Bringing all this bliss.
Daisies spring in these dales,
Sweet notes of the nightingales —
   Each bird sings a song!
The song thrush chides o'er and o'er;
Departed is their winter woe,
   When woodruff grows.
These birds sing, amazingly many,
And warble about their wealth of joys,
   Making all the woods to ring!

The rose puts on her rosy hue;
The leaves on the shimmery wood
   Grow large with desire.
The moon sends forth her radiance;
The lily is gorgeous to behold,
   The fennel and the chervil.
In wooing go these wild drakes;
Animals make merry with their mates,
   Like stream that flows contentedly.
Moody ones complain, and yet do more —
I know, for I am one of those —
   Of love that hardly pleases.

The moon sends forth her light;
So does the lovely brilliant sun,
   While birds sing gloriously.
Morning dews soak the downs;
Animals with their secret sounds
   Wishes may express;
Worms make love under ground;
Women grow wondrously proud,
   As well it beseems them.
If I shall lack the favor of one,
Such joyful abundance I must forgo
   And flee to woods in exile.

(see note)




(see note)

Go To Art. 44, In May hit murgeth when hit dawes, introduction
Go To Art. 44, In May hit murgeth when hit dawes, text