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Art. 48, Lustneth, lordinges, bothe yonge ant olde


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).

11 arewe. “Resent, feel a grievance.” See MED, areuen (v.), sense 3.

15 anonen. “Immediately, at once, soon”; see MED, an-on (adv. & conj.), sense 1(a).

17 fullaris. “The fullers beat the cloth to clean and thicken it” (Robbins 1959, p. 251).

19 Conyng. The surname puns in at least two ways. The first is a play on “king,” derived from Old English cyning, a pun expressed in this line. The second is on “rabbit”; see the explanatory note to line 69. A possible third wordplay is on the gerund conninge, “skill, knowledge, cleverness.” Peter de Conyng was master of the cloth-weavers in Bruges and a leader of the revolt against the French garrison.

20 cheveuteyn. “Ringleader.” See MED, chevetaine (n.), sense 3.(b).

26 destaunce. “Civil strife, rebellion.” See MED, distaunce (n.), sense 2.

30 avowerie. “Offical sanction, authorization, permission.” See MED, avouerie (n.), sense 2.

36 mounde. “Military force, body of troops.” See MED, mounde (n.(1)), sense 3.(f).

38 basyns. “Basins used as gongs.” See MED, bacin (n.), sense 1.(b), and Robbins’s note (1959, p. 251).

39 todryven. “To beat, smash to pieces.” See MED, todriven (v.), sense (d).

65 Rauf de Nel is the name of the Earl of Bologne. Wright 1839 and Robbins 1959 mistakenly place the name inside the earl’s speech.

66–67 The noble speaks a full line in French, and the word assoygne, “excuse, delay,” also slips in. Compare, too, the insertion of French at lines 50, 56, and 61. On various instances of linguistic mockery in this poem, see Scattergood 2000a, pp. 172–74.

68 This line completes, with an English idiom, the sense of French line 66: “We won’t leave any alive, at all!”

69 The line puns on coning, “rabbit”; see MED, coning (n.), sense 1.(a), and also sense 1.(b), figuratively, “a soldier as quick as a rabbit” (citing this line). They will prepare Coning like a roast rabbit. See also the explanatory note to line 19, and Scattergood 2000a, p. 172. But it is the French who will be caught like rabbits (line 81).

81 so the hare. See explanatory note to line 69.

85 dabbeth. This is the only attestation of this word with the military meaning “strike on the head, defeat”; see MED, dabben (v.).

87 doddeth. See MED, dodden (v.), sense 2(c) ~ of, “cut off (someone’s head).”

89–92 The tone taken by the French noble is imperious and haughty, explaining to Coning how he ought to act if he is to be honorable.

91 vylte. “Dishonor, disgrace, vulgarity, ignominy.” See MED, vilte (n.), sense 2.(a). The word is of French origin.

93 leaute. The French word spoken by either Coning or his partner John Breydel (master of the butchers) conveys the sarcasm of his response. The word bocher may indicate that the speaker is Breydel, who is not elsewhere mentioned. See Robbins 1959, p. 251, and Scattergood 2000a, pp. 172–73.

95–96 The implication is that the earl’s life is not worth the expense of feeding him in prison.

97–104 I agree with Wright that line 97 depicts the mass grave of the French army (1839, p. 193). A different interpretation is offered, however, by the glossary of Robbins 1959: “There they were defeated in the ambush.” The MED follows Robbins: knillen (v), sense (d), and pit-falle (n.), sense (b). However, the other meaning is available in pit-falle, sense (a). Böddeker seeks to improve the order of ideas by transposing lines 99–100 with lines 103–04.

106 The French king’s gesture figuratively imitates the literal beheading of his nobles.

113 “The poet reminds Pope Boniface VIII of his degradation of two cardinals of the Colonna family in 1294 [and] advises him to go to Rome to put things right” (Scattergood 2000a, p. 174). See also Robbins 1959, p. 252.

133 Prince of Walis. Edward of Carnarvon, the future Edward II, also mentioned at the end of The Death of Edward I (art. 48), line 73. See also The Execution of Sir Simon Fraser (art. 25), line 81 (and explanatory note).


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.

6 Flemmysshe. So MS, W1, Ro. Ri1: Flemmyssh. Bö: flemmyshe.

15 anonen. So MS, Bö. W1, Ri1: an oven. Ro: anouen.

20 cheveuteyn. So MS, Ro. W1, Ri1, Bö: cheuenteyn.

33 hou. So W1, Ri1, Bö, Ro. MS: hout.

57 Phelip. So MS, W1, Bö, Ro. Ri1: Philip.

63 with. So W1, Ri1, Bö, Ro. MS: omitted.

65 de Nel. So MS, Ro. W1, Ri1, Bö: Deuel.

67 ritht. So MS (ri3t), W1, Ri1, Ro. Bö: riht.
assoygne. So MS, W1, Ri1, Ro. Bö: assoyne.

73 eorles. So MS, W1, Bö, Ro. Ri1: eorls.

74 Fiftene. So MS, W1, Ri1, Bö. Ro: Fyftene.

87 doddeth. So MS, W1, Bö, Ro. Ri1: deddeth.

99–104 So MS, W1, Ri1, Ro. Bö: lines 99–100 transposed with lines 103–04.

101 knyhtes. So MS, W1, Bö, Ro. Ri1: kynhtes.

107 springe. So MS (ri abbreviated), W1, Bö, Ro. Ri1: sprynge.

114 meste. So MS, W1, Bö, Ro. Ri1: mest.

127 hy. So MS, W1, Bö, Ro. Ri1: by.

129–30 So MS, W1, Ri1, Ro. Bö: the bataille thus bigon (line 129) transposed with hou hue weren fon (line 130).

131 heden. So MS, W1, Bö, Ro. Ri1: hedeu.

133 Yef. So W1, Ri1, Bö, Ro. MS: 3e.





























¶ Lustneth, lordinges, bothe yonge ant olde,
Of the Freynsshe men that were so proude ant bolde —
Hou the Flemmysshe men bohten hem ant solde
            Upon a Wednesday.
Betere hem were at home in huere londe
Then forte seche Flemmysshe by the see stronde,
Wharethourh moni Frenshe wyf wryngeth hire honde
            Ant singeth “weylaway”!

The Kyng of Fraunce made status newe
In the lond of Flaundres, among false ant trewe,
That the commun of Bruges ful sore con arewe,
            And seiden amonges hem:
“Gedere we us togedere hardilyche at ene;
Take we the bailifs bi tuenty ant by tene;
Clappe we of the heuedes anonen o the grene,
            Ant caste we y the fen.”

The webbes ant the fullaris assembleden hem alle
Ant makeden huere consail in huere commune halle,
Token Peter Conyng huere “kyng” to calle
            Ant beo huere cheveuteyn.
Hue nomen huere rouncyns out of the stalle,
Ant closeden the toun withinne the walle;
Sixti baylies ant ten hue maden adoun falle
            Ant moni another sweyn.

Tho wolde the baylies that were come from Fraunce
Dryve the Flemisshe that made the destaunce;
Hue turnden hem ageynes with suerd and with launce,
            Stronge men ant lyht.
Y telle ou, forsothe, for al huere bobaunce,
Ne fore the avowerie of the Kyng of Fraunce,
Tuenti score ant fyve haden ther meschaunce
            By day ant eke by nyht.

Sire Jakes de Seint Poul yherde hou hit was,
Sixtene hundred of horsmen asemblede o the gras!
He wende toward Bruges, pas pur pas,
            With swithe gret mounde.
The Flemmysshe yherden telle the cas,
Agynneth to clynken huere basyns of bras,
Ant al hem todryven, ase ston doth the glas,
            Ant fellen hem to grounde.

Sixtene hundred of horsmen hede ther here fyn;
Hue leyyen y the stretes ystyked ase swyn!
Ther hue loren huere stedes any mony rouncyn
            Thourh huere oune prude.
Sire Jakes ascapede by a coynte gyn:
Out at one posterne ther me solde wyn,
Out of the fyhte, hom to ys yn,
            In wel muchele drede.

Tho the Kyng of Fraunce yherde this anon,
Assemblede he is dousse pers everuchon
(The proude Eorl of Artoys ant other mony on)
            To come to Paris.
The barouns of Fraunce thider conne gon
Into the paleis that paved is with ston,
To jugge the Flemmisshe, to bernen ant to slon
            Thourh the flour-de-lis!

Thenne seide the Kyng Phelip: “Lustneth nou to me,
Myn eorles ant my barouns gentil ant fre,
Goth, faccheth me the traytours ybounde, to my kne,
            Hastifliche ant blyve.”
Tho suor the Eorl of Seint Poul: “Par la goul De,
We shule facche the rybaus, wher thi wille be,
Ant drawen hem with wilde hors out of the countre,
            By thousendes fyve!”

Sire Rauf de Nel sayth, the Eorl of Boloyne:
“Nous ne lerrum en vie chanoun ne moyne
(Wende we forth anon ritht, withoute eny assoygne),
            Ne no lyves man.
We shule flo the Conyng and make roste is loyne!
The word shal springen of him into Coloyne,
So hit shal to Acres and into Sesoyne,
            Ant maken him ful wan.”

Sevene eorles ant fourti barouns, ytolde,
Fiftene hundred knyhtes, proude ant swythe bolde,
Sixti thousent swyers, among yunge ant olde,
            Flemmisshe to take.
The Flemmisshe hardeliche hem com togeynes:
This proude Freinsshe eorles, huere knyhtes ant huere sweynes,      
Aquelleden ant slowen by hulles ant by pleynes,
            Al for huere kynges sake!

This Frenshe come to Flaundres so liht so the hare;
Er hit were mydnyht, hit fel hem to care!
Hue were laht by the net so bryd is in snare,
            With rouncin and with stede.
The Flemmisshe hem dabbeth o the het bare;
Hue nolden take for huem raunsoun ne ware;
Hue doddeth of huere heuedes, fare so hit fare,
            Ant thareto haveth hue nede.

Thenne seyth the Eorl of Artois: “Y yelde me to the,
Peter Conyng by thi nome; yef thou art hende ant fre,
That Y ne have no shame ne no vylte,
            That Y ne be noud ded.”
Thenne swor a bocher: “By my leaute,
Shalt thou ner more the Kyng of Fraunce se,
Ne in the toun of Bruges in prisone be,
            Thou woldest spene bred!”

Ther hy were knulled y the put-falle,
This eorles ant barouns and huere knyhtes alle.
Huere ledies huem mowe abide in boure ant in halle
            Wel longe!
For hem, mot huere kyng other knyhtes calle,
Other stedes taken out of huere stalle!
Ther hi habbeth dronke bittrere then the galle
            Upon the drue londe!

When the Kyng of Fraunce yherde this tydynge,
He smot doun is heued; is honden gon he wrynge!
Thourhout al Fraunce the word bygon to springe.
            Wo wes huem tho!
Muche wes the sorewe ant the wepinge
That wes in al Fraunce, among olde ant yynge;
The meste part of the lond bygon forte synge,
            “Alas ant weylawo!”

Awey, thou yunge pope! Whet shal the to rede?
Thou hast lore thin cardinals at thi meste nede,
Ne keverest thou hem, nevere for nones kunnes mede —
            Forsothe, Y the telle!
Do the forth to Rome to amende thi misdede;
Bide gode halewen hue lete the betere spede;
Bote thou worche wysloker, thou losest lond ant lede;
            The coroune wel the felle.

Alas, thou seli Fraunce, for the may thunche shome
That ane fewe fullaris maketh ou so tome;
Sixti thousent on a day hue maden fot-lome,
            With eorl and knyht!
Herof habbeth the Flemysshe suithe god game,
Ant suereth bi Seint Omer and eke bi Seint Jame,
Yef hy ther more cometh, hit falleth huem to shame,
            With huem forte fyht!

I telle ou, forsothe, the bataille thus bigon
Bituene Fraunce ant Flaundres, hou hue weren fon,
Vor Vrenshe the Eorl of Flaundres in prison heden ydon
            With tresoun untrewe.
Yef the Prince of Walis his lyf habbe mote,
Hit falleth the Kyng of Fraunce bittrore then the sote;
Bote he the rather therof welle do bote,
            Wel sore hit shal hym rewe.
¶ Listen, lords, both young and old,
Of the French men who were so proud and arrogant —
How the Flemish men bought and sold them
            On a Wednesday.
Better for them to have been home in their country
Than to have sought the Flemish by the seashore,
For which event many a French wife wrings her hands
            And sings “wailaway”!

The King of France made new statutes
In the land of Flanders, among false and true,
Which the commons of Bruges began much to resent,
            And said amongst themselves:
“Let's gather ourselves together courageously at once;
Seize the bailiffs by twenty and by ten;
We’ll chop off the heads at once on the green,
            And cast them in the fen.”

The weavers and the fullers all assembled
And held their council in their common hall,
Chose Peter Coning their “king” to be called
            And be their leader.
They took their horses out of the stall,
And closed the town within the wall;
Sixty bailiffs and ten they made down fall
            And many another man.

The bailiffs who’d come from France then attempted
To drive out the Flemish who caused the rebellion;
They turned against them with sword and lance,
            Strong men and nimble.
I tell you, truly, despite all their insolence,
And despite the sanction of the King of France,
Twenty score and five met their misfortune
            By day and also by night.

Sir Jacques de St. Pol heard how it was,
Sixteen hundred horsemen assembled on grass!
He traveled toward Bruges, step by step,
            With great military force.
The Flemish heard ofthe situation,
Begin to clang their gongs of brass,
And smashed them all, as stone breaks glass,
            And crushed them to ground.

Sixteen hundred horsemen had there their end;
They lay in the street stabbed like swine!
There they lost their steeds and many horses
            Through their own pride.
Sir Jacques escaped by a clever trick:
Out at one postern where men sold wine,
Away from the fight, home to his lodging,
            In extreme terror.

As soon as the King of France heard this,
He assembled every one of his gentle peers
(The proud Count of Artois and many more)
            To come to Paris.
The barons of France began thither to go
Into the palace that’s paved with stone,
To judge the Flemish, to burn and to slay
            For the fleur-de-lis!

Then King Philip said: “Listen to me now,
My noble and gracious earls and barons,
Go, fetch me the bound traitors, at my knee,
            Hastily and quickly.”
Then swore the Count of St. Pol: “By God’s throat,
We’ll fetch the rascals, as is your will,
And drag them with wild horses out of the land,
            By five thousand!”

The Count of Bologne, Sir Rauf de Nel, says:
“We’ll not leave alive either canon or monk
(We’ll go forth instantly, without any delay),
            Nor any man living.
We’ll flay the Coning and make his loin roast!
The news of him shall carry as far as Cologne,
And shall also to Acre and as far as Saxony,
            And make him quite pale.”

Seven counts and forty barons, in number,
Fifteen hundred knights, proud and very bold,
Sixty thousand squires, young along with old,
            Set off to take the Flemish.
The Flemish courageously fought against them:
These proud French counts, their knights and their men,
Were slaughtered and slain by hills and by plains,
            All for their king’s sake!

These French came to Flanders as nimbly as the hare;
Before it was midnight, the time came to mourn!
They were caught by the net like a bird in a snare,
            With horse and with steed.
The Flemish struck them on the bare head;
They wouldn’t exchange them for ransom or goods;
They lopped off their heads, happen as it may,
            And that they needed to do.

Then the Count of Artois says: “I surrender to you,
Peter Coning by name; as you’re kind and honorable,
See that I receive neither shame nor disgrace,
            For I'd rather not be dead.”
Then swore a butcher: “By my loyal honor,
You’ll never more see the King of France,
Nor be imprisoned in the town of Bruges,
            Where you’d eat bread!”

There they were knocked into the pit,
These earls and barons and all their knights.
Their ladies must await them in bower and hall
            Very long!
In their place, their king must call on other knights,
And have other horses taken from their stalls!
There they've drunk more bitterly than the gall
            Upon the dry land!

When the King of France heard this tiding,
He cast down his head; his hands he wrung!
Throughout all France the word began to spread.
            Woeful were they then!
Deep was the sorrow and the weeping
That happened in all France, among old and young;
Most of the country began to sing,
            “Alas and wailaway!”

Away, you young pope! What advice should you take?
You’ve lost your cardinals in your greatest need,
And never regained them, not for any type of reward —
            Truly, I tell you!
Go forth to Rome to atone for your misdeed;
Pray to the good saints that they let you fare better;
Unless you act more wisely, you’ll lose land and people;
            The crown will defeat you.

Alas, foolish France, for it’s to your shame
That just a few fullers can make you so tame;
They crippled sixty thousand in a day,
            Along with count and knight!
In this the Flemish have an extremely good sport,
And swear by Saint Omer and also Saint James,
If anymore come there, it’ll be to their shame,
            With them to fight!

I tell you, truly, how the battle thus began
Between France and Flanders, how they became foes,
Because the French had put the Count of Flanders in prison
            With faithless treason.
If the Prince of Wales might stay alive,
The King of France will suffer more bitterly than soot;      
Unless he quickly provide full remedy thereof,
            He'll be utterly sorry!


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