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Art. 51, Jesu Crist, heovene kyng


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).

10–11 The wordplay on morewenyng and mournyng also occurs at the beginning of The Four Leaves of the Truelove, another poem that opens as a chanson d’aventure. See Fein 1998, pp. 166, 180. Compare also An Autumn Song (art. 36), lines 11–14.

14 Jesu. No earlier editor has adopted this emendation of scribal jesse, but Brown notes that the manuscript reading is “[c]learly a scribal error for iesu” (1952, p. 245). The emendation is needed for sense, and it also softens the meditative shift from Mary to Jesus.


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 al wher. So MS, W3, B14, Br. Bö, Pa: aiwher.

14 Jesu. MS, W3, Bö, Pa, B14, Br: jesse.

21 sohtes. So Bö, Pa, Br. MS, W3, B14: sohtest.








¶ Jesu Crist, heovene kyng,
Yef us alle god endyng —
   That bon biddeth the.

At the biginnyng of mi song,
Jesu, Y the preye among,
   In stude, al wher Y be.
For thou art kyng of alle,
To the Y clepie ant calle:
   “Thou have merci of me!”

This ender day in o morewenyng,
With dreri herte ant gret mournyng,     
   On mi folie Y thohte.
One that is so suete a thing,
That ber Jesu, the hevene kyng,   
   Merci Y besohte.

Jesu, for thi muchele myht,
Thou graunte us alle hevene lyht,
   That us so duere bohtes.
For thi merci, Jesu suete,
Thin hondywerk nult thou lete,
vThat thou wel yerne sohtes.

Wel Ichot, ant soth hit ys,
That in this world nys no blys,
   Bote care, serewe, ant pyne.
Tharefore, Ich rede we wurchen so
That we mowe come to
   The joye withoute fyne!
¶ Jesus Christ, heaven’s king,
Give us all good ending —
   That’s the prayer you request.

At the beginning of my song,
Jesus, I pray to you all the while,
   In place, wherever I be.
Because you are king of all,
To you I cry out and call:
   “You have mercy on me!”

This past day upon a morning,
With heavy heart and great mourning,
   I reflected on my folly.
To the one who’s so sweet a creature,
Who bore Jesus, the king of heaven,
   I besought mercy.

Jesus, for your powerful might,
Grant to us all of heaven’s light,
   Who bought us so dearly.
On account of your mercy, Jesus sweet,
Your handiwork you’ll not abandon,
   Which you most eagerly sought.

Well I know, and true it is,
That in this world is no bliss,
   Just woe, sorrow, and pain.
Therefore, I advise that we act so
That we may come to
   The joy without end!


(see note)

(see note); (t-note)


Go To Art. 52, Wynter wakeneth al my care, introduction
Go To Art. 52, Wynter wakeneth al my care, text