Dance of Death: A Version (Selden)
John Lydgate, Dance of Death: A Version (Selden): FOOTNOTES
1 Into the English language, intending
2 God has made everyone from the same matter
3 Lines 67–68: The very dangerous position, whoso takes heed / To occupy St. Peter’s rank
4 Each and every one of these valuable things adjudicated together
5 Alone from your men in haste you will [it] surrender
6 Folk waste more great estates than can be numbered
7 Loans and debt must be paid again
8 I see no refuge in which to escape his power
9 Lines 167–68: My painted rooms, my demeanor, and my cheerfulness, / For the thing that is required to do must be done
10 Your earthly goods and natural goods (e.g., crops)
11 Everything will pass away except our good deeds
12 Lines 219–20: Though you carried arms and rode a new horse yesterday / With spear and shield according to your outlandish fancy
13 My legal privileges nor my great wealth
14 Your veil, your headdress of exceedingly great richness
15 The World loaned it and will retrieve it
16 Now it is appropriate for me to die suddenly
17 And great winds die down with a little rain
18 And Death has wrought yet more stratagems than me
19 The world and possessions shall all fail
John Lydgate, Dance of Death: A Version (Selden): EXPLANATORY NOTES
ABBREVIATIONS: A version: Lydgate, Dance of Death (Selden); B version: Lydgate, Dance of Death (Lansdowne); CT: Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, ed. Benson; D: Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Douce 322 (SC 21896); DMF: Dictionnaire du Moyen Français (1330–1500); DOST: Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue; FP: Lydgate, Fall of Princes, ed. Bergen; Gray: “Two Songs of Death,” ed. Gray; Hassell: Hassell, Middle French Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases; MED: Middle English Dictionary; ODNB: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; OED: Oxford English Dictionary; Whiting: Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases.
19 Like the exawmple wiche that at Parys. Lydgate compares his English translation with its French original. This is an earlier French version of the Danse macabre, with accompanying images, that was painted in the early fifteenth century along the walls of the charnel houses that formed the boundaries of the Cemetery of the Innocents in Paris (see Introduction, pp. 5, 17). A contemporary eyewitness, Gilbert de Mets, describes the cemetery as it appeared circa 1430:
La sont engigneusement entailliés de pierre les ymages des trois vifz et trois mors. La est ung cimitiere moult grant enclos de maisons appellés charniers. La ou les os des mors sont entassés, illec sont paintures notables de la dance macabre et autres avec escriptures pour esmouvoir les gens a devotion.
In this place there is skilfully sculpted in stone the images of the three living and the three dead. There is a very large cemetery there surrounded by buildings called charnel-houses where the bones of the dead are piled up; there are notable paintings there of the Danse Macabre with writings to move people to devotion. (Guillebert de Mets, Description de la ville de Paris 1434, ed. and trans. Mullally, pp. 94–95).
Lydgate, already an established poet and translator by the 1420s, would have encountered this scene when he arrived in Paris in 1426 during the regency ofJohn, Duke of Bedford. He therefore positions himself not only as a translator, but as an eyewitness to the most widely known instantiation of the danse macabre at that time.
35 Daunce at Seint Innocentis. Even more than the previous reference to “Parys” (line 19), this line identifies Lydgate’s source as the St. Innocents Danse.
49 this mirrour. The idea of a text, especially a didactic one, as ‘mirror’ or reflection is common in medieval religion; see, for example, Nicholas Love’s Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ, the Mirror for Simple Souls, the Mirror for Holy Church, etc. The notion of a spiritual or religious mirror combines the idea of a reflection on the world as it is with a more aspirational model for good spiritual conduct and self-evaluation. See also lines 632–40 for the image of Death as a mirror to mankind.
59 like as Petir had the soverenité. The apostle Peter is traditionally regarded as the first Bishop of Rome, or Pope, on the basis of Christ’s words to him in Matthew 16:18: “And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Subsequent popes are said to inherit Peter’s authority over the Church (see B version, line 19).
75 golde your appil round. The golden apple here recalls the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil consumed by Adam and Eve in Eden, as recounted in Genesis 3 as well as the golden orb used to represent imperial power from the Roman era onward. The orb is most often depicted surmounted by a cross. When it is depicted this way, it is called the globus cruciger. Many Christian rulers are portrayed holding the orb and cross as a symbol of their imperial authority, including the figure of the Emperor in the 1485 Guyot Marchant printing of the French Danse and the Kaiser in the 1488 Heidelberger Totentanz.
85 A simple shete — ther is no more to seyne —. Death informs the Emperor that he will be buried in a simple shroud, or winding sheet, a dramatic contrast to the riches and treasure associated with the Emperor in life. In illustrations to the early printed editions of the French Danse macabre, the skeletons (i.e., the speakers identified as “le mort” in the text) are often draped in tattered shrouds. In addition, those viewing the Dance in the Pardon Churchyard at St. Paul’s in London, or its French analogue at the Holy Innocents in Paris, would have likely had opportunity to see the interment of bodies wrapped in such sheets and witness firsthand the leveling and anonymizing effects of this common form of burial.
94 Youre hatte of reed. Cardinals wear a distinctive wide-brimmed red hat, known as a gallero, that indicates their high rank within the Church (the College of Cardinals is second in authority only to the Pope himself, a hierarchy that is reflected in the order in which the speakers appear in this poem). The tradition of cardinals wearing a red gallero was established by Pope Innocent IV at the First Council of Lyon in 1245.
112 Shal bere with hym but a sengle shete. By emphasizing that the King will be buried with a simple shroud, Death reminds the King, like the Emperor before him, that he cannot bring his earthly goods into the afterlife.
121 Sir Patriarke. The concept of the patriarch, a cleric assuming the highest position of leadership within ecclesiastical hierarchy, goes all the way back to the Code of Justinian, a collection of works on canon law issued between 529 and 534 CE. The Code (Novellas 123 and 131) stipulated that Christendom be divided into five patriarchates — the Sees of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. These were known collectively as the Pentarchy (for the head and four limbs of the body of the Church) and arranged in respective hierarchical order. This organizational schema was officially confirmed at the Council of Trullo of 692, though this order was occasionally disputed over the centuries. Thus, although he is traditionally termed “Pope,” the head cleric of the See of Rome is one of the original patriarchs, and the other Sees retain the title “Patriarch” for their head clerics. The East-West or Great Schism of 1054 separated the See of Rome from the other four Sees, producing the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches (see further “Patriarch and Patriarchate” in The Catholic Encyclopedia). As the “double crosse” at line 123 makes clear, the Patriarch mentioned here is associated with the Eastern Orthodox Church and is, most likely, from the See of Constantinople. The Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos visited Western Europe, including a visit to the court of Charles VI in France and a trip to England in the winter of 1400–01 during which he was received by Henry IV at Eltham Palace. Although Matthew I, who was then Patriarch of Constantinople, remained behind (and was in fact temporarily deposed during Manuel’s absence), the visit would have been a chance for the English and French alike to become more familiar with Orthodox Christianity. That said, Marchant’s editions of the Danse macabre depicts the Patriarch as a Catholic bishop, without the distinctive beard and garb of an Eastern Orthodox cleric.
123 Youre double crosse of gold and stones clere. The double cross is a variant of the Christian cross in which a smaller cross-bar is placed above the main bar to represent the plaque nailed to Christ’s cross, and, sometimes, an additional diagonal cross-bar towards the bottom, symbolizing the foothold for Christ’s feet. It is typically associated, as in this case, with the Orthodox Church.
127 Trustith nevere that ye shal pope be. The East-West or Great Schism of 1054 saw the division of the Pentarchy (see note to line 121 above) into the Western Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. Subsequent attempts at healing the schism were unsuccessful but raised anew in the 1420s and 1430s as a potential unification strategy before the rise of the Ottoman Empire. These discussions culminated in the Seventeenth Ecumenical Council at Basel convoked in 1431; moved to Ferrara in 1438 and to Florence in 1445, the council achieved a preliminary consensus in unifying the two Churches on the condition that the Eastern Orthodox Churches recognize the primacy of the See of Rome. The agreement immediately faltered due to widespread public opposition on the part of Eastern Orthodox monks and clerics. Thus, for informed mid-fifteenth century audiences, Death’s phrase would be a particularly mocking dig at these failed discussions. See further Geanakoplos, Constantinople and the West, esp. pp. 224–54, and Jonathan Harris, The End of Byzantium.
128 foly hope deceiveth many a man. Proverbial. See Whiting H461.
138 my maister Sir Constable. The MED defines “constable” as the chief executive of a leader, including that of a king or other ruler. This seems to be the sense in which it is being used here, given that the Constable is the first secular figure to appear in the danse following the emperor and the king, suggesting that he ranks above other prominent laymen like the Burgess; the figure is used in the same sense in the French Danse macabre. See Oosterwijk, “Of Corpses, Constables and Kings” for the political importance of including this figure in the text, given the ongoing Anglo-French conflict.
139 Charlemayne. Charlemagne (742/748–814 CE), king of the Franks who consolidated power and extended Frankish rule across Europe. In 800 he was crowned emperor by Pope Leo III in Rome. He was also one of the medieval “nine worthies,” the group of three pagan (Hector, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar), three Jewish (Joshua, David, Judas Maccabeus), and three Christian (Arthur, Charlemagne, Godfrey of Bouillon) leaders seen to embody the ideals of chivalry and moral virtue.
176 o man brekith that anothir made. Proverbial. See Whiting M259.
184 Undre hevene in erthe is nothing stable. Proverbial. See Whiting N154.
Before 185 Lady of Grete Astate. This is a new character, who does not appear in either the original French Danse macabre or in the B version.
204 goodes of nature. Goods provided by nature, such as crops; may also include livestock, the elements, minerals, and physical gifts.
215 He that al withhalt. Lydgate’s odd introduction of a “he” (God?) into the stanza probably has to do with the difficult syntax of his source: “Le monde aussi peu me conforte, / Qui tout a la fin desherite; / Il retient tout: nul riens n’emporte” (see French Danse macabre, lines 163–65), in which “il” refers back to “le monde,” a masculine noun. Thus, in modern English, the lines read: “I can get little comfort too from the world, / Which ultimately dispossesses everyone. / It keeps all; no one makes off with anything.” In Lydgate’s defense, the gendering of French nouns can make pronouns extremely tricky in long clauses.
249 Abbesse. This is a new character, who does not appear in the original French Danse macabre; she corresponds to B version’s Abbatissa (before line 193).
265 Sir Bailly. A bailiff, or bailly, is “an official of the English crown with delegated administrative or judicial authority; the king’s officer in a county, hundred, or town; the keeper of a royal castle, gate, or forest” (MED baillif). The name of the Host in the CT, Harry Bailly, also presumably derives from this occupation.
288 And al shal die for an appil round. This refers to the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, consumed by Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. A similar image appears in line 75 in the description of the Emperor.
296 Who lyveth aright mote nedis dye wele. Proverbial. See Whiting L408.
297 Sir Burgeis. The MED (burgeis) defines a burgess as “a freeman of a town, a citizen with full rights and privileges; also, an inhabitant of a town; — usually used of city merchants and master craftsmen in the guilds.” His appearance here reflects the specifically urban context of the danse macabre.
313 Sir Chanoun, with many grete prebende. A canon is a clergyman serving at a church or cathedral (MED canoun [n.2]), such as St. Paul’s or the church associated with the Cemetery of the Holy Innocents in Paris. A prebend is “an estate or portion of land belonging to a cathedral or collegiate church, the revenues from which are used as the stipend of a canon or member of the chapter; also, the tenure of such an estate” (MED prebende).
321 My benefices with many a personage. In the Middle Ages, the Church obtained major revenue through rents and other profits gained from donations or bequests, such as land willed to the church. Benefice holders within the church would receive a portion of the income derived from these assets in exchange for performing their duties. A parsonage might refer to either a dwelling for such a cleric, or the benefits of his office more broadly (MED personage [n.2]). In theory, a cleric could only hold a single benefice at one time, but the system was easily exploited. It appears Lydgate’s canon is one of many who obtained special dispensation to collect the revenues of multiple benefices.
325 Amys of grys. An amice is a cloth, usually white, with two ribbons going over the shoulders, that is draped over a priest’s vestments during Mass.
326 Surplys. Lydgate appears to be punning on the term “surplice,” a clerical vestment, used in his source (compare Danse macabre, l. 259) and “surplus” in the sense of “additional income” (see MED, surplus, sense 2).
347 Sir Chartereux. A Chartereux is monk of the Carthusian order. Founded at La Grande Chartreuse near Grenoble in 1084, the order was noted (as Death’s response here indicates) for its asceticism. The Carthusian appears in the French text as well, and there were Carthusian houses in both London and Paris in the early fifteenth century.
361 Sir Sergant with youre statly mace. A sergeant is a serving man or attendant (MED sergeaunt [n.1]), but more specifically “an officer of a city, the royal household, etc. usually charged with collecting debts and arresting offenders” or an equivalent officer in a court of justice (sense 3). The mace he carries is a ceremonial club and a mark of his office.
374 And may not flee, though I hadde it sworn. In a poetic reversal of fortune, the Sergeant finds himself on the wrong side of the law, “arrested” by Death. Death will not release him despite his willingness to swear that he will appear as expected for future legal proceedings, which is equivalent to being released on bond in contemporary U.S. and Canadian legal systems. Given the Sergeant’s haughty attitude in the previous stanza, he seems unlikely to have extended this clemency to offenders in his jurisdiction.
377 Sir Monke also, with youre blak habite. Members of the Benedictine Order, one of the largest monastic orders in medieval Europe, were distinguished by their black habits and were sometimes known simply as black monks (compare this with line 580 (1:16) of the English translation of Guillaume Deguileville’s Pilgrimage of the Life of Man, attributed to Lydgate, which describes “monkys greyë, whyte, and blake”). As a monk of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, John Lydgate himself was a member of this order. The Monk appears in the French Danse as well, but without reference to the color of his habit — this detail, perhaps a personal one, is added by Lydgate.
393 Thou Usurer. Usury, the lending of money at interest, was necessary to the growth of a capitalistic system, but was forbidden to medieval Christians; Jews, however, were not under similar religious proscriptions. Because of this, negative attitudes toward usury (such as those presented here) often coincide with expressions of anti-Semitism, although Lydgate does not specify the religion of the usurer in his poem. See Le Goff, Your Money or Your Life. The non-believer, whether Jew or Muslim, is often depicted as a blind man, as in line 406.
417–18 on youre uryne . . . stare agein the sonne. Examination of urine, by holding it up to light, was a common diagnostic technique in medieval medicine. Some medical manuscripts contain illustrations of urine in a range of colors, with accompanying explanations of what medical conditions the hues indicate, to aid in diagnosis. In the Heidelberger Totentanz, Marchant’s Danse macabre, and Hans Holbein’s woodcuts, the physician is shown gazing at a flask of urine. Chaucer’s Physician, in the Ellesmere manuscript drawing, also examines a flask of urine.
424 Good leche is he that can himsilfe recure. Proverbial. See Whiting L170.
429 To finde oute agens pestilence. “Pestilence” often refers to the bubonic plague or Black Death, which swept across Europe in the fourteenth century. It arrived in 1348 in England, where it killed as much as half the population. The scale of its impact and rapidity with which it advanced (many victims died within a few days of falling ill) naturally led to a disruption of normal customs surrounding death, funerals, and burial. Scholars have traditionally seen the danse macabre as a response to the Black Death, but Elina Gertsman challenges this assumption; she ties the tradition instead to preoccupations with death and the afterlife arising out of generalized anxieties over spiritual life engendered by the ecclesiastical crisis of the Western Schism (1378–1416), whereby the papacy moved from its seat in Rome to Avignon (Gertsman, Dance of Death in the Middle Ages, pp. 42–44).
448 windes grete gon doun with litil reyn. Proverbial. See Whiting R15. The sense is that Death, like a bit of rain, can stop even the great winds of life.
Before 449 Gentilwomman Amerous. This is a new character, who does not appear in the original French Danse macabre; she corresponds to B version’s Generosa (before line 353).
451 As faire as yee was somtyme Polycene. Polyxena, in myth, was the daughter of King Priam of Troy and his queen, Hecuba. She does not appear in Homer’s Iliad but in other sources is depicted as accompanying her brother Troilus when he is ambushed and killed by the Greek warrior Achilles. Achilles was later killed by two of Polyxena’s other brothers, and, according to the Greek playwright Euripides, at the end of the Trojan War Achilles’ ghost demanded Polyxena’s sacrifice in exchange for fair winds for the returning Greek ships. For a modern edition and translation, see Euripedes, Hecuba, ed. Kovacs. This version of the story also appears in section 33 of Boccaccio’s De mulieribus claris (see Boccaccio, Famous Women, trans. Brown, pp. 132–33).
452 Penolope, and the quene Eleyne. Penelope was the wife of Odysseus and mother of Telemachus. In Homer’s Odyssey, she spends twenty years faithfully awaiting her spouse’s return from war, deferring the attentions of numerous suitors, until she reunites with Odysseus. She is considered a model of fidelity and prudence. Helen was the beautiful Greek woman, the wife of Menelaus, whose abduction by the Trojan prince Paris instigated the Trojan war.
453 Yit on this daunce thei wente bothe tweine. Although this reading is consistent across manuscripts, there is a contradiction between the three women (Polyxena, Penelope, and Helen) to whom the Gentlewoman Amorous (equivalent to the Generosa, or Rich Woman, in the B text) is compared and “both tweine,” which clearly refers to two figures.
465 Sir Advocate. An advocate is a professional pleader in courts of law, e.g., an attorney; compare with Chaucer’s Man of Law. Compare also the Explanatory Note to line 383 of the French Danse macabre for a discussion of the verbal play in this line, which Lydgate maintains in his English translation.
Before 481 Jourrour. In medieval England, jurors were required to hold property, meaning that the speaker’s identification here as a juror reflects on his socio-economic class as well as on his legal responsibilities. This is a new character, who does not appear in the original French Danse macabre; he corresponds to B version’s Jurour (before line 417).
513 Maister John Rikele, sometyme Tregetour. This is the only instance in the poem in which Lydgate appears to refer to a real historical personage. It is also the only reference to this John Rikele, and his apparent role of court magician in the court of Henry V, in the historical record. As Sophie Oosterwijk notes, “it is usually assumed that the inclusion of the ‘some tyme tregetowre’ Rikelle in Lydgate’s poem means that he was already dead, but nobody of that name has so far been identified in the accounts of Henry V” (“Dance, Dialogue and Duality,” p. 37). This is a new character who does not appear in the original French Danse macabre or in the later B version.
521 What may availe magik natural. “Magik natural” refers to sorcery or divination designed to manipulate the forces of the natural world, such as planetary influence (as opposed to calling on supernatural forces such as demons).
529 Sir Curat. A curate is a parish priest, directly responsible for the spiritual welfare of his parishioners. Unlike the idealized Parson in the CT, the Curate appears to display the same greed and self-interest that mark most of the ecclesiastical figures in this poem.
536 to eche labour dewe is the salarie. An allusion to 1 Corinthians 3:8: “Now that he planteth, and he that watereth, are one. And every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labour.”
543 And for my shepe make a just rekenyng. The sheep are the people in the care of the Parson. See Matthew 18:12–14, Luke 15:3–7, and John 10:1–18, as well as John 21:17, when Jesus says to Peter, “feed my sheep.” Compare with Chaucer’s description of the virtuous Parson in the General Prologue to the CT I(A) 496–506.
561 Sir Cordeler. A cordeler is a Franciscan friar, so called for their practice of wearing a cord as a belt, in imitation of the order’s founder, St. Francis of Assisi.
574 nothing . . . that may fro Dethe defende. Proverbial. See Whiting D78.
584 Who lengest lyveth moost shal suffre woo. Proverbial. See Whiting L407.
596 Of benefices or some greet prebende. See note to line 313 above.
Before 601 Clerke. This character does not appear in the B version of the Dance of Death.
609 Ye that have lived longe in wildernesse. The Hermit, who has voluntarily left society to practice religious devotion, and the Child (see lines 577–92), who has not had time to be integrated into society, are the only two speakers who willingly accompany Death on his dance.
624 No man is riche that lackith suffisaunce. Proverbial. For an inversion, see Whiting S867.
Before 633 The Kyng ligging dead and eten of wormes. This stanza breaks the dialogic form of the preceding section of the poem. A similar stanza, with analogous heading, appears in Lydgate’s French source (Danse macabre, lines 519–26). Although the speaker is identified as a king, he also presents himself as a model for all estates, reinforcing the hierarchical structure of the poem.
633 Ye folke that lokyn upon this portrature. “Portrature” can refer to verbal or pictorial representation, but, in this case, it is evidently something that apparently directs readers to contemplate the accompanying images. This is an intriguing choice on Lydgate’s part, since none of the early manuscripts of Lydgate’s Danse include pictures, although the same injunction to look at the “pourtraiture” occurs in the French Danse at line 519. Interestingly, the B version replaces “portrature” with “scripture” (line 561), although it was this version that was painted at St. Paul’s Cathedral (see Introduction, pp. 16–18).
640 wormes food. Proverbial. See Whiting W675.
666 Not worde by worde but folwyng the substaunce. This commonplace discussion of best translation practices goes back to St. Jerome’s meditations on his work in translating the Latin Vulgate text of the Bible from its original Hebrew, which itself has precursors, as Rita Copeland argues, in Late Antique discussions of grammar and rhetoric by figures such as Cicero. See her Rhetoric, Hermeneutics, pp. 42–55.
669 Rude of langage (I was not born in Fraunce). Lydgate here takes a performative and conventional position of humility, making claims for the insufficiency or roughness of his work. Lydgate knew French (he made numerous translations from French beyond the Danse macabre), but here he contrasts the French of England with the higher-prestige French of France. Lydgate’s self-deprecating assessment of his Anglo-French recalls Chaucer’s caustic remarks about the Prioress in the General Prologue to the CT: “And Frenssh she spak ful faire and fetisly, / After the scole of Stratford atte Bowe, / For Frenssh of Parys was to hire unknowe” (CT I[A] 124–26). This is also a well-known posture of late medieval English writers seeking to emulate their French contemporaries: Chaucer similarly lamented his own lack of “suffisaunce” in treating the French poetic subject of the daisy in lines 66–67 of the F version of the Prologue to the Legend of Good Women (c. 1385–86), while Gower asks to be excused for his lack of “faconde” or “eloquence” in French due to his Englishness in the final lines (XVIII.24, trans. Yeager) of his Traitié pour essampler les amantz mariez (early 1390s).
672 Her corious metris in Englisshe to translate. “Meters” in this instance should be taken in the broad sense of ‘verses’ or ‘poems’, a usage typical of the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, especially in Lydgate. The MED defines “corious” as “carefully, skillfully, artistically, or elaborately designed or made; artistic, exquisite, fine; costly, sumptuous” (sense 2). Like Lydgate’s claim to be “rude of language,” this phrase is another example of a humility topos, often deployed with regard to translation in this period, as there is nothing especially “corious” about Lydgate’s source from the perspective of prosody. Written in octosyllabic eight-line stanzas and ababbcbc rhyme, the Danse is typical of French poetry produced in the first half of the fifteenth century (for a good overview, see Laidlaw, “The Cent Balades”). If anything, Lydgate’s ability to maintain his source’s rhyme scheme and stanza length, albeit with a longer, decasyllabic line, testifies to his own “corious metre.” Compare Chaucer’s Complaint of Venus, in which he laments that “rym in Englissh hath such skarsete, / To folowe word by word the curiosite / Of Graunson, flour of hem that make in Fraunce” (lines 80–82: rhyme in English is so insufficient / to translate word by word the elegance / of [Othon de] Granson, chief of those who write poetry in France); notice Chaucer’s use of “curiosite” in line 81.
John Lydgate, Dance of Death: A Version (Selden): TEXTUAL NOTES
This version of the Dance of Death survives in nine manuscripts: Rome, Venerable English College MS 1405; New Haven, Beinecke Library MS 493; Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Selden Supra 53 (SC 3441); Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Laud Misc. 735 (SC 1504); Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Bodley 221 (SC 27627); London, British Library MS Harley 116; Coventry, Coventry Archives Acc. 325/1; San Marino, Huntington Library MS EL 26 A 13; and Cambridge, Trinity College MS R.3.21. It is also the version of the poem appended to Tottel’s 1554 edition of Lydgate’s Fall of Princes (STC 3177).
Bodleian Library MS Selden Supra 53 is the base text for our edition. It has been collated with Florence Warren’s critical edition for the Early English Text Society, which takes as its base text the closely related but later manuscript Huntington Library MS EL 26 A 13. Readers are referred to the critical apparatus of the EETS edition for further information on the source of these variants. We have also noted variants found in the Beinecke, Rome (AVCAU), and Coventry manuscripts of the poem, since these were unknown to Warren and are not included in her edition.
Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Selden Supra 53, fols. 148r–58v
Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 221, fols. 53v–62r
Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Laud misc. 735, fols. 52r–61r
Cambridge, Trinity College, MS R.3.21, fols. 278v–84r
London, British Library, MS Harley 116, fols. 129r–40v
Coventry, Coventry Archives, Acc. 325/1, fols. 70rb–74vb
San Marino, Huntington Library, MS EL 26.A.13, fols. 1r–12v
Rome, English College, AVCAU MS 1405, fols. 111r–21r (82 stanzas only, omits 7 and 52)
New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Library, MS 493, fols. 51v–60v
EARLY PRINT EDITION:
Lydgate, John. The fall of prynces. Gathered by John Bochas, fro[m] the begynnyng of the world vntyll his time, translated into English by John Lidgate monke of Burye Wherunto is added the fall of al such as since that time were notable in Englande: diligently collected out of the chronicles. Londini: in aedibus Johannis Waylandi, cum priuilegio per sepatennium, [1554?], Appendix. [STC 3177]
Hammond, Eleanor Prescott, ed. “The Dance Macabre.” English Verse between Chaucer and Surrey: Being Examples of Conventional Secular Poetry, Exclusive of Romance, Ballad, Lyric, and Drama, in the Period from Henry the Fourth to Henry the Eighth. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1927. Pp. 131–42.
Warren, Florence, and Beatrice White, eds. “The Daunce of Death.” In The Dance of Death, Edited from MSS. Ellesmere 26/A.13 and B.M. Lansdowne 699, Collated with the Other Extant MSS. EETS o.s. 181. London: Oxford University Press, 1931; Rpt. New York: Klaus Reprint Co., 1971. Pp. 1–77.
ABBREVIATIONS: A1: London, British Library Additional 37049 fols. 31v–32r (basis for “Dawnce of Makabre”); A2: London, British Library Additional 15225, fols. 15r–16r (basis for “Shaking of the Sheets”); BD: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Advocates’ 1.1.6 (Bannatyne MS Draft), pp. 43r–44r; BM: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Advocates’ 1.1.6 (Bannatyne MS Main), fols. 56r–57r (basis for “Resoning betuix Death and Man”); Brown: Religious Lyrics of the XVth Century, ed. Brown, p. 241; Brunner: “Mittelenglische Todesgedichte,” ed. Brunner, pp. 27–28, 30; C: Cambridge, Cambridge University Library Ff.5.45, fols. 13r–14r; Cov: Coventry, Coventry Archives Acc. 325/1, fols. 70rb–74vb; Cutler: Cutler, John L. “A Middle English Acrostic,” p. 88; D: Oxford, Bodleian Library Douce 322 (SC 21896), fols. 19vb–20ra (basis for “Death’s Warning to the World”); Doty: “An Edition of British Museum MS Additional 37049: a Religious Miscellany,” ed. Doty, pp. 206–11; Dufour: La dance macabre peinte sous les charniers des Saints Innocents de Paris, ed. Dufour; F: Bibliothèque nationale de France fonds français 14989, fols. 1r–12v (basis for French Danse macabre); Fein: The Danse Macabre Printed by Guyot Marchant, ed. Fein; Furnivall: “Of Þre Messagers of Deeth,” ed. Furnivall, 2:443–48; H1: London, British Library Harley 1706, fols. 19v–20r; H2: London, British Library, Harley 116, fols. 128r–v (basis for “A Mirror for Young Ladies at their Toilet”); Horstmann: “Nachträge zu den Legenden 5: The Messengers of Death,” ed. Horstmann, pp. on 432–34; L: British Library MS Lansdowne 669, fols. 41v–50v (basis for Lydgate, Dance of Death, B version), fols. 41v–50v; Lincy: “La danse macabre reproduite textuellement d’apres l’unique exemplaire connu de l’édition princeps de Guyot Marchant,” ed. Le Roux de Lincy, pp. 291–317; N: New Haven, Beinecke Library MS 493, fols. 51v–60v; P: Cambridge, Magdalene College, Pepys Library, Pepys Ballads 2.62; R: Oxford, Bodleian Library 4o Rawl. 566 (203); RV: Rome, Venerable English College (AVCAU) MS 1405, fols. 111r–21r; S: Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Selden Supra 53, fols. 148r–58v (basis for Lydgate, Dance of Death, A version); Saugnieux: “La danse macabre française de Guyot Marchant (1486),” ed. Saugnieux, pp. 143–64; Silverstein: “Cest le Myrroure pur les Iofenes Dames,” ed. Silverstein, pp. 121–22; Sim: London, British Library Addit. 22283 [Simeon MS], fols. 88vb–89ra; V: Oxford, Bodleian Library Eng. poet. a.1 (SC 3938) [Vernon MS], fols. 297vc–98rb (basis for “Three Messengers of Death”); Warren: The Dance of Death, ed. Warren and White; W1: Oxford, Bodleian Library Wood 401 (60) (Wing H2013A); W2: Oxford, Bodleian Library Wood 402 (48) (Wing H2013B).
Incipit Verba translatoris. All speaker markers in S are written in red. In RV this heading appears at line 17.
2 the. RV: this.
have. RV: yeue.
5 se. Cov: seene.
aforn. RV: afore; Warren: aforne.
6 Of. Cov: O.
ben. So Warren. Cov: art; S, RV: be.
8 yong and olde. RV: olde and younge.
lowe and hy. RV: high nor low.
9 not. Cov: nothir.
lowe ne hy. RV: hie and low.
10 Popes. N: Pepes.
emperours. N: emprours.
11 thei. RV: thay.
in felicité. RV: in thaire felicite.
12 fresshnes of her flours. Cov: fressheness of her flouris.
13 The. Warren: ther.
clipsen with his shours. Cov: clipsinge with her shoures.
14 Make. Cov: Maken.
her. Warren: theire.
17–25 Considerith this . . . . Machabres Daunce. In RV and in Huntington Library MS EL26 A 13 (the base text for Warren), this stanza is marked verba translatoris.
Considerith this. Cov: Considereith; RV: Consideryng this.
ben. So Warren. Cov, N, S: be.
18 enprentith. RV: emprenteth.
19 the exawmple. So Warren. Cov: to þe ensaumple; S, N: thensaumple.
20 in. RV: vpon; Warren: on.
21 notably. Cov: notable; Warren: notabely.
22 takyng. Cov: taken.
23 translatyn. Cov: translate.
24 Machabres. Warren: Macabrees.
25 whos. N: what.
avys. Cov: avice; RV: advis.
atte the leste. Cov, W: atte leste; RV: at the leste.
26 Thorugh. Cov: Through; N: Thurght; RV: Thurgh; N: Thurh.
her2. RV: thaire.
steryng. Cov: strength.
27 her. RV: thaire.
28 playn. W: pleyne.
30 that ben. So Cov, Warren. N, S: þat be; RV: ben.
31 toforn. So Cov, RV, Warren. N: to fer; S: tofor.
in. Cov: ne.
32 Her. RV: Theire.
cleerly. Cov: clerkli; RV: clerely.
33 By. Cov: Bi her; RV: By this.
exaumple. RV: ensample.
her. RV: thaire.
34 her. RV: thaire.
36 Portreied. N: portreyd.
surplusage. So Cov, RV, Warren. S, N: surpluage.
38 Yeven. So Warren. Cov, RV: youen; N: yove; S: ʒove.
lyves. Cov: lifis.
39 declare. RV: deliuer.
40 wille. So RV, Warren. Cov, S: wole. N: woll.
41 ben. N, S: be.
42 desiring. Cov: deservinge.
wiche is. Cov: whiche; RV: whiche that is.
43 se. Warren: sene.
46 shul. Warren: schulle. Cov, RV: shal.
48 ne2. RV: nor.
49–56 This stanza is absent in RV.
50 goo. Cov: gone
51 toforn. Cov: to fore.
53 eche. Cov: euery.
lowly. Cov: loweli; Warren: lowely.
54 not. Cov: noþere.
royal. Cov: riall.
55 Eche. Cov: euerie.
56 o. N: a.
Before 57 Deeth to the Pope. Cov, Warren, RV, and S all include speaker markers. Cov, S, and W all follow the same format throughout, e.g. “Dethe to the Pope” and “The Pope” (although the word “pope” has been expunged from Cov by a later reader in both speaker markers, as well as at line 10); in RV the speaker markers give the identity of the speaker only in the response stanza, as in line 73: Dethe and line 81: The Emperour.
57 O yee. Cov, N: Ye.
ben. So RV, Warren. Cov, N, S: be.
dignité. Cov: degree.
58 alle estatis. N: astates.
59 soverenité. Cov, RV: soverainte. Warren: soverente.
61 ye firste. Cov: ye; RV: firste.
64 of lordship. RV: lordship.
honour. Warren: honowre.
65 First. Cov: Frist.
67 perillous. RV: perlious.
ho. RV: who.
68 dignité. Cov: dingnite.
69 al for. Warren, RV: for all.
70 other. N: oþer odyr.
71 honour. Warren: honoure.
who. Cov: he.
prudently. Warren: prudentely.
72 dothe. Warren: doth.
75 must. RV, Warren: most.
your. Cov: the.
77 Behinde. RV: behynde you.
ricchesse. Cov: your richesse.
79 Agein. Warren: Aʒens; Cov: Ayenst. N: Aʒen.
is worth. RV: worth is.
80 Adamis. RV, N: Adams; Cov, Warren: Adames.
mosten. So Cov, RV, Warren. N: must; S: moste.
81 not. So Warren. Cov, S: note.
may. RV: may me.
83 gein. Cov: gynne; RV: bote.
86 visage. Cov: my vesage.
87 Therupon sore I may compleine. RV: And thervpon I may me sore compleyn.
88 have. Cov: han.
litel. RV: so litel.
89 ben. So Cov, Warren. N, S: be; RV: been.
90 shewith. Cov, RV: semeth.
by. W: be.
91 shulle. Cov, RV: shal.
93 bileven. RV: ye leue; Warren: beleue.
95 rekenyd. Cov: I rekened.
yfere. N: I fere; RV: in fere.
96 honour. Warren: honowre.
98 ben. So Warren. Cov, S: bene; RV: be.
greetly. Cov: greteli; W: gretli.
99 Sithen. So Warren. Cov: sethen; S: seth; N, RV: sith.
100 That I shal nevere heraftir clothed be. This line omitted in RV.
101 ne. W: ner.
RV inserts an additional line after line 101, replacing its missing line 100. This inserted line reads: alle myn aray to leue behynde me.
102 My. RV: myn; Cov: myne.
103 lerned. So Warren. Cov: levid; N, S: lyved; RV: conceyued.
104 Howe that al. RV: That worldly.
107 somtyme had. RV: had somtyme.
enviroun. Warren: envroun.
109 al youre grete. RV: for all your.
hynes. Cov: hevinesse.
110 shul. Cov, RV: shal.
113 aforn. Cov, RV: afore.
114 in sooth. Cov: of sothe.
footyng. Cov: fote; N: foot.
116 or. Cov: ne.
118 Greet. RV: Bothe grete.
119 Who. So Cov, RV, Warren. S: ho; N: He.
he is. Cov: hym.
120 we. So RV, Warren. Cov, N, S: he.
asshes. Cov: asshen.
121 alle. RV: with al.
122 quite. Cov: quiteth.
ne. RV: for.
124 al youre dignité. Cov: youre dingnite.
127 shal. S: shulle; Warren: shul.
130 Have. So RV, Warren. S: han; Cov: hath.
131 ben. So RV, Warren. Cov, S: be.
to. Cov: into.
132 vailith it. RV: availleth.
suche. N: shull.
134 oute of. Cov: without.
136 berthen. Cov: berden; RV: birthen; Warren: burdoun.
hym. Cov: hem.
ofte. Cov: offten.
Before 137 Constable. RV: Knyght constable.
137 my right. RV: right.
to. Cov: you to.
reste. Cov: areste.
yow constreine. Cov: constrene.
138 Sir. W: sire.
Constable. Warren: Conestable.
139 strong. RV: strenger.
Charlemayne. Cov: Chalemain.
140 aforced. Cov, RV: enforced.
141 ne. Cov: and; RV: nor.
this is. RV: is.
142 armure. N: arm[ou]re.
plates. Cov: plate.
143 folkes. Cov: folke.
144 luste. So Cov, RV, Warren. S, N: lest.
Before 145 The Constable answerith. RV: knyght constable.
146 To assaille. RV: to haue assailed.
mighty forteresses. RV: forteresses. Cov: myghtilie to recesse; N: myghty to recesse.
147 unto. Cov: to.
148 seke. Cov: seche.
fame. So RV, Warren. Cov, N, S: and fame.
149 worldly. Warren, N: wordli.
prowesses. Cov, N, RV: prowesse.
151 him. N: hym hym.
sorwe. Cov, N, Warren: sorowe; RV: sorow.
swetnesses. Cov, RV: swetnesse; Warren: swetenesses.
152 agein. Cov: ayen; RV: ayenst; Warren: aʒeyne.
founded. Cov, N, S, Warren: founden; RV: founde.
153 yow. RV: so.
155 muste. RV, Warren: most.
to. RV: vnto.
156 contrarie. Cov: constreine.
were. So RV, Warren. Cov: neve; S: nere; N: ware.
not but. RV: but.
157 for day by day. Cov: ffro daie to daie.
is noon othir geyn. Cov: is nis noo noþer.
158 at. So RV, Warren. Cov: atte; S, N: at the.
159 mote. RV: moste.
agein. RV: ayene; Warren: aʒeyne.
160 counten. RV: compten.
her. RV: thaire.
161 woote. N: wate.
partie. N: p[ar]tis.
162 For drede of Dethe I have so grete distresse. Cov: Dethe hath in erþe noo ladie me maistresse.
163 ascape. Cov: escape.
167 chaumbres. Cov: chambir.
168 must. Warren: mote.
169 lordis. RV: ladyes.
barouns. Cov: barones.
170 Hav. Cov, S: han. RV: haue.
171 trumpetis. RV: trompette.
youre clariouns. Cov: clariones; N: youre clairons; RV: youre clarion.
174 daunce. Cov: dauncen.
176 o. N: a.
177 sithe. RV: tymes.
auctorised. N: aucorised.
179 thanke. N: thonke.
181 Ne. Cov: no.
182 court. Cov: courtes.
Before 185 Lady of Grete Astate. RV: Princesse.
186 muste. RV, Warren: most.
goo. Cov: gone.
187 Nowt. So Warren. Cov, S: not. RV: noght.
188 beauté. Cov: grete beaute.
greet plesaunce. Cov: plesaunce.
190 so many holde. RV: holde so many.
on. So Cov, RV, Warren. S: an.
192 Ye. So Cov, RV, Warren. S: þe.
mote. RV: most.
Before 193 The Lady answerith. RV identifies this speaker as princesse.
194 Deeth hath in erthe no lady ne maistresse. Cov: ffor drede of dethe I haue so grete distresse.
lady ne. N: lady no.
195 his. Cov: this.
muste. Cov: mot; RV, Warren: moste.
I. So RV, Warren. Cov, S: ye.
196 nys. RV: is.
contesse ne duchesse. Cov: duchesse ne Countesse.
197 beauté. So RV, Warren. Cov, N, S: bounte.
198 Deeth. RV: right.
mote. RV: moste.
199 youre. RV: our.
countirfeet. Cov, Warren: counterfete. RV: contrefete.
fresshnesse. Cov: fairnesse.
200 Owre. So Warren. Cov, S: youre.
rympled. RV: riveled.
age. Cov: face.
202 I ensure. Cov: I you ensure.
203 For al. RV: Alle.
205 the. N: ʒe.
gostli dredeful. So RV, Warren. Cov, S, N: dredly goostly.
207 acounte. RV: accompte.
shulle. Cov, RV: shal.
209 My. Cov: Myne.
is. Cov: nys.
nouther. RV: nothing; N: nowether.
210 tidinges. N: tithings.
ye bring. RV: ye me bringe.
211 festis. Cov, RV: feste is.
into. So Cov, Warren. RV, S: into a.
ferye. N: fayres.
212 list nothing syng. Cov: lust noo lenger sing.
syng. RV: to syng.
213 contrarie nowe. Cov: is contrarie.
to. So RV, Warren. Cov, S, N: unto.
me in. RV: my.
215 parting. Cov: departing.
216 And al. RV: Alle.
217 right fresshe of. Cov: fresshe in. RV: right fressh in.
222 wil. Cov: wol.
224 fro. Cov: from.
225 Sithen. RV: Sith.
that Dethe. RV: dethe.
his. N: þis.
226 pace. RV: passe.
227 adieu nowe. RV: adieu.
228 Adieu. Cov: Adewe nowe.
229 beuté. Cov: now.
solace. Cov: all solace.
231 Thinketh. Cov, RV: Thenke.
232 wote. N: wate.
234 abaisshed. N: abasshed is.
though. N: is þogh.
235 hede. So RV, Warren. Cov, N, S: hood.
236 mote. RV: moste.
237 Leveth. So RV, Warren. Cov, N, S: leve vp.
239 Who. Cov: he.
that is fattest. RV: is moste fatte.
have hym. Cov: have hit hym.
240 In his grave shal. RV: Shal in his graue.
putrefie. Cov: purify.
241 thretis. Cov: tretis.
have I. RV: I have.
242 nowe leve. N: leve now.
al. Cov: all þe.
245 nor. Cov: ne.
247 axe I. RV: I ask; N: aske I.
248 Though. Cov: For.
too late men. Cov: men to late.
hem avise. N: avyse.
249 lady gentil. Cov: gentil ladie.
250 mantels. Cov: mantelle.
251 Youre veile, youre wymple passinge of greet richesse. This line is inserted in the margin in N.
passinge of. Cov: of.
252 mote. RV: most.
leie. Warren: leyne.
aside. N: on syde.
253 shal. RV: moste.
255 provide. Cov: purveie.
256 man. RV: wight.
258 it not. Cov: nat.
262 to walke atte large. In Selden, this line breaks off after ful ofte and space is left for the remainder, along with absent lines 263 and 264, which are supplied here from Warren’s edition.
to. Cov, N: for to.
263 Thus cruel Dethe dothe al estates fyne. This line is omitted in N. Cov: To make þe worlde to me encline.
264 mote. RV: moste.
265 knowen. Cov: knowest; RV: know; Warren: knewe.
266 rightwisnes. Cov: of right wisnesse; RV: rightwisnesse.
267 must. RV, Warren: moste.
269 ben. So RV, Warren. Cov, S: be.
somonyd. Cov: somned; N: somenyd; RV: somond; Warren: sommened.
bit. Cov: bytte; RV: biddeth.
270 yelde. RV: yeue; Warren: ʒefe.
acountes. RV, Warren: accomptes.
wole. RV, W: wil.
272 owne. RV: oune.
273 this. RV: that.
274 whiche. So RV, Warren. Cov, N, S: suche.
aforne. So RV, Warren. Cov: a forme; N, S: a fourme.
tooke. Cov: take; Warren, RV, N: toke.
275 chaunge. Warren: chaunce.
276 list. Cov, RV: lust.
277 by. Cov, RV: for.
for. N: be.
278 rescuse. So Cov, RV, Warren. N, S: rescws.
by. RV: ne.
280 Agein. Cov: Ayenne; RV: Ayenst; Warren: Aʒen.
vaille. Cov, RV: availle.
281 loken. Cov: lokest.
282 instrumentis. RV, N: Instruments.
285 Sethen of. Cov, N, S: Sethen. RV: Sith that of; Warren: Sith of.
alle. So RV, Warren. Cov, S: and alle.
286 ferst. Cov: frist.
walke. Cov: walken.
287 dooth areste. RV: aresteth.
seith. Warren: seieth.
theologie. S: Thelogie.
289 or. RV: and.
291 serche oute no. Cov: serche oute ne; RV: seche no.
292 domefiynge. Cov: doome feynynge; RV: demonstring.
ne. Warren: nor.
293 Safe. Cov, RV: saue.
296 Who. Cov: He þat; RV: But who.
mote. RV: most.
298 aver. Cov: honour; N: haver; RV: haueur.
youre greet. Cov: greet.
299 straunge. N: stronge.
300 mote yow. Cov: mote; RV: moste you.
302 cam. N: com; RV: come.
303 bysynes. Cov: a besynes.
305 Certis. Cov: Sertes.
306 not. Cov: nat.
308 fordothe. RV: destroieth.
309 wys is. Cov: right wise is; N: is wise.
310 moot. RV: moste.
311 The worlde it lente. Cov: To the worlde is lent; N: þe worldus lente.
wille. So RV, Warren. Cov, N, S: mot.
recovere. Warren, RV: recure. Cov: rekeuere.
Before 313 Chanoun. RV: The Canon prebended.
313 many. RV: many a.
grete prebende. Cov: prebende.
316 For there. RV: There.
319 dilacioun. Cov: delacioun.
320 ay. RV: euer.
321 benefices. Cov: benefice.
a personage. So Cov, RV, Warren. N: personages; S: personage.
322 lite. RV: litel.
comforte. N: conforth.
323 of. N: on.
324 not. Cov: nat nowe.
325 Amys of grys. Cov: amyses of greie.
wille. So RV, Warren. Cov, S: wole.
agein. Cov, RV: ayen; Warren: aʒen.
328 shulde. Cov: sholde.
329 marchaunt. N: marchand.
mote. RV: moste.
330 ful many. So RV, Warren. Cov, N, S: many.
divers. RV: a divers.
333 mote. RV: moste.
yeve. RV: ye; N: ʒefe.
334 now. So RV, Warren. Cov, S: yow.
336 No more coveite. So Cov. In S, a superscript y is inserted between more and coveite. RV: Nomore covet; Warren: None more coueite; N: No more covytt.
than. Cov: I þan.
have. Cov: han.
338 my marchandise. In S, my is inserted in superscript. Cov, N: marchandise.
340 iles. Cov: londis.
341 My. Cov: mennes; RV, Warren: myn.
herte. Cov: hertis.
fret. Cov: freteth.
342 doth me. So W. Cov, N: me; RV: me dothe; S: doith me.
constreine. Cov: constreineth.
343 seie. RV: see.
344 enbraceth. RV: embraceth.
shal restreine. Cov: he restreineth.
345 Yeve. W: Gefe.
346 longe. Cov: of longe.
347 Chartereux. Cov: Chartereus.
and youresilfe. Cov: and your selue; N: ʒoursilf.
349 agein. RV: ayen; N, Warren: aʒen.
350 not. Cov: nat.
351 as in. Cov, RV: in.
353 the. RV: this.
354 my. RV: myn.
357 flesshly. Cov: flossheli.
359 from dampnacioun. RV: dampnacion.
360 bene. RV: men ben.
today. RV: this day.
shulle. RV, Cov: shal.
be. N: ben.
363 Not. Cov: nat; RV: Noght.
365 pele. Cov, RV: appele.
367 champioun. Cov: a champioun.
368 another. RV: dethe.
369 dare this Dethe. Cov: dare thus dethe; RV: durst thou sette.
370 That am. Cov: That.
371 west and este. RV, Warren: este and weste.
372 ful surquidous of. RV: with surquidous.
374 though I. N: y.
375 and. RV: or.
377 Sir Monke. Catchword ir monke appears in bottom right-hand corner of fol. 153v.
378 no. RV: not.
sojour. N: ʒour soiour.
379 is. RV: may.
that may yow here. RV: here you.
380 Agein. Cov: Ayen; N: Aʒen; RV: Ayenst; Warren: Aʒein.
for to do. So Warren. S: for to. Cov: to. RV: to doo.
381 mote acounte. RV: moste accompte.
382 have spent it. Cov: han spent it; RV: haue spendid.
in dede worde. RV: worde dede.
384 of nought. N: noʒt.
385 the. RV: my.
be. RV: to be.
388 vice. Cov: wise; Warren: vise.
389 dissolut. Cov, RV: desolate.
391 to. Cov: is to.
392 be. Warren: ben.
se. Warren: seen.
393 Thou. RV: O thou.
394 you. Cov, N: þu; RV: that.
thi. Cov, RV: thy.
396 thrust. Cov: therst; RV: thurst; N: thursse.
397 you. RV, Warren: thou; Cov, N: þu.
402 greet grevaunce. Cov, RV: greuance.
404 ne. Cov: and.
chevesaunce. Cov: cheveshance; RV: chevissance; Warren: cheuisshaunce.
405 thorugh. Cov: through; N: thrught; RV: thurgh; Warren: thrugh.
abit. RV: abideth; N: habit; Warren: abitte.
parveaunce. Cov: paruiance; RV, Warren: purviance.
406 look. RV: see.
407 happith. RV: it happeth.
408 have. Cov: han.
see. Warren: seen.
409–16 Usuré to God . . . . bihinde of dette. This stanza is omitted in RV. N misidentifies this stanza as Deth to þe poor man.
411 borwith. Cov: boroweth; N: borowith.
412 lent. Cov: leueth.
414 acountes. Warren: accomptes.
sette. Cov, Warren: fette.
416 N has rubric in margin apparently anticipating an additional stanza following poem’s usual dialogue format: The poor man aswerith.
man. N: man man.
417 on. RV: in.
418 agein. Cov, N: aʒen; RV: ayenst; Warren: aʒenne.
419 medicine. N: medcyne.
420 Al. RV: And alle.
422 Agein. Cov: Ayen; N: Aʒene; RV: ayenst; Warren: Aʒeyne.
423 have. Cov: han.
424 Good. Cov: A goode.
recure. Cov: cure.
425 agon. So RV, Warren. Cov, N, S: agoo.
427 also in. RV: in.
428 gete. Cov: geten.
thorugh. Cov: through; RV, Warren, N: thurgh.
429 agens. Cov: ayenst; RV: aenst; N, Warren: aʒens.
430 Preservatives. N: Preseruatykes.
432 Agens. Cov, RV: Ayenst; N: Aʒens.
Before 433 Amerous Squire. Cov: Þe Squier; RV: the Galant Squyer.
433 be. RV: ben.
gentil. Cov: so gentil.
amerous. Cov: so amerous.
434 grene. Cov: yonge.
435 free of herte. RV: free and of hert.
and eke desirous. So Cov, W. RV: desirous; N, S: eke desirous.
437 of visage. RV: visage.
438 asshes. Cov: asshen.
439 bewté. RV: youre beaute.
442 Agens. Cov, RV: Ayenst; N: Aʒens.
provide. Cov: purveie.
445 service. Cov: the service.
446 so fressh so wel besein. N: so flessh so well beseyn; RV: so wele and fressh beseyn.
447 agein. Cov, RV: ayen.
448 gon. So Cov, RV, Warren. S: goo; N: go.
Before 449 The Gentilwomman Amerous. Cov: þe Gentilwoman.
450 holde. Cov: ye holde.
451 Polycene. Cov: Pollicene; RV: Pollixene.
452 Penolope. N, RV, Warren: Penelope.
453 wente. Warren: wenten.
454 shulle. Cov, RV: shall.
youre. Warren: ʒow.
455–56 Though daunger longe . . . . chaunge of doubilnesse. Lines 455 and 456 are transposed in N. This error is corrected in the margin.
hath. RV: haue.
456 Arestid. RV: Arest.
459 hast. Cov: has.
yseide. Cov, N, RV: seid.
462 a man. RV: man.
to have. RV: have; W: to a.
463 fool. RV: fole.
sentement. RV: sentence.
464 assurid. Cov: ensured.
Before 465 the Man of Lawe. RV: the Advocate.
466 Ye. N: I ʒe.
highe Juge. RV: Iuge.
470 availe may. RV: may availle.
472 Tofore. RV: Before.
474 cannot. RV: can.
agein. Cov, RV: ayen; N: aʒen.
475 me kepe. Cov: kepe me.
ne. N: and; RV: nor.
478 Nothing. RV: man.
479 Ageins. Cov: Ayenst; N: Aʒens; RV: Ayen; Warren: Aʒeyne.
resistence. RV: no resistence.
480 quite. Cov: quiteth; RV: quyteth.
481 that at. Cov: that atte. N: þat.
assise. RV: assises.
482 atte. N: had.
doste. RV: diddest.
483 londe. Cov: londis; RV: land.
devise. RV: devises.
486 cowdest. RV: kewde.
folkes. Cov, Warren: folke.
487 lete. RV: lat.
488 thou canst. Cov: canst thou; Warren: thou cannest.
490 bellewedir. Cov: bellwethir; N: belwedur; RV: belwether.
was. Cov, RV: is.
491 Nought. Cov, N, RV, Warren: Not.
lowe and hie. Cov, RV: hie and low.
492 list. Cov, RV: lust.
493 And hange. Cov: And honge; RV: Hange.
respite. Cov: acquite.
494 lad. Cov, RV: ledde.
497 mynstral. RV: ministral.
canst. Warren: cannest.
498 do. Cov: done.
499 I shal anoone. RV: soone I shal. Warren: anoone I shal.
thee. N: þi.
500 other. N: oder.
goo. Cov: gone.
501 neither avoidaunce. Cov: noo voidaunce; Warren: nowther avoydaunce.
504 maister. Cov: þat maister.
shewe. RV: shal shew.
science. So Cov, RV, Warren. S: sentence.
505 newe. RV: new.
506 passingly. Cov: passinge.
508 sithes. RV: tymes.
509 to me is. Cov: is to me.
511 tarie. Cov: vary.
512 Ofte. RV: Ofte tyme.
of. RV: at.
513 Rikele. Cov: van rikell; RV: Rykel.
514 Harry. Cov, N: herry; RV: Henry.
Engelond. N: ynglong.
516 sleightes. N: slightnes.
517 must. RV, W: moste.
this. Cov: and this.
to undirstond. Cov: undirstond.
518 Nought. Cov: Nat.
519 nouther. RV: neith.
on. Cov: in.
ne. RV: and.
520 nought. Cov: nat; RV, Warren, N: not.
none. N: noo.
522 Or any. N: Of my.
524 of the hevene. RV: of heven.
al the influence. Cov: the influence.
525 Ageins. Cov, RV: Ayenst; N: Aʒens.
stonde at defence. Cov: stonden atte defence.
526 Legerdemeyn. N: Largerdemeyn.
528 Deth moo. Cov: dethe yitte moo; RV: dethe hath moo.
yit than. Cov, RV: than.
hath. Cov, RV: haue.
529 bene. Cov: art.
nowe here. RV: here; Warren: here now.
535 Like. Cov: Like to.
536 And. RV: As.
537 must. Cov: mot; RV: most; Warren: moste.
538 lifly. N: lufly; Cov: liffeli; RV: lyvely.
541 tithis and. RV: my tithe.
542 mote. RV: moste.
counte. Cov: account; RV: compte.
543 make. Cov: to make.
544 he is. Cov: hym.
545 Thou. RV: O thou.
546 lad. RV: ladde.
547 Thou. N: ʒow.
moste. Cov, N: must.
eke. RV: now.
548 if. Cov, RV: thogh.
550 oonly. Warren: wonli.
this from thee. Cov: for me the; RV: this the.
551 The. RV: ffro the.
that can so folke. Cov: that so folke; RV: that can folkes.
faile. N: failly.
552 fool. RV: foole.
553 wisshed. Cov: wesshid.
554 be that. Cov: be it.
have. Cov: han.
555 have. Cov: han.
leyn. Cov: leien.
556 reyn. Cov: in reine.
and. RV: to; Cov: I.
at. RV: at the; Cov, Warren: atte.
557 and2. RV: have.
558 Dolve. Cov: Delfe.
diched. Cov: dike; RV: dyked.
the carte. Cov, W: atte carte.
561–68 Sir Cordeler . . . . present and redy. Ink fading at bottom of fol. 156v.
561 myn. RV, Warren: my.
563 have. Cov: han.
itaught. RV: taught.
564 Howe that. RV: how.
am. N: may.
gastful. RV. gastly.
forto drede. Cov: in dede.
566 is ther. Cov: þer is.
ne. N: nor.
567 dare reste. Cov, RV: areste.
570 sureté. RV: seurte; Warren: seuerte.
571 Strengthe. Warren: strengh.
what so. RV: what.
572 Worldly. Warren: wordly.
574 fro. Cov, RV: from.
Before 577 the Childe. RV: the younge Childe.
borne. So RV, Warren. Cov: ibore; S: yborn.
579 must. RV, Warren: most.
here toforn. Cov: heretofore.
580 Be lad. Cov, RV: Be ledde.
fatal. Cov: sharper.
581 goo. Cov: gone.
on. Cov, RV: vpon; N: to.
582 in soth. Cov: for soth.
583 every. Cov: oueri.
584 moost. RV: moste.
585 o. RV: omitted; Warren: a.
I cannot. Cov: can I nat.
586 bore. Cov, RV: born.
587 be. Cov: ben.
wreke. RV: awreke.
588 list. Cov, RV: lust.
lenger. Cov: longer.
589 cam. RV: come.
590 no tale. Cov: tales.
591 wil. RV: wille.
Before 593 the Clerke. RV: The younge beneficed Clerk.
593 O ye Sir. Cov: O sir; RV: O ye.
594 or. Cov: on.
defende. Cov: to defende.
595 wende have. Cov: wend han; RV: haue.
unto. Cov: up onto.
596 benefices. RV: benefice.
or. Cov: of.
greet prebende. Cov: prebende.
597 hiest. RV: hie.
598 agens. Cov: ayens; N: aʒens; RV: ayenst.
600 ponissheth. RV: punysshet.
602 bettir. N: bett; Warren: bette.
603 no1. Warren: noon.
geyn. Cov: gynne.
ne. Cov: no.
bettir. Cov: lenger.
604 sure. RV: seure.
606 bene. RV: be.
611 Atte. So Cov, Warren. N, RV; S: At the.
mote. RV: most.
Signature in left margin: Thomas Holt.
613 agein. Cov: aʒenne; N: aʒen; Warren: aʒeyne.
is. RV: may be.
615 this. Cov: his.
616 this. RV: in this.
here is. RV: is.
618 agein. Cov: ayenne; N: aʒen; RV: ayenst; Warren: aʒeyne.
no respite. RV, Warren: respite noon.
619 our. RV: steven.
doth. RV: deth.
not. Cov: nat.
620 welcome be. Cov: welcome.
627 al his herte. RV: hert.
628 Seth. Cov: Sethen.
629 deserve. Cov: disserueth; RV: serue.
quit. Cov: quiteth.
630 To. RV: The.
632 sure to. RV: seure.
N has rubric: þ(e) armytt answerith.
Before 633 The Kyng ligging dead and eten of wormes. Cov: A kynge lienge deede and eten with wormes; RV: A kyng liggyn in his grave; N: þe kyng liggyng ded & eten with wormes.
633 folke. Cov: folkis.
portrature. Cov: portatrure.
634 the estates. So Cov, Warren. RV: estates; S: the states.
635 Seeth. Cov, RV: Sethe.
636 not. Cov: & nat.
638 I. So Cov, RV, Warren, N. S: ʒe.
kyng. RV: a king.
640 fyne. Cov: ende.
Before 641 Machabre the Doctour. RV: The wordes of the Doctour Machabre.
641 not. Cov: nat; Warren: nowght.
642 wiche. Cov: that.
643 whether. N: wedur.
he. Cov: ye.
645 Remembringe ay. Cov: remembreth.
bet. Cov, RV: better.
646 at the. Cov, Warren: atte.
647 shul. RV: shal.
648 that maketh in hevene. RV: in heuen that maketh.
651 helle none ne. So Cov, RV, Warren. S, N: hell none nor.
655 lyve wel. N: lyve.
take this. RV: take.
best. So Warren. Cov, RV, N: the best.
656 Is. Cov: It is.
shul. Cov: shullen.
pace. RV: passe.
Before 657 Lenvoye de Translator. RV: Verba Translatoris.
657 my lordis. RV: maisters.
maistres. RV: folkes.
659 myn. RV, N: my.
661 aske. So RV, Warren. N, Cov, S: axe.
662 goodly. RV: godely.
this. N: his.
663 to sowpouaile drede. Cov: subhope away drede; N: sowpowayle; RV: suppowel drede; Warren: soupewaile.
664 Benignely. So RV; Cov: Benyngli; Warren: Benyngneli.
665 drewe. Cov: drowe; RV: drow; Warren: drowe.
666 by. RV: for.
667 Engelonde. RV: England.
670 my name is John Lidgate. In Cov, the name of the author is omitted and a blank space is left.
Have. RV: Holde.
671 her. RV: thare.
672 Her. RV: thaire.
Explicit Here endith the Daunce of Deeth. N: Laus tibi sit christe etc Finis; RV: Explicit.