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Alysoun




Cuckoo Song

 

1 Sing, cuccu, nu! Sing, cuccu!

2 Sing, cuccu! Sing, cuccu, nu!

 

3 Sumer is icumen in;

4 Lhud{.e} sing, cuccu!

5Groweth sed, and bloweth med,

6 And springth the wud{.e} nu.

7 Sing, cuccu!

 

8 Aw{.e} bleteth after lomb,

9 Lhouth after calv{.e} cu;

10Bulluc sterteth, buck{.e} verteth;

11 Muri{.e} sing, cuccu!

 

12 Cuccu! cuccu!

13 Wel sing{.e}s thu, cuccu;

14 Ne swik thu naver nu.

Online text copyright © 2005, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: British Library Manuscript Harley 978, for which see A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts (London: G. Eyre and A. Strahan, 1808-1812). Z 6621 .B85 H3 1808 Institute of Medieval Studies Library
First publication date: 1240
RPO poem editor: William Hall Clawson, N. J. Endicott
RP edition: 2RP.1.1; RPO 1996-2000.
Recent editing: 2:2002/4/26

Composition date: 1240
Rhyme: irregular

 

Alysoun

 

1 An hendy hap ichabbe yhent;

2 Ichot, from hevene it is me sent;

3 From alle wymmen mi loue is lent,

4 And lyght on Alysoun.

 

5 Bytuen{.e} Mersh and Averil,

6 When spray biginneth to spring{.e},

7The lutel foul hath hir{.e} wyl

8 On hyr{.e} lud to syng{.e}.

9 Ich libbe in love longing{.e}

10 For semlokest of all{.e} thing{.e}.

11 He may me bliss{.e} bring{.e};

12 Icham in hire baundoun.

 

13 On heu hire her is fayr ynoh,

14 Hire brow{.e} broune, hire ey{.e} blak{.e};

15With lossum chere he on me loh;

16 With middel smal, and wel ymak{.e}.

17 Bote he me woll{.e} to hire tak{.e},

18 Fort{.e} buen hire owen mak{.e},

19 Longe to lyven ichulle forsak{.e},

20 And fey{.e} fallen adoun.

 

21 Niht{.e}s when y wende and wak{.e},

22 Forthi myn wong{.e}s waxeth won;

23Levedi, al for thin{.e} sak{.e}

24 Longinge is ylent me on.

25 In world nis non so wyter mon,

26 That al hire bounté tell{.e} con.

27 Hire swyre is whittore then the swon,

28 And feyrest may in toune.

 

29 Icham for wowyng al forwake,

30 Wery so water in wor{.e}.

31Lest eny rev{.e} me my mak{.e},

32 Ychabbe y-yern{.e}d yor{.e}.

33 Betere is tholien whyl{.e} sor{.e}

34 Then mournen evermor{.e}.

35 Geynest under gor{.e},

36 Herkn{.e} to my roun.

Notes

1] A fair fortune have I won.

2] Ichot: I know.

3] lent: departed.

4] lyght: alighted.

8] lud: language.

9] libbe: live.

10] semlokest: comeliest.

11] he: she.

12] Icham: I am.
baundoun: power.

13] on heu: in colour, complexion.
her; hair.
ynoh: enough.

15] lossum chere: loving look.
he on me loh: she laughed at me.

16] ymake: made.

17] bote: unless.

18] forte: (for) to.
buen: be.
make: mate.

19] ichulle: I will.

20] feye: doomed to die (Old English fœge; Scotch fey).

21] wende: turn, toss about.

22] forthi: therefore.
wonges: cheeks.
won: wan.

23] levedi: lady.

24] is ylent me on: has come upon me.

25] nis non so wyter mon: there is no man so wise.

27] swyre: neck.

28] may: maid.

29] forwake: worn out by loss of sleep.

30] weary as water in a pool (stagnant water).

31] reve me my make: steal my mate from me.

32] y-yerned yore: yearned, mourned, for a long time.

33-34] It is better to endure hurt for a while than to mourn always.

35] geynest under gore: most gracious, fairest under gown.

36] roun: song.

Online text copyright © 2005, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Facsimile of British Museum MS. Harley 2253, intro. by N. R. Ker (London: Early English Text Society, 1965). PR 1119 .A2H3 Trinity College
First publication date: 1310
RPO poem editor: N. J. Endicott
RP edition: 2RP.1.1; RPO 1996-2000.
Recent editing: 2:2002/4/25

Composition date: 1310
Rhyme: ababbbbc

1310-2







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