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Min heorte at-flith," and falt 12 mi tunge,
Wonne 13 thu art to me i-thrunge.14
Me luste bet speten 15 thane singe,
Of 16 thine fule gogelinge." 17

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Theos ule abod fort 18 hit was eve, Heo ne mihte no leng bileve,19 Vor hire heorte was so gret,2 That wel neh 21 hire fnast at-schet; And warp 23 a word thar-after longe: "Hu thincthe 24 nu bi mine songe? Wenst 25 thu that ich ne cunne 26 singe Theh 27 ich ne cunne 28 of writelinge? 29 I-lome 30 thu dest 31 me grame, And seist me bothe teone 33 and schame; Gif 34 ich the heolde on min vote,35 So hit bi-tide 36 that ich mote ! 37 And thu were ut of thine rise,38 Thu scholdest singe an other wise.

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her 2 despised 3 very foully for everyone holds her 5 hateful 6 monster 7 I am the worse

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10 truly appearance give up

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11 flies away 12 fails 14 arrived 15 5 I feel more like spitting

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no

16 because of 17 19 18 waited till screeching longer wait 20 swollen 21 nigh 2 breath choked

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threw

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thinkest 26 cannot

The nightingale her soon espied, And looked at her with scornful pride. She thought but meanly of the owl, For men it loathly deem and foul.

"Monster," she said, "away with thee! The worse for me that thee I see! Verily for thy ugly look,

I oftentimes my song forsook.

My tongue is mute, my heart takes flight,
When thou appearest in my sight.

I rather wish to spit than sing,
At sound of thy foul sputtering."

The owl abode till eventide,

No longer could she then abide,
So swollen was her heart with wrath
That she could scarcely get her breath;
And still she made a speech full long:
"How think'st thou now about my song?
Think'st thou to sing I have no skill
Merely because I cannot trill?
Oft am I angered by thy blame,
Thou speakest to my hurt and shame;
If I once held thee in my claw,
Would that I might here in this shaw!
And thou wert down from off thy spray,
Then should'st thou sing another way!

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"And yet thou sayest another thing,
And tellest me I cannot sing,
That all my song is mourning drear,
A fearsome sound for men to hear.
That is not sooth; my voice is true,
And full and loud, sonorous too.
Thou thinkest ugly every note
Unlike the thin ones from thy throat.
My voice is bold and not forlorn,
It soundeth like a mighty horn;
And thine is like a little pipe
Made of a slender reed unripe.
Better I sing than thou at least;
Thou chatterest like an Irish priest.
I sing at eve, a proper time,
And after, when it is bedtime,
And once again at middle-night,
And so ordain my song aright
When I see rising from afar

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29 trilling anger 33 injury 34 if 35 foot so may it happen 37 may 38 bough 39 but 40 voice 41 lamentation 42 terrible 44 precisely 46 ugly 47 that is not like thy piping it ing 50 like 53 52 dost green wards 55 third time 56 ordain 57 afar

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unpleas54 after

Other 1 dai-rim 2 other 3 dai-sterre.
Ich do god mid mine throte,
And warni men to heore note;
Ac thu singest alle longe niht,
From eve fort hit is dai-liht,
And evre lesteth thin o song

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So longe so the niht is longe,

And evre croweth thi wrecche crei,9
That he ne swiketh 10 niht ne dai.
Mid thine pipinge thu adunest 11
Thas monnes earen thar 12 thu wunest,13
And makest thine song so un-wiht 14
That me 15 ne telth 16 of the nowiht.17
Evrich murhthe 18 mai so longe i-leste,
That heo shal liki 19 wel un-wreste;
Vor harpe and pipe and fugeles 21 songe
Misliketh, gif hit is to longe.

Ne beo the song never so murie,

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That he ne shal thinche 22 wel un-murie,23
Gef he i-lesteth over un-wille.24
So thu miht 25 thine song aspille;
Vor hit is soth,27 Alvred hit seide,
And me 15 hit mai in boke rede,
'Evrich thing mai leosen 28 his godhede 29
Mid unmethe 30 and mid over-dede.'

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"Ule," heo seide, "wi dostu so? Thu singest a-winter 32 'wolawo'; Thu singest so 8 doth hen a snowe: Al that heo singeth, hit is for wowe; A-wintere thu singest wrothe 36 and gomere,3 And evre thu art dumb a-sumere.

Hit is for thine fule nithe,38

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Either day-dawn or else day-star.
I do men good thus with my throat,
And help them with my warning note;
But thou art singing all the night,
From eve until it is daylight.
For ever lasts thy only song,

As long as ever the night is long,
And ever crows thy wretched lay,
That ceaseth not, by night or day.
Thy piping is ever in man's ears,

Wherever thou dwellest, thy din he hears;
Thou makest thy song a thing of naught,
No man accounteth thee as aught;
For any mirth may last so long
That dislike of it waxeth strong;
For harp or pipe or song of bird
Displeaseth if too long 'tis heard.
Never so merry a song may be
But to disgust shall turn its glee
If it shall last till it annoy;
So mayst thou thy song destroy.
For it is true, as Alfred said,
And in his book it may be read,
'Every good its grace may lose
By lack of measure and by abuse.'

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"Owl," she said, "why dost thou so? Thou singest in winter a song of woe; Thou singest as doth a hen in snow:

All that she sings it is for woe;

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In winter thou singest in wrath and gloom,
In summer thou art ever dumb.

'Tis thy foul malice that hinders thee,
That blithe with us thou may'st not be;
For envy 'tis that in thee burns,
When in the spring our bliss returns.
Thou farest as doth the wicked ever,
Whom joy of others pleases never;
For grudging and louring is he mad
Whene'er he sees that men are glad.
Rather would such a one espy
Tears in every person's eye;

Never a whit would that man care

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Ne rohte he 49 theh 50 flockes were

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every mirth please very badly

seem

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unpleasant 24 if it lasts unto

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mayst ruin 27

true

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till 7 last

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11 dinnest accounts

ness 34 in way 39 mayst not 44 wicked man

excess

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woe

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over-doing 32 in winter 36 wrath burnest up

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CURSOR MUNDI

Thu singest from eve fort amorhe.1
Ac ich alle blisse mid me bringe;
Ech wiht is glad for mine thinge,
And blisseth hit wanne 6 ich cume,
And hihteth agen mine kume.8
The blostme ginneth springe and sprede
Bothe ine treo and ek on mede;
The lilie mid hire faire wlite
Wolcumeth me, that thu hit wite,10
Bit "me mid hire faire bleo 12

That ich schulle to hire fleo;
The rose also mide hire rude,13

That cumeth ut of the thorne wude,

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Bit me that ich shulle singe

Vor hire luve one skentinge.” 14

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Then singest thou from eve till morrow.
But I all gladness with me bring,
All men are happy when I sing;
They all rejoice, when I appear,
And hope for me another year.
Blossoms begin to spring and grow,
On tree, in mead, and in hedge-row ;
The lily with her fair white hue
Doth welcome me, I would thou knew;
With her sweet face she biddeth me
That I to her shall quickly flee;
Likewise the rose with ruddy hood,
That cometh from the thorny wood,
Biddeth me ever that I shall sing
For her dear love in carolling."

*

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FROM CURSOR MUNDI (c. 1300)

(Unknown Author)

THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT

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An angel thus to him did say:
"Rise up, Joseph, and busk and go,
Maria and thy child also;
For it behooves you now all three
To the land of Egypt for to flee;
Rise up, then, ere it be day,
And follow forth the desert way.
Herod, that is the infant's foe,
Henceforth will seek to lay him low.
There with the bairn shall ye remain
Till I come back to warn you plain."
Now soon was Joseph ready dight;
He left the town at fall of night,
With Mary mild and their company:
A maiden and their servants three,
That served them well in servants' guise;
With them was none but wary and wise.
Forth she rode, that mother mild,
And in her bosom bore her child,
Till they came to a cave full deep;
There they had thought to rest and sleep;
There helped they Mary to alight,
But soon they saw an ugly sight.
As they were looking them beside,

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on my account
coming

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face

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pastime 13 redness

visage
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go
get ready
22 follow 23 wilderness 24 child's 25 foe 26 from now

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now

to ere

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28 shall 29 with
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34 with 35 night-time
prepared
hold men-servants
rode 41 bosom 42 carried 43

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And stod a-pon thaa bestes grim,10
And thai tham luted " under him.
Than com 12 the propheci al cler
To dede 13 that said es in Sauter: 14
"The dragons, wonand 15 in thair cove,
The Laverd 16 agh 17 yee worthli to lofe." 18
Jesus he went befor tham than,
Forbed 19 tham harm do ani man.
Maria and Joseph ne-for-thi 20
For the child war ful dreri; 21
Bot Jesus ansuard 2 thaim onan :
"For me drednes haf 24 nu yee nan,25
Ne haf yee for me na barn-site,26
For I am self man al parfite,27
And al the bestes that ar wild
For me most 28 be tame and mild."
Leon yode tham als imid; 29

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And pardes,30 als 31 the dragons did,
Bifor Maria and Joseph yede,32
In right wai tham for to lede.
Quen Maria sagh thaa9 bestes lute,33
First sco 34
was gretli in dute,3

Til Jesus loked on hir blith

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And dridnes 36 bad hir nan to kith.37
"Moder," he said, "haf thou na ward 38
Nother o 39 leon ne o lepard,

For thai com noght us harm to do,
Bot thair servis at 40 serve us to."

Bath ass and ox that wit 42 tham war 43
And bestes that thair harnais bar
Ute o Jerusalem, thair kyth,"
The leons mekli yod 32 tham wit,42
Wit-uten harm of ox or ass,
Or ani best that wit tham was.
Than was fulfild the propheci,
That said was thoru Jeremi:
"Wolf and wether, leon and ox,

Sal 45 comen samen," 46 and lamb and fox."

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Out of this cave then saw they glide
Many dragons full suddenly;
The servants then began to cry.
When Jesus saw them frightened be,
He lighted from his mother's knee,
And stood upon those beasts so grim,
And low they bowed them under him.
Then came the prophecy all clear
As in the Psalter ye may hear:
"Dragons that in their cavern dwell
The praises of the Lord shall tell."

Jesus, he went before them then,
Forbade their harming any men.
Maria and Joseph, none the less,
For the child were in distress;
But Jesus answered them and said:
"For me have ye no manner dread;
For me as child have ye no fright,
A perfect man am I by right;
And all the beasts that are so wild,
For me must be both tame and mild."

A lion went them then amid;
And leopards, as the dragons did,
Before Maria and Joseph lay,
Ready to lead them on their way.
When Mary saw the beasts all lout,
Greatly, at first, she was in doubt,
Till Jesus blithely drew anear,
And bade her not at all to fear.
'Mother," said he, "have no regard
For lion or for fierce leopard;
For they come not us harm to do;
But us their service to give unto.'

Both ass and ox were with them there,
And other beasts that baggage bare
Out of their home, Jerusalem;
The lions meekly went with them,
And did no harm to ox or ass,
Or any beast that with them was.
Then was fulfilled the prophecy
That spoken was by Jeremy:
"Wolf and wether, lion and ox,

Shall come together, and lamb and fox."

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child-sorrow 27 perfect must a lion went

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doubt, fear terror show, feel

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6 when 7 terrisaw very men 10 fierce 11 bowed 12 with them also came 13 to 14 the Psalter 15 she dwelling 16 Lord 18 praise 19 forbade 20 nevertheought of gard 39 less 21 sad 22 answered 23 at once 24 have 25 45 none shall 46

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THOMAS DE HALES (bef. 1300)

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A LOVE LETTER

A maid of Christ doth plead with me
To write her a letter of love to-day,
From which she can learn most readily
To take another true love, i'fay,

Who faithfulest of all shall be,
And best can guard a lady gay.
No wise will I deny her plea,
But I will teach her as I may.

O maiden, here thou mayst behold
This earthly love is but a race,

And is beset so many fold,

Fickle and false and weak and base. Those knights that here were once so bold, Like wind have glided from their place; Under mould they are lying cold,

And wither as doth the meadow grass.

There's none so rich and none so free
That hence he shall not soon away.
Nothing may ever his warrant be,
Gold, nor silver, nor ermine gay;
Be he ever so swift, he may not flee,
Nor guard his life a single day.
Thus is this world, as thou mayst see,
Like as the shadow that glides away.

This world fareth like the wind,

One thing gone, another here; What was before is now behind,

What now is loath before was dear; Therefore he doth as doth the blind, Who sets his love on this world's gear. The world is vanishing, ye shall find; Evil goes forward, truth to the rear.

The love that may not here abide,
Thou art wrong to trust it now;
Away from thee that love will glide,
Capricious and frail and false of vow,
And hasting away at every tide.
The while it lasts, 'tis sorrow enow;

2 of Christ's

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whereby she

begs learn

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will mayst

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12 could protect will 17 here 18 a race in so many ways fickle 24 weak 25 false 26 these nobles 27 are passed 30 the earth 31

28 29 breath

as

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protect

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hated the wrong

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ermine vair be he never so swift 39 a single 41 just as 45 what formerly 50 places 51 may see 55 the 56

true 60

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trustest 57 it very wrongly even

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SO pass away 61 delicate 62 capricious hasting away at every time sorrow enough

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