The owl and the nightingale (MS Cotton), The electronic text was created from an edited version of the Cotton manuscript
Lines 1001 through 1100
knarres & cludes houen[e]-tinge,
snou & haȝel hom is genge.
Þat lond is grislich & unuele,
þe men boþ wilde & unisele,
hi nabbeþ noþer griþ ne sibbe:
hi ne reccheþ hu hi libbe.
Hi eteþ fihs an flehs unsode,
suich wulues hit hadde tobrode:
hi drinkeþ milc & wei þarto,
hi nute elles þat hi do: Page 86
hi nabbeþ noþ[er] win ne bor,
ac libbeþ al so wilde dor:
hi goþ bitiȝt mid ruȝe uelle,
riȝt suich hi comen ut of helle.
Þeȝ eni god man to hom come,
so wile dude sum from Rome,
for hom to lere gode þewes,
an for to leten hore unþewes,
he miȝte bet sitte stille,
vor al his wile he sholde spille:
he miȝte bet teche ane bore
to weȝe boþe sheld & spere,
þan me þat wilde folc ibringe [folio 240v.1]
þat hi [me] wolde ihere singe.
Wat sol[d]ich þar mid mine songe?
ne sunge ich hom neuer so longe,
mi song were ispild ech del:
for hom ne mai halter ne bridel
bringe vrom hore w[o]de wise,
ne mon mid stele ne mid i[s]e. Page 88
Ac war lon[d] is boþe este & god,
an þar men habbeþ milde mod,
ich noti mid hom mine þrote,
vor ich mai do þar gode note:
an bringe hom loue tiþinge,
vor ich of chirche-songe singe.
Hit was iseid in olde laȝe,
an ȝet ilast þilke soþ-saȝe,
þat man shal erien an sowe,
þar he wenþ after sum god mowe:
for he is wod þat soweþ his sed
þar neuer gras ne sprinþ ne bled."
Þe hule was wroþ, to cheste rad,
mid þisse worde hire eȝen abrad:
"Þu seist þu witest manne bures,
þar leues boþ & faire flores,
þar two iloue in one bedde
liggeþ biclop[t] & wel bihedde.
Enes þu sunge, ic wo[t] wel ware,
bi one bure, & woldest lere
þe lefdi to an uuel luue,
an sunge boþe loȝe & buue, Page 90
an lerdest hi to don shome
an vnriȝt of hire licome.
Þe louerd þat sone underȝat,
liim & grine [&] wel eiwat,
sette & le[i]de þe for to lacche.
Þu come sone to þan hacche,
þu were inume in one grine,
al hit aboȝte þine shine:
þu naddest non oþer dom ne laȝe,
bute mid wilde horse were todraȝe.
Vonde ȝif þu miȝt eft misrede,
waþer þu wult, wif þe maide:
þi song mai bo so longe genge
þat þu shalt wippen on a sprenge."
Þe niȝtingale at þisse worde,
mid sworde an mid speres orde,
ȝif ho mon were, wolde fiȝte:
ac þo ho bet do ne miȝte,
ho uaȝt mid hire wise tunge.
"Wel fiȝt þat wel specþ," seiþ in þe songe.
Of hire tunge ho nom red:
"Wel fiȝt þat wel specþ" seide Alured.
"Wat! seistu þis for mine shome?
þe louerd hadde herof grame.
He was so gelus of his wiue,
þat he ne miȝte for his liue
iso þat man wiþ hire speke,
þat his horte nolde breke.
He hire bileck in one bure,
þat hire was boþe stronge & sure: Page 92
ich hadde of hire milse an ore,
an sori was for hire sore,
an skente hi mid mine songe
al þat ich miȝte, raþe an longe.
Vorþan þe kniȝt was wiþ me wroþ,
vor riȝte niþe ich was him loþ:
he dude me his oȝene shome,
ac al him turnde it to grome.
Þat underyat þe king Henri: [folio 241r.1]
Jesus his soule do merci!
He let forbonne þene kniȝt,
þat hadde idon so muchel unriȝt
ine so gode kinges londe;
vor riȝte niþe & for fule onde
let þane lutle fuȝel nime
an him fordeme lif an lime.
Hit was w[u]rþsipe al mine kunne;
forþon þe kniȝt forles his wunne,