The owl and the nightingale (MS Cotton), The electronic text was created from an edited version of the Cotton manuscript

Lines 1301 through 1400

bute hit of wicchecrefte were.
Þarof þu, wrecche, mos[t] þe skere
ȝif þu wult among manne b[eo]:
oþer þu most of londe fleo.
For alle þeo þat [þ]erof cuþe,
     1305
heo uere ifurn of prestes muþe
amanset: swuch þu art ȝette,
þu wiecche-crafte neauer ne lete.
Ich þe seide nu lutel ere,
an þu askedest ȝef ich were
     1310
a-bisemere to preost ihoded.
Ah þe mansing is so ibroded,
þah no preost a-londe nere,
a wrecche neoþeles þu were:
for eauereuch chil[d] þe cleopeþ fule,
     1315
an euereuch man a wrecche hule.
Ich habbe iherd, & soþ hit is,
þe mon mot beo wel storre-wis,
[þat] wite inno[h] of wucche þinge kume,
so þu seist þ[e] is iwune. Page  112
     1320
Hwat canstu, wrecche þing, of storre,
bute þat þu biha[u]est hi feorre?
Alswo deþ mani dor & man,
þeo of [swucche] nawiht ne con.
On ape mai a boc bih[o]lde,
     1325
an leues wenden & eft folde:
ac he ne con þe bet þaruore [folio 242v.2]
of clerkes lore top ne more.
Þah þu iseo þe steorre alsw[o],
nartu þe wisure neauer þe mo.
     1330
Ah ȝet þu, fule þing, me chist,
an wel grimliche me atwist
þat ich singe bi manne huse,
an teache wif breke spuse.
Þu liest iwis, þu fule þing!
     1335
þ[urh] me nas neauer ischend spusing.
Ah soþ hit is ich singe & grede
þar lauedies beoþ & faire maide;
& soþ hit is of luue ich singe:
for god wif mai i[n] spusing Page  114
     1340
bet luuien hire oȝene were,
þane awe[r] hire copenere;
an maide mai luue cheose
þat hire wurþschipe ne forleose,
an luuie mid rihte luue
     1345
þane þe schal beon hire buue.
Swiche luue ich itache & lere,
þerof beoþ al mine ibere.
Þah sum wif beo of nesche mode,
for wumm[e]n beoþ of softe blode,
     1350
þat heo, þurh sume sottes lore
þe ȝeorne bit & sikeþ sore,
mis[r]empe & misdo sumne stunde,
schal ich þaruore beon ibunde ?
Ȝif wimmen luuieþ unrede,
     1355
[w]itestu me hore misdede?
Ȝef wimmon þencheþ luuie derne,
[ne] mai ich mine songes werne.
Wummon mai pleie under cloþe,
weþer heo wile, wel þe wroþe:
     1360
& heo mai do bi mine songe, [folio 243r.1]
hwaþer heo wule, wel þe wronge.
For nis a-worlde þing so god,
þat ne mai do sum ungod,
ȝif me hit wule turne amis.
     1365
For gold & seoluer, god hit is:
an noþeles þarmid þu miȝt
spusbruche buggen & unriȝt.
Wepne beoþ gode griþ to halde:
ah neoþeles þarmide beoþ men acwalde Page  116
     1370
aȝeines riht [an] fale londe,
þar þeoues hi bereð an honde.
Alswa hit is bi mine songe,
þah heo beo god, me hine mai misfonge,
an drahe hine to sothede,
     1375
an to oþre uuele dede.
Ah [schaltu] wrecch, luue tele ?
Bo wuch ho bo, vich luue is fele
bitweone wepmon & wimmane:
ah ȝef heo is atbroide, þenne
     1380
he is unfele & forbrode.
Wroþ wurþe heom þe holi rode
þe rihte ikunde swo forbreideþ!
W[u]nder hit is þat heo nawedeþ.
An swo heo doþ, for heo beoþ wode
     1385
þe bute nest goþ to brode.
Wummon is of nesche flesche,
an flesches [lust] is strong to cwesse:
nis wunder nan þah he abide.
For flesches lustes hi makeþ slide,
     1390
ne beoþ heo nowt alle forlore,
þat stumpeþ at þe flesches more:
for moni wummon haueþ misdo
þat aris[t] op of þe slo.
Ne beoþ nowt ones alle sunne, [folio 243r.2]
     1395
forþan hi beoþ tweire kunne: Page  118
su[m] arist of þe flesches luste,
an sum of þe gostes custe.
Þar flesch draheþ men to drunnesse,
an to [wrouehede] & to golnesse,
     1400