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

Lines 1601 through 1700

ich hire helpe hwat [I] mai,
for [ho geþ] þane rehte wai.
Ah þu me hauest sore igramed,
þat min heorte is wel neh alamed,
þat ich mai unneaþe speke:
     1605
ah ȝet ich wule forþure reke.
Þu seist þat ich am manne [lo&],
an euereuch man is wið me wroð,
an me mid stone & lugge þreteþ,
an me tobu[r]steþ & tobeteþ, Page  136
     1610
an hwanne heo hab[b]eþ me ofslahe,
heo hongeþ me on heore hahe,
þar ich aschewele pie an crowe
fro[m] þan þe þar is isowe.
Þah hit beo soþ, ich do heom god,
     1615
an for heom ich [s]chadde mi blod:
ich do heom god mid mine deaþe,
waruore þe is wel unneaþe.
For þah þu ligge dead & clinge,
þi deþ nis nawt to none þinge:
     1620
ich not neauer to hwan þu miȝt,
for þu nart bute a wrecche wiȝt.
Ah þah mi lif me beo atschote,
þe ȝet ich mai do gode note:
me mai up one smale sticke
     1625
me sette a-wude ine þe þicke,
an swa mai mon tolli him to
lutle briddes & iuo,
an swa me mai mid me biȝete
wel gode brede to his mete.
     1630
Ah þu neure mon to gode
liues ne deaþes stal ne stode: Page  138
ich not to hwan þu bre[d]ist þi brod, [folio 245r.1]
liues ne deaþes ne deþ hit god."
Þe nihtegale ih[e]rde þis,
     1635
an hupte uppon on blowe ris,
an herre sat þan heo dude ear:
"Hule," he seide, "beo nu wear,
nulle ich wiþ þe plaidi namore,
for her þe mist þi rihte lore:
     1640
þu ȝeilpest þat þu art manne loþ,
an euereuch wiht is wið þe w[ro]þ;
an mid ȝulinge & mid igrede
þu wanst wel þat þu art unlede.
Þu seist þat gromes þe ifoð,
     1645
an heie on rodde þe anhoð,
an þe totwichet & toschakeð,
an summe of þe schawles makeð.
Me þunc[þ] þat þu forleost þat game,
þu ȝulpest of þire oȝe schame:
     1650
me þunc[þ] þat þu me gest an honde,
þu ȝulpest of þire oȝene scho[nd]e."
Þo heo hadde þeos word icwede,
heo sat in ore faire stude,
an þarafter hire steuene dihte,
     1655
an song so schille & so brihte, Page  140
þat feor & ner me hit iherde.
Þaruore anan to hire cherde
þrusche & þrostle & wudewale,
an fuheles boþe grete & smale:
     1660
forþan heom þuhte þat heo hadde
þe houle ouercome, uorþan heo gradde
an sungen alswa uale wise,
an blisse was among þe rise.
Riȝt swa me gred þe manne a schame,
     1665
þat taueleþ & forleost þat gome.
Þeos hule, þo heo þis iherde, [folio 245r.2]
"Hauestu," heo seide, "ibanned ferde ?
an wultu, wreche, wið me fiȝte?
Nai! nai! nauestu none miȝte!
     1670
Hwat gredeþ þeo þat hider come?
Me þuncþ þu ledest ferde to me.
Ȝe schule wite, ar ȝe fleo heonne,
hwuch is þe strenþe of mine kunne:
for þeo þe haueþ bile ihoked,
     1675
an cliures [s]charpe & wel icroked,
alle heo beoþ of mine kunrede,
an walde come ȝif ich bede. Page  142
Þe seolfe coc, þat wel can fiȝte,
he mot mid me holde mid riȝte,
     1680
for [boþe] we habbeþ steuene briȝte,
an sitteþ under weolcne bi niȝte.
Schille ich an utest uppen ow grede,
ich shal swo stronge ferde lede,
þat ower pr[u]de schal aualle:
     1685
a tort ne ȝiue ich for ow alle!
ne schal, ar hit beo fulliche eue,
a wreche feþer on ow bileaue.
Ah hit was unker uoreward,
þo we come hiderward,
     1690
þat we þarto holde scholde,
þar riht dom us ȝiue wolde.
Wultu nu breke foreward?
Ich wene dom þe þing[þ] to hard:
for þu ne darst domes abide,
     1695
þu wult nu, wreche, fiȝte & chide.
Ȝ[u]t ich ow alle wolde rede,
ar [ich] utheste uppon ow grede, Page  144
þat ower fihtlac leteþ beo,
an ginneþ raþe awei fleo.
     1700
For, bi þe cliures þat ich bere, [folio 245v.1]