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

Lines 1701 through 1794

ȝef ȝe abideþ mine here,
ȝe schule on oþer wise singe,
an acursi alle fiȝtinge :
vor nis of ow non so kene,
     1705
þat durre abide mine onsene."
Þeos hule spac wel baldeliche,
for þah heo nadde swo hwatliche
ifare after hire here,
heo walde neoþeles ȝefe answere
     1710
þe niȝtegale mid swucche worde.
For moni man mid speres orde
haueþ lutle strencþe, & mid his [s]chelde,
ah neoþeles in one felde,
þurh belde worde an mid ilete,
     1715
deþ his iuo for arehþe swete.
Þe wranne, for heo cuþe singe,
þar com in þare moreȝen[i]nge
to helpe þare niȝtegale:
for þah heo hadde steuene smale,
     1720
heo hadde gode þ[ro]te & schille,
an fale manne song a wille.
Þe wranne was wel wis iholde,
vor þeȝ heo nere ibred a-wolde,
ho was itoȝen among man[k]enne,
     1725
an hire wisdom brohte þenne:
heo miȝte speke hwar heo walde,
touore þe king þah heo scholde. Page  146
"Lusteþ," heo cwaþ, "lateþ me speke.
Hwat! wulle ȝe þis pes tobreke,
     1730
an do þanne [kinge] swuch schame?
Ȝe[t] nis he nouþer ded ne lame.
Hunke schal itide harm & schonde,
ȝef ȝe doþ griþbruche on his londe.
Lateþ beo, & beoþ isome, [folio 245v.2]
     1735
an fareþ riht to o[w]er dome,
an lateþ dom þis plaid tobreke,
al swo hit was erur bispeke."
"Ich an wel," cwað þe niȝtegale,
"ah, wranne, nawt for þire tale,
     1740
ah do for mire lahfulnesse.
Ich nolde þat unrihtfulnesse
me at þen ende ouerkome:
ich nam ofdrad of none dome.
Bihote ich habbe, soþ hit is,
     1745
þat Maister Nichole, þat is wis,
bituxen vs deme schul[l]e,
an ȝe[t] ich wene þat he wule.
Ah, [w]ar mihte we hine finde?"
Þe wranne sat in ore linde; Page  148
     1750
"Hwat! nu[s]te ȝe," cwaþ heo, "his hom?
He wuneþ at Porteshom,
at one tune ine Dorsete,
bi þare see in ore utlete:
þar he demeþ manie riȝte dom,
     1755
an diht & writ mani wisdom,
an þurh his muþe & þurh his honde
hit is þe betere into Scotlonde,
To seche hine is lihtlich þing;
he naueþ bute one woning.
     1760
Þat [is] bischopen muchel schame,
an alle [þ]an þat of his nome
habbeþ ihert, & of his dede.
Hwi nulleþ hi nimen heom to rede,
þat he were mid heom ilome
     1765
for teche heom of his wisdome,
an ȝiue him rente auale stude,
þat he miȝte heom ilome be mide?" Page  150
"Certes," cwaþ þe hule, "þat is soð: [folio 246r.1]
þeos riche men wel muche misdoð,
     1770
þat leteþ þane gode mon,
þat of so feole þinge con,
an ȝiueþ rente wel misliche,
an of him leteþ wel lihtliche.
Wið heore cunne heo beoþ mildre,
     1775
au ȝeueþ rente litle childre:
swo heore wit hi demþ adwole,
þut euer abid Maistre Nichole.
Ah ute we þah to him fare,
for þar is unker dom al ȝare."
     1780
"Do we" þe niȝtegale seide:
"ah [w]a schal unker speche rede,
an telle touore unker deme ?"
"Þarof ich schal þe wel icweme,"
cwaþ þe houle; "for al, ende of orde,
     1785
telle ich con, word after worde:
an ȝef þe þincþ þat ich misrempe,
þu stond aȝein & do me crempe."
Mid þisse worde forþ hi ferden,
al bute here & bute uerde,
     1790
to Portesham þat heo bicome.
Ah hu heo spedde of heore dome,
ne [c]an ich eu namore telle:
her nis namore of þis spelle.