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

Lines 1 through 100

Page  2 [folio 233r.1]
ICH was in one sumere dale,
in one suþe diȝele hale,
iherde ich holde grete tale
an hule and one niȝtingale.
Þat plait was stif & starc & strong,
     5
sum wile softe & lud among;
an aiþer aȝen oþer sval,
& let þat [vue]le mod ut al.
& eiþer seide of oþeres custe
þat alre-worste þat hi wuste:
     10
& hure & hure of oþere[s] songe
hi holde plaiding suþe stronge.
Þe niȝtingale bigon þe speche,
in one hurne of one breche, Page  4
& sat up one vaire boȝe,
     15
- þar were abute blosme inoȝe,-
in ore waste þicke hegge
imeind mid spire & grene segge.
Ho was þe gladur uor þe rise,
& song auele cunne wise:
     20
[b]et þuȝte þe dreim þat he were
of harpe & pipe þan he nere:
bet þuȝte þat he were ishote
of harpe & pipe þan of þrote.
[Þ]o stod on old stoc þar biside,
     25
þar þo vle song hire tide,
& was mid iui al bigrowe;
hit was þare hule earding-stowe.
[Þ]e niȝtingale hi iseȝ,
& hi bihold & ouerseȝ,
     30
& þuȝte wel [vu]l of þare hule,
for me hi halt lodlich & fule.
"Vnwiȝt," ho sede, "awei þu flo!
me is þe w[u]rs þat ich þe so. [folio 233r.2]
Iwis for þine [vu]le lete,
     35
wel [oft ich] mine song forlete; Page  6
min horte atfliþ & falt mi tonge,
wonne þu art [to me] iþrunge.
Me luste bet speten þane singe
of þine fule ȝoȝelinge."
     40
Þos hule abod fort hit was eve,
ho ne miȝte no leng bileue,
vor hire horte was so gret
þat wel neȝ hire fnast atschet,
& warp a word þar-after longe;
     45
"Hu þincþe nu bi mine songe?
We[n]st þu þat ich ne cunne singe,
þeȝ ich ne cunne of writelinge?
Ilome þu dest me grame,
& seist me [boþe tone] & schame.
     50
Ȝif ich þe holde on mine uote,
(so hit bitide þat ich mote!)
& þu were vt of þine rise,
þu sholdest singe an oþer w[i]se."
Þe niȝtingale ȝaf answare:
     55
"Ȝif ich me loki wit þe bare,
& me schilde wit þe blete,
ne reche ich noȝt of þine þrete; Page  8
ȝif ich me holde in mine hegge,
ne recche ich neuer what þu segge.
     60
Ich wot þat þu art unmilde
wiþ hom þat ne muȝe from [þ]e schilde;
& þu tukest wroþe & vuele,
whar þu miȝt, over smale fuȝele.
Vorþi þu art loþ al fuel-kunne,
     65
& alle ho þe driueþ honne,
& þe bischricheþ & bigredet,
& wel narewe þe biledet; [folio 233v.1]
& ek forþe þe sulue mose,
hire þonkes, wolde þe totose.
     70
þu art lodlich to biholde,
& þu art loþ in monie volde;
þi bodi is short, þi swore is smal,
grettere is þin heued þan þu al;
þin eȝene boþ col-blake & brode,
     75
riȝt swo ho weren ipeint mid wode;
þu starest so þu wille abiten
al þat þu mi[ȝ]t mid cliure smiten:
þi bile is stif & scharp & hoked,
riȝt so an owel þat is croked;
     80
þar-mid þu clackes[t] oft & longe,
& þat is on of þine songe.
Ac þu þretest to mine fleshe,
mid þine cliures woldest me meshe.
þe were icundur to one frogge
     85
* * * * * Page  10
snailes, mus, & fule wiȝte,
boþ þine cunde & þine riȝte.
Þu sittest adai & fliȝ[s]t aniȝt,
þu cuþest þat þu art on vnwiȝt.
     90
Þu art lodlich & unclene,
bi þine neste ich hit mene,
& ek bi þine fule brode,
þu fedest on hom a wel ful fode.
Vel wostu þat hi doþ þarinne,
     95
hi fuleþ hit up to þe chinne:
ho sitteþ þar so hi bo bisne.
Þarbi men segget a uorbisne:
"Dahet habbe þat ilke best
þat fuleþ his owe nest."
     100

Lines 101 through 200

Þat oþer ȝer a faukun bredde;
his nest noȝt wel he ne bihedde:
þarto þu stele in o dai, [folio 233v.2]
& leidest þaron þi fole ey.
Þo hit bicom þat he haȝte,
     105
& of his eyre briddes wraȝte;
ho broȝte his briddes mete,
bihold his nest, iseȝ hi ete: Page  12
he iseȝ bi one halue
his nest ifuled uthalue.
     110
Þe faucun was wroþ wit his bridde,
& lude ȝal & sterne chidde:
"Segget me, wo hauet þis ido?
Ov nas neuer icunde þarto:
hit was idon ov a loþ[e] [cu]ste.
     115
Segge[þ] me ȝif ȝe hit wiste."
Þo quaþ þat on & quad þat oþer:
"Iwis it was ure oȝer broþer,
þe ȝond þat haue[þ] þat grete heued:
wai þat hi[t] nis þarof bireued!
     120
Worp hit ut mid þe alre-[vu]rste
þat his necke him to-berste!"
Þe faucun ilefde his bridde,
& nom þat fule brid amidde,
& warp hit of þan wilde bowe,
     125
þar pie & crowe hit todrowe.
Herbi men segget a bispel,
þeȝ hit ne bo fuliche spel;
al so hit is bi þan ungode
þat is icumen of fule brode, Page  14
     130
& is meind wit fro monne,
euer he cuþ þat he com þonne,
þat he com of þan adel-eye,
þeȝ he a fro nest[e] leie.
þeȝ appel trendli fro[m] þon trowe,
     135
þar he & oþer mid growe,
þeȝ he bo þar-from bicume, [folio 234r.1]
he cuþ wel whonene he is icume."
Þos word aȝaf þe niȝtingale,
& after þare longe tale
     140
he song so lude & so scharpe,
riȝt so me grulde schille harpe.
Þos hule luste þiderward,
& hold hire eȝe noþerwa[r]d,
& sat tosvolle & ibolwe,
     145
also ho hadde one frogge isuolȝe:
for ho wel wiste & was iwar
þat ho song hire a-bisemar.
& noþeles ho ȝa[f] andsuare,
"Whi neltu flon into þe bare, Page  16
     150
& sewi [w]are unker bo
of briȝter howe, of uairur blo?"
"No, þu hauest wel scharpe clawe,
ne kepich noȝt þat þu me clawe.
þu hauest cliuers suþe stronge,
     155
þu tuengst þar-mid so doþ a tonge.
Þu þoȝtest, so doþ þine ilike,
mid faire worde me biswike.
Ich nolde don þat þu me raddest,
ich wiste wel þat þu me misraddest.
     160
Schamie þe for þin unrede!
Vnwroȝen is þi svikelhede!
Schild þine svikeldom vram þe liȝte,
& hud þat woȝe amon[g] þe riȝte.
Þane þu wilt þin unriȝt spene,
     165
loke þat hit ne bo isene:
vor svikedom haue[þ] schome & hete,
ȝif hit is ope & underȝete.
Ne speddestu noȝt mid þine unwrenche,
for ich am war & can wel blenche.
     170
Ne helpþ noȝt þat þu bo to [þ]riste: [folio 234r.2]
ich wolde viȝte bet mid liste Page  18
þan þu mid al þine strengþe.
Ich habbe, on brede & eck on lengþe,
castel god on mine rise:
     175
"Wel fiȝt þat wel fliȝt," seiþ þe wise.
Ac lete we awei þos cheste,
vor suiche wordes boþ unw[re]ste;
& fo we on mid riȝte dome,
mid faire worde & mid ysome.
     180
Þeȝ we ne bo at one acorde,
we m[a]ȝe bet mid fayre worde,
witute cheste, & bute fiȝte,
plaidi mid foȝe & mid riȝte:
& mai hure eiþer wat h[e] wile
     185
mid riȝte segge & mid sckile."
Þo quaþ þe hule "[W]u schal us seme,
þat kunne & wille riȝt us deme?"
"Ich wot wel" quaþ þe niȝtingale,
"Ne þaref þarof bo no tale.
     190
Maister Nichole of Guldeforde,
he is wis an war of worde:
he is of dome suþe gleu,
& him is loþ eurich unþeu. Page  20
He wot insiȝt in eche songe,
     195
wo singet wel, wo singet wronge:
& he can schede vrom þe riȝte
þat woȝe, þat þuster from þe liȝte."
Þo hule one wile hi biþoȝte,
& after þan þis word upbroȝte:
     200

Lines 201 through 300

"Ich granti wel þat he us deme,
vor þeȝ he were wile breme,
& lof him were niȝtingale,
& oþer wiȝte gente & smale,
ich wot he is nu suþe acoled. [folio 234v.1]
     205
Nis he vor þe noȝt afoled,
þat he, for þine olde luue,
me adun legge & þe buue:
ne schaltu neure so him queme,
þat he for þe fals dom deme.
     210
He is him ripe & fast-rede,
ne lust him nu to none unrede:
nu him ne lust na more pleie,
he wile gon a riȝte weie."
Þe niȝtingale was al ȝare,
     215
ho hadde ilorned wel aiware:
"Hule," ho sede, "seie me soþ,
wi dostu þat unwiȝtis doþ?
þu singist aniȝt & noȝt adai,
& al þi song is wailawai. Page  22
     220
Þu miȝt mid þine songe afere
alle þat ihereþ þine ibere:
þu sch[ri]chest & ȝollest to þine fere,
þat hit is grislich to ihere:
hit þinche[þ] boþe wise & snepe
     225
noȝt þat þu singe, ac þat þu wepe.
Þu fliȝst aniȝt & noȝt adai:
þarof ich w[u]ndri & wel mai.
vor eurich þing þat schuniet riȝt,
hit luueþ þuster & hatiet liȝt:
     230
& eurich þing þat is lof misdede,
hit luueþ þuster to his dede.
A wis word, þeȝ hit bo unclene,
is fele manne a-muþe imene,
for Alured King hit seide & wrot:
     235
"He schunet þat hine [vu]l wot."
Ich wene þat þu dost also,
vor þu fliȝst niȝtes euer mo.
An oþer þing me is a-wene, [folio 234v.2]
þu hauest aniȝt wel briȝte sene;
     240
bi daie þu art stare-blind,
þat þu ne sichst ne bov ne strind. Page  24
Adai þu art blind oþer bisne,
þarbi men segget a uorbisne:
"Riȝt so hit farþ bi þan ungode
     245
þat noȝt ne suþ to none gode,
& is so ful of vuele wrenche
þat him ne mai no man atprenche,
& can wel þane þu[str]e wai,
& þane briȝte lat awai."
     250
So doþ þat boþ of þine cunde,
of liȝte nabbeþ hi none imunde."
Þos hule luste suþe longe,
& was oftoned suþe stronge:
ho quaþ "Þu [h]attest niȝtingale,
     255
þu miȝtest bet hoten galegale, Page  26
vor þu hauest to monie tale.
Lat þine tunge habbe spale!
Þu wenest þat þes dai bo þin oȝe:
lat me nu habbe mine þroȝe:
     260
bo nu stille & lat me speke,
ich wille bon of þe awreke.
& lust hu ich con me bitelle,
mid riȝte soþe, witute spelle.
Þu seist þat ich me hude adai,
     265
þarto ne segge ich nich ne nai:
& lust ich telle þe wareuore,
al wi hit is & wareuore.
Ich habbe bile stif & stronge,
& gode cliuers scharp & longe,
     270
so hit bicumeþ to hauekes cunne;
hit is min hiȝte, hit is mi w[u]nne,
þat ich me draȝe to mine cunde, [folio 235r.1]
ne mai [me] no man þareuore schende :
on me hit is wel isene,
     275
vor riȝte cunde ich am so kene.
Vorþi ich am loþ smale foȝle
þat floþ bi grunde an bi þuuele: Page  28
hi me bichermet & bigredeþ,
& hore flockes to [m]e ledeþ.
     280
Me is lof to habbe reste
& sitte stille in mine neste:
vor nere ich neuer no þe betere,
[ȝ]if ich mid chauling & mid chatere
hom schende & mid fule worde,
     285
so herdes doþ oþer mid schit-worde.
Ne lust me wit þe screwen chide;
forþi ich wende from hom wide.
Hit is a wise monne dome,
& hi hit segget wel ilome,
     290
þat me ne chide wit þe gidie,
ne wit þan ofne me ne ȝonie.
At sume siþe herde [I] telle
hu Alured sede on his spelle:
"Loke þat þu ne bo þare
     295
þar chauling boþ & cheste ȝare:
lat sottes chide & uorþ þu go."
& ich am wis & do also.
& ȝet Alured seide an oþer side
a word þat is isprunge wide:
     300

Lines 301 through 400

"Þat wit þe fule haueþ imene,
ne cumeþ he neuer from him cleine."
Wenestu þat haueck bo þe worse
þoȝ crowe bigrede him bi þe mershe, Page  30
& goþ to him mid hore chirme
     305
riȝt so hi wille wit him schirme?
Þe hauec folȝeþ gode rede, [folio 235r.2]
& fliȝt his wei & lat him grede."
"Ȝet þu me seist of oþer þinge,
& telst þat ich ne can noȝt singe,
     310
ac al mi rorde is woning,
& to ihire grislich þing.
Þat nis noȝt soþ, ich singe efne,
mid fulle dreme & lude stefne.
Þu wenist þat ech song bo grislich,
     315
þat þine pipinge nis ilich.
Mi stefne is [bold] & noȝt unorne,
ho is ilich one grete horne,
& þin is ilich one pipe,
of one smale wode unripe.
     320
Ich singe bet þan þu dest:
þu chaterest so doþ on Irish prost.
Ich singe an eue a riȝte time,
& soþþe won hit is bed-time,
þe þridde siþe a[t] middel-niȝte:
     325
& so ich mine song adiȝte
wone ich iso arise vorre
oþer dai-rim oþer dai-sterre.
Ich do god mid mine þrote,
& warni men to hore note.
     330
Ac þu singest alle longe niȝt,
from eue fort hit is dai-liȝt,
& eure seist þin o song
so longe so þe niȝt is long: Page  32
& eure croweþ þi wrecche crei,
     335
þat he ne swikeþ niȝt ne dai.
Mid þine pipinge þu adunest
þas monnes earen þar þu wunest,
& makest þine song so unw[u]rþ
þa[t] me ne telþ of þar noȝ[t] w[u]rþ.
     340
Eurich murȝþe mai so longe ileste [folio 235v.1]
þat ho shal liki wel unwreste:
vor harpe, & pipe, & fuȝeles [song]
mislikeþ, ȝif hit is to long.
Ne bo þe song neuer so murie,
     345
þat he ne shal þinche wel unmurie
ȝef he ilesteþ ouer unwille:
so þu miȝt þine song aspille.
Vor hit is soþ, Alured hit seide,
& me hit mai ine boke rede:
     350
"Eurich þing mai losen his godhede
mid unmeþe & mid ouerdede."
Mid este þu þe miȝt ouerquatie,
& ouerfulle makeþ wlatie: Page  34
an eurich mureȝþe mai agon
     355
ȝif me hit halt eure forþ in on,
bute one, þat is Godes riche,
þat eure is svete & eure iliche:
þeȝ þu nime eure o[f] þan lepe,
hit is eure ful bi hepe.
     360
Wunder hit is of Godes riche,
þat eure spenþ & euer is iliche.
ȝut þu me seist an oþer shome,
þat ich a[m] on mine eȝen lome,
an seist, for þat ich flo bi niȝte,
     365
þat ich ne mai iso bi liȝte.
Þu liest! on me hit is isene
þat ich habbe gode sene:
vor nis non so dim þusternesse
þat ich euer iso þe lasse.
     370
Þu wenest þat ich ne miȝte iso,
vor ich bi daie noȝt ne flo.
Þe hare luteþ al dai,
ac noþeles iso he mai.
Ȝif hundes urneþ to him-ward, [folio 235v.2]
     375
[h]e gengþ wel suiþe awai-ward,
& hokeþ paþes sviþe narewe,
& haueþ mid him his blenches ȝarewe,
& hupþ & star[t] suþe coue,
an secheþ paþes to þe groue:
     380
ne sholde he uor boþe his eȝe
so don, ȝif he þe bet niseȝe. Page  36
Ich mai ison so wel so on hare,
þeȝ ich bi daie sitte an dare.
Þar aȝte men [boþ] in worre,
     385
an fareþ boþe ner an forre,
an oueruareþ fele [þ]ode,
an doþ bi niȝte gode node,
ich folȝi þan aȝte manne,
an flo bi niȝte in hore banne."
     390
Þe niȝtingale in hire þoȝte
athold al þis, & longe þoȝte
wat ho þarafter miȝte segge:
vor ho ne miȝte noȝt alegge
þat þe hule hadde hire ised,
     395
vor he spac boþe riȝt an red.
An hire ofþuȝte þat ho hadde
þe speche so for uorþ iladde,
an was oferd þat hire answare
ne w[u]rþe noȝt ariȝt ifare.
     400

Lines 401 through 500

Ac noþeles he spac boldeliche,
vor he is wis þat hardeliche
wiþ is uo berþ grete ilete,
þat he uor areȝþe hit ne forlete: Page  38
vor suich worþ bold ȝif þu [fliȝst],
     405
þat w[u]le flo ȝif þu [n]isvicst;
ȝif he isiþ þat þu nart areȝ,
he wile of [bore] w[u]rchen bareȝ.
& forþi, þeȝ þe niȝtingale [folio 236r.1]
were aferd, ho spac bolde tale.
     410
"[H]ule" ho seide " wi dostu so?
þu singest a-winter wolawo!
þu singest so doþ hen a-snowe,
al þat ho singeþ hit is for wowe.
A-wintere þu singest wroþe & ȝomere,
     415
an eure þu art dumb a-sumere.
Hit is for þine fule niþe
þat þu ne miȝt mid us bo bliþe,
vor þu forbernest wel neȝ for onde
wane ure blisse cumeþ to londe.
     420
þu farest so doþ þe ille,
evrich blisse him is unwille:
grucching & luring him boþ rade,
ȝif he isoþ þat men boþ glade. Page  40
He wolde þat he iseȝe
     425
teres in evrich monnes eȝe:
ne roȝte he þeȝ flockes were
imeind bi toppes & bi here.
Al so þu dost on þire side:
vor wanne snov liþ þicke & wide,
     430
an alle wiȝtes habbeþ sorȝe,
þu singest from eue fort a-morȝe.
Ac ich alle blisse mid me bringe:
ech wiȝt is glad for mine þinge,
& blisseþ hit wanne ich cume,
     435
& hiȝteþ aȝen mine kume.
Þe blostme ginneþ springe & sprede,
boþe ine tro & ek on mede.
Þe lilie mid hire faire wlite
wolcumeþ me, þat þu hit w[i]te,
     440
bit me mid hire faire blo
þat ich shulle to hire flo. Page  42
Þe rose also mid hire rude, [folio 236r.2]
þat cumeþ ut of þe þorne wode,
bit me þat ich shulle singe
     445
vor hire luue one skentinge:
& ich so do þurȝ niȝt & dai,
þe more ich singe þe more I mai,
an skente hi mid mine songe,
ac noþeles noȝt ouerlonge;
     450
wane ich iso þat men boþ glade,
ich nelle þat hi bon to sade:
þan is ido vor wan ich com,
ich fare aȝen & do wisdom.
Wane mon hoȝeþ of his sheue,
     455
an falewi cumeþ on grene leue,
ich fare hom & nime leue:
ne recche ich noȝt of winteres reue.
wan ich iso þat cumeþ þat harde,
ich fare hom to min erde,
     460
an habbe boþe luue & þonc
þat ich her com & hider swonk.
Þan min erende is ido,
sholde ich bileue? nai, [w]arto?
vor he nis noþer ȝep ne wis,
     465
þat longe abid þar him nod nis."
Þos hule luste, & leide an hord
al þis mot, word after word,
an after þoȝte hu he miȝte
ansvere uinde best mid riȝte:
     470
vor he mot hine ful wel biþenche,
þat is aferd of plaites wrenche.
"Þv aishest me," þe hule sede,
"wi ich a-winter singe & grede. Page  44
Hit is gode monne iwone,
     475
an was from þe worlde frome,
þat ech god man his frond icnowe, [folio 236v.1]
an blisse mid hom sume þrowe
in his huse at his borde,
mid faire speche & faire worde.
     480
& hure & hure to Cristesmasse,
þane riche & poure, more & lasse,
singeþ cundut niȝt & dai,
ich hom helpe what ich mai.
& ek ich þenche of oþer þinge
     485
þane to pleien oþer to singe.
Ich habbe herto gode ansuare
anon iredi & al ȝare:
vor sumeres-tide is al to [w]lonc,
an doþ misreken monnes þonk:
     490
vor he ne recþ noȝt of clennesse,
al his þoȝt is of golnesse:
vor none dor no leng nabideþ,
ac eurich upon oþer rideþ:
þe sulue stottes ine þe stode
     495
boþ boþe wilde & mere-wode.
& þu sulf art þar-among,
for of golnesse is al þi song,
an aȝen þet þu w[i]lt teme,
þu art wel modi & wel breme.
     500

Lines 501 through 600

Sone so þu hau[e]st itrede,
ne miȝtu leng a word iqueþe,
ac pipest al so doþ a mose,
mid chokeringe, mid steune hose. Page  46
ȝet þu singst worse þon þe heisugge,
     505
[þ]at fliȜþ bi grunde among þe stubbe:
wane þi lust is ago,
þonne is þi song ago also.
A-sumere chorles awedeþ
& uorcrempeþ & uorbredeþ:
     510
hit nis for luue noþeles,
ac is þe chorles wode res; [folio 236v.2]
vor wane he haueþ ido his dede,
ifallen is al his boldhede,
habbe he istunge under gore,
     515
ne last his luue no leng more.
Al so hit is on þine mode:
so sone so þu sittest a-brode,
þu forlost al þine wise.
Al so þu farest on þine rise:
     520
wane þu hauest ido þi gome,
þi steune goþ anon to shome.
Ac [w]ane niȝtes cumeþ longe,
& b[r]ingeþ forstes starke an stronge,
þanne erest hit is isene
     525
war is þe snelle, [w]ar is þe kene.
At þan harde me mai auinde
[w]o geþ forþ, wo liþ bihinde.
Me mai ison at þare node,
[w]an me shal harde wike bode; Page  48
     530
þanne ich am snel & pleie & singe,
& hiȝte me mid mi skentinge:
of none wintere ich ne recche,
vor ich nam non asv[u]nde wrecche.
& ek ich frouri uele wiȝte
     535
þat mid hom nabbe[þ] none miȝtte:
hi boþ hoȝfule & uel arme,
an secheþ ȝorne to þe warme;
oft ich singe uor hom þe more
for lutli sum of hore sore.
     540
Hu þincþ þe? artu ȝut inume?
Artu mid riȝte ouercume?"
"Nay, nay!" sede þe niȝtingale,
" þu shalt ihere anoþer tale:
ȝet nis þos speche ibroȝt to dome. [folio 237r.1]
     545
Ac bo wel stille, & lust nu to me
ich shal mid one bare worde
do þat þi speche [wurþ] forworþe."
"Þat nere noht riȝt" þe hule sede,
"þu hauest bicloped al so þu bede, Page  50
     550
an ich þe habbe iȝiue ansuare.
Ac ar we to unker dome fare,
ich wille speke toward þe
al so þu speke toward me;
an þu me ansuare ȝif þu miȝt.
     555
Seie me nu, þu wrecche wiȝt,
is in þe eni oþer note
bute þu hauest schille þrote?
Þu nart noȝt to non oþer þinge,
bute þu canst of chateringe:
     560
vor þu art lutel an unstrong,
an nis þi regel noþing long.
Wat dostu godes among monne?
Na mo þe deþ a w[re]cche wranne.
Of þe ne cumeþ non oþer god,
     565
bute þu gredest suich þu bo wod:
an bo þi piping ouergo,
ne boþ on þe craftes namo.
Alured sede, þat was wis:
(he miȝte wel, for soþ hit is,)
     570
"Nis no man for is bare songe
lof ne w[u]rþ noȝt suþe longe:
vor þat is a forworþe man
þat bute singe noȝt ne can."
Þu nart bute on forworþe þing:
     575
on þe nis bute chatering.
Þu art dim an of fule howe,
an þinchest a lutel soti clowe. Page  52
Þu nart fair, no þu nart strong, [folio 237r.2]
ne þu nart þicke, ne þu nart long:
     580
þu hauest imist al of fairhede,
an lutel is al þi godede.
An oþer þing of þe ich mene,
þu nart vair ne þu nart clene.
Wane þu comest to manne haȝe,
     585
þar þornes boþ & ris idraȝe,
bi hegge & bi þicke wode,
þar men goþ oft to hore node,
þarto þu draȝst, þarto þu w[u]nest,
an oþer clene stede þu schunest.
     590
Þan ich flo niȝtes after muse,
I mai þe uinde ate rum-huse;
among þe wode, among þe netle,
þu sittest & singst bihinde þe setle:
þar me mai þe ilomest finde,
     595
þar men worpeþ hore bihinde.
Ȝet þu atuitest me mine mete,
an seist þat ich fule wiȝtes ete.
Ac wat etestu, þat þu ne liȝe,
bute attercoppe & fule ulige,
     600

Lines 601 through 700

an wormes, ȝif þu miȝte finde
among þe uolde of harde rinde?
Ȝet ich can do wel gode wike,
vor ich can loki manne wike:
an mine wike boþ wel gode,
     605
vor ich helpe to manne uode.
Ich can nimen mus at berne,
an ek at chirche ine þe derne:
vor me is lof to Cristes huse,
to clansi hit wiþ fule muse,
     610
ne schal þar neure come to
ful wiȝt, ȝif ich hit mai iuo. Page  54
An ȝif me lust one mi skentinge [folio 237v.1]
to wernen oþer w[u]nienge,
ich habbe at wude tron wel grete,
     615
mit þicke boȝe noþing blete,
mid iui grene al bigrowe,
þat eure stont iliche iblowe,
an his hou neuer ne uorlost,
wan hit sniuw ne wan hit frost.
     620
Þarin ich habbe god ihold,
a-winter warm, a -sumere cold.
Wane min hus stont briȝt & grene,
of þine nis noþing isene.
Ȝet þu me telst of oþer þinge,
     625
of mine briddes seist gabbinge,
þat hore nest nis noȝt clene.
Hit is fale oþer wiȝte imene:
vor hors a-stable & oxe a-stalle
[d]oþ al þat hom wule þar falle.
     630
An lutle children in þe cradele,
boþe chorles an ek aþele,
[d]oþ al þat in hore ȝoeþe
þat hi uorleteþ in hore duȝeþe.
Wat! can þat ȝongling hit bihede?
     635
Ȝif hit misdeþ, hit mo[t] nede:
a uorbisne is of olde i[vu]rne,
[þ]at node makeþ old wif urne. Page  56
An ȝet ich habbe an oþer andsware:
wiltu to mine neste uare
     640
an loki hu hit is idiȝt?
Ȝif þu art wis lorni þu [miȝt]:
mi nest is holȝ & rum amidde,
so hit is softest mine bridde.
Hit is broiden al abute,
     645
vrom þe neste uor wiþute:
þarto hi go[þ] to hore node, [folio 237v.2]
ac þat þu menest ich hom forbode.
We nimeþ ȝeme of manne bure,
an after þan we makeþ ure:
     650
men habbet, among oþer i[h]ende,
a rum-hus at hore bures ende,
vor þat hi nelleþ to uor go,
an mine briddes doþ al so.
Site nu stille, chaterestre!
     655
nere þu neuer ibunde uastre:
herto ne uindestu neuer andsware.
Hong up þin ax! nu þu miȝt fare!"
Þe niȝtingale at þisse worde
was wel neȝ ut of rede iworþe,
     660
an þoȝte ȝorne on hire mode
ȝif ho oȝt elles understode,
ȝif ho kuþe oȝt bute singe,
þat miȝte helpe to oþer þinge. Page  58
Herto ho moste andswere uinde,
     665
oþer mid alle bon bihinde:
an hit is suþe strong to fiȝte
aȝen soþ & aȝen riȝte.
He mot gon to al mid ginne,
þan þe horte boþ on [w]inne:
     670
an þe man mot on oþer segge,
he mot bihemmen & bilegge,
ȝif muþ wiþute mai biwro
þat me þe horte noȝt niso:
an sone mai a word misreke
     675
þar muþ shal aȝen horte speke;
an sone mai a word misstorte
þar muþ shal speken aȝen horte.
Ac noþeles ȝut upe þon,
her is to red wo hine kon:
     680
vor neuer nis wit so kene [folio 238r.1]
so þane red him is a-wene.
þanne erest kume[þ] his ȝephede
wone hit is alre-mest on drede:
for Aluered seide of olde quide,
     685
an ȝut hit nis of horte islide:
"Wone þe bale is alre-hecst,
þonne is þe bote alre-necst"; Page  60
vor wit west among his sore,
an for his sore hit is þe more.
     690
Vorþi nis neuere mon redles
ar his horte bo witles:
ac ȝif þat he forlost his wit,
þonne is his red-purs al to-slit;
ȝif he ne kon his wit atholde,
     695
ne uint he red in one uolde.
Vor Alur[e]d seide, þat wel kuþe,
eure he spac mid soþe muþe:
"Wone þe bale is alre-hecst,
þanne is þe bote alre-nest."
     700

Lines 701 through 800

Þe niȝtingale al hire hoȝe
mid rede hadde wel bitoȝe;
among þe harde, among þe toȝte,
ful wel mid rede hire biþoȝte,
an hadde andsuere gode ifunde
     705
among al hire harde stunde.
"[H]ule, þu axest me," ho seide,
"ȝif ich kon eni oþer dede
bute singen in sume tide,
an bringe blisse for & wide.
     710
Wi axestu of craftes mine?
Betere is min on þan alle þine,
betere is o song of mine muþe
þan al þat eure þi kun kuþe:
an lust, ich telle þe wareuore. [folio 238r.2]
     715
Wostu to wan man was ibore?
To þare blisse of houene-riche,
þar euer is song & murȝþe iliche: Page  62
þider fundeþ eurich man
þat eni þing of gode kan.
     720
Vorþi me singþ in holi-chirche,
an clerkes ginneþ songes wirche,
þat man iþenche bi þe songe
wider he shal, & þar bon longe:
þat he þe murȝþe ne uorȝete,
     725
ac þarof þenche & biȝete,
an nime ȝeme of chirche steuene,
hu murie is þe blisse of houene.
Clerkes, munekes, & kanunes,
þar boþ þos gode wicke-tunes,
     730
ariseþ up to midel-niȝte,
an singeþ of þe houene-liȝte:
an prostes upe londe singeþ,
wane þe liȝt of daie springeþ.
An ich hom helpe wat I mai,
     735
ich singe mid hom niȝt & dai,
an ho boþ alle for me þe gladdere,
an to þe songe boþ þe raddere.
Ich warni men to hore gode,
þat hi bon bliþe on hore mode,
     740
an bidde þat hi moten iseche
þan ilke song þat euer is eche.
Nu þu miȝt, hule, sitte & clinge:
her-among nis no chateringe:
ich graunti þat [w]e go to dome
     745
tofore þe [sulfe Pope] of Rome. Page  64
Ac abid ȝete, noþeles,
þu shalt ihere an oþer [h]es;
ne shaltu, for Engelonde, [folio 238v.1]
at þisse worde me atstonde.
     750
Wi atuitestu me mine unstrengþe,
an mine ungrete & mine unlengþe,
an seist þat ich nam noȝt strong,
vor ich nam noþer gret ne long?
Ac þu nost neuer wat þu menst,
     755
bute lese wordes þu me lenst:
for ich kan craft & ich kan liste,
an [þ]areuore ich am þus þriste.
Ich kan wit & song man[t]eine,
ne triste ich to non oþer maine:
     760
vor soþ hit is þat seide Alured:
"Ne mai no strengþe aȝen red." Page  66
Oft spet wel a lute liste,
þar muche strengþe sholde miste;
mid lutle strengþe, þurȝ ginne,
     765
castel & burȝ me mai iwinne.
Mid liste me mai walle[s] felle,
an worpe of horsse kniȝtes snelle.
Vuel strengþe is lutel wurþ,
* * * * *
     770
* * * * *
ac wisdom naueþ non euening.
An hors is strengur þan a mon;
ac for hit non iwit ne kon,
hit berþ on rugge grete semes,
     775
an draȝþ biuore grete temes, Page  68
an þoleþ boþe ȝerd & spure,
an stont iteid at mulne dure.
An hit deþ þat mon hit hot:
an for þan þat hit no wit not,
     780
ne mai his strenþe hit ishilde
þat hit nabuȝþ þe lutle childe.
Mon deþ, mid strengþe & mid witte,
þat oþer þing nis non his fitte.
Þeȝ alle strengþe at one were, [folio 238v.2]
     785
monnes wit ȝet more were;
vor þe mon mid his crafte,
ouerkumeþ al orþliche shafte.
Al so ich do mid mine one songe
bet þan þu al þe ȝer longe:
     790
vor mine crafte men me luuieþ,
vor þine strengþe men þe shunieþ.
Telstu bi me þe wurs for þan
þat ich bute anne craft ne kan?
Ȝif tueie men goþ to wraslinge,
     795
an eiþer oþer faste þringe,
an þe on can swenges suþe fele,
an kan his wrenches wel forhele,
an þe oþer ne can sweng but anne,
an þe is god wiþ eche manne,
     800

Lines 801 through 900

an mid þon one leiþ to grunde
anne after oþer a lutle stunde,
[w]at þarf he recche of a mo swenge,
þone þe on him is swo genge? Page  70
Þ[u] seist þat þu canst fele wike,
     805
ac euer ich am þin unilike.
Do þine craftes alle togadere,
ȝet is min on horte betere.
Oft þan hundes foxes driueþ,
þe kat ful wel him sulue liueþ,
     810
þeȝ he ne kunne wrench bute anne.
Þe fo[x] so godne ne can nanne,
þe[ȝ] he kunne so uele wrenche,
þat he wenþ eche hunde atprenche.
Vor he can paþes riȝte & woȝe,
     815
an he kan hongi bi þe boȝe,
an so forlost þe hund his fore,
an turnþ aȝen eft to þan more.
Þe uox kan crope bi þe heie, [folio 239r.1]
an turne ut from his forme weie,
     820
an eft sone kume þarto:
þonne is þe hundes smel fordo:
he not, þur[ȝ] þe imeinde smak,
weþer he shal auorþ þe abak.
Ȝif þe uox mist of al þis dwole,
     825
at þan ende he cropþ to hole: Page  72
ac naþeles mid alle his wrenche,
ne kan he hine so biþenche,
þeȝ he bo ȝep an suþe snel,
þat he ne lost his rede uel.
     830
Þe cat ne kan wrench bute anne
noþer bi dune ne bi uenne:
bute he kan climbe suþe wel,
þarmid he wereþ his greie uel.
Al so ich segge bi mi solue,
     835
betere is min on þan þine twelue."
"Abid! abid!" þe ule seide,
"þu gest al to mid swikelede:
alle þine wordes þu bileist
þat hit þincþ soþ al þat þu seist;
     840
alle þine wordes boþ isliked,
an so bisemed an biliked,
þat alle þo þat hi auoþ,
hi weneþ þat þu segge soþ.
Abid! abid! me shal þe ȝene.
     845
[N]u hit shal w[u]rþe wel isene
þat þu hauest muchel iloȝe,
wone þi lesing boþ unwroȝe.
Þu seist þat þu singist mankunne,
& techest hom þat hi fundieþ honne
     850
vp to þe songe þat eure ilest:
ac hit is alre w[u]nder mest,
þat þu darst liȝe so opeliche. [folio 239r.2]
Wenest þu hi bringe so liȝtliche
to Godes riche al singin[d]e?
     855
Nai! nai! hi shulle wel auinde Page  74
þat hi mid longe wope mote
of hore sunnen bidde bote,
ar hi mote euer kume þare.
Ich rede þi þat men bo ȝare,
     860
an more wepe þane singe,
þat fundeþ to þan houen-kinge:
vor nis no man witute sunne.
Vorþi he mot, ar he wende honne,
mid teres an mid wope bete,
     865
þat him bo sur þat er was swete.
Þarto ich helpe, God hit wot!
Ne singe i[c]h hom no foliot:
for al m[i] song is of longinge,
an imend sumdel mid woninge,
     870
þat mon bi me hine biþenche
þat he gro[ni] for his unwrenche:
mid mine songe ich hine pulte,
þat he groni for his gulte.
Ȝif þu gest herof to disputinge,
     875
ich wepe bet þane þu singe:
ȝif riȝt goþ forþ, & abak wrong,
betere is mi wop þane þi song.
Þeȝ sume men bo þurȝut gode,
an þurȝut clene on hore mode,
     880
ho[m] longeþ honne noþeles.
Þat boþ her, [w]o is hom þes:
vor þeȝ hi bon hom solue iborȝe,
hi ne soþ her nowiȝt bote sorwe.
Vor oþer men hi wepeþ sore,
     885
an for hom biddeþ Cristes ore. Page  76
Ich helpe monne on eiþer halue, [folio 239v.1]
mi muþ haueþ tweire kunne salue :
þan gode ich fulste to longinge,
vor þan hi[m] longeþ, ich him singe:
     890
an þan sunfulle ich helpe alswo,
vor ich him teche þare is wo.
Ȝet ich þe ȝene in oþer wise:
vor þane þu sittest on þine rise,
þu draȝst men to fleses luste,
     895
þat w[u]lleþ þine songes luste.
Al þu forlost þe murȝþe of houene,
for þarto neuestu none steuene :
al þat þu singst is of golnesse,
for nis on þe non holinesse,
     900

Lines 901 through 1000

ne wene[þ] na man for þi pipinge
þat eni preost in chir[ch]e singe.
Ȝet I þe wulle an o[þ]er segge,
ȝif þu hit const ariht bilegge:
[w]i nultu singe an o[þ]er þeode,
     905
þar hit is muchele more neode?
Þu neauer ne singst in Irlonde,
ne þu ne cumest noȝt in Scotlonde.
Hwi nultu fare to Noreweie,
an singin men of Galeweie? Page  78
     910
Þar beoð men þat lutel kunne
of songe þat is bineoð þe sunne.
Wi nultu þare preoste singe,
an teche of þire writelinge,
an wisi hom mid þire steuene
     915
hu engeles singeð ine heouene?
Þu farest so doð an ydel wel
þat springeþ bi burue þa[t] is snel,
an let fordrue þe dune,
& flo[þ] on idel þar adune.
     920
Ac ich fare boþe norþ & s[u]þ: [folio 239v.2]
in eauereuch londe ich am cuuþ:
east & west, feor & neor,
I do wel faire mi meoster,
an warni men mid mine bere,
     925
þat þi dweole-song heo ne forlere.
Ich wisse men mid min[e] songe,
þat hi ne sunegi nowiht longe :
I bidde hom þat heo iswike,
þat [heo] heom seolue ne biswike:
     930
for betere is þat heo wepen here,
þan elles hwar [beon] deoulene fere."
Þe niȝtingale was igr[amed]
an ek heo was sum del of[s]chamed,
for þe hule hire atwiten hadde
     935
in hwucche stude he sat an gradde,
bihinde þe bure, among þe wede,
þar men goð to here neode: Page  80
an sat sum-del, & heo biþohte,
an wiste wel on hire þohte
     940
þe wraþþe binimeþ monnes red.
For hit seide þe king Alfred:
"Sel[d]e endeð wel þe loþe,
an selde plaideð wel þe wroþe."
For wraþþe meinþ þe horte blod
     945
þat hit floweþ so wilde flod,
an al þe heorte ouergeþ,
þat heo naueþ no þing bute breþ,
an so forleost al hire liht,
þat heo ni siþ soþ ne riht.
     950
Þe niȝtingale hi understod,
an ouergan lette hire mod:
he mihte bet speken a-sele
þan mid wraþþe wordes deale.
"[H]ule," heo seide "lust nu hider: [folio 240r.1]
     955
þu schalt falle, þe wei is slider.
Þu seist ich fleo bihinde bure:
hit is riht, þe bur is ure:
þar lauerd liggeþ & lauedi,
ich schal heom singe & sitte bi.
     960
Wenstu þat uise men forlete,
for fule venne, þe riȝtte strete ?
ne sunne þe later shine,
þeȝ hit bo ful ine nest[e] þine?
Sholde ich, for one hole brede,
     965
forlete mine riȝte stede, Page  82
þat ich ne singe bi þe bedde,
þar louerd haueþ his loue ibedde?
Hit is mi riȝt, hit is mi laȝe,
þa[t] to þe he[x]st ich me draȝe.
     970
Ac ȝet þu ȝelpst of þine songe,
þat þu canst ȝolle wroþe & stronge,
an seist þu uisest mankunne,
þat hi biwepen hore sunne.
Solde euch mon wonie & grede
     975
riȝt suich hi weren unlede,
solde hi ȝollen al so þu dest,
hi miȝte oferen here brost.
Man schal bo stille & noȝt grede;
he mot biwepe his misdede:
     980
ac þar is Cristes heriinge,
þar me shal grede & lude singe.
Nis noþer to lud ne to long,
at riȝte time, chirche-song.
Þu ȝolst & wones[t], & ich singe:
     985
þi steuene is wop, & min skentinge.
Euer mote þu ȝolle & wepen
þat þu þi lif mote forleten!
an ȝollen mote þu so heȝe [folio 240r.2]
þat ut berste bo þin eȝe!
     990
Weþer is betere of twe[n]e twom,
þat mon bo bliþe oþer grom ? Page  84
So bo hit euer in unker siþe,
þat þu bo sori & ich bliþe.
Ȝut þu aisheist wi ich ne fare
     995
into oþer londe & singe þare?
No! wat sholde ich among hom do,
þar neuer blisse ne com to?
Þat lond nis god, ne hit nis este,
ac wildernisse hit is & weste:
     1000

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:
     1005
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
     1010
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,
     1015
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:
     1020
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?
     1025
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
     1030
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,
     1035
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:
     1040
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,
     1045
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
     1050
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,
     1055
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:
     1060
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
     1065
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,
     1070
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?
     1075
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.
     1080
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
     1085
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.
     1090
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;
     1095
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,
     1100

Lines 1101 through 1200

an ȝaf for me an hundred punde:
an mine briddes seten isunde, Page  94
an hadde soþþe blisse & hiȝte,
an were bliþe, & wel miȝte.
Vorþon ich was so wel awreke,
     1105
euer eft ich dar[r] þe bet speke:
vor hit bitidde ene swo,
ich am þe bliþur euer mo.
Nu ich mai singe war ich wulle,
ne dar me neuer eft mon agrulle.
     1110
Ac þu, eremi[n]g! þu wrecche gost!
þu ne canst finde, ne þu nost,
an holȝ stok þar þu þe miȝt hude,
þat me ne twengeþ þine hude.
Vor children, gromes, heme & hine,
     1115
hi þencheþ alle of þire pine:
ȝif hi muȝe iso þe sitte,
stones hi doþ in hore slitte,
an þe totorue[þ] & toheneþ,
an þine fule bon tosheneþ.
     1120
Ȝif þu art iworpe oþer ishote,
þanne þu miȝt erest to note.
Vor me þe hoþ in one rodde,
an þu, mid þine fule codde,
an mid þine ateliche s[w]ore, [folio 241r.2]
     1125
biwerest manne corn urom dore. Page  96
Nis noþer noȝt, þi lif ne þi blod:
ac þu art sh[e]ueles suþe god.
Þar nowe sedes boþe isowe,
pinnuc, golfinc, rok, ne crowe
     1130
ne dar þar neuer cumen ihende,
ȝif þi buc hongeþ at þan ende.
Þar tron shulle aȝere blowe,
an ȝunge sedes springe & growe,
ne dar no fuȝel þarto uonge,
     1135
ȝif þu art þarouer ihonge.
Þi lif is eure luþer & qued,
þu nar[t] noȝt bute ded.
Nu þu miȝt wite sikerliche
þat þine leches boþ grisliche
     1140
þe wile þu art on lifdaȝe:
vor wane þu hongest islaȝe,
ȝut hi boþ of þe ofdradde,
þe fuȝeles þat þe er bigradde.
Mid riȝte men boþ wiþ þe wroþe,
     1145
for þu singist euer of hore loþe:
al þat þu singst, raþe oþer late,
hit is euer of manne unwate:
wane þu hauest aniȝt igrad,
men boþ of þe wel sore ofdrad. Page  98
     1150
Þu singst þar sum man shal be ded:
euer þu bodest sumne qued.
Þu singst aȝen eiȝte lure,
oþer of summe frondes rure :
oþer þu bodes[t] huses brune,
     1155
oþer ferde of manne, oþer þoues rune;
oþer þu bodest cualm of oreue,
oþer þat londfolc wurþ idorue,
oþer þat wif lost hire make; [folio 241v.1]
oþer þu bodest cheste an sake.
     1160
Euer þu singist of manne hareme,
þurȝ þe hi boþ sori & areme.
þu ne singst neuer one siþe,
þat hit nis for sum unsiþe.
Heruore hit is þat me þe shuneþ,
     1165
an þe totorueþ & tobuneþ
mid staue, & stoone, & turf, & clute,
þat þu ne miȝt nowar atrute.
Dahet euer suich budel in tune
þat euer bodeþ unwreste rune,
     1170
an euer bringeþ vuele tiþinge,
an þat euer specþ of vuele þinge!
God Almiȝti w[u]rþe him wroþ,
an al þat werieþ linnene cloþ!"
Þe hule ne abo[d] noȝt swiþ[e] longe,
     1175
ah ȝef ondsware starke & stronge:
" Wat," quaþ ho, " hartu ihoded ?
oþer þu kursest al unihoded ? Page  100
For prestes wike ich wat þu dest.
Ich not ȝef þu were ȝaure prest:
     1180
ich not ȝef þu canst masse singe:
inoh þu canst of mansinge.
Ah hit is for þine alde niþe,
þat þu me akursedest oþer siþe:
ah þarto is lihtlich ondsware;
     1185
"Drah to þe!" cwaþ þe cartare.
Wi attwitestu me mine insihte,
an min iwit & mine miȝte?
For ich am witi ful iwis,
an wo[t] al þat to kumen is:
     1190
ich wot of hunger, of hergonge:
ich wot ȝef men schule libbe longe:
ich wat ȝef wif lus[t] hire make: [folio 241v.2]
ich wat þar schal beo niþ & wrake;
ich wot hwo schal beon [an]honge,
     1195
oþer elles fulne deþ afonge.
Ȝef men habbeþ bataile inume,
ich wat hwaþer schal beon ouerkume :
ich wat ȝif cwalm scal comen on orfe,
an ȝif dor schul ligge [a]storue; Page  102
     1200

Lines 1201 through 1300

ich wot ȝef treon schule blowe:
ich wat ȝef cornes schule growe :
ich wot ȝef huses schule berne:
ich wot ȝef men schule eorne oþer erne:
ich wot ȝef sea schal schipes drenche:
     1205
ich wot ȝef snuw[e] schal uuele clenche.
An ȝet ich con muchel more:
ich con inoh in bokes lore,
an eke ich can of þe Goddspelle
more þan ich nule þe telle:
     1210
for ich at chirche come ilome,
an muche leorni of wisdome :
ich wat al of þe tacninge,
an of oþer feole þinge.
Ȝef eni mon schal rem abide,
     1215
al ich hit wot ear hit itide. Page  104
Ofte, for mine muchele iwitte,
wel sori-mod & w[ro]þ ich sitte :
wan ich iseo þat sum wrechede
is manne neh, innoh ich grede:
     1220
ich bidde þat men beon iwar[r]e,
an habbe gode reades ȝar[r]e.
For Alfred seide a wis word,
euch mon hit schulde legge on hord:
"Ȝef þu isihst [er] he beo icume,
     1225
his str[e]ncþe is him wel neh binume."
An grete duntes beoþ þe lasse, [folio 242r.1]
ȝef me ikepþ mid iwarnesse,
an [flo] schal toward misȝenge,
ȝef þu isihst hu fleo of strenge;
     1230
for þu miȝt blenche wel & fleo,
ȝif þu isihst heo to þe teo.
Þat eni man beo falle in [e]dwite,
wi schal he me his sor atwite?
Þah ich iseo his harm biuore,
     1235
ne comeþ hit noȝt of me þaru[o]re.
Þah þu iseo þat sum blind mon,
þat nanne rihtne wei ne con,
to þare diche his dweole fulie[þ],
an falleþ, and þarone sulie[þ], Page  106
     1240
wenest þu, þah ich al iseo,
þat hit for me þe raþere beo?
Al swo hit fareþ bi mine witte:
hwanne ich on mine bowe sitte,
ich wot & iseo swiþe brihte
     1245
an summe men kume[&] harm þarrihte.
Schal he, þat þerof noþing not,
hit wite me for ich hit wot?
Schal he his mishap wite me,
for ich am wisure þane he?
     1250
Hwanne ich iseo þat sum wrechede
is manne neh, inoh ich grede,
an bidde inoh þat hi heom schilde,
for toward heom is [harm unmilde].
Ah þah ich grede lude an stille,
     1255
al hit itid þur[h] Godes wille.
Hwi wulleþ men of me hi mene,
þah ich mid soþe heo awene?
Þah ich hi warni al þat ȝer,
nis heom þerfore harem no þe ner: [folio 242r.2]
     1260
ah ich heom singe for ich wolde
þat hi wel understonde schulde
þat sum unselþe heom is ihende,
hwan ich min huing to heom sende.
Naueþ no man none sikerhede
     1265
þat he ne mai wene & adrede
þat sum unhwate ne[h] him beo,
þah he ne conne hit iseo.
Forþi seide Alfred swiþe wel,
and his worde was Goddspel, Page  108
     1270
þat "euereuch man, þe bet him beo,
eauer þe bet he hine beseo:"
"ne truste no mon to his weole
to swiþe, þah he habbe ueole."
"Nis [nout] so hot þat hit nacoleþ,
     1275
ne noȝt so hwit þat hit ne soleþ,
ne noȝt so leof þat hit ne aloþeþ,
ne noȝt so glad þat hit ne awroþeþ:
ac eauereeu[c]h þing þat eche nis,
agon schal, & al þis worldes blis."
     1280
Nu þu miȝt wite readliche,
þat eauere þu spekest gideliche:
for al þat þu me seist for schame,
euer þe seolue hit turneþ to grome.
Go so hit go, at eche fenge
     1285
þu fallest mid þine ahene swenge;
al þat þu seist for me to schende,
hit is mi wurschipe at þan ende.
Bute þu wille bet aginne,
ne shaltu bute schame iwinne."
     1290
Þe niȝtingale sat & siȝte,
& hohful was, & ful wel miȝte,
for þe hule swo ispeke hadde, [folio 242v.1]
an hire speche swo iladde.
Heo was ho[h]ful, & erede
     1295
hwat heo þarafter hire sede: Page  110
ah neoþeles heo hire understod.
" Wat!" heo seide, "hule, artu wod?
þu ȝeolpest of seolliche wisdome,
þu nustest wanene he þe come,
     1300

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

Lines 1401 through 1500

þe gost misdeþ þurch niþe an onde,
& seoþþe mid murhþe of [monne shonde,] Page  120
an ȝeoneþ after more & more,
an lutel rehþ of milce & ore ;
an stiȝþ on he[h] þur[h] modinesse,
     1405
an ouerhoheð þanne lasse.
Sei [me sooþ], ȝef þu hit wost,
hweþer deþ wurse, flesch þe gost?
Þu miȝt segge, ȝef þu wult,
þat lasse is þe flesches gult:
     1410
moni man is of his flesche clene,
þat is mid mode deouel-imene.
Ne schal non mon wimman bigrede,
an flesches lustes hire upbreide:
swuch he may te[l]en of golnesse,
     1415
þat sunegeþ wurse i[n] modinesse.
[Ȝ]et ȝif ich schulde a-luue bringe
wif oþer maide, hwanne ich singe,
ich wolde wiþ þe maide holde,
ȝif þu hit const ariht atholde:
     1420
Lust nu, ich segge þe hwaruore,
vp to þe toppe from þe more.
Ȝef maide luueþ dernliche,
heo stumpeþ & falþ icundeliche:
for þah heo sum hwile pleie,
     1425
heo nis nout feor ut of þe weie;
heo mai hire guld atwende
a rihte weie þur[h] chirche-bende,
an mai eft habbe to make [folio 243v.1]
hire leofmon wiþute sake, Page  122
     1430
an go to him bi daies lihte,
þat er stal to bi þeostre nihte.
An ȝunling not hwat swuch þing is:
his ȝunge blod hit draȝeþ amis,
an sum sot mon hit tihþ þarto
     1435
mid alle þan þat he mai do.
He comeþ & fareþ & beod & bi[t]
an heo bistant & ouersi[t],
an bisehþ ilome & longe.
Hwat mai þat chil[d] þah hit misfonge?
     1440
Hit nuste neauer hwat hit was,
forþi hit þohte fondi [þ]as,
an wite iwis hwuch beo þe gome
þat of so wilde makeþ tome.
Ne mai ich for reo[w]e lete,
     1445
wanne ich iseo þe tohte ilete
þe luue bring[e] on þe ȝunglinge,
þat ich of murȝþe him ne singe.
Ich [t]eache heom bi mine songe
þat swucch luue ne lest noȝt longe:
     1450
for mi song lutle hwile ilest,
an luue ne deþ noȝt bute rest Page  124
on swuch childre, & sone ageþ,
an falþ adun þe hote breþ.
Ich singe mid heom one þroȝe,
     1455
biginne on heh & endi laȝe,
an lete [mine] songes falle
an lutle wile adun mid alle.
Þat maide wot, hwanne ich swike,
þat luue is mine songes ili[k]e,
     1460
for hit nis bute a lutel breþ,
þat sone kumeþ, & sone geþ.
Þat child bi me hit understond, [folio 243v.2]
an his unred to red[e] wend,
an iseȝþ wel, bi mine songe,
     1465
þat dusi luue ne last noȝt longe.
Ah wel ich wule þat þu hit wite,
loþ me beoþ wiues utschute:
ah [w]if mai [of] me nime ȝeme,
ich ne singe nawt hwan ich teme.
     1470
An wif ah lete so[t]tes lore,
þah spusing-bendes þuncheþ sore.
Wundere me þungþ wel starc & stor,
hu eni mon so eauar for,
þat [h]e his heorte miȝte driue
     1475
[to] do hit to oþers mannes wiue:
for oþer hit is of twam þinge,
ne mai þat þridde no man bringe;
o[þ]ar þe lauerd is wel aht,
oþer aswunde, & nis naht.
     1480
Ȝef he is wurþful & aht man,
nele no man, þat wisdo[m] can, Page  126
hure of is wiue do him schame:
for he mai him adrede grame,
an þat he forleose þat þer hongeþ,
     1485
þat him eft þarto noȝt ne longeþ.
An þah he þat noȝt ne adrede,
hit is unriȝt & gret sothede
[to] misdon one gode manne,
an his ibedde from him spanne.
     1490
Ȝef hire lauerd is forwurde
an unorne at bedde & at borde,
hu miȝte þar beo eni luue
wanne [a] cheorles buc hire ley buue?
Hu mai þar eni luue beo,
     1495
war swuch man gropeþ hire þeo?
Herbi þu miȝt wel understonde [folio 244r.1]
þat on [is a reu], þat oþer schonde,
to stele to oþres mannes bedde.
For ȝif aht man is hire bedde,
     1500

Lines 1501 through 1600

þu miȝt wene þat þe mistide,
wanne þu list bi hire side.
An ȝef þe lauerd is a w[re]cche,
hwuch este miȝtistu þar uecche? Page  128
Ȝif þu biþenchest hwo hire ofligge,
     1505
þu miȝt mid wlate þe este bugge.
Ich not hu mai eni freo-man
for hire sechen after þan.
Ȝef he biþencþ bi hwan he lai,
al mai þe luue gan awai."
     1510
Þe hule was glad of swuche tale:
heo þoȝte þat te nihtegale,
þah heo wel speke atte frume,
hadde at þen ende misnume :
an seide: "Nu ich habbe ifunde
     1515
þat maidenes beoþ of þine imunde:
mid heom þu holdest, & heom biwerest,
an ouerswiþe þu hi herest.
Þe lauedies beoþ to me iwend,
to me heo hire mo[n]e send.
     1520
For hit itit ofte & ilome,
þat wif & were beoþ unisome:
& þerfore þe were gulte,
þat leof is over wummon to pulte,
an speneþ on þare al þat he haueþ,
     1525
an siueþ þare þat no riht naueþ, Page  130
an haueþ attom his riȝte spuse,
wowes weste, & lere huse,
wel þunne isch[r]ud & iued wroþe,
an let heo bute mete & cloþe.
     1530
Wan he comeþ ham eft to his wiue, [folio 244r.2]
ne dar heo noȝt a word ischire:
he chid & gred swuch he beo wod,
an ne bringþ [hom] non oþer god.
Al þat heo deþ him is unwille,
     1535
al þat heo spekeþ hit is him ille:
an oft hwan heo noȝt ne misdeþ,
heo haueþ þe fust in hire teþ.
Þ[er] is nan mon þat ne mai ibringe
his wif amis mid swucche þinge:
     1540
me hire mai so ofte misbeode,
þat heo do wule hire ahene neode.
La, Godd hit wot! heo nah iweld,
þa[h] heo hine makie kukeweld.
For hit itit lome & ofte,
     1545
þat his wif is wel nesche & softe,
of faire bleo & wel idiht:
[For]þi hit is þe more unriht
þat he his luue spene on þare,
þat nis wurþ one of hire heare.
     1550
An swucche men beoþ wel manifolde,
þat wif ne kunne noȝt ariȝt holde.
Ne mot non mon wiþ hire speke:
he ueneð heo wule anon tobreke
hire spusing, ȝef heo lokeþ
     1555
oþer wiþ manne faire spekeþ. Page  132
He hire bilu[k]þ mid keie & loke:
þar-þurh is spusing ofte tobroke.
For ȝef heo is þarto ibroht,
he deþ þat heo nadde ear iþoht.
     1560
Dahet þat to swuþe hit bispeke,
þah swucche wiues [heom] awreke !
Herof þe lauedies to me meneþ,
an wel sore me ahweneþ:
wel neh min heorte wule tochine, [folio 244v.1]
     1565
hwon ich biholde hire pine.
Mid heom ich wepe swi[þ]e sore,
an for heom bidde Cristis ore,
þat þe lauedi sone aredde
an hire sende betere ibedde.
     1570
An oþer þing ich mai þe telle,
þat þu ne schal[t], for þine felle,
ondswere none þarto finde:
al þi sputing schal aswinde.
Moni chapmon & moni cniht
     1575
luueþ & [hald] his wif ariht,
an swa deþ moni bondeman:
þat gode wif deþ after þan,
an serueþ him to bedde & to borde
mid faire dede & faire worde,
     1580
an ȝeorne fondeþ hu heo muhe
do þing þat him beo iduȝe.
Þe lauerd into þare [þ]eode
fareþ ut on þare beire nede,
an is þat gode wif unbliþe
     1585
for hire lauerdes hou[h]siþe, Page  134
an sit & sihð wel sore oflonged,
an hire sore an horte ongred:
al for hire louerdes sake
haueþ daies kare & niȝtes wake:
     1590
an swuþe longe hire is þe hwile,
an [ech] steape hire þunþ a mile.
Hwanne oþre slepeþ hire abute,
ich one lust þar wiþute,
an wot of hire sore mode,
     1595
an singe aniȝt for hire gode:
an mine gode song, for hire þinge,
ich turne su[m]del to murni[n]ge.
Of hure seorhe ich bere sume, [folio 244v.2]
forþan ich am hire wel welcume:
     1600

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]

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.