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He followed swiftly as he might;
Orpheo knocked at the gate,
Ready the porter was thereat,
And asked him “what wilt thou so?"
"Parfay! I am a minstrallo,
I bring thee solace with my glee,
That thou the merrier may be.”
He then undid the castle gate,
And let him in the palace straight.
About looked Orpheo over all,
He saw folk sit beneath the wall;
And some that had been brought thereto,
They seemed dead yet were not so,
And there among them lay his wife,
That he loved as his own life;
She lay beneath an ympė tree,
By her look he wist 'twas she.
Then forth he went into the hall,
There was great joy amongst them all.
The richė King was seated there,
And Orpheo gave him greeting fair;
Beside him sate a Queenė bright,
Hardly of her he had a sight.
When he had looked on all this thing,
He kneelėd down before the King,
And asked him if his will it were
That he his minstrelsy would hear.
Then said the King: “And what art thou,
Who come into my presence now?
Myself nor none that is with me,
Have ever yet sent after thee.
Since I this kingdom first began
I have not found so brave a man
Who hither dared to come or wend,
Save that I after him should send."
“Sir," he said, “I trow full weel,
I hold it sooth, sir, every deal,
It is the custom of us all
To come to every lordės hall,
And though we may not welcome be,
Proffer we must our game or glee.”
Before the King he sat him down,
And took his harp of merry soun,
And straightway as full well he can,
Many blithe notes he then began.
The King looked up and sat full still,
To hear his harping he had good will.
When he had ceased from his harping,
Then said to him that richė King:
“Minstrel, me liketh well thy glee;
Whatever thing thou ask of me,
Freely now I will thee pay,
Therefore, ask now, and assay."
Lord,” he said, “I beg of thee,
If that it shall your pleasure be,
Give me that lady bright of ble,23
That lies beneath yon ympė tree.”
“Nay," he said, "that may I ne'er,
For ye would be a sorry pair;
Thou art all shaggy, rough, and black,
And she is made withouten lack.
A foulė thing it were to see,
To put her in thy companie.”.
"Lord,” he said, "thou richė King,
It were yet a fouler thing,

To hear a lying word from thee,
As though thou promised nought to me, 430
Saying thou'd give me what I would!
A Kingės word must needs hold good.”
“Thou sayest sooth,” the King said than,
“Forsooth thou art a truė man.
I will well that it be so,
Take her by the hand, and go.
I will that thou of her be blithe.”
And him he thankėd many a sythe.24
He took her by the hand anon,
With right good will they out are gone,
And fast they hied from that paláce,
And went their way through Goddės grace;
Into the wilds they both are gone,
O'er holt and heath they journey on.
And so they take their way full fast, 445
And to Crasséns they come at last,
That sometime was her own citie,
But no man wist that it was he.
With beggar poor of humblest life
A space he tarried with his wife.

He asked tidings of the land,
And who the kingdom had in hand.
The humble beggar in his cote,
Answering, told him every grote;
How that the Queen was fetched away 455
To the land of faerie on a day,
And how the King did after go,
But to what place no man can know.
The Steward, he says, the land doth hold;
So, many tidings he them told.

460 The morrow at the noonė tide Sir Orpheo bade his Queen there bide, He took his harp and right anon Into the town he straight is gone. And when he came to the citie,

465 Many a man him came to see, Men and wives and maidens fair, Gathered fast to see him there; And marvelled much as him they view, How thick the moss upon him grew;

470 “His beard is grown right to his knee, His body is withered as a tree." Then his own Steward did he meet, Passing in state adown the street, And Orpheo fell upon his knee And said: “Lord help, for charitie, A minstrel I of Heathènesse, Lord help me now in this distress." The Steward said: “With me come home, And of my goods thou shalt have some, For Orpheo's sake once Lord to me, All minestralles shall welcome be." Anon they went into the hall, The Steward and the lordės all. The Steward washed, and went to meat, And all the lordės down were set, Then was there music in the hall, But Orpheo sat against the wall. When all are still, the music done, He took his harp of sounding tone,

490 And fast on it he played the glee; The Steward looked, and 'gan to see, For well he knew that harp belive;25 24 Many times.








485 495


25 Quickly.

23 Hue.

They ate and drank and made them glad,
Their life was all with pleasure led,
Men kneelėd them beforn,

They bore themselves full proud and high, And, in the twinkling of an eye, 11 Their souls were all forlorn.


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"Minstrel,” he said, “as thou mayst thrive,
How gottest thou that harp, and where?
Now for thine honor tell me fair.”
“Lord, in an uncouth 28 land,” he said,
"I found it in a forest glade;
I saw a man grown thin and pale,
It lay beside him in a dale,
Now it must be ten winters gone."
The Steward cried, and made great moan,
"It was my Lord, Sir Orpheo,
Ah! that he e'er did from us go.”
The King beheld the Steward than,

And wist he was a right true man;
To him he said without lying,
"Sir, I am Orpheo, the King.
Here to the outskirts of the town,
I've brought my gentle lady down." 510
The lords all start that sit around,
Then wist they that the King was found.
With music and processióun,
They fetched the Queen into the town.
A good life lived they afterward,
And after them reigned the Steward.
Thus came they out of all their care,
God give us grace as well to fare!
And all that list to this talking
In heaven's bliss be their dwelling!
Amen, amen, for charitie,
Lord grant us that it so may be.

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(c. 1280)
Where are they that lived before,
Hounds they led and hawks they bore
And had both field and chase?

Ladies rich in bowers fair,
Nets of gold bind up the hair,

5 Rosy-bright of face. ** Unknown. · Has come in.

? Now. * Starts, springs.

• Harbors in the green. 1 Where are those who lived before us?

Queen of heaven, mother, maid,
Thou may'st and canst to us be aid
And shield. From wrong us fend;

Help us from sin and shame to flee,

That we thy Son at last may see, In joy without an end!

Amen! 2 Together.

3 Cross.







And fey : I'll fall adoun.
A happy lot to me is sent, etc.
Nights I toss and watch and wake,
Until my visage waxeth wan;
Lady, all is for thy sake
Longing comes to me alone.
On earth there's none so learned grown
That he her virtues can make known.
Her neck is whiter than the swan,
Or fairest maid in town.
A happy lot to me is sent, etc.
With love I'm worn and watchings late,
Weary as water in a weir,
Lest any rob me of my mate.
I have heard it said of yore,
Better to bear awhile a sore
Than mourn forevermore.
Fairest earth e'er bore,
Hearken to my rune:
A happy lot to me is sent,
I know from heaven 'tis to me lent,
From women all my love is bent
And fixed on Alysoun.



(c. 1300) Spring is come to town with love With blossom and with bird in grove,

That all this bliss now bringeth.
There are daisies in the dales;
Notes full sweet of nightingales;

Each bird song singeth.
The throstlecock out-sings them all;
Away is fled the Winter's thrall,

When woodrow springeth.
Then chanting birds in wondrous throng
Thrill out their joy the glades among

Till all the woodland ringeth.
The crimson rose is seen,
New leaves of tender green

With good-will grow,
The moon shines white and clear,
Fennel and thyme are here,

Fair lilies blow.
Their mates the wild drakes find,
Each creature seeks his kind.

As stream that trickles slow,
We plain when life is drear,
For cruel love the tear

Unchecked must flow.
The moon sends forth her light,
The goodly sun shines bright,

And birds sing well.
Dews drench the soft young grass,
And whispering lovers pass,

Their tale to tell;
Snakes woo beneath the clod,
Women grow wondrous proud

On field and fell.
If one shall say me no
Spring joy I will forgo

And banished dwell.











(c. 1300)
I know a maid in bower bright,
That full seemly is to sight,
Maid of majesty and might,
Of loyal heart and hand.
'Midst many a nobler one
A maid of blood and bone,
I know not ever none
So fair in all the land.

Blow, Northern Wind,
Send thou me my sweeting

Blow, Northern Wind, blow, blow, blow.
With her long and lovely tresses,
Forehead and face fair for caresses,
Blest be the joy my lady blesses,
That bird so bright in bour,
With lovesome eyes so large and good
With blissful brows beneath her hood,
He that once hung upon the Rood
Her life holds in honour.

Blow, Northern Wind,
Send thou me my sweeting

Blow, Northern Wind, blow, blow, blow.
Her face is full of light,
As a lantern in the night
She sheds a radiance bright,

25 So fair is she and fine. Her neck is slender to enfold, Her loving arms bring joy untold, Her little hands are soft to hold, Would God that she were mine.

30 Blow, Northern Wind, Send thou me my sweeting

Blow, Northern Wind, blow, blow, blow. 2 Distracted, mad. 1 Bower,



(c. 1300) In days of March and Averil 1 When the spray begins to spring, Each little bird hath her own will In her own speech to sing. And I-I live in love longing For one most fair of everything. To me she bliss may bring: To serve her is my boon. A happy lot to me is sent, I know from heaven 'tis to me lent, From women all my love is bent And fixed on Alysoun. In hue her hair is fair to see, Her brows are brown, her eyes are black, With loving laugh she looked at me! Her waist is small, of slender make, Unless as hers she will me take To be her mate, my life I'll break, My life itself I will forsake

1 A spring flower; the woodruff. 1 April









She is coral of goodnessė,

Dearest one, I humbly pray, love me a little Ruby she of rightfulnessė,

soonė. She is crystal of cleannéssė,

I now will plain my song,
Beauty's banner she.

To her to whom it doth belong.
She is lily of largessė,
Periwinkle of promessė,
She the sunflower of sweetnessė,


Lady of loyalty.
Blow, Northern Wind,

There's a maid in a bower, as beryl most bright, Send thou me my sweeting

As sapphire in silver set seemly in sight, Blow, Northern Wind, blow, blow, blow. As jasper the gracious that gleameth with light,

As garnet in gold, and as ruby most right; For her love I mourn and moan,

As onyx she is held up at a height;

5 For her love I grieve and groan,

As diamond the clear when in day she is dight; For her love my good is gone

She is coral, well kennèd of Kaiser and Knight, And I wax all wan.

As emerald at morning this maid beareth might, For her love in sleep I sigh,

The power of the pearl hath she in her grace For her love I wakeful lie,


For carbuncle I choose her, by form and by · For her love I droop and cry,

face. More than any man.

Her bloom is as red as the rose on the tree, Blow, Northern Wind,

With the white of the lily most lovesome is she: Send thou me my sweeting

Than periwinkle more pleasing, or primrose of Blow, Northern Wind, blow, blow, blow.


Alexanders, or parsley, or fragrant anice. WHEN THE NIGHTINGALE SINGS Quaint as a columbine, graceful and gay, 15 (Early 14th Century)

Člad in rich furs and in garment of grey;

Her face is a flower, she's fairest in blue, When the nightingálė sings, the woodės waxen As celandine or sage, -you yourself know it's greenė,

true. Leaf and grass and blossom springs, in Averil I Who looks on her beauty to bliss he is weenė,

brought, And love is to my heartė gone, with a spear so He follows the sun, to tell all words are keenė,

naught. Night and day my blood it drinks, mine heartés death to teenė. 1

She is popinjay abaiting my torment and bale,

True dove in a tower, I tell thee my tale; I have lovėd all this year, that I can love no

She is throstle so gentle that singeth in hall, morė,

She is the wild laverock and the witwall; I have sighed many sighs, Lady, for thine orė,2

She is falcon in forest, dearest in dale: Ne'er my love comes near to thee, and that me

With every man gladdest in song and in tale: grieveth sorė.

She is wisest of all from Wye to Wyrhale; 1 Sweetest Lady think on me, I loved thee of yorė.

The nightingale's note tells her name to the


In his note is her name, nameth it none? Sweetest Lady, speak I pray, one word of love

Whoso reads it aright,- let him whisper to

30 While in this wide world I stay, I'll seek for none but thee,

10 Your kind love might give me bliss, from pain SONG OF THE SCOTTISH MAIDENS might set me free,

AFTER THE BATTLE OF BANNOCKA sweet kiss of thy dear mouth, might my

BURN (1314)1 surgeon be.

Maidens of Engelande sore may ye mourn

For the loss of your true-loves at Bannockės Sweetest Lady, here I pray, one boon of love

burn! bestowė,

With heve-a-lowe!? If you love me, as men say, as I, dearest, knowė,

What? Weened the King of Engelande If you will it, look on me, just a look will To have gotten Scotland? showė,

With rumbylowe!? So much have I thought of thee, I all ghastly 1 The Wirral, the land between the rivers Dee and growė

Mersey, in Cheshire.

1 This ballad is found in an old Chronicle, The Brut of Between Lincoln and Lindėsey, North-Hamp

Engelonde, (c. 1350) where we are told that “the maid

ens made a songe therefore in that cuntre of Kynge toun and Lóndounė,

Edwardle of Engelonde and in this manner thei songe.' I wot not of so fair a may,' by tower, dale, or

Then follows the song. tounė,

2 These phrases "probably indicate the occurrence

of a dance movement emphasized by special gestures, 1 Trouble. 2 Grace. 8 Maid.

or the beating of musical instruments."




to me,




Child, thou'rt not a pilgrim, 60 (Early 14th Century)

But a helpless guest.

Thy day already told, Lullay, lullay, little child!

Thy lot already cast. Why weepest thou so sore?

Whether thou shalt wend Needės must thou weep,

North, or East, or West,

65 Thou wert doomed of yore

Death shall thee betide, Ever to live in sorrow,


With itter bale in breast. Ever to sigh and strive,

Lullay, lullay, little child! As thy fathers did ere this

Child lullay, lullow! Whilst they were alive.

To this unknown world

70 Lullay, lullay, little child!

Sadly come art thou. Child lullay, lullow!

10 To this world unknown Sadly come art thou.


Ave maris stella, Beasts and birds and cattle,

The star upon the sea, The fishes in the flood,

Dei mater alma, And each thing that liveth


Blessed mayest thou be! Made of bone and blood,

Atque semper virgo, When into the world they come

Pray thy son for me, They do themselves some good,

Felix celi porta, All but that poor imp

That I may come to thee. That is of Adam's blood.


Gabriel, that archangel, With care art thou beset;

He was messenger;.

10 Thou knowest naught of this world's wild

So fair he hailed our Lady, That is before thee set.

With an Ave so clear.

Hail be thou, Mary, Child, if it betideth

Be thou, Mary,
That Time shall prosper thee,

Full of Godės grace,

15 Think how thou wert fostered

And queen of all mercy! On thy mother's knee;

All that are to greets Ever mind thee in thine heart

Without deadly sin, Of those thingės three,

Forty dayės of pardoún Whence thou camest, where thou art, 30

God granteth them,
And what shall come of thee.

Lullay, lullay, little child!
Child lullai, lullay!

A DESCRIPTION OF WILLIAM THE With sorrow thou camest to this world,

CONQUEROR With sorrow shalt wend away.


(From the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, translated by O! trust not to this world,

It is thy fell foe.
The rich it maketh poor,

If any would know what manner of man The poor man sick alsó.

King William was, the glory that he obtair It turneth woe to weal,

and of how many lands he was lord; then will And also weal to woe.

we describe him as we have known him, we, Trust not man this changing world

5 who have looked upon him, and who once lived While it turneth so.

in his court.' This King William, of whom we Lullay, lullay, little child!

are speaking, was a very wise and a great man, The foot is on the wheel,


and more honored and more powerful than any How 'twill turn thou knowest not,

of his predecessors. He was mild to those good Whether to woe or weal.

10 men who loved God, but severe beyond measure Child, thou art a pilgrim

towards those who withstood his will. He In wickedness yborn;

founded a noble monastery on the spot where Thou wanderest in this false world,

50 God permitted him to conquer England, and he Look thou well beforn.

established monks in it, and he made it very Death shall come with sudden blast

In his days the great monastery at Out of the darkness hoar,

1 Hail star of the sea.

: Dear Mother of God. Adam's children down to cast,

3 Yet ever a virgin.

4 Blessed gate of heaven. Adam he slew before.


5 To supplicate, to greet Mary with an Ave. Lullay, lullay, little child!

i The portion of the Chronicle given here is included Adam did woes oppress

in the entry for 1087: the year of the death of William

the Conqueror. The passage is presumably the work In the land of Paradise,

of a contemporary who writes (as he declares) from perThrough Satan's wickedness.

gonal knowledge.



15 rich.

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