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THOMAS DE HALES (bef. 1300)
A LUVE RON

A LOVE LETTER
A mayde Cristes ? me bit yorne 3

A maid of Christ doth plead with me That ich hire 4 wurche - a luv ron;

To write her a letter of love to-day, For hwan heo myhte best ileorne

From which she can learn most readily To taken on 8 other sotho lefmon 10

To take another true love, i'fay, That treowest were of alle berne, 11

Who faithfulest of all shall be, And best wyte cuthe a freo wymmon.

And best can guard a lady gay. Ich hire nule 13 nowiht 14 werne, 15

No wise will I deny her plea,
Ich hire wule 16 teche as ic con.

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But I will teach her as I may.

8 Mayde, her 17 thu myht 18 biholde

O maiden, here thou mayst behold This worldes luve nys?' bute o res,20

This earthly love is but a race,
And is byset so fele-volde, 21

And is beset so many fold,
Vikel, 22 and frakel,23 and wok,24 and les.25 Fickle and false and weak and base.
Theos theines 26 that her weren bolde

Those knights that here were once so bold, Beoth aglyden wyndes bles;

Like wind have glided from their place; Under molde 30 hi liggeth 31 colde

Under mould they are lying cold, And faleweth 32 28 doth medewe gres. 16

And wither as doth the meadow grass. 16

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Nis non

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Seo,

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so riche, ne non so freo, That he ne schal heonne 35

sone away. Ne may hit never his waraunt beo,

37 Gold ne seolver, vouh

ne gray; Ne beo he no the swift,38 ne may he fleo,

Ne weren 39 his lif enne day. Thus is thes world, as thu mayht

Al so 41 the schadewe that glyt 42 away. 32 This world fareth hwilynde. 13

Hwenne on cumeth, an other goth; That wes bi-fore nu is bihynde,

was leof 47 nu hit is loth; For-thi 4 he doth as the blynde

That in this world his luve doth.50
Ye mowen iseo 51 the world aswynde ; 39

That wouh 53 goth forth, abak that soth.54
Theo 55 luve that ne may her abyde,

Thu treowest 56 hire 57 myd muchel wouh,58
Al so 59 hwenne hit schal to-glide, 60

Hit is fals, and mereuh, and frouh,62
And fromward 63 in uychon tide. 64
Hwile hit lesteth, is sevrewe

inouh;

That 45

There's none so rich and none so free

That hence he shall not soon away.
Nothing may ever his warrant be,

Gold, nor silver, nor ermine gay;
Be he ever so swift, he may not flee,

Nor guard his life a single day.
Thus is this world, as thou mayst see,

Like as the shadow that glides away.
This world fareth like the wind,

One thing gone, another here;
What was before is now behind,

What now is loath before was dear;
Therefore he doth as doth the blind,

Who sets his love on this world's gear.
The world is vanishing, ye shall find;

Evil goes forward, truth to the rear.
The love that may not here abide,

Thou art wrong to trust it now;
Away from thee that love will glide,

Capricious and frail and false of vow,
And hasting away at every tide.

The while it lasts, 'tis sorrow enow;

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Whose match no man on earth could bring,
His pride were soon not worth a song,
In value less than a red herring.

O maid, if thou wilt love full long,
I will show thee a loyal king.
Ah, my sweet, if thou but knew
The blessed virtues of this Lord!
He is fair and bright of hue,

Both glad of cheer and mild of word,
Of lovesome grace, of trust most true,
Free-hearted, rich in wisdom's hoard;
Never shouldst thou have need to rue,
If thou but trust thee in his ward.

He is the strongest man in land,

As far as men can speak with mouth,
And all are liegemen in his hand,

East and west, north and south.
Henry, King of English land,

Doth hold of him and to him boweth.
O maid, he sends thee his command,
His will to be thy friend avoweth.

*

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ful, fair 31 had not equal pride were not a they herring longest a lover I will teach thee a 12 land 13 14 sheaf 15 39 didst know 40 qualities hue, appearance from 17 them as if they had not existed tenance 43 mood 44 of lovable desire 45 able 46 thou wouldst never need to repent 47 might'st thou put thyself 48 grace they are 51 holds 52 bows 53 sends 56 known to thee.

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people have were it not pity 20 how they 21 killed with torture 22

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Betwixt old March and April gay,
When sprays begin to spring,
The little bird in her own way
Follows her will to sing.

But I must live in love longing
For one who is the fairest thing.

'Tis she who may to bliss me bring,

For she my love hath won.

A blessed fortune is my lot,

'Tis sent to me from Heaven, I wot,

To other women my love turns not But lights on Alison.

Fair enough in hue her hair,

Her brows are brown, and black her eyne. She smiled on me with lovesome air; Trim is her waist and neat and fine. Unless thou'lt take me to be thine, Thy own dear love, O lady mine, Of longer living shall I pine, By death shall be undone.

A blessed fortune is my lot, etc.

Often at night I toss and wake;

For this my cheeks are pale and wan.
Lady, 'tis all for thy dear sake
Longing has fallen me upon.

In world is none so wise a man
That all her goodness tell he can.
Her neck is whiter than the swan;
My heart 'she has undone.

A blessed fortune is my lot, etc.

Weary as water in weir I wake,
And woo thee more and more,
Lest some one rob me of my make."
For I have heard of yore,

Better to suffer a while full sore,

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Than go a-mourning evermore. Gayest under gore,

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Hear my orison !

A blessed fortune is my lot, etc.

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29 there is no so wise man 30 32 neck 33 maid 34 I am for wooing all worn with watching weary as water in weir 36 take away from 37 I have heard long ago 38 it is better to endure hurt for a while 39 than 40 most gracious one alive (in clothing) secret

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SPRINGTIME (c. 1300) Lenten ys come with love to toune,

With love is come to town the spring, With blosmen and with briddes roune;? With blossoms and birds' whispering; That al this blisse bryngeth.

That all this bliss now bringeth. Dayes-eyes in this 3 dales;

There are daisies in the dales, Notes suete 4 of nyhtegales;

5 Pipings sweet of nightingales, Uch foul song singeth.5

His song each warbler singeth. The threstercoc him threteth oo; 6

The throst lecock doth strutting go; Away is huere ? wynter woo

Away is all their winter woe When woderoue 8 springeth.

When up the woodruff springeth. This 3 foules' singeth ferly sele,10

A thousand birds are singing gay And wlyteth 11 on huere wynter wele,12

Of winter's sadness passed away, That al the wode ryngeth.

Till all the woodland ringeth. The rose rayleth 13 hire rode,14

The rose puts on her ruddy hood, The leves on the lyhte wode

The leaves within the greening wood Waxen al with wille.15

With a will are growing. The mone mandeth 16 hire bleo, 17

The moon is brightening her face; The lilie is lossom 18 to seo,

Here is the lily in her grace, The fenyl and the fille ; 19

With thyme and fennel blowing; Wowes this wilde drakes, 20

A-wooing go the wilding drakes, Miles murgeth huere makes ; 21

Beasts are courting now their mates; Ase strem that striketh 22 stille,

The stream is softly flowing; Mody meneth, so doht mo;

Many a wretch bemoans his lot; Ichot ycham on of tho,24

I am one of them, I wot, For love that likes ille.25

My love for naught bestowing.

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UBI SUNT QUI ANTE NOS FUERUNT? (c. 1350)
Were beth 1 they that biforen us weren, Where are they that lived of yore?
Houndes ladden ? and havekes beren,

Hounds they led and hawks they bore,
And hadden feld and wode?

And held both park and chase. The riche levedies 4 in here 5 bour,

The ladies in their bowers fair, That wereden gold in here 5 tressour,

Who bound with gold their lovely hair, With here - brighte rode; 7

6 And winsome were of face;

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