Alysoun

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Alysoun (14th century) 
Anonymous
A Middle English poem written circa 1300. Taken from Oxford Book of English Verse 1250-1918 (pages 2 and 3).

BYTUENE Mershe and Averil
    When spray biginneth to springe,
The lutel foul hath hire wyl
    On hyre lud to synge:
Ich libbe in love-longinge
For semlokest of alle thynge,
He may me blisse bringe,
    Ich am in hire baundoun.
An hendy hap ichabbe y-hent,
Ichot from hevene it is me sent,
From alle wymmen my love is lent
    And lyht on Alysoun.

On heu hire her is fayr ynoh,
    Hire brow broune, hir eye blake;
With lossum chere he on me loh;
    With middel smal and wel y-make;
Bote he me wolle to hire take
For to buen hir owen make,
Long to lyven ichulle forsake
    And feye fallen adoun.
An hendy hap, etc.

Nihtes when I wende and wake,
    For-thi myn wonges waxeth won,

Levedi, al for thine sake
    Longinge is y-lent me on.
In world nis non so wyter mon
That al hire bounté telle con;
Hire swyre is whittore than the swon,
    And feyrest may in toune.
An hendy hap, etc.

Ich am for wowyng al for-wake,
    Wery so water in wore;
Lest eny reve me my make
    Ichabbe y-yerned yore.
Betere is tholien whyle sore
Then mournen evermore.
Geynest under gore,
    Herkne to my roun.
An hendy hap, etc.

on hyre lud] in her language. ich libbe] I live. semlokest] seemliest. he] she baundoun] thraldom. hendy] gracious. y-hent] received. ichot] I wot. lyht] alighted. hire her] her hair. lossum chere] lovely face. loh] smiled. bote he] unless she. buen] be. make] mate. feye] like to die. nihtes] at night. wende] turn. for-thi] on that account. wonges waxeth won] cheeks grow wan.

levedi] lady. y-lent me on] come upon me. so wyter mon] so wise a man. swyre] neck. may] maid. for-wake] worn out with vigils. so water in wore] as water in a weir. reve] rob. y-yerned yore] long desired. tholien] to endure. geynest under gore] comeliest under robe. roun] voice.

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.