Oxford Book of English Verse 1250-1900/Alison

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For other versions of this work, see Alison.




BYTUENE Mershe ant Averil
When spray biginneth to spring,
The lutel foul hath hire wyl
On hyre lud[1] to synge:
Ich libbe[2] in love-longinge
For semlokest[3] of alle thynge,
He[4] may me blisse bringe,
Icham in hire bandoun.[5]
An hendy[6] hap ichabbe y-hent,[7]
Ichot[8] from hevene it is me sent,
From alle wymmen my love is
Ant lyht[9] on Alisoun.

On heu hire her[10] is fayr ynoh,
Hire browe broune, hire eye blake;
With lossum[11] chere he on me loh;[12]
With middel smal ant wel y-make;
Bote he[13] me wolle to hire take
For to buen[14] hire owen make,[15]
Long to lyven ichulle forsake
Ant feye[16] fallen adoun.
An hendy hap, etc.

Nihtes[17] when I wende[18] and wake,
For-thi[19] myn wonges waxeth won;[20]

Levedi,[21] al for thine sake
Longinge is y-lent me on.[22]
In world his non so wyter mon[23]
That al hire bountè telle con;
Hire swyre[24] is whittore than the swon,
Ant feyrest may[25] in toune.
An hendy hap, etc.

Icham for wowyng al for-wake,[26]
Wery so water in wore;[27]
Lest eny reve me my make[28]
Ichabbe y-yerned yore.[29]
Betere is tholien whyle sore[30]
Then mournen evermore.
Geynest under gore,[31]
Herkne to my roun[32]
An hendy hap, etc.

  1. on hyre lud] in her language.
  2. ich libbe] I live.
  3. semlokest] seemliest.
  4. he] she.
  5. bandoun] thraldom.
  6. hendy] gracious.
  7. y-hent] seized, enjoyed.
  8. ichot] I wot
  9. lyht] alighted.
  10. hire her] her hair.
  11. lossum] lovesome.
  12. loh] laughed.
  13. bote he] unless she.
  14. buen] be.
  15. make] mate.
  16. feye] like to die.
  17. nihtes] at night.
  18. wende] turn.
  19. for-thi] on that account.
  20. wonges waxeth won] cheeks grow wan.
  21. levedi] lady.
  22. y-lent me on] arrived to me.
  23. so wyter mon] so wise a man.
  24. swyre] neck.
  25. may] maid.
  26. for-wake] worn out with vigils.
  27. so water in wore] as water in a weir.
  28. reve] rob.
  29. y-yerned yore] long been distressed.
  30. tholien] to endure.
  31. geynest under gore] comeliest under woman's apparel.
  32. roun] tale, lay.