Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
Anonymous. c. 1300
2. Alison
BYTUENE Mershe ant Averil 
  When spray biginneth to spring, 
The lutel foul hath hire wyl 
  On hyre lud to synge: 
Ich libbe in love-longinge         5
For semlokest of alle thynge, 
He may me blisse bringe, 
  Icham in hire bandoun. 
An hendy hap ichabbe y-hent, 
Ichot from hevene it is me sent,  10
From alle wymmen my love is lent 
  Ant lyht on Alisoun. 
On heu hire her is fayr ynoh, 
  Hire browe broune, hire eye blake; 
With lossum chere he on me loh;  15
  With middel smal ant wel y-make; 
Bote he me wolle to hire take 
For to buen hire owen make, 
Long to lyven ichulle forsake 
  Ant feye fallen adoun.  20
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.  25
In world his non so wyter mon 
That al hire bountè telle con; 
Hire swyre is whittore than the swon, 
  Ant feyrest may in toune. 
An hendy hap, etc.  30
Icham 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  35
  Then mournen evermore. 
    Geynest under gore, 
    Herkne to my roun— 
An hendy hap, etc. 
GLOSS:  on hyre lud] in her language.  ich libbe] I live.  semlokest] seemliest.  he] she.  bandoun] thraldom.  hendy] gracious.  y-hent] seized, enjoyed.  ichot] I wot.  lyht] alighted.  hire her] her hair.  lossum] lovesome.  loh] laughed.  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] arrived to 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 been distressed.  tholien] to endure.  geynest under gore] comeliest under woman's apparel.  roun] tale, lay.
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