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Lenten ys come with loue to toune: notes
London, British Library, Harley MS 2253, f. 71va

11. wynne: MS wynter (probably a scribal error encouraged by wynter wo 8); the emendation is suggested in OED s.v. wlite v. Cf. the phrase wunne weole 35.
20. miles: the word is recorded only here. J. R. R. Tolkien, in the Glossary to Fourteenth Century Verse and Prose, ed. Kenneth Sisam (Oxford: Clarendon, 1921), suggests emendation to meles murge [wi]th 'speak lovingly with'; Brook (1968), followed by MED, suggests derivation from Welsh mil 'animal'.

29-30. deores . . . deme: a verb appears to be missing here. John Burrow, A Book of Middle English, 2nd edn (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996), p. 241, suggests taking derne as a noun and rounes as a verb: 'Animals whisper to their secret loves in order to speak their minds'. The Northern -es inflexion of rounes, however, would then become a problem (elsewhere in the poem the pres. indic. pl. form of the verb is -eth); although it is possible that the poet is stretching a point to find a rhyme-word (as Chaucer sometimes uses Kentish forms).


Set up by Bella Millett, enm@soton.ac.uk. Last updated 01 February 2004 .