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Lutel wot hit any mon / Hou derne loue may stonde: introduction
London, British Library, Harley MS 2253, f. 128r-v

This is the second of two poems on the theme of love written consecutively in the MS, sharing the same form and some of the same wording but exploring different topics, the love of Christ and the love of women. For further discussion, see the introduction to the companion poem, Lvtel wot hit any mon / Hou loue hym haueth ybounde.
A third possible approach to the same theme is found in a clearly-related fragment from a thirteenth-century MS celebrating the Virgin Mary:

Litel uoit eni man
Hu trewe loue bisto[n]det
Bute hure swete Leuedi
That muchel ther-of haud fondet.
The loue of hire hit lassted swthe longe;
He haweth ws plist, he wele hus underfonge.
[refrain] Awre mo is mi lif and Ic in grete thovte;
I thencke of hire that al hure blisse vs brothte.
No-one fully realizes
The nature of true love
Except for our sweet Lady
Who has had much experience of it.
Her love lasts very long;
She has made promises to us, she will accept us.
Constantly I think deeply about my life;
I think about her who brought us all our bliss.
(London, British Library, Egerton MS 613, f. 2v, edited and translated from the transcript in Brown (1932), p. 236)


Set up by Bella Millett, enm@soton.ac.uk. Last updated 29 July 2003 .