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Bytuene Mersh ant Aueril: notes
London, British Library, Harley MS 2253, f. 63v

32 wore: there is a similar image in Brown (1932), no. 51, 'Le Regret de Maximian', line 151, Ich walke as water in wore ('I toss and turn like water in wore'). The origin of the word is obscure; see OED s.v. wore sb., which tentatively suggests derivation from OE war 'sand, beach', a derivation followed by Brook (1968) and Brown.  Brook's gloss 'troubled pool', however, is hard to justify on this etymology. Might the word share a common root (Gmc. *wor-) both with wery and with two other words recorded in EME from this area, ME worin vb. 'trouble, disturb', wori adj. 'troubled, muddy''? (see OED s.v. wore v1, wori a.). In Ancrene Wisse Part 7, in a similar complex of imagery, woreth is used of the pollution of impure thoughts, which cloud the eyes of the heart and prevent them from seeing God, and wori adj. (which is used elsewhere of water) of the distracted heart itself (Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS 402, f. 104r). Perhaps wore should be taken as a noun, 'turbulence, turmoil', and the sense is 'troubled water'?

Set up by Bella Millett, enm@soton.ac.uk. Last updated 24 July 2003 .