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