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Nou skrinketh rose ant lylie-flour: text and translation
London, British Library, Harley MS 2253, f. 80rb



Nou skr[i]nketh rose ant lylie-flour,
That whilen ber that suete sauour
In somer, that suete tyde;
ne is no quene so stark ne stour,


Now the rose and the lily are fading,
Which formerly had a sweet scent
In summer, that pleasant season;
Nor is there any queen so powerful or strong,

Ne no leuedy so bryht in bour
That ded ne shal by glyde.
Who-se wol fleysch lust forgon
Ant heuene blis abyde,
On Iesu be is thoht anon,
Or any lady so radiant in her chamber,
Whom death will not overtake.
If anyone wants to give up carnal pleasure
And experience the bliss of heaven,
He should turn his thoughts at once to Jesus,
10   That therled was ys side.

From Petresbourh in o morewenyng,
As y me wende o my pleyghyng,
On mi folie y thohte;
Menen y gon my mournyng

Whose side was pierced.

As I went from Peterborough one morning
To enjoy myself
I thought about my folly;
I began to make my lament

15  To hire that ber the heuene kyng,
Of merci hire bysohte:
'Ledy, preye thi sone for ous
That ous duere bohte,
Ant shild vs from the lothe hous
To her who bore the King of heaven,
And begged her for mercy:
'Lady, pray for us to your son
Who bought us dearly,
And protect us from the hateful home
20  That to the fend is wrohte.'

My herte of dedes wes fordred,
Of synne that y haue my fleish fed
Ant folwed al my tyme,
That y not whider I shal be led

Which is made for the Devil.'

My heart was full of fear for what I had done,
For the sin that I have fed my flesh with,
And followed all my life,
So that I do not know where I will be taken to

25  When Y lygge on dethes bed,
In ioie ore into pyne.
On o ledy myn hope is,
Moder ant virgyne;
{We] shulen into heuene blis
When I lie on my deathbed,
Into joy or into torment.
My hope rests in one lady,
Mother and virgin;
We must enter into the bliss of heaven
30 Thurh hire medicine.

Betere is hire medycyn
Then eny mede or eny wyn.
Hire erbes smulleth suete;
From Catenas into Dyuelyn

Through her medicine.

Her medicine is better
Than any mead or any wine.
Her herbs smell sweet;
From Caithness to Dublin

35 Nis ther non leche so fyn
Oure serewes to bete.
Mon that feleth eni sor,
Ant his folie wol lete,
Withoute gold other eny tresor
There is no doctor so good
At healing our troubles.
Anyone who feels any pain
And is willing to abandon his folly,
Without gold or any treasure
40 He may be sound and sete.

Of penaunce is his plastre al,
Ant euer seruen hire y shal,
Nou ant al my lyue;
Nou is fre that er wes thral

He may be healthy and at peace.

His remedy is all of penance,
And I shall serve her always,
Now and all my life;
Now he is free who was a slave before,

45 Al thourh that leuedy gent ant smal---
Heried be hyr ioies fiue!
Wher-so eny sek is,
Thider hye blyue;
Thurh hire beoth ybroht to blis
All through that charming and graceful lady---
May her five joys be honoured!
Wherever anyone is ill
He should hasten there immediately;
Through her are brought to bliss
50 Bo mayden ant wyue.

For he that dude is body on tre,
Of oure sunnes haue piete
That weldes heouene boures!
Wymmon, with thi iolyfte,

Both virgins and married women.

For the sake of him who was crucified,
Have pity on our sins,
You who rule the chambers of heaven!
Woman, with your frivolity,

55 Thou thench on Godes shoures!
Thah thou be whyt ant bryth on ble,
Falewen shule thy floures.
Iesu, haue merci of vs,
That al this world honoures.



Think of the afflictions sent by God!
Even if you are white-skinned and radiant,
Your flowers will fade.
Have mercy on us, Jesus,
Honoured by all the world.


Set up by Bella Millett, enm@soton.ac.uk. Last updated 30 July 2003 .