Anonymous Olde English


The Not-Browne Mayd - Poem by Anonymous Olde English

'Be it ryght or wrong, these men among
On women do complayne;
Affyrmynge this, how that it is
A labour spent in vayne
To love them wele; for never a dele
They love a man agayne:
For late a man do what he can
Theyr favour to attayne,
Yet yf a newe do them persue,
Theyr furst true lover than
Laboureth for nought; for from her thought
He is a banyshed man.'

'I say nat nay, but that all day
It is bothe writ and sayd,
That woman's faith is as who sayth,
All utterly decayd;
But neverthelesse, ryght good wytnesse
In this case might be layd,
That they love true, and continue:
Recorde the Not-Brown Mayde;
Which, when her love came, her to prove,
To her to make his mone,
Wolde nat depart, for in her hart
She loved but hym alone.'

'Than betwaine us late us dyscus,
What was all the manere
Betwayne them two; we wyll also
Telle all the payne and fere
That she was in. Nowe I begyn,
So that ye me answere:
Wherefore all ye that present be,
I pray you gyve an eare.
I am the knyght, I come by nyght
As secret as I can,
Sayinge, 'Alas! thus standeth the case,
I am a banyshed man.''


She.

And I your wyll, for to fulfyll
In this wyll nat refuse,
Trustyng to shewe, in wordes fewe,
That men have an yll use,
(To theyr own shame) women to blame,
And causelesse them accuse:
Therfore to you I answere nowe,
All women to excuse, -
'Myn own hart dere, with you what chere?
I pray you telle anone;
For in my mynde, of al mankynde,
I love but you alone.'


He.

'It standeth so: a dede is do,
Whereof grete harme shall growe.
My destiny is for to dy
A shamefull deth, I trowe,
Or elles to fle: the one must be:
None other way I knowe,
But to withdrawe, as an outlawe,
And take me to my bowe.
Wherefore, adue, my owne hart true,
None other rede I can;
For I must to the grene wode go,
Alone, a banyshed man.'


She.

'O Lord, what is thys worldys blysse,
That changeth as the mone!
My somers day in lusty May
Is derked before the none.
I here you saye farewell: Nay, nay,
We depart nat so sone.
Why say ye so? wheder wyll ye go?
Alas, what have ye done?
All my welfare to sorrowe and care
Sholde chaunge, yf ye were gone:
For in my mynde, of all mankynde
I love but you alone.'


He.

'I can beleve it shall you greve,
And somewhat you dystrayne;
But aftyrwarde your paynes harde,
Within a day or twayne,
Shall sone aslake, and ye shall take
Comfort to you agayne.
Why sholde ye ought? for, to make thought
Your labur were in vayne:
And thus I do, and pray you to,
As hartely as I can:
For I must to the grene wode go,
Alone, a banyshed man.'


She.

'Now syth that ye have shewed to me
The secret of your mynde,
I shall be playne to you agayne,
Lyke as ye shall me fynde:
Syth it is so that ye wyll go,
I wolle not leve behynde;
Shall never be sayd the Not-browne Mayd
Was to her love unkynde.
Make you redy, for so am I,
Although it were anone;
For in my mynd, of all mankynde,
I love but you alone.'


He.

'Yet I you rede to take good hede
What men wyll thynke, and say;
Of yonge and olde it shall be tolde,
That ye be gone away
Your wanton wyll for to fulfill,
In grene wode you to play;
And that ye myght from your delyght
No lenger make delay.
Rather than ye sholde thus for me
Be called an yll woman,
Yet wolde I to the grene wode go,
Alone, a banyshed man.'


She.

'Though it be songe of olde and yonge
That I sholde be to blame,
Theyrs be the charge that speke so large
In hurtynge of my name.
For I wyll prove that faythfulle love
It is devoyd of shame,
In your dystresse and hevynesse,
To part with you the same;
And sure all tho that do not so,
True lovers are they none;
For in my mynde, of al mankynde
I love but you alone.'


He.

'I counceyle you remember howe
It is no maydens lawe,
Nothynge to dout, but to renne out
To wode with an outlawe.
For ye must there in your hand bere
A bowe, redy to drawe,
And as a thefe thus must ye lyve,
Ever in drede and awe;
Whereby to you grete harme myght growe;
Yet I had lever than
That I had to the grene wode go
Alone, a banyshed man.'


She.

'I thinke nat nay; but as ye say,
It is no maydens lore;
But love may make me for your sake,
To come on fote to hunt and shote,
To gete us mete in store;
For so that I your company
May have, I aske no more;
From which to part, it maketh my hart
As colde as ony stone:
For in my mynde, of all mankynde
I love but you alone.'


He.

'For an outlawe this is the lawe,
That men hym take and bynde,
Without pyte hanged to be,
And waver with the wynde.
If I had nede, (as God forbede!
What rescous could ye finde?
Forsoth, I trowe, ye and your bowe
For fere wolde drawe behynde:
And no merveyle; for lytel avayle
Were in your counceyle than;
Wherefore I wyll to the grene wode goe
Alone, a banyshed man.'


She.

'Ryght wele knowe ye that women be
But feble for to fyght;
No womanhede it is indede
To be bolde as a knyght.
Yet in suche fere yf that ye were,
With enemyes day and nyght,
I wolde withstande wyth bowe in hande,
To greve them as I myght;
And you to save, as women have,
From dethe 'men' many one:
For in my mynde, of al mankynde
I love but you alone.'


He.

'Yet take gude hede; for ever I drede
That ye coude nat sustayne
The thornie wayes, the depe valeies,
The snowe, the frost, the rayne,
The colde, the hete; for, dry or wete,
We must lodge on the playne;
And us above none other rofe
But a brake bush or twayne,
Which sone sholde greve you, I beleve;
And ye wolde gladly than
That I had to the grene wode goe
Alone, a banyshed man.'


She.

'Syth I have here bene partynere
With you of joy and blysse,
I must also parte of your wo
Endure, as reson is;
Yet am I sure of one pleasure,
And shortely, it is this:
That where ye be, me seemeth, parde,
I coude nat fare amysse.
Without more speche, I you beseche
That we were soon agone;
For in my mynde, of all mankynde
I love but you alone.'


He.

'If ye goo thyder, ye must consyder
When ye have lust to dyne,
There shal no mete be for you gete,
Nor drinke, bere, ale, ne wyne;
Ne shetes clene to lye betwene,
Made of threde and twyne;
None other house but leves and bowes
To cover your hed and myne.
O myne harte swete, this evyll dyete
Sholde make you pale and wan:
Wherefore I wyll to the grene wode go,
Alone, a banyshed man.'


She.

'Among the wylde dere, such an archere
As men say that ye be
Ne may nat fayle of good vitayle,
Where is so grete plente;
And water clere of the ryvere
Shall be full swete to me,
With which in hele I shall ryght wele
Endure, as ye shal see;
And or we go, a bedde or two
I can provyde anone;
For in my mynde, of all mankynde
I love but you alone.'


He.

'Lo, yet before, ye must do more
Yf ye wyll go with me,
As cut your here up by your ere,
Your kyrtel by the kne;
With bowe in hande, for to withstande
Your enemyes, yf nede be;
And this same nyght, before daylyght,
To wode-warde wyll I fle;
Yf ye wyll all this fulfill,
Do it shortely as ye can:
Els wyll I to the grene wode goe
Alone, a banyshed man.'


She.

'I shall as nowe do more for you
Than longeth to womanhede,
To shorte my here, a bow to bere,
To shote in tyme of nede.
O my sweet mother, before all other,
For you have I most drede!
But now, adue! I must ensue
Where Fortune doth me lede.
All this make ye; and let us fle;
The day cometh fast upon;
For in my mynde, of all mankynde
I love but you alone.'


He.

'Nay, nay, nat so: ye shall nat go;
And I shall tell ye why; --
Your appetyght is to be lyght
Of love, I wele espie:
For lyke as ye have sayed to me,
In lyke wyse, hardely,
Ye wolde answere, whosoever it were,
In way of company.
It is sayd of olde, Sone hote, sone colde,
And so is a woman;
Wherefore I to the wode wyll goe,
Alone, a banyshed man.'


She.

'Yf ye take hede, it is no nede
Such wordes to say be me;
For oft ye prayed, and longe assayed,
Or I you loved, parde;
And though that I of auncestry
A barons daughter be,
Yet have you proved howe I you loved,
A squyer of lowe degre;
And ever shall, whatso befall,
To dy therfore anone;
For in my mynde, of al mankynde
I love but you alone.'


He.

'A baron's chylde to be begyled,
It were a cursed dede!
To be felawe with an outlawe,
Almighty God forbede!
Yet beter were the pore squyere
Alone to forest yede,
Than ye sholde saye another day,
That by my cursed dede
Ye were betrayed; wherefore, good mayd,
The best rede that I can
Is that I to the grene wode go,
Alone, a banyshed man.'


She.

'Whatever befall, I never shall
Of this thyng you upbrayd;
But yf ye go, and leve me so,
Then have ye me betrayd.
Remember ye wele, howe that ye dele,
For yf ye, as ye sayd,
Be so unkynde to leve behynde
Your love, the Not-Browne Mayd,
Trust me truly, that I shall dy,
Some after ye be gone;
For in my mynde, of al mankynde
I love but you alone.'


He.

'Yf that ye went, ye sholde repent,
For in the forest nowe
I have purvayed me of a mayd,
Whom I love more than you:
Another fayrere than e'er ye were,
I dare it wele avowe;
And of you bothe eche sholde be worthe
With other, as I trowe.
It were myne ese to lyve in pese;
So wyll I, yf I can;
Wherefore I to the wode wyll go
Alone, a banyshed man.'


She.

'Though in the wode I undyrstode
Ye had a paramour,
All this may nought remove my thought,
But that I wyll be your;
And she shall fynde me soft and kynde,
And courteys every hour,
Glad to fulfyll all that she wylle
Commaunde me, to my power;
For had ye, lo, an hundred mo,
'Of them I wolde be one.'
For in my mynde, of all mankynde
I love but you alone.'


He.

'Myne own dere love, I see the prove
That ye be kynde and true;
Of mayde and wyfe, in all my lyfe
The best that ever I knewe.
Be mery and glad, be no more sad,
The case is chaunged newe;
For it were ruthe, that for your truthe
Ye sholde have cause to rewe.
Be nat dismayed: whatsoever I sayd
To you, whan I began,
I wyll nat to the grene wode goe;
I am no banishyd man.'


She.

'These tydings be more gladd to me
Than to be made a quene,
Yf I were sure they sholde endure;
But is often sene,
Whan men wyll breke promyse, they speke
The wordes on the splene.
Ye shape some wyle me to begyle,
And stele from me, I wene;
Than were the case worse than it was,
And I more wo-begone;
For in my mynde, of al mankynde
I love but you alone.'


He.

'Ye shal nat nede further to drede:
I wyll nat dysparage
You, (God defend!) syth ye descend
Of so grete a lynage.
Now undyrstande, to Westmarlande,
Which is myne herytage,
I wyll you brynge, and with a rynge,
By way of maryage,
I wyll you take, and lady make,
As shortely as I can:
Thus have you won an erlys son,
And not a banyshed man.'


Author.

Here may ye se, that women be
In love meke, kynde, and stable:
Late never man reprove them than,
Or call them variable;
But rather pray God that we may
To them be comfortable,
Which sometyme proveth such as he loveth,
Yf they be charytable.
For syth men wolde that women sholde
Be meke to them each one,
Moche more ought they to God obey,
And serve but hym alone.


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010



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