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The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
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DIMEV 1067
IMEV 651
NIMEV 651
Conceived man how may that by reason brought about
On the mystery of the Incarnation — five quatrains in long lines and two-line burden: ‘Mervell nothyng joseph that mary be with child / She hath conceyved vere god and man and yet she undefiled’
Subjects: carols, of the Virgin’s motherhood; Incarnation, mystery of
Versification: — four-line, two-line — aabb



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Bodl. Lat. liturg. b.14, f. iv
Transcription:
Marvell not Joseph
thoogh mary be wythe chylde
she hath concevyde a very mane
and yet she not defylde
Note: Burden only; on a slip of parchment bound between original flyleaf and first folio of a fourteenth-century breviary; formerly part of a pastedown.
2.Source: London, British Library Addit. 20059, ff. 6v-7
First Lines:
Conceyved man how may that he be by reason broght abowte
By gode reason aboue all reasons hit may be withouten dowte…
Last Lines:
…Then serue the fyrst & save the thyrdde the forte let be resyled
And mervell no more but fast beleve mary was maide with child
Note: Burden at head of page: ‘Mervell nothyng Joseph thaȝ mary be with child / She hath conceyved very god & man & yet she vndefiled’ (f. 6v). Nineteenth-century transcript by Hunter is London, British Library Addit. 24542, f. 178.
Editions:
Greene, Richard Leighton. The Early English Carols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1935; 2nd ed., rev., Oxford: Clarendon, 1977: 185-6; 1977, 164.