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The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
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DIMEV 1481
IMEV 886.5
NIMEV Dunbar
Full oft I muse and has in thought
William Dunbar, ‘Best to be blyth’ — eight 5-line stanzas with refrain, ‘ffor to be blyth me think it best’
Author(s): William Dunbar
Title(s): ‘Best to be blyth’
Subjects: advice, moral
Versification: — five-line — aabab



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Ll.5.10, ff. 43-43v
First Lines:
Full oft I muse and hes in thocht
How þis fals warld is ay on flocht…
Last Lines:
…To pas out of þis fraufull farie
ffor to be blyth me think it best
Note: 7 stanzas.
Attributed Author: Quod dumbar (f. 43v)
2.Source: Cambridge UK, Magdalene College Pepys 2553, p. 337
First Lines:
Full oft I mvse and hes in thocht
how þis fals warld is ay on flocht…
Last Lines:
…To pas out of þis fraudfull farie
ffor to be blyth me think it best
Note: 7 stanzas.
Attributed Author: Quod Dumbar (p. 337)
Editions:
Small, John, Ae. James George Mackay, George Powell McNeill, and Walter Gregor, eds. The Poems of William Dunbar. 5 pts. Scottish Text Society 2, 4, 16, 21, 29. Edinburgh, 1884-93: 2.110-11.
Craigie, William Alexander. The Maitland Folio Manuscript, Containing Poems by Sir Richard Maitland, Dunbar, Douglas, Henryson, and others. 2 vols. Scottish Text Society n.s. 7 (1919), 20 (1927); Edinburgh and London: Blackwood, 1919, 1927: 1.410-11.
3.Source: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Advocates’ 1.1.6 [Bannatyne MS], f. 98v
First Lines:
Full oft I mvss and hes in thocht
How this fals warld is ay on flocht…
Last Lines:
…To pass out of this frawd full fary
For to be blyth me think it best
Attributed Author: quod dumbar (f. 98v)
Facsimiles:
Fox, Denton, and William A. Ringler. The Bannatyne Manuscript: National Library of Scotland Advocates’ MS. 1.1.6 London: Scolar Press, in Association with The National Library of Scotland, 1980.
Editions:
Dalrymple, Sir David, Lord Hailes. Ancient Scottish Poems. Edinburgh, 1770; repr. London, 1815: 73-5.
Pinkerton, John, ed. Select Scottish Ballads. 2 vols. London: Nichols, 1783: 2.60-2.
Morison, Robert, ed. Select Poems of Wil Dunbar, Part First from the MS of George Bannatyne. Perth: Morison, 1788: 64-5.
Laing, David. The Poems of William Dunbar. 2 vols. Edinburgh: Laing and Forbes, 1834; Supplement, 1865: 1.187-8.
“Ancient Scottish Poetry.” Blackwood’s Magazine 37 (1835): 287-318: 309.
Murdoch, James Barclay. The Bannatyne Manuscript. 4 vols. in 11 parts, paged continuously. Hunterian Club 16, 32, 40, 46, 50, 55-56, 64-67 Glasgow: Anderson, 1873-1896: 2.281-2, 329.
Paterson, James. The Works of William Dunbar. Edinburgh: Stillie, 1863: 48-9.
Eyre-Todd, George. Mediaeval Scottish Poetry. Abbotsford Series of the Scottish Poets. Glasgow: W. Hodge, 1892: 211-12.
Schipper, Jakob. The Poems of William Dunbar. Vienna: Kaiserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1894: 335-7.
Schipper, Jakob, ed. The Poems of William Dunbar. 4 vols. Denkschriften der kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophische-Historische Klasse 40/2; 40/4; 41/4; 42/4. Vienna, 1892-93: 4.33-5.
Baildon, Henry Bellyse. The Poems of William Dunbar. Cambridge: University Press, 1907: 173-4.
Ritchie, W. Tod, ed. The Bannatyne Manuscript. 4 parts in 4 vols. Scottish Text Society 3rd ser. 5 (1928); n.s. 22 (1928); n.s. 23 (1930); n.s. 26 (1934) Edinburgh and London: Blackwood, 1928-34; ed. by Ritchie et al: 2.260-1.
MacKenzie, William Mackay. The Poems of William Dunbar. Edinburgh, 1932: 143-4.
Kinsley, James. William Dunbar, Poems. Oxford: Clarendon, 1958; repr. 1979: 66-7.
4.Source: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Advocates’ 1.1.6 [Bannatyne MS], f. 115v
First Lines:
ffull oft I muse And hes in thocht
how this fals warld is ay on flocht…
Last Lines:
…Na tyme bot turne can tak rest
ffor quhais fals change…
Note: Lines 1-9 only; second occurrence in MS.
Facsimiles:
Fox, Denton, and William A. Ringler. The Bannatyne Manuscript: National Library of Scotland Advocates’ MS. 1.1.6 London: Scolar Press, in Association with The National Library of Scotland, 1980.