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The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
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DIMEV 2994
IMEV 1820
NIMEV 1820
King counsel-less / Bishop loreless
The Abuses of the Age: rhyming lines ending in -les
Note: Cf. Tilley (1950), W 700. Most texts show slight variations in number and order of lines.
Subjects: abuses, of the age
Versification: — six-line — aaaabb, aaaaaa



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Bodley 758 (SC 2670), f. 88v
Transcription:
Gret lordes counselles
Religiousmen almesles
…Cutted lodes wyttles
Makiþ þis world graceles
Note: Variant: six monorhyming lines.
2.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Rawlinson C.662 (SC 12506), f. 1av
Transcription:
Oldman wytles
yongman dredles
woman shameles
Hyt were better þay were all three were lyflees
Note: 4 lines, at the end: ‘quod Payn’ (f. 1av).
Editions:
O’Connor, Mary Catharine. The Art of Dying Well: the Development of the ‘Ars moriendi’. New York: Columbia UP, 1942; repr. 1967: 108.
3.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Rawlinson poet. 32 (SC 14526), f. 1v
First Lines:
A yong man a rewler recheles
A olde man a lechowr loueles…
Last Lines:
…A womman a rebawde shameles
This v shall neuer thrif blameles
Note: 6 monorhyming lines.
Editions:
Wright, Thomas, and James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps, eds. Reliquiae Antiquae. 2 vols. London: Smith, 1845: 1.316, 2.15.
Heuser, Wilhelm. Die Kildare-Gedichte… Bonner Beiträge zur Anglistik 14. Bonn: P. Hanstein, 1904: 184.
4.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Addit. 6860 [olim Macro 18, olim Gurney 75], f. 42v
First Lines:
lond kyng Wilful
bisschop slaw
prist Wylde
Wysman twyfold…
Last Lines:
…lond laweles
bettere were lyfles
Note: Variant; 16 alliterative lines.
5.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Ll.5.10, f. 58
First Lines:
Ane ȝoung man chiftane witles
ane pure man spendar getles…
Last Lines:
…Appeirandlie be sanct geill
Sall neuir ane of þir do weill
Note: 3 x 2.
6.Source: Cambridge UK, Gonville & Caius College 365/728, f. iiii
Transcription:
þeys beȝ ȝe þre þat god for les
holdman Gytles
yongman recheles
womman sameles
Note: Written onto lower margin of flyleaf by same hand as wrote portions of Walter of Henley’s Hosbondria there; 4 lines.
Editions:
James, Montague Rhodes. A Descriptive Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Library of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. 2 vols. Cambridge: at the UP, 1907: 2.415.
7.Source: Cambridge UK, Magdalene College Pepys 2553, p. 294
Transcription:
Ane ȝoung man chiftane witles
ane pure man spendar getles
And auld man trechour treuthles
a woman lowper landles
Appeirandlie be sanct geyill
Sall never ane of þir do weill
Note: 6 lines in this MS, 1 x 4 plus 1 x 2; written two line to a line of MS.
Editions:
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: 1.294.
8.Source: Cambridge UK, Trinity College B.3.29 (108), f. 114
Transcription:
Ald man wit les
þung man recheles
wimman same[ ]les
bett þe ham were lif les
Note: 4 lines only, very faded.
Editions:
James, Montague Rhodes. Catalogue of the Western Manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge. 4 vols. Cambridge: at the UP, 1900-1904: 1.131.
Heuser, Wilhelm. Die Kildare-Gedichte… Bonner Beiträge zur Anglistik 14. Bonn: P. Hanstein, 1904: 184.
Robbins, Rossell Hope, ed. Historical Poems of the XIV and XV Centuries. New York: Columbia UP, 1959: 328, 144.
Brown, Carleton Fairchild. A Register of Middle English Religious & Didactic Verse. 2 vols. London: Oxford University Press for the Bibliographical Society: 1916-20: 1.235.
9.Source: London, British Library Cotton Cleopatra C.VI, f. 23
Transcription:
King conseilles
Bissop loreles
Wumman schameles
Hold man lechur
Jong man trichur
Off alle mine live
Ne sau I worse five
Note: 7 lines; olim F. 23
Editions:
Wright, Thomas, and James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps, eds. Reliquiae Antiquae. 2 vols. London: Smith, 1845: 1.316, 2.15.
Förster, Max. “Kleine Mitteilungen zur mittelenglische Lehrdichtung, VI.” Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen 104 (1900): 293-309: 104.
Greene, Richard Leighton. The Early English Carols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1935; 2nd ed., rev., Oxford: Clarendon, 1977: 419; 1977, 436.
10.Source: London, British Library Harley 913, f. 6v
Transcription:
Bissop lorles
Kyng redeles
Ȝungman rechles
Old man witles
Womman ssamles
I swere bi heuen kyng
Þos beþ fiue liþer þing
Note: 7 lines.
Editions:
Heuser, Wilhelm. Die Kildare-Gedichte… Bonner Beiträge zur Anglistik 14. Bonn: P. Hanstein, 1904: 184.
Furnivall, Frederick James. Early English Poems and Lives of Saints. Transactions of the London Philological Society 1858; Pt. 2, Berlin, 1862.
Robbins, Rossell Hope, ed. Historical Poems of the XIV and XV Centuries. New York: Columbia UP, 1959: 328, 144.
Robbins, Rossell Hope. “Middle English Poems of Protest.” Anglia 78 (1960): 193-203: 193.
Peter, John Desmond. Complaint and Satire in Early English Literature. Oxford: Clarendon, 1956: 11.
Sisam, Celia, and Kenneth Sisam, eds. The Oxford Book of Medieval English Verse. Oxford: Clarendon, 1970: 554.
Bitterling, Klaus. “Verse aus lateinischen und anglo-normannischen Handschriften.” Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen 220 (1983): 356-60: 360.
11.Source: London, British Library Sloane 1210, f. 124
Note: 4 lines.
12.Source: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Advocates’ 1.1.6 [Bannatyne MS], f. 122
First Lines:
A ȝungman chiftane witles
ane peureman spen [page torn]…
Last Lines:
…Apperandlie be sanct Ieill
Sall nevir ane of thir d [page torn]
Note: 6 lines, immediately followed by 5112.
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:
Ramsay, Allan, ed. The Ever Green. 2 vols. Edinburgh, 1724; repr. Ramsay and Early Scottish Poets, London, n.d.: 1.107.
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: 346.
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: 2.324; 3.43.
13.Source: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Advocates’ 1.1.6 [Bannatyne MS], f. 147
First Lines:
A ȝong man chiftane witless
A pure man spendar getles…
Last Lines:
…Be sanct Ieill
sall nevir ane of thir do weill
Note: Six lines, 1 x 4 plus 1 x 2; second occurrence in MS; immediately following 6330 and preceding 5112.
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.
14.Source: Ipswich, Ipswich Public Library 6 (on deposit at Ipswich School), f. 177v
First Lines:
Wanne king is radles
and ledbissop soreles
and eldman witles
and jungman recheles
and winman scameles
wanne þirilles sullen priuen…
Last Lines:
…Whanne child is king and cherl bissop
and þral alderman þanne is þe folk wo
Note: Variant, 14 lines. Immediately followed by ‘Whanne child is king and cherl bissop and þral alderman, þanne is þe folc wo’. ‘Ailredus rex’ i.e. Ethelred, written in left margin by original scribe.
Attributed Title: Ailredus (f. 177v)
Editions:
James, Montague Rhodes. “Description of the Ancient Manuscripts in the Ipswich Public Library.” Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and Natural History 22 (1936): 86-103: 94.
15.Source: New York, Pierpont Morgan Library M957 [olim Netherby, Sir F. Graham, Sotheby’s 12 Dec. 1966, also 10 Jul. 1972, lot 22], f. 123
First Lines:
Kyng of londe redles
Bisschop wytles…
Last Lines:
…Pouereman loueles
Hem were betere be lyfles
Note: Ten lines, written as prose.
Editions:
Historical Manuscripts Commission, Sixth Report, with Appendix. (1877-78): 320.



Inscriptions:
1.Source: Ridgewell, Essex, Church of St Lawrence, graffito
Facsimiles:
Pritchard, Violet. English Medieval Graffiti. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1967: 76 (fig. 103).
Editions:
Pritchard, Violet. English Medieval Graffiti. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1967: 75-6.