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The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
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DIMEV 4105
IMEV 2590
NIMEV 2590
O ye creatures that be reasonable
John Lydgate, ‘Dance of Macabre’ — seventy-three 8-line stanzas
Note: For other MSS that have a Prologue of five stanzas see 4107.
Author(s): John Lydgate
Title(s): Dance of Macabre
Subjects: death, dance of
Versification: — eight-line — ababbcbc



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Bodley 686 (SC 2527), ff. 209-216
First Lines:
Hec scriptura deus pompam luxumque relegat
Inque choris nostris ducere festa monet
Creatures ye þat be resonable
The life desiryng whiche is eternal…
Last Lines:
…Sit Iugiter cuncti sapientes vinere certent
Vt velut inferni sit metuenda palus
Attributed Title: Here begynneþ a tretis of the daunce of Poulys otherweyes called Makabre (f. 209); Here endeth a tretis of the daunce of Poules otherweyes called Makabre (at the end)
2.Source: Oxford, Corpus Christi College 237, ff. 147-157
First Lines:
O creatures ȝe þat ben resonabylle
The lyfe desyring wheche ys eternall…
Last Lines:
…To eschewe peyne & come to glory
Whele ys hym that so may at þe laste
Note: 70 eight-line stanzas.
Attributed Title: The daunce of Powlys (f. 147)
3.Source: London, British Library Cotton Vespasian A.XXV, ff. 172-177v
First Lines:
O ye creatures that be Resonable
The lyffe desyring that be naturall…
Last Lines:
…Bewaire be tyme & labour for mercy in stantly
Who tresteth most there stait shall oftymes be begyled
Note: 49 stanzas only
Editions:
Böddeker, Karl. “Englische Lieder und Balladen aus dem 16 Jahrhundert, nach einer Handschrift der Cottonianischen Bibliothek des Britischen Museums.” Jahrbuch für romanische und englische Sprache- und Literatur 15 (or n.f. 3) (1876): 92-129 [2590 (3)]: 115.
4.Source: London, British Library Lansdowne 699, ff. 41v-50v
First Lines:
O Creatures that been resonable
The liff desiryng which is eternall…
Last Lines:
…And vse vertu prayer & almesse deede
And than I dar sey ye shal doon the bettir
Note: Folio number reflects to the most recent foliation.
Attributed Title: Incipit macrobius (f. 41)
Editions:
Warren, Florence, and Beatrice White, eds. The Dance of Death. EETS o.s. 181 (1931); repr. 1971: 7-77.
5.Source: Lincoln, Lincoln Cathedral Library 129, f. 79v-86
First Lines:
O Creaturs that been resounnable
the lyff desiryng which is eternall
ye may see heer doctryne ful notable
Your lyff to leede the which that is mortall…
Last Lines:
…and vse vertu prayeer & almesse deede
and than I dar say ye shal do the bettir
Note: 55 stanzas.
Attributed Author: Incipit Macrobius (f. 79)
Editions:
Warren, Florence, and Beatrice White, eds. The Dance of Death. EETS o.s. 181 (1931); repr. 1971: 7-77.
6.Source: Cambridge MA, Harvard University, Houghton Library, Eng. 752 [olim *27282. 67.10; priorAshburnham 131], f. 44
Transcription:
Erl or Baroun which that thorvh regiouns
Have sore laboured for worship & renoun
For get your trumpetis & your clariouns
There is no dreem no symulacioun
Som tyme your custom & your entencioun
Was in estat & wordly wurshippe to glade
But often time it happith in [conclusioun]
Oo man brekyth that another made
Note: A single stanza (22) inserted in the text of Lydgate’s Troy Book. [Thus Bergen, but the lines he cites (transcribed above) do not appear on f. 44 in this MS.]
Facsimiles:
Lydgate, John. Troy book : manuscript, [14--]. MS Eng 752. Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. [digital facsimile of Harvard, Houghton Library MS Eng 752 (http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL.HOUGH:1192991)].
Editions:
Bergen, Henry, ed. Lydgate’s Troy Book. 4 vols. EETS e.s. 97 (1906); 103 (1908); 106 (1910); 126 (1935); repr. 1973: 4.45.
7.Source: Leiden, Leiden University Library Vossius Germ. Gall. Q.9, f. 29v



Print Witnesses:
1.Source: STC 15932. Hore beate marie virginis ad vsum insignis ac preclare ecclesie Saru[m] cu[m] figuris passionis mysteriu[m] representa[n]tibus recenter additis. Richard Fakes, [Parisius: Per J. bignon pro R. fakes Lodoii [sic] librario, [1521?]]
Note: Edition from copy in Bodl. Douce collection, unidentified.
Editions:
Warren, Florence, and Beatrice White, eds. The Dance of Death. EETS o.s. 181 (1931); repr. 1971: 108.
2.Source: STC 3177. Lydgate, John, The fall of prynces. Gathered by John Bochas, fro[m] the begynnyng of the world vntyll his time, translated into English by John Lidgate monke of Burye Wherunto is added the fall of al such as since that time were notable in Englande: diligently collected out of the chronicles. Londini: in aedibus Johannis Waylandi, cum priuilegio per sepatennium,[1554?] , Appendix
Editions:
Dugdale, Sir William. The History of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London From its Foundation untill these Times: Extracted out of Originall Charters, Records, Leiger Books and Other Manuscripts, Beautified with Sundry Prospects of the Church, Figures of Tombes, and Monuments. London: Thomas Warren, 1658.
Bergen, Henry, ed. Lydgate’s Fall of Princes. 4 vols. EETS e.s. 121-24 (1924-27); repr. 1967: 3.45.