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The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
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DIMEV 5880
IMEV 3706.2
NIMEV 3706.2
Though pepper be black
A proverbial couplet
Subjects: proverbs
Versification: — two-line — aa



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Balliol College 354, p. 4022
Transcription:
Thowgh peper be blak
hit hath a good smak
Facsimiles:
Early Manuscripts at Oxford University: Facsimile of Oxford, Balliol MS 354. (http://image.ox.ac.uk/show?collection=balliol&manuscript=ms354).
Editions:
Flügel, Ewald. “Liedersammlungen des XVI Jahrhunderts….” Anglia 26 (1903): 94-285: 202.
Dyboski, R., ed. Songs, Carols and Other Miscellaneous Poems from Balliol MS. 354, Richard Hill’s Commonplace Book. EETS e.s. 101 (1908); repr. 1984: 128.
2.Source: Oxford, Balliol College 354, p. 4195
Transcription:
Thowgh peper be blake
hit hath a good smakke
Note: Second occurrence in MS; in a collection of 55 proverbs in English and Latin; translating ‘Est piper nigrum quod gratum prestat odorem’, which follows.
Facsimiles:
Early Manuscripts at Oxford University: Facsimile of Oxford, Balliol MS 354. (http://image.ox.ac.uk/show?collection=balliol&manuscript=ms354).
Editions:
Dyboski, R., ed. Songs, Carols and Other Miscellaneous Poems from Balliol MS. 354, Richard Hill’s Commonplace Book. EETS e.s. 101 (1908); repr. 1984: 130.
3.Source: London, British Library Addit. 37075, f. 70v
Transcription:
Thow pepyr be blake
hyt haþe a gode smake
Note: Two verse lines per manuscript line.
Editions:
Whiting, Bartlett Jere. “A Collection of Proverbs in BM Additional MS 37075.” Medieval And Linguistic Studies in Honor of Francis Peabody Magoun Jr. J. B. Bessinger, and R. P. Creed, eds. London: G. Allen and Unwin, 1965: 274.
4.Source: Manchester, John Rylands Library Lat. 394, f. 18v
Transcription:
Thawȝ peper be blak
it hath a good smak
Note: Translating ‘Quamuis nigrescat piper id sapidum tum extat’, which follows; written all on one line.
Editions:
Pantin, William A. “A Medieval Collection of Latin and English Proverbs…from Rylands Latin MS. 394.” Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 14 (1930): 81-114: 165.
Sisam, Celia, and Kenneth Sisam, eds. The Oxford Book of Medieval English Verse. Oxford: Clarendon, 1970: 561.