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The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
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DIMEV 5934
IMEV 3727
NIMEV 3727
Thy beginning is barren brittleness
On the Uncertainty of Earthly Life — in rhyme royal
Subjects: transitoriness, of life
Versification: — seven-line — ababbcc



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Arch. Selden. B. 24 (SC 3354), f. 229v
First Lines:
Thy begynning Is barane brutelness
With wrechitnes wofull away thou w[ ]…
Last Lines:
…And this but contrair th[ ]
Quho leste lere craist[ ]
Note: Ends of lines lost to damaged gutter.
Facsimiles:
Boffey, Julia, and A. S. G. Edwards, eds. Chaucer, Works. Bodleian Library MS Arch Selden B.24: Facsimile Edition. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1995.
Editions:
Brown, Carleton Fairchild, ed. Religious Lyrics of the XVth Century. Oxford: Clarendon, 1939: 237-8.
2.Source: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Advocates’ 1.1.6 [Bannatyne MS], f. 74v
First Lines:
Thy begynnyng is bair and bittirnes
With wrechitnes wofull away thow wendis…
Last Lines:
…quhat heis is heirof bot chr cast on chryst thy cure
And god stand content of euery aventur
Note: One stanza rhyme royal.
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:
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: 201.
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: 2.183.