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The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
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DIMEV 6162
IMEV 3863.5
NIMEV TM 1802
We be maidens fair and gent
The song of the light ladies — one or two quatrains (aaab) and burden (bb): ‘The bell-a the bell-a we maydins beryth the bell-a / we maydins berth the bell-a the bell-a the bell-a’
Note: See 4876.
Subjects: women, erring; songs
Versification: — four-line — aaab



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: New York, New York Public Library Drexel Fragments 4185, f. i
Transcription:
…bella
Þe bella we be cum f[ ]
[ ] entent our selfes now for to sell
A ssay you þen none of þe spyce
for it wyll make your [ ]
[ ] swell
la the bell
Note: Portions of pages cut away to fit as endleaves to seventeenth-century song book.
Editions:
Stevens, John, ed. Music and Poetry in the Early Tudor Court. London: Methuen, 1961: 427 (extract).



Print Witnesses:
1.Source: STC 22924. XX Songes, Impryntyd in London at the signe of the Black Mores, 1530 , item 6
First Lines:
How praty & proper now that we be
so comly vnder kell-a
we be ma[y]dyns fayr & gent
wyth yes grey & browys bent…
Last Lines:
…Assay you then non of ther spyce
for it wyl make your bely to swell-a
Editions:
Imelmann, Rudolf. “Zur Kenntnis der vor-Shakespeare’schen Lyrik: I. Wynkyn de Wordes ‘Song Book,’ 1530; II. John Dayes Sammlung der Lieder Thomas Whythornes, 1571.” Jahrbuch der deutschen Shakespeare-Gesselschaft 39 (1903): 121-78: 128-9.
Flügel, Ewald. “Liedersammlungen des XVI Jahrhunderts, Besonders aus der Zeit Heinrichs VIII.” Anglia 12 (1889): 225-72, 585-97: 591.