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DIMEV 6251
IMEV 3914
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What shall these clothes thus many fold
Two proverbial riddles with questions and answers, sometimes attributed to Chaucer — four couplets
Note: Attrib. to Chaucer, Stowe (1561), which was repr. Chalmers (1810), 1.557.
Author(s): Geoffrey Chaucer (attrib.)
Subjects: riddles; two-line
Versification: — two-line



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Fairfax 16 (SC 3896), f. 195v
Transcription:
What shul these clothes thus many folde
loo this hoote somers day
After grete hete cometh colde
No man caste his pilch away
Of al this worlde the large compace
yt wil not in my Armes tweyne
Whoo so mochel wol embrace
litel therof he shal distreyne
Attributed Author: Proverbe of Chaucer (f. 195v)
Attributed Title: Proverbe of Chaucer (f. 195v)
Facsimiles:
Norton-Smith, John. “Introduction.” Bodleian Library MS Fairfax 16. London: Scolar Press, 1979.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 3 vols. Chaucer Society 1st. ser. 21, 57, 58. London: Trübner, n.d. repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A One-Text Print of the Minor Poems. 2 pts. London: Trübner, 1871, 1880; repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
Skeat, Walter William, ed. The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. 7 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1894-7: 1.407.
Sisam, Celia, and Kenneth Sisam, eds. The Oxford Book of Medieval English Verse. Oxford: Clarendon, 1970: 560.
Pace, George B., and Alfred David, eds. The Minor Poems of Geoffrey Chaucer: A Variorum Edition of The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer vol. 5, part 1. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1982: 199-200.
Benson, Larry Dean, ed. The Riverside Chaucer. 3rd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987: 657.
2.Source: London, British Library Harley 7578, f. 20r3
Transcription:
What shulde these clothes thus many fold lo this hote somers day
After greet hete cometh colde no man kaste his pilche a way
Off alle this worlde the large compas it will not in my armes tweyne
Who mekel wille embrace litel ther of he shal distreyne
Note: Two verse lines per manuscript line.
Attributed Title: Prouerbe of chaucere (f. 20)
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 3 vols. Chaucer Society 1st. ser. 21, 57, 58. London: Trübner, n.d. repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
3.Source: London, British Library Addit. 16165, ff. 246v-246v
First Lines:
What shal þees cloþes þus many fold
Loo þis hoote somers day…
Last Lines:
…Who so mychel wol embrace
Lytel þer of he shal destreyne
Attributed Title: Prouerbe (f. 246v)
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 3 vols. Chaucer Society 1st. ser. 21, 57, 58. London: Trübner, n.d. repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
Furnivall, Frederick James. Jyl of Breyntford’s Testament and Other Poems. London, 1871; privately circulated: 38.