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The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
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DIMEV 6369
IMEV 3985
NIMEV 3985
When life is most loved and death is most hated
‘Erthe upon Erthe’ (B version) — in quatrains, with an introductory couplet
Note: For other MSS that lack this couplet see 1170.
Title(s): ‘Erthe upon Erthe’
Versification: — four-line — abab
Bibliographic Ghosts: San Marino, CA, Henry Huntington Library HM 144 [olim Huth 7] , f. 13v: actually in San Marino, CA, Henry Huntington Library HM 744 [olim Ashburnham 133; olim Gollancz].



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Laud misc. 23 (SC 655), f. 111v
Editions:
Murray, Hilda M. R., ed. The Middle English Poem Erthe upon Erthe, printed from 24 manuscripts. EETS o.s. 141 (1911); repr. 1964.
2.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Rawlinson poet. 32 (SC 14526), ff. 32v-35
First Lines:
Whanne life is most louyd
And deth is most hatid…
Last Lines:
…So that erthe for the erthe
Styd vp to thi holy hille
Note: 35 quatrains
Editions:
Murray, Hilda M. R., ed. The Middle English Poem Erthe upon Erthe, printed from 24 manuscripts. EETS o.s. 141 (1911); repr. 1964.
Fiedler, H. G. “Earth upon Earth.” Modern Language Review 3 (1908): 218-27: 222.
3.Source: Cambridge UK, St John’s College E.24 (127), ff. 44-45
First Lines:
Whan lyf is louyd & deþ ys most hatid
Deþ drawiþ his drawȝtis & maket man ful nakid…
Last Lines:
…Wyte erþe uppon erþe þat owre ne be for lore
And brynge owre erþe þer boote is þer fore
Note: Immediately follows Edmund Rich’s Speculum Ecclesie, 14 monorhyming quatrains with introductory couplet.
Editions:
Förster, Max. “Die älteste Fassung des mittelenglishce Gedichtes Earth Upon Earth.” Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen 138 (1919): 39-61: 50.
4.Source: Cambridge UK, Trinity College B.15.39 (181), f. 170
Note: Formerly listed under 1170.
Editions:
Murray, Hilda M. R., ed. The Middle English Poem Erthe upon Erthe, printed from 24 manuscripts. EETS o.s. 141 (1911); repr. 1964.
5.Source: London, British Library Addit. 37788, ff. 83v-85v
First Lines:
Whanne lyf is moost loued & deeþ is moost hated
þanne deeþ drawet his drauȝt & makiþ man ful nakid…
Last Lines:
…but þat þis erþe in þis erþe be worching þi wille
so þat erþe fro þis erþe stiȝ up to þin hiȝ hille
Note: Written as prose. “This copy of ‘Erthe’ begins with the introductory couplet, but Babington (1860)’s work on Tenison’s manuscript (1.lxxii, n.) assigned the couplet to the end of the preceding item rather than to the beginning of ‘Erthe,’ thereby causing confusion in all the Middle English verse indices to date” (Nancy Pope, personal communication February 27, 2017).
6.Source: London, British Library Egerton 1995, ff. 55-55v
First Lines:
Whenne lyfe ys moste louyde and dethe ys moste hatyde
Dethe drawythe hys draught and makythe man nakyde…
Last Lines:
…And pray to god a pon erthe that alle the erthe hath wrought
That erthe owte of the erthe to blys may be brought
Editions:
Murray, Hilda M. R., ed. The Middle English Poem Erthe upon Erthe, printed from 24 manuscripts. EETS o.s. 141 (1911); repr. 1964.
7.Source: London, British Library Harley 1671, f. 1*
First Lines:
Wanne lyf is moste louyd
And dethe ys most hatyd…
Last Lines:
…And y pray to god Apon erth that all erth hath wrought
That erth out of erth to blysse may be brought
Note: First four lines are added in the margin by a different hand.
Editions:
Murray, Hilda M. R., ed. The Middle English Poem Erthe upon Erthe, printed from 24 manuscripts. EETS o.s. 141 (1911); repr. 1964.
8.Source: London, British Library Harley 4486, f. 146
First Lines:
When lyffe is most loued & deth is moste hated
Then dethe draweth his drawght & makyth man full naked…
Last Lines:
…But that this erthe in this erthe be euer worshyng thy wylle
So that this erthe fro þis erthe may stie vp to thy hille
Editions:
Murray, Hilda M. R., ed. The Middle English Poem Erthe upon Erthe, printed from 24 manuscripts. EETS o.s. 141 (1911); repr. 1964.
9.Source: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Advocates’ 19.1.11, f. 178v
Note: 3 lines only, repeated on the same folio. The introductory couplet also occurs on fol. 70r (Nancy Pope, personal communication, February 27, 2017).
Editions:
Brown, Carleton Fairchild. A Register of Middle English Religious & Didactic Verse. 2 vols. London: Oxford University Press for the Bibliographical Society: 1916-20: 1.505.
10.Source: London, Lambeth Palace Library 223, f. 296
Transcription:
Where lyffe ys most lofyt & dethe ys most hatyt
Then dravste hys dreght & makys mon fall nakyt
Note: First two lines only
Attributed Author: quod Petrus Raynstroft (f. 296, in the same hand as these lines which is different and later than the hand of the Legenda Aurea).
Editions:
Brown, Carleton Fairchild. A Register of Middle English Religious & Didactic Verse. 2 vols. London: Oxford University Press for the Bibliographical Society: 1916-20: 1.363.
Bad Key: James1930-3: 363.
11.Source: London, Lambeth Palace Library 853, pp. 35-39
First Lines:
ERþe out of erþe is wondirly wrouȝt
Erþe of erþe haþ gete a dignyte of nouȝt…
Last Lines:
…But þat þis erþe on þis erþe be euere worchinge þi wille
So þat þis erþe from þis erþe may stie up to þin hiȝ hille AMEN
Attributed Title: Whanne liif is moost loued and deeþ is moost hatid þanne dooþ deeþ drawe his drawȝt and makiþ man ful nakid De terra plasmasti me & cetera (p. 35, rubric)
Editions:
Murray, Hilda M. R., ed. The Middle English Poem Erthe upon Erthe, printed from 24 manuscripts. EETS o.s. 141 (1911); repr. 1964.
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. Hymns to the Virgin and Christ…and other religious poems. EETS o.s. 24 (1867); repr. 1973: 88-90.
Kaiser, Rolf, ed. Alt- und mittelenglische Anthologie. Berlin, 1954; 3rd ed.; trans. as Medieval English: a Old English and Middle English Anthology Berlin West, 1958: 286.
12.Source: London, Wellcome Historical Medical Library 673 [olim Phillipps 18134; Quaritch Sale. Cat. 164], f. 9
First Lines:
When lyfe is moost loued
And deþe is moost hated
Then deþe drawiþ his drauȝt
And makiþ men naked…
Last Lines:
…And pray to god vpon erþe þat all haþ made of nouȝt
Þat erþe out of erþe to blysse may be brouȝt
Note: Formerly listed under 1171; moved as per Louis (1992), # 3386.
Editions:
Kane, George. “The Middle English Verse in MS Wellcome 1493.” London Medieval Studies 2, Part. I (1951): 50-67: 66-7.
13.Source: Manchester, John Rylands Library Lat. 201, f. 227
Note: Immediately followed by 4490.
Editions:
Fawtier, E. C., and R. Fawtier. “From Merlin to Shakespeare: Adventures of an English Prophecy.” Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 5 (1918-20): 388-92: 389.
14.Source: San Marino, CA, Henry Huntington Library HM 744 [olim Ashburnham 133; olim Gollancz], ff. 11v-12v
First Lines:
Whan liif is most loued and deeþ most hatid
[þ]anne deeþ drawid his drauȝt and makiþ man ful nakid
Erde out of erþe is wondirly wrouȝt
Erþe of erde haþe gete a dignite of nouȝt…
Last Lines:
…but þat þis erþe in þis erþe be euer worchinge þi wille
so þat erþe fro þis erþe may stiȝe up to þin hiȝ hille
Note: Written as prose; wrongly listed as in San Marino, CA, Henry Huntington Library HM 144 [olim Huth 7] in Brown and Robbins (1943) — in quatrains with introductory couplet.
15.Source: Cambridge UK, St John’s College D.5 (80), f. 121
First Lines:
Whane lyffe ys moste louyde deth ys mo…
Note: Fragmentary, incomplete copy, added to flyleaf at back of volume.
16.Source: London, British Library Addit. 60577 [Winchester Anthology], f. 92
Note: Introductory couplet only. Followed immediately by 3353.