The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
DIMEV 6384
IMEV 3999
NIMEV 3999
When nettles in winter bring forth roses red
When to trust women — seven stanzas rhyme royal including refrain, ‘Than put in a woman your trust & confidence’
Note: Cf. Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Advocates’ 1.1.6 [Bannatyne MS], f. 115v, pr. Ritchie (1928), 3.66; f. 266 pr. Ritchie (1928), 4.42; f. 266v pr. Ritchie (1928), 4.44. Cf. 6277. For a later satirical religious adaptation see 6483. Cf. Dean-Smith and Nicol (1943), 132.
Subjects: women, satire directed against; carols, of women; impossibilities
Versification: — seven-line — ababbcc

Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Eng. poet. e.1 (SC 29734), ff. 43v-45
First Lines:
When nettuls in wynter bryng forth rosys red
& al maner of thorn trys ber fygys naturally…
Last Lines:
…& apes in Westmynster gyfe Iugment & sente[n]s
Than put women in trust & confydens
Fitzgibbon, Henry Macaulay. Early English and Scottish Poetry. London, New York, and Melbourne: White, 1888: 200.
Wells, Carolyn, ed. A Nonsense Anthology. New York: Scribner, 1902: 186.
Wright, Thomas, ed. Songs and Carols from a manuscript…of the Fifteenth Century. Percy Society 23. London: Richards, 1847: 66-8.
Greene, Richard Leighton. The Early English Carols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1935; 2nd ed., rev., Oxford: Clarendon, 1977: 269-70; 1977, 238.
Roberts, Denys Kilham. Straw in the Hair: an Anthology of Nonsensical and Surrealist Verse. London: Bodley Head, 1953: 149 (part).
Silverstein, Theodore, ed. Medieval English Lyrics. York Medieval Texts. London: Edw. Arnold, 1971: 151-3.
Tydeman, William, ed. English Poetry 1400-1580. London: Heinemann, 1970: 58.
2.Source: Oxford, Balliol College 354, p. 508
First Lines:
When netillis in wynter bere Rosis red
& thornys bere figgis naturally…
Last Lines:
…Whan shrewed wyffis to þer husbondis do non offens
Than put in a woman your trust & confidence
Explicit quod R[ichard] Hill
Note: Stanzas 1-4 only.
Early Manuscripts at Oxford University: Facsimile of Oxford, Balliol MS 354. (
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: 114.
Flügel, Ewald. “Liedersammlungen des XVI Jahrhunderts….” Anglia 26 (1903): 94-285: 277-8.
Furnivall, Frederick James. Ballads from Manuscripts. London: Ballad Society, 1863; repr. New York: AMS, 1968: 1.313-15 (variant text).
Masters, James Edwin, ed. Rymes of the Minstrels. Shaftesbury, Dorset: High House Press, 1927; anonymous: 18-19.
Robbins, Rossell Hope, ed. Secular Lyrics of the XIV and XV Centuries. 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon, 1955: 103.
Davies, Reginald Thorne. Medieval English Lyrics: a critical anthology. London, 1963; Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1964: 223-4.
Luria, Maxwell Sidney, and Richard L. Hoffman, eds. Middle English Lyrics. New York: Norton, 1974: 65.

Print Witnesses:
1.Source: STC 1536. Bartholomeus Anglicus, a.k.a. Glanville, De Proprietatibus rerum, de Worde, 1495 , f. 477v
Note: In London, British Library copy IB.55242, margins of fol. 477v.
Garrett, Robert Max. “A Satire against Women.” Anglia 32 (1909): 358: 358.
Utley, Francis Lee. “When Nettles in Winter Bring Forth Roses Red.” PMLA 60 (1945): 346-55: 346-7.