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The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
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DIMEV 839
IMEV 512.5
NIMEV 512.5
Better it is small household to hold / Than to lie in prison with fetters of gold
The Golden Mean — one couplet
Subjects: aphorisms
Versification: — two-line — aa



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: London, British Library Harley 172, f. 90v
2.Source: London, British Library Harley 2247, f. 79v
3.Source: London, British Library Lansdowne 699, ff. 95r2; 95v
Transcription:
Better it is a pore house
then to be in prison wyth fetteris
Note: Couplet is written once on f. 95 and then again on f. 95v: ‘Better it is a pore house hald to hold / then to lye in pryson’.
4.Source: Durham, Durham University Library Cosin V.iii.9, f. 79
Transcription:
there fore better yt ware a pouer housse to hollde
then to lye in preason in fetteres of gollde
Note: Intended as attribution(?): ‘be the Ryght Ryght Reuerend fayther in god mr Wyllyam skilton boner doctor of kyrkelande in [ ] affore sade dethe all vnto the thay thay thay that Can nott nor may nott nor ȝett I thenke shall not Leve my wyffe quyet Lye my wyfe well not Lett me’.
Facsimiles:
Burrow, John, and A. I. Doyle, eds. Thomas Hoccleve: A Facsimile of the Autograph Verse Manuscripts. EETS s.s. 19 (2002).
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. Hoccleve’s Works: The Minor Poems. vol. 1. EETS e.s. 61 (1892); repr. with Gollancz (1925) 73; rev. J. Mitchell and A. Ian Doyle, 1970: 218.