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IMEV 560
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By a forest as I gan walk
‘Merci Passith Riȝtwisnes’, a dialogue between a sinner and Mercy — twenty 8-line stanzas
Note: Content varies among MSS.
Title(s): ‘Merci Passith Riȝtwisnes’
Subjects: dialogues
Versification: — eight-line — ababbcbc



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: London, British Library Addit. 31042 [London Thornton Manuscript], ff. 122va-123ra
First Lines:
By one foreste als I gan walke
Withowtten a paleys appon a ley…
Last Lines:
…With ȝoure freschly face vs fede
And thus mercy passes rightwysnes
Note: 14 stanzas.
Attributed Title: A Song how þat Mercy passeth Rightwisnes (f. 122va)
Editions:
Brunner, Karl. “Handschrift British Museum Additional 31042.” Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen 132 (1914): 316-27: 319-21.
Bazire, Joyce. “‘Mercy and justice’: the Additional MS 31042 version.” Leeds Studies in English n.s. 16 (1985): 259-71: 263-6.
2.Source: Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales Porkington 10, ff. 203-207v
Note: 26 stanzas.
3.Source: Chichester, West Sussex Record Office Cowfold Churchwarden’s Accounts, ff. 18-19v
First Lines:
By a fforest es y gan walke
By a palys vnder a lay
Y herde twey men togedyr gan talke
I thȝowt to wette what hey wolde say…
Last Lines:
…Now know I wel he hath no per
He that is ffolle of mersy and ryȝthwissnis
Note: 26 stanzas.
Editions:
Bazire, Joyce. “Mercy and Justice.” Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 83 (1982): 178-91: 181-4.
4.Source: London, Lambeth Palace Library 853, pp. 66-73
First Lines:
BI a forest as y gan wlke
With out a paleys in a leye
I herde two men togidre talke
I þouȝte to wite what þei wolde seie…
Last Lines:
…And helpe us ladi att oure moost neede
To þi sone oure soulis þou wys
And with his mercy fulli us fede
Þere mercy passiþ riȝtwijsnes AMEN
Note: Written as prose.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. Hymns to the Virgin and Christ…and other religious poems. EETS o.s. 24 (1867); repr. 1973: 95-100.
Conlee, John W., ed. Middle English Debate Poetry: A Critical Anthology. East Lansing, MI: Colleagues Press, 1991: 201-9.