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Sacred and Profane: Eight Medieval Lyrics

Word count: 600

by (Edward) Benjamin Britten (1913 - 1976)

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1. St Godric's Hymn

Sainte Marye Virgine,
Moder Jesu Christes Nazarene, 
Onfo, schild, help thin Godric,
Onfang, bring heylich with thee in Godes Riche.

Sainte Marye, Christes bur
Maidenes clenhad, moderes flur,
Dilie min sinne, rix in min mod,
Bring me to winne with the self God.

2. I mon waxe wod

Foweles in the frith,
The fisses in the flod,
And I mon waxe wod;
Mulch sorw I walke with
For beste of bon and blod.

3. Lenten is come

Lenten is come with love to toune,
With blosmen and with briddes roune,
That all this blisse bringeth.
Dayeseyes in this dales,
Notes swete of nightegales,
Uch fowl song singeth.
The threstelcok him threteth oo.
Away is huere winter wo
When woderofe springeth.
This fowles singeth ferly fele,
And wliteth on huere wynne wele,
That all the wode ringeth.

The rose raileth hire rode,
The leves on the lighte wode
Waxen all with wille.
The mone mandeth hire ble,
The lilye is lossom to se,
The fennel and the fille.
Wowes this wilde drakes,
Miles murgeth huere makes,
Ase strem that striketh stille.
Mody meneth, so doth mo;
Ichot ich am on of tho
For love that likes ille.

The mone mandeth hire light, 
So doth the semly sonne bright,
When briddes singeth breme.
Deawes donketh the dounes,
Deores with huere derne rounes
Domes for to deme.
Wormes woweth under cloude,
Wimmen waxeth wounder proude, 
So well it wol hem seme.
Yef me shall wonte wille of on,
This wunne wele I wole forgon,
And wiht in wode be fleme.

4. The long night

Mirie it is, while summer ilast,
With fugheles song.
Oc nu necheth windes blast
And weder strong
Ey! ey! what this night is long!
And ich, with well michel wrong,
Soregh and murne and fast.

5. Yif ic of luve can

Whanne ic se on Rode
Jesu, my lemman,
And besiden him stonden
Marye and Johan,
And his rig iswongen,
And his side istungen,
For the luve of man:
Well ou ic to wepen,
And sinnes for to leten,
Yif ic of luve can.

6. Carol

Maiden in the mor lay,
In the mor lay;
Sevenight fulle,
Sevenight fulle,
Maiden in the mor lay;
In the mor lay,
Sevenightes fulle and a day.

Welle was hire mete.
What was hire mete?
The primerole and the –
The primerole and the –
Welle was hire mete.
What was hire mete?
The primerole and the violet.

Welle was hire dring.
What was hire dring?
The chelde water of the –
The chelde water of the –
Welle was hire dring.
What was hire dring?
The chelde water of the welle-spring.

Welle was hire bowr.
What was hire bowr?
The rede rose and the –
The rede rose and the –
Welle was hire bowr.
What was hire bowr?
The rede rose and the lilye flour.

7. Ye that pasen by

Ye that pasen by the weiye,
Abidet a little stounde.
Beholdet, all my felawes,
Yef any me lik is founde.
To the Tre with nailes thre 
Wol fast I hange bounde;
With a spere all thoru my side
To mine herte is mad a wounde.

8. A death

Wanne mine eyhnen misten,
And mine heren sissen,
And my nose coldet,
And my tunge foldet,
And my rude slaket,
And mine lippes blaken,
And my muth grennet,
And my spotel rennet,
And mine her riset,
And mine herte griset,
And mine honden bivien,
And mine fet stivien -
All to late! all to late!
Wanne the bere is ate gate.
Thanne I schel flutte,
From bedde to flore,
From flore to here,
From here to bere,
From bere to putte,
And the putt fordut.
Thanne lyd mine hus uppe mine nose.
Of al this world ne give I it a pese!

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