The Riddle Song (2: I Have a Young Suster) I have a yong suster Fer biyonde the see; Many ben the drueries That she sente me. She sente me the chery Wythouten ony ston, And so she dide the dowve Wythouten ony bone. She sente me the brere Wythouten ony rynde, She bad me love my lemman Wythouten longynge. How sholde ony chery Ben wythouten ston? And how sholde ony dowve Ben wyhtouten bon? How shold any brere Ben wythouten rynde? How sholde I love my lemman* Wythouten longynge? Whan the chery was a flour Than hadde it non stone; Whan the dowve was an ey, Than hadde it non bon. When the brere was unbred, Than hadde it non rynde; When the mayden hath that she loveth, She is wythouten longynge. * manuscript reads "xuld love," i.e. "should love"; the editors conjecture this to be the correct text. From MS. Sloane 2593 (c. 1430). The spelling has been regularized (although it should be noted that at this time final "e" was NOT silent, but could be sounded if needed for the metre). partial glossary: brere: briar, thorny stem of rose dowve: dove drueries: tokens, gifts ey: egg fer: far flour: flower lemman: lover longynge: longing ony: any rynde: bark, rind see: sea ston: stone suster: sister unbred: not yet sprouted, in seed wythouten: without DT #847 RW apr96
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