The Devonshire Manuscript/Also wyckyd tonges byn so prest

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The Devonshire Manuscript
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for loue ys yet the moste stormy lyfe And who that sayth that for to love ys vyce
The Devonshire Manuscript facsimile 91v

f. [91v]

1    Also wyckyd tonges byn so prest
2    to speake us harme / eke men ben so vntrewe
3    s that ryght anon as cessed ys ther lest
4    so cesseth loue / and forth to loue a newe
5    but ydo ys donne / who so yt rewe
6    for thowgh these men for love them fyrst to rende
7    ful sharpe begynnyng breketh ofte at ende


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Transcribed by TH2, this entry is an excerpt from Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde (Book II, lines 785-91) -- a long poem based on Petrarch's Rime 132. TH2 most likely copied from Thynne's edition of Chaucer (c. 1532). This passage features part of a soliloquy by Criseyde in which she weighs the advantages and drawbacks for women to love men. Here she describes the diverse disadvantages of loving for women: wicked tongues can quickly defame women, men prove untrue and often look elsewhere as soon as desire ceases, and men too eagerly break off a relationship in the end despite their complaints of torture and pain in the name of love. This excerpt provides a counterpoint to the verses in the manuscript that describe women's fickleness.

The Devonshire Manuscript contains numerous other verses from Troilus and Criseyde (see: "And now my pen alas wyth wyche I wryte" (29v(1)), "O very lord / o loue / o god alas" (29v(2)), "O ye louers that hygh vpon the whele" (30r), "for thylke grownde that bearyth the wedes wycke" (59v), "yff yt be so that ye so creuel be" (91r(2)), "Wo worthe the fayre gemme vertulesse" (91v(1)), "And who that sayth that for to love ys vyce" (92r), and "but now helpe god to quenche all thys sorow" (93r)). Other medieval and Chaucerian excerpts in the manuscript, possibly copied from Thynne's edition, include selections from Hoccleve ("Womans harte vnto no creweltye" (89v(1)) and "ys thys afayre / ys thys honor" (89v(2)), Richard Roos' La Belle Dame Sans Merci ("O marble herte and yet more harde perde" (90r(1)) and "Alas what shuld yt be to yow preiudyce" (90r(2)), the Chaucerian Remedy of Love first printed in Thynne's edition "yff all the erthe were parchment scybable" (90r), and Chaucer's Anelida and Arcite ("for thowgh I had yow to morow agayne" (91r)).

This passage may be a continuation of the excerpt found above “for loue ys yet the moste stormy lyfe” (91v), but TH2 separates the passages with flourishes.

Textual Notes

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Texts Collated

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1 wyckyd] wicked T5068.02 byn] ben T5068.02
2 to] To T5068.02 speake] speke T5068.02 us] vs T5068.02 harme / eke] harme/eke T5068.02
3 that] That T5068.02 ryght] right T5068.02 ys] is T5068.02 ther] her T5068.02
4 so] So T5068.02 loue /] loue/ T5068.02 forth] forthe T5068.02
5 but ydo ys] But harme ydo is T5068.02 donne / who] done/who T5068.02 yt] it T5068.02
6 for] For T5068.02 thowgh] though T5068.02 love] loue T5068.02 them] hem T5068.02 fyrst] first T5068.02
7 ful] Ful T5068.02