The Devonshire Manuscript/my ywtheffol days ar past

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The Devonshire Manuscript
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Madame margeret To cause accorde or to agree
The Devonshire Manuscript facsimile 68r
The Devonshire Manuscript facsimile 68v

f. [68r]

1    my ywtheffol days ar past
2    my plesant erese ar gon
3    my lyffe yt dothe bot wast
4    my grawe and I hame wan
5    my morthe and al is flad
6    and I hame won yn woo
7    desyar to be dede /
8    my mescheffe to for goo

9    I born and ame acold
10    I ffresse amades the ffyar
11    I se the do with{w+t+}hold that
12    that most I do desyar
13    I se my helpe at hand
14    I se my dethe also
15    I se wer the dothe stond
16    I se my ffryndly ffoo

f. [68v] 

17    I se the know my hart
18    and how I kannot stan stain 
19    I se the se me smart
20    and how I leff yn pane
21    I se how the dothe se
22    and yet the wel be blynd
23    I se yn helpeyng me
24    the se and wel not ffynd

   I se wan I comby by
   I haw the dothe wry
25    I se haw the do wry
26    wan I begen to mon
27    I se wan I comby
28    how ffane the wold b [] gan
29    I se wat wold yow mar
   the weld me gladly wold yow Kel
30    the wold me gladly kel
31    and yow shal se therffar
32    that the shal hawe ther wel

33    I kan not leffe with{w+t+} stans
34    yt hes to hard a ffawde
35    I wol be ded at tans at once 
36    yff yt myt do them good
37    the shal hawe ther rqwest
38    and I must hawe my nend
39    lo her my blody brest to ples t
40    to ples the with{w+t+} unkynd


Notes & Glosses

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     1. This initial may refer to Sir Thomas Wyatt. The initial could also be an m, and if so may refer to Mary Shelton.


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Written in Mary Shelton's hand, this poem remains unattributed. The poem is an adaptation of “The louer refused of his loue imbraceth death,” a poem which appears in Tottel's Miscellany as item 207.[1] A letter that resembles a "w" follows the poem, but scholars have not attributed this poem to Sir Thomas Wyatt. The initial can also be interpreted as an “m,” which may be an indication that the poem was authored by Mary Shelton.

An annotation, possibly entered by H7, appears at the top of the page and reads, “Madame margeret / et madame de Richemont” (68r). Annotations can reveal a great deal about gender identity, Renaissance practice, and courtly reality. This particular annotation seems to reflect the solidarity existing between erstwhile sisters-in-law Mary Howard and Margaret Douglas and may suggest a certain “experimentation” with personal identity. While the annotation identifies Mary Howard as the Duchess of Richmond, Margaret Douglas is given no patriarchal association. A number of marks throughout the manuscript specify known identities. The most significant of these marks concern Mary Shelton, Margaret Douglas, and Mary Howard. For example, the first page of the manuscript features Mary Shelton’s full name as well as “margayg,” and “garet how,” which could represent Margaret Douglas (Howard). Mary Shelton’s full name also appears after a poem in her hand, "A wel I hawe at other lost" (22v), and the acrostic poem entered by H1, “Suffryng in sorow in hope to attain” (7r), spells SHELTVN.

Works Cited

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Textual Notes

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Texts Collated

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1 my ywtheffol days ar past] MY youthfull yeres are past, STC_13860_17
2 my plesant erese ar gon] My ioyfull dayes are gone: STC_13860_17
3 my lyffe yt dothe bot wast] My life it may not last, STC_13860_17
4 my] My STC_13860_17 grawe] graue STC_13860_17 hame wan] am one. STC_13860_17
5 my morthe and al is flad] My mirth and ioyes are fled, STC_13860_17
6 and] And STC_13860_17 hame won yn woo] a man in wo: STC_13860_17
7 desyar] Desirous STC_13860_17 dede /] dedde, STC_13860_17
8 my mescheffe] My mischiefe STC_13860_17 for goo] forgo. STC_13860_17
9 born] burne STC_13860_17 ame acold] am a colde, STC_13860_17
10 ffresse amades the ffyar] frise amids the fire: STC_13860_17
11 se] see STC_13860_17 the do] she dothe STC_13860_17 withhold that] withholde STC_13860_17
12 that] That STC_13860_17 most I do desyar] is my most desire. STC_13860_17
13 se] see STC_13860_17 hand] hand, STC_13860_17
14 se] see STC_13860_17 dethe] lyfe STC_13860_17 also] also: STC_13860_17
15 se] see STC_13860_17 wer the] where she STC_13860_17 stond] stande STC_13860_17
16 I se my ffryndly ffoo] That is my deadly foe. STC_13860_17
17 I se the know my hart] STC_13860_17
18 and how I kannot stanstain] STC_13860_17
19 I se the se me smart] STC_13860_17
20 and how I leff yn pane] STC_13860_17
21 se] see STC_13860_17 the] she STC_13860_17 se] see, STC_13860_17
22 and] And STC_13860_17 the wel be blynd] she will be blinde: STC_13860_17
23 yn] in STC_13860_17 helpeyng] helpyng STC_13860_17
24 the se and wel not ffynd] She sekes and will not finde. STC_13860_17
24.1 I se wan I comby by] STC_13860_17
24.2 I haw the dothe wry] STC_13860_17
25 se haw the do wry] see how she doth wry, STC_13860_17
26 wan] When STC_13860_17 begen] begyn STC_13860_17 mon] mone: STC_13860_17
27 se wan I comby] see when I come nie, STC_13860_17
28 how ffane the wold bgan] HhwHow faine she wold be gone. STC_13860_17
29 se] see STC_13860_17 wat] what STC_13860_17 wold yow mar] will ye more STC_13860_17
29.1 the weldme gladly wold yow Kel] STC_13860_17
30 the wold] She will STC_13860_17 kel] kyll: STC_13860_17
31 and yow shal se] And you shall see STC_13860_17 therffar] therfore STC_13860_17
32 that] That STC_13860_17 the] she STC_13860_17 shal] shall STC_13860_17 hawe] haue STC_13860_17 ther] her STC_13860_17 wel] will. STC_13860_17
33 kan] can STC_13860_17 leffe] liue STC_13860_17 stans] stones STC_13860_17
34 yt hes] It is STC_13860_17 ffawde] fode: STC_13860_17
35 wol] will STC_13860_17 ded] dead STC_13860_17 at tansat once] at once STC_13860_17
36 yff yt myt do them good] To do my Lady good. STC_13860_17
37 the shal hawe ther rqwest] STC_13860_17
38 and I must hawe my nend] STC_13860_17
39 lo her my blody brest to ples t] STC_13860_17
40 to ples the with unkynd] STC_13860_17