The Devonshire Manuscript/when I bethynk my wontet ways

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The Devonshire Manuscript
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My hope is yow for to obtaine, O myserable sorow withowten cure
The Devonshire Manuscript facsimile 58r
The Devonshire Manuscript facsimile 57v 57-1r 57-1v 57-2 r57-2v 57-3r 57-3v 57-4r 57-4v

f. [57v] 
f. [57.1r] 
f. [57.1v] 
f. [57.2r] 
f. [57.2v] 
f. [57.3r] 
f. [57.3v] 
f. [57.4r] 
f. [57.4v] 
f. [58r] 

when I bethynk my ways

1    when I bethynk my wontet ways
2    who I or thys hawe spent my tym
3    and se who now my yyoI joy  decays
4    and ffrom my whelth who I ontwyn
5    be leve my fFrynds that suche affrays
6    doth case me playn nat off the splen
7    but mo [] ren moren I may thous wery days
8    that ar a poyntyt appointed  to be myn


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Written in the hand of Margaret Douglas, this poem remains unattributed. Mary Shelton enters another version of this poem on "wan I be thyng my wontyd was" (59r). Notably, both authors use different word choices: Douglas's version, for instance, uses “or thys,” “joy,” and “declyn,” while Shelton's version uses “anon,” “gay,” and “or myn” (see lines 2,3, and 4). Taken together, Mary Shelton’s and Margaret Douglas’s verses (on 58r to "wan I be thyng my wontyd was" (59r), and again on "my hart ys set not remove" (65r) to "Madame_margeret" (68v)) appear as if they support one another in similar themes: lamenting former happier times “Wan I be thyng my wontyd was” (58r and 59r); professing steadfast love in the face of adversity “my hart ys set not remove” (58v and 65r) and “Lo in thy hat thow hast be gone” (59r); and concealing actual feelings “I am not she be prowess off syt” (65r) and “Myght I as well within my song be lay” (65v). In the case of this particular set of two poems (58r and 59r), Margaret and Mary may have been echoing one another’s poignant sorrow over the loss of happier times and the “wery days/ that [were] apoyntyt to be” theirs.

Textual Notes

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Texts Collated

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1      when] wan LDev088     bethynk my wontet ways] be thyngthynk my wontyd wasways LDev088 
2      who] how LDev088     or thys] anon LDev088 
3      who] how LDev088     yyoIIoy decays] gay dekas LDev088 
4      whelth] welth LDev088     who] how LDev088     declyn] or myn LDev088 
5      be leve] be leffebelieve LDev088     fFrynds] ffryndes LDev088     suche affrays] swchsuch assais LDev088 
6      case] kaas LDev088     playn] plan LDev088     nat] not LDev088     splen] spelenspleen LDev088 
7      but moren] potbut LDev088     moren] morn LDev088     thous] thys LDev088     days] das LDev088 
8      ar a poyntytappointed] har apoyntyd LDev088