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362 Study Questions: Middle English Lyrics

Vocabulary: lyric, lyric moment, lullaby, alliteration

Introduction: For the most part, the Middle English lyrics tend to survive in how many manuscripts? What is the name of the author of most of the Middle English lyrics (trick question!)?

Since the lyrics are so short, I am not offering specific reading questions here. Instead, pick any three of the shorter lyrics and paraphrase them, line-by-line, in your own words, and pick any single lyric to memorize. (For what it's worth, Hemingway's favorite medieval lyric was "Western Wind." I'm partial to "The Corpus Christi Carol" myself.)

Passage Identifications:

A: And in that bed ther lith a knight, / His woundes bleeding by day and night. / By that beddes side ther kneeleth a may, / And she weepeth both night and day. / And by that beddes side ther standeth a stoon / Corpus Christi writen theron.

B: Western Wind, when will thou blow? / The small rain down can rain. / Christ, that my love were in my arms, / And I in my bed again.

C: I sing of a maiden / That is makeless: / King of alle kinges / To her sone she chees.

D: Ewe bleteth after lamb, / Loweth after calve cow, / Bulloc sterteth, bucke verteth, / Merye sing cuckou!


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