Now Springs the Spray
DESCRIPTION: "Now springs the spray. All for love I am so sick That sleepen I nay may." The singer is riding and hears a maid singing "the clot him cling" (seemingly a curse). He has changed. She hopes that he will rue the day
EARLIEST DATE: c. 1302 (MS. London, Lincoln’s Inn Hale 135)
KEYWORDS: betrayal courting MiddleEnglish
REFERENCES (11 citations):
Greene-TheEarlyEnglishCarols, #450, p. 305, "Als I me rode this endre dai" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Kenneth Sisam, editor, _Fourteenth Century Verse and Prose_, Oxford, 1925, p. 163, "Now Springs the Spray"
Celia and Kenneth Sisam, _The Oxford Book of Medieval English Verse_, Oxford University Press, 1970; corrected edition 1973, #38, pp. 98-99, "now springs the Spray" (1 text)
Richard Greene, editor, _A Selection of English Carols_, Clarendon Medieval and Tudor Series, Oxford/Clarendon Press, 1962, #94, pp. 161-162, "(Als I me rode this endre dai)" (1 text)
R. T. Davies, editor, _Medieval English Lyrics: A Critical Anthology_, 1963, #19, pp. 77-78, "The Singing Maid" (1 text)
Maxwell S. Luria & Richard Hoffman, _Middle English Lyrics_, a Norton Critical Edition, Norton, 1974, p. 16, #16 (no title) (1 text)
Stevick-OneHundredMiddleEnglishLyrics 25, "(Now spryngeth the spray)" (1 text)
Carleton Brown, editor, _English Lyrics of the XIIIth Century_, Oxford University Press, 1932, #62, pp. 119-120, "Now Springs the Spray" (1 text)
MANUSCRIPT: London, Lincoln’s Inn Hale 135, folio 137
NOTES [210 words]: Let me state from the outset that I think it highly unlikely that this is a folk piece. But it will be seen that it has been very popular with anthologists (see the references), and it is claimed as a carol, despite a rather un-carol-like form. If it is a carol, it is one of the oldest extant, and so I have indexed it.
That it is very early is beyond doubt. The primary content of the manuscript is works by Henry de Bracton, who probably died toward the end of the reign of King Henry III (who himself died in 1272 and was succeeded by Edward I). The manuscript is said to have belonged to Alan de Thornton during the reign of Edward I (reigned 1272-1307).
This item is not in the hand that wrote the Bracton material; it is by a scribe who wrote about swans in year 31 of Edward's reign (i.e.1302/1303). So this likely originated in the thirteenth century.
It should be noted that there are several problems with the manuscript copy; the seven-line format used by almost all editors is to some extent a reconstruction. And there is disagreement about what portions of the text mean, although this might be a matter of bad copying.
See Brown, p. 214, for the first three verses of a parallel French chanson d'Aventure generally thought to be the source. - RBW
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