poem of the week: a middle english lyric

If anyone were to ask me what kind of poetry is my favorite, i’d definitely reply “middle english lyrics”. they have an intensity and a directness which is unlike anything else I’ve ever read, and because they’re often songs, they’re very easy on the ears.
If you know Jeff Buckley you may recognize this song: his gorgeous interpretation of Benjamin Britten’s version of it can be found on the album Grace.
For a translation of some of the words and for more lyrics and info, go here.

The Corpus Christi Carol

Lully, lullay, lully, lullay,

The faucon hath borne my make away.

He bare him up, he bare him down,

He bare him into an orchard brown.

In that orchard ther was an hall

That was hanged with purple and pall.

And in that hall ther was a bed:

It was hanged with gold so red.

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 thereon.

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