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Representative Poetry Online, edition 6.0, is a web anthology of 4,800 poems in English and French by over 700 poets spanning 1400 years.  more about RPO





Summe Men Sayon that Y am Blac

6  So say Y and many mo.
7Blac ys my hat, blac ys my hod,
11And ther to also treu in dede
13Wynd and watur may steyne the wyte.
15Ther yse the blac ys al my delyte.
20  Thys Y sey by me and mo.
22  For they buth trew as any stel.
23God kepe hem bothe in feld and toune
24  And thanne schal Y be kept ful wel.


1] sayon: say. blac: black, dark-complexioned or tanned (exposure to the sun marked a person as an outdoors laborer and so of a lower social class) and black-haired. Back to Line
2] for my prow: to my credit. Back to Line
3] Ther: where. ther ys no lac: nothing's missing. Back to Line
4] wyte: white, fair in hair (blonde) as well in skin-colour. Back to Line
5] god: good. Back to Line
8] longet ther to: belongs to them. Back to Line
9] a: has. Back to Line
10] bord: table to eat at. Back to Line
12] ley my lyf to wedde: pledge or bet my life. Back to Line
14] Y wys: truly, assuredly. Back to Line
16] be schyle: "by skill," for that reason. ther to: to that, thereto. Back to Line
17] "Pepper outside ("without") is indeed black." Back to Line
18] wyt inne: within (punning on "white"). Back to Line
19] smac: taste. Back to Line
21] ale: all. buth: are, "be-ith." broune: brown, brunette. Back to Line
 What thou lovest well remains,
                  the rest is dross
What thou lov'st well shall not be reft from thee
What thou lov'st well is thy true heritage
Whose world, or mine or theirs
                or is it of none?
First came the seen, then thus the palpable
    Elysium, though it were in the halls of hell,
What thou lovest well is thy true heritage
What thou lov'st well shall not be reft from thee
Ezra Pound Pisan Cantos, LXXXI

On this day: May 27th