The Parlement of Fowls

Original Text: 
677And driven away the longe nyghtes blake!
680      Now welcome, somer, with thy sonne softe,
681      That hast this wintres wedres overshake.
684Ful blissful mowe they synge when they wake:
685      Now welcome, somer, with thy sonne softe
686      That hast this wintres wedres overshake
687      And driven away the longe nyghtes blake!


675] The Parlement of Foules is an allegorical love-vision poem in 699 lines, written probably in 1382 in honour of the marriage of Richard II and Anne of Bohemia. It is extant in fourteen mss., most of them in the libraries of Oxford and Cambridge, and was first printed by Caxton in 1477-78. The poem describes a contention between three male eagles for the love of a female, the favourite of the goddess Nature. The other birds are called on by Nature to judge the dispute, which is left unsettled. The other birds choose their mates (it is St. Valentine's day); and certain of them sing a roundel in honour of Nature. A roundel or triolet is a short poem in which the first line or lines recur as a refrain in the middle and at the end. Back to Line
676] wedres: storms.
overshake: shaken off. Back to Line
678] on-lofte: aloft, above. Back to Line
679] foules: birds. Back to Line
682] han: have. Back to Line
683] make: mate. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
2RP.1.39; RPO 1996-2000.